Simple Family Adventures » Rocky Mountain Lifestyle: Product Reviews: Photography

Mantua, Utah


Are you looking for a simple summer getaway for your family?

How does a secluded “Little Valley” nestled within the slopes of the majestic Wasatch / Cache National Forest sound to you?


If you are looking for a charming location to visit, look no further than Mantua, Utah.


Mantua has some of the best fishing, boating, waterskiing, camping, ATV trails, hiking, biking and spectacular scenery that Northern Utah has to offer.

Mantua is located in Box Elder County, in between Brigham City and Logan in the beautiful Sardine Canyon. To find this enchanting hide away you travel east on Highway 89 from Brigham City for five miles until you reach the town of Mantua.


My family prefers to leave the trailer at home and sleep in our tent when we camp in Mantua.

My favorite tent is the Copper Spur UL3 by Big Agnes which can be purchased at Gear 30.

I recommend staying at the Mount Haven RV Park (435-723-1292), located at 130 N Main Street, Mantua Utah 84324. The campground sites are fully grassed and shaded by beautiful overgrown trees. Campsite #9 is my favorite because it’s located within a few yards of the Mantua Reservoir beach. You can walk your canoe or paddle board to the reservoir with very little effort.  I set up a table full of delicious snacks and drinks so my campers tummies stay full while they play on the beach, ride bikes around the reservoir, play dominos, or read a book while relaxing at the campsite.


Camping is reasonably priced at $25 per night. Campers have access to restrooms, showers, water and power hookups.


Mantua Reservoir is a Northern Utah hot spot for paddle boarding, waterskiing, canoeing, and kayaking. Rent your outdoor equipment from our friends at the outdoor equipment store, Gear 30. Located at 1931 S. Washington Blvd, Ogden Utah 801-732-5870.


Don’t forget to pack your fishing pole! Mantua Reservoir is currently reporting that anglers are catching a good number of keeper bluegill. The current Utah State record bluegill was caught in Mantua (2 pounds 7 ounces). Mantua’s top water largemouth bass fishing is second to none throughout the spring, summer and fall. Throw any top water bass bait along the shoreline and just hang on to your pole. When fishing at Mantua Reservoir anglers can expect to catch bluegill, largemouth bass, yellow perch and rainbow trout. Visit for a current fishing report.


If you are looking for wildlife viewing, mountain biking and OHV opportunities, head south on Main Street until the road turns into Willard Peak Road. You will find an abundance of trails and ATV riding opportunities. The Willard Peak area is a great place to see deer, moose, and mountain goats.


If you are looking for spectacular views of the Wasatch Front, drive to the top of Willard Peak road, ending at Inspiration Point. I highly recommend parking at Inspiration Point and hiking to Willard Peak. The trail is 2.9 miles round trip. Make sure you pack your camera, binoculars and plenty of water. Hiking to Willard Peak will surely be a highlight of your summer getaway!


The town of Mantua has a charming history! Mantua was settled in the spring of 1863, when twelve Danish families were called by authorities of the L.D.S to settle in “Little Valley.”

The church authorities conceived the plan of raising flax to help with the supply of cloth. The climate of “Little Valley”, with its cool nights and short growing season, seemed to favor the growing of flax. The flax however, did not provide successful for the use as cloth as it was too course. It did make strong rope, and the finer fibers made a good thread.


In early spring of 1864, a rock fort was started but later abandoned due to the Indians becoming friendlier.


Little Valley, also called Flaxville, was renamed Mantua by President Lorenzo Snow because it reminded him of his birth place in Ohio.


There have been numerous mines in the area including some gold mines.


One of the oldest businesses in Mantua is the Fish Hatchery located on the Southeast side of Mantua. The State of Utah bought the hatchery in 1970 for the purpose of improving the Bear Lake Cutthroat Trout and is still in service today.


Make you don’t speed through Mantua, its widely considered to be a “Speed Trap” with rumors of one of the police officers ticketing his own mother for speeding. So slow down and enjoy this hidden gem of Northern Utah.


Happy Trails!

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Smith Mesa / Kolob Canyon / Springdale Utah


Heading to Southern Utah this summer?

Are you looking for something to do?

Look no further, I have a great day trip planned for you!


Basic Packing List:



Hydration packs for each person (make sure to pack extra water)


First Aid Kit



(I highly suggest purchasing a DSLR to capture the memories of all your fun adventures.

Here are a few of my favorites: Nikon D5100 Canon T5i or Canon 7D.)

Kids Cam!

Toilet paper  (you never know!)

