Sunday, May 31, 2009

Death Hike 09 (a trip to nelson peak)

So yesterday my friend Tacoma and I went up to nelson peak - 9359 feet approximately 4000 vertical feet in 4 miles.
We met up at my house at 6:30 and headed up to the trail head (using the term trail and trail head VERY loosely here) at the top of bates canyon road at 6:45. From there we started hiking up and trying to stay on the ridge as much as possible. Trying to stay on the ridge let alone move forward was what made this the Death Hike. Once we hit the 6000 foot level we began to have to SLOG our way through (and I quote Tacoma here) the "Impassable Expanse of Scrubby Trees".

From whence we came
to where we are goingFrom this point on we were bulling our way though scrub oak, some kind of nice thorny berry plant, some other foliage that I don't know what it was but was always growing in the worst possible direction for travel. On more than one occasion the shrubbery was covered with some rather large red and black ants that had a nice bite to them (Tacoma claims bruising on his sac from getting bit). Occasionally we would come to small clearings to get some wonderful views of the valley and where we had come from. On the ridge before the end of the hike a couple of golden Eagles gave us a show, Flying at eye level, then up above us to circle for a bit where I got a couple of pics
after about 7 hours of hiking (with only short 1 minute stops to catch wind and 2 5 minute stops for a granola bar) we came to the last climb of the hike. a 300 foot class 5 climb to get to the top (that or add another 3/4 mile walk on 70 degree slopes to get around said climb). We decided to stop for a rest. We laid down on the rock for 30 minutes took some pictures and took stock of the situation.
We decided to be on the safe side with how tired we both were it would take us almost 40 minutes to get to the top, rest and then start down. Coming down from the top would keep us on the ridge for a much longer period of time before there would be a safe area to descend. We had storm clouds coming in from the south west that would hit anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour later.. so we headed down. Just after we got down into a group of aspen trees about 1/4 mile from where we were it began to sprinkle.
Throwing on our rain gear just before is started to pour. for 2 hours we we inundated with the smell of the wet forest, ice cold rain, Hail and rolling thunder and lightning often hitting close enough to make both of us jump. we finally made it back to the jeep at 6:15 after about 11 miles of hiking we got in and started home. Unfortunately with the rain it turned the the road to something slick as snot. The jeep got stuck for a minute but with some nifty driving, engaging the Locker and bumping into a couple of trees we were free!

The end result my legs hurt, knees are swollen, Tacoma states that "my left knee seceded from my body" and we are both covered with bites and scratches from the evil trees. This was an Epic adventures

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zions weekend with the wife

So last weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) was my anniversary to my wonderful wife person, that being said we decided to ditch the little minions and head south to Zion National Park for a weekend of relaxation.
Freedom started early when we dropped the kids off at the in laws on Friday night just before their bedtime. Then we headed home to pack for the trip. We had originally planned to take the motorcycle down but with 50%+ chances of rain in the afternoons down south we decided to take the car instead. Once the car was loaded with the necessity (Cameras, clothes, 5 gal water, and redvines) we headed to bed to toss and turn until the morning hoping it would come soon.
Day 1
Morning came soon enough and we headed out bright and early grabbing a couple of Mocha's on the way out of town and some Mc'D's breakfast. Our first stop was going to be the Meadow hot springs but when we arrived the partiers from the night before were still trying to wake up and we decided to move on.
We got to Cedar city around mid day and decided to have some local food (non chain). We stopped at "nastys Pizza" sorry that was "The Pizza Factory" - No beer other than near bear was served and the calazones that we had well lacked everything other than the taste of a fresh opened can of Prego.
Heading on our next stop was just east of LaVerkin at the LaVerkin overlook to see some beautiful views before we hit the park. Then we headed to the park. Paid our $25 for the 7 day pass and drove through catching a look at the splendor as we headed to the east side of the park to our budget rooms in Mt' Carmel at the East Zion Thunderbird Lodge famous for their HO-Made Pies. after checking in and finding our room "clean" and everything we needed for sleeping we decided to head back to Springdale (the town just on the west entrance of Zions) and have some dinner. We first decided on some Fresh Mex in town but after waiting 20 minutes to be seated (noone else was waiting at the sign that said "Please wait to be seated") we were told ohh you can just sit anywhere. Sit anywhere we did and waited another 20 minutes watching people who had been there for longer leaving we decided to leave. we walked down to the Spotted dog and it was just a bit too pretentious for budget Hikers and I really just wanted a nice big meal for the energy I would need in the morning. So we cross the street to the "Whiptail Cafe". Quick service.. good.. those that know me know I don't eat salad dressing, sour cream etc so when I ordered it without that stuff on the salad I expect it to not be there. it came.. it was on the salad with the comment that the Chef figured he would just put it on. then to top it off whatever flavor was in the food was masked behind more red chili peppers than was needed. We both decided to be done with the day at that point and to get something simple from the convenience store and take care of ourselves for food the next day. Back to our room to become inebriated and pass out.

