100 Classic Hikes Utah is available now!


Drumroll, please… presenting 100 Classic Hikes Utah! It’s been several years in the making, and now it’s live and in color! I’m very excited about this book. Feedback is already coming in, and it’s been great so far.


This book was a lot of work, great adventure, beautiful places, and the product of my literal blood, sweat, and tears. And it’s out now!


I hiked my heinie off for this book, agonized over the hike choices up until the very last minute, conferred with many people over favorite/best/most awesomest trails in the state, and found many new-to-me places for it. You can find the book now at all the major online retailers, and it’s making its way into bricks-and-mortar bookstores as well.


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On the shelves now!


The wonderful team at Mountaineers Books did a fantastic job putting it together into a gorgeous format. Slick, glossy pages, full-color photos, topo maps, “hikes at a glance” page, and more all make this book truly accessible no matter how you want to find the information. If you want wildflowers on your trail, you can quickly discover which hikes boast the best displays. Looking for day hikes, backpacks, short or long? There’s a handy chart. The book is also divided up into geographical regions: Northeast, North Central, Southwest, South Central, Southeast.


If you want to order it online, here’s linkage:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aA8hEp

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2aXa2hl

Powell’s: http://bit.ly/2aCJX5k


It's a book!

It’s a book!





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And it has a back!



Keep an eye out for some sweet giveaways I’m setting up throughout the month of August. There will be a ton of great stuff available!


Now, go get out on the trail, and let me know how your adventure goes.




Natural arch along the trail

Natural arch along the trail



Along the Fifth Water/Diamond Fork trail.

Along the Fifth Water/Diamond Fork trail.



Shimmering Red Pine Lake in the Wasatch

Shimmering Red Pine Lake in the Wasatch



What I looked like on the trail. Camera bag, hydration pack, usually Chacos. ~photo by Dan Cullinane

What I looked like on the trail. Camera bag, hydration pack, usually Chacos. ~photo by Dan Cullinane

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squeezing through some narrows



The Willis Creek Narrows in the vast Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are reasonably easy to get to (emphasis on the word “reasonably”) on the Skutumpah road, definitely easy to find, and super cool to hike through. Water curved and carved its way through here for a very long time, creating the beauty you see. Not the place to hang out during a good rainstorm, but sure as hell pretty to visit.


Be sure to check on road conditions at the BLM office in Cannonville before you head out. And watch the uphills and downhills once you get on the dirt road. Some of the corners are impossible to see around, so drive like you value both your life and those of others. Most of all, enjoy the heck out of this very cool little hike.



enter into the wild


As a bonus, drive down the Skutumpah road as far as you’d like. Pretty much nothing but endless vistas, the abrupt presence of yawning chasms, tiny forests of pinyon and juniper, and the enticement of being able to wander at will for hours or days is all yours.


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Skutumpah road views

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find your natural high in the high Uintas



I admit I’d hardly gone more than a few miles into the Uintas, and those miles were by vehicle, before I began writing the 100 Classic Hikes in Utah book. Well, call me a changed woman now. The Uintas are amazing, and I’ve got to make more time to explore them in my life.  I’ve still barely explored them, because the area is enormous and requires a lifetime of adventuring to see every part of them. If you haven’t been to Uintas ever, or hardly ever, get thee hence. Lakes, mountaintops, iconic trails, wildlife, wildflowers, wild views. It’s all there.


Best part? The Uintas are a designated wilderness area, which means federally protected. Yep, that means no go, all you gas and oil drillers. Shoo. This place is for its wild inhabitants and for nondestructive (well, as nondestructive as possible) human enjoyment. Hike, camp, recreate, play. I can’t wait to get back out there.



summer blooms in the Uintas


Mountains, mountains, mountains. Did I mention there are lots of gorgeous mountains in the Uintas?


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Christmas Meadows


Lakes, lakes, lakes. By some estimates, nearly 2,000 lakes grace the Uintas.


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classic lakeside in the Uintas

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see some Cutler formation




Fisher Towers outside of climbing mecca Moab are a beacon for those who like to hitch themselves up to ropes and carabiners and scale just about anything vertical. Don’t climb? Don’t worry. You can hike the trail that winds beneath and around these spectacular examples of the Cutler formation of sandstone, which resulted in the quite photogenic epitaphs to natural desert beauty rearing skyward.



Spring or summer will get you those deep blue skies for the best color pop in your pics, but be prepared for hot temps. I’d advise an early start, or at least plenty of pacing. There’s almost no shade along the way, unless you tuck yourself into a trailside rock alcove like a lizard seeking to escape the sun’s reach. Although the area is hardly a secret, the crowds here will be far less than those you’ll encounter on just about any trail at the nearby national parks. Solitude…ah, what a feeling.


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classic Western scenes found here

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touching the sky in the Wasatch




The Pfeifferhorn in the Wasatch mountains allows sweeping views right above Salt Lake City. Yet make no damn mistake about it: this is a backcountry wilderness hike any way you slice it. The trail goes up–and up and up–and it’s really more route-finding the closer you get to your destination. But if you can hack it, this is a fantastic peak to tuck onto your bucket list.


