Porcupine Rim Trail. Moab, UT.

Top of the rim

Porcupine Rim Trail
TH: This trail starts/ends at Grandstaff Campground in Moab, which is where we were camping, or in downtown Moab. Since this is mostly known for mountain biking, I think most people start and end near town where there is a large recreational trailhead and they can easily ride the road to get to the TH.
Trail Conditions: Point to point, well developed technical and cruiser single track.
AllTrails Route: Porcupine Rim Trail . This only shows to the top of the rim, but there is a trail that will take you into Moab.
My Route: We started from the campground, ran to the top of the rim and turned around.
Miles: 9
Elevation Gain: 1,213ft.
Water: No. If you hit it right, there will be some creeks flowing but these are fleeting and you should never rely on them. Always bring more water than you think you will need in the desert. 
Bathroom: At campground, and I am sure downtown Moab has a public bathroom.
Dogs: Yes, on leash.
Special Notes: Stay far, far away from Moab from mid March – October. This trail is one of the most popular trails in the world for mountain bikers. Especially if you are a runner, I don’t recommend in the on season. You’ll be dodging for your life the whole time as bikers come charging the downhills etc. Fat chance of enjoying this outdoor space anywhere close to Spring and Summer. We went at the end of February and it was quiet.

Cruisin’

It was not only special to feel this very famous trail under my feet, but the pure magic was the fact that we did not see a single other person out there.

It was late February and a beautiful morning, but the forecast called for rain in the afternoon. We got on the trail early and watched the clouds slowly moving over the La Salle’s in our direction.

The grand ol’ Colorado River

The trail is fun, technical single track that slowly winds it’s way up the side of the big walls to the top of the rim. On the way, you are stopped in your tracks to look at all the beautiful features and colors on the massive walls surrounding you.

Big walls

If you can car shuttle, or hitchhike, I suggest doing the entire point to point. We couldn’t shuttle, plus the weather was coming in and we just did what we had time for.

Beautiful features in the rock

I really enjoyed this trail. It was technical enough at times that I was dancing over rocks, and the big walls around you have so many features that it is worth it to stop and take a look around once in awhile. The creeks were also flowing, which in general makes for a very special energy that is shared in a very fleeting moment in the desert.

Fleeting streams

Devil’s Garden Loop. Arches, NP.

Devil’s Garden Loop
TH: Large developed trail head at the end of Arches road where the campground is.
Trail Conditions: Sandy single track, slab rock, creek crossings, cairns. If you don’t pay attention it is easy to get off trail. Bring a GPS.
AllTrails Route: Devil’s Garden Loop.
My Route: Same
Miles: 7.5
Elevation Gain: 1,069ft.
Water: No. If you hit it right, there will be some creeks flowing but these are fleeting and you should never rely on them. Always bring more water than you think you will need in the desert.
Bathroom: Yes.
Dogs: Dogs are not allowed in National Parks. 
Special Notes: Stay far, far away from this entire park from mid March – October. This trail is one of the most popular trails in the world. Fat chance of enjoying this outdoor space anywhere close to Spring and Summer. We went at the end of February and it was awesome. We had a good weather day and shared this trail with maybe 20 people, (as opposed to 100’s during the summer).

Nothing but trail running makes me this happy. Wait, my dog is the only other thing that makes me this happy.

Woot! Writing about this trail and remembering how good it was brings back all those good feelings. As I said in the info. this is really a place you want to try and hit in the off season.

Water!!

Runners, I think this should be on your bucket list. This is a surprisingly fun trail with a ton of variation, especially if you go in winter and there is a little snow on the ground. We ran on sand, rock, through creeks and more than a few times missed a cairn and got off trail. There is even one sketchy part of playing spider-man to get down or up a small rock face.

A short technical section of the trail.

As I said above, pay attention because the trail turns into creek beds and rock all the time and it is easy to get off trail.

This trail is a loop, which is the best, and so you cover all new miles and have the chance to see 7 different arches, and the Dark Angel.

Bring water, bring a map, a GPS would be best if possible, go in the off season and enjoy! If there are creeks just embrace them and get up in there. Nothing wrong with a little wet feet.

Creek running!

Delicate Arch, Arches NP.

