Bear Lake, Utah & Limber Pine Trail

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One thing a Florida Native never lacks is accessibility to water! I’ve been to my share of lakes, rivers, springs, and oceans. All of which in my opinion are relaxing and breathtaking. However, I’ve never seen a body of water as clear and turquoise as Bear Lake in Garden City, Utah.

Bear Lake is about 2.5 hours from Salt Lake City, Utah. All weekend I tried to find adjectives to describe this place and I couldn’t quite put one word out. Untouched, enchanted, calm, small town, relaxing were some I came up with. There are tons of places to camp in Garden City. We booked a lake side campground at Bear Lake State Park and we rented an RV from Outdoorsy (comparable to AirBnB, but for campers…. I highly recommend if you’re traveling with a little one or thinking about purchasing a camper but shopping around). While the weather was not what I planned for months ago when I booked it, this charming town still was worth layering up for in the cold weather. The Lake was 41 degrees when we were there!

Camping with Declan was difficult! As far as sleeping arrangements go we all slept together which was a tight squeeze and also tricky because there were no barriers for when he feel asleep but we were still awake! I guess if I had to do it again, we’d take a pack and play for him to sleep in, but there wasn’t even room for that in our camper that we had. I’ll continue the hiking with a baby on another post!

We managed to travel over to Idaho. Here we drove through Cache National Forest.  We enjoyed the views and stopped at a few streams and campgrounds to let Declan play. Everything was so green and apline, the air was crisp we could have stayed here all day. We’d love to camp here in the future! It’s more back country, but would keep any kid busy with all the nature and creeks surrounding it.

Limber Pine Trail is a short trail, charming, and super family/kid friendly! It’s about 1.3 miles RT and it loops around. Personally, I love loop hikes it just seems more culminating to me. Especially with kids. The hike is super interactive with fact maps and infographics along the trail. I loved this because I learned so much about Bear Lake while on this hike. The trail was really shaded and there were benches and secluded areas to stop and eat lunch if you wanted to soak in the views! The trail ends with a gorgeous view of Bear Lake.

All weekend I tried to get a picture to capture the lake, I simply couldn’t. Eric and I talked about what a fun place Bear Lake would be as a annual family summer vacation. You can rent cabins, camp, rent all types of boats or bring your own, tube on the lake, wakeboard, fish, tons of mom and pop food locations, horse back riding, ATVs and I’m probably missing some activities!

One of my favorite parts of this trip was all the wildlife we saw! Roaming Moose (a swimming one too), free range cattle, fox, a bald eagle family with a little baby, tons of birds (white pelicans!), funky caterpillars, chipmunks, fish were jumping like crazy!, and mule deer.

Eric and I spent our last night perfecting our S’mores roasting technique and making future plans to come back!

 

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The Living Room Hike

The Living Room Trail

 

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Attempt 2 was a success Memorial Day Weekend!

If you’re ever visiting Salt Lake and Google “Salt Lake Hikes” it is very likely that this one will pop up. This trail is very common and the view is definitely worth it. The Living Room Hike will turn out to be a bit challenging if you aren’t from the area or used to Utah’s thin air. Our Florida lungs are still adjusting to the elevation change in general, let alone the dramatic change on this one.

The trail is highly trafficked especially in the early spring because everyone is just itching to get outside after the snow has melted. Everything is green and blooming it is truly beautiful. It isn’t marked and there are a lot of makeshift or cut throughs that people have created to get to the top. Make sure you have the All Trails App to see the actual GPS trail. You can certainly follow the crowds because there are several ways to get to the top.

Make sure to bring your hiking books and some snacks because there are a ton of rocks and steep inclinations. Snacks to enjoy the view at the top! The elevation change alone on this hike is 967 feet in less than 3 miles. This puts you 6,005 feet above sea level. That just gives me chills. Once you get to the top and pop a squat on the “rock couches” (seems like an oxymoron) you’ll want to enjoy your snacks while taking in the view. The reason this hike is called “The Living Room” is because the rocks at the top are arranged in ways that portray couches and love seats, essentially a living room and your t.v. is the City of Salt Lake.

