Saturday, August 30, 2014

I Think I'm in Love

our walk last weekend
I think I'm in love- with Utah. How could you not love it here surrounded by all this natural beauty? Granted, the food/restaurant choices leave something to be desired and make me miss Seattle, but oh the beauty of this place!
And I'm in love with the new me. I'm so proud of how hard I've worked and happy about how I feel and
the view from school in the morning
look. How I feel now is an amazing, drastic difference to how I felt a year ago. I love being me and am absolutely comfortable in my own skin. (Except the day after I eat almost an entire pizza with my roommates help, then I'm not so comfy, but pizza aside, I'm happy being me.)
My roommate and I go hiking every weekend, sometimes twice in a weekend. Last weekend's "hike" didn't quite turn out as hoped, but our walk around the park allowed us some good time to chat with and get to know another coworker of ours.
I love being more active and having more energy. I've been able to jog even. THAT I don't love, and I may never love it, but I do LOVE that I'm able to do it. It's wonderful how my body can move.
First Day of First Grade 2014

Second Day of School 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Accidentally on Purpose Hikes

Deer along the trail.
Yesterday, Heather and I decided to go for a short hike in the evening. We'd spent most of the day indoors and running errands. I suggested that we get out and enjoy the beautiful area on a short hike nearby. Heather easily and quickly agreed.

We grabbed some food and hit the road. I thought I had a good idea of where we were going to I started directing us without aid of a map or GPS... silly me. I did know where we were going, only I didn't know there was a more direct route to get us where we wanted to go- straight down the road from our apartment it connects to the road up Big Cottonwood Canyon Road. Despite my inadequacy as a map reader/navigator, we eventually found our destination: Willow Heights.

The trail behind us on the way up.
It was a hike just to get to the trailhead. We had to park on the highway and then walk a couple "blocks" through a neighborhood to the actual trail. At the beginning of the trail we saw a couple of deer, but after that we didn't really see any wildlife (other than bugs).

The book said it was a mellow grade and the walking was easy, but Heather and I thought differently. We were breathing hard just to get to the trail- it was quite an incline the whole way, until we got to the big meadow. When we crossed the big meadow we enjoyed the view of the ski slopes across the canyon before heading on to the pond.

We made a quick stop at the pond before turning back because it was getting dark. We stopped for a selfie with the mountain behind us and then hurried down the trail and back to the car. We definitely want to go back again when we have more daylight so that we can go around the pond and try the optional trail extension.

Selfie with the ski lift on the mountain across the valley.

Did I mention...

...the amazing sunset?

Today, we picked another trail in the same canyon. We headed for Doughnut/Donut Falls. The guidebook said it was 9 miles down the road, but as we approached mile 10 we decided to pull off and consult the book again. We realized that where we stopped on the shoulder there appeared to be a road, so we decided to take a chance and see where it might lead. We realized that it was the route we were looking for!

We headed down the road and it eventually became unpaved. It was an abrupt switch with a big hole; we think we may have left some of Heather's car on the pavement as we drove onto the gravel. People were parked all along the edge of the road, despite the "no parking any time" signs. We continued heading down the road, hoping to find some closer parking. (We did.)

It was a nice, low grade on a wide path. When we got to the creek, we scrambled down to the bank and along the water. We tried to stay dry as we climbed ("scrambled") up the rock along the waterfall. The view from the top was spectacular and I was quite proud of myself for climbing. There was a time in the past where I would have been too afraid to try and not in good enough shape to even consider it if I wasn't scared.

We went back down to the "hole" in the rock and did the obligatory photos under the falls, wading in the water (despite the signs directing us not to- everyone else was doing it). It was extremely cold and my toes felt a little numb. On the rest of the descent down or crossing the creek, we didn't worry about staying dry. Our shoes were already water-logged and we were cold and dirty.

Roommate selfie!
This was by far our favorite hike so far. I'd like to come back again, perhaps when my brother's family comes to visit. (I beg my niece and nephew could easily scramble up the rocks.)

On the way home we realized that here we are living in "Salt Lake City" and we still have yet to see "The Lake." Stay tuned for a future adventure to see "The Lake!"
Doughnut/Donut Falls

Above the hole

The cave below the hole.

It was great- but the water was freezing cold!

