brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
On Sunday we woke up before dawn to drive down to Mount Timpanogos, the second highest peak in the Wasatch mountains (11,752'). We saw moose, a ptarmigan, mountain goats, pika, and llamas! It was a long day and my legs and feet were sore the next day, but, despite the elevation, it wasn't nearly as hard as Olympus or Pfeifferhorn.

The hike starts overlooking meadows, but you start to go up a "Grand Staircase" of plateaus. The autumnal colors were hard to capture, but really beautiful, as were the shadows the clouds made on the landscape all day.

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After climbing the "staricase" you reach the "basin." That is Timpanogos behind us. You ascend to the saddle on the right and then allong the back of the ridge, through a narrow pass in the first rise, then across the ridge to the last steep ascent.

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This is just after leaving the saddle, you can see the trail on the lower left. It was scary, but not as scary as it could be - at least it wasn't a straight drop off?

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Looking up toward the summit. There is a little hut at the top.

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Looking down from the summit on the Timpanogos glacier and Emerald Lake. Some people continue along the ridgeline and slide or ski down the glacier (when there is more snow). They are crazy people.

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We had a friend.

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On the way back down. We had plenty of time so we decided to check out Emerald Lake.

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Mountain Goats at Emerald Lake. They were introduced and have thrived up here.

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Sadly, there is not much left of the Timpanogos Glacier...

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On the way back we tried to find the 1955 wreckage of a B-25 bomber, but only found the best restroom view on earth.

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We got back to the trailhead at 7:30pm, after 12 hours of hiking, close to 20 miles, and over 4,000' elevation gain. It was probably the most scenic hike we've done here, especially the variety of scenery over the course of the hike. This was also our highest peak yet and the altitude sickness wasn't nearly as bad as I've had at lower elevations, so I think I'm finally adjusting - just in time for a trip to King's Peak (13,528') this weekend with our neighbors! It's the highest peak in Utah, and, alledgedly the hardest non-technical state high point in the United States. 
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
We had a wonderful time up in Glacier, getting in a three day, two night backcountry trip on the far northeast corner of the park.

Sometimes 20 hours of driving through the night are worth 72 hours of glacial lakes, thundering waterfalls, friendly foxes, and jagged peaks.

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brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Now that the snow is off of the >10,000 ft. peaks we are enjoying bagging one a weekend that have been on our list for a while. This past weekend was Mount Olympus (9,026 ft.) - strenuous 7.6 mile roundtrip with over 4,000 feet of elevation gain. This meant a constant and grueling uphill grade, often 30%.

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Honestly, this trail is about the destination and not the journey - the trail didn't have much of a view (mostly of SLC itself) and despite the elevation you could hear traffic from the freeway most of the way up.

The best part, by far, was the class 3 scrambling for the last 600 ft. before the summit. Yes, that's the "trail" going straight up - it was just one hair shy of "too" scary - therefore, perfect.

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At the summit the views were mostly of Twin (11,330 ft.) and Lone (11,253 ft.) peaks (behind us - Twin is the peak nearer on the left and Lone is in the distance - we'll be hiking those in July, after we do Pfeifferhorn (11,326 ft.), which is supposed to have great wildflowers this time of year).

I don't have a great camera, so I can't show you the proof, but we also saw a mother mountain goat and her baby on the lower peak to the North - I swear I see more charismatic fauna within SLC city limits than I do in the National Parks!


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Since we had tickets for a Lions game that night we needed to hustle down the mountain, so we ended up ascending it in 3.5 hours and descending in 1.5 hours. My quads are STILL killing me - not just sore or sore when I do something, but burning even when I sit down. Still, that didn't keep me from a five mile run yesterday and cardio class today.

Back to the rheumatic fever chapter... and a sort of last minute idea of ours to head up to Glacier National Park for the Fourth of July weekend to give me something to plan when I need to cheering up :)
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
When we drove back to Wisconsin last summer, after apartment hunting, we briefly stopped at Dinosaur National Monument and knew we had to go back - so that's what I asked for for my birthday :)

We left Thursday night and spent the first night at a campground near the Visitor Center - convenient to get started the next day. Sadly, the park rangers were not as useful with back country advice as we've experienced in the past, but we were able to put together a nice weekend, including several hikes, an amazing drive, and the best backcountry site you could ask for.

Seriously, when people say Zion is their favorite Utah national park I am starting to think they are oncrack.

