Monthly Archives: June 2013


26 Jun

The Mucky Brewsters

Posted by on June 26, 2013 at 10:19 pm

This year Jason and I participated in the Dirty Dash again for the third time in a row. Although our companions on this run change every year along with the weather’s temperament, the outcome never does. We consistently end up goopier than a sick toddler’s diaper after trudging through stinky streams, sludgy pools and slippery hillsides but getting gross is more fun than you’d imagine. You’ve always wanted a mud-stache haven’t you?

Our costumes did not convey the punkiness that they were meant to. I looked more like a circus biker than an orphan misfit.

Our costumes did not convey the punkiness that they were meant to. I looked more like a circus biker than an orphan misfit.

Our team this year, originally comprised of Jason and me and our friends Adam and Abigail, picked up a straggler from a different group signup gone awry, my buddy David. He was asked to join a team of six that ended up being five short. Luckily, David had us as a backup and we’ll take anybody. We designated ourselves The Mucky Brewsters and attempted (unsuccessfully) to dress accordingly. If you’re too young to understand our clever pun then you missed out on some quality 80s entertainment.

The Pig House was teeming with suds but, oddly, those bubbles only made you feel slimier.

The Pig House was teeming with suds but, oddly, those bubbles only made you feel slimier.

Unlike last year, our early starting slot did not result in near hypothermia this time. The temperatures were perfect that morning for a hop in the slop. We were warm enough that we didn’t freeze while swimming through vats of muddy goo but cold enough we didn’t crack like the grime on our skin between obstacles.

I lost momentum in the middle of my chute dive but that didn't stop my giggles from descending.

I lost momentum in the middle of my chute dive but that didn’t stop my giggles from descending.

Jason flew down the Slop n slide too quickly to finish gracefully.

Jason flew down the Slop ‘n slide too quickly to finish gracefully.

While the Dirty Dash is a run, “running” is perhaps not the best description for what we did along its route. Adam admittedly loathes exercise and plans on avoiding it for the rest of his life if at all possible. And David, while always very concerned about the size of his muscles, often neglects to remember the size of his puny heart. So yes, we had a few cardiovascular difficulties during our sullied trek. However, although the reluctance of some of our racers necessitated a lot more walking through this course than usual, everyone completed the 10K. (Adam’s exercise-induced catatonic state made tricking him into missing the 5K shortcut easier.)

David screamed the whole way down the Slop'n Slide. He was going a little faster than his bare arms could handle.

David screamed the whole way down the Slop ‘n Slide. He was going a little faster than his bare arms could handle.

Adam had a big blob of much stuck to his teeth for most of the race but he was too exhausted to notice.

Adam had a big blob of muck stuck to his teeth for most of the race but he was too exhausted to notice.

I’ll admit though that David did come in handy on a few occasions despite his aerobic insufficiencies. As we all know, I have the upper body strength of a gerbil so I’m sure that some of the race barriers that involved the mandatory use of arm muscles would have resulted in catastrophe and humiliation for me had both Jason and David not been around to act as my saviors. For instance, I completely slipped at the apex of one wooden wall that was about 15 feet high and I’m not too much of a stalwart feminist to admit that had those two boys not come to my rescue and grabbed me I would have ended up flat on my face and probably broken. David, I am most grateful for your muscles yet that appreciation will not stop me from making fun of your stride. Idiocy = teasing. Sorry, I can’t change the laws of the universe that dictate the balancing of that equation.

Our team's incoherent apparel was quickly lost under too many mud layers to count.

Our team’s incoherent apparel was quickly lost under too many mud layers to count.

The Dirty Dash was again as filthy as its name would suggest. I’m glad that Jason and I had a couple of fresh, albeit sluggish, recruits to pester along its sloppy path. And yes, those dawdling rookies may have been somewhat instrumental in the successful implementation of my manglement prevention program. Thank you slow people for flexing your limbs when my tiny T. rex arms failed me.

Dirty Dash, may your dirt be as cozy and your muck be as sweet next time me and your mud pits meet.

19 Jun

The Proverbial Corner

Posted by on June 19, 2013 at 8:09 pm

It is unanimously acknowledged among the chosen that biking is the ride to enlightenment. The insights of the ancients tell us so and who are we to argue with a bunch of really old people? Jason and I have found many favorite local spots for cycling transcendence but we are always happy to add another to our long list and that’s just what we did a couple of weeks ago when we tried out Corner Canyon in Draper for the first time. Those hallowed hills increased our comprehension of the proverbs of old and confirmed the agelessness of their admonitions. Allow me to share the proverbial truths testified by this ride:

Without a map, one cannot hope for a destination.

