Graduation Day, Finally Here... WAAHOOO

Blogging has been mostly on the back burner for the past two years, while I navigated going back to college.

I heard this funny commercial the other day making fun of bloggers who apologize for forgetting to post, or not posting enough. The spoof was saying why are they apologizing because really no one cares if they skip a day or stop posting LOL.
I have to admit I've done that in the past, but I laughed more because it's so true, you go MIA for a while and let's be honest probably no one or so few care that there is no need to apologize or make excuses. I couldn't tell you what the commercial is promoting, but if you're a blogger and you see it, you're going to get a great laugh!

So to get to it, I did it, I am an official college graduate, FINALLY! It has been one of those things I regretted not finishing when I was younger and when I decided to do it as an adult everything just fell into place.
I was able to secure enough grant and scholarship money to completely 100% pay for all my college tuition for the past two years (YAY ME!)
I'll tell you this now, I was a skeptic, but if you're thinking of going back to school and you're worried about affording it. Just apply for everything you can, I did.
Yes, it took time to apply for all of them. But It paid off in the end, there is in fact money out there just waiting for some of us to apply for it and ask for it.

I now officially have majored in both Recreation and Sports Management as well as Digital Design.

What am I going to do with them? Well, that will soon be shared, but for now, I'm just loving the fact that I did it.
I pulled off 16-18 credits a semester so I could graduate in 2 years instead of 3. I did my thesis research and project last summer to make the best use of my time. Literally, everything went so perfectly, even the exact classes I needed were available right as I needed them. Honestly, things couldn't have been more perfect if the college had catered to my needs specifically.

I worked hard, so many late nights. Things at times I wondered how on earth I was going to be able to pull off. Learned new design programs in record time (for me) and was able to figure out every single thing I needed to in the time I needed to do it. Seriously, lucky right!

Additionally, I was able to get straight A's every semester and I made the Presidents List each semester as well. (Yes, I'm gloating but it's okay haha)
I was only a few points away from being a full Honors Graduate, but that is my own fault from many years ago when I did my Associates Degree and was basically in college to party and didn't really care too much about my grades. But to be honest, who cares, I graduated and since businesses now are starting to require copies of transcripts mine will look fabulous and that's all the matters.

Okay, I'll shut up now!
Time for me to move onto the next phase! Well and enjoy life a little haha

Hiking Badlands Loop in Death Valley National Park

One day a few weeks ago I woke up and realized I have never been to Death Valley National Park, and well living not horribly far from it, only a few hours drive. I literally decided to go, packed up and was out the door for a little Death Valley camping trip in under 30 minutes.  Because let's face it, this is how I roll LOL
The Badlands Loop hike was the first trail I came across a few hours later, and after needing a break to stretch my legs, this 3.5-mile loop seemed like the perfect place to do it!
Now the guide will tell you this is about 2.5-3 miles. But my GPS probably because I walked out to a few overlooks along the way, clocked me at 3.5. Since most people hike and enjoy a view, I decided to leave you with the 3.5 mi. as a guide for this hike.

This post is a little of a photo dump, but this place is gorgeous, and heck yes it is the Badlands LOL You'll find very little growth in this area, and the hike itself although is a little of a climb down into the Badlands bottom, and then, of course, a little climb back up when you're done, the rest of it is relatively flat (or very normal gentle up and downhills on the trail.) I'd go so far as to say this is a family-friendly hike.

While I say this is family friendly, there are a few sections where you are walking along edges, so obviously common sense needs to be applied when taking kids or people with a fear of heights.

You'll get stellar views of the slopes and rock formations. At some points, you can even get a view of furnace creek (190 feet below sea level) in the distance. 

When you hear of Death Valley, you should assume it can get hot! It does, the summers can easily reach 120 F degree's which means the rock and ground itself when touching it can get up to 200 F Degrees. So obviously, you MUST take WATER, regardless of which time of year you hike it!!!!!!!
I hiked this at the end of March, so the temperature highs were in the upper 80's to low 90's, in most ways absolutely perfect hiking temps for us desert lovers! If that's too hot for you, visit in the winter months when temps are closer to 60's and 70's.

I can't stress enough bring water, and lots of it!! You won't find as many fountains and water sources as you can in other areas and parks! Why? Well, this national park is huge, I believe 3.5 million acres and it takes a long time alone to drive around.
Don't just bring a small 12-16 oz. water bottle and assume because the hike is in the 3-mile range you'll be good. This is the desert after all, and while you won't feel like your sweating much, you are evaporating sweat at a very high rate, especially when you're moving!
FYI I In the desert, water is seeping out of you fast even if you're standing still!
The biggest mistake tourists make when visiting a desert is underestimating how much water to drink.
They Suggest: 
Bring 2 Liters water if hiking a shorter 3-4 mi. hike in the winter months.
Bring 1 Gallon water if hiking shorter 3-4 mi. hikes in the warmer times of year (April-Oct)
Have fun! This hike is beautiful, and I do say stay on the trails because you don't want to ruin the lands for others to enjoy. However, part of this hike you will be in a wash, so you can do a little exploring and have a wider place to trail in portions of this hike.