The Mitten Park Fault - our view after we hiked out to a beach on the Green River:

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Happy campers:

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The view of the Mitten Park Fault and Steamboat Rock from 2,500 above. It's hard to tell, but the Yampa River (which you can see a little of in the center of the photo) is actually meeting the Green River (which you can see more clearly on the right side) behind Steamboat Rock, even though those rocks look continuous.

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Lots of abandoned (and not abandoned) ranches:

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Our campsite at Ruple Point. No complaining allowed:

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Split Mountain dominates the center of the park. The Green River splits the mountain (which is the far eastern edge of the Uintas - the highest east-west mountain range in the lower 48) in half lengthwise - so, you can see how each side would match up with each other by matching the geologic layers.

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Dinosaur National Monument is named for the massive Dinosaur quarry formed by a "log jam" of dinosaur bones that then fossilized and folded on it's side, preserving many specimens that are usually found flattened.
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There are also many Fremont Petroglyphs.

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This is the only place one can find Fremont lizard petroglyphs.

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Seriously, if you want beautiful scenery, quiet, space, and variety I highly suggest this gem. We are already planning our next trip there to see the northern side of the Green River and explore some slot canyons.

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brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
After a night in probably the worst motel room ever, we returned to Arches to hike into the Petrified Dunes and backcountry camp for the night. The website and guidebooks discourage backcountry camping in Arches - it is a small park with limited backcountry areas and requires a lot of water - but once we talked to actual rangers they had tons of suggestions and we were so glad we basically pack our full backcountry gear everytime we go camping, so we had everything we needed.

If you check out this map, our destination was pretty much exactly where the pin is. This is my GPS watch's record of our first day (the battery died halfway through the second day - dream REI purchase? Solar panel charger). You can see where we tried to climb out of the canyon and wandered all over :)

We entered the canyons with the plan of going up the third one and seeing if we could climb out of it to camp for the night (no trail, only rules were camp on rock more than 300 feet from arch, water, and archaeology sites). The canyon was actually quite lush, with lots of water crossings and signs of beavers.

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About a mile in the canyon walls got much higher and we started taking breaks to scramble up them and explore.

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We resisted the urge to soak our feet in the water.

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Eventually we began to wonder how we were going to climb back out...

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Looking back toward the main canyon, from about halfway up the canyon wall:

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In our attempt to find our way up on top of the canyon we explored caves, shelves, and arches - did I mention there was no trail and not a sign of another human being - well except archaeologically speaking (we saw a campsite that was probably 200 years old)?

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This was as close as we got to the top - Nick went exploring and decided we had a 95% chance of making it. We decided it wasn't worth the risk, since the fall was over 200 feet.

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It helped that we had spotted a flat rock area at the bend in the canyon, so we knew we had an option for the night. Since we still had daylight - and we are completists - we went to the very end of the canyon and found an even better spot to camp. Desert camping - you may need to carry a lot of water (5 liters per person per day - heavy!), but no bears, bugs, or people? Heck, due to the canyon walls we were able to sleep in!

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On the way back out we took a slight higher route, enjoying the Spring wildflowers.

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26 hours later!

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We had a few hours of daylight left so we checked out Double Arch.

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Petroglyphs:

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And Delicate Arch.

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brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
The weekend before I left for Chicago Nick and I went down to Arches and Canyonlands for the weekend. We left early on Friday hoping to get a first-come campsite, since everything in Moab is booked for ages, but after driving around for a few hours gave up. We booked a motel an hour away (did I mention there are only three towns between Provo and Moab - four and a half hours and three towns?) and spent the day at Arches doing "easy" hikes.

This trail had increasing difficulty - and boy did we take advantage of that...

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Our first Arch!

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La Sal Mountains.

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After losing the trail in one direction, we doubled back to Landscape Arch:

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Then attempted the trail in the other direction:

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Basically making our trip 9 miles instead of 4.

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But we saw lots of Arches :)

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brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
The day after the race we went up to Ogden (which is apparently where Utah's rednecks live?) to do an easy hike up Waterfall Canyon. It is a pretty popular hike - lots of dogs (and one cat!), people doing the weirdest hiking things (bringing a radio to play music while hiking, eating McDonald's on the trail, and generally not following simple trail etiquette rules. That being said, it was a pretty hike with an impressive waterfall at the end.

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Working out those post-race calf cramps.

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The view down to Ogden and the Great Salt Lake. That poor black dog got sprayed by a skunk on the way up the trail (maybe you should keep your dog on a leash?)

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We were done by 4PM so we thought we'd do another hike while we were in the area, so we drove down to Adams Canyon. This area was much more alpine and shaded, with more waterfalls (though less impressive).