Corner Canyon contains a myriad of trails that crisscross and intersect each other often. The path options are boggling and the ways to get lost even more numerous so I’d strongly recommend grabbing a map from the trailhead if you wish to explore this region. Unless, of course, you prefer being puzzled perpetually over your whereabouts.

The Canyon Hollow Trail, full of twisty ups and downs, was particularly fun to ride.

The Canyon Hollow Trail, full of twisty ups and downs, was particularly fun to ride.

The wise man builds his house on rock; the fool rides his bike on sand.

We started out on the Lower Corner Canyon Trail and then joined up with the Canyon Hollow Trail until we hit Ghost Falls. Lower Corner Canyon traverses some sandy regions. Jason hit one of these, flipped his bike and did a topsy-turvy spiral over his handlebars. Fortunately, he only got a few scrapes and bruises from his unexpected aerial maneuvers.

The trails in Corner Canyon are well signed but they intersect each other so often that those markers are a lot less helpful than you'd expect.

The trails in Corner Canyon are well signed but they intersect each other so often that those markers are a lot less helpful than you’d expect.

Breaking the ties that bind makes even going downhill an uphill climb.

From Ghost Falls we had planned on taking another longer loop around the upper regions of the canyon but, alas, Jason’s bike chain broke just as we were purchase lasix nearing that phantom. He had to ride his bike all the way back down the canyon without the luxury of a chain. Luckily, the terrain is mostly downhill in that direction so, although he didn’t have any pedaling power or means of control, he made it to the car without crisis.

His broken chain, although highly inconvenient, did not break Jason's good mood.

His broken chain, although highly inconvenient, did not break Jason’s good mood.

A truck was lodged in the streambed near the falls and, judging from the trees enshrouding it, that steed wedgie had been in place for a long time.

A truck was lodged in the streambed near the falls and, judging from the trees enshrouding it, that steel wedgie had been in place for a long time.

The true state of man is sweaty. Only when we accept this are we open to the perspiration of the universe.

Ghost Falls, named so because it disappears altogether when the conditions are right, made for a nice, if unplanned, endpoint to our canyon climb. Thanks to the spring melt off, it was a gracefully twisting stream of water and its curvy flow over a series of flat mossy boulders was serene and mesmerizing.

Ghost Falls was no scary specter but a peaceful cascade of winding water.

Ghost Falls was no scary specter but a peaceful cascade of winding water.

Only a fool heeds the warning of fools.

We had heard from an acquaintance that most of the bikers frequenting Corner Canyon are jerks. However, we found them to be exactly the opposite. We encountered some of the friendliest, most helpful riders we’ve ever come across while on these trails. Many of them stopped to assist us with directions unsolicited. I guess we reeked of pathetically lost.

The view coming down the Ghost Falls Trail was quite lovely.

The view coming down the Ghost Falls Trail was quite lovely.

Nirvana is not just a state of being, it’s a state of pedaling and it can be reached. Our Corner Canyon adventure opened our third eyes along with our fourth and fifth ones too. Now that I can see so darn well, I predict that Jason and I will find our centers, or the sandy ground, in Corner Canyon again soon.

11 Jun

The Crooked Underbelly of Boarding

Posted by on June 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm

Early in the spring of 2012 I damaged my neck while snowboarding on a couple of separate occasions. These accidents were just your typical becoming-a-human-snowball or sliding-on-your-face affairs, sort of. They hurt worse than the average snow smash but since “fun hurts” is kind of my mantra, I didn’t think much of them…at first. However, as the snowboarding season ended and the world greened up, Neckland became a strange place for me. I began to get awful neck kinks on a regular basis, one of which resulted from a 10 minute nap I took while lying in a normal position. What the what? Then I started having difficulties sleeping on my right side. I’d get a terrible pain in that part of my neck when I tried to do so. Additionally, a place near my shoulder blade on the left side was giving me a whole lot of grief. By early fall I’d reached my restless night limit and I decided to go see a chiropractor that several of my coworkers recommended.

On my first visit, this chiropractor took an X-ray to see if anything was obviously amiss. I’ve included that telling image below. Although I was holding my neck “straight” when the X-ray was taken, it appears askew. My chiropractor had a hard time believing that I hadn’t been in an automobile accident considering how crooked I was; I guess he doesn’t work on a lot of ill-fated snowboarders. Given my degree of movement restriction, he had me come in for adjustments and electrotherapy every couple of days that first month or so. And speaking of adjustments, I learned from him that those popcorn-popping sounds you hear when a chiropractor tweaks your neck mean that parts that should be moving freely have become fixed. If you neck was completely normal, when adjusted it would make no sound at all.

