Posted in Places We Visit, Utah Corner

Our Visit to Hardware Ranch to See the Elk

Last Saturday we visited Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area, located in northern Utah up Blacksmith Fork Canyon. It’s the tail end of elk season there and this has been on my bucket list since December.


This is the view of the meadow from the parking lot. The weather was mild which was nice, and as you can see, there is very little snow here this winter.


And this is the view from the meadow, looking up to the visitor center on the hill there.


The visitor center has restrooms and is the only place where tickets can be purchased for the wagon rides through the elk. Tickets cost $5 for ages 9 and up, $3 per child ages 4-8 (3 and under is free).


The wagons seat quite a few guests and several were running on the day we visited. If there had been snow on the ground, it would have been a wagon-sleigh ride, which we’ve been on before. Our ride was approx. 40 minutes long with lengthy stops for Q&A and photo ops.


These are Rocky Mountain Elk and there are approx. 350 in the meadow this year. That is at least half of what there were last year and it’s always a guess as to how many will return each year because these elk come and go as they please. They will leave for the summer months, retreating back into the mountains.


We sat at the back of the wagon, on both sides. Either way, there are great views. (This is Zach, my eldest.)


You probably know that a male is called a bull, a female a cow, a baby a calf, and a yearling a spike. We were told that only 60% of calves make it to their first year.


♥ Have you ever visited an elk ranch? ♥

Posted in Utah Corner

Hiking Utah- Tony Grove Nature Trail


One of my favorite hikes in our area is the nature trail around Tony Grove Lake. Tony Grove is a beautiful location for hiking, camping, fishing, picnicking, canoeing and observing wild life.

That’s Marcus out there learning how to steer his pontoon.

Tony Grove is located up Logan Canyon. It’s approx. 19 miles in and there is a sign showing when to pull off the highway and turn onto the 7 mile paved road which leads straight to the parking lot next to the lake. Take this road nice and easy as there are often grazing cattle. There is a $6 fee for parking.

Wildflowers are abundant here.
The 1.2 mile loop around the lake is perfect for families.
Did I mention there are pretty wildflowers here?
My model is my lovely daughter, Marissa.


Although this is an easy hike, a good portion of it is a narrow dirt path with rocks jutting out. I recommend sturdy footwear and careful treading. Children will enjoy climbing on some of the large rocks alongside the path.


View of lake from the back side.
I spy with my little eye… a moose napping in the marsh grass!

This was the part where I was wishing I had brought along my other lens! But it was fun to just observe his ears swish!

Here you can see more of his surroundings.


This part of the hike was walking through the thick of the wildflowers and other plant life with a gorgeous rock wall on one side.



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♥ I hope you can see why I love this hike. I took these photos just yesterday in the late afternoon, early evening hours. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend. ♥


Posted in Utah Corner

Hiking Utah- Payson Lakes

Utah is a great state for hiking or nature paths as well as other outdoor activities. This summer my family and I took a drive up Nebo Loop Scenic Byway. It gets its name from Mount Nebo, which is the southern-most highest summit.


We stopped off at Big East Lake, one of Payson Lakes. There are three altogether. They are called Payson Lakes because Nebo Loop is also Payson Canyon. Yes, it has two names. Payson Canyon of course is named after the city of Payson.


There is a lovely paved walking path all around this lake. It’s perfect for families with young children and anyone wishing for a relaxing walk with scenic views.



Is this a good time to mention that there have been Bigfoot sightings in Payson Canyon?

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We didn’t see Bigfoot that day, but we did enjoy the views of the trees and the lake.


After leaving the lake, we were only able to enjoy a couple more stop offs on the loop to take in the views before it started pouring rain.


Next time we return to Nebo Loop (or Payson Canyon), we will have to check out Devil’s Kitchen.

♥ I can’t believe summer is nearly over! But for Marcus and I at least, our hiking days will still go on because we’ve formed a homeschool nature club which starts up next month. Also next month, my husband, Marcus, and I will enjoy a weekend together in Yellowstone National Park. Thanks for reading! ♥

Posted in Utah Corner

Celebrating Pioneer Day

In Utah we have a special holiday we celebrate every July 24th: Pioneer Day. It’s become a family tradition to spend the weekend of the 24th in Salt Lake City so we can enjoy the Days of ’47 events. It’s called the Days of ’47 because on July 24, 1847, Brigham Young arrived with the first Mormon pioneers to settle this valley. There had been much persecution from mobs, forcing the saints out of Nauvoo, Illinois.


On Friday evening we joined other Star Wars fans at a Bees game. It was a lot of fun and ended with a spectacular fireworks show to Star Wars theme music.

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We were there with my sister, her children and her boyfriend (who took this pic), my brother and his family, and my husband’s long-time friend who was visiting from Tulsa (he sat in-between us).


On Saturday afternoon the kids and I took a tour of the Beehive House. This was a home belonging to Brigham Young. It contains some original pieces, such as his writing desk, as well as period pieces of furniture.


