Wednesday, May 30. 2007
Well, today I found the will to get out and work my.. body. The thought was that I would go summit Mount Superior and Monte Cristo, but it didn't quite turn out that way.
After work I went home and grabbed my effects, and drove myself up the canyon while listening to Glenn Beck. There's not nearly as much traffic up there in the summer, and it feels good. In the winter I feel like the canyon I love is being over-run by pot heads and ski-bums. It is no kindness to me. I go up to do a winter climb and I feel like the skiers want me out (esp. backcountry skiers). But once that snow melts, it's mine again. The road is clear of most traffic and the trails are only for those who walk (or run?).
Things started off well. I got a good brisk pace going and headed up the road from the parking area. After not too long the road turned to dirt. My brisk pace got me off the blocks, but soon I was slowing due to the steep nature of the trail. I had almost forgotten. My mind always turns on me during the first hour or so of a climb. The "wow.. this sucks. You like being lazy, remember? Just give up and go to Taco Bell" thoughts started creeping in. But I had fresh encouragement in my system from listening to the Bob Lonsberry show earlier today. Basically he was speaking against self-doubt and self inhibiting behavior. So, I continued onward and upward. Then I realized something. The wind was blowing, it was significantly cooler in the mountains than in the valley and I was not dressed properly.
Looking at the scenery along the way to Cardiff Pass
I don't know what I was thinking. I should know that on top of an 11,000 foot peak the weather will be.. chilly. But I dressed in shorts and a short sleeve shirt and neglected to bring a jacket. Well, doubts started in, but I still had a goal in sight. I was going to make it to the pass or bust. Come wind and chill, I was going to get to the pass. So I continued on. Through a mini forest I went on. The evergreen trees were sparse and short, but it was a welcome change from the rock and prairie along the trail. In the trees the grade has become less steep, but it was not to stay. After, it got steeper than before and switchbacks ran up the final slope to the pass. I didn't look too far ahead at this point, and I didn't realize how close to the pass I was until only a minute or so before I got to it. Just as I thought, the wind was howling on top. No way I would be able to continue on to Superior, or Monte Cristo. The sun would continue lowering in the sky, and the temperatures would only drop. So I sat down on the leeward side of the pass to stay clear of the wind and had a little bit of a snack. Another hiker came up and sat a ways down the pass. I left before him and started my way back down the trail.
Looking down to whence I came, from Cardiff Pass.
I generally prefer to run down trails. Why fight gravity going up AND down? So, I did, though I took it easy. I didn't want any sprained ankles. The descent was uneventful, and before I knew it I was staring my Jeep in the face once again. I didn't get any summits, but my main purpose was archived. I woke myself up. Every now and then I fall into a sleep-walk state of life. I'm always tired, but can't sleep. I have plenty of energy, but am too lazy to do anything about it. Nothing ever works quite as well as it could. But after smacking myself on the hillside, I am awake. My lungs are clear, and I feel like they are working better. My mind is more alert and awake. Best of all, I think I'll be able to sleep a lot easier tonight. So, today was a pretty good day, even if I did "watch" the first half of the Jazz game. Okay, I was in the same room as a TV which had the game on and I was doing my best to ignore it. But it looks like maybe we can all move on with our lives tomorrow. I'm such a killjoy, aren't I? Good.
Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Elevation Gain: 1,370 ft
Avg. Elevation gain per mile: 979 ft
Highest point: 10,020 ft
Saturday, December 30. 2006
I have officially been awake for 30 hours streight now. Why? Because I'm nuts, most likely. But in all reality it is because I needed to get up early (3:00 am-ish) to go climb a mountain, so I decided to just not go to sleep. I guess it has worked out, but not perfetly. Let's see what I've learned today.
-I've learned a new meaning to 'cold'. Cold is when the drinking tube in your backpack freezes solid, preventing hydration. Cold is taking off a pair of gloves to expose another pair of gloves so that you can have some dexerity. Cold is being excited when your toes hurt because it means you can feel them again. When I spent 6 hours in 'Cold', I returned to my car, shed layers, and was warm in my car, without the heater on, and I could see my breath.