In theory, when undergoing treatments like this, your joints loosen up and then the muscles around them. However, my muscle filaments vehemently refused to slacken. I guess they are as stubborn as the rest of me. Since they would not relax, for weeks I went through alternating two or three-day cycles of pain and relief as my back improved but refused to stabilize.

Over the next few months, I was told by my chiropractor again and again that the right side of my neck felt like a rope with tense muscles running all the way down it. This, I was informed, is not normal. Women do carry their stress in their upper back and shoulders while men tend to keep theirs in their middle or lower back but, apparently, my degree of tightness was a little beyond ridiculous.

It may look like I was twisting my neck on purpose when this x-ray was taken but I assure you that I was doing nothing circuitous of the sort.

It may look like I was twisting my neck on purpose when this X-ray was taken but I assure you that I was doing nothing circuitous of the sort. My neck was meandering about all on its own.

From September until December I was uncomfortable frequently. The last few hours of work every day were usually a challenge due to my throbbing back. Both sides of my neck threw fits off and on. The area near my left shoulder blade often ached horribly, which I discovered was from a rib popping out of place and related to my neck problems. I’d also regularly experience discomfort when turning my head. It seemed like my spine was as full of drama as an episode of The Jerry Springer Show but finally, come the middle of December, I started to feel pretty good. Apart from a little stiffness, my back looked as if it was on its way to becoming a nonissue. I only had to see the chiropractor every three weeks and my neck was hardly popping during his adjustments.

That progress continued until January and then abruptly halted due to two events: 1. the start of the snowboarding season 2. a snowmobiling accident. Snowboarding, crash or no, is kind of the bane of me as it turns out. Each time I’d hit the slopes this season, they’d return the favor. I’d feel okay while on the mountain but the next day everything in my back and neck would be popped out of place. My chiropractor said that this is because once we have weak spots any strain will trigger them. The tree I hit while snowmobiling later that month did some triggering of its own. Sorry back, I didn’t realize you were so darn particular about collisions and whatnot.

By the end of February, it seemed like most of the popcorn from my snowmobiling incident had been worked out of my system and nothing stood between me and a relatively normal neck except that hazardous winter hobby of mine, that really amazing hazardous winter hobby of mine. Several people have asked me recently if I’m going to give up boarding due to my bad back. Seriously people? Knowing me you should already know the answer to that.

I was told by my chiropractor that, in addition to being a casualty of powder power, my back problems are partly due to my constant computer use. If you are also on a PC way too much, you probably suffer from chronic slouch as well; a forward hunch is the most common posture people assume when trying to glean info from their sacred screen. To counteract this issue, first, don’t slouch (duh) and second, do rearward shoulder stretching exercises regularly. My chiropractor showed me a few of these that I can do quickly throughout the day. They seem to help quite a bit.

Roughly ten months after I started treatment, my neck is doing pretty good. It aches a bit as work drags on and gets a little stiff from time to time but I don’t wake up in pain or, worse yet, stay awake in pain anymore. I’m still having to visit my chiropractor every few weeks and he still comments about how absurdly tense my shoulders and upper back are but, compared to last fall, my neck’s life is practically a party these days.

On a side note, I quite like my chiropractor. If you’re in the market for one, I’d be happy to give you his name.

5 Jun

There’s No Place like Chrome

Posted by on June 5, 2013 at 10:50 pm

When Jason and I visited Kodachrome Basin State Park last fall we noticed a group campsite that was isolated in a beautiful area and my plotting mind instantly recognized its potential as a future base of operation. Thus, when I got nominated to plan our first camping trip of the season I immediately thought of Kodachrome. As it turns out, I am indeed a bit of a scheming genius.

Our group campsite was comparatively plush and superbly situated.

Our group campsite was comparatively plush and superbly situated.

Peculiar boulder and spires knotted the landscape around the Panorama Trail.

Peculiar boulders and spires knotted the landscape around the Panorama Trail.

We usually go camping at least once every summer with a group of our buddies that includes: the Rowleys, the Bresees, and my brother Drew’s family. We’ve stayed in everything from state parks to RV parks on these excursions along with some cozy little cabins. The stress and success of our outdoor outings have varied considerably. Since our recent Kodachrome trip went pretty smoothly, I’d say it now ranks among my favorites.

This "indian cave" contained petroglyphs that were definitely not of prehistoric import.