Kids Backpack

(we recommend The Sprout Backpack by The North Face Click here for more info)

Clip board, paper, colored pencils, ect.

(Only pull out the ipad or DVD player in a worse case situation!)

Hiking boots or sneakers


Fishing Pole

Map or GPS


Day trip itinerary

From St. George, Utah, head East towards Hurricane.

You will drive through the town, La Verkin. I recommend stopping to get coffee at the charming, River Rock Roasting Company coffee shop!

Keep a look out for the coffee shop as you enter town, its on the left side of the road.



Take Highway 15 East of La Verkin for 5 miles. At mile post 17 a paved road to the left leads about 4 miles to the top of Hurricane Mesa / Smith Mesa. This is a fun adventurous road! Have your kids look out the window as you gain elevation and end up on top of the mesa!

Petrified Wood is exposed on the right side of the road on the top of the mesa. No shovel or digging is involved!

As you walk around you will spot petrified wood just laying on the ground and in the washes.

It’s a little challenging to spot at first, once you get the hang of it you will have a blast finding it!

Don’t collect rocks on private property or in Zions National Park.



I don’t know who had more fun, the kids or the adults!

I absolutely LOVE to find rocks! It reminds me of my childhood and is a good opportunity to teach your kids how slow down, pay attention to the details, and find beauty in the little moments.


Make sure to watch out for cactus!

After you are done collecting petrified wood, take some pictures and continue down the dirt road.

As you travel down the Smith Mesa road, keep an eye out for a large rock over hang.

This is where we recommend stopping for a snack or lunch.

*Try to spot the Indian Artwork but don’t touch. Have fun climbing on the rock!


When you are done climbing around like mountain goats, continue driving on the Smith Mesa dirt road.

John and I entertained our backseat passengers by pretending we were on a roller coaster. The girls put their arms up in the air and screamed as we went up and down the hills.

We all had a blast playing “i spy”.

The house below is located on the left side of the road and is a great “i spy” object!



Don’t expect your car to stay very clean on this road!

The more dirt, the better!


You will come to a sign that indicates you are entering Zions. This is a great spot to take a picture!



The Smith Mesa road ties into the Kolob Reservoir road shortly after this sign.

When you reach the paved road, turn left, heading North to Kolob Reservoir.

Bathrooms are located at hiking trail heads. (This is good to know when traveling with little kids)

Pay attention to the right side of the road while driving in Kolob Canyon, you are looking for a large cut in the hill side, full of gray Limestone.

When you see it, pull over and check out the various sea fossils in the rocks!

This is a great educational opportunity to teach your kids about the geology of the area!



Continue on to Kolob Reservoir.

Kolob Reservoir is great for kayaking, fishing, skipping rocks, and camping.

Private property surrounds the lake so all camping is done on the banks. (heaven!)




We had some extra excitement on our adventure!!!!

It all started when a husband didn’t listed to his wife……



Getting stuck in the mud was our favorite part of the trip!!!!

Every trip is likely to have some ups and downs, this is when you remember….

Happy Campers Only! Don’t panic! Have fun! Enjoy the moment! and Live out loud!!!


Onto your next adventure….

The scenery through Kolob Canyon is STUNNING!

Don’t forget to pull over and take some pictures!



Drive down the Kolob Reservoir road until you reach the main highway.

Turn Left and head into Springdale, the gateway to Zions National Park.




I’m sure all your adventuring has made you hungry, we recommend eating at Oscars when you arrive in Springdale.

John recommends the Beer. I recommend the chips, salsa and guacamole. Berklie recommends the corn dog. Very healthy, I know! (Click here for more info)



Wow! What a fun day!

We recommend spending the night in Springdale and traveling into the main part of Zions Park for more family adventures! Click here for more info about Zions Park 


Here are a few extra tips and recommendations while you exploring the area…

Keep an eye out for wild animals! 

Always have your camera ready, I keep mine on my lap at all times!





Get creative and take some pictures at night!



Do you like ghost towns?

While you are in the area, explore the Grafton Ghost town.




Drive to Rockville and then take a road that crosses the river from there. You would be going 2 miles and then you’ll reach a curve that takes you towards the South. Soon you will reach Smithsonian Butte Road, 9 miles long, highly scenic, when you reach Bridge Lane, you can go right and you are heading towards the ghost town.

The Grafton Cemetery

The Grafton Ghost Town Cemetery is one of the most important interest points that you will want to visit. There are many graves that range from 1860 to 1910. You can look at different inscriptions that show how life was back then. The best example is the case of the Berry Brothers, which were killed in 1866 by Indians.

