Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Living Planet Aquarium

So last Thursday between running errands I saw the living planet aquarium and figured I had some time to kill so me and the girls went in. to have a look around. Kahlan got to touch a sea star and some other poky thing and a big flat thing that kills crazy austrailians :)..

now for the pics.. didn't get a lot of good ones at all as someone was too lazy to change the settings :(

Green Eyed Monster

On Saturday I got the opportunity to go into GEM again only this time I was leading the group (John, Cameron, Sam, Jeff, Spencer, Shane). Everyone had a great time that I know of. The water level and mud level was much lower this time compared to the last time I was there a few months ago. I went through the loop a couple times and finally got to go into the pool room (I still have bruises from forcing my body in there). The great thing about GEM is that it is just one giant formation and that is odd for a cave.

Again please note this Cave is on private property and you need permission from the owners to go in. People not following the rules will cause the owners to stop saying yes to entering the caves and mines in the area.

The wonderful pics from in the cave and thanks to Shane and everyone else who was holding flashes all around the place :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cave Locations - Grottos and the good old boys club

So I ran across the article today regarding caving and how to find the locations of caves in Utah. Basically why you have to join the good old boys club and they have to like you...


As the Nutty Putty Cave Access Manager, I had the privilege to visit the cave on June 15 with some very experienced cavers and our dialogue while driving along the west side of Utah Lake led to the unrealistic expectations of many new cavers that join the grotto. It was obvious that the biggest new member disappointment deals with not being able to find out where all of the Utah caves are located.

New cavers see the very low $15 annual Timpanogos Grotto membership fees and think, “Wow, for just $15 I can join and then receive access to all the known caves of Utah.” That is far from reality.

I know very few cavers that know where more than 20 of the hundreds of Utah caves are located. Most cavers get exposed to Utah caves one cave at a time. Line upon line, precept upon precept. As they gain the favor of a Trip Leader qualified for a certain cave and they prove themselves by being responsible in that cave,word spreads that they can be trusted and another Trip Leader will invite them along to another cave.

What happens when you and Trip leader don't get along? These trip leaders with all of this power to show you the cave - how are they chosen (well they aren't chosen they are part of the good old boys club and somehow you just happened to get a in for this one trip). I know a few people who have been caving for more than 15 years and know the location of maybe 10 caves in Utah. These guys really know there stuff too and are respectful of the cave and all it entails. Unfortunately they don't agree with all of the Grotto decisions and well don't get invited to many new caves in the area.

The biggest disqualifier occurs when the new caver is reckless and unwilling to follow direction from the Trip Leaders. Over time the responsible new cavers become exposed to many caves. It should be noted that most private cave trips have a purpose far beyond just experiencing the thrills of the cave. This may include cleaning the cave, installing monitoring equipment, or mapping a new section of the cave.

Who are they trying to kid? they do this stuff to make sure they can see more caves and have more thrills and to tow the line otherwise they wouldn't get invited to see new caves to enjoy the trills that that entails. Mapping is a hobby to some people in the caving community in case you didn't know.. why not spend 12 hours in a cave looking at every little bit of the cave and have people think that you are great.

So why can’t joining the Timpanogos Grotto be like buying a “Map of the Stars Homes” that would allow new grotto members the ability to just start touring all of the local Utah County caves? Why? Cavers destroy caves. Cavers destroy cave habitat. Cavers destroy cave features. Cavers are just plain bad for caves... But wait a minute. If cavers do all of this damage, then why are their caving grotto clubs like the Timpanogos Grotto?

The Grottos are established to teach good caving ethics and help preserve caves. People join the Grotto to get involved with cave conservation, preservation, exploration, and mapping. Unfortunately, many cavers just want the next rush, the next challenge, the next video game type experience. And this is why most seeking the high adventure adrenalin thrill never get to do it with caves. Out of frustration, they end up moving on to other adventure sports like bungie jumping and hang gliding and leave the subterranean world behind.

We only want followers, and people to do work. if you are not part of the group you don't get to know where these caves that are mostly on public lands are because you are not IN

But there are a few of us who learn to love caves and want to invest time with conservation, preservation, exploration, and mapping projects. Those that express these desires to help get invited on private cave trips. One of the first thing new grotto members realize is that they will rarely see highly published cave trips attempting to garner huge masses of the public. Instead, most cave trips are planned in private amongst groups cavers that have proven themselves to be involved for more than just the immediate rush of adrenalin.

