<![CDATA[Happy Trails hiking - Home]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:40:28 -0600Weebly<![CDATA[Crater Lake National Park - Our First Visit]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 21:58:18 GMThttp://happytrailshiking.com/home/crater-lake-national-park-our-first-visit
The clearest, most blue body of water we have ever seen!  Crater Lake National Park is an amazing sight to behold.  In July of 2016, we spent an evening and a day in and on Crater Lake.  
We arrived in the park through the West Entrance in the afternoon and visited the rim village before  enjoying a light supper on the back porch of the lodge. It was a great way to spend an evening!
The next morning, we had tickets for a boat tour on Crater Lake and a Wizard Island Tour. For ticket information, you can click here.  The drive to meet the boat was stunning that morning!  The lake was so calm!  It was like a mirror.  The boat tour was a fantastic way to view the Lake and formations on the lake.  It was a ranger-guided tour, so we could ask questions and get information that we wouldn't necessarily get. Hiking to the top of Wizard Island for lunch  was a plus too.
After our boat tour and hike back up from Cleatwood Cove, we drove the rim drive and stopped at pullouts to see if we could identify the areas that were pointed out from the boat.  What a difference that perspective was?!  See the video of our day below.
Our hike to Wizard Island video is here.  It was one of our first videos ever created. (So fun to look back.)
Our visit to Crater Lake National Park was a highlight of our trip.  It is certainly a place we will return.  Until next time, keep on trekking!
<![CDATA[Grand Canyon Sunrise - Point Imperial]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 23:31:26 GMThttp://happytrailshiking.com/home/grand-canyon-sunrise-point-imperial
Point Imperial is an elevation of 8,803 feet on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Since we were staying in the Grand Canyon Lodge, we had to see as many sunrises as we could while we were there. Point Imperial was on the list for day 2 of our stay.  There were 5 other people at this popular spot when we arrived.  To say it was stunning would be a gross understatement. There is not much that will render Kay speechless, but this sunrise did it. On our 12-day vacation, this day was one that we really relaxed and enjoyed the day.  The sunrise really set the stage for that.
Please enjoy what we saw.  We hope it will encourage you to get out to see it too.  
Until next time, keep on trekking! 
<![CDATA[New Trails at Don Robinson State Park]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 14:45:44 GMThttp://happytrailshiking.com/home/new-trails-at-don-robinson-state-park
Don Robinson State Park in Jefferson County Missouri is calling to be explored!  Two named trails with many side trails make for a great day of exploring bluffs and canyons. 
One of Missouri's newer State Parks, Don Robinson State Park "offers visitors the chance to experience and explore this amazing landscape that is not far from St Louis but still a world away." (State Park Web Site
The house on the property looks as if it is being restored for future use.  The picnic area and trails are new and ready for use and exploration. 
We enjoyed our several hours at the park and look forward to visiting again to see the park in a different season. Please take a moment to look into our trip vlog blog.  Until next time, keep on trekking!
<![CDATA[Lake Mead National Recreation Area & Hoover Dam]]>Tue, 12 Sep 2017 18:57:15 GMThttp://happytrailshiking.com/home/lake-mead-national-recreation-area-hoover-dam
It seems that every time we fly into Las Vegas, we find something new to see or do in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Since 2011, we have toured the inside of Hoover Dam and walked on the top.  We have driven the Scenic Drive to the North on the West side of Lake Mead, taken a scenic cruise on Lake Mead above the Dam, and hiked the Historic Railroad Trail. Most recently, we took a history boat tour at the mouth of Black Canyon on the Colorado River just below the Dam and ventured South on Highway 95 to Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave.
Visiting Lake Mead is always an adventure with new things to see and discover, even if you don't spend the whole day on the water.      
We enjoyed each of the parts of Lake Mead Recreation Area that we have seen.  We have experienced the "dry" heat and wind of the area and learned lessons while hiking there.  We are excited to see more of this public land the next time we head out West. Please take a moment to see our adventure int he video below.  Until next time, keep on trekking!
<![CDATA[Bryce Canyon National Park - a look back at our first visit]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 14:25:11 GMThttp://happytrailshiking.com/home/bryce-canyon-national-park-a-look-back-at-our-first-visit
After visiting Zion in 2013, we knew that we had to make a trip back to Utah to take in more of the scenery.  We made Bryce Canyon National Park the next park on our list. 
The park has an interesting history.  History of Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is a small national park in southwestern Utah. Named after the Mormon Pioneer Ebenezer Bryce, Bryce Canyon became a national park in 1928.
Bryce is famous for its worldly unique geology, consisting of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes including slot canyons, windows, fins, and spires called "hoodoos." Tinted with colors too numerous and subtle to name, these whimsically arranged rocks create a wondrous landscape of mazes, offering some of the most exciting and memorable walks and hikes imaginable. (Information from the National Park website.)

