Exploring Bryce Canyon and Zion Park

It’s taken me a little longer to catch up on blog posts about our vacation.  Between assimilating back into real life NJ, being sick, and preparation for the Philadelphia marathon weekend, it’s been busy.

Anyway, one of the best days my husband and I had was at Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.

We knew we wanted to go to both but timing wise, it wasn’t going to work out to spend a lot of time at both. We decided to drive through Bryce Canyon and look out and then spend a little more time in Zion National Park.   They aren’t too far apart, so you are able to do both.

Personally, we could both spend a lot of time in either.  They are two gorgeous parks!  Hopefully, sometime in the future, we will be able to go back and explore.

Bryce Canyon: 

While visiting Bryce Canyon, we went out to Rainbow point and walked around.  There is a 10-mile hike you can do and look over the Hoodoo Ampethetiar.  If we had more time, we would have done it!

The park itself is easily driveable.  It’s about an 18-mile drive to the tip of Rainbow Point, and there are several spots and opportunities for photos.

Made it to Bryce Canyon for incredible views of the Hoodoos and Rainbow point.

A post shared by Hollie (@fueledbylolz) on

Zion National Park:

Like Bryce Canyon, we could spend days in Zion National Park.  Before arriving, we planned to do a longer hike but quickly realized timing would not allow us too.

We still wanted to get back to Colorado and spend a few days there too!  When we arrived at the park, it was crowded and it was hard to even find parking.  By the time we were able to park and get out of the car, it was nearly 1 pm.

We could have begun the hike but it was a lengthy one and I didn’t want to be hiking at dark.  You had to take a bus to a certain location, then start, then take the bus back.  It was just a lot and if you’ve ever seen me hiking hangry…well…my husband would have left me there. Hiking in Zion National Park

So we just decided to explore and climb up to our own rock.  We didn’t have an exact trail or route but it was more fun that way.  We pulled over at a random spot and just hiked.  Even with hundreds of people inside the park, we didn’t run into anyone.

Hiking in Zion National Park
Sitting in a rock seat

Hiking away from everyone was much better for us anyway.  If you ever go to Zion National Park, don’t be afraid to just stop and explore. Hiking in Zion National Park

You don’t need a trail or destination.  And yes, we actually made it up an entire rock.  You can see the main road in the background.

To be honest, both Bryce and Zion were two of my favorite spots.  Eventually, my husband and I plan to go back.  You could spend days, weeks, and even months just exploring.

road trip through colorado

Posts from Vacation:
Hiking: 
Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder

Running: 
Haunted Half Marathon 5k (19:40)
Two Weeks of Training: Easy Miles Out West

Diners: 
Sams 3 Diner (Denver)
New Castle Diner (Colorado)

Questions for you:

Where is your favorite place to hike?

Have you ever been to Zion or Bryce Canyon? 

 

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Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder

I have so much to recap with my trip to Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.  I believe it will take close to 10 blog posts because we did something every day.  We went to Colorado with no plan but two plane tickets and a rental car.  We thought it would be cool to make it to other states, but if we didn’t…we didn’t…

I decided it would be easiest to recap through days (so I didn’t forget too)

road trip through colorado

Hiking Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder

As most people know, my husband and I like to hike.  We try and hit a mountain wherever we are.  I won’t say I’m a fantastic hiker, but it’s something we both enjoy doing.  We found a shorter hike in Boulder which seemed like it would be fun.  The mountain, called Flagstaff Mountain, kept confusing us because of Flagstaff, Arizona…

We parked and headed up.  A hiker informed us it was rocky, and I thought: “well I’ve seen some rocks hiking before, ” but the Rocky mountains are so different.  I had recently purchased a pair of Brooks Caldera (trail shoes) and I’m glad I did.  Eventually, I’ll have a review of those shoes later.

hiking flagstaff mountain boulder

We started on the Gregory Canyon trail and intersected with the Ute trail at Realization point.  Together, the hike itself was 2 miles up and 2 miles back.  My husband and I have done easier 10-mile hikes out east than this one.  It was climbing the entire time.  He believes we climbed about 2000 feet of elevation.  In two miles, that is a lot.

hiking flagstaff mountain boulder

Throughout the hike, there were plenty of views of the Colorado State University (which I tried to just absorb some running speed).

