Our Everyday Adventures

We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

How to be Happy

Review by:  Jake

Just like with the Snow Sculpture Championships, for centuries upon centuries people around the world have found ways to celebrate life and have found little secrets to make life a little easier and more enjoyable.  The brand new book “Happy” published by Lonely Planet explores these secrets to happiness from the cultures of the world.  Whether it be getting lost to find yourself from the traditional Walkabout celebrated by indigenous Australian cultures, or just getting outside to enjoy some sunny weather as is celebrated in Sweden’s Midsummers Festival; the book “Happy” is packed with stories and tips to brighten anyone’s outlook on life.  I recently had a chance to review a copy of “Happy” and found it…well… pleasant.  Super easy to read, and packed with stunning photos, the descriptions of each unique festival, and cultural event make me want to start making reservations to partake in the festivities myself; but that’s not the point of the book.  The point is simply to make the reader aware of all the little joys in life and to engage the reader to get off the couch and go do something, and of course be “Happy”.


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Moon Guide Books — UTAH

Post by:  Guest Author Pete S.

From time to time we like to have friends and local experts contribute their writings and experiences.  This piece is from our friend and local Utah expert Pete Stoughton.  If you are interested in contributing a guest article please let us know here.

Guest Contributor Background:
A transplant to Utah, Pete Stoughton has forever dreamed of being a modern day Indiana Jones.  Due to circumstances beyond his control, he has been relegated to exploring the riches within a more reasonable proximity of his regular day job. Whether it be running Ultra distances on God Forsaken trails, finding urban treasures or delving into the landscapes of the mind, Pete is an adventurer through and through. Pete currently lives in Salt Lake City, UT with his beautiful wife and little girl. During the few hours he is not at work as a school administrator or at home with his family, he can be found trail running, mtn. biking, skiing, or vacationing to find the next jewel. Each year, rather then investing in savings, retirement or other productive financial strategies, he and his family travel throughout Utah and the rest of the West, almost monthly.

Authors: Mike Matson
Cost: $17.95
Rating: GREAT!
Purchase it Here!

Mike Matson, along with Moon Travel Guides, have created a must own guide for any outdoor enthusiast living, or visiting Utah. Utah Camping provides exquisite details and information for anyone planning on traveling in an economical way and in planning and finding your camping locations. The book will adequately prepare you for the necessary challenges and opportunities at your site. The book is divided into practical geographic sections, which will assist you in making a reasonable approximation of campsite locations. Each site is thoroughly described including facilities, number of campsites, pertinent fees or required reservations, directions and contact information. It should be noted that Matt, as a writer, gives the reader a vibrant picture through his writing of each campsite and its notable features. In addition, each site is rated and a brief ‘at-a-glance’ icon bar is provided to determine quick assessing for needs. I especially appreciate this quick handy tool when scanning for options within a close proximity, such as the many campsites in the Moab area.
I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who regularly travels in Utah and plans on camping.

Pros: Almost everything about it!
Cons: The rating system is not perfect; Does not include primitive camping

Authors: W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell
Cost: $19.95
Rating: Good!
Purchase it Here!

How do you begin deciphering what to do on a vacation? On numerous occasions, we have seen, and been, in a Barnes and Nobles watching people of all ages perusing guidebook after guidebook from the travel sections just trying to find the perfect itinerary for their vacations.  Starry eyed and somewhat perplexing, these can be more exhausting then the vacation itself.  Moon Travel Guides provides a concise, and yet thorough, guidebook for anyone planning on traveling to the state of Utah.

As a resident of Utah, I tend to be very critical and cautious of guidebooks for the state. Many often do not venture beyond the top five or ten geographic hotspots in the state. Rarely, if ever do they deliver, as the book by Moon does, a helpful resource for those willing to venture beyond the typical destinations. While not certainly an off the beaten path resource, the book provides adequate information for those interested in going to places such as Boulder, Fremont Indian State Park or the Henry Mountains. On the other hand, the book is helpful in making travel itineraries quick and easy for those who want to hit the ‘main’ attractions, whether it be Salt Lake City, Arches NP, Moab or Zion NP.

One aspect you will especially appreciate about this guidebook is the excellent and personal writing of the authors. As you peruse the sections and places of interest, you begin to ask yourself if the authors actually visited every location in the book. Whether this is accurate or not, the guide book is an excellent resource for anyone planning a first, or maybe even second, trip to Utah.
I would certainly recommend this handbook for anyone needing an introductory synopsis of what Utah has to offer and how to experience it all.

Pros: Concise on the larger areas, yet thorough on the small towns and hidden gems; Excellently written; Great Introduction and itineraries; Wonderful Resources
Cons: Not Exhaustive; Lacking colorful and inviting pictures


100 Classic Hikes in Oregon

Post by:  Guest Author John R.

From time to time we like to have friends and local experts contribute their writings and experiences.  This piece is from our friend and local Oregon hiking expert John R.  If you are interested in contributing a guest article please let us know here.

Guest Contributor Background:

John R. has been hiking since he was a little lad.  His parents often took his brother and him to places where they could hike and explore.  Those trips definitely instilled a sense of adventure and let’s-see-what-is-around-the-next-corner.  Growing up in the San Francisco bay area, his favorite trip destination was  Yosemite.  John has lived and hiked in Oregon since 1966 and has actually hiked portions of at least 35 of the trails mentioned in 100 Classic Hikes in Oregon.  John now lives in the Willamette valley some 90 miles south of Portland.  From his house it is 45 miles to the coast and about 70 miles to the Cascades.  He lives right in the shadow of Marys Peak, a 4,027 foot mountain in the coast range which he considers to be his personal backyard adventure area. While John enjoys hiking and summer backpacking, his favorite way to travel is on skis. 

About the book (words by John R.):

My first impression of the second edition of 100 Classic Hikes in Oregon was very good.  Douglas Lorain is a renaissance man.  He is an adventurer, a skilled writer, historian, geologist, botanist, and is storyteller with as sense of humor as well.  The layout of the book is first class, starting with an overview of the trails covered in the book as well as their location in the state and how easy or difficult the trails are.  The descriptions of the trails cover all of the necessary information including driving directions, distance, hiking time, elevation gain, difficulty, and best time of the year to hike.  I especially appreciated the very nice topographic maps and elevation chart for each hike.   He has also included descriptions of special features of the hike, for example, pertinent geological features or specific flora in the area.  Some of his descriptions of the hordes of winged vampires (mosquitos) are hilarious.

This book is suited to all levels of hikers, from beginners to experienced backpackers.  Some hikes are less than two miles while other hikes would take weeks to complete.  His  intimate knowledge of the trails he has included in his pages shows that he has actually a very comprehensive knowledge of the   various hikes throughout the state.  The photos in the book, which he took, are drop dead gorgeous. 

 When I open this book, I feel like I am a kid again going through the toy section of the Sears catalogue, dreaming of the presents I would like for Christmas.  Douglas has me pouring over his book, dreaming of new adventures in Oregon’s backcountry.  I have put together aa short list of the new hikes I want to do.  I know I won’t be able to hike all of the trails in this book, but he has shared the essence of his journeys and through this book, I can experience the magnificent variety and beauty of hiking in Oregon.

 ~John R.

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