Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Grand Canyon

This last weekend several of us traveled down to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to hike the ~25 mile route through the canyon to the North Rim. As Friday morning rolled around we received a phone call that Nick Berger (the organizer of the hike) had come down with the flu and wouldn’t be able to hike and others might not be coming either. For several moments it looked as it was just going to be Steph’s sister Caryn and me on the trail (some felt a little awkward by this). But, by the time we were rolling down the road there were three of us plus Steph the chauffeur, arriving at the lodge around 8.

We woke up before the crack of dawn and were on the South Kiabab Trail by 5:00am. Our group had grown by six after meeting up with a group that had hiked the North Rim to South Rim previous day. The moon was bright with a cloudy ominous halo as we set out into the darkness with our headlamps. It was an amazing view to everyone heading down the switchbacks of the incredibly steep mountainside. One just had to peer over the edge of the cliff to see people thirty feet down on the next switchback. It was quite surreal looking. In the far distance we could see the small twinkling lights of the North Rim Visitor Center only about 15 miles as the crow flies, our journey would be close to 25.

As the sun began to lighten up the canyon walls we started getting our first awesome views of the canyon. Because of our rapid and steep descent, we were able to beat the rising sun which we managed to avoid until about 11:30.

Around 8:00 we passed over the suspension bridge which spans over the Colorado River near Phantom Ranch, our first stop of the day. Phantom Ranch is an old ranch that is now used as a camp site and lodging for NPS rangers. But after a quick bite to eat and filling our up on water, we were back on the trail. After this point the trail follows the banks of one of the tributary rivers of the Colorado for about 10 miles.

This portion of the trail offered some amazing views of the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I decided to hang back and snap some photos. Some of the best views were along this area of the trail. As we neared our last stop at the “Artists House”, we took a small detour from the main trail to see Ribbon Falls. We had to take our chances rock hopping across or just strip our shoes and socks off and wade through. …wading through was definitely the best choice we made all day. The cold water felt really good on our tired feet.

After making our final stop after the falls, we began the most difficult portion of the journey, ascending the 4,500 ft trail to the North Rim in about 4 miles. As we began going up I decided to kick it into gear and chug it up to the top solo. There is something about the pain of a race or a really good steep hike that makes the journey all the more enjoyable. When you reach the end you have a deeper appreciation for the steps you’ve taken and the sights you’ve seen. Also, I wanted to catch up to Gary, the man who was on his 39th time hiking the canyon. With about a half a mile to go a caught up to him. He snapped the photo of me standing near the top with a great view of the canyon behind me (top photo).

As we reached the last 100 meters of the trail we decided to make a feeble attempt at running to the finish. My legs were burning pretty badly. It probably looked like some of the people who attempt to sprint at the end of a marathon. We made it, arriving at 2:00pm …in exactly 9 hours I hiked the Grand Canyon. One of the top hikes I have done so far.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hiking Timpanogos

Saturday was a grand ol’ day of hiking Mt. Timanogos (11,749 feet). After a quick nap after work for some (but none for me) we started our hike from Timpanookee campground in American Fork canyon.
3am. With headlamps to guide us and Denver (Colby’s dog) to lead the way on the trail, we made our way through the pitch black slopes of the mountain. The weather was good, the pace was relatively steady. We focused on the trail and the feet in front of us, occasionally stopping to avoid Denver’s small squirts along the way (which were not few in number). Not being able to see much around us the time passed quickly. Soon we found that we were into the upper valley and a faint monolith of the peak could be faintly viewed. As we looked around we saw in the distance several groups making there way up along the ridgeline. All that could be seen were small headlamps that looked like far off stars that had fallen out of the sky dotting the mountainside.
7 am. Four hours into our hike. We looked to the east and saw the faintest sign that the sun would soon be rising. We were still determined to get to the ridge before the sun popped his head over the horizon so we quickened our pace as we entered the steepest part of the trail thus far. The early morning light was growing by the minute. Up the hillside. After four hours Denver was still the fastest one and seemed to want to get to the top as much as we did.
7:45 When we made it up to the saddle we were rewarded with a brilliant view of the valley that was well worth the effort. A moment or two later we saw the sun come up over the distant ridges. It was pretty incredible sight.

After a moment or two of photo taking, we headed up the rocky face to the summit. 8:00am On the top of Timpanogos there is a small tin shack and a whole bunch of wind. It was pretty chilly, so we didn’t stay to long (and we wanted to catch up to Kendel and Courtney who turned around before the ridge). Coming down off the mountain afforded great views that we had missed in the darkness on the way up; it seemed like a completely different area. We made it down in a speedy 2 ½ hours.
After I got home I crashed into bed for a quick 2 hour nap before going to the BYU football game with Dad (which was a lot of fun too) to cheer on the cougars. (Now that I’m graduated I feel I can root for them if they aren’t playing the Utes). A good day.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tour of Utah '09

This post is a bit late, but I wanted to share some photos and video of a few of the stages of the Tour of Utah.
After work on Friday I headed over to the Miller Sports Park race track to see the time trial of Stage 3. When I arrived, most of the riders were still warming up. After wandering around I was lucky enough to snag a spot right at the finishing line.

The next day Steph and I ventured up to the top of American Fork canyon to see the riders cross over the summit, the first of three peaks.

The final day of the race was a race around the library block. The riders quickly picked up a pace which caused several riders to be dropped behind. Those who where dropped too far were flagged by officials and were pulled from the race.

The riders were flying past all of the fans probably around 30+ mph.

Here is a photo of Dave Zabriskie, local professional (in red) and US time trial champion, working with the breakaway which was eventually caught.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Freaking Marathon!!!

When I started training for this marathon I had all of these aspirations to blog the good, the bad, the ugly,

and the very ugly.

But...(sigh) I am twelve weeks into the training, four weeks away from the race,

with not a single blog to show for myself.

So, here is a little run down of the last twelve weeks of my life (running related only).

It's a little lengthy, but hopefully it will bring a smile to your face.

Especially if you have ever trained for any type of race.

Oh that run felt really good…Muscles feel good, warm, strong…Whew...
Running sprints to increase my speed
Meeting @ 6:30 on Saturday morning with running my group…Sweaty…

1hr nap on Saturday afternoon

‘I am glad I decided to do another race’

Speed increasing quickly due to sprint training…Running nine minute miles
Waited to late in the day to run my mileage

Tight foot

Didn't drink enough water on Friday for my long run on Saturday

Meeting @ 6:15 on Saturday morning with running group
Headache…2hr nap on Saturday afternoon

Drink water

‘I am glad I decided to do another race, but I wish I had chosen a shorter one’
Meeting @ 6:00 on Saturday morning with running group
‘I cannot run sixteen freaken miles!’
Ran sixteen freaken miles

Bigger headache

Drink water

3hr nap on Saturday afternoon


Drink water...water

Bigger blister
Tighter foot

‘Oh I wish there weren't twenty six miles in a marathon’
Pep-talk from Dave "you can do this...bla bla bla"

Meeting @ 5:55 on Saturday morning with running group
‘I cannot run seventeen freaken miles!!’
Ran seventeen freaken miles

Biggest headache


4hr nap on Saturday afternoon


Tightest foot

Owie!...Can't walk up stairs

‘Why the HELL did I decided to do another marathon!’

'Somebody kill me please!'


Until next week...