Zion Parkin’

It’s been a while but we are back at it after seven weeks of seclusion. We are busting out baby!

On our way back into the wild, we did a bit of birding and some eating. There is a small riparian trail behind the Lakeside RV Campground with some decent birding. Also, we spotted a plethora of waterfowl on Lake at the Hills in Cedar City. For dining options, we recommend Black Sheep Cafe in Provo and Oscar’s Cafe in Springdale.

We were able to spend quality time with an old friend biking the Gooseberry Mesa trail system  (BLM map) with a subsequent visit to the emergency room after he took a couple of nasty diggers. Dislocated thumb anyone?

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We took an exhilarating hike up Angels’ Landing with the happy sighting of FIVE (!!!!) California Condors. See this link for more information on the hike.   

We sloshed our way up the Narrows Trail into tranquility. We waited until dusk to start the trek out and had the entire canyon to ourselves.
(you can rent gear in town at Zion Adventure Company)

Bonus Round:

  • Getting the RV back from 7 weeks of repairs and finding that Draper Camping World, bless their hearts, broke almost as many things as they fixed.
  • Having a random key that most certainly does not fit our trailer lock AND finding this out as we are preparing to leave town.
  • Greg letting go of the poop shoot tube just as I released the poop and having our crap spew all over before those with their wits still about them closed the shoot.
  • MB kicking a case of wine with her baby toe and splitting it down the middle causing plans for climbing in Zion NP to be cancelled. Her name be GRACE.

Let the games begin! Yeehaw.

Oh Hello 2014…

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We got to Las Vegas on Christmas Eve and have thoroughly enjoyed the local climbing and biking scene. Scott and April came on Christmas day and during their visit we were able to bike at Bootleg Canyon and Blue Diamond, then climb at Red Rocks.

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Our friend Heather bought a last minute plane ticket to check out the RV lifestyle and had the privilege of sleeping in the “loft”. Here are our photos from our hike at Calico Tanks in Red Rocks, biking at Blue Diamond, and sightseeing in Vegas.

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All this company has made us realize that we have slowly become hermits and we definitely need to get out more and socialize. The desert environs has grown on us and we’re not sure when we’ll leave. Misha Greg

We’re currently back in Tucson and will be here for 6 weeks. The mountain biking is surprisingly wonderful and we are addicted to pickleball and the pickleball community. We found our people. GsBday Pickle4Pickle1 Pickle2

We play almost every morning and then run drills in the evenings unless we go biking. There is a wonderful hot tub and outdoor pool to soak in afterwards.

The temps have been in the mid 60s. Don’t be a hater.

Rock and Road Recap

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Wrapping up MB’s field season we left South Lake Tahoe and motored to Reno and pick up our miracle trailer for towing Tawanda.

Spent a couple of days in Bend, Oregon mountain biking. Magoo and Misha had a big biking day gone bad. Though they had biked with us all summer, their pads couldn’t handle the volcanic rock.
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Letting the pups sit one out, we did another ride that evening with our sweet night-lights. Phil’s is PERFECT for night riding.Nightride

We popped in to 10 Barrel and enjoyed a new favorite the Sinister Black Ale and chatted with a gregarious Irishman.10 barrel

Smith Rockin’ should be called “Smith Cookin” for the month of August. Whoa dude. The heat was intense. We did a couple days of climbing and then could not take it. We did freshin’ up at a local pub and found another favorite brew- Cascade Brewery’s 20 inch Nut Brown.SmithRockSlacker2MBSmithSlacker    Smith

That’s it for now…
Later tater.

Ewww

A day in the life of a wildlife biologist

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My job is GO, GO, GO….faster… I run to 10 survey points between sunrise and 9:30 a.m. to listen for birds. The terrain is steep with many fall zones, which my pants that I’ve torn the butt out of 4 times will testify to. I rarely see a bird, which explains why all my pictures from my field season are flowers.

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But I want to look upon my soul mate in a birds’ body. You know. The one that chants “pizza, pizza, pizza, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat” (Nashville Warbler). Or perhaps the lovely Olive-sided Flycatcher’s sing songy “quick three beers!” As my coworker Amy says, “birds? We have no time for birds!” And so I listen and run on to my next location.

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There are trying moments when I contemplate what the Sam Hill am I doing here. When I’m scrambling through unyielding shrubs over 6 feet tall or army crawling on my belly underneath with my backpack. Or the times I walk through hundreds of spider webs so that they coat my arms, face, and hair. There are mosquitoes, snakes, illegal pot garden scary folk, and poison ivy.

Then there are the rewarding moments when I get 35 different bird species for the day, or I see a bird feeding her/his babies, or I walk up on a momma bear with her 2 cubs, or I see these lovelies…

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Let’s not forget camping every night under the stars with the Sierra Mountains in the distance. Common Nighthawks and Poorwills singing me a lullaby.

Never will I forget the years spent in an office typing away my life in a career I wasn’t passionate about. So I run and crawl and listen some more.

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Cali Time

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So many places feel like home.  Perhaps, that’s because wherever we are is home. :-) Today, if we had to settle in one place, Bishop is in the top 5.

Not only does Bishop hosts some outstanding climbing destinations such as: The Buttermilks, Owens River Gorge, The Happy’s, Sad’s, Druids, Pine Creek, Rock Creek, …and easy access to the entire the Eastern Sierra’s, Bishop has everything else from Schat’s Bakery to Raymond’s Deli and a Kmart.

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We’d been to Bishop and climbed several times before. This time we yearned for some new adventures (i.e. places unvisited).  This led us to our first MG&B Bishop misadventure:

We met some to-be new friends while climbing in Owens River.  Following their suggestion, we decided to check out Cardinal Pinnacle.  A couple days later we went to climb the West Face route. Typically, this wouldn’t be much more than just a great day climbing granite cracks and slab.

