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Utah Vacation Update #3

July 26th, 2009 Comments off

We are home now… time for another update… let’s see where did I leave off…

Friday, June 17th, we stopped to see some more of the geyser basin stopping at the Black Sand Basin and the Midway Geyser Basin. The Emerald Pool and the Prismatic Pool were both fascinating, but I think the Prismatic Pool would have been much better seen from a higher elevation looking down on the pool. Afterward we stopped at the Brink of the Upper Falls to catch a view of some waterfalls. For dinner we went on a chuck wagon tour. We rode out in a covered wagon, seeing more bison along the way, before arriving at the cookout. The all you can eat buffet with cornbread, beans, steak, and more was great. I think I went back for 3 plates of food before all was said and done.

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Saturday we had to break camp and get over to Yellowstone Lake where we would spend a few hours kayaking. Chris was placed into a solo kayak where he quickly mastered steering without using the rudder and also feathered his paddles. He pulled some really nice turns and was pretty much showing off. Another party in the group was struggling and that particular mom could find no right in her son. Pretty sad. We did get to see some geysers right next to the lakes edge and a moose and wandered down to the lake for a drink. After kayaking we begin the drive south toward Moab, UT. On the drive out we spotted yet another Bison… this time walking in front of some steam vents.

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Sunday we were going to go to a dinosaur exhibit in Salt Lake City. After finding it closed, we decided to go take in the latest Harry Potter film showing at the theater next door. The slow paced weekend allowed us to get some laundry done, update the blog, and rest up before our climbing and canyoneering adventures were about to begin.

Monday evening we went out with our guide to Potash Road or Wall Street. This was our introduction to crack climbing in the desert. We climbed 30 Seconds Over Potash. This had to be the hardest 5.8 I’ve ever climbed. I know part of it is just being outdoors, and part of it is crack climbing, but wow that was hard! Afterward we moved over to Flakes of Wrath which is rated 5.9. It took me two tries, but I was able to get this one.

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Tuesday morning we started really early meeting Aimee at 6:00 and driving out to Indian Creek to climb Twin Crack (5.9) and then Gorilla (5.10). Gorilla pretty much did me in… I was exhausted at the end of the climb. I felt like most of climb I would make a couple of moves and then rest while Aimee had me on belay. Tuesday evening we followed Aimee’s husband, Jim, out to a campground in Arches National Park. The cloud cover was pretty heavy when we went to bed. I was hoping for a spectacular view of the stars as this is supposed to be the darkest skies in the U.S. I was rewarded when I awoke about 11:30pm and saw stars that were phenomenal.

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Wednesday morning Chris was itching to go on a bike ride so he took Jim’s bike and went on an 8-mile ride on a loop near the campground. Vicky and I drove the loop to capture some photos of some arches. Afterward, Jim took us on a canyoneering trip into Fry Canyon where we did a 75 ft repel and saw some Indian ruins. We also caught a glimpse of an owl – Great Horned Owl we believe. After the canyoneering we took a scenic drive on our way back to Moab. While the drive was nice, we didn’t get back to town until 8:30pm and we still needed to setup camp, get groceries, shower, eat and get ready for bed – and we have to meet Aimee and 6:30am. No rest for the weary!

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Thursday turned into one of the highlights of the trip as we set out to climb Ancient Arts in the Fishcer Towers area. Vicky and I both used aide (5.8 A0) to help us get up the route while Chris freed the route (5.10d) to the summit.

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Categories: Rock Climbing, Utah 2009, Vacations Tags:

Utah Vacation Update #2

July 19th, 2009 Comments off

Hi all. We are taking it easy today and I have some time to post to the blog. It has been nice being away from civilization for a while… but also nice to get back to the amenities that you don’t have while camping.

OK, first off… in case you haven’t heard… Chris had his best performance ever at the SCS Nationals and finished in a very solid 7th place.

We have been very busy over the last week enjoying the sites in Teton National Park as well as Yellowstone National Park. We have had the luck of seeing a lot of wildlife including a lot of bison, pronghorns, elk, and deer. We have also had the experience of seeing some big horn sheep, a bull moose, a beaver, a black bear, a coyote, and a few bald eagles. Keep your eyes on this post as I sort, edit and upload the pictures.

