Thursday, August 21, 2014

top of the world!

...well....the top of Utah at least.

It was about 10:00 when we threw the tent up under the trees. We gazed at the stars for a few minutes before we crashed...our wake up call would come early. Before the birds, before the sun, before the light even started to creep into the sky, we packed up--lights on--and headed up the trail. Four headlamps jogging through the pines, dodging rocks, shadows, and one giant moose.
The sun crept up and warmed our bones as we left the trees and entered The Meadow.
  kings peak // the little red house
The Meadow stretched on and on and on--Kings Peak looming in the background. We passed campers still warm in their sleeping bags, step by step inching our way closer to the mountain. Well, was a big meadow.
kings peak // the little red house
A few more miles on the trail and then we cut off--blazing our own way. Marshy grass, wildflowers, and a seemingly impassible mountain taunting us as we moved into it's shadow. We stopped and took a breather and loaded up on calories--we were 10 miles in and about to take on some serious elevation. Straight UP through a rock slide known as "The Toilet Bowl"....

see it there? dead center in the middle of the was no joke.
kings peak // the little red house
Up up up. Legs burning, lungs asking fore more air (there wasn't any), hands looking for anything to grab on to so we could pull ourselves up to the next rock. And then do it all over again.

And it went on foreverrrrrrr.

looking down.
kings peak // the little red house
Rocks on rocks on rocks.
and a few more rocks.
but then.....
kings peak // the little red house
13,528 feet up into the sky...Utah's tallest.
We looked out over the ancient Uinta mountains and breathed in the thin air. We stretched out in the sunshine and soaked in the feeling that you can only get when you're up in the clouds.
kings peak // the little red house
The Crew.
kings peak // the little red house
All the fun came to end when we realized we had to get back down.
Two miles of rock field--as tricky on my brain as it was on my feet. Step here? or there? ooh--that one! whooooops, that one slipped.
Rocks haunted my dreams that night.
kings peak // the little red housekings peak // the little red house
It was a long stroll back to the car. A jog through the marsh, back to the meadow, into the trees--those last few miles seemed to take the longest.
kings peak // the little red house
We soaked our tired legs in the icy mountain stream and rejoiced that we were DONE! We did it! So much work--but worth every step and every rock and every ache that we were sure to have the next morning.
so worth it.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” 

― John Muir

*     *     *

Now let's talk food.
When you're out for an all day hike you need food. And lots of it--good calories to fuel your body so you don't crash.
hiking snacks // the little red house

We started the morning out with my favorite pancakes (Kodiak!)--I made them ahead of time, slathered them with almond butter, a drizzle of honey, and a few strawberries, topped them with another pancake and wrapped them in foil so we'd have a quick breakfast--no prep needed--just grab and go.

This was a 25 mile hike--most people make it a backpacking trip, but we made it a day trip by running sections of it. When I'm running, I don't like anything too heavy in my stomach, so I go for Stinger Gels , Chews , and I LOVE their  Waffles --so good!

Before we started our big climb up the rock field, I wanted some protein so we downed some Krave Jerky. It's not hard and super chewy like a lot of jerkies--it's tender ant the flavors are AWESOME--my favorites are the spicy ones.

We spent about an hour at the top--eating, talking, and enjoying the views. I have really learned over the past few years how many calories I really need to cram in my body to keep me going on a long run/hike. I perform so much better if I keep enough fuel (and TONS of water) in me. I wanted more protein as we sat up top so we tried out
Epic Bars. 
These bars interested me for a few reasons--I mean first of all, it's a bar. Of meat. All wrapped up and ready to go. But mostly because they raise their animals the RIGHT know, like animals should be raised. The bars don't have weird ingredients--just meat, fruit, nuts, a few spices and then they are smoked. The taste is lightly smokey and it really hit the spot and filled my salty protein craving at the top of the mountain. The first few miles of the downhill were slow going through the rocks, so I had time to digest before we picked up the pace again--I don't think I'd eat these for a run, but they are perfect to put in your pack for a hike, and they'd make great backpacking fuel. If this sounds like your thing--go read up on Epic--they are great people with an awesome and unique product. Grab a sample pack here.

