Friday, May 29, 2009

Moab Rocks!!

I got tired of my old header so I made a new one rather than create a substantive blog post. This is my last free weekend before orientation next Wednesday. Maybe I will find the motivation to blog when I start school again and maybe I won't have anytime...we'll see.

Moab was sick, really really awesome sick. We biked Slick Rock Trail and Porcupine Rim Trail (with no shuttle...brutal ride to the trail head), and hiked in Arches National Park. I didn't want to leave..seriously. I improved my riding skills by a bunch and learned how much more I need to improve by another bunch. Overall, sweet trip.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Buckskin Gulch: Chocolate Pudding Edition I

My first week off of work, and I am slacking in the blogging department...tssk tssk. Mission heat biking acclimation isn't going to do itself.

So I have a recommendation for any adventurers out there in the Four Corners area. Get off your duff and make a reservation to hike through Buckskin is worth it.

I have done slot canyons before and I have hiked along rivers many many times, but never has the grandness of the extremes been this visible. It was deeper, longer, muddier, and more beautiful than any of canyon predecessors that had come before it.

When cliffs rise up 400 feet and you can't see the sky all while you can touch both sides of the canyon with your arms spread out, this is a cool feeling. I had a tired cranky moment about 7 hours into the hike where I thought, "I am tired of this dark narrow feeling and I just want to see the sky for for a minute". Then I promptly punched myself in the face and started to appreciate this amazingness of the above ground tunnel I was hiking through.

Without further ado, I present you a picture best writing.

We started the day a little later than planned so the sun was up bright and hot. We dropped into Buckskin Gulch via the Wire Pass entrance. The hike quickly drops into some small narrows and past huge red stone rock walls. Here is our group of 10.

After the Wire Pass trail head dumped into Buckskin, we quickly learned of the challenge of the weekend. Mud holes. Yup, the water spots I envisioned wading varied more from chocolate pudding to chocolate peanut butter consistency. It was ice cold and would try to suck your shoes off. I gave up trying to get clean after the second one when I realized that there was no water to wash off in and that another mud hole was lurking around the corner.

We stopped for lunch and hoped that the worst of the mud was wasn't. The next section of Buckskin Gulch is unbelievably narrow, high and beautiful. There were some fun down climbs, a lot of loose travel over boulders and then a whole series of fun deep mud holes to explore.

We finally rolled into part of the canyon that widened out enough to safely camp in about 8 hours after we started. It was a long, hard but amazing day and we were ready for food, a shower and bed. Except there was no water to wash muddy we stayed. We saw a small rattler snake near our camp but we were too tired to care. My knee was a little achy by the end of the day, but overall held up to my 35 lb pack with 5 liters of water quite nicely.

Most of the better photos by Dale Wiggins).

Day 2 to come....I am off to Moab Utah now for more adventures and will be back sometime next week.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

When Everything Falls Into Place

Tomorrow is my last day of work. It sounds so crazy to me.

Almost exactly two years ago, on May 7th 2007, I posted my first official blog entry (after my introductory post) as seen here.

In this post I wrote about my feelings of unsatisfaction I had with regards to my job and my purpose in life. This was one of the main reasons I started blogging, to force myself to analyze and confront emotions that I am very good at ignoring. This is what I said then.

Life, $, and the Pursuit of Happiness:

This is something I struggle with frequently. I work in a very 'high tech' company at the top of its game. Its competitive, corporate, political, and incredibility results oriented. We call ourselves a 'meritocracy' which means that your success at work is based upon the work you do and not who you know. While the entire concept of this is very questionable (is this ever completely true?), there is no doubt that they pay you well in return for sucking your soul out in your 6x6 cubicle. The question is, is IT worth it?

Money makes the world go round. Stop kidding yourself, its important. I deposit a lot of credits in the bank of happiness doing activities that are paid for by my soul sucking job. But sometimes I wonder if is isn't the cause of what is creating the large void to be filled in the first place. And maybe part of the missing passion of my job comes from the feeling that I don't really deserve the money in the first place.