The Actual Town

Grafton Ghost Town has quite a long history. It was basically established in the year 1859 so that people who grew cotton near the Virgin River had a place to live. Unfortunately, the early pioneers had to deal with numerous Indian attacks and constant flooding.



A special thanks to the Knight family for traveling with us!

Happy Trails



Honoring our fallen soldiers and loved ones. Have a safe and memorable holiday!




Happy Memorial Day everyone! (Flag located in Zions National Park)

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Lady bugs

My mom brought Berklie a big surprise today, LADYBUGS!

The three of us sat on the front porch and let the Ladybugs go free. We laughed as they crawled everywhere, I mean everywhere!

It was fun to observe the tiny red and black lady beetles as they made a new home in my flower garden.

Lady Bugs

There are about 5,000 different species of ladybugs in the world. These much loved critters are also known as lady beetles or ladybird beetles. They come in many different colors and patterns, but the most familiar in North America is the seven-spotted ladybug, with its shiny, red-and-black body.


  • One of the biggest benefits of having ladybugs in your garden is pest control. Aphids are one of a gardener’s worst enemies. Once they infest a plant, it can be difficult to get rid of them without using toxic pesticides. Eventually, the aphids will destroy the plant. Luckily, aphids are one of a ladybug’s favorite foods.

Attracting Ladybugs

  • While the presence of aphids may attract ladybugs to your garden, many ladybugs are needed for proper pest control. Creating an adequate ladybug habitat in your garden will also attract ladybugs, and can be achieved by planting many pollen and nectar-producing plants. Plants that attract ladybugs include coriander, dandelions, dill, sweet fennel and morning glory.

Purchasing Ladybugs

– Ladybugs can be purchased at local outdoor nurseries or online. Click here for Live Ladybugs for Sale


Frequently Asked Ladybug Questions:

Q: What do ladybugs eat?
A: Ladybugs are primarily used for natural aphid control but will also eat a variety of other garden pests such as scales or mites when aphids are not present. Aphids are soft bodied insects that suck the juices out of plants. If you have roses in your garden, you have seen aphids. Aphids also come in a variety of colors and not all ladybugs like all the “flavors” of aphids.


Q: What time of day should I release ladybugs into my yard or garden?

A: For best results, release ladybugs upon receiving of product, early in the morning or pre dusk when temperatures are cool and the sun is not too bright and hot.


Q: Should I release them all at one time?

A: Try spreading out releases over a few days, depending on infestation and quantity of ladybugs. If you have a small area with only a few plants, sprinkle fifty ladybugs out each day for three days. If you have a large area, releasing all the ladybugs at once in different areas will be sufficient.


Q: Should I wet my plants before I release ladybugs?

A: Lightly water the area before releasing ladybugs in order to refresh them. Ladybugs are attracted to water, meaning happy ladybugs stay and fight pests.


Q: Help! My ladybugs flew away after I released them! What did I do wrong?

A: It is important to provide ladybugs with suitable living conditions if you want their help. In order to reproduce, Ladybugs need a source of water and food(pests). If they do not find these in your area they will leave and may not return. Ladybugs are also attracted to nectar and pollen.  Use “Uncle Dave’s Flowering Blend” to create a habitat that will provide good bugs with the nectar and pollen they desire. Also using Ladybug lures are a good way to attract beneficial insects to your plants. If ladybugs do not have a comfortable environment to establish themselves in, then they will move on to greener pastures more suitable for them.


Q: Is it safe to put out ladybugs in my garden after spraying pesticides or organic sprays?

A: No, this is not recommended. The rule of thumb is that if a chemical or organic pesticide is meant to kill the bad bugs, then it will also kill the good bugs. This includes organic sprays. We recommend to our customers to wait at least one (1) month from the last time pesticides were used to release ladybugs. This will provide ample time for the residual pesticides or sprays to dissipate, creating a safe environment for your new Ladbybugs.


Q: Are ladybugs poisonous?
A: No. Ladybugs are not poisonous to humans. However, they can have toxic effects on some animals. Ladybugs have a foul odor which deters some predators from eating them and their bright colors also help as a deterrent. In nature, red and orange, are warning colors that indicate to another animal or insect that the potential “lunch item” might not be a good choice.


Q: Can I use ladybugs with other beneficial insects? Will they kill each other?

A: No, the best part about biological pest control is that beneficial insects do not target each other. So if you wanted to use Ladybugs together with another beneficial insect used for aphid control then they would work together to eradicate the pest without interfering with each other! It’s like having a second line of defense!


Happy Trails!