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The water was actually too high to see the final waterfall, but Nick tried to peak around the corner to see it.

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The weekend was rounded out by delicious foods (half price oysters and craft cocktails at a new bistro, followed by dinner at our neighborhood brewpub) and quality time together, including reading in the back yard.

2:00:40

Apr. 20th, 2014 09:47 am
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Just missed getting under 2 hours by 41 seconds, but still very happy.

This was the first race that I didn't feel nervous before, had fun the whole time (favorite moment: miles 10-12 me and this other guy realized we were trying to keep the same pace, without any eye contact or speaking used each other to push that pace through those tough last few miles), and felt great afterwards (feet and calves are a little sore, but nothing a hike today can't fix!).

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RWP

Apr. 18th, 2014 05:07 pm
brdgt: (Cardio)
Reading: Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending for book club. A very approachable and interesting combination of psychology and business expertise on what really makes us happy. Some of it is very unsurprising (spend money on experiences, not things), but some of it is counterintuitive (that spending money on time-saving devices or services may not actually give you more time or happiness).



Wearing: My new favorite bright pink pants, a white button down top, white converse low tops, and my favorite pair of sunglasses - found in a restroom at the Great Dane after a frisbee game.

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Planning: It's Nick's birthday today, although he skipped playing golf to celebrate because he hurt his ribs last night playing Ultimate. Since I have the Half Marathon tomorrow he is going out with friends and I'm calling it an early night (the race starts at 7AM). Next weekend we will celebrate with a trip to Arches and Canyonlands - first camping trip of the year!

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Scenes

Apr. 14th, 2014 05:56 pm
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Have I mentioned that our yard is lousy with trilobites?

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The hyacinths have switched over to tulips - I'm actually getting in the habit of cutting fresh flowers from our yard for inside the house - weird!

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Our next door neighbors (Oink's owners) took this great panoramic view from their roof - this is essentially my office view (actually, if you click on the image to make it bigger you can see my office window, it is the grey house on the far left - the two windows right next to each other):

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brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Yesterday we went for a hike up Grandeur Peak (8,294 ft with 2,829 ft of elevation gain in 5.82 miles and 3:43 hours). The trailhead is located very close to the city, in Millcreek Canyon and on the way up mostly offers views to the south, especially of Gobler's Knob.

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We had wanted a hike with some snow, which we got near the top.

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The view at the top was wonderful - I love the way the city goes right up to the mountain.

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You can see some rain over the Great Salt Lake, downtown, and even our neighborhood.

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Looking East at a reservoir.

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We had the peak to ourselves so we relied on the timer to take a photo :)

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Afterwards we went to the home opener of the Salt Lake City Lions (SLC's brand new Ultimate team). Of note, those were the mountains we were in as our game's backdrop.

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brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Reading: Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference By Cordelia Fine (on [livejournal.com profile] notmarcie's suggestion - a nice palette cleanser after Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences



Wearing: Red MUFA shirt and comfy black pants. Most crucial element though - Badger nails - On Wisconsin!

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Planning: Uh, there's sort of some important basketball games on this weekend! Nick gets back from his conference today and I've had a rather productive week, so I look forward to hanging out on the couch with him :)
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
On our way down to Vegas we stopped at Zion. Our friend may have just started to get into hiking, but he is still used to eating every meal of the day out and having constant internet access, so he wanted to stay at a motel instead of camping. The next morning we had a healthy breakfast at a local cafe that also made us sandwiches for hiking (I had an amazing veggie/fruit/nut wrap). Due to the need to airlift out the toilets at Angel's Landing, we couldn't do that iconic hike, so we did a longer, more strenuous, higher elevation one - Observation Point. I'm glad we did, as it had more varied terrain.

The trail started with a steep ascent, but with well maintained switchbacks.

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And was directly across from Angel's Landing.

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After that ascent you enter Echo Canyon, my favorite spot on the hike.

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Then you start ascending again, with sharper and sharper switchbacks until you reach the mesa.

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Lunch at the top (6508ft). Again, not very high by Utah standards, but southern Utah is a lower elevation than northern Utah, so the ascent was still over 2000 ft. gain.

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On the return the light in Echo Canyon was even nicer than on the way up.

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Kitty!

Feb. 6th, 2014 10:07 am
brdgt: (Audrey Sleeping by iconomicon)
On Saturday we went down to the Humane Society to pick out a kitty!

