Friday, October 24, 2014

Bucket List Update!

Well, I have officially been in Salt Lake City for 2 months.

If you know me, you know I am a go-getter, a doer, a dreamer.  I want to see everywhere and everything, and of course, RIGHT NOW.  I do about a million things in one day and crash at 8 pm.

I am insanely high strung and set out to experience as much of this new landscape as I can.  I think I am doing pretty good so far!   I figured it would be fun to update you all on my Bucket List---what I have done so far and what I have left.

DISCLAIMER:  I have NOT made it to southern Utah yet.  Why you ask? All of the southern parks are NOT dog friendly (Zion, Arches, Moab, Bryce, Canyonlands) GRR.  Once I get a dog sitter squared away I will be chipping away at the national park list.

YOU GO GIRL:  When I get really homesick- I look at this list and think WOW- look at all the amazing things I have done in such a short time (some of these things I did my last trip here in February- but still).  I look at this list and go yes, I miss home, but I am out here living my life and loving it.  It took a leap of faith to come out here, but I am glad I did.  You see, the problem is, we think we have time.  But sometimes we don't or we get comfortable, or we just don't make the time to travel and do the things we dream of.  Well, I am so glad I made the decision to "Leave the nest" and experience life outside of New England.  So sit back and see what I have been up to.


  • Climb to the top of Timp- Mount Timpanogos- 7.5 miles each way (~9 hours)
    • Planning this for tomorrow I think!
  • Attend Mormon tabernacle choir - Sundays 8:30 am seating 
    • Going to try to do this Sunday! 
  • Drive Highway 12- through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument between Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park,
  • Hike Ensign Peak

  • Visit the Aviary 
  • Ride in the Bison Round Up 
  • Saturday Pioneer Park Farmers Market 

  • Lavendar farm in Mona 
  • Tour the State capital
  • Twilight concert series
  • Snowshoe Donut Falls
  • Drive the Alpine Loop
  • Wander Temple Square at Christmas
  • See a Ballet West Performance
  • Hike Mount Olympus    
  • Visit the Kennecot Copper Mine
  • Watch the 4th of July Fireworks- best spots Sugar house Park or Ensign Peak
  • Go to Christkindlmarkt
  • Go to a Ute game (football or gymnastics)
  • Sundance Film Festival
  • Salt Lake City downtown Library
  • Visit Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island
  • Heber Valley Railroad
  • Eat at Hectors
  • National History Museum of Utah
  • Ski Alta 
  • Memory Grove Park
  • Liberty Park
  • Utah Olympic Park
  • Snowbird in the Summer
  • Snowbird in the Winter 
  • Red Butte Garden
  • Visit Temple Square

  • Wasatch National Forest 
  • Hogle Zoo
  • Dive the Homestead Crater in Midway
  • Swim in the Fifth Water Hot Springs 

    • Zion National Park
    • Bryce Canyon National Park
    • Capital Reef National Park
    • Canyon Lands National Park
    • Arches National Park
  • Dead Horse Point State Park,
  • Scott Matheson Nature Preserve, 
  • Colorado river (float trips and white water rafting),
  • Manti-Lasal mountains 
  • Cottonwood Canyons
  • Dinosaur National Monument,
  • Glen Canyon Dam (and Glen Canyon Recreation Area)
  • Wasatch Mountain State ParkLake Powell
  • The High Unitas

  • Rainbow Bridge 
  • Delicate Arch (3 mile hike)
  • Grand Staircase-Escalante Natl Park, Calf Creek Falls
  • Monument Valley & Four Corners 
  • The Wave- Coyote Buttes Area 
  • Spiral Jetty: 
  • Bonneville salt flats
  • Bear River Bird Refuge
  • Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon a part of Canyonlands Natl Park. 
  • Grand gulch
  • Nine mile canyon
  • Calf Creek Falls

Week + Out of state road trips 
  • SLC to Yellowstone & Tetons  (summer) (~5.5) 
  • SLC to Vegas (~6.5) 
  • SLC to Jackson Hole (winter) (~5 hours)
  • SLC to Yosemite (~10.5 hours)
  • SLC to Grand Canyon (~ 9 hours)
  • SLC to Denver, Colorado (7.5 hours)
  • SLC to (fly) California --Napa, San Fran, LA, Drive the Coast!

