Monday, July 28, 2014

Lake Tahoe- Emerald Bay from D.L. Bliss (Rubicon Trail)

This last weekend I was fortunate enough to venture my way over to South Lake Tahoe for some good ol' camping and hiking.  I stayed at D.L. Bliss campground which happened to have a couple trailheads at the beach parking lot.  Convenient, beautiful hikes are the best :) This was more of a walk in the park compared to the typical hiking I do, but that's just because of the lack of elevation gain.  The destination was Vikingholm at Emerald Bay.  If you've ever been to Emerald Bay, you will know what Vikingholm is.  It's a beautiful house on the bay that has unbelievable architecture.  It's state run now and they do tours.  They don't do tours of the Tea House in the middle of the bay though.  This "hike" was absolutely beautiful.  In the beginning there's a moderate incline with some stairs.  It has gorgeous lookouts of the lake and awesome boulders as well.  For the most part it's shaded but you should still wear sunscreen.  There are parts that dip down close to the water and a few "paths" that take you to the water.  The water is clear, cold, and very inviting, so bring a swimsuit incase you want to jump in. At one point of the trail it takes you to a small beach cove with lots of drift wood on the shore.  There were a few boats docked there.  At this point the trail veers away from the water and to the right.  At first I was very confused, and even disappointed that I wasn't walking next to the water anymore.  However, within a few minutes you are right back next to the water at Emerald Bay.  You will soon come to a boat/hike in only campground.  If you are fortunate enough to stay here, you will have a great view on an awesome campground.  If you are interested it's under boat in camp in Emerald Bay.  Also there's Eagle, but I believe that is closed til 2015.  Continue past the campground (watch for the Rubicon trail signs through the camp area so you stay on the trail) to get to Vikingholm.  If you'd like to continue on to Eagle Point, you can.  I believe it's a little over a mile further.  The tours of the house close at 4, so if you'd like to add that to your hike, then plan accordingly.  I started the trail at 4, so it wasn't very busy and most of the traffic had left the shore of Emerald.  There's a dock there you can jump off of, mostly covered with kids jumping off though.  There are restrooms located on the right of the house, if you need them, especially since the trail doesn't provide much privacy.

I hung out down at the bay for a while then headed back.  The trail is pretty smooth so I was able to run parts of it.  Note to self: don't eat tortilla chips and salsa an hour before a 9 mile hike…I felt a little sick the whole time which did not help me be able to run as much as I would have liked (but they were ohhh soooo gooood).  If you are a trail runner, this path is great.  Just don't trip in some areas, unless you are prepared for a cliff dive.  Speaking of which, when I first started the trail there are some lookout areas looking down.  I heard some guys yelling down below and a couple girls at the lookout laughing.  As I walked by, I looked down to see if there were guys cliff diving.  Well, I saw some guys, but they were swimming (they had just jumped off a rock into the water).  Then I thought, "hhmmmm…they have some really white swim trunks on.  And that's when I realized, they were nudey patooty! That was a good laugh to help me start my hike :D

This hike was great if you're struggling with inclines.  Don't get scared off in the beginning.  If you have any energy left on your way back, I recommend taking the lighthouse trail to the left about .3 miles from the trailhead (there will be a sign when the trail splits).  It's only .2 miles up (feels less than that) and then has a path that heads back to the parking lot going the other way.  The lighthouse isn't the best site to see, but it overlooks the lake and has some great boulders to climb on to get a better view.  This hike is more about endurance since it will be around 9+ miles roundtrip.  Don't forget to bring your camera since there will be some amazing views.  Enjoy!

My stats for the hike:
*9.1 miles total
*915 ft elevation gain
*3 hours 17 minutes (factor in time for walking around Vikingholm and checking it out)
*moderate (beginner, but due to length I think it qualifies as moderate)
*1,036 calories

Internet stats:
*9 miles
*200 feet (not sure why this is so much less than what my Strava said)
*"all day"

Eeny meeny miny moe! 

One of the beautiful views from trail. 

You can see how clear the lake is (bottom of pic).        
Funny boulder formations
Watch your head.  This stone could
knock you out. 

Emerald Bay from boat in campground. 

Tea House. Ya, I'd like a "tea house" that I can
 have my servant boat me out to twice a day for some tea :-/ 
Stunning architecture
Vikingsholm (you should read the history of it)

Emerald Bay.  You can see the Tea House in the center. 

The canal that goes into Emerald from the main lake. 

The small beach cove area right before the trail curves from the lake. 