We first made it to “realization point”.  Where I realized what a mistake I made hiking in Colorado (just kidding).  It is accessible by car as well if you wanted to drive and park up there.

Then we continued our hike up to the peak of Flagstaff Mountain which was gorgeous.  You could see more of the rocky mountains.

hiking flagstaff mountain boulder

While coming down, we saw a family hiking up.  Their 3-4-year-old daughter was hiking up what I considered one of the hardest mountains I’ve done.  I kept thinking: if this mountain baby can do it, so can I.

hiking flagstaff mountain boulder

The hike itself was moderate, and I don’t think without trail shoes I would have made it to the top.  I’ve hiked plenty of old running shoes but based on the rocks, I think trail shoes are necessary.

So far one of my favorite hikes I’ve done.

Other Hikes We’ve Done:

California:
Hiking the Hollywood Sign (LA)

New York:
Getting Lost at Bear Mountain (Part 2)

New Jersey:
Sunfish Pond
Seeing a Bear at Sunfish Pond
Hiking the Stairway to Heaven
Hiking Hemlock Falls

North Carolina:
Hiking Greybeard Trail (Asheville)

Questions for you:
What is your favorite hike?  Is there anywhere near you? 
Are you a planner or a go with a flow?

10 Mile Hike through GrayBeard Trail (North Carolina)

Due to various things, my husband and I are doing quite a bit of traveling over the next few months.  Before we leave for another trip this weekend, I wanted it to blog about our car buying trip over Labor Day weekend.

Last week, we drove down to Winston-Salem to look at a new (used) car.  As most people know, my husband is fixing a 1987 944 Porche.  What I don’t post much of, is he also has a collector 1989 BMW 328.  Together with my car, it makes up our three daily drivers.  Both of the 80s vehicles are fun but when you have two daily drivers that are coming up on 30 years old, things break…a lot.  It’s never anything he can’t handle (he’s rebuilt the transmission, done things to engine…hell if I know), but regardless between the 3 vehicles, there are never 2 continuously reliable cars in the household.

As you can guess, my husband is very much into cars so he knew exactly what he wanted.  Unoratently, the closest vehicle was in Winston-Salem so that’s where we went.  We had no issues with Flow BMW, purchased the 2015 228i (manual) and it was shipped back to our house in less than a week.bmw 228 i

Honestly, it’s whatever he wanted.  He has supported me for random things and I want to buy and I can only do the same.

All of that being said, it led to a fun road trip to North Carolina.  Heck, we were almost back in Alabama!

Anyway, while down there we decided to go for a hike on the Greybeard trail.  To be honest, it was one of my favorite trails to date.  We got lost a couple of time and went off the beaten path, so it was about 10 miles round trip for us.  We stopped at the falls, as well as the “Walkers Knob” which I thought was called “Walkers Nook”…ha.

We had never hiked the Blue Ridge Mountains before, but we are definitely hoping to get back there again.

Here are a few photos but if you ever get down to the Asheville area, I recommend it.  It took us about 5.5 hours to do the entire 10 miles.

graybeard trail asheville nc

graybeard trail asheville nc

At the top.  I can truly say the view was one of the best I’ve ever seen. 

graybeard trail asheville nc

Other hikes we’ve done:

California:
Hiking the Hollywood Sign (LA)

New York:
Getting Lost at Bear Mountain (Part 2)

New Jersey:
Sunfish Pond
Seeing a Bear at Sunfish Pond
Hiking the Stairway to Heaven
Hiking Hemlock Falls

Questions for you:

What is your favorite type of car?

Where is your favorite hike?

 

Hiking the Stairway to Heaven

During the summer, my husband and I enjoy hiking in Northern, NJ.  The fall is also nice, but we tend to go more in the summer.  We have more free time as well.