-I've learned that blogging is really hard to do after being awake for 30 hours.
-I've learned that when you're trying to be sneaky somewhere where people are sleeping, and you think there is no way you can get any louder, someone will send you a text message.
_I've learned that underscores are kinda cool... that's it, I'm losing it. I'ma go to bed, but I leave you will some cool pictures of this mornings adventures into the cold.
Sean and Travis with the high peaks of the Cottonwood ridge in the background.
Travis (in the distance), and Sean (close) crossing the frozen Red Pine lake.
Me on the frozen Red Pine Lake, December 30, 2006
Saturday, November 4. 2006
More pictures of this trip are available HERE
I had talked to Travis about getting out hiking, and hopefully summit a peak. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the Oquirrh range. So Travis came by my house and picked me up early in the morning, and we drove out to good ol Ophir. The weather was on the grim side as we drove through the old mining town. The cloud level was rather low and it was raining ever so softly. Past the town, the road turned to dirt, and we started keeping an eye out for our turnoff up the South Fork Ophir Canyon. Well, when the road ended, we knew we had gone too far. So we turned around and started looking a little harder. We found our road, but it was blocked off, closed to vehicles. Dang. This would add another 6 miles to our round trip distance. We shrugged it off with what I believe to be good style, and started hiking.
The terrain on the road was very easy, which was a bummer because Travis' blazer could have easily made it up the road. There was only one point where the road was more rugged, definitely preventing a passenger car from making it.
After 3 miles on the road we reached the saddle where we were going to park. The cloud level was only a few hundred feet above us, but they looked safe so we continued on. We started toward the ridge, and our hiking got significantly steeper within seconds. Neither of us could find a trail, so we figured it would be off trail hiking from this point on. We were hiking straight up the face, and it started snowing on us. We started joking about how people must think we're nuts for wanting to be out in conditions like this. The snow was sparse and didn't last long. After a particularly steep section of the hill I came to a realization. The kind of realization that you only get when you realize there is a trail and that you accidentally found it. This made the going much easier. There were actually switchbacks. It didn't take long before we were up the face and on the Lewiston ridge. We continued to follow the trail onto a plateau. I found the place rather enticing for some reason. There were a few patches of snow still on the ground here, but nothing stopping us from progressing. The trail took us onto some south facing slopes, and as we cut across them we saw a large herd of deer or antelope. It was a really cool sight. As we would cross a ridge spur, we would see them crossing the next one. The herd we were following made the hiking a little more interesting, and it distracted us from the terrain, which may have been a bad thing, because eventually, we lost the trail. There were areas that looked like they could be trail, but in all reality, they weren't. So We decided we must be close to Lewiston peak, and we headed up to a saddle. This was steep and covered in sage brush. No fun.
Clouds over Lewiston Peak
At the saddle, there was more realizing that we were completely lost. The clouds were thick and route finding was near impossible. We went to the east where we thought Lewiston might be, but we summited something too fast, and it had too little prominence to be anything. But this was a good place to stop and eat lunch, and hopefully the clouds would part and we could see our goal. There was a sun bleached skeleton of an elk that I had my meal with. I will forever call this point "Dead Elk Peak". Well, the clouds didn't part so much and we needed to get moving, so we went back west to the saddle. There was a much larger peak west of the saddle, and we started going up it, but decided it was unwise to continue not knowing where we were or where we were going. So, we retraced our path, planning on returning to the car. After dropping down the steep slope, and crossing a ridge spur we found the trail again, and followed it. As I led us, I noticed something wasn't right. We were going steadily uphill, and I couldn't recall going downhill like this. When we reached another saddle, I knew exactly what was going on. We had missed a switchback, and then accidentally taken it on the way back. I knew exactly where we were and where we had to go, and the clouds had even parted so I could see flat top. Unfortunately we had wasted too much time, and now had to go back anyway. So we did. We followed the trail back down, caught the switchback, and before long we were mindlessly walking down the dirt road. All in all, it was a fun experience. The Oquirrh range doesn't hold a lot of appeal to me, but it's always a thrill to hike with Travis. And besides, we got to visit the center of the Universe.
Flat Top in the sun
Ophir. The center of the Universe.