-Kings Peak is actually a 30+ mile hike if you don't take "The Toilet Bowl" route. Instead of going up the mountainy pile of rocks, you go around it. Read more here. (we started at the Henry's Fork trailhead) 
-I like to drop a Nuun Tablet or two into my water for extra electrolytes.
-you can never go wrong with a peanut butter and honey sandwich on a long's always tastes so good after you've been out for a few hours.
-I'm writing reviews for if you want to take a peak at some of our favorite gear. Check it out HERE
-after you hike Kings Peak you should eat at Hi-Mountain Drug. Even if you don't hike Kings Peak, you should eat me.
-Come find me on Instagram--I'll be giving away a box of Epic Bars next week! 
@_sheenarae and go find @epicbar too!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

back again.

that time of year. again. it seems to come quicker and quicker each time.
our summer passed in a flurry of campfire smoke and late night ice cream eating....but all good things must come to and end I suppose (although I predict many more late nights with ice cream eating in our future). I have such a hard time with school starting each year. It means our summer freedom is over, but it also means my babies are growing. And growing and growing and no matter how much I protest, they don't seem to stop. I still remember dropping them at preschool for a few hours a week....and now they are practically teenagers! Ok.....I guess not....but still--they are just too big.

They were completely ecstatic for the start of this year. These two share a room and an hour after they were supposed to be sleeping they were still giggling and carrying on....I could FEEL their giddiness. They bounced out of bed in the morning--no problem at all. We ate pancakes and peaches, and they quickly dressed in the clothes they'd picked out days ahead of time.

Slow down guys....just a little bit.



Helpful Links
Minnetonka Boots. She had a pair of these last year and we LOVED them. They held up through the entire school year--rain and snow included. 
Boys Adidas Sneakers

Thursday, August 14, 2014

friday senses

.... a little catch-up from the last month....

seeing: back to school EVERYTHING. new shoes, backpacks, pencils, crayons, all over my house. The dreaded time has finally come......NO! I'm just not ready....I'm in mourning and we are eating lots of ice cream. I know I know--we still have a good month and a half of nice summery weather around here, but it's just not the same once school starts....who's with me?!
celebrating: speaking of school, I finished up my summer classes! Woohoo for no more math!! I have had my nose in a math book for the past two weeks and I've had math jargon and word problems and interest rates and parabolas haunting my dreams at night. It feels SO good to be done.
anxiously awaiting: I have a week break and then I hop right back into class. Anatomy and chemistry this time--they will keep me busy but I'm excited to dive in. and nervous. but mostly excited....
anniversary-ing: Robby and I hit the big 1-2 in July...TWELVE!! We spent an evening out on the town like real adults, and saw Wicked--I HIGHLY recommend it! I can close my eyes and it seems like it was just yesterday that two crazy kids got married and tried to figure out how to be grownups together. I think of all we've been through--all the moves, our awesome kiddos, 1000s and 1000s of roadtrip miles....and I'm so happy about all we have accomplished in our funny little life together.
hug hug, kiss kiss, little hug, big kiss.
dating: every summer the kids head to grandma and papa's for a week and Robby and I squeeze as many dates in as we can. We hit a handful of our favorite restaurants (order the fig pizza HERE!) and spent a good amount of time on the trail. We climbed Twin Peaks, which rises above the Salt Lake valley at 11,328ft--it's a 5100ft climb in 4 miles, which = ridiculously tired legs. But it was well worth the pain and so fun to get out and get dirty together. Some of you may remember the last time we attempted Twin (HERE)....there were no injuries this time--there was a giant bull moose, but we all came out of it ok.
and look at the view!
running: I had a lapse of judgement last month and signed up for a 50k....ha! I have been getting out and enjoying some long runs on Saturdays, but I'm anxious to step up my training a bit once the kids are in school. I just can't resist these trails...
montana-ing: we spent a few days along the river in Montana with my family last week. We played in the water, explored a ghost town (more on that soon), and spent and afternoon digging for crystals. You know, because Montana is the best. 
loving: Lu and her fascination with gross bugs. You guys HAVE to check out
Tomboy Vintage shirts. They are the cutest for your girls (and they have adult tees too!) I have the hiking tee and it's super soft and the fit is perfect--I really love a good T-shirt. We were happy to find and support this little company promoting rough and tumble girls--check them out!
devouring: every bite of summer fruit we can get our hands on, and our new favorite Kodiak Cakes. Now you all know that I am a "from scratch" kind of girl, but I am seriously loving this pancake mix. They are whole grain--nothing artificial in them at all, they are super easy to make (add water! and I usually toss in a few eggs). I like the Power Cakes--they have whey protein and these are my new favorite fuel before my long runs. I usually make up a big batch so we have left-overs for a few days. They are so good with coconut oil, fruit, and a little maple syrup or honey.
(some Costcos carry them and most Targets do:)

