Just A Casual Monday

Having worked six days doing warehouse duties, and driving the 15 passenger van on a course transfer on an exhausting route, and doing a WalMart/Sam’s Club run to Grand Junction, Monday was a much needed day off. I had sort of planned to do some life maintenance, but it was my friend and co-worker Mat’s last day in Moab, so obviously we were going to do some activities instead.

And activities we did. I started the morning off with an hour long trail run at Negro Bill Canyon, which was incredibly gorgeous, and shaded. When its already 90 degrees at 8 in the morning, shade is not just a nice thing to have, its a necessity. It was a pretty sandy trail, which made for some difficult running, but it was much better than running up and down Spanish Valley Road like I do every day before work.

After that, I came home and spent several hours on Craig’s List looking for fall/winter jobs in every South and Central American country and almost every city in the western United States. Unfortunately, all that effort ended in failure for now.

Around lunchtime, we rallied. Mat, myself and two other Logistics Coordinators, Amy and Kate, all headed out to boat the daily section of the Colorado River. We loaded four kayaks on top of and into one of the instructor’s tiny Subarus and headed down River Road, which runs through through the most gorgeous canyons north of Moab. I think we looked pretty ridiculous with so many boats and people in one car, but it was worth it. The daily has a few class II and III rapids and it was really nice to get out of the heat and onto the river for the afternoon. It was so much fun and the views from the river are absolutely unreal. I wish I had a picture or two, but I don’t think my camera mixes too well with kayaking adventures.

We finished around 6:30, just in time to hit up Mi Ranchito, a cheap and delicious Mexican food joint, and then head straight to pick-up ultimate frisbee at the city park. A bunch of OB people meet up with some other local people to play pick up every Monday for several hours. This Monday had a great turn out and it was a lot of fun. I hurt my knee a little and broke my sunglasses, but it was all worth it just to run around barefoot in some cool green grass with great people for a few hours.

I have the next two days off, so more adventures are sure to follow. I think I’ll spend today doing a lot of boring but necessary life maintenance though.


A Steve Creech Adventure

During another day off, my roommate Amy and I decided to join a few instructors on a ‘Steve Creech Adventure’. These are apparently notorious for lasting much longer than planned and sometimes getting lost. Our adventure didn’t turn out that way, but it was a blast nonetheless. We headed into Arches National Park, right on the outskirts of Moab, for a day of canyoneering on an unusually cool (80 degree) summer day.

We hiked for a ways on slickrock, surrounded by incredible views of the canyons all around us. After several hours of hiking, we finally found a canyon with a good spot to set up a rappel. I was terrified, but made it through. We did a lot of bushwhacking during out descent, as it was likely we were the first to descend it. We had to set up two more rappels, both much shorter than the first, but epically awkward. The final push out was through a cool cave with small pool of water we had to get over.

Our walk out was through the basin of the canyons, and offered equally beautiful views of the canyon walls bathed in the light of the setting sun. Steve and I took a shortcut out, just to see what we might find, and ended up finding a rock with graffiti on it from 1912. Not exactly LNT, but pretty neat anyhow.

Although our Steve Creech adventure must have been atypically short, we had a blast. I felt like I established new friendships with great people, learned a few things about canyoneering and (sort of) got over my fear of anything that has to do with climbing to or rappelling off of high places. 

Mt. Peale

Although Moab is in in the middle of the desert, there is a random small mountain range just beyond the canyons on the eastern side of the town, the La Sal Mountains. They are really beautiful and we are quite lucky to have a cool place to escape to when the weather gets too hot.

Last week on our first day off after training, the rest of the LC’s and I decided to hike to the top of Mt. Peale, which at 12,726 feet, is the tallest in the La Sals. It was a great escape from the warehouse and the desert, as it was quite cool up there. I had never climbed a mountain higher than about 5,000 feet before, so this was quite the adventure for me. We wound through some aspen trees for a bit, but most of our trek was on talis (large, loose stone) and snow!

The trip took us about 5 hours to get to the top and back (not including the drive to the trailhead), and the view from the top was quite spectacular. Some highlights of the hike include: walking in snow in June, climbing my tallest mountain, seeing a wild marmot, cracking my Nalgene bottle and finding the jar of peanut butter we accidently let roll halfway down the mountain during lunch. 

A Trip Across A Country: The Final Chapter

The last several days of our roadtrip seem so long ago, even though its only been two weeks. After the Badlands, we headed to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, two huge monuments in western South Dakota. When finished, Crazy Horse will be the largest monument in the world. Pretty insane.

Along the way, we saw a lot of adorable prairie dogs. Eastern Wyoming is filled with a lot of cows and some rolling hills. We visited Boulder and Denver, CO. They are both pretty neat cities. I got to see an old friend in Boulder and we ate some good meals and drank some great beer at the Twisted Pine Brewery. We ate brunch at Snooze one morning after a failed trail run (due to altitude and really steep hills). In Denver, we explored some and hit up a few breweries, all with delicious beer. It was a great, relaxing way to finish up the trip. 

Here are some pictures from the last few days of the trip. Unfortunately, I took zero pictures in Colorado.

A Trip Across A Country: Part III/Badlands National Park

The next part of our journey was the most exciting part for both Chris and I, I think. We traveled across South Dakota from Sioux Falls, stopping in the Badlands National Park, and Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments. Although there isn’t a whole lot there, South Dakota is quite a beautiful state, and watching the landscape change so drastically was one of my favorite parts about the trip.

This post, however, is focused only on the Badlands. I feel that they deserve at least one full post, because they are so awesome. French settlers named them that because they said they had ‘bad lands to cross’. When driving on I-90, they suddenly just rise up out of nowhere. Its a pretty amazing landscape. I think we stopped at almost every scenic overlook into the park.

 After stopping at the visitor’s center to stock up on water, we headed for a quick hike, which was more like a scramble up one of the rock formations. It was pretty hot out, but the view from the top was awesome. Once we got to the top, we even saw a deer running through the field on the other side. Pretty neat. From there, we continued our drive through the park to the primitive campsite where we spent the night. On the way, the rock formations faded away and gave way to sloping grass hills where bison and prairie dogs roamed.

Unfortunately, my computer won’t upload the pictures of the bison, and I’m too impatient to try it for the 37th time. Maybe it will miraculously work in time for my next post.


A Trip Across A Country: Part II

After Chicago, Chris and I made our way across Wisconsin and Minnesota on I-90 to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was a beautiful drive, albeit windy, with rolling hills and farmland and lots of forests. We passed through Milwaukee, where we were able to get a glimpse of the Brewer’s stadium, and crossed over the Missouri River, which was really beautiful. The rest sort of rolled together. We stayed at the KOA in Sioux Falls, which was really beautiful and conveniently located right off the highway.