Day 2
We woke up at 5:15 and headed out ASAP to get on the trail. First to stop near the visitor center to the SOL Cafe for some Mocha's (hoping they didn't mess them up) and a couple of breakfast food things. The food was excellent and we enjoyed the first good meal of the trip with smiles. Then we headed over to hop on the shuttle for our first hike of the day. Angels landing - 1 word- BREATHTAKING - Described by the park handout as Strenuous, long drop-offs and narrow trail. Not for anyone fearful of heights. Ends at summit high above Zion Canyon.

After Angels Landing we headed over to the Hidden canyon and weeping rock trail heads on the park shuttle. The hike up to weeping rock was not a hike in any way more of a stroll for .25 miles only to end up inundated with Throngs of people standing still and panting from over exertion. Quickly heading back to the TH we had a quick lunch of PB sandwiches, granola bars and crackers and then we were off to Hidden Canyon. This is a great hike but unfortunately it was later in the day and the number of people on the trail took away from the coolness that should have been there. In the end it was a good trail.

Once we were done with Hidden canyon we hopped the shuttle towards the museum and walked the Pa'rus trail from the Museum over to the visitor center then to the SOL Cafe' for a early dinner (Yerros and Rubens and Beer). Once dinner was done we decided to relax the rest of the day and we went back to east Zion sat in the hot tub for a bit then crashed.

Day 3
Come to find out the beds in our room were not as comfy as we first thought then again we were a bit inebriated at the time so that may have been part of the issue. Today we are going to head home. so we showered and packed up the room checked out and headed west to the east entrance of the park to take a quick hike to the overlook trail. Some seriously great views could be had here as well as a nice little hike to get the blood moving in tired legs.

From there we headed back to the SOL Cafe' for some more coffee and then headed north to Kolob canyon to take some pics then head home.

In the end this was a great vacation!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Great Salt lake Expedition 2009

On Thursday May 14 My friends Mason (and his Daughter), Steve (and his son) and Chad (with his son and father) met up at my house in Tooele at 9AM to begin a 4 day 3 night circumnavigation of the Great Salt Lake with Me and my eldest Kahlan. The basic plan was to head west on the pony express trail until we reached gold hill for the first night's camp. From Gold hill we would north west to Wendover NV for our last fuel stop in 350 miles and to pick up the last member of the trip Sam who couldn't get away until Friday morning. Lucin Utah and the Sun tunnels would be our lunch stop on day 2 and then to head to the highest point (85** feet) in our trip for our planned 2nd night in the sawtooth National Forest. Day 3 we would head east and north touching into Idaho for a short time and seeing the 5 house town of Standrod then head south east as directly as possible to Locomotive springs on the north point of the Great Salt Lake (GSL). A quick visit to the Spiral Jetty and then down to Promontory point for camp 3. Day 4 would just be driving from Camp 3 home on I15.
As the old Maxim states the The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry this is why on any trip of this sort you have to be willing to be flexible and enjoy the changes as they come and not let the little modifications in plan ruin the trip everyone on the trip was well prepared to go out and have a great time even with the changes to the plan that happened :)

In the end we didn't camp at the highest point of our journey due to cold weather.. We missed the spiral jetty due to fuel issues and finding out that our route wouldn't be a loop down to promontory point and we didn't camp at promontory point as it is all private property instead we camped just south of Brigham city in a KOA camp but still had a great time.. here are some pics

Kahlan Stretching at our first stop Simpson springs

Steve's Jeep heading down the road
Camp 1 just south of Gold Hill. Yep that is a Snake with gunshot wounds..

We took a quick stop on day 2 at Lucin to look around then headed back down to the sun tunnels where Sam tested his climbing skills

From there we headed north through the grouse creek area to the high point of our tour
Camp Day 3 Nice little sheep corral where the kids dug up old bones
Lunch at Locomotive s

Got to see some trains (This was cooler when I was a kid was said by almost everyone at some point well all but the kids said it that is)
Heading down the east road towards promontory pointProof that you can sleep a 6'4" person in the back of an XJ

Friday, May 8, 2009

Boot repair gone bad

So I the seam on the back of my full grain leather boots had started to split a little bit so I figured I would take it into a cobbler to be repaired. I took them in.. made sure that the guy knew it had a Gortex liner that I didn't want screwed up and that I wanted a couple of other things touched up as well.

Steve's Custom Shoe Services
1767 S State St
Salt Lake City, UT 84115
(801) 556-3452

Not only was the guy unfriendly, he didn't pull up the liner on the boot and just sewed right through it, Didn't trim excess threads off, did a single seam instead of the double seam that was there. Only did the area that was pulling up with no overlap on the area that wasn't pulling up. Didn't even give them the quick shine that I have gotten every other time I have taken my boots in somewhere for soles or any other repair..

Basically they guy did a half assed job of repair that if it lasts the summer I will be surprised and I will end up getting a new pair of boots long before I should have to :(