Sunday, August 29, 2010

Park Rangers are like the Police: stay away

To hike the Narrows, you need a permit. The group size is also limited – to something like 12 people or so. In our hike last Saturday, as I mentioned in an earlier post, me, my dad, and my brother-in-law finished very late. We were part of a larger group – with people on two permits. At the beginning of the hike, we separated into a bunch of smaller groups and, like I said, when I got out, there were just 3 of us. My sister and a friend waited at the end of the trail, so when we left the park, there were 5 of us.

Earlier that evening someone in that earlier group called the park ranger to tell them that we were still in the canyon. So, when we finally got out of the park, there was a ranger waiting for us. We climbed off the shuttle and he came rushing up to us. Not because he was concerned about our well-being, but because he wanted to give us a ticket for being in too large a group.

This guy was a real jerk. First of all, all he had to do was to look and see that there were only 5 of us. And, given that someone else had called much earlier in the day, he could easily deduce that other people had finished much earlier (there’s no cell reception in the narrows). Next thing we know he’s threatening to give us a ticket for being in too large a group (there were only 5 of us so we were way below the limit). In the end, he just wrote a warning.

I’m sure this guy was upset that he was pulled away from his favorite TV show. Instead of caring about the people in the park, we were an annoyance to him.

It’s just another example of the principle I teach my kids: Only in the direst of emergencies do you ever call the police. Once they show up, you don’t know what kind of havoc they’ll cause. They’re just as likely to shoot you as they would an intruder. Call someone you trust. If you’re ever out doing something and you come in contact with the police, don’t talk to them. Don’t say anything.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Narrows

This past weekend I hiked the Zion Narrows with my sister, brother-in-law, and father. I must first begin by noting – I forgot how stunningly beautiful the entire Zions National Park area is. The Narrows hike is roughly 16 miles. You start in a field with a stream running through it. By the time you’re finished, you’ve hiked through areas where the walls are 800 feet high (or more) and where in some places the canyon walls are no more than 10 feet wide. The rocks are all sorts of colors, from pinks, to reds, to browns, to blacks. You’ll see trees growing out of cracks you’d be hard pressed to cram 2 fingers into. From beginning to end, it’s an amazing experience.

My dad is almost 70 – and as a result, he’s a little slower than most hikers. We started at 8:30 AM and finished at 10:00 PM. I’ve hiked the Narrows twice before. This was the first time I hiked at night. For an hour or so, we had bats flying all around us. They would skim the water and fly right by you. Very cool. After the sun went down, we were able to hike with the moonlight lighting the canyon rim. Ah, what a great time.

I didn’t get a chance this time, but need to visit again and climb Angels Landing. I want to do it with the fam. We’ll have to rope them together for some parts. Can’t have a wee one taking that one big last step.

What a great hike!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Riding home from work tonight, 2 guys passed me LIKE I WAS STANDING STILL. Uugghh. Maybe I need to start passing on dessert more often...

Friday, August 13, 2010

So, If I’m denied an entrance at the pearly gates, I might respond, “Well, can I just go to Fairplay, Colorado then?”

For our family vacation this year, we visited Colorado. We left on Thursday afternoon and drove to Denver. From Louisville, it’s 1100 miles or so. We drove straight through – arriving in Denver around noon. Elane and I were toast, so we just hung out at the Sheraton (south of downtown off I-25) that night. On Saturday, we drove to the Deer Creek area, just west of SW Denver. It was a beautiful. SW Denver is a beautiful area.

Sunday, we attended church somewhere south of the loop and then took Highway 285 to Fariplay. It was nice, headed into the mountains, while everyone else was driving back. We camped in the Fourmile campground just SW of Fariplay. It’s beautiful back there. We were there Sunday through Thursday.

One morning we did a hike up Mt. Sherman (14,125 or so). The entire family started the hike and probably made it to 12,500 or so. Looking at how fast we were burning through water, Elane and the younger ones went back to the car. I continued with the 4 oldest. We made it to the saddle. Then Joshua and I continued to the Summit. I didn’t have a camera with me!!! so there’s no record of the summit. : )

On Thursday, we drove to Dillion and camped there until Saturday. On Friday, Hyrum, Allison and I climbed Quandry Peak (14,265 or so). I was very impressed with how they did. Hyrum was really cruising. Allison did great as well. Quandry is a tough hike. The final push is just a straight climb up a fairly steep slope. Nothing technical, just a grind. On the way down, we came across 4 – 5 mountain goats. At times, they were within 10 feet of Hyrum and Allison. They thought that was the highlight of the hike.

I had several people stop me and ask Hyrum’s age. One guy asked how long he’d been hiking. I looked at my watch and said, “What time is it?” There were a lot of people climbing Quandry that day. I’m envious of the ones for whom this was a day hike.

We ended up camping in Dillon in the same spot we camped last year – site 53, in the campground just off the Dam Road.

Then, there was the drive back… We left Saturday at noon and drove all day. It’s the hardest thing I do, watch the mountains disappear in the background. We drove to somewhere in Kansas and spent the night. Sunday, in the car again, all day. We arrived home at 12:30 in the morning.

The kids were great in the car. They’re packed like sardines in there.

I’m drawn to the mountains. It’s hard to explain. I think there’s something to climbing those big peaks. I think there’s something to my kids being able to say they’ve done it. When you’re climbing that mountain, it’s only you. You can look down from the top and see that you did something impressive. I hope it helps them.

I think a portion of my heart resides in Colorado.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

High in Colorado

Ah, just finished a glorious week in Colorado.

Details to follow. Just a few of the highlights...
  • Did a beautiful hike in a canyon just west of SW Denver (Deer Creek I think)
  • Summited Mt. Sherman with Joshua (Hyrum, Hannah, and Allison made it to the lower saddle)
  • Summited Quandry Peak with Allison and Hyrum.
It rained every day - and I wasn't prepared for that.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.