Bonus: if you take the Red Pine Lake trail to it, you also get to see a super sweet alpine lake. Summer is, as usual, a fine time to visit, though you might have to steer clear of thunderstorms. Those with any fear of heights need not apply.



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well above treeline here


Red Pine Lake is a pretty nice roadside attraction to check out along the way.



location, location, location

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alpine playground




Logan Canyon in northern Utah holds a mountain paradise of trails, lakes, forests, trees, and beauty. Tony Grove, Naomi Peak, White Pine Lake–all beckon the hiker to explore this lesser-known area. As usual, right by the trailheads and parking areas you can be elbow-deep with other people. Just strike out along the trail into the backcountry, though, and get away from some of the madding crowds.



Summer is the time to visit for wildflowers, abundant greenery, and pleasant temperatures. I’d love to come back here in the fall someday, though. I bet there’s a veritable explosion of golds and reds on all the deciduous trees.





typical summer view along the trails here

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sandstone trail


The Devils Garden Primitive Loop in Arches National Park truly is a wonderland of delights. The trail itself sometimes heads right over slickrock, adding to the sense of adventure and remoteness. You can wander here all day, just exploring all the nooks and crannies of this sandstone paradise. The farther out you get, the fewer the crowds.


Edward Abbey surely would be aghast to see the sheer mass of people who stuff themselves into this most famous of national parks, and what by all accounts was his most beloved place. But don’t let the volume of visitors deter you from seeing it for yourself. I strongly suggest an off-season visit, for both fewer humans dotting the views as well as not having to struggle in what can be deadly heat. Yet even if you only can visit during the height of summer, get to this park at least once in your lifetime, and preferably for longer than one day.


It really is worth it.




slick wonderland

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ancient canyon splendor





House on Fire ruin, located in Mule Canyon on Cedar Mesa, an area ridiculously rich in ancient ruins and natural beauty. The people who built directly beneath this overhang certainly must have chosen it for its spectacular beauty each morning when the light hits it just right.


It’s very easy to get there, since it’s accessible just off SR 95. Or you can take the off-route back way, dropping down just behind the Mule Canyon Ruins, which are signed along the highway. However you get there, enjoy it.



stunning natural architecture makes this structure unique



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Gratitude: 27 Reasons Why I Have It



Gratitude is a beautiful concept. It is also a beautiful way to live.


Here are 27 reasons why I am grateful every day.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Remember to let the turkeys live, and eat a healthier meal instead! :)



1. Abundant sunlight slanting through the sky and lighting the path ahead

2. Dazzling, clear night skies that are free of artificial light

3. A farm of furry friends who create joy for me every single moment of every single day

Pip in snow Feb 2011 (2)

4. My mom, for everything

5. Friends who are true no matter how long we have known one another nor how far away they are

6. Wilderness that is free, clean, untrammeled, and plentiful

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7. The pain of experience, for it has always taught me something (even if I seriously disliked the method of delivery)

8. The wild, woolly, wonderful landscape of the Internet, for all the amazing things it has created

9. The purr of a cat curled up beside me

Bella and Pip, Babcia Christmas Eve 005

10. The fingerprints of ancient people pressed into dried mud, still visible centuries after the fingers crumbled into dust, forgotten but still so clearly here, so clearly leaving their mark that they existed, they loved, they lived on this earth, too

11. Mysteries of the world…because we all need a little mystery now and then

12. A cold drift of snow blowing sideways, whipping through my hair and smacking against my cheeks as it shows me in no uncertain terms I am here, I live in a physical body, I am a part of this world and everything it may throw at me

SoPas, cats, Pippin, Arroyo, Torrey, snow 087

13. Water, with its flow and burble and roar and lazy meander

14. The glorious, wide, expansiveness of human imagination, which awes me a little more every day

15. The welcoming nicker-rumble from my horses in the morning, greeting me when I head out to feed them

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16. The elegant swoop and fall and tumble of the canyon lands, which invite exploration and hidden delights waiting around the next bend

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17. Really good coffee. Yes.

18. The written word, with all its elegance and clumsiness and soar of imagination

19. Nourishing food shared with friends and family

20. A small town in a high red desert that has anchored me for many years now

Nov 2011 sunrise Torrey (11)

21. Thundering horse hooves galloping over the earth, which is perhaps one of the most pulse-pounding, smile-inducing noises ever

22. The endless permutations of the color spectrum, because wow. Yeah.

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23. A crackling fire on a chilled night

24. The crunch of snow underfoot as it blankets the world in a soft, vast silence

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25. All concepts and acts of selfless generosity

26. Music! Of course and always, for the way it can carry the soul into a soaring, blissful understanding of how much there is to be and live and experience in this amazing world

27. Love, because it truly is the answer to everything

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