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Antelope Island State Park

Have you ever looked at Northern Utah from a tourist’s perspective? What would your itinerary look like? Where would you spend your precious time exploring? It’s no secret that Utah is home to unparalleled natural wonders and stunning beauty. People travel from all over the world to explore our very own backyard.


Northern Utah is located within a close proximity to the world’s best biking, climbing, hiking, off road adventure, mountain ski resorts, water sports and wildlife viewing opportunities. If you are looking for family adventure with white sandy beaches and salt water kayaking tours, look no further than Antelope Island State Park

Antelope Island is located at 4528 West 1700 South, Syracuse, Utah 84075. Summer hours are 7am – 9pm. The daily entrance fee is $9 per vehicle, overnight camping is also available. More information can be found at


Design your trip itinerary based upon your families’ interests and outdoor skill level.

Here’s an example of what my itinerary would look like:


Arrive at Antelope Island State Park; put away the ipads and electronic devices.

Host a family bird spotting contest as we travel across the 7.2 mile-long causeway. Extra points are awarded to anyone that spots an American White Pelican or Bald Eagle.


First stop, the island Visitor center. This is a great opportunity to pick up maps and get information on the islands unique biology, geology & history.  I like to incorporate education while we are exploring by putting together a pre/post trip quiz for my junior ranger. I ask questions such as:

1- Name two mammals that live on Antelope Island.

2- Why is the Great Salt Lake so salty?

3- Can you swim in the Great Salt Lake?

4- What do shorebirds come to Antelope Island to Eat?

5- Why is Antelope Island sand special?

Educating our children while we explore helps them gain confidence in the classroom.


Next destination, Fielding Garr Ranch –

Hours: May 15 to September 15 – 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., September 16 to May 14 – 9a.m. to 5 p.m. Watch for bison, mule deer, big horn sheep, pronghorn antelope and other types of wildlife while you are driving.  If you have junior rangers in the car, this is a great time to have them design post cards to send to grandma and grandpa. When you arrive at the ranch, get ready to explore and learn.


The ranch is one of the oldest working ranching operations in the Western United States. The ranch house is distinctive for two reasons; it is the oldest continually inhabited Anglo-built home in the state of Utah (from 1848 to 1981 when the island became a state park); and second, it is the oldest Anglo-built house in Utah still on its original foundation. The ranch is a great place to have a family picnic before you travel onto your next destination.

Next stop, Gonzo Boat Rentals (801-698-6288), rent a kayak or paddle boat to explore Utah’s inland sea. Gonzo Boat Rentals also offers sunset cruises and charter tours.

After your water adventure take a relaxing stroll on the white sand beach at Bridger Bay or hike on one of the many hiking trails varying in length and difficulty – consult the trail map for more information.

Antelope Island also offers cycling, horseback riding, guided bird tours, star gazing parties, and junior ranger programs. Check the Antelope Island events calendar for more information. Y

Your trip isn’t complete until you take a deep breath and relax as you watch the stunning sun set.

I hope you enjoy your trip! Don’t forget your camera!

Happy Trails!

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Snow Canyon State Park : Utah

Snow Canyon State Park is a “hidden gem” in Southern Utah!

Located 10 miles outside of St. George, in the town of Ivins, Snow Canyon is the perfect family friendly destination for hiking, exploring lava caves and playing in sand dunes!    Click here to get a Snow Canyon State Park brochure

Click here to get the Snow Canyon State Park Spring 2013 Newsletter

Snow Canyon State Park is a 7,400-acre scenic park quietly tucked amid lava flows and soaring sandstone cliffs in a strikingly colorful and fragile desert environment. Located in the 62,000 acre Red Cliffs Desert Reserve, established to protect the federally listed desert tortoise and its habitat, the park offers opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. Activities include hiking, nature studies, wildlife viewing, photography, camping, ranger talks and junior ranger programs. There are more than 18 miles of hiking trails, a three-mile paved walking/biking trail and over five miles of equestrian trails.

HIKING Distances are roundtrip.

Butterfly Trail – 2 miles. Moderate. Some steep slopes, steps and uneven surfaces. Winding along the west side of Petrified Dunes, this trail leads to West Canyon Overlook and lava tubes.

Cinder Cone Trail– 1.5 miles. Difficult. Steep slopes: loose uneven surfaces. Located 1 mile north of Snow Canyon Drive/State Route 18 junction. Hike among “lava clinkers” as you corkscrew 500 feet to the top of an extinct volcano where you can view a volcano crater and panoramic scenery.

Hidden Pinyon – 1.5 miles. Moderate. Rocky slopes and deep sand. Drop-offs. This self-guided nature trail highlights geological features and native plants of the park.