View of Lake Tahoe.  I wouldn't mind waking up to this every day :) 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Betti's Blended Breakfast

About 4 years ago I started having some health problems.  It was unknown to me why since I ate healthy and exercised.  However, I didn't realize I had become lactose intolerant and ate too much gluten (I looooove me some bread and cheese. Mmmmmm!).  Starting your day out right is crucial to giving you energy throughout the day, helping you feel good, and maintaining your health.  After years of different shake mixtures I think I got a great morning protein shake.  And now I'll share my secret recipe.  This is specifically gluten, dairy, soy, and corn free.  If you don't have those intolerances then you can adjust to what you like, but this recipe is pretty yummy :)

Betti's Blended Breakfast Recipe:
-1 handful raw almonds (if you can use live almonds that is better)
-1 1/2- 2 scoops chocolate rice protein powder
-1/8-1/4 cup chia seeds
-2 big handfuls of greens (I use from Costco the organic mix of spinach, kale, and chard because they are some of the healthiest greens and are packed with nutrients)
-1 1/2 cup frozen strawberries (you can mix in fresh strawberries as well to give a sweeter taste. Costco offers organic, which is better to use)
-1/2 cup frozen blueberries (great for brain stimulation.  You can mix in fresh blueberries here as well. Organic preferred here as well)
-1 1/4 cup coconut water (more hydrating than regular water, so this is great to have before a hike/exercise)
-1 cup acai juice (This is great for natural energy. Try to get as close to pure acai juice as possible. Some have pomegranate in it as well, which is great for adding antioxidants)
-1 1/2-2 cups Orange Juice (I use the O.J. with calcium and vitamin D)
-1 1/2 cups cubed ice (this gives it the smoothie texture.  Adjust ice to make it more or less thick)
Optional (any or all):
-1 banana (great for potassium which will help your muscles)
-1 tablespoon maca root powder (this comes in vitamin form as well. Great to take)
-1/4 cup raspberries

This can make a good size shake (40+ ounces).  Adjust ingredients (liquids in particular) according to how much you want.  I have a larger quantity, but it usually take me around 1 1/2-2 hours to drink then holds me over for several hours after.  There are 3 sources of protein which help to curb your appetite longer.  Personally I also find it easier to drink through a straw (sounds silly), but you can drink more and not get a brain freeze :-)


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Desolation and Dog Lake- Big Cottonwood Canyon

Welcome to my online blog of day hikes.  The Dalai Lama once said "Once a year go someplace you've never been before".  Wise, wise words.  Hiking will get you places that many people have not been.  Places that no car, train, motorcycle, plane, or other transportation will ever be able to take you.  What a great feeling it is to accomplish a hike.  Even small ones usually take you to a beautiful destination whether it be a lookout, a lake, a beach, or a waterfall.  Being out in nature creates endorphins.  And as the wise Elle Woods once said "Exercise gives you endorphins.  Endorphins make you happy."  If the whole world went hiking, we'd probably have world peace.  Just sayin' :D  This  blog will discuss stats about hikes as well as my little adventures along the trails.  I'll talk about the trail and what I think you may or may not need to know.  There are of course plenty of hiking blogs out there, but none as fun as mine :)

I've been hiking for several years, but since last February I've gotten more into it.  I was in a bad car accident the day after Thanksgiving last year and was out of commission for a while.  I always enjoyed hiking a lot, but also would go to the gym to get a workout in or did Insanity videos at home since hiking wasn't always as convenient as I would have liked.  After the accident though, I had to take a few months off.  I'd try to do small workouts, but anything I did caused my neck and back pain.  So I started hiking almost every day instead.  I found that it didn't hurt me (unless I slipped and fell in which case OW!) and I absolutely loved being able to trade in gym time for quality time with mother nature.  At the point I was living on Oahu.  I didn't think there would possibly be that many hikes around because I wasn't in a mountainous state.  Boy oh boy was I wrong.  It's amazing how once you start researching something you find out so much information.  I found Oahu to have tons of amazing hikes. I got to hike 5-6 days a week. I was fortunate enough to be able to explore many of them before I had to move to Utah to finish school.  Now I focus on hiking at least 3-4 days a week and rock climb a couple days as well.  Something about being out in nature makes you naturally happy.  It blows going to the gym out of the water (no offense gym rats) :)  Utah is known for having amazing hikes.  So I am going to be exploring and discovering as many as I can.  I'll be using this blog to post about ones that are noteworthy.  Typically I try to stick to more advanced hikes, but I'll add some others in as well.  Maybe it will even motivate you to boost your hiking level :)