And this is where the Nutty Putty Cave fits so nicely into the Utah County caving experience. The Nutty Putty Cave is a sacrificial exploration cave that allows beginner to novice cavers the adrenalin rush in a rather safe horizontal caving environment. It is difficult to do any real damage to the Nutty Putty Cave because there are no delicate features. Most of our visitors have no grand motives of conservation, cleaning, or mapping. Instead, they are there for the thrill of making it through the next tight spot and into that next room. The Nutty Putty Cave fuels the desire to explore more caves and this is where we invite our Nutty Putty Cave visitors to give caving more thought and hopefully we can inspire you to join the Timpanogos Grotto and learn to care for our other great caving resources. And while you won’t be immediately flooded with cave access directions, you will find opportunities to both enjoy and preserve the caves of Utah.

Yep.. it is going to take me a while to find a bunch of caves that I can go visit.. but I don't like the grottos ideals of scocialism :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

0 out of 3.. A Deseret Peak Adventure

Well the last 3 planned trips have been a bust due to the environment.. Today's trip as well. We planned to take a hike up to Deseret peak (the highest peak in Tooele county) then we would hike over to south willow lake and make camp coming home in the morning.
Unfortunately the environment had a different set of rules today. I had not expected the amount of snow that was still on the trail leading up to the summit and then on the summit ridge was still a ton of snow. To top it off it had a nice sheet of ice on it that made kicking steps very difficult. Honestly crampons would have made a huge difference. on top of this a huge storm had just begun at 10AM dropping snow and rain at the lower levels. We decided to call it a bust on the peak and head down a ways to find a place to camp.
Once down far enough for a decent place to camp it was 11AM - umm I don't want to be holed up in a tent all day long. So we decided to hike further and see if we could cut over to south willow lake. by the time we got to the cutoff is was about 11:30 (you move so much faster going down hill) by then Michelle had fallen and hurt her shoulder and I had tweaked my ankle . Whatever- we have been denied so we quit while we were ahead.
So home we went. on the way out of the canyon the rangers were closing the road up the narrows as they expected the storm to wash out the road and make it impassable (well that is one lucky thing right). In short we went for a 7 mile hike in nasty weather with 35lbs packs on our backs :)..
Here are some pics!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Fishing in the Uintas

So Sam and I were originally planning on summiting Lone Peak last weekend. unfortunately the weather wasn't on our side so we decided to be safe and not go.

Instead we took off Friday afternoon with the tent trailer to go up SR150 up by mirror lake and camp where we could near a lake and spend the time fishing. We ended up at Lost Lake just south of Lilly and Teapot lakes (the gates were still closed to the campground). We did have to make our way through some deep (3-4 foot deep consolidated) snowdrifts to get to a camping spot. A little use of the winch, a bit of digging with the little shovel and a heavy foot on the gas got us through. once camp was set up we walked down to the lake and threw our lines in. I got the only fish on day one..

Day 2 we woke up and started fishing the stream with no luck then headed to the lake. by the end of the day we had 21 fish for the trip, I had even got 2 fish at once a couple of times. most of them were rather small fish and were thrown back but by noon we had a couple nice fish that we decided to wrap in foil and cook on the fire. We were a little too relaxed and ended up burning both of them. Luckily we got some more large ones for dinner. we called it a day around 5 when the snow started to come down. We fried the fish up in the trailer and had a nice little dinner. During the day others had used the trail that we had forged the other day making it much easier and we were confident about getting out the next day without shovels or winches :).

Some hot coco and 100 proof cinnamon schnapps gave us a bit of extra incentive to relax. At this point we figured out that we both had some sun damage to our faces but on top of that both of us had failed to wear sunglasses (mine because they were lost the last weekend, Sam because he is a tard and had them on his forehead all day). with bloodshot eyes we decided sleep would be good.

Sunday morning we woke up and had coffee and oatmeal and packed up the tent trailer and our gear. As we were hooking up the trailer the snow started to fall hard and neither of us wanted to deal with the snow so we headed home.

In short it was a great trip, 21 fish total, I got the first and the most and Sam got the largest. -- No pictures were taken during the trip---

Hey.. I found a pic that was taken a few days after we were there.. when we broke the snow here it was at least2.5X higher :)