Alright, time to plan some more adventures.  Stay tuned for a fitness "check-in" and schedule- because this started as a running blog... right? ;)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vegas Getaway

So remember when I said I was going to unplug for a week 
and then vanished off the face of the earth for two weeks?
(well not completely vanished, I love me some IG)

Sorry about that!  
You know how it goes when you get back from vacation... 
you spend a few days playing catch up and getting everything finished 
and organized for the next week of school, work, groceries, cleaning etc. 

Well I am back with a little recap of my week away.  I vowed to unplug for the week but snuck in a few pictures to have SOMETHING to share with you all when I got back.  I realllly enjoyed having a week away from school work (kinda) work (kinda) and spending a lot less time with electronic devices.  I am always carrying around my camera, my go pro, or whipping out my iphone to get some pictures for the blog but it was nice putting it all away for the week.  

So my week away, where did I go?  I found a super cheap flight to Vegas right from Salt Lake City ($150).  An hour flight and I was there.  On the way back I gave up my seat on an overbooked plane to get a $400 voucher for another trip. 
 Worth it! 

Vegas was a great place to unwind for a week- as odd as that may sound.  Walk around, sit by the pool, eat some good food and just relax.  I am not much of a "night life person" and to be honest, I was in bed by 8 a few nights (no regrets).  I did have a blast playing dress up, going out to wonderful dinners, seeing all the different casinos, and doing some great people watching in general.   I even took a trip to Red Rock Canyon to escape the bright lights and get some hiking in. 

While I work on a few posts for the week (getting back into a workout routine, maybe signing up for a few races, staying "virtually committed" with friends),  
Here are a few pictures from my trip to hold you over.


Another item checked off the bucket list.  
Thanks for the fun Vegas :) 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Yoga and living in the moment

I try (most of the time) to live a healthy lifestyle.  I try to eat more greens less carbs.  I try to stay away from processed and anything pre packaged.  I support local farmers at the farmers market every weekend and head to the grocery store for the few ingredients I can’t find at the farmers market. I try to get out and run, walk, bike or do something active with my dog every day.

But what we often forget to enrich is our mental health.  Sometimes we just need to “detox” to find something that lets us purge all the negativity, the days stresses, and freshen up our minds if you will.

I used to really hate the idea of yoga.  This whole zen “koom by ya” hold a pose for an hour get in the moment mentality was never my thing.  When I found went to a hot power yoga class in Old Saybrook back in CT because a friend was teaching it, my opinions were changed on yoga.  Great instructors, music, and faced paced workouts that leave you sweating in that hot (but not too hot) room. 

I was really excited to find a very similar studio one mile away from my apartment here in Salt Lake City.  I was a little hesitant to spend money on a gym membership, but when I saw the price of this studio (introductory price) of $39 for one month unlimited, I couldn’t say no.   The entire wall is windows looking over the city and the mountains.  If those mountains aren’t a reminder to relax and let go, I don’t know what is (well, except the ocean- you guys know I miss the ocean).
Yoga has been such a nice mental and physical treat.  Put in these poses you can really focus on you and your body and leave your troubles at the door.  Probably my favorite thing about yoga is the introductory statement from the yoga teachers at the beginning of each class.  Sometimes they read from a book, sometimes they just recite their favorite passage, sometimes they just speak of some kind of motivational sayings. 

This week, the instructor’s mantra really stuck with me.  One instructor said something along the lines of “imagine how wonderful life could be if we covered ourselves in sweat and laughter every day”.  I really loved that idea of mental and physical health check being a daily requirement  Another instructor was talking about being present, about living in the present.  SO often we are living in the past, or in the future.  She challenged us to let go of the past, stop worrying about the future, and live in the present appreciating life moment to moment.