It's almost weekend! Get out and making the most of it!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

way up high

Before we get started here, do yourself a favor.
Grab a pencil and paper and write this down:
Visit Colorado.
I can't believe this wonderful place is our neighboring state and we are just now getting around to spending some time together--what terrible neighbors we have been.

We left Mesa Verde (check out part 1 HERE) and headed north--up up up the mountains on a windy road with views of rocky peaks and wild forest. We spent the day around Silverton--we threw our tent up in a meadow and wandered around the wilderness dodging rain and chasing waterfalls.
colorado // the little red housecolorado // the little red housecolorado // the little red house
The next morning we woke up to sunshine, grabbed our packs and headed to the trailhead for Ice Lake. As excited as I was to explore these mountains--I was a little nervous. I had no idea how our day would go--the hike was only 7 miles but we would top out over 12,000ft--I was curious as to how the kids would do at that elevation. (the highest we have ever hiked with them is 10,000ft). We packed extra water and snacks, rain jackets, and agreed to take it slow.
colorado // the little red house
Did I say slow? Not these two. They powered up the mountain like it was no big deal. While my lungs felt heavy and crowded, they jogged and chatted away like we were at sea level. We hiked through the pines for a while--the trail moderately steep with some switchbacks. The forest then faded out to this view.....!!!
colorado // the little red house
We were there July 5th--the wildflowers were just starting to open. Waterfalls poured onto the valley floor from all directions and we passed snow slowly melting on the trail.
colorado // the little red house
colorado // the little red house
During our final climb the kids made mention of there "being no oxygen", but they still managed to pass a few adults who had stopped to, ahem...puke their guts out.
colorado // the little red house
ice1 ccolorado // the little red houseopy
colorado // the little red house
colorado // the little red house
We had hoped to make it up to Island Lake--about a half mile further than Ice Lake, but the thunderclouds were rolling in, so we quickly made our way down the mountain--we got to the car just as the first raindrops started to fall.
colorado // the little red house
On top of the world! 12,300 feet!
colorado // the little red house
Ice Lake Trail Details
Trailhead: out of Silverton. Take County Road 7 (off of 550) and follow it to South Mineral Campground at the end (about 4.5 miles on gravel) There is a parking lot and the trail is well marked--this is really popular hike.
Distance/Elevation: 7 miles round trip to Ice Lake with about 2400 ft of elevation gain.
Bring: extra water and fuel. You burn more at higher elevations and will me more susceptible to altitude sickness if you are dehydrated.....don't get dehydrated!
Also bring: pack a rain jacket--clouds can roll in quickly.
Note: Start early. Thunderstorms happen almost daily in the mountains and you don't want to be caught up there when a storm hits.
Shoes: I wore my Trail Runners (I wasn't sure how rocky the trail would be) but I wish I'd worn my Chacos There was a pretty big stream crossing so I had to take my shoes off (Robby just carried the kids across to save on time). The kids wore their Salomon trail runners --super awesome shoes for little hikers but the laces are ridiculous and jam up too easy. Get the shoes, replace the laces with regular tie-laces.
Lots more handy trail details: HERE
After Party: We grabbed a burger at Maggie's Kitchen in Ouray followed by ice cream at Mouse's Chocolates. (Ouray is the cutest little town and we are already itching to go back).

We loved this part of the country and feel like we only saw a fraction of it's beauty....we hope to get back soon!

Headed out for a hike? Check out my post on Trail Etiquette