I loved this trail because you literally could see everything in the city and all the major mountain ranges. There were a lot of people and dogs (on and off leash) and people of all ages.

To recap, don’t forget the following:

  • hiking boots and or spikes if it is winter seasons
  • sunscreen
  • hat
  • snacks and water
  • All Trails App to stay on track

Trilogy Part 2: Things You Didn’t Know You Needed To Know

If only there were a pamphlet to life’s big changes, I mean how helpful would that be? I’m going to share with you some pointers and must have items before you make that overwhelming cross-country move.  This is specific to our move to Utah, but also things to consider when you move anywhere!

  1. Where is the nearest liquor store and what are their hours? Hey, Welcome to Utah. Grocery stores don’t sell any beer or wine over 4% AC. So you’ll need to find you a liquor store so you can go get you that bottle of wine in order to be all in for Monday Night Bachelor/ette. Know the state laws on recreational things like this or prepare to be out of luck.
  2. What are the appropriate clothes for the drastically different weather?  Some good boots (I got L.L Bean Boots for every day wear and then my Merrell hiking waterproof boots), wool under layers (LAPSA Wool is pricey, but so worth it), an insulated jacket or parka, and LAYERS! Last week I wore ski pants to Wal-Mart and there were locals wearing shorts…I must have looked crazy. I tell just about everyone I encounter, “I’m from Florida.”
  3. Does your car need an emissions test? Do your animals need to be registered? Where do you get your state driver’s license…I had to take a driving test to get my Utah License. I was terrified I would fail and not be able to drive the streets of Salt Lake City. (If you’re wondering, yes I passed) FYI if your married and you’re going to get a new state license do not forget your marriage license! I did and I had to go home after waiting in that typical DMV line only to start over. UGH!
  4. As soon as you get to where you’re going locate the nearest hospital, emergency room and pharmacy. These types of things often get looked over, but the last thing you’ll want is to be in a situation and not know whether or not to turn left or right at the intersection in an emergency.
  5. If you are moving from humid weather to dry weather make sure you’re stocked on lotion and lots of it and also a humidifier! I overlooked the humidifier, but got one within 2 days of being here. Declan’s soft baby skin was so incredibly dry, we were lathering him up several times a day and finally we found some Baby Bum that worked wonders for him.
  6. We moved in the thick of winter, if you’re in the same situation make sure you have a snow shovel AND snow scraper BEFORE you get there and are snowed in. hehe.
  7. Social media is such a huge part of our lives now a days, I found out a lot about the area we moved to by following the local news, police and sheriff, and fire departments, as well as a our neighborhood community Facebook page.
  8. Sunglasses. This may sound silly to some, but the snow reflects the sun so intensely that driving anywhere was blinding.

What were some obstacles you encountered when moving? How did you pull through and what did you learn?

Yes, Our Front Door Is Green

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The first month of being “Utahians” has been what has seemed a really long vacation. I’m sure that will subside now that we’re all finally in a routine.

Declan is now 5 months old and while I never in a million years planned on being home for 5 months with him, I am incredibly grateful for those 5 months. Needless to say, he is definitely a Momma’s Boy and basically my favorite little human.

When Eric and I came out to look for our home, we wanted our new house to have zero work we had to do to it to make it a home. We landed ourselves an outstanding, personable relator that reminded us of our forever-favorite realtor in Florida and we hit it off right away. We flew out in December and looked at 8 homes. We looked at some amazing homes but nothing was really feeling like “home” or “move in ready”. In fact everything that we looked at required some type of work or renovation. With a baby and new job, we just didn’t want that to be a burden.  We were in town for one more day and our Utah relator called us late that night and said she found a house that was just put back on the market the day prior and we had to go look at it.

We were a little hopeless by this point but little did we know we were about to walk into our dream home away from home. It could have been the charm, the cinnamon rolls that the owners left out for us, or the immense about of love this little family had displayed on the walls, but we left knowing that there was something special about this house!