This “Indian cave” contained petroglyphs that were definitely not of prehistoric import.

Boys will be ballerinas!

Boys will be ballerinas.

That group campsite, as anticipated, ended up being absolutely ideal for our raucous assortment of friends. It was solitarily situated among cresting red hills and equipped with a covered picnic table pavilion, a fire pit encircled by benches, and plenty of flat space for tents. Did I already mention that I’m a genius?

The texture of these wrinkly dirt mounds was fascinating.

The texture of these wrinkly dirt mounds was fascinating.

My morning tea was too hot to drink before our hike but there was no way I was leaving it behind.

My morning tea was too hot to drink before our hike but there was no way I was leaving it behind.

We arrived on Friday evening and spent most of our Saturday hiking. I was impressed with how well the little kids in our group held up. Our first trek took us along the Panorama Trail to such exciting places as the Secret Passage, Hat Shop, and Cool Cave. The Cool Cave, though really an alcove not a cave, was a favorite with the kiddies. It provided plenty of difficult dirt to challenge their climbing skills. Our diverting stops, remarkably, kept the children going for the entire 6 miles of our journey without many complaints. They were all too tired though near the end to make a slight detour to the Panorama Point lookout, which Jason and I checked out on our own. And just for the record, Drew and Jeremy were exhausted from backpacking their tiniest family members around and probably complained more than the youngsters.

The Cool Cave was not actually a cave but it was definitely cool.

The Cool Cave was not actually a cave but it was definitely cool.

The boys climbed up the sides of the Cool Cave much farther than I though they'd be able to.

The boys climbed up the sides of the Cool Cave much farther than I thought they’d be able to.

Jason and I took a little http://quotecorner.com/online-pharmacy.html jaunt on our own later that afternoon when lethargy infected the rest of our group. We explored the Grand Parade Trail and its offshoots into a couple of box canyons. The unusual rock shapes and shades in those canyons were the most intriguing parts of this hike.

Kodachrome was full of unusual rock formations including these flinty nuclear smokestack facsimiles.

Kodachrome was full of unusual rock formations including these flinty nuclear smokestack facsimiles.

Later, we got back together with the gang for a trek through Angel’s Palace. We were hoping to catch the sunset from that aerial vantage point but missed it by minutes. Still, this path, which is my favorite at Kodachrome, did not disappoint with its curious colors and slender fingers of precipitous rock. Surprisingly, most of the kids, even after all their earlier walking, wanted to join us for this climb.

Jason and I bought ice cream for everyone at the tiny camp store after our first hike; it was eagerly received.

Jason and I bought ice cream for everyone at the tiny camp store after our first hike; it was eagerly received.

The Grand Parade Trail had its moments.

The Grand Parade Trail had its grand moments.

The weather at Kodachrome was nearly ideal (Yet another detail meticulously accounted for by the genius of Rachel.) but the pleasant temperatures plummeted after dark making the fire pit a very popular spot in the evenings. Most of the adults gathered around the flames’ glow each night until 1:00 AM or so chatting and gazing at the stars, which pricked the sky so numerously in that remote region it’s a wonder the heavens didn’t leak light.

Our line of hikers paused on a ridge while ascending to Angel's Palace making our youngest explorers nervous.

Our line of hikers paused on a ridge while ascending to Angel’s Palace making our youngest explorers nervous.

We barely missed seeing a spectacular sunset atop Angel's Palace by minutes.

We barely missed seeing a spectacular sunset atop Angel’s Palace by minutes.

Our trip was over quickly but even demolishing our campsite on Sunday morning proved exciting. Drew found a small pale scorpion under his tent as he was packing it away. Yes, that’s the kind that’s quite poisonous. Maybe Drew will think twice now about unzipping all of his tent doors at night in a claustrophobic rage. Maybe…

The narrow spines of stone that jut out from Angel's Palace offer a dizzying view of the warped surroundings and the distant ground.

The narrow spines of stone that jut out from Angel’s Palace offer a dizzying view of the warped surroundings and the distant ground.

Jason and I are solid explorers. We never run out of curiosity or steam.

Jason and I are solid explorers. We never run out of curiosity or steam.

Kodachrome Basin was rather fantastic. The temperatures, except for the first night during which we all froze sheathed in our ineffectual sleeping bags, were perfect. The scenery was gorgeous and the stars overwhelming plus the kids handled their explorative exercise unexpectedly well. As with any group as large as ours, some organizational challenges were unavoidable but I think those were pretty minimal this time compared to other camping trips. May all of our tented sprees be as successful as Kodachrome!