Weather in Bryce Canyon National Park -  
Due of its high elevation (8,000-9,000 ft) climate, weather at Bryce Canyon through autumn, winter, and spring can be highly variable. Snowstorms in October are not unusual, yet there are also many sunny and pleasant autumn days during the month. From October to May temperatures fall below freezing nearly every night. The park typically experiences its coldest and snowiest periods from December through February. Spring storms in March and April can still produce heavy snowfall that may impact travel in the region. (Information from the National Park website)  
We visited in July, during their "monsoon season".  These weather patterns made for some great rainbows over the amphitheater.

One of our main goals was to see sunrise from Sunrise Point in the park.  We started our first full day in the National Park with this one. 
After sunrise, we decided to try to beat the crowds on the most popular trails. We walked from Sunrise Point over to Sunset Point to hit the Navajo Loop before breakfast.  It is a great hike to get a first taste of What Bryce Canyon has to offer.  
After that quick hike, Breakfast was in order!  We were well fed at the lodge restaurant and ready for our next adventure for the day.  The Fairyland Loop had been suggested for us as a great way to get away from the crowds and really get into the park.  Boy, were they right!  I hiked through my first thunderstorm (and hail) and saw some of the most beautiful scenery!  We did feel like we had it all to ourselves.  See that hike below. 
As with all National Park we visit for a few days, we never manage to see everything we want to see.  Bryce Canyon is certainly one we will return to again.  We hope you will plan to take a trip to Bryce and tell us about your experience.  Until next time, keep of trekking!
<![CDATA[Meramec State Park - Park Tour]]>Sat, 09 Sep 2017 13:23:19 GMThttp://happytrailshiking.com/home/meramec-state-park-park-tour
History and amenities of Meramec State Park
As early as 1926, land was being purchased to create what is now Meramec State Park.
In 1933, the craftsmen of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began constructing trails, picnic shelters and other facilities at the park. Nine years of CCC work left Meramec State Park with a collection of comfortable facilities that blend into the rugged landscape with their rustic design.
The Meramec River runs for 13 miles through this 461-acre park in South-Central Missouri.  The park features, bluffs, glades, sinkholes, springs, and over 40 caves.  The most popular cave, is Fisher Cave. Naturalists offer tours of Fisher Cave on a seasonal basis.
(All above information taken from the State Park website.)
Our Visit
We have visited Meramec State Park numerous times over the last 20 years living in Missouri.  This most recent visit was over Labor Day weekend.  During this visit, we realized that we have hiked all the trails, so we decided to present a "Park Tour" so we could show all the park has to offer.  
We were camping this visit and had the time to really cover the developed parts of the park.  one weekend is not enough time to "do it all".  
Our first stop was the Visitor Center where we viewed all of the exhibits.  

The exhibits in the Visitor Center are great and the staff is very helpful!  But we go to the State Parks to be outside.  In the past we have hiked.  Our favorite hike is The Wilderness Trail.  Please take a minute to look at one of our first channel videos from this beautiful trail!
Over the years, we have discovered SO much more to do than hike at Meramec.  We have camped, picnicked, stayed in the motel, played in the river, and explored many trails and natural areas.  There is just so much to do! 
Take a look at  our most recent tour to find out how you want to spend your time in Meramec State Park!  Until next time, keep on trekking!
<![CDATA[Exploring the North Rim of Grand Canyon NP]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 12:13:26 GMThttp://happytrailshiking.com/home/exploring-the-north-rim-of-grand-canyon-np
Statistics of the North Rim of Grand Canyon NP
North Rim 8,000 feet/ 2400m
Average Rim to Rim distance 10 miles/ 16km
Grand Canyon; a twisting, 1 mile deep, 277 mile long gorge formed over millions of years by the geologic forces and erosion by the Colorado River.
North Rim summer high temperatures are typically cooler than the South Rim due to increased elevation (8000 feet/2440 m), with highs typically ranging in the 70s (21-26°C). Overnight lows can still drop near to below freezing occasionally on the North Rim, although typically low temperatures range from the 40s and 50s
More specific information on weather for the North Rim can be found by clicking here: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/weather-condition.htm#CP_JUMP_1955873
(all above information from the National Park web site.)
Our Visit
We visited in early July at the start of monsoon season.  This was our second trip to the North Rim, so we had some ideas of what we wanted to see and do.  (We still didn't get to do everything we wanted to for lack of time.)
When we arrived on a Sunday afternoon, it was cloudy, but not raining.  By the time we checked into our room, the "bottom had dropped out" and it was POURING rain.  The smell and sounds of the rain in the pines was perfect!  Once the quick shower was over we headed to the Grand Canyon Lodge main building to scope out a plan for dinner. (Side note:  none of the rooms are attached to the main building.  All are cabins or motel style rooms a short walk from the main building.)  It rained some more that evening, but we were able to sit on the patio of the lodge and enjoy some pizza and beer.  The sunset was nice that evening too, but mostly cloudy. 