Spectacular views!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Utah Hiker Girl

It's official, the UGH is now a Utah Hiker Girl!
Author: Mike Matson, no relation
Today I got a book in the mail from a lady whom I used to dog-sit for in Seattle. It was such a sweet surprise. The book was about hikes in the Salt Lake City area. (My roommate and I had been looking at a similar book in Costco just the other day. Funny enough, the author has the same name as my brother, but it's not written by him- at least that I know of.)
My roommate flipped though the book and found an easy hike close by. As we were returning home from some errands she suggested we try one after dinner. Since it was getting on in the day we decided to grab dinner on our way to the trail head (Chik-fil-A!). We were looking for Rocky Mouth Canyon, it's a 0.7 mile round-trip "family stroll" with a 262 foot gain.
I programmed it into the GPS and we were off. The guide book said that though the trail head is in a residential neighborhood, do not park on the street only park in the parking at the trail head, so when we saw a sign for a trail head we turned off.
We found an unpaved parking area near a trail head and got out of the car. That's when we noticed that neither of the trail head signs indicated the trail we were looking for. We said "oh well," choose one, and headed out.
It started out smoothly with a nice view of the mountains and the Wasatch Valley. We came to what appeared to be the end with a little bench, only to discover a sandy trail down the steep hillside. We paused to take pictures and then kept going, gathering a lot of dust in our shoes.

We ended up hiking 2.15 miles down and up some steep hillsides. We encountered five horse riders and one man and his dog- twice. We took that as a good sign that the trail circled around so we could get back to our car a different way than the path we came on.
All in all it was a beautiful trail and a great workout. Not the family stroll with a waterfall at the end that we had planned, but we'll go look for that tomorrow afternoon. Stay tuned for more adventures of the UTAH Hiker Girl!

Urban/Utah Hiker Girl at the start of the hike

Sunflowers grow wild here- makes me smile

Urban/Utah Hiker Girl at the end of the hike- still smiling!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Here We Go Again

Time to be honest with myself. I don't like the way I've been eating the last two weeks. I made excuses that it was hard to eat at home because of the clutter from unpacking and that it was easier to eat out. But really, hamburgers, ice cream, and french fries with every meal are not a good choice (even if they're from Chik-fil-A?).
I told myself it would be ok- I was burning extra calories from the manual labor of moving boxes and unpacking. ...and then I stepped on the scale last weekend to discover that I had undone most of the good I had done at my last weigh in (losing over three pounds). I'm up a pound and a half. Argh.
I started making small changes, better choices in my eating this week on some occasions. I started back on my walking (treadmill or elliptical machine) a few times. One time when we (my roommate and I) were out running errands I asked to find somewhere healthy; we found a grocery store where I got a fresh Cobb salad (yum- hard boiled eggs and bacon!). And yesterday, instead of suggesting we go grab lunch, I made a salad instead (50/50 spring mix, goat cheese, pecans, some fresh cherries (sliced), and balsamic vinaigrette).
Despite making these small, better changes I'm still up that pound and a half; the scale hasn't moved down again this week. I think it's the ice cream, hamburger with onion rings, etc. that I also ate this week. It's no wonder I woke up with a stomach ache this morning and negative self-thoughts going through my head.
So, I just listened.
I listened for a moment to the negative self-thoughts (I'm getting so fat. I can't believe I'm doing this. etc.) and then I stopped. Why am I thinking this way, I asked myself. It's the food, I realized. Not only does it make me feel bloated and upset my stomach, it's also somehow connected to my thinking. I've been eating some not good for me food, so I'm feeling not good and thinking not good. And in that moment -  not the times I've stepped on the scale this week to check my weight, not the times I ordered the crappy food knowing it wasn't good for me, not the times I woke up with stomach aches, not the times I complained to myself about the breakouts on my chin caused by eating crappy food - in the moment I stopped to listen to my body, to really listen, I heard the answer.
I need to stop what I'm doing and make a change because it's affecting the way I feel physically and the way I think about myself. I like myself. I love myself. I love my new body and how amazing it is that my body has carried me to this point in my life. I love that my body is continually changing. I love that my body allows me to pick up heavy boxes, run (ok, slowly jog) on the treadmill, do lunges and squats (even though I hate doing them), and I love my body because it's beautiful.
So here's to me and to another chance today to listen to myself and take care of my beautiful, wonderful body and all that it allows me to do.