Friday, July 29, 2005

Colorado can be a crazy place. I forgot to mention in my last post our nutso experience driving up and over Monarch Pass on our way from the Black Canyon to Denver. Monarch Pass, like many passes in CO, are pretty high up there. Monarch sits right on the continental divide at an elevation of 11,312 feet...that's higher than the majority of the peaks in the Wasatch.

Anyway, we were driving along up this pass when it started to rain. No big deal. Then it started to rain a little harder, still no big deal. The wipers went from intermittent, to always going, and then finally to full bore as the rain kept getting harder and harder. Then it started to turn to hail...then bigger hail...harder and bigger still.

By this point people are slowing way down as visibility is not good and you wouldn't want to drive off the side of this road, that it for certain. But THEN something happened that I have never experienced before...the inside of my windshield almost instantly fogged up. No problem, I thought, just fire up the ol' defrost...which I did. But it seemed to have no effect. So flipped the fan to turbo, turned on the A/C, started messing around with the temperature dial...nothing seemed to even put a dent in this strange, new, death fog that had encompassed the inside of my windshield. Soon it was to the point where I could see basically nothing, so Bart starts wiping the windshield with his hand.

We continued this way for a few more minutes when Shelley radioed that Mike had pulled over at the top of the pass to "wait it out". I was happy to do the same. We pulled right up next to the gift shop they have at the top and decided to go inside to kill time while we waited out the hail. In hindsight, I think I made good time the whole 15 feet from my car to the front door of the shop...but that didn't keep the entire rear half of me from getting completely and totally soaked from the torrential hail onslaught. Mike later commented that he was slipping around and was doubtful he would even make it to the top. Crazy-go-nuts. It was nice and sunny at Black Canyon of the Gunnison earlier that morning. I guess it comes with the territory. Here's a pic of our cars parked at the gift shop at the top...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Maybe I'm just a big pansy...but driving in the rain kinda scares me. We just got back from our Colorado trip (summitted two 14ers, visited two national parks) and on the way home we got caught in quite the torrential rain storm between Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction. There's just something unnerving about driving through standing water going 75 mph and having your car move sideways a few inches.

But luckily once we got back to the great state of Utah the weather got much better and we (Bart and I) survived to drive in a storm another day. :)

Friday, July 22, 2005

I stopped at Walden Books today at lunch to buy the book "Deception Point" so I would have a book during our Colorado trip. I find the book, take it up to the counter...and dialog I had with the clerk went something like this:

"You realize that this book is part of our 'buy 3 get the 4th free' deal, would you like to do that today?"
"Okay. Would you like to donate $2 to our reading program for children? You get this (stupid) purple rubber bracelet thingy."
"Uhh, okay, whatever."
"Thank you. Oh, would you like to buy one of our (gay) truffles today? Only 56 cents with a purchase."
"Okay. I'm only gonna bug you one more time, would you like to fill out this card so we can (spam) email you with special deals?"
"No. DAMN you Walden I just want my STUPID BOOK now leave me the hell alone!"

Okay, I didn't say that last sentence out loud...but I was thinking it. :) You suck Walden. People come to your store to buy books, not for your relentless harassment. B. Dalton just gained a new customer today. :)
Shelley and I attempted to climb up to the Bridal Veil Falls restaurant yesterday, but ultimately had to turn back due to crappy conditions and worsening weather. But, on the way up we saw something I thought was pretty cool. Some crazy fetchers had run a slackline (a piece of webbing stretched across where ever and then tightened) across the top of the upper falls of Bridal Veil. We're talking WAY up there. I took this pic:

It was kinda windy and cloudy, so we never saw any of them actually try to cross on their feet, but they did plenty of this dangly stuff (see in pic) which I guess was kinda fun for them. I think I'd like to try a crazy slackline like that sometime as I pride myself in having an above average balance. Or maybe I don't but just like to think I do. :) I guess we'll set one up sometime and see...

Monday, July 18, 2005

An interesting thing happened to us on Saturday while we were down in the Lower Black Box in the San Rafael Swell. We were hiking along in the river, passed through some large boulders, turned the corner and noticed something sticking out of the water. My brother was the first to pull it and soon realized it was a backpack strap.