Jenny’s Canyon – One-half mile. Easy. Level with few slopes and steps. This great children’s trail leads to a short, sculpted slot canyon. Closed annually from March 15 to June 1

Johnson Canyon – 2 miles. Easy. Level with some rocky slopes and steps. Leads to a sheltered canyon of willow and cottonwood, winding through lava flows and red rock to an arch spanning 200 feet. Closed annually from March 15 to October 31

Petrified Dunes Trail – 1 mile. Moderate. Some steep slopes, uneven surfaces. This trail crosses massive Navajo sandstone outcrops and sand dunes frozen in time.

Pioneer Names – One-half mile. Easy. Fairly level with some steps and slopes. This crescent shaped trail passes pioneer names, written in axle grease, dating back to1881.

Three Ponds – 3.5 miles. Moderate. Some rocky slopes, and deep sand. Trail winds through sandy wash to mouth of a 400-foot canyon. Potholes eroded in sandstone catch seasonal rain, giving the trail its name.

Sand Dunes – One-half mile. Easy. Deep sand with some slopes. Trail leads to a large expanse of red sand serving as a giant sandbox and play area for children of all ages.

West Canyon Road – 8 miles. Easy. Gravel and sand surface. Fairly level. Trail follows a maintenance road winding past dry washes and towering cliffs to the head of present-day Snow Canyon.

Whiptail Trail – 6 miles. Easy. Level with some slopes. Accessible to physically challenged. Tucked along the canyon bottom, this paved trail is suitable for walking, jogging, and biking.

White Rocks Trail/Lava Flow Overlook & Trail 4 miles. Moderate. Some rocky slopes, uneven surfaces. Passing through lava flows, sparse juniper stands and breathtaking views of West Canyon, trail leads to a natural amphitheater set in white sandstone. Or reach the amphitheater on a 1-mile trail located one-half mile north of the Snow Canyon Drive/State Route 18 junction.

Park Hours: Year-Round – 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Holiday Closures: None Day Visits: $6 Per Vehicle (up to 8 people) $3 Per Vehicle with a Utah senior 62+ $4 Per Group of Pedestrians/Cyclists (up to 8 people) $24 Annual Snow Canyon Pedestrian/Cyclist Pass (up to 8 people) $75 Annual Pass is available at the park $35 Senior Adventure (annual) Pass

Overnight Camping: Main Campground: $16 (no hookups)

or $20 (water and electric hookups) Extra vehicle fees: $8 (no hookups) or $10 (hookups)

Group Overnight Camping: Cottontail Group Campground: $3 per person + refundable cleaning deposit at park (25 people min – 35 max – 10 vehicles max)

Quail Group Campground: $3 per person + refundable cleaning deposit at park (25 people min – 55 max – 20 vehicles max)

Directions to Park: Approximately 312 miles south of Salt Lake City. From I-15 Northbound: Take exit 6 (Bluff Street). Go north on Bluff Street to the intersection with Snow Canyon Parkway.

Turn left onto Snow Canyon Parkway and proceed approximately 3.5 miles and turn right onto Snow Canyon Drive. Follow this road to the south entrance of the park. From I-15 Southbound: Take exit 10 (Washington). Turn right off the ramp then an immediate left at the light. Follow this road for approximately 5 miles to the intersection with Bluff Street/ SR-18. Proceed through the light and continue on Snow Canyon Parkway for approximately 3.5 miles and turn right onto Snow Canyon Drive. Follow this road to the south entrance of the park. Nearest Town with Services: St. George is approximately eight miles southeast.

Snow Canyon State Park 1002 Snow Canyon Drive Ivins, UT 84738 435-628-2255 – main park number 801-322-3770 – camping reservations 800-322-3770 – toll-free camping reservations


Transported by wind more than 183 million years ago, tiny grains of quartzite sand covered much of what we now call Utah. These sand dunes, up to 2,500 feet thick, eventually were cemented into stone. Burnt orange to creamy white in color, Navajo sandstone, the predominant rock in the park, is what remains of the ancient desert sand sea. Over time, water has cut and shaped the sandstone to form canyons. Approximately 2.5 million years ago, and as recently as 20,000 years ago, nearby cinder cones erupted, causing lava to flow down these canyons, filling them with basalt. This redirected ancient waterways, eventually carving new canyons. Look up to see lava-capped ridges that were once canyon bottoms. Removal of rocks and minerals is prohibited.

