Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Outdoors of Utah

Despite the allergies, sometimes incessant heat and mosquitos, I absolutely love the summer time.

Growing up, it was the best time of the year.  Trips to the beach with the family and friends, waking up late because of no school, hanging out at hotel pools with friends, Jack-in-the-Box Ultimate Double Cheeseburgers as a post-beach was wonderful.

Now that I'm in Utah and have a job, the summers of beach trips, waking up late and trips to Jack-in-the-Box are gone.  I love Jack-in-the-Box, but for my health it's probably a good thing they don't have any in Utah, except for St. George. Over the last few years, one of my favorite summer time activities has been to escape to the mountains.

A few years ago, I bought a road bike and would go riding two or three days a week up the Provo Canyon River Trail.  After the birth of my son, the mountains became harder to access, so we resorted to walks along river trails and afternoons at the park. Last night I got to escort a youth group from our local church on a short hike up at Squaw Peak.  It wasn't anything strenuous, but man did it feel good to be outside and up on a mountain again.  What a great summer activity to keep you active and healthy.

Some of my other favorite activities in the outdoors of Utah are:

My Son and Wife Enjoying Moab
This is probably my favorite little town.  Moab hosts an array of events and activities.  My first experience with Moab was when I signed up to do the Moab Half Marathon with my wife and a few friends.  I ended up spraining my knee three months before the race which killed my training, but my wife ran anyways.  We instantly fell in love with the city and have actually participated in a few other running events in Moab since.  We love to visit Moab and just be outdoors.  The people are great and two of my favorite eating establishments are in Moab: Pasta Jays and Zax Pizza.

Slot Canyons near Escalante
Navigating the Slots
Okay, so I've only done this once, but by far, one of my favorite things that I've done in Utah. A few years back, I was a scout leader and we took a small group of our scouts to hike through a few slot canyons.  We ended up doing Peekaboo and Spooky.  This was something that I've never done before, and being in a slot canyon was absolutely amazing.  The boys and leaders had a blast.  The hike itself wasn't very long, but we got to hit two world class slot canyons.  While there we met some hikers from Europe who had planned their trip around opportunities to go through slot canyons like these two.

There are some great camping grounds not too far away from the slot canyons, and a fun little town with amazing people.  We actually had our trip back delayed a little due to a flat tire.  The local tire shop was closed, but the clerk at the convenience store next door knew the owner.  He called him, and he left what he was doing to come and help us out.  I wish I could remember the name of the shop and the owner so that I could give him a shout out!

Fun day at the Canyons.  Yes that's me.
My wife bought me snowboarding gear for Christmas one year.  We went a couple days later to Powder Mountain.  On my first run down (my second time snowboarding), I was carving face side down the run and ran my fingers in the snow (like you see surfers do in tubes).  I was hooked.

Although I haven't been much in the last two years (mostly due to a snowboarding injury and lack of funds), it remains one of my favorite outdoor activities in Utah.

It's definitely colder than surfing, but it's an awesome sport and activity.

I love the outdoors and I love being active.  I'm glad that I've made the decision to get back in shape and improve my health.  Doing so will allow me to continue to enjoy these activities for years to come!

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