I go back and forth over my thoughts on this but here is the bottom line. Money can't buy you happiness, and maybe some day I will quit my job and get paid badly to do something that really inspires me, but in the meantime, I will just take my pay check and use it to counter balance my life by reaching out and grabbing at opportunities that cross my path.

Now, on the eve of actually quitting my job, to pursue my new dreams, it is all becoming full circle. I am incredibly proud of the effort and resolve that I put in to make this happen. I am incredibly thankful for all the support I have received from my family and friends both physically and emotionally. And most of all, I am so lucky to have a best friend and husband who is willing to let me take this journey even though it impacts our life in many ways. So here's to being sentimental for one minute, and really appreciating that life sometimes works out just as it is mean to. I really believe that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Black Canyon Biking

Two weekends ago, before I hiked 21 miles down Buckskin Gulch (which was awesome btw, pics and recap coming soon), Sarah and I took a trip up to Black Canyon to do a little biking. I had never been up to this area before, but it is only about 30 miles north of the Phoenix metropolis so it is a nice quick drive up there.

We took off from the northern most point on the Black Canyon Trail and rode south. The trail immediately starts to climb up a ridge along tight switchback along a canyon with sheer drops on one side. It was instantaneously beautiful. I can't believe that I have never been to this trail before.

The trail then drops down and crosses the Black River before climbing once again up a large switchbacked ridge. The trail was created to be totally rideable as long as you are decent at navigating 180 degree turns. We got slightly heated during this climb as there is no shade here and it was a pretty warm day. I think more riding on this trail will have to wait to either cooler or much earlier in the morning times.

The trail drops back down to the river level and we decided to turn around at this point. As we neared the high point again, Sarah's somehow broke her derailer which made for an interested ride back to the car. She was able to ride the long downhill before resorting to pushing up the last couple of ridges. Overall, a great day on the bike. I was a little less comfortable on my clipless pedals with a narrow trail and a cliff on one side so I had a couple of nice tip overs in some rock gardens. Ah, oh well, live and learn I guess.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bees Knees

Things are looking up my friends. I can count the days left spent in by 6x6 personal box on less than two hands and I have a 3 day trip hiking the Buckskin Gulch Canyon this weekend which I am pretty jazzed about.

I had a very laid back but nice weekend wherein I learned about the death process of bees. It may sound traumatic, and actually it was. I know the bees rights people may send me nasty letters and I can only hope for a PETA sponsored youtube ad, but I was responsible for the complete devastation of literally hundreds of bees this weekend. See we have a slight bee infestation problem. They built their honey comb nest in a unaccessible part of our attic right above our master bathroom. For over a year now, we have had honey residue dripping down onto our toilet. It sounds worse than it is, because we never had any bees in the house or outside to really bother us, only our neighbors. But this past spring, the bees invited their friends to come live with them due to probable bad mortgages they had made on their other houses. And all the sudden bees dead and alive started appearing in our house.

This my friends, is a problem for me. I have the good luck and appealing smell necessary to always get stung by bees. So when our neighbor's yard guy came over and complained on Saturday that he had gotten stung 5 times because of the bees covering the wall of our house, I wasted no time in calling for the bee murderer, aka Jimmy The Bee Guy. He came, he sprayed, he told me we need to cut our ceiling out in order to remove the giant honeycomb sitting on it, and then he took my hard earned $175 with the pleasant refrain that it would take a couple of days for all the bees to die. What he failed to mention is that all the pissed off angry bees who had been gassed with nerve toxins would fly into my house and run crazy like into walls, the tv, windows and the floor all the while making terrible distress sounds which freaked me out.

I of course was home alone this weekend with my lovely husband being out of the state so disposal of the bee carcus job came down to yours truly. I don't like killing most living creatures, but let me just say that I don't feel sorry for bees or rats based on past experiences. They are basically all dead now, and Tom has promised to be in charge of honey comb removal project before new bees move into it.

Anyway, all in all it was a pretty beeeusy weekend and I did some wicked awesome 'cliff where you could fall to your death' biking on Sunday. Beeeusy...haha. Get it?