Plants and Animals

Snow Canyon is home to a diversity of plant and wildlife species not occurring elsewhere in the state. Located at the intersection of the Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert and Colorado Plateau, the park averages 7.5 inches of rainfall a year. Vegetation includes desert adapted species such as creosote bush, narrow leaf yucca, sand sage, blackbrush, scrub oak and desert willow. If spring and fall conditions are right, wildflowers light up the park with a showy display of blooms. Wildlife watchers may see coyotes, kit foxes, quail, roadrunners, leopard lizards, gopher snakes and canyon tree frogs. Thirteen sensitive species protected by state and/or federal law are found within the park. They include peregrine falcons, desert tortoises and gila monsters. Plant and wildlife checklists are available at the park headquarters for a nominal fee. Removal of plants and wildlife is prohibited.

Park History

Created in 1958, Snow Canyon has a long history of human use. Anasazi Indians inhabited the region from A.D. 200 to 1250, utilizing the canyon for hunting and gathering. Paiute Indians used the canyon from A.D. 1200 to the mid-1800s. Mormon pioneers discovered Snow Canyon in the 1850’s while searching for lost cattle. Modern-day the canyon has been the site of Hollywood films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Electric Horseman, and Jeremiah Johnson. Originally called Dixie State Park, it was later renamed for Lorenzo and Erastus Snow, prominent pioneering Utah leaders. Opened to the public as a state park in 1962. Park Elevation:  3,100 feet

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Gracious May boots

I can’t get enough of these adorable boots from Gracious May.

Gracious May was founded by a mom, her sewing machine, some fabric, and a dream. (so inspiring!)

Check out Gracious and you will find more than just shoes, they sell clothing and accessories too! To make things even better, all products are handmade in the USA.

I adore handmade clothing, it has so much character and charm!!

Aren’t the boys shoes great?! Next time you need a baby shower gift, look no further than Gracious May!

Happy Trails!



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Winter Outdoor Activities with kids

Come on everyone, lets get out of hibernation and go have some fun!!!


More info / Locations : 

Utah Division of Wildlife – DWR


More info / Locations: 

Mountain Boy Sledworks 

Gorgoza park 


Brian Head Resort 

Soldier Hollow 


More Info / Locations: 

Outdoor Rinks

Outdoor ice skating rink at the base of Park City Mountain Resort 

Huntsville town park – ice rink

Indoor Ice Skating Rinks

Logan – George S. Eccles Ice Center  

Ogden – Weber County Ice Sheet 

Bountiful – South Davis Recreation Center

Salt Lake City – SLC Sports Complex

Kearns – Utah Olympic Oval 

West Valley – Acord Ice Center 

Park City – Park City Ice Arena 

Provo – Peaks Ice Arena 



 More info / Locations:

Show Shoe Utah

Ogden Nordic

Utah Outdoor Sports 

Info / Locations:

Logan – Rockhaus 

Ogden – Irock

Ogden – The Front Climbing Club

Ogden – Weber State University 

Orem – Hansen Mountaineering 

Park City – Black Diamond (Very kid friendly)

Provo – The Quarry 

Salt Lake City – The Front Climbing Club

Salt Lake City -The RockReation

Sandy – Momentum Climbing 

South Jordan – Black Diamond 




Info / Locations

Powder Mountain 


Know before you go! Check out the Utah Avalanche Center before heading into the backcountry.


Check back later this week information on

Train Rides

Heber Valley Railroad 



Weber State University Intermediate Back County Yurt Trip 

The Viking Yurt at Park City Mountain Resort

Yurts of Utah

Utah State University – students only




Beaver Mountain

Brain Head



Deer Valley

Eagle Point 

Park City Mountain 

Powder Mountain 





Wolf Mountain 

Happy Trails





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Rocky Mountain Lifestyle: Rifle Paper Co.

I adore beautiful artwork and small businesses so when I found Rifle Paper Company, I was in heaven!

The artwork is timeless, classy, and simple! (Less is always more!)

Rifle Paper Company products can be found at Anthropology but I recommend purchasing from their website (Click Here Rifle Paper Co.)




The Animal Alphabet chart is one of my favorite products by Rifle Paper Co. Berklie loves to identify all the animals on the chart . (The Aardvark  and squirrel are her favorite.) They also have amazing holiday cards, journals, note pads, recipe cards, calendars, ect.


Next time you are looking for the perfect gift, look no further than Rifle Paper Co.

Happy Trails

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Rocky Mountain Lifestyle: Valentines Day Cards

I adore Personalized Valentines Day cards! They are simple yet effective and your kids will love them!

Here’s how to do it:

* Find a location. (Remember less is always more)

*Let your kids dress themselves. (It makes the pictures more memorable)

*Grab your camera and shoot. (Have fun! Laugh! If you get stressed, take a time out!)