The next morning we were up early for sunrise at Bright Angel Point.  This quarter-mile hike was a perfect warm-up for the day. To see that hike, click here.
After that wonderful show from the canyon, we sat down for breakfast at the lodge before packing up for our big hike of the trip, Widforss Point.  This 10-mile trail showed the best of the North Rim. We hiked through Ponderosa Pine forest with vast views of the canyon. Widforss Point was the perfect lunch spot and we saw a California Condor flying across the canyon.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  Check here for that flight: 
After our hike, we got cleaned up and headed back to the lodge for our dinner reservations in the dining room and more patio sitting for sunset. 
The next morning we headed out for sunrise at Point Imperial and exploring Cape Royal Road.  There we found Roosevelt Point, Angel's Window, Cape Royal, and Cliff Spring Trail.
Check out our whole trip by clicking below.  You can hear the rain and see the motion of the clouds as well as walk out on Angel's Window with me.  We hope you enjoy our adventure and will be able to plan your own.  Until next time, keep on trekking!
<![CDATA[Revisit to Zion NP - Kolob Canyons]]>Fri, 25 Aug 2017 00:12:38 GMThttp://happytrailshiking.com/home/revisit-to-zion-np-kolob-canyonsWe hiked here in July of 2014.  Wow! That felt like ages ago!  We are certainly different people since that visit!  We had a great time then! But is was fun to see it with fresh eyes!
On our first visit to Kolob Canyons in Zion National Park, We drove all the way to end of the scenic drive and then came back to hike Taylor Creek Trail to see the double Arch Alcove.
That trek was a great introduction to Kolob Canyons, but we felt we should come back for a second look.  We were Staying in Las Vegas and had made a day trip up to Cedar Breaks National Monument north of Kolob Canyons on I-15 and decided that we should stop to see what we missed. 
We stopped by the visitor's center and then took off for our driving tour of the park. Once we got to the end of the road, we decided that we could handle the 1-mile hike on Timber Creek Trail.  The mountains were awe inspiring and we enjoyed our time on the trail.  Click below to see our adventurer!  Thanks for reading/watching!  Keep on trekking! 
<![CDATA[Hawn State Park - Hiker's Paradise in Missouri]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 23:48:02 GMThttp://happytrailshiking.com/home/hawn-state-park-hiking-and-campingWe always want to take longer trails, but drive time and daylight have usually been what have thwarted our efforts.  This led us to get back into camping!  Our camping "reboot" started at Hawn State Park to hike the whole Whispering Pine Trail.  It is 10 miles and has 2 loops.  Until now, we have only managed the North Loop.
Since we camped the night before, we had plenty of time to hike all of the trail and explore a little more before sundown.  We got a pretty early start after a good breakfast including bacon.  I wanted to do the trail backwards of the suggested counter-clockwise direction.  It makes me feel that we avoid some of the crowds at the beginning of the trails and provides a different view of the trail.
Even though we left early, we didn't see any animals other than a turtle on the trail.  That's not too surprising, Whispering Pine Trail and Pickle Creek are very popular trails.  
We did manage to trek both loops of Whispering Pine Trail.  The caves and creek at beautiful on the South Loop and the solitude was perfect.  We probably saw less than a dozen people all day. 
The Whispering Pine Trail is a great trial and we highly recommend it. We added the Pickle Creek Trail to the end so we could walk along the creek at the end of our day.  it was lovely!  Please enjoy the video of our trek.  
After we hike 11 miles, we deserve cookies!  SO we made some over the campfire that night.  Please check out how we made them in our Dutch Oven.  (You should probably eat cookies while/after watching.) Until next time, keep on trekking! 
<![CDATA[Sunrise Hike at Bright Angel Point]]>Sat, 19 Aug 2017 23:32:28 GMThttp://happytrailshiking.com/home/sunrise-hike-at-bright-angel-pointIf we go to bed early enough, 4:00 in the morning is not an issue.  If we have amazing sights to see, a hike at 4:30 is easy!  Both of those factors aligned on our trip to Grand Canyon National Park on the North Rim last July.  Our friends happened to be at the Grand Canyon Lodge at the same time we were and wanted to join us for a sunrise hike and breakfast.  We are so glad they did!  **Special thanks to John, Donna, Joe, and Sue for hiking with us!  
I can't say that a sunrise in a National Park is boring, but the clouds on this morning made the sky spectacular! 
So, Not only was the Canyon stellar, but the sky made the experience awesome!  As we always say, pictures and video can't do it justice.  We still try.  Please enjoy our hike to amazing views!  Until next time, keep on trekking!