29 October 2006

Fruita bike trip

Good trip to Fruita with the Cooper family. Nice biking - beautiful area this time of year with the Cottonwoods & Willows changing colors.

View more pics here!

26 October 2006

Snow day - vehicles stuck - power outage - whadaday!

I drove home last night looking at the continental divide. Didn't look like snow to me. Forecasted was 5-8" for Boulder. We usually get more up here.

Morning proved me wrong and the forecasters right. We were getting hammered. By the time I trudged down and back on the paper run, I had 1/4" of snow on my hat. I had also decided that Mia was never going to get the Focus down the drive which is downhill. Eleven inches of the heavy stuff does that - floats lows clearance cars that is.

So I fire up the mighty Dodge/ Cummins w/ the crappy tire treads (Yeah - you see where this is going ..) and make a path down the drive. At the end of the drive, I couldn't stop. It was slick. I drove down about 1/2 mile and turned around in a convenient drive and headed back up. It was slick. Not only did I not make it UP my drive, I didn't make it TO my drive (close though). I ended up fighting to stay out of the ditch and finally parked it.

I volunteered to drive Julia to daycare so I could pick up a pair of chains. The 3rd store finally had chains. What a morning! I drove the Focus back up. (The Focus has studs but only front wheel drive.) It made it to the base of the drive before spinning AND stopping. That's different from driving up the road below, where I was ONLY spinning. After some rocking, I headed it downhill to park at the intersection. Then put the chains on the truck's front wheels and drove it up the drive. I'll get the Focus later.

Finally I can get to work. Check email - then BEEP. Dang, except dang isn't really spelled dang. Power outage! Can't be long, right? I hope because w/o power and a internet connection, my work is sunk.

Put more wood in the stove. Check the power. Clean up my office. Check the power. Get more wood from the shed. Check the power. Clean up my counter. Check the power. Shovel the snow from the deck. Check the power. Put more wood in the stove. Check the power. Drive the Focus up the drive - barely. Check the power. Finally I start reading a great book. Beep. Hum. Power!! Six hours down. Six hours behind in work. What a day!

24 October 2006

Todd Skinner dead ...

This hit me hard! Todd is from my climbing generation and an icon, one of my icons ... The Supertopo forum talks about it here. No one really knows what really happened. My condolences to his family ...
O&O - stay safe.

22 October 2006

Second decent snow of the year

A view of Bear Peak from the back deck.

Another Canyoneering Trip - Maidenwater area, Poison Springs: Arsenic and Butler: WW Fork Oct '06

family trip: Yes
participants: Bob & Inga Wood, Chris Haalend & Sara Ballantyne, Mia & Steve Mestdagh and associated children.
Kid Sitting: Roselle

We woke to drizzle and threatening skies. We had been jacking around our plans after the forecast changed Thursday night. Now it was Saturday. We were all here and it was raining - as forecasted.

Mia suggested we do a loop down middle Maidenwater, below Rt 276, to Trachyte Creek and return to the road via Trail Canyon. This had a lower potential of flash flood danger, she said. We started here (topo map) It was an beautiful hike. Waterfalls sprouted from everywhere when the rain picked up. (as usual click on pic, for enlarged versions)

The next day dawned with fresh snow over the Henry Mtns (hybrid google map) and threatening clouds. Time to jack the plans around again. We needed a canyon with a lower flash flood potential than our planned canyon, the S. Fork of Maidenwater. Someone brought up the Poison Spring area - one of my old stomping grounds before others found it. We drove there and headed in to what is now called Arsenic (topo map). When Bill Daniels & I did it many years back we called it Tomb Raider. Names are names. The canyons are the same. I would be remiss, if I didn't tell the crew - once we're in, we're in. No escape routes. Not a hard canyon, except maybe the rap anchor setups, which in this case were washed away, but .. no escapes for a long ways. With the recent rains, the canyon had a lot of pools and a few swimmers if you weren't good enough at stemming. I've never seen it so wet. After the three raps, the sky turned to blue, leaving us to just have fun!! Water makes this canyon even more spectacular than normal. Lot's of good stemming action and a little swimming for most of us anyway. The stemming champioin, Chris Haalend kept his upper body dry throughout. He would meet his match the next day though .. :-) Pictured at left, above is Sara Ballantyne stemming through a tough section. Chris & I took the easier way, staying 15 foot higher. (A few words of warning on this canyon: the rap anchors may or may not be good for canyoneers of moderate experience. If you are not sure, please tie together 2-50m ropes and rap off from the tree at the top. Then you only need to carry a short rope for the rest of the canyon. Also there is FRESH and VERY DANGEROUS rockfall about midway through the canyon. Tread very carefully and quickly through this section. Keep your hands in your pockets. You'll see why.)

The next day we did Monkey Business (topo map) aka the West West fork of Butler Canyon. Another amazingly fun canyon with potholes. To the left is Mia climbing down to the keeper pothole, before the jump. Due to the rain, it wasn't a keeper this trip. This picture could also be labeled Mia climbing down to look for Steve. When I jumped in, I didn't have my pack on to slow me down. I kept going down - descending, through the water, expecting to hit bottom and kick back up towards the surface. I NEVER reached the bottom. Finally I was able to reverse direction and swam back up. I was under for at least 5 seconds with everyone wondering if I was coming back up. 5 seconds is a long time! This pothole is also the site where Chris met his match. He was doing well, then crashed and was a very wet Chris. After one more rap, we hit the open canyon. The canyon was lush & green. Beautiful. Good day!

Trip pics here!

17 October 2006

Picking the Pumpkin

Julia wanted a smallish pumpkin - something she could carry. Where to start?

Anderson Farm has more fun than picking pumpkins though.
See the rest of the pictures:

10 October 2006

Getting ready for winter

Putting the studded tires on .. Julia was a big help. Good timing since next day ... it snowed.

Introducing our new kitty, Juna

Yeah, it's Juna. Sort of like Juno but with an "a" :-) Juna replaces Bam Bam, who was killed 1-1/2 years ago by a mountain lion. I'll never figure out why Julia named the cat Juna but I like it.

02 October 2006

Girls Trip to Robbers Roost

Cammie, Judy, Dianne, Karen, Kathy, Diedra, Margie, Cindy and Mia headed out to Utah's Robbers Roost Area. On Saturday we did Larry Canyon and on Sunday we did Lost Springs Canyon. Lots of fun!!!! Let's do it again!

More pictures from our trip.