*Design your card. (I use photoshop but if you don’t have photoshop, I highly recommend the company Minted. They have great customer service, awesome designs, and high quality paper / ink.)




It really is that easy! Berklie and I had a blast creating her cards! It was simple, inexpensive, and fun. You don’t need a nice camera…. any camera will work.

Have fun and good luck!

Happy Trails!


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Paige S. - LOVE these!! So adorable!January 27, 2013 – 5:57 pm

KUTV 2 Fresh Living

Simple Family Adventures will be on KUTV 2 “Fresh Living”


Tune in Wednesday January 30th at 1pm as I talk about five winter activities for your family.

Happy Trails


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Debbie Mortensen - just happened to catch fresh living and saw your clip. That was tons of fun! My friend and i blog from our site and we were on that program in May when we launched the website. We also were on ksl 12’oclock news for blog of the week a couple weeks ago. That’s another one you should try to get on. It’s nice to see moms who go on these programs without having to bake or do crafts 😉
Good job!
DebbieJanuary 30, 2013 – 1:16 pm

Kamille - Thank you so much Debbie! I can’t wait to check out your blog! Thanks for your support!!!January 30, 2013 – 4:29 pm

Find your passion and build your life around it.

We all want our children to “follow their dreams” and “Do what they love for a living.”

The best way to teach our children is to lead by example.

I want my daughter to see me;

work hard, travel, continue learning, be happy, fall down & gracefully pick myself up, forgive, appreciate nature, laugh out loud, turn negative situations into a positive experience, love unconditionally, and follow my dreams!

I want Berklie to “wildly love her life” So, I have to wildly love mine!

I am extremely passionate about; family, dance, photography and the outdoors… When you build your life around your passion… everything is centered around what you love to do.

I love teaching my athletes about; respect, discipline, energy, intention, love and life.

Coaches have an incredible job… we get to teach more than just a sport! We inspire young athletes to build their future around their passion.

One of my favorite quotes is,

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

Make every day amazing! Create a charming life! Make a difference! 




Here is a daily “to do list” I put together for you.

*SMILE at everyone!

*Celebrate small successes.

*Surround yourself with like minded people.

*Recess time! Go play outside!

*Be perfectly imperfect!

*Less is always more! Savor 1 cup of coffee instead of devouring 12 cups.


*Write down three things you are grateful for.

*Keep an open heart and open mind.

*Be consistent.


*Give (time, money, knowledge)

*Be on time.

*Read (turn off the TV)


  • love everyone in your life
  • love everything in your house
  • love the food you eat
  • love what you do for a living
  • love your imperfections

We are so grateful for our readers! See you tomorrow!!

Happy trails friends!





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Three things never to talk about… Religion, Politics, & Parenting.

**Disclaimer, Parenting is a very touchy subject, but I’m going there today!**

I believe we leave this earth with two things…..

1- the love in our heart and 2-the knowledge in our brain.

So, we base our parenting off those two core principals.

Everything in life starts with love!  I can not count how many times per day John and I kiss and hug Berklie. If I had to guess, it would be at least 30 times, every single day!

John and I have very unconventional ideas when it comes to parenting, we kind of take the hippie approach, minus the sex & drugs, but we defiantly rock and roll!

Our parenting techniques are very care free, but extremely disciplined at the same time.

We spend countless hours in nature as a family. Berklie is always welcome to snuggle in our bed all night long. We don’t listen to what other people say. We aren’t a fan of vaccinations. We do believe in spanking, but only if its followed by a hug.

Berklie is not your typical 3 year old. She would rather go to Whole Foods than Mcdonalds. Her first solid food at 6 months was an avocado. She thinks vitamins are a treat. She started coloring at 10 months old…. sign language at 1 years old…. weekly dance classes; ballet tap, jazz and tumbling when she was 2…. and ice skating lessons a few months before she turned 3 years old.

She can play a harmonica like a pro and loves to slack-line when we go camping! Basically she is 3 years old going on 23!

The thought of putting her into preschool last fall made me sick, so we decided to do preschool at home.

Every day John or I set aside a few hours for Berklie’s preschool time.

Here’s an example of what we did today.

We started by playing with stamps then went on a “field trip” for lunch.

Berklie gets to choose the restaurant. I always let Berklie order by herself, I won’t do it for her. If she doesn’t order her own food using her best manners, she doesn’t eat and we leave. (yes, this has happened. It only took once and she hasn’t done it again.)

