Saturday, August 20, 2005

Friday, August 19, 2005

I had a random thought today as I stood at the gas pump. I remember way back in the day when I was about 10 years old my friends talked me into buying a motorized uzi squirt gun. They all had one, and in the end I succumbed to the peer pressue and dropped the $10 that one cost. It was cool, we had squirt wars, it was all good.

Then my mom found out. Oh man was she pissed. How could I squander such a large amount on such a trivial, worthless toy? Money doesn't grow on trees, you know. I felt bad.

It was at about that moment, approx. 2.3 seconds from when I first depressed the pump handle, that the $10 spent mark on the LCD readout came and went like a blur.

Inflation notwithstanding, my how things have changed...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

We just got back from the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, Utah. I'd never been, have always wanted to check it out, so down we went. I originally wanted to go to at least one Shearepeare play, and one non-Shakespeare play (I just discovered that they have non ones there as well). But then I found out they wanted $35+ a pop to go to these things. Ouch!

So we decided on just one non-Shakespeare one called "Stones In His Pockets". It was pretty good. Every part was played by just two actors - all kinds of accents and acting styles, so that was pretty impressive. Two things of note, however. What an unreal amount of spit that left these guys' mouths. It was unreal. They are not mic'd so I guess they had to speak loudly...that plus the way the lighting was helped us see everly last saliva molecule spew forth. Or maybe there is something about an Irish accent that is condusive to spit projectiles.

The other thing is how they substituted all the swear words. I'd heard this play had a lot of F-bombs. Their substitute of choice, apparentely, was "feck". "What do you think about that, Jake?" "I think we're fecked!" "Are you out of your fecking mind?" Etc. :)

Lastly, during the intermission I saw something else which I found quite hilarious. They were, of course, merchandising like mothers. And for a mere $8.95 you could be the proud owner of your own Shakespeare Action Figure! Complete with removable quill pen, and book! Haha. Cracked me something out of Homestar Runner. Sweet Shakespeare removable quill pen action!

A Picture Share!


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

We didn't know it at the time, but it turns out Saturday we met a local legend high on the Cottonwood Ridge - Caine Alder. After we met him I mentioned the fact to Mick of Mick's Mountain Page, who then told me he recognized the name and that there was an article about him in the SL Tribune way back in 1996. So I dug up the article which I am going to post here. It says he was 62 in '96, so that makes him 71 today, and still doing the triple traverse! (Twin Peaks, Sunrise, Dromedary). Amazing. Here is a pic we got with Caine:

From The Salt Lake Tribune - October 14, 1996:

In the diary where Caine Alder writes about his latest hiking adventure, a Saturday milestone was recorded quite simply: hiking Broads Fork Twin Peaks for the 200th time.

It took 27 years to complete the first 100 treks. Seventeen years later he doubled it.

"Just don't go up a 300th time, will you,'' jested hiking partner Rolf Doebbeling at the end of a 10-hour day.

Alder retorted: "Let's see, I'd be 79. Yeah, I could do that.''

Before the sun poked its head above the Wasatch, Alder began the trek with a 15-member entourage of daughters, hiking partners and work acquaintances.

Broads Fork Twin Peaks at 11,330 feet attracts experienced mountaineers, said John Veranth, author of Hiking the Wasatch. In 4 1/2 miles this Big Cottonwood Canyon trail climbs 5,130 vertical feet over boulders, skitterish scree and a gravity-defying wall.

"Panoramic views, the magnificent alpine setting, the enormous vertical reli! ef and the prominent position on the Salt Lake skyline make this peak a popular objective,'' said Veranth.

Even after 200 trips to the peak? Alder answers yes.

"I love Broads Fork Twin Peaks,'' he said. "Just look at the variety of trees. Look at the quartz rock; it's yellow, red, orange. I'll show you a rock on top that's blue. I love that rock.''

Age has not slowed the 62-year-old's sojourns into the Wasatch Mountains. He hikes almost weekly, climbing Mount Olympus almost 300 times now. His secret to hiking longevity: pacing and proper breathing.

Leading the pack Saturday, Alder's hike went so smoothly it appeared he entered a walking meditation. His steps were uniform, whether on the flats or a steep upward haul. Heavy breathing and gasps for air were unheard. He slows or speeds up according to the trail's pitch. And he never chews gum on the uphill; it makes breathing difficult.

Often his pace results in a game of "Tortoise and Hare'' with other hikers, said cousin Jeff Burton, who joined the m onumental trek.