Delicate Arch
TH: Large developed trail head.
Trail Conditions: Very well packed down double track with a short section of slab rock. Non-technical, easy navigation.
AllTrails Route: Delicate Arch
My Route: Same
Miles: 3
Elevation Gain: 600ft.
Water: Never enough to filter from. Winter and Spring will have a few minor creeks running through.
Bathroom: Yes.
Dogs: Dogs are not allowed in National Parks.
Special Notes: Stay far, far away from this entire park from mid March – October. This trail is one of the most popular trails in the world. Fat chance of enjoying this outdoor space anywhere close to Spring and Summer. We went at the end of February and it was awesome. We had a good weather day and shared this trail with maybe 20 people, (as opposed to 100’s during the summer).

Seriously, if you really want to appreciate this trail, try to go in winter. Delicate Arch is one of the most popular outdoor features in the world and it is fucking Disneyland most of the year.

We went in late February and shared the trail with about 20 people. Not bad. In late winter, you most likely will get an added bonus of some snow fall which adds for beautiful contrast that you don’t get in the summer. This also fills the usual dry creek beds with cold, crystal mountain water. To me, there are few things more special than seeing a healthy flowing creek, river, stream in the middle of the desert.

As you can probably assume, the trail is nicely packed down double track with a short section of slab rock. Non-technical, easy route finding. It is an easy 1.5 miles out to the arch.

This trail should be a must for anyone before they die. Try to help the parks out and go in the off season (which is short). Don’t be part of the problem and do like the rest of the sheep do.

Yoga. Period.

Yoga. What does it even mean? At this point, the word is overused and cliché. Unfortunately, social media and capitalism has encouraged vanity and exploitation of a practice that has been around longer than most of us and is rooted much deeper than we give it credit for or even begin to think about.

I am not qualified to explain what yoga means because it is a very personal experience for everyone. I want to talk about my personal experience with yoga and how it has been a necessary component to balancing out my active lifestyle. I am not spiritual, and I do not practice yoga in the same way that it was originally intended – but I also do not do it to look a certain way or profit from it. I truly believe that everyone can benefit from the teachings of yoga, you just have to find what style is best for you.

I used to think that yoga was “glorified stretching,” but that term has a negative connotation to it. Although as a runner I benefit most from opening up my hips and hamstrings, yoga is much more complex and presents challenges to the mind and body that I never would have been introduced to in any other sport. Yoga directly supports my future as runner, yet opens up a world I can’t tap in to when I am running and this is why I need to talk about it.

This is the prologue to a few different chapters about my continuing yoga journey.

Gaskill and Lawson Peaks

New landscape at the perfect time.

I found my love for trail running while I was living in San Diego, but only ventured as far as Mission Trails and Cowles Peak which is pretty much in San Diego proper. I hadn’t yet discovered the value of driving an hour or more to get to the backcountry. I didn’t even know San Diego had a backcountry until I had moved away and learned how to hunt for trails.

A few weeks ago I went out to San Diego to visit girlfriends and I set a day aside to visit a trail I never experienced when I lived so close.

Wet trail and one of the objectives in the background.

Gaskill and Lawson Peaks
TH: No proper TH. There is room for about 2 cars right in front of the gate that blocks off the road and then it is street parking. The shoulders are virtually non-existent though, so I suggest not going on weekends.
Conditions: Mostly 4wd road until you start getting on the peaks and then it is scrambling that is not as intuitive as you would like.
AllTrails Route: Gaskill and Lawson Peaks
My Route: Same
Miles: 8
Elevation Gain: 2,600ft.
Water: No way.
Bathroom: Nope.
Dogs: On leash. Always.
Special Notes: I am used to the best months in the backcountry being June-October. This trail and this backcountry is best in Winter, (October – March.) There is no water and no shade, and in the summertime would be awful.

This was the best time to do this trail. This backcountry is desert, and if you go out in the peak of summer it will be hot and there is not water and no shade.

Someone left a comment on alltrails that the views weren’t that good. What were they expecting? We aren’t in the alps. I’d say these are some of the best views you can get in this area. You can see the ocean as you stand on a peak! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the views.

We went when the clouds were hovering just above the peaks, the trails were wet and we even crossed a few streams! There was so much life yet my dad and I were the only two people on the trail. It really was a beautiful time to see that area.

My dad, scramblin’ toward Lawson.