Hiking Snow Canyon Overlook Trail

Travel Tuesday posts have always been my favorite. Funny story about this hike, I have lived just down the road from this trail for nearly two years now, and I've always thought about taking but only just recently tried it out for the first time. Let me tell ya, I can't believe it took me this long, these views are amazing!

This hike, can be hard to locate, to find it you begin at the Red Canyon trailhead, which is located in Southern Utah, St. George area for those who may be nearby looking for something spectacular to see.

When should you do this hike? Well, personally I thought early morning was the best, as you can see the sun is at a perfect location lighting up those beautiful red and white canyons within Snow Canyon.
Snow Canyon is often referred to as a mini Zion National Park, for those who have hiked Angel's Landing or Observation Point within Zion and have experienced the stunning canyon view, you may notice some similarities and see why Snow Canyon and this viewpoint is occasionally referred in that way.

The Snow Canyon Overlook hike is about 5.2 Miles long round trip. It is a fairly easy climb up on a well-traveled trail. You begin at the Red Mountain trailhead and follow it about 2 miles, until you see the overlook fork in the trail, at that point, you will take the left fork another 1/2 mile to the overlook.

This trail is able to be accessed year round, however, if visiting in the summer or during the hotter months and warmer parts of the day, make sure you bring water.
Take your time, and enjoy the view, the panorama is definitely worth a little enjoyment once you arrive!

Have you been to Snow Canyon before?
If you are in the St. George, Utah area is this a hike you may enjoy?
FYI: If you're a runner, the St. George Marathon passes right by this trailhead!

It's been far too long!!!

It's been far too long, I never meant to let my blog go a bit. But with finishing up both my majors, I became overwhelmed and it basically just became too much screen time.
What's changed? Not much, but I told myself a few weeks ago that I wanted to get back into blogging if even only on a part-time basis for now. On the plus side, I have a few classes that are super long, I usually finish earlier so I am thinking I might be able to do a little blogging during that time!

Well, I'll give ya a quick, very quick recap on a few worthy of mentions that have gone on since my last post in October (yikes, so long ago.)

26.2 Finally
I finished my 40th marathon last fall. Running my first full marathon in October since my 5 years of building back from that work injury that kept me from being able to get back into them again for so long, it felt amazing and went pretty well. I kinda regret not ever doing a re-cap on it, but oh well.

Half Marathon
I had an opportunity to run the Laughlin Half Marathon in December so I took it, and while it was not anywhere near one of my best half's, it was still fun and a beautiful course. I also had the opportunity to take the trip with a blogger friend over at Enjoying the Course.

Graduation Approaching
I finished fall semester, and I can hardly believe it but this current semester is my last, I will officially be graduating in May with my double major. It's gone by so quickly, but taking 16-18 credits a semester has been paying off, and it's allowed me to move through the programs faster! Not sure if I've ever fully shared what I am majoring in, but I think I will now. Double majoring in both Recreation and Sport Management and Digital Design.
Now, you can see why blogging just has been nearly impossible to keep up!

Yay me!
I have been working hard, I am still pulling off straight A's and getting those 4.0's and making the President's List each semester. Who knew when I started this, I'd actually want to work extra super hard to get great grades. Especially since I still use words like "extra super hard" ha ha ha...

This semester I am in 5 classes. In order to graduate on time, I was left to take a few classes I wouldn't have normally ever wanted to take. One being Video editing, I literally know nothing about this and it's been a little difficult learning a brand new program along with everything else I am doing, but somehow I'll survive. On a side note, I absolutely hate having to do selfie type videos... just saying ha ha ha.

100 Hike Challenge
Of course, I have been fitting in a lot of hiking, I try very hard to go hiking at least twice a week. It helps that I live literally 5 minutes away from dozens of incredibly scenic trails, and within 40 minutes of National Parks and a few other beautiful areas. I've also taken on the 100 Hike challenge and am going to try to see if I can hit 100 hikes before the end of the year. I'm currently on track as of last week I was at 12 for the year. (Most the images on this post are from this years hiking adventures so far.)

No Winter This Year
Unlike the rest of the country, Mother nature skipped winter here in Utah, it's sad really because we desperately need the water. So we are all hoping for a wet next few months. But with temps in the 50-70 degree range over the past few months, its made it really easy to enjoy the outdoors. I think there were only 2 days this whole winter that was too cold and rainy to want to go out in, and I haven't worn really any of my sweaters. I've even taken up Tennis again and started playing a new sport (new to me) pickleball. It's been fun trying new things!

Lot's more has been going on, but instead of dwelling too much more on the past, I'll look forward to sharing with you the future. I don't know if it will happen, but I'm going to try to blog at least once a week. I also am looking forward to jumping in and seeing what all my previous blogger friends are up to. Sadly, I even let catching up on others blogs slip as well as my own. But sometimes, some things in life are more important than the blog ha ha...

So if you happen to see my post and have a minute leave me a comment and let me know some of the amazing things you've been up to that I have missed and you'd like to share!