Monday, September 4. 2006
See more photos of this trip HERE
I was packing up my room in preparation to go to the MTC when Cloey called me and asked if I wanted to go for a hike. How could I refuse a last chace to get out. So she, Jarom and Isaac came over and we drove up to Alta. Being a holiday, the place was packed, and we had to take a shuttle up to the trailhead from the town. It worked out well though. Once we reached the trailhead via shuttle we went on up the trail to catherine pass. At first Jarom was carrying Isaac in his backpack. About halfway to the pass I took him to ease Jarom's Burden. Nearing the pass, there is a nice meadow. We stopped there to give some rest, eat some food, etc. They ended up changing Isaac's diaper. I got a bunch of good pictures of Isaac on the trail, playing with dirt and flowers and such. I'll link to a gallery page when I get it up and working. Once we reached the pass, Cloey and Jarom thought it was time to get back, as Isaac was getting preety tired. We sat at the pass for a few minutes, and had some other hikers take our pictures. At that point, I took off for the summit and they went back down. I didn't want to miss my last chance to summit a peak (however insignificant) for two years.
The trail went fast and easy, just like I remembered it. The peak was just as crowded as one would expect, yet I still felt at peace up there. Until I ended up on the phone with Jason making plans for sushi...
I took off back down the trail after a time. I was hauling it, like I usually do on downhill terrain. There isn't much to tell durng this part because I basically got tunnel vision until the trailhead. I got there just after Jarom, Cloey and Isaac did. Appearantly, Isaac hadn't made it awake.
Friday, August 18. 2006
This entry is not only a trip report like my other entries, but a detailed explanation of what happened on Wednesday the 16th of August, 2006. For those on the trip, those that came to my aid, and those who are just downright curious, I write this.
The trip consisted of Ken Larsen, Sean (last name?), Steph Larsen, Slade Knightly, Jason Larsen, Lars Sundwall, Myself, Kevin Larsen, Jeremy Larsen, and Zach Larsen.
We left on the 15th of August from Sandy Utah and headed to the Elkhart Park trailhead just out of Pinedale Wyoming. We got there and began the arduous trek into the back country. After about 9 miles of hiking around 10,000 feet, we reached our first camp at Seneca Lake. We were all tired and ready to sleep. After cooking up some food during a small storm, we noticed that the storm had caused a forest fire somewhere. We considered it, but went to sleep anyway.
I stop here to point out something. I was sleeping on a 1 inch think air mattress in a sleeping bag in close quarters with Jason. This is the usual setup, and I don't say this by way of complaining. I slept for 12 hours straight that night. I didn't wake up in the middle of the night, I didn't hardly stir, I'm sure. This has never happened before. Anyone who has backpacked before knows the true meaning of this paragraph.
In the morning, I felt like I hadn't slept. I got up, ate some oatmeal, got some water and packed up. I was moving slowly, as were Jason and Lars, so the entire group minus the three of us moved off down the trail to the next camp. They figured we would just catch up, as usually we are monsters on the trail. We left about an hour after them. I made it as far as Upper Seneca Lake, and couldn't bring myself to go farther. I was in pain, I didn't feel well, and with each step, I was moving farther from the trailhad. I knew it wasn't smart. I like to play things smart. I could make another day of hiking, but not 4. On top of my logical thinking, I prayed for divine guidance. Nothing in me said to go on. Nothing even said to stay where I was. I had the strong, clear impression of two words: Get out.
I knew I was causing a logistical nightmare and that I would ruin the trip for at least two others, but I could not deny the impression which I received. Jason and Lars went on with haste to find and tell the others and devise a plan of action. I started back down the trail. I wouldn't see them again for 12 hours. I went for a mile and stopped just under the pass to get to Seneca Lake at around noon. I waited there for three hours, figuring that Jason and Lars could get to Island Lake and back by then. We figured Island lake because Ken had stated that we would stop to fish there. When 3:00 rolled around, I knew that I had to get moving if I wanted to get out by dark. At first I moved slowly, hoping they would catch up still, but sped up as the journey went on. Had I known what they were up to, I would have gone full speed ahead from the start. I stopped a few times, but the largest was at Hobbes Lake to filter water. It was the last big chance to get water before the railhead 5 miles later. After Hobbes, I stopped on an outcropping on top of a hill to make a phone call. I called my mom, and explained that I would be hiking out today. I also said that I was alone and didn't know exactly where anyone was, or what they were doing. I also expressed the desire for someone at home to drive up for me, as I wasn't sure I could depend on anything at this point. I also left a voice mail on Jason's phone updating him on my status. As it turned out, he didn't receive the voice mail until he was at Photographers Point, which was my next big stop, where I ate some tuna and tortillas.