Last week, we decided to head to the “Staircase to Heaven” on the Appalachian Trail.  We’ve hiked several portions including in New York at Bear Mountain.  The Staircase to Heaven is supposed to have one of the best views in all of the state.  Spoiler: It did not disappoint!

stairway to heaven nj

There are several portions of the trail you can park to get to the top. There is about a 2-mile hike/walk, followed by a steep 1.5 mile hike. It’s a longer hike, but it’s scenic.  The closer spot is close to the mountain, where you you have about a 1.5 mile steep and rocky hike to get to the top.  Since we were later and assumed the closer lot was filled, we parked further away and hiked 3.5 miles to the top.

stairway to heaven nj

After an extremely rocky hike, we made it to the top, and the view was fantastic.  So far, it’s definitely one of my favorite views in New Jersey.

stairway to heaven nj

After making it to the top, we decided to explore the Appalachian trail a little further and found a water fall.

staircase to heaven njIt was perfect because the weather was so hot, so it was nice to take a refreshing dip in the stream.  Thank goodness running clothes are basically like bathing suits and dry quickly.  Ha!

staircase to heaven nj

Afer that we took the hike back to our car.  It seemed to go much quicker this time, thankfully.

Other Hiking Posts:

Getting Lost at Bear Mountain and Revisiting (not getting lost)

Seeing a Bear While Hiking

Hiking the Hollywood Sign (LA)

We are hoping to get another hike in before the end of the summer so we will see.  Tristate locals: do you have any recommendations of hikes? 

Questions for you:

Do you like hiking?  Where is your favorite?

Mini Trip to Upstate New York

Last week, my husband and I went on a mini vacation through Upstate, New York.  Those who have been reading LOLZ blog long enough, know we both went to college in Upstate. While we have both been to New York since neither of us had been that far north since graduation. When we left last Sunday, we had no plans and played everything by ear.  After getting home from the Run the Bridge 10k, we just packed the car and drove north.

First, we drove to Lake Placid.  I hadn’t been there since January of 2011.  Last time I went to Lake Placid, it was -30 (not an exaggeration).  This time it felt like the Caribbean and was between 30-40.me running lake placidLake Placid and the Adirondacks are beautiful.  My husband and I both miss it so we spent a day hiking.
hiking in the adirondacksWe went to the Adirondack Loj and spent time hiking there.  It was much colder in the mountains, and I was glad to have mittens, a hat and winter jacket.  We even saw snow on the ground.  hiking in the adirondacksAfter spending a couple of days hiking in the Adirondacks, we headed west to our alma maters in Potsdam, NY.  It’s crazy to think over five years ago, I started LOLZ blog in Potsdam.  potsdam new york

A day in Potsdam was enough.  Honestly, I’m four years out of college, and my friends have graduated, so there isn’t a whole heck of a lot up there for either of us.  A day was enough.hiking in the adirondacks tim and i

We headed down to Syracuse and spent the day enjoying that and meeting up with one of my closest friends (and well known “interneter” (is that a word?) Heather.  We met up at one the local breweries, Empire.  I’ve been to Empire several times and have had a positive experience every time.Heather and IFrom there we relaxed and ran in one of my favorite Upstate, NY parks, Onondaga.  I’ve run several races there, most noticeably, the Lake Effect Half Marathon where I was able to raise 2500 dollars for Ophelia’s Place as well as win.  That race still holds a lot of memories for me and is one of my favorites.  I’ll eventually get back there to do it one year.

The trip was such a great time.  My husband and I enjoyed visiting.  Upstate New York will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I went to college, met my husband, began to love running and made many of my adult friends.

It feels like such a blur since living in both Potsdam and Oswego.  Even though it has only been three years, it seems like a different lifetime ago!
Questions for you:
Where did you go to college? Have you been back to visit?
Has it snowed yet where you are?

Fall Products I’m Enjoying

I realized that I never did any late Spring or Summer “products I am currently ling” post.

I am nosy and enjoy reading what other people like.  None of these products are sponsored and I’m not being paid to let you know about them.

As I have gotten back into running, there are several running related as well as life-related products I have enjoyed.