It gave enough resistence, however, that it freaked him out thinking there might be a dead body connected to it, so he quickly dropped the strap. Then I pulled the whole thing out (no dead body - whew) and found a fairly large pack, totally full of stuff, that had been sitting in that river for who knows how long. It had tons of mud all over it and the zippers had gotten silt or sand in them and had totally seized up.

I broke out my leatherman knife and we cut into it, not able to withstand the curiosity about what we might find inside. Well to make a long blog entry short, we found a lot of stuff. The most interesting of which you'll find in this picture:

There was a GPS, camcorder, a pair of binoculars, compass, first aid kit, and a bunch of other stuff as well. I don't know who lost this pack or how, but I'm guessing they were not very happy about it.

We debated what we should do with our find, but ultimately decided to just pack it back up and leave it there for the next group to find...

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Picture Share!

Nephew Caleb at Fazolis

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I caught some Tour de France coverage tonight and just had a couple quick thoughts...

First, I can't believe how close they let people get to the riders. I mean, they're all along the sides of the road mere inches from the riders as they pass by. What's to keep some disgruntled Frenchie from picking up a stick and jamming into Lance Armstrong's spokes as he rides by?
"C'est NOTRE tour. Yankee pigdog!"

And second...does anyone else find it ironic that you're watching Team Discovery Channel on OLN (Outdoor Life Network)?

Oh, and a bonus thought. :) Will the "Discovery" Channel please change their name to reflect their odd choice of programming? Something like, I don't know...GCN (Goofy Chopper Network). Or...BMD (Bickering Motorcycle Dudes).

Good night now!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I came home tonight, fired up the tivo and saw that it had recorded some show called "Supersize She". I was a fan of the documentary "Supersize Me", so I decided to check it out. Turns out it was about women's bodybuilding...and I've got to tell ya...that has got to be THE most disturbing thing I think I've ever seen.

These "women" are SO GROSS looking. The obviousness that every last one of them is juiced up out of their minds is on par with, say, the grass being green or the sky being blue. Sorry "ladies" can throw on some makeup and do your hair and whatnot, but you still look like freaky dudes with bikini tops.

Dahh, stop it. Go away. Embrace your femininity, it's not too late! :)

The following image may not be suitable for all readers:

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Yesterday we (Mike, Joel, Brent, and I) hiked to the top of South Timpanogos, or Timp's "Second Summit". I'd done Timp's main summit 21 times previously and was looking to switch it up a little bit. Plus, while having slid DOWN the glacier many times, I'd never tried climbing UP it before, which we also did yesterday.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to lament the fact that I was unable to take a picture with my phone from the top and have it instantly appear on this blog (which I thought would have been pretty cool) because when I reached into my backpack to get it...the STUPID BATTERY WAS DEAD! Doh! So the following pic isn't instantaneous, but at least it's a better quality one, since my phone camera is pretty lousy at best. :)

I overheard the ranger saying that everyone making it to the top had ice axes and crampons. Almost everyone. ;) In hindsight we probably should have had that kind of gear...just haven't gotten around to buying it yet, I guess...

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Picture Share!

Dougie's birthday

Just got back Wed. night from our Banff/Jasper trip. Wow, what a place. So many amazing things concentrated into such a relatively small area, you begin to take things for granted. There are peaks and waterfalls around every corner that would be the HIGHLIGHT of most areas.

Not only did we score with the scenery, however, but with the wildlife as well. I saw my first bear while backpacking in Banff, and not some scrawny little black bear, but a full grown grizzly in its natural habitat. I thought that was pretty cool. Here is a taste of some of the wildlife we saw:

From left to right, top to bottom: The grizzly bear near Egypt Lake. Some baby big horn sheep. An...adolecent big horn sheep (little horns). A black bear we saw from the car along the side of the road. An elk. And finally a baby mountain goat (kid) and its mommy losing her winter coat apparently.

I will probably have more to say about Banff/Jasper later...maybe some Canadian idiosyncrasies. :)