I had set my GPS to 'trackback', that is, to follow the trail I had made back to the beginning. It said I had 5 miles left from there to the cars. This was a bit discouraging, as it seemed too long. I started off once again, and didn't stop for more than a minute until I reached the bottom a few hours later. I called this the death march pace. I would either make it where I was going, or march to death. It felt like I was going at least 1 MPH faster than my GPS was saying. The sun was slowly setting in the west, and I made it to the parking lot about a half hour before sundown. I dropped my pack, and I tried to figure out "what now?"
I wandered around the parking lot searching for cell service. I got some patchy service and attempted to call home. I could hear my mom, but I couldn't transmit, so she couldn't hear me. I decided that I had to get through to her, as my call probably just made her more worried. I walked down to the road and talked to someone who was walking around. His name was Adam. He had spent about the last month traveling around the western US alone seeing the sites. We walked to his truck and he drove me down to where I could get cellular service. I called home. My mom said that my dad and brother, Matthew, had started driving an hour ago. I called them, told them how to get to the trailhead from Pinedale, and drove back up to the cars. I rolled out my sleeping bag in the back of Sean's truck, and tried to rest. The night grew darker. More stars and the Milky Way appeared. I never got any sleep, but it wasn't all bad. After all, I didn't have to walk any more. About two hours later, I heard footsteps. I ignored them at first as my cranial artery had been pulsating on my sleeping bag, making the sound of distant footsteps (at a very fast pace, might I add) for hours now. When it wasn't my heartbeat, my breathing had emulated footsteps as well. Nothing could have emulated Jason desperately yelling my name. Desperate, because if I wasn't there, it was all for not.
Jason and lars had been 5 hours behind me (2 at the trailhead, 3 below Seneca). No way had they just gone to island. Sure enough, they had gone all the way to upper Titcomb lake. The next camp for all but those planning to go to the peak. They had hiked 21 miles that day, and it showed, as they were beat. I had been lying down for 2 hours, so I was rejuvenated enough to drive the van. I explained to them that I had people coming and that we should just leave the van and stash the key somewhere, but there was no convincing them. I drove down to service, and called my dad. I told them to turn around, but they had more sense than that. They said to meet us in Pinedale. So, we drive to a gas station, got some fruit loops, milk, and foam bowls, and ate as we waited for them. By chance, they pulled up next to us in the gas station around midnight. We started driving out, and maybe 10 minutes down the road we pulled over to do some relieving. Both for bladders, and my driving. I was just too tired, so I rode with Matthew in his Jeep and my dad drove the van back. It was a good thing they came after all, because all three of us that hiked could not have driven safely.
At a lower elevation, I do feel better. My body is still broken, and I still doubt I could have done the trip to it's apex (Gannett). I don't know why I felt a strong impression to "get out", and I may never know. But I felt it, and I cannot deny it. I do not excuse myself of anything I have caused through my following those promptings.
For Jason and Lars, I apologize for the trouble I heaped on you, and apologize for ruining the trip for you. Though you expressed that you still enjoyed the trip and aren't too angry, I still feel as though I owe more apology.
For Dad and Matthew, I again thank you for coming to my aid. Though, I MIGHT have made it without you, I had no idea what to expect and felt that I should cover my bases. In the end, It was definitely a VERY good thing you were there to relieve me from driving.
For everyone else on the trip, I hope I didn't ruin your time. I didn't want to ruin it, and it seems I didn't. Thanks for your understanding.
Firefox • Konqueror • Safari • Opera
note: Internet Explorer is not supported and may not render the pages properly.