"The first time I hiked with him 21 years ago, this group of young hikers burned past us,'' Burton recalled. "My young muscles were aching to join them. But I stayed with Caine, and soon we passed those hikers. Then they burned past us again, and we eventually passed them as they rested on a rock. Finally, we reached the top, but we never saw them.''
Alder's final tip for effortless hiking is to avoid talking, a pact broken Saturday because of the celebratory nature of the hike.

"I made my first climb when 2 1/2-years-old,'' said Alder, twisting his beret-covered head to address the single-file crowd that followed. A glimmer in his milk-chocolate-colored eyes revealed that a story soon would unfold.

When his father leaned a ladder against the house, Alder climbed up and sat on the rain gutter happily swinging his legs until discovered by his mother. After that he shimmied up the house's pillars. Trees were next. Alder and his si! ster began haunting Hugh's Canyon along the Wasatch Front. And in 1952, the Salt Lake City native learned about other trails riddling the mountain range.

"I'd never kept a diary, but for some reason I wrote about my first hiking trips because to me they were really fun events I wanted to remember,'' said Alder.
Forty-four years later, the diary continues.

An entry in the 1960s tells of a fog settling on Broads Fork Twin Peaks that disoriented the group. With his hands, Alder found familiar rocks and led the hikers off the steep crags.
Twenty years after that a redtail hawk claimed a 400-foot stretch of the peak's trail as its territory. When the raptor spotted Alder's hat, it swooped down and stole the cap from his head.
"After it took the hat, it came and I had to fight it,'' he said. "I went home with cuts all over my arms. My wife said, 'That was a quick trip.' When I told her what happened she laughed so hard she was stooped over.''!

Trauma did not plague Alder's 200th hike to Broad Fork Twin Pe aks. Instead, he watched the canyon's charm unfold as the sun crossed the sky, and renewed his love for hiking.

"I do this because it's fun,'' he said. "That old stuff about climbing it because it's there. . . pshaw.''

Sunday, August 07, 2005

We sometimes jokingly say that a particular activity is more fun if there is greater "risk of death". And while it sounds like something kind of stupid to say, there actually IS an element of truth to it. The difference is that "greater risk of death" is a relative term. Activity A may have a greater risk of death than activity B, but that does not necessarily mean that activity A's actual risk of death is all that great. For example, it may be riskier to hike a trail with sheer drop offs that are 1000's of feet high than to, say, walk down the sidewalk with a sheer drop off of 4 inches to the gutter. But that doesn't necessarily make the trail very dangerous in an absolute sense.

So why am I rambling on about risk of death? Yesterday we tried to get to the top of both Dromedary Peak and Sunrise Peak, high and rugged peaks along the Cottonwood Ridge, and numbers 15 and 16 in my goal to bag all the 11,000+ foot peaks in the Wasatch Range. Once again, to make a long blog entry short, I will just say that I flirted with an unacceptable risk of death far too much and for far too long yesterday. Between the most rotten, crumbly, sharp and unstable rock known to man, sheer cliffs and exposure around every turn, tiring and frustrating route finding, I found myself as sketched out as I believe I've ever been...for probably a solid 2 hours. We actually did make it to the top of Dromedary by way of some probably questionable decisions and sheer will. I really wanted to get to the top of Sunrise as first. But by the time we'd gotten to what would be the final ascent of Sunrise, I'd had enough. We instead made a premature bail off the main ridge down another scary-as-hell chute and decided to just get the $#@! out of dodge.

And to add insult to injury, on the way down a nasty thunderstorm formed overhead which I swear covered exactly the boundary of the Twin Peaks Wilderness because there was blue sky all around the horizon. We saw several bolts of lightning frighteningly close and heard a few of those ultra-loud cracks of thunder - the kind you can feel in your gut and make you want to drop to the ground in the fetal position. :) We found some overhanging rock and decided to wait it out there. Once the storm had passed we made quick work of the trail back to the car.

In hindsight I am kind of bummed that I was not able to close out my goal (esp. since this means I have to climb Broads Fork AGAIN sometime in the future), but I guess in the end I'm happy just to be able to be writing this entry.

Damn you Sunrise you WILL go down! :)

Brent and I at the top of Dromedary:

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Yesterday marked the official launch of the newest addition to Ask Michelle. Yet another side project that I decided to do for the "sheer hell of it". :)

Why, you ask? Michelle has a cornucopia of knowledge, both trivial and useful, and this is my meager attempt to harness and channel this knowledge for the good of all. If you question my view of her knowledge, you need only play her in a game of Trivial Pursuit (any edition) and get your teeth kicked in by her, just as I have.

So what are you waiting for? Ask Michelle a question today! :)

Monday, August 01, 2005

A Picture Share!

At the top of thunder mountain