I am kicking myself for not utilizing that area when I lived there, but it was such a special hike to do years after I had moved away and to do it with my dad.

No crack climbing required, but crack squeezing a must.

I am convinced that there is wild beauty in every corner of the world, you just have to want to find it.

Resistance or Strength Training. Workouts

I have no pictures of me working out, so here is Xena. This makes me think of running repeats up stairs which I consider an aerobic and a strength training workout.

Hopefully soon, I will write much more about the benefits of strength training. My love for fitness actually started in the gym and I have some experience with weights and body weight exercises.

I love to feel strong, and even in the summer when I am ramping up the running miles and spending a lot of time on the trail, I make it a point to squeeze in a few days a week of strength training. It improves my running form and performance and improves my physical ability to get around in daily life easily.

I am just starting out with this whole thing, so this first post is just to get a page started where I post a specific workout I have done. It is meant to inspire and allow you to cherry pick what you want to try and what might work best for you.

Keep in mind, I am a trail runner and I usually do exercises that directly benefit my running. My goal is to be toned, light and lean. I am not interested in bulking up. I just want to be strong in places that matter when I run and when I engage in daily physical activities as a part of living. In order to accomplish this, I do a ton of body weight exercises and only occasionally add light free weights.

**If you try this at home, adjust reps to your ability. You most likely will be weaker or stronger in the exercises.**

Workout for 9 January, 2019:

3 sets each:

Round 1:
Burpees 8 reps.
Wide-legged squats 10 reps
Plank 30 sec. – switched to forearm plank for second set
Side crunches 20 each side.
Crunches 15 reps

Round 2:
Pull-ups 10 reps (I own a body tower)
Dips 15 reps
Hanging Leg Raise 10 reps
Jump Squats 15 reps

Round 3:
Sliders 15 reps (mixed up what I did with them each time)
Pistol Squat 3 each side
Push-ups 12 reps
Lunge into single leg stance 10 each side

I did 3 sets of each round and I didn’t rest until the end of the third set. That way I had 10 or 15min. at a time of an elevated heart rate, improving cardiovascular and respiratory strength. This workout took me 50min. If I become more consistent with strength training, I could probably get the time down or I could start to add more reps to each workout to keep the time the same.

Happy 2019!

Oh, Breckenridge.

January, 1 2019. I am sick as a dog. It started as a little chest thing on Monday, and was full blown chest cold/flu yesterday.

Today – day one of my goal to get outside and get moving every single day of this year – my chest is wheezing and I can’t breathe through my nose. Oh, and the fatigue. Oh, and it is 12° outside.

Game on.

We got out on the XC skis. It was cold, but the sky was blue and the sun heated our cores. The trail was fast and the crisp air helped clear my stuffy nose. I made it an hour before the fatigue set in and I knew it was time to call it.

Frank and Xena headin’ uphill.

Full disclosure, yesterday was the worst of the sickness and beside some light stretching, I took the day off. I slept a lot. Rest is important, especially when you are sick. The more you move and get to know your body, the easier it will be to know when you need and don’t need rest.

Today I knew I could find the balance of getting some fresh air and not over doing it. With the exception of a few circumstances in life, (only a few), I still believe any movement, no matter how big or small – short or long – is still better than no movement at all and can always be worked in to your day. Even rest days can and should include light, easy movement.

So, day one already an adventure – as it usually is in the mountains. I am excited to see what the rest of this year will bring.

Get wild, be free.

Nutrition Note:
We spoiled each other for Christmas and bought ourselves a VitaMix. Tonight we made hummus and pita bread. Another goal of mine this year is to really dive in to healthy eating and home make as much as I have time for. I will also get better at taking food pictures.

Homemade pita and hummus. MMMMM.

365 Days of Outdoor Movement

Getting out with my two besties!

Happy New Year’s everyone! Starting tomorrow I’ll be attempting to make a significant movement outside, every day of 2019.

Along with exercising every day, I will also be venturing into starting my own business. I need to get through some school first, but it’s finally time I take the step to make my passion my career. I have been putting it off too long.

So welcome to the beginning of my journey’s – follow me on instagram @wildlybalancedathletics where I will post my activities daily. I will also be adding to this blog with tips on nutrition, cross-training etc. and what is working for me. Once I get some school under my belt, I will begin programs and videos you can follow along with and take advice from.