Desolation and Dog Lake have the same trailhead and at about 1.6 miles up it splits.  I first chose to go to Desolation since it is best to get the more difficult of the two over first.  It was in the 90's in the city, but the 70's on the trail; nice little break from the heat.  There were only two people I saw on this trail, but watch out for mountain bikers coming down.  They are speedy and you will be road (trail) kill if you don't move out of the way.  It was beautiful and had a stream running parallel to the trail for a good part of it.  Beautiful flowers, but be careful for the prickly white ones.  I learned that one the hard way.  Got a good picture out of it though.  There were a lot of flat parts to this trail however there were also a few rather difficult inclines.  The trail was smooth though for the most part.  Nice if you like to trail run.  Once you get to the lake it is beautiful.  Mountains surrounding it.  It's small so you can easily walk around it.  The water is clear.  Don't go swim in it though.  People usually camp here on the weekend.  On my way down I saw a dad with his sons going up to camp.  This lake was so nice for some peace and quiet.  Who doesn't enjoy a beautiful lake all to themselves.  The trail is exposed all around though, so if you need to use nature's restroom be careful ;)  There was a trail runner that probably got an eye full.  Not sure where he came from :-O The incline on this hike is 2500 ft in 3.7 miles so you can kind of judge for yourself the difficulty coming down.  Make sure to wear sunscreen or bring a hat.   Of course you'll need a decent amount of water as well.  This lake is great if you want to have a picnic.  Just make sure to pick up after yourself.
On the descent you will go 1.9 miles til you hit the sign for Dog Lake.  It is only .6 miles to get there, soooo why not?  However this .6 miles will be be a tooshy toner.  I even had to stop a few times to rest for a minute (this is a rare occasion for me to stop unless it's to take a picture).  There was a poor mountain biker that was walking his bike up.  Now that is a workout :-/  Finally I got to the lake (and by finally I mean like 15 minutes, but a rough 15 minutes).  This "lake" was a disappointment compared to Desolation.  The water is very brown and the lake is tiny.  However, it is still a beautiful view with all the mountains and trees.  You can access this lake from Millcreek parking lot as well.  It is 3 miles each way.  Happy with myself that I accomplished both hikes I headed back to the car.  It was a little rough on my knees from the elevation decline being a wee bit intense, but the trail is smooth enough once you pass the lakes split sign, that you can run most of it.  The views of Big Cottonwood are gorgeous to look at as you exit.  There are some lucky sons-of-guns that have nice big cabins overlooking the view parallel to the beginning of the trail.  I'll just throw it out there that if any of them read this that I am more than willing to house sit for you.  Ya, I know…I'm so thoughtful ;)
I finally reached my car, 9.2 miles later.  Couldn't believe I had gone that far.  It was an enjoyable hike and time flew by.  The funny thing about this hike was that I never even knew about it.  I had accidentally gone up Big Cottonwood instead of Little Cottonwood while looking for another hike.  After I turned around and was heading down the canyon I noticed a sign that said trailhead.  I hopped out of my car to just see what it was.  It looked like fun so I figured why not.  Two lakes in one hike always sounds like fun right?  Right :)  I recommend if you ever get lost and find a random trail, check it out.  Maybe it was meant to be your adventure for that day :)

My stats for the hike:
*9.2 miles total
*2,600 ft elevation gain
*2 hrs and 24 min
*Moderate (in my humble opinion)
*(for those you concerned with this aspect) 1,103 calories

Internet stats:
Desolation Lake:
*7.4 miles roundtrip
*2,500 ft elevation gain
*9,230 elevation at destination
*Difficulty level 5 (moderate)
Dog Lake:
*5 miles roundtrip
*1,640 ft elevation gain
*8,745 elevation at destination
*Difficulty level 4 (moderate)

This is the sign about 1.8 miles up where the trail splits.
Little creek running parallel
along the beginning of the trail.
Prickly little flowers all over.  They are secretly out to get you
with their sticky poking powers. 

Even getting 2 pokies in me, I still
managed to get the beautiful creek
pic.  Take that prickly flowers! 

Desolation Lake

The water was beautiful especially when you saw the breeze blowing across it. 
These were just some of the colorful flowers surrounding the lake. 

When you get to here you are almost to the lake.  Stay right. 
On the way to Dog from Desolation this was the insane view.So many mountains, not enough hiking time. 

I spy with my little eye a killer
cabin that is calling for me to visit.

Dog Lake.  Best pic I got of it.  There were mountains and trees surrounding the whole lake.  Small, but beautiful.