This really stuck with me.  How much time do we spend taking pictures of our dinner to re live it later, or on social media sites looking into what every else is doing.  Or worrying about getting older, or stressing that our friends are getting married and having babies and we aren’t.  The news stories this week really drove the point home even further and reinforced this “live in the moment” notion.  Stories of a young woman, Brittany Maynard who was told she had 6-10 years to live which was quickly changed to 6 months, due to terminal brain cancer.  To stories of expecting mothers delivering their babies knowing they would only live a few hours post birth.  Brittany said she was going to spend the rest of the time she had left doing the things that are really important to her, and disregarding all of the things that have no real value to her.  Isn’t this something we should all strive to do all the time?  Isn’t this “you only have one life so make it worth it” mentality the reason I packed my life and moved across the country? To experience something new, to enjoy everything this life has to offer.  
To this day, some of the best advice I have ever gotten was in an employee break room.  It was a Tuesday and I was just wishing and waiting for the weekend when someone turned around and said to me “Stop wishing your life away”.  A well heard statement but it hit me so hard in this context.  Don’t just live for the weekends, enjoy each and every day.   So with yoga and life around me as a reminder, I want to try to be more present.  To enjoy the days, heck to enjoy the moments.   Savor all the little experiences, the sunsets, the glasses of wine and time with family and friends.
So this week I am starting with unplugging.  No social media, no blog updates, and no Instagram for the week in an attempt to be more present.  I challenge you all to try something like this or at least try to live your life in the moment.   Maybe it’s time we stopped taking a picture of our entrees and savor each delicious bite.  No Iphones allowed.

See you all next week. 
Katie @ Running A Ragnar

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pig and a jelly jar- Breakfast Review

I think the best part about moving to a new city is all of the new restaurants.  
Well, it is for me anyways. 

One of the downfalls to home is I was getting really tired of going to the same restaurants with the same food (except for River Tavern- duh).  I mean yes I could have driven an hour and gone to one of the "cities" I know West Hartford has some good restaurants, but who wants to drive an hour each way for dinner after work. 

Part of my promise to Salt Lake was giving all these restaurants a shot and trying out as many as I can (limited to going out 1-2 x a week for the sake of my waist line and wallet).  So you will notice some restauarnt review on the blog.  Ultimately, I would love to have a little SLC travel guide with posts on where to eat where to hike what to do. 


So now, let me introduce you to Pig and a Jelly Jar.
voted Best Comfort Food at Salt Lake Magazines 2013 dining award.
I love me some comfort food, especially on a rainy Sunday. 

I have passed this little place en route to Liberty Park and heard about its Chicken and Waffles through the running meet up (of course the runners planned their runs around food... there is a donut run coming up... only problem is its 12 miles and even donuts aren't worth 12 miles in my books).

Thatcher and I went on a rainy Sunday and were excited for some home style comfort food.  Well, I was excited for chicken and waffles.  We started off with some coffee and enjoyed the vibe of the place while the rain fell outside. 

Of course I went with the chicken and waffles.
  It was good, but I wouldn't say great.  
The waffle was just a plain waffle and the chicken was not crispy- it more resembled a baked chicken.  At the Red House in Deep River, their waffle was a jalapeno cheddar waffle with this amazing piece of fried chicken and a great syrup.  Compared to Red House, this was one was just okay. 

Thatcher got the kale white bean hash which was simply delicious.  A sunny side up egg with this garlic aoili all over the place.  If you love potatoes and if you love sauce... you will love this.  Simply put. 

We were really excited to order a PBR drink. 

That is until we found out Utah's stupid liquor laws prevented the sale of alcohol before 11:30am. What is the point of going to brunch (or breakfast) if you cant get a dang bloody mary?

We will be back for the PBR Mary.  
Oh and lunch didn't look so bad either ;) 

If you are looking for a homey comfort food type of breakfast, then make a stop here.  After your delicious and unhealthy breakfast you can go for a walk around Liberty Park.
Make sure you go after 11:30 so you can try one of these PBR Cocktails!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Squaw peak Hike, Provo, Utah

A Hike to Squaw Peak, Provo, Utah. 