I hope you’ll join me in this adventure. Even if you don’t want to do the every day thing, taking any step toward becoming more active and getting outside is worth it.

Last note – I’m a real person. I make excuses, and I have lazy days. Promising myself with 365 days of movement is a challenge, I promise you. But I believe there is always time, every day, to fit in some type of activity. If you learn to balance exercise and exploring the outdoors into your lifestyle, you will find balance in all other aspects of your life. I know this because I have been living it. Life is not perfect and shit happens, but being in control of my body and my free time has made many other aspects of my life and decision making easier and I want others to experience this feeling. 

Get wild, stay balanced. Join me.

Skinning.

Frank heads up the last little bit to the top of the chairlift. Xena’s stoke is high, as always.

20 January, 2019:

Oh boy. Grouchy this early a.m. Glad I didn’t let my mind win this morning because we had a great skin up A-Basin and I realized that, yes, I can still ski even when it gets a little steep. The mind is a powerful, scary thing. I am grateful, everyday, that I live in a place that makes it easy to get outside. Excuses are only that in this magical place.

The snow princess, anxious for us to start down.

16 January, 2019:

It was not the conditions to be taking quality photos. Windy, stormy and dark.

Arrived back home today from a 5 day trip to San Diego. My flight was early and I hadn’t gotten outside yet so Frank and I skinned up Peak 9 around 6p. It was snowing, windy and stormy. We still managed to make it to the highest point of the uphill access and had a tiny adventure getting down in the dark while snow pelted our faces.

The Cats hadn’t made it through that section yet and the snow was falling hard enough to leave a couple inches of fresh for us on the way down. It’s the first time I have skied on anything more then perfectly groomed snow. It was fun as I felt my skis a little differently, and learned to move with the inconsistent terrain.

I have high hopes I am going to be able to get out into the backcountry on skis before this winter is over!

10 January, 2019:

Pre-dawn patrol goodness.

7th day of skinning and what a great morning it was! I worked late, but I got my ass up at 4:30a to get a lap in with Frank. He works at 7ish, so we have to get out a little earlier then the normal skinning time. We took Peak 9 for the first time as it is walking distance of our house. The whole ski was by way of headlamp and I hadn’t lost any of my confidence from the last time on the downhill.

I am a little sleepy, but so happy and content that I started my day early and outside. My work schedule has been ridiculous for two weeks and utilizing my free time wisely is crucial to my survival in the customer service jungle I am stuck in too many hours a week.

6 January, 2019:

6th day of getting out for a skin. Today was awesome. The best day by far. I had a great time going downhill. Something clicked and I just get it now. It felt natural and I went faster then I ever have before.

I still need to get more consistent with it and go more often, and now I can practice and hopefully just get stronger and more confident. Up until now, I was just surviving on the downhill.

From here on out, I am just going to add to this page every time I go uphill-ing. I don’t want my blog feed to fill up with updates about skinning the same mountain.

Anyway, day five. I worked late and was in bed by midnight. I was able to pull myself out of bed at 5a and Frank and I were going uphill by 6a. It was dark and 10°.

I was overdressed for the way up and underdressed for the way down. I am still getting my gear game down. By the time I reached the bottom the sweat on my back was ice and I had screaming barfies in my hands and feet. We had planned on two laps at least, but I wimped out. We got coffee instead.

One is better than none.

Skinning. Day 4

Every time gets a little better. It’s shameful that it is two months into winter and I have been on my skis only four times, but after the holidays I plan on ramping up my efforts.

Anyway, up until yesterday morning I wondered if I was skiing just because I felt like I had to if I was going to make it in a ski town. This probably explains my lack of effort so far.

Yesterday morning felt different. I got the hang of my climbing risers and felt efficient and strong on the uphill. On the downhill, I had some fun (gasp!) and started to put a little trust in myself and how to use my skis. Somehow I am improving with practice only once a week, so I am excited to see what will happen when I start giving it a few days a week.

This was a few years ago and one of my first times out. Notice that I am sitting back in my seat. This is terrible form and rocks your quads. I have gotten slightly better. I’ll get pics next time I go out to compare.

I didn’t take any pictures. It was a beautiful sunrise, hardly any wind which is very rare in Colorado, and I was with my partner and a really good friend. I can’t think of a better way to start the day.

Get outside. It’s always worth it.