However, at the trailhead I distinctly remember commenting to MB the route appeared to have a bit of snow and perhaps even some ice.  Whatever… we’d been in Alberta CLIMBING ICE all winter (although then we had crampons and ice axes).  If in doubt I’d just pull myself up on gear.
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After hiking up the wrong “trail” and traversing a large scree field, we arrived at the base of our route only 1hr later the estimated 30 min. Yes, there was snow AND ice on the route.  Since we’d already hiked to the base, WE decided to giv’er a go and giv’er I did.
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Well, I never made it to the top of the first pitch and MB never left the ground (sorry babe). The good thing is I learned a valuable science lesson about the frictional coefficient of wet climbing shoes on icy rock (FYI: it’s about the same as roller skates on an ice rink)…..enough said.DSCN1002

Our SECOND misadventure, took us biking along dirt roads in search for a White Face Ibis.  No Ibis’s were found.  However we did see:

  • Long haired Chihuahua wearing a sweater
  • Blue Teal
  • and dry sanitation ponds (this is where we though the Ibis to be)

Continuing with our new mantra of trying all things new we headed off to Pine Creek Canyon.  Wow!

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Pine Creek

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Red Rocks rocks!

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DSCN0817 Our previous memories of Red Rocks included: breaking out in a heat rash, Magoo with “G.I.” issue in the back seat of the Honda, and Magoo squealing like he was being attacked by a mountain lion while we were 3/4th of the way up a 650 ft. route! By the way, we did a speedy rappel down a 100 ft. or so, we could clearly see he was fine and Misha was sleeping soundly beside him.

So really Red Rocks could only get better, right? Well, as MaryGreg and Beth misadventures go this was a misadventure of misadventures. Say what? You got it right. A double negative. Red Rocks was FANTASTIC.

Our first mis-misadventure began with an incredible Easter Sunday service at Canyon Ridge followed by a wonderful breakfast (i.e. red velvet pancakes) at Baby Stacks in Las Vegas.

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Once we established our home (i.e. camping spot) for the next couple weeks, off we went to climb and Red Rocks did not disappoint.

Our only true misadventures on this trip were:

  • climbing on top of the camper at 1am and 3am to fasten a loose awning during 35mph winds (3 nights in a row)
  • following bad directions and getting lost
  • not chasing shade well enough and trying to climb whilst not melting in 85F

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Super Size Me

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Soooo….we bought a new house. After living on the road for a year and a half in approximately 100 square feet, we decided we needed to upgrade for mental health reasons. Not just for our sanity but that of our pets.

This is what we were living in and we loved it. But we out grew it.

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This is our new home. Yes, it’s big and looks like a bus! It’s about twice as big as what we planned on getting. But no longer are we stepping on each other. No longer can only one person can be standing at a time. All 6 of us can stand and move about without touching. What a relief as we still only shower every 4 days. The bathroom is the big bonus for MB.

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So far, we love it! It has posed some challenges such as maneuvering through busy parking lots and finding spots to dump our waste. It has always been tricky getting fresh water so nothing new on that front. We are quickly getting the hang of things and we are very content with our upgrade. It is a Forest River Forester and she’s a beauty.

Our first trip took us to Zion’s National Park for the Albrechtsen family spring break.

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Then off to Saint George for mountain biking and climbing. IMAG0847-1 IMAG0851

We’re currently in Red Rocks Conservation Area near Las Vegas having a fantastic time climbing.

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Winter mischief

DSCN0398 January and February contained a lot of unpredictable weather.  The temperatures ranged from –30F to +40F and the snow stability created tricky avalanche conditions.  One day avalanche danger would be low, the next day high winds or solar heating would increase the levels to extreme.  With our hearts generally set on one thing, ice climbing, these variations forced us to focus on a few other activities such as downhill and skate skiing.DSCN0420 elkDSCN0338

We were still able to get on plenty of ice climbs and enjoy Canada for everything it has to offer.
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We rounded out the end of our winter season by accomplishing a few of our climbing goals such as Polar Circus and Quick and Dirty in Waterton National Park.  Many thanks to Chris and Darcy from the Rampart Creek Hostel for great company, dinner, and a hot sauna!

Here are a few random highlights:

  • Seeing a lynx in the wild for the first time
  • Seeing wolverine tracks!!!
  • Watching the Colorado Avalanche beat the Calgary Flames (wahoo, thanks to MB for the great B-day gift)
  • Lake Louise powder day!
  • skate skiing.. skate skiing… skate skiing

December Highlights

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December was great. We fully embraced winter by heading north towards Jasper, Alberta.  Along the way we got to climb Shades of Beauty:
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It was so unbearably cold with bullet proof ice at 5 degrees F, that we left the other nearby ice climbs untouched. 
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After a few days, it warmed to 15 degrees so we able to climb this fine looking waterfall where we had a mini-epic day:Stanley Sr.Stanley Senior

  • Greg’s ice axe malfunctioned 10 feet off the ground
  • Water poured all over us while we were climbing
  • Bad belay stance with ice pelting belayer
  • Carabiners froze shut so belayer stuck ½ way up climb
  • Scramble down avalanche slopes in the dark

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Probably one of our favorite ice routes ever was Kerkeslin Falls. Such a beautiful setting on a perfect day (25 F). The climb consisted of 3 pitches of flat out awesome funness.

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Our propane hose split and temperatures plummeted to -25 F. While we waited for a replacement part, we spent a few nights in a hotel room over Christmas (thanks, Mom). Obviously, the pets thought the room was for them.

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We ended our Christmas holidays by seeing the Hobbit and in 3D no less!

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December 2012- Album
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