Saturday, Thatcher and I had planned a trip to Moab to do some sight seeing and hiking at a national park.  After a late start and the realization of a long drive (four hours each way) we decided to detour and do a closer hike.  We were driving through Provo, Utah (mostly known for its BYU campus) when I decided to do some research on where to hike that day.

I stumbled upon some mention of Squaw Peak and decided that was going to be our Saturday adventure.  The trail head for this hike is about 50 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City.  The Squaw Peak trail is accessed through the Rock Canyon trail located at E 2300 N in Provo, Utah.  You will see a nice parking area with bathrooms at the end of 2300.  Google map link to the trail head here

We had packed lunch snacks and water for the hike and Olive is starting to learn to carry her own water and snacks.  Her pack also slows her down and prevents any runaways-  so dual purpose with this pack. It takes her a few minutes to get used to it and then finally the tail starts wagging again :) Click here to buy a similar pack for your dog

The hike starts on a semi paved road out of Rock Canyon.  It then leads to a gravel and then dirt trail.  You will pass about 10 bridges on the way to the Squaw Peak trail.  You will also pass a lot of rock climbers as this Rock Canyon is a very popular rock climbing area. 

About 1.5 miles into the Rock Canyon trail, you will see a trail heading lead with a rock labeled SQUAW PEAK TRAIL. Make sure you take this left.  

Little video clip of Thatcher and the Squaw Peak trail marker.

I brought my GoPro which took a majority of the pictures on this post, 
and the little video at the end.

What I loved most about this trail was the variety of scenery.  Some of the trail was woodsy with adorable bridges and a babbling brook.  

Some of the trail was beautiful views of the neighboring mountains. As you get closer to the top the trail opens up for a bit for a beautiful view of Utah Lake and Provo.  

The trail even opens up to the quaint little meadow up on the mountain which felt so out of place for the surroundings.

The trail is pretty moderate but does get steep in a few places, especially nearing the summit. We reached the summit after about 2 hours and fifteen minutes (leisurely pace stopping to take lots of pictures obviously), and at about 3.8 miles from the parking lot.  

We were a little speechless at first for the amazing 360 views of Provo, Y mountain to the left, and Mount Timpanogos (often called Mt Timp) to the right.

(Y mountain- there is a large block Y on the mountain - BYU's insignia)  Mount Timp (one of the hikes on our bucket list) is to the right of Squaw Mountain. 

We spent about an hour at the summit, Taking in the view, relaxing and enjoying lunch. 
Olive definitely took a nap.

Lunch was Taralynns recipe--- over at Simply Taralynn, road trip roll ups.  These were perfect for easy eating on top of the mountain and we brought a spicy mustard for dipping. Tupperware container made sure nothing was smooshed on the way up. 

Dessert was watermelon with a view!

After about 30 minutes at the peak we ran into a nice group of hikers who educated us on the sites, the mountains, and about the town of Provo. 


Our "tour guides" at the top of Squaw Peak. 

Finally we decided it was time to trek back down and head for fro yo home.  While the trail is just an out and back and you repeat the same route, the views are much different heading down and again, beautiful. 

We made it up the mountain in 2:15 and were back down by 3:40 of straight hiking time.  If you don't stop for a break at the top you can do the trip in 3-4 hours easily.  We did it in about 5 hours with our long break at the summit.  And a lot of time to take pictures and pull burrs out of a curious dog's fur.

According to my garmin, we started at 4,974' and reached the peak at 7,882', roughly 3,000' of elevation gain.  (My glutes are still sore).  The weather was absolutely perfect and this was my favorite hike to date.  The scenery on the way up is varied and stunning, and then you get to the summit and take in the outstanding views of Provo, Utah Lake, Mount Timp, and Y mountain.  We even watched a hawk/eagle (some large bird) flying around the peak, dipping in between the canyons and soaring around.  (Thatcher claims the eagle (?) was attracted to the american flag at the summit).

If you are in the area, add this hike to your list and feel free to ask any questions!

Enjoy this little video montage I put together with the GoPro editing software!

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