First off, this Humane Society is the nicest I've ever seen (I've volunteered at a few). The cats are in "kitty city," a facility with three different living arrangements: large room with a central climbing structure that 5-6 cats freely roam around in (usually the 1-5 year old cats), living room style smaller rooms with open shelving for lounging and playing (where the older cats like to hang out, usually just 3 to a room - they even have tvs, which play fishtanks, birds, and other things cats like to watch!), and "townhouse" style "cages" which have cage doors, but are about 4 times the size of cages you would see in any other facility (for the kittens and cats that don't get along with other cats).





The shelter is not no-kill, but it is open admission (a lot of no-kill shelters are able to be that way because they do not accept all admissions) and even with that policy they still find homes for 98% of the animals - which if you consider 2% probably being unadoptable due to human cruelty, that is amazing!

We checked out the under 7 month old kittens (just three at the time), but were drawn to "Tia" - a 11 month old girl who was the most alert and observant cat in the room. She had been put in the townhouses because she was getting stressed being in a room with other cats and when we took her out you could tell the smell of other cats bothered her. But we really liked her sassiness - we wanted a smart, playful cat, and I was confident that the Humane Society environment just wasn't the best at showing off her potential and Nick trusted me because he liked her cleverness.

Being sassy:

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We bought her (only 25 dollars since she was over 7 months - under 7 months are 70 dollars and over 5 years are free) and picked up some supplies at the pet store and within half an hour of being in our place she was like this:

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Later that night:

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The next day:

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"Meeting" Oink...

Kitty!

We are still working on a new name - dinosaur themed. My favorite right now is "Ankylosaurus" (Kylo for short).
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
This Summer a strong wind came though a knocked this iced tea dispenser over, so I saved it to make a terrarium. I finally got around to that yesterday!

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I misjudged the size of the container and got too many plants, so I re-potted them separately. I have a black thumb, so they may come in handy as backups...

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Their new home in my office.

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I'd also been meaning to hang this green decoration and string some LED lights through it to make it a chandelier. With company coming in a few weeks I also decided to flip this shelf vertical to allow a smidge more space for our guests.

Terrrarium
brdgt: (Smiling by ABM)
On Sunday I picked our weekly hike - Lake Blanche, an alpine lake within a glacial cirque in the shadow of Sundial Peak. The pollution has been bad, so we wanted some fresh air, but just hiking a peak for the view isn't a good option, since most views are blocked by the pollution. I heard about this hike on Fitocracy - the view is *up* to Sundial Peak and the snow pack was good enough that you didn't need snowshoes. I did pick up some YakTrak the day before and brought my hiking poles, neither of which were necessary, but definitely helped in expending less energy sliding on snow.

It was 34 degrees when we left the trail head, but with a 1,000 feet elevation gain per mile and walking straight into the sun in a cloudless sky, we were plenty warm.

Lake Blanche Trail

We went from following a canyon stream only slightly covered in ice (just muffling, but not completely hiding the sound of the water) to beautiful stands of birch trees.

Lake Blanche Trail

The trail was nicely packed, but the snow was several feet deep on either side - it was important to not step off.

Lake Blanche Trail

After the canyon and birch trees, we went through several rock slides and avalanche fields - the hike probably made easier by the snow. About 2.8 miles and 2,800 feet elevation gain we finally got to Sundial Peak.

Lake Blanche Trail


Sundial Peak

We had lunch and climbed a bit further up, so we could claim to have gone over 9,000 feet (Sundial Peak is only accessible with mountaineering gear and experience).

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Sundial Peak

You can see the view of Salt Lake City in the distance here - with the inversion covering the whole valley.

Inversion

On the way down we encountered quite a few backcountry skiers (why pay for lift tickets when you can climb a mountain and ski down it?) and two moose! No pictures of them, even though they were less than 30 feet away - camera was too cold, light was failing, and too many bushes.

Lake Blanche Trail

In the end, just over 6 1/2 miles, about 4 hours, 2,830 feet of elevation gain, two moose, and a great day - my first hike that was snow covered the whole time! And all just a 30 minute drive from our home :)
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Reading:

A friend recommended this book when we found out we would be moving to Utah. I'm sure some of you have read Desert Solitaire? Reading it as a historical document (it was published in 1968, when Utah's National Parks were new and didn't even have paved roads) helps to put his extreme libertarian elitism in perspective. His descriptions of the environment and people are fascinating and well written, his politics are deeply, deeply flawed.



Wearing: My batik Mountain Sun Brewery "Kind Ale" t-shirt (oh, Colorado... oh Boulder...), some jeans that haven't fit in a few years, warm socks, and a handmade bracelet from my best friend Kelly's daughter (kids these days and Justice, wtf?).