Running Shoes: 

None of these should come as a surprise because I do shoe reviews of models I’m running in. Each of these shoes I’ve liked and put over 300 miles in now.  I liked the Hoka Clifton 3 enough to retire the first pair and buy another.

Saucony Zealot ISO 2 Shoe Review

Hoka Clifton 3 
Brooks Launch 3
Saucony Zealot ISO 2
Nike LunarGlide 9 (review to come)

Clothing:

Janji: 

Coincidentally, We have also brought Janji to work.  Recently I tried this light weight top.  I love the sleeve details and it’s light weight and fits well.

Janji also sends 10% of their sales earned to the clean water.  I like companies that have a back story.
running janji

Saucony: 

I’ve written many posts about various products that I like from Saucony.  Including shoes like the Saucony Triumph, Zealot, and Ride.

Working in running retail, I see the evolution of brands and brand design.  They’ve always had great shoes but they’ve upped their game on apparel too.  I love their fashion forward trends including the Life on the Run collection.  You can tell because I’ve hiked in this tank top every time.

Delaware Water Gap

As we draw more into fall and winter, I’m sure I’ll stumble upon new products and gear to add to the list.

Questions for you:

What gear are you currently enjoying?

What nonrunning things are you enjoying? 

The Time I Saw a Bear While Hiking

This summer, my husband and I hiked a lot.  It was a fun hobby, and we saw a lot of neat and unusual things…most recently a bear.

Even though I’m a blogger and having content can be an issue I decided not to stop and take a photo “for the blog.”  In fact, photographing the bear didn’t cross my mind because honestly, I was scared AF.

This guy on youtube was bolder than me…who knows it could have been the same bear.

So let’s rewind to the entire hike.  We arrived back at the Delaware Water Gap around 12.  We had hiked to Sunfish pond the week before and wanted to go back and explore more trails.  The only thing that worried us was parking, but we shockingly found a spot pretty easily.  (There were around 100 cars in the park but grabbed the last one).

We decided to take the blue dot trail.  It was labeled easier than the Appalachian, but honestly, it was straight uphill for 2 miles.  At certain points, I wish I had taken rock climbing at my college.  Fun fact, for those who don’t know, I took backpacking at school…Delaware Water Gap

The first two miles were almost exclusively uphill on loose rock.  We were rewarded once we made it to the top and took some fun pictures up there.

Delaware Water Gap

We ended up taking a back trail which spanned about 5 miles.  We said we would turn around at 5 miles (because we didn’t want to end up getting lost).  Around 4.95, we saw two hikers coming in the opposite direction.  They said Sunfish pond was about 90 minutes away.  We figured it would be about the same distance to the pond as turning around, so we pressed on towards the pond.

Delaware Water Gap

No less than 15 minutes later we saw the bear in the middle of the trail.  Honestly, I stood there shocked, terrified and unsure what to do.  Would it attack? Was I a goner?  I looked like a deer in the headlights.

I was in pure shock.  I made eye contact with the bear, and he ran into the woods.  It was an older adolescent bear who probably weighed 300 pounds.  My biggest fear was that he was running towards his mom.  You never mess with a momma bear.  Even though brown bears are more harmless than Grizzlies, they are still wild and dangerous.

After the bear had left, we stood silent for about 5 minutes.  The 5 minutes felt like an eternity.  We continued along the path to Sunfish pond and never saw any sign of any bears.  We came across two other hikers, and my first thought was more people so we should be okay.

The rest of the hike went without any more issues. We saw a snake but other than that, we made it to Sunfish pond then hiked the 4 miles back down the mountain.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the hike a lot but seeing the bear was one of the top 5 most terrifying moments of my life.  I saw a few bears while running in college but they were far enough way they didn’t notice me.

Other hiking posts:
Hiking to the Hollywood Sign
Getting Lost at Bear Mountain
Hiking at Bear Mountain Again
Hiking Hemlock Falls
Hiking to Sunfish Pond (where we were hiking in this post too)

Questions for you:
What is the scariest moment you’ve had recently?
Have you ever come into contact with a wild animal?