We were sitting on our plane to fly back to Florida and our forever-favorite realtor from home called us. An offer was put in on our home in town, full asking price no ifs ands or buts. We just knew, it was meant to be. Moving across the country is definitely difficult especially when you plan to purchase property. We had to align closing dates, contingency plans and all the fun stuff that goes with it.  It is in fact nerve wracking.  All I can say is have faith that things will work out and whatever obstacles pop up, take them in stride and be prepared to walk away. I’d say that we weren’t fully relaxed about it until we closed on our house in Florida.

Fast forward two months of inspections, appraisals, and packing and unpacking, we’ve been absolutely loving Utah.  I don’t think we will ever run out of things to do.  Being here makes me more excited for when Declan is tad older and ready to explore with us.


But for now, I wanted to share all the “touristy” things we’ve done since being here…so when you come visit you know exactly how you want to spend your time. Mind you- its obviously been really cold here, so outdoor activity has been limited and has me ITCHING!

 

  1. Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper, Utah is an absolute must. No shame, we’ve been twice. Monday nights are family night and you get $5 off entrance fee. I’ve never been to an aquarium with better exhibits. It’s interactive and they replicate the animals’ natural environment. Even though Declan is still little, he loved tracking the fish, sharks, and jellyfish! It was really amazing to watch. 

  2. Grab brunch at Eva’s bakery to satisfy every sweet tooth you’ve ever had. I’m not a fan any other French toast, not even if its smothered in tart fruit and filling. But Eva’s has me hooked on their stuffed French toast; it’s to die forrrrrr.Their chocolate coffee is made in house and it is every ounce of deliciousness.IMG_1274
  3. Antelope Island is a place that I will absolutely be visiting again soon once it warms up. But if you’ve got a little one like us, this state park has paved roads that lead to their trails which made it nice because we could still explore and stay warm and get this…there are approachable herds of bison and antelope. My brother got up close and personal when he was visiting. 

  4. Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum is wonderful. There is a place for every age group 0-12. I say 12 because I think any 13 year old may feel a little too cool for this place. So many creative ideas to explore and they even do birthday parties. I didn’t get any pictures because we were so busy.
  5. Big Cottonwood Canyon Drive was breathtaking. We drove up to the top of the mountain to the ski lodge.  While there are plenty of trails to pull off and hike, we just drove because it was just too cold out for Declan.  We saw a baby moose, spots for sledding and tubing, hiking, and of course 2 ski lodges. I’ve never seen so much snow in my life and I can only imagine what it looks like in the fall. 

  6. The Morman Temple was amazing the second time around too. The architecture is unbelievable and the Temple really peeks an outsiders curiosity. This is a must see because after all it is the center of what Salt Lake City stands for.  There are several buildings that are open to tourists that give a history breakdown not only of the Morman Religion, but Jesus Christ too.IMG_2529
  7. Easton Salt Lake Archery Center is a must see! The director is so kind and welcoming and the staff and coaches are super friendly and helpful. They have a state of the art facility that attracts Olympians and archers from all over the world. There are classes and programs for all ages. If you leave there and are feeling the itch for taking up archery they offer private lessons too.  Lastly, they offer cosmic archery. I’ve not tried it yet, but definitely plan to when the time is right.

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Even though we’ve been staying busy that doesn’t mean there’s been rough days away from home. We miss everyone a lot especially our friends and family. I can’t just “swing by mom and dads,” we definitely miss Sunday Dinners, and I don’t run into familiar faces at the grocery store. Eric and I wonder a lot if Declan will attend the University of Florida or Utah and is he considered a Utah native or Florida native? Will he love the beach as much as us or is he a destined snowboarder? These are serious questions we talk about after putting this little guy down to bed. Day to day we open that green door (because of my Amazon packages…hahah) and love wondering what opportunity the day has in store for us here in Salt Lake City, Utah while patiently waiting for warmer weather to get out on the trails in less layers!

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