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Hello, friends, family, Cache residents and visitors. One year ago —in August 2010— as a budding journalism student at Utah State University, I began to pursue jobs outside the world I came to know all too well. I’m talking about the world of working in restaurants. This was a world I lived in for over a decade after graduating from high school. My pursuit of something new landed me —as good fortune had it— a couple of internship-esque jobs as a writer. I am happy to say that this year I will be returning as a blogger for the Cache Valley Visitors Bureau.

Anybody who read my blog last year should remember: I originally set out to find as many of the fun, exciting and one-of-a-kind things there are to do here in Cache Valley, Utah, and write about them so others could share in my wonderment. The great thing about this place (one of them, anyway) is that I couldn’t possibly fit all of the great things to do into one four-month period. I am happy to say that I’ve been asked to come back and do it all again. Not only do I get a second opportunity to explore new ways of writing about things I like to do anyway —eat, go to shows, enjoy the outdoors and experience new things— but I also get to share these adventures with you, the reader.

Whether you are a Cache Valley native, or you are thinking about coming to visit for the first time, I can attest to the fact that in the short two-years that I’ve been here, there are limitless unique ways to enjoy our beautiful parcel of paradise here in northern Utah.

This year, I already have a long list of  possible topics to write about; plus I’m going to revisit a few of the things I did last year to get a better, more in-depth look. My goal is to express in the best way I can how blessed we are to be nestled here between the Wellsville and Bear River mountains, with great things to do outdoors and in. Just a couple of weeks ago I attended a retreat near Bear Lake as part of a training session for the newspaper I work for —The Utah Statesman. While I was there I was able to take in the calming beauty of the area, however, I was unable to truly enjoy my surroundings to the fullest extent. In the near future I plan to visit the lake again to kayak across it. I can guarantee after I do, readers will be able to find more details about the trip on this website.

Aside from planning a trip to Bear Lake, I also intend to investigate a few of the annual athletic events that take place here. One new event, inspired by a new filthy trend sweeping the nation, mucking up the faces of all who take part, is a 5K mud run that takes place Saturday, Sept. 3, in Wellsville, Utah (the southwestern border of Cache Valley). I hope to make it to the venue in time to talk to some of the participants and rake up some juicy dirt on what it is that motivates a person to trudge through mud alongside, possibly, thousands of other mud-lovin’ runners.

The event, officially called “Man vs. Mud” begins at 9 a.m. and is sponsored by several organizations, including the American West Heritage Center. Of course I will shovel up a whole bogful of more details while I’m there. This race has been receiving truckloads of hype and should promise to be a spectacle that nobody should miss. But if you do miss it, I’ll be there to get you the best version of a vicarious account of the magnificence and mayhem.  As always, maybe I’ll see you there. I’ll be the one trying not to get my camera muddy.

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The fall semester of 2010 has come to a close at Utah State University. I took my last final this morning, and as I walked through the door into the 10 degree weather, I breathed a sigh of relief. With a smile on my face – watching the vapor that vented from my mouth as I exhaled – I briskly walked to my car and left campus.

For a couple of months now, I have been anticipating a trip to Pennsylvania to join my family and old friends for Christmas and New Years. I moved to Utah almost five years ago. This is the first time since then that I’ll be spending the holidays with my loved ones. As I’ve prepared for this trip, I have thought about all of the great things I have done here in Cache Valley since I moved here not so long ago. I’ve seen several shows at the Ellen Eccles Theatre. I have enjoyed many hikes and nature walks. I have also begun to explore local eateries, as well as coffee shops and ice cream parlors. Autumn hosted several iconic, annual events that I believe help make Cache Valley what it is. All of these things I’ve done add to the unique signature of this beautiful northern Utah treasure.

The past couple of weeks of winterish weather have reminded me what it’s like here during this wonderful time of year. Leaving the house in the morning to see the sun glistening on the powdery snow makes for a wonderful way to wake up. More often than not as I  jaunt around town, doing the things I do, I catch myself with a grin – if not a full-blown smile – on my face. I think to myself, “Man! I’m really glad I came here!”

Soon I will be on a plane heading 2,300 miles east. I’ll spend some time in New York City at Rockefeller Center and Times Square (a past-time of mine and my family’s), and as I look at the holiday lights I will remember the quaint streets of Providence and Logan (and surrounding areas). There’s something really cozy and comfortable about this place! I feel welcome. I embrace each day with a determination that life is good.

I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to blog about my adventures. This is my last post on the Cache Valley Blog…maybe someday I’ll do it again. Thank you for reading. Remember, as you explore Cache Valley, keep your eyes open for me, I’ll be around!

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