1/24/2014

Planning: Nick is working late tonight (he found out his time slot for the upcoming big tropical cyclone conference and he got the prime evening spot on a panel about Hurricane Sandy with several big wigs - as one of his labmates said in response to finding out "wow, that could make your career if you give a good talk." So, you know, no pressure...) so I'm going to finish up the last season of Dr. Who so we have room on the DVR for the Olympics!

We really want to get out for a hike this weekend, but the inversion has been pretty bad this week (from "unhealthy to sensitive" to just plain "unhealthy") so we're afraid of both exerting ourselves too much in it (they advise against being outside more than hour a day) and if we could even see anything from a peak. A little bit of wind and some fresh snow in the mountains has made it slightly better though, so we're hopeful.

All this means a lot of running on an indoor track for half-marathon training.

Week 2
brdgt: (Mrs. Robinson Closer)
Yesterday Nick and I hiked Battle Creek Falls, a short trail south of Salt Lake City. Given the recent snow we didn't want to do something with too much elevation gain and there were big wind gusts yesterday, making Antelope Island seem miserable. This was a pretty little hike, with a light snow and good company :)

The falls are at the base of Mount Timpanogos, the second highest peak in the Wasatch mountain range. Technically, you can climb the mountain from this trailhead, but it is described as a "dangerous, miserable, loose-scree climb."

As soon as we got off the highway we knew we weren't in Kansas anymore. It was a Sunday - not a single business was open. Not the Burger King, not even the supermarkets. We counted 9 churches in the ten mile drive to the trailhead from the highway - they were all packed. (Seriously, I was glad we had a full tank of gas and had packed sandwiches for lunch!) That being said, we encountered a few other people on the trail - to whom we wanted to challenge "why aren't you in church??"

Trailhead at the start of the canyon:
Battle Creek Falls

The frozen falls:

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A couple of guys were ice climbing this - they "hiked" up the rock on the left, rappelled down, then climbed up, and then came back the way the hiked up. The rappelling and climbing seemed the safest part of their endeavor.

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We hiked up until fording the stream seemed too risky (wet clothes for the rest of the hike? no thanks) and "had" to slide down parts of the trail on the way back.

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Looking West toward Utah Lake on the way back.

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The neighbors invited us over to watch football when we got back so we got to get to know them better and pet Oink before heading home to relax on the couch with season three of Breaking Bad. God, I hate Walter White.
brdgt: (Winter is coming by iconomicon)
Last night we drove up to Park City for the FIS Freestyle World Cup (the qualifiers for Aerial Skiing in the Olympics) with our friends Jen and Erik. Dan was also visiting on his way back from Portland for the Holidays (he is in my program in at Wisconsin and he and Jen entered the same year - she left with a terminal MA to finish her medical degree). This is from the parking lot at Deer Valley, with the mogul run lit up behind us.

FIS Freestyle World Cup

Said mogul run. Erik said "I'd try that" and Nick said "I'd die on that."

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One of the competitors:


This was a qualifier for Aerial Skiing in the Olympics next month and will air on NBC sports at 5:30 PM EST tomorrow. It was super fun - very different than anything else I'd done and really impressive athletes. For some reason I never thought of this before (I'm sure it was obvious to everyone else), but I now know why they use cowbells so much at skiing events - your hands have gloves on and don't make much noise clapping!
brdgt: (Winter is coming by iconomicon)
Reading:



I'm not usually a true crime or even decective or murder mystery person, but this is a book about a serial killer that operated near my hometown growing up. It's still unsolved, but two of the suspects lived in my trailer park growing up and I still remember the police surrounding their trailer, guns on the hoods of their cars, and, then later, my brother testifying in one of the trials. So far, I would say it is well written and portrays the area and people well.

Wearing: White Sweater, dark wash jeans, brown boots. We've had a fair bit of snow the past few days, so I am dressing accordingly.

1/10/2014

Planning: Tonight we are going to see the Freestyle Ski World Cup up in Park City with our friends Jen, Eric, and Dan!

We had talked about doing some hiking this weekend, but the recent snow makes trail finding a little hard. I'd still like to go out, so I'll read up on winter hikes in one of the hiking books I got for Christmas. I had initially thought of doing Frary Peak on Antelope Island, but we may just go out to Antelope Island and check it out instead of hiking the peak. Winter is supposed to be the best time to see the Bison, Bighorn Sheep, and other animals that thrive on the island.

And of course, the Patriots play tomorrow night :)

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