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100 Favorite Things To Do In Utah (Summer Edition)

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Why Not Walk to Arizona?

There is a place called "The Wave" just over the Utah border into Arizona that I read about in Reader's Digest a long time ago. Only 20 people are admitted into the entirety of the parks listed above per day with only two options for getting permits: Gamble on a 4-month advanced purchase lottery OR drive all the way down to Kanab to camp out at the BLM office and elbow your way past two smelly hikers to get the last available day-of, walk-up slots.  The first time I went there the lottery system was just a dream.  Instead the option was to glue yourself to the park website three months in advance and not blink at midnight when the open slots were posted. After three months of lost sleep and clicking "refresh" on the millisecond, an available slot appeared and I grabbed up the five remaining permits for the far-off month of February.

It was totally worth it!

Getting to Kanab from wherever you are is only the beginning of the journey and I'd recommend getting t…

Staycation in Salt Lake City

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It is that time of year when all us northern Utah types jump ship and head for the promise of warmer weather south of I-70. For anyone brave enough to stick it out here at home, I want to help you to have a blast and create memories as equally brag worthy to tell when your friends get back all sun-burned and tired.


Salt Lake City (and the surrounding area) is home to some of the best family fun venues in the western United States. Important for me, too, is how many of them have an educational element to them. The kids don't know it or care, but Mom appreciates that even on a break from books and worksheets, they're are still immersed in learning. 
Ready to start planning your Salt Lake staycation or mini-vacation? Can I recommend looking at the Visit Salt Lake Connect Pass? I recently contacted them to ask about how it works. Along with some great information, they sent me 2 passes to try out and then pass what I've learned on to you. He…

What Kids Learn From a Mom Who Camps

Four years ago my husband found himself in a changing job and needing to spend 4 months in Alaska. Faced with the pressures of daily family life alone, I could have felt overwhelmed. Instead, without hesitation, I determined that I and my 4 boys were going to make the most of it. I packed them all (B was 5, P was 3, and the babies were 9-months) into our van and struck out on a spontaneous 4-month cross-country camping adventure. In that 4 months we stayed in a few hotels, we crashed on some family couches, and we spent 56 days camping. It was the best decision I’ve ever made!


(Yes, you read correctly.  56 days, camping, with 9-month old twins. This is the point people usually stop me when I’m telling the story. They don’t want to hear more. It’s too far from their comprehension. And every time I look them straight in the eye and reply, “We LOVED it!”)
Today I’d like to share three important things we learned on our 4-month journey...
1.  Mom can put up a tent. 
I will be the first to ad…

Utah's Battle Creek Falls

I discovered the Battle Creek Trail on an excursion with my family to hike to the "G" high up on the Pleasant Grove mountainside.  With no indication which of 3 or 4 trails went where, we chose the path most traveled and headed up, not to the "G", but instead to an impressive 50' waterfall.  It ended up being a rewarding decision!

The hike itself is only about a mile up into the mountains.  On the way it follows a little stream with a reservoir for rocking throwing, a bridge for swinging your feet, and a cave for curious toddlers.  A short, steep side trail takes you down to the waterfall and I'm certain it's 10-degrees cooler once you've settled in, making it a refreshing destination in the heat of summer. (At this point you can also choose to continue on the original trail to get views of the waterfall from above or connect up with a bigger system of trails.)

It would be easy to spend half a day at the Battlecreek waterfall!  Pack a picnic lunch a…

7 Tips For Being Prepared While Hiking

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Not long ago I had the responsibility to teach a group of of 8-yr-old's the Cub Scout Six Essentials for hiking preparedness. The list resonated with me. It is a simple list and covers almost all of the important things to have in your backpack when you're heading out on the trail. It started me thinking about what my essentials are when I'm hiking. Below I'll share a few of my favorite items and ways to make sure you'll be prepared the next time you are hiking.


Water
In my mind, this is the number one thing you need to remember to bring when you're hiking. Especially in Utah and the desert regions of the western United States. Without it you won't make it very far and most likely suffer symptoms of dehydration. The arid climate, high elevations, and warm temperatures can all combine to create serious circumstances if you don't stay hydrated.

Our family choice has been to get each person their own hydrati…

Do You Seek Out Unique Lodging?

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I have made a habit when I'm traveling of seeking out really unusual accommodations.  This little practice has given my family the opportunity of sleeping in an authentic covered wagon, in a hotel room with a loft, campsites with trees the kids can crawl under, and more.  

And that is how we found ourselves sleeping in this real-life tipi!  Let me share with you 2 things I've learned about tipis and then tips on finding your own unique lodging...
Tipi Teaching #1 Connecting With the World
It wasn't until all the kids were in bed and I myself laid down that I discovered this one.  Laying on my back, looking out the small oval shaped opening at the top of the tipi, the dark night sky seemed to come to life with white stars filling it up with their glow.  I was mesmerized.  I couldn't look away.  Suddenly I felt myself transported back two centuries to a time when Native America…

Packing to Hike With Kids

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Getting outside on a hiking trail is one of the cheapest and easiest things a family can do together. With cities across the country recognizing the importance of green open space, it is becoming increasingly easy to find a place to explore without having to look too far.  Even better news is that it is just as easy to pack for a day hike with children. With a small amount of preparation, you can be out the door with dirt beneath your feet in no time.



The first thing you will want to consider is comfort on the trail. Primarily, does everyone have comfortable shoes for hiking? Our boys almost always prefer to wear their hiking sandals over tennis shoes, and as a parent, I honestly prefer that, too. It is inevitable that they will find water or mud and walk right through it. Sandals dry quickly and also do not become heavy when they get wet. If your kids are going out in sneakers, make sure to pack an extra pair of socks, so that when their shoes get wet, th…