Monday, October 24, 2011

Challenge Buttress, Big Cottonwood Canyon, UT

Location: 15 Minutes up Big Cottonwood Canyon, across the road from Storm Mountain Picnic Area.  Park on the side of the road.  Follow trail up the steep washout just east of the glacier gully.

Cost: free

What to expect: 5-10 minute approach, steep at first, then levels out.  The base of most the climbs are safe for kids, giving them room to play, but the thick bushes keep them from wandering very far.  Cool in the mornings, sun on the east side mid-morning, sun on west side in the afternoon.  This area can get very crowded so go in the morning to avoid the crowd.

Routes are mixed, with 5.6s right next to 5.9s and 5.10s.  Our kids did awesome on the easier routes, they were very attainable for them, and we had a great time on the harder routes.  This is definitely a family favorite.

Caution: In the spring keep the kids in hand as high run off leads to raging rivers.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The deal with kids climbing harnesses...

We've gotten a lot of questions regarding kids climbing harnesses. There are two harnesses I would suggest- though I am certain there are many others that are great. Please leave your comments if you've found other great ones. These are the ones we have experience with:

1. Petzl Simba Full Body Harness

 We love this harness.  It comes up over the shoulders for greater support and is useful for younger kids that do not have defined hips for a waist to grab on to.  Leg loops and shoulder straps are fully adjustable- according to Petzl, can be used up to 88 lbs.  We adjust this harness down for our 18 month old and back up for our 3 and 5 yr. old with plenty of room to spare.

2. Petzl Alpine Harness
We do not yet own one of these, but our 5 yr. old has climbed in one a few times at the gym, and it is on our list to buy next.  Alpine harnesses are light weight, usually less comfortable for adults, but fully adjustable.  Meaning we could adjust all the loops down for our kids while a small adult would be able to wear it as well.  This is a great harness if you want it to fit for a long time or a variety of people.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Outdoor Blogger Network Anniversary!

Over at the Outdoor Blogger Network they are celebrating their 1 year anniversary!  That means lots of giveaways and lots of chances for free gear if you simply spread the word.  So here is me spreading the word!

The Outdoor Blogger network is a site where all the outdoor bloggers come together, share gear reviews, pictures, tips on how to make your blog successful, successes and stories.  It is a fun community!  Come check it out!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

REI Squirt hydration system

Mixed bag...

Product features: Zippered main compartment, zippered small front pocket, mesh pocket interior for 1 liter hydration reservoir, mesh side pockets, reflective piping and 1 liter hydration reservoir with bite valve.

We got one of these for my daughter's birthday and overall I have mixed feelings about it.  It is great for hiking, with padded shoulder straps and chest and waist buckles for added comfort.  Everything they might need for an outdoor adventure fits perfectly.

However, perhaps we got it for her too young (age 3) because the bite valve was just a little too tempting to chew on or bite too hard and was broken within the first couple of weeks.  On the flip side, not having to stop for water breaks during those few weeks was awesome!

This bag has proven not good for school books, coloring, etc that you would need for perhaps an overnight or school. The narrow design of the bag limits many of the things they might like to pack in it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Christmas gift ideas! Top 10 ideas for kids outdoor gear gifts...

When the weather starts to cool and Christmas draws near, my thoughts go something like this:  what cool toys or clothes should we get the kids?  What on earth should I tell the Grandparents?  They don't really need any MORE toys!

So as summer wore on and turned to fall, I tried my hardest to write down those gift ideas- more practical in nature- that I was sure to forget by the time winter arrived.  On this list I tried to include fun but practical gifts, often the things my kids were begging for on our camping or climbing trips. I also included some of my favorite outdoor items, as this maybe the time to get them! Maybe this list will only be helpful for me but I figured I would share it in case there is another struggling holiday shopper out there...

10. New Ski/Snow Pants
9. Compressible camping pillows
8. New backpack for bringing all those toys hiking!
7. Sleeping bags
6. Base layers - for skiing in the winter and camping in the summer
5. Camelbak Kid's Water Bottle
4. Kids Climbing Harness
3. Climbing Chalk Bag
2. Slippers
1. Headlamps

And here are a few sites I have found some great deals at:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ferguson Canyon, Salt Lake, UT

A Quick Morning Favorite!
Location: From Salt Lake, take I-215 towards Big Cottonwood Canyon/ exit 6200s.  Follow Wasatch Blvd. south past Fort Union Blvd. and up the hill. Turn left into the Prospector Drive neighborhoods and an immediate right up the hill.  Take the second left onto Timberline Drive and park in spots on right side of the road.  Train heads up the mountain to a water tower and continues past it.

Cost: free

What to Expect: Fun and easy hike for kids, at least until you hit the steeper sections of trail further up, but we usually turn around there. First part of the hike is up to the water tower.  Great views of the valley, and the kids have fun throwing stones at the tower and making it "ring."

Dogs are welcome and the canyon has occasional fresh water springs for them to drink from.  It is cool, thickly shaded, with towering rocks on either side.  Beautiful every time we've been there! Nice during the hear of the summer cause the springs keep the air cooler.

FYI: Early spring might have heavy water flowing in the creek- could be dangerous for young kids. In late fall we ran into lots of burrs which proved not fun for the dogs.  Hit it mid to late summer for best results.

Monday, October 10, 2011

These are the moments...

that made a summer I will never forget...

Antelope Island, UT

Anibel (age 4 in photo) climbing at Red Rocks, Salt Lake, UT

Peek-a-boo fun!

Refreshing Esme at Lower Emerald Pools, Zion National Park, UT
Abishai, age 3, sweating it up in the hot sun!

Canyon Rim Train, Zion National Park, UT

Skipping to the pool, hand in hand.

Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Never let go...

Anibel after completing the zip-line.

Johnnie Jump Up heaven.

Headed out to climb a route in Crawdad Canyon, UT

Endless days of playing in the dirt.

Anibel "belaying" our friend's dog, Ajax.

Say "cheese!" 

Lovin' Levi at Crystal Falls, CO

Strider Bikes with good friends.

Race ya!

Golden, CO bike park with Papa.
4th of July

Great American pastime


And a new puppy to boot!

Jordanelle Reservoir, near Park City, UT

Prim and proper.

Lazy days in the sun.

Toe dipping near Brighton Ski Area, UT

About to loose that S'More!

Coffee, mama!

These two are practically inseparable.

Start 'em out young!

"I can do it too!" says my 18 month old.

Yes, he really was that dirty after camping.

The Cars came along on every adventure.

The "campfire stare."

A baby's best friend.
Climbing toys, what is the difference?

Reaching new heights!

So proud of himself.

Esme finally gets her chance...and loved it.  

A summer of adventures, done together...