While we wait for our food her and I play the color/shape game, we look around and point out all the different colors and shapes around us. Today she counted and stacked all the coffee creamers for at least 5 minutes while I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and mormon muffin. Heaven!!!

I always ask the waitress to give Berklie the check when its time to pay, it makes her feel responsible.

Berklie and I count out the dollar bills and coins required to pay for our meal. When its time to go, I let her take the check and money up to the cashier to pay.

I get really weird looks when people see a 3 year old walking around with cash, but when they see her pay and have a conversation with the cashier, it puts a smile on their face.

After lunch we had art time with watercolors and crayons followed by nap time.

Berklie loves the one on one attention and I cherish the time we spend together.

I have to admit, some days I get frustrated or I don’t have time to do preschool with her, thats when my trusty side kick steps in! “Teacher daddy” educates Berklie about deer, elk, hunting, fishing, hockey and all the things daddies do best.

We are defiantly not against sending Berklie to public school! In fact, I work for Weber County School District.

This just works for us right now and feels right, so we are doing it and having a blast!!!


“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”

Happy trails!


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Rocky Mountain Lifestyle: Braids

Most women dread spending time outdoors because they don’t like the way they feel, just the thought of getting dirty makes them want to stay home.

This is when I apply the rule; If you look good, you feel good!

Basic beauty rules still apply when you are spending time outdoors.

Make sure you have a fantastic outdoor hairstyle, beautiful skin, and a great outdoor outfit.

You will look and feel great while you are breathing in fresh air and getting some exercise.

Don’t forget: Less is more and Keep it simple!

A few of my “go-to” hairstyles are braids and buns.

Check out my bun post here

I love a high ponytail with a fishtail or regular braid, its so simple and classy!                                                                       Lookbook




Men love spending time outdoors, they will love it even more if you are confident and feel great while hiking, biking, camping, skiing, golfing, watching a sunset, ect.

Happy trails!

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Rocky Mountain Lifestyle: Ice Fishing

This morning we went Ice fishing with Kim, Chris and Rudy.

When we arrived at Mantua lake it was -10 degrees!

The girls, and Rudy stayed toasty warm in our Frabill shelter, Aka “The Cabana.”

We spent priceless time together as a family, it was the perfect day!






Berklie loves ice fishing! This is her 2nd winter season going with us, she is an old pro.  Its a joy taking her because she is very well behaved for a 3 year old! We taught Berklie at a young age to stay away from the holes and to stay close to mom and dad, she does great!  We only take her on the lake when the ice is extremely thick, safety first!

Our #1 rule when going outdoors is “Happy Campers Only!”

The secret to a successful ice fishing trip with a toddler and a terrier is to be well prepared, have a positive attitude ,and invest in high quality outdoor gear! This was our first time fishing with our Frabill Shelter (thanks Chris!) it made the trip very enjoyable because we stayed warm and dry!

John always spoils me when we go fishing, he knows I’m obsessed with coffee so he packed his jetboil stove and made me a delicious hot cup of coffee while we were on the lake.  Ahhhhh heaven!


Happy Trails!

Photo Credit: Kamille Marshall Photography






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Rocky Mountain Lifestyle: Hair

Living an outdoor lifestyle doesn’t mean, you don’t believe in personal hygiene, it means you are confident with a simple hairstyle and minimal make up.

I find so much beauty and professionalism in simplicity!  Always remember, less is more.

Here are the instructions to my favorite top knot bun. Its simple and quick, giving you more time in your busy day for the things you love!

Step 1:

Dispense mousse into palms and apply to the lengths of damp hair. Roughly dry hair with a blow-dryer. For unruly hair try Sebastian Mousse Forte, $35, for long-lasting body.

Step 2:

Using an elastic, pull hair into a tight, high ponytail. The trick to the high pony is to tip your head upside down and secure on top of the crown.

Step 3:

Take small sections of the ponytail and backcomb hair using a fine-toothed comb (such as ghd Tail Comb, $12). After vigorously backcombing each section, spray with hairspray. Try Sebastian Re-Shaper, $31, for brush-able, humidity resistant locks.

Step 4:
Separate hair into two sections.

Step 5:
Knot two sections as you would tie shoelaces.


Step 6:
Rest the bulk of the bun at the front of the head and pin loose ends at the back. Secure tightly using bobby pins and lightly spray hair with hairspray.

The perfect top-knot. Give it a try!

Photographer: Bowen Arico

Inspiration found here


Happy Trails!

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Rocky Mountain Lifestyle: Braids » Simple Family Adventures - […] Check out my bun post here […]January 14, 2013 – 1:16 pm