On Saturday evening we enjoyed the Days of ’47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo at the Utah State Fair Park.

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The opening was exciting.

I have a new memory card for my DSLR camera and it’s supposed to take the best quality video.


Aren’t these horses gorgeous?

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The rodeo also ended in fireworks which I chose to simply enjoy.


On Sunday we spent the day driving up the Nebo Loop Scenic Byway, where we stopped to walk around Payson Lake. I may do a separate post about Nebo Loop and Payson Lake.


On Monday morning we watched the Days of ’47 parade.


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♥ I have several pioneer ancestors (through my mother’s side) who made the trek out west. I know a little about them from my family genealogy records. ♥ Does your state have a special holiday such as our Pioneer Day? I’d love to hear about it! ♥

Posted in Utah Corner

Hiking Utah- Snow Canyon


Snow Canyon State Park is located near St George, Utah. We visited there for the first time last month when we went to see Shrek the Musical and Newsies at Tuacahn. Snow Canyon and Tuacahn are next door neighbors.

If you’re ever in St George make sure you see a performance at Tuacahn Amphitheatre.
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These names were written in axel grease and date back to 1881. Of course, others have added their names because people like to do that for some reason!

The first trail we hiked was called Pioneer Names trail.

I am seldom in photos since I’m usually the photographer. So, here I am!
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My nephew, Erik, joined us for the day.

This trail is short and sweet, offering rock climbing for all ages, fun photo ops and great views.

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Can you spot my oldest son? He’s camouflaged!

Next, we visited a picnic site and I honestly don’t know what this area is called, but it had an awesome climbing rock.

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Snow Canyon was first discovered by Mormon pioneers while seeking for some of their wandering cattle. Snow Canyon was named for Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, early Mormon pioneer leaders.

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Once on top, there was a huge area to explore and spectacular views.

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Our final hike was Lava Flow trail. We only hiked a part of it, but what we saw was lovely. The contrast between the lava rock and the red rock is cool.

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This was my favorite hike. There are several other hikes in Snow Canyon which we didn’t get to because of our limited time, but this was a great preview visit!

♥ Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever visited Snow Canyon, let me know. I hope all my readers are having an enjoyable summer. ♥

Posted in Utah Corner

Hiking Utah- Wind Cave Trail

Wind Cave trail is one of Logan Canyon’s hiking trails. I would call this is a moderate hike. It is a steady incline, but most of the trail is smooth and easy to navigate. It is 2 miles to the summit.

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The entire trail is narrow so we hiked single-file. It’s an ideal trail for practicing good hiking etiquette. Here is what I teach my kids-


1. Be polite to other hikers. My favorite hikers are those who are friendly when crossing my path. They make eye-contact, smile, ask me how it’s going or just say hello. I do the same in return of course and this makes the world a sweeter place.

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2. Be courteous by sharing the path. In this case, other hikers were making their way down as we were making our way up, so one party would stop and step out of way (as much as possible), letting the other party pass by.

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3. Take in the views from the trail. Staying on the trail helps preserve this beautiful world.

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4.  Enjoy the wild flowers and pretty finds along the trail, but leave them alone. My daughter noticed these tiny white shells scattered throughout this trail.

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This is not etiquette, but it’s always smart to wear sunscreen and a hat. You might consider bug spray as well.


Here is the wind cave. It’s approximately 1,000 feet above the highway.


It did make me nervous watching some of the young children as it was a steep drop off at the edge which slopes downward. Even we were sliding a bit as we explored the inside.


I would not recommend letting kids do this, haha! This is my son, Zach. He has an awesome blog you should check out!


This was a delightful trail with fantastic views. ♥ Have you been hiking this summer? ♥

Posted in Photography Corner

Horse Pulls

Last week was our little town’s Black & White Days, so named for the Holstein cattle shows dating back to 1912. Apparently, this is the “longest running Holstein cattle show west of the Mississippi”.

Giving the horses some exercise before competition.
The sled itself weighs 2,000 lbs.

I didn’t take any photos of the Holstein. Tuesday-Friday held various cattle shows and other judging for 4-H and FFA. The kids and I checked things out in the middle of the week, catching a glimpse of a cattle show on our way to the youth council’s hamburger stand.

Adding 500 lb. barrels.
Bringing the horses around to hook them.

Saturday held a full day of events, beginning with a chuck wagon breakfast. There was a fun run, highland games, and several food vendors selling typical fair food- fry bread, corn dogs, deep fried Oreos, caramel corn, and elk burgers? The day wrapped up with a parade, followed by the most popular event, the horse pulls.


Bringing his horses to a stop, having made the pull.

Aren’t these draft horses beautiful? There were three competitions: light-weight, medium-weight and heavy-weight. There was usually eight competitors per competition.

My lovely daughters.
This team did not want to hook!

Competitors came from neighboring states and of course, our own town. In years past, we’ve had competitors from Canada as well.

♥ Have you ever watched a horse pull? Does your town have any annual celebrations? I’d love to hear about it! ♥