Here’s the play by play…

After the competition, we started heading north towards the Teton National Park. Since Chris had done so well at Nationals, we stuck around for the award ceremony. The awards ran late and we were not able to get as far as we were hoping for, but we did make it to Idaho on the west side of the Tetons. The next day we completed the trip stopping at the Granite Hot Springs near Hoback Junction. While we did not get in the water, we did capture a number of pictures, including some big horn sheep. The males with the big horns were further up the mountain, but we did capture some of the females and babies near the river.

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After getting to the campsite and getting our tents setup, we took a quick drive around where we caught our first sighting of bison. Throughout the trip we wound up seeing many more and many of which turned out to be more photogenic. We also found a beaver lodge alongside a roadside stream.

On the morning of Tuesday, July 14th, we took a wildlife scenic rafting adventure with Micheal. Michael was very knowledgeable and we had the opportunity to see Canadian Geese, Rocky Mountain Elk, bald eagles, and a beaver while rafting down the Snake River. Following the rafting trip, we were lucky enough to find a bull moose eating near the raft take out. We soon discovered that the easiest way to find the wildlife is to spot where there are a large number of people standing around with cameras and binoculars.

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Following the rafting trip, we took a drive north to see what we may see. Lo and behold, we caught a glimpse of a brown bear running across the field. We also saw a number of antelope… well they don’t call them antelope anymore… they are now called pronghorn. They are the fastest land animal on the North American Continent reaching speeds of 60 mph. The are not antelope, nor deer, but related to the giraffe. Wierd, I know. While on our drive, I found a location to capture a real nice reflection shot of the Tetons. Later in the afternoon, we took a tram ride to the top of some of the nearby ski slopes. From here, we had a real nice view of the surrounding area while Chris played in the snow.

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Later that evening, we took another wildlife tour via van with Kira as our guide. We saw some more bison, pronghorns, and even a coyote. The light was getting real bad by time we saw the coyote, but I did have a picture or two that were somewhat decent. Jason captured some video of the coyote which, by the way, was dealing with some digestive issues.

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Wednesday morning Jason was to begin his trip home, but before we dropped him off at the airport, we stopped to take some pictures of the most photographed barn in the world. We found a resturant where we could have breakfast while enjoying a great view of the Tetons. After dropping Jason off, we made our way up to Yellowstone and visited the Geyser Basin where we paitently waited for the Grand Geyser to erupt. Wow! what a show. More spectactular than Old Faithful, but it does not erupt as often as Old Faithful.

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Thursday we went white water rafting down the Yellowstone river. We did not get any pictures as I was not about to take my camera out on the white water. But we had a good time. One of the highlights was when Chris decided to board the other raft. The plan was to take out the other guide… as we neared the other raft, Chris moved to the front of our raft. Once in ranged, he half jumped and was half tossed into the other raft. Once in the raft, he immediately scrambled to the back of the raft and tackled the guide. He kept his feet moving until they both were in the water. The expression on the other person’s face was priceless as he had no idea why this kid was attacking him. The funniest part of the whole thing was that the person guiding the raft was not the real guide! They had switched places a little while back and nobody mentioned to Chris who he was supposed to take out. Afterwards we did go sit in a hot spring that flowed into the river and then took some photos of some elk that just hang around in the town Mammoth.

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Categories: Utah 2009, Vacations Tags:

2009 Nationals Update

July 12th, 2009 Comments off

Chris climbed very strong during the qualifying round yesterday having completed his first climb and then hitting usable surface on the final hold of his second qualifier route. 5 other climbers flashed both routes putting Chris in a very solid 6th place.

The semi-final round today was nerve racking as the route had some tricky moves that could easily be miss read. Chris worked his to about 4 or 5 holds from the finish. Chris is currently tied for 11th place and has earned a spot in the finals tomorrow. This will be Chris’ first trip into finals… good times!

Categories: Nationals 2009, Rock Climbing Tags: