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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Not 22 Any More - Part II

Note: Am I the only person in the Universe who loathes the current practise of starting every sentence with "So, ..." ??  Why not add totally and really sound like a brain damaged valley girl !!

Last week I went hiking with my friend Parveen. We met early and went up into the mountains behind Mt Timpanogos. We drove up past Robert Redford's Sundance Resort and were planning an easy hike on a beautiful day.

This is a well worn trail with plenty of exposed roots and broken rocks. Half way up the trail I tripped over a root and fell on the rocks. Ouch! This one really hurt and it took me a few minutes to get myself together and continue hiking. 

Parveen in front of Stewart Falls
We made it to the falls without further incident and it was really beautiful. Well worth the trip, pun intended. 

As you can see from the picture there is a lower, middle, and upper falls. Being Manly Men we immediately decided to go up to the top of lower falls. While Parveen walked up the trail I started climbing the rocks along side the falls to get to the top.

We met at the top and admired the view.

It was still early so we decided to go to the top of the middle falls. 

Again, Parveen took the trail and I climbed up the rocks. Only one problem, the two didn't connect this time and Parveen and I were separated by about 50 meters.

I was working my way laterally trying to find a way to cross over but each attempt to find a path ended in a magnificent view but no hand or foot holds. I finally found one that looked promising but by now I was tired and sore from my earlier fall. I wasn't desperate but I was admitting to myself that I might have over done it a bit.

Those are full sized people way down there.
I had about 85% confidence that I could make the traverse but, as you can see in the picture above, the other 15% would be fatal. If I slipped or a rock hold broke loose there would be no stopping until I hit the ground below. Splat!! So I sat down on the thin ledge I was on and considered my options. 

Recently I had come upon the book 75 Search and Rescue Stories. Reading it is sobering. Not all of the S&R stories have a happy ending.

One thing the author mentions again and again is:
"When you find yourself in a jam, Stop! Wait for help! You'll only make it worse if you continue."
Tired and injured from the fall on the trail I decided to listen to those words instead of being brave. I made the 911 call and got transferred to Search and Rescue who told me that they would be out in about an hour.

I passed the hour observing nature in the large. I had closed my eyes to rest a bit when I heard this strange whirring noise. I opened my eyes to see a humming bird only 3" from my face. It just hovered there looking me over and, I'm sure, thinking what a dumb nut I was to be in a place where only it should be.

Right on schedule I got a call back asking me to show myself so the team could come get me. Waving my hat while holding onto the rocks so I wouldn't lose my balance they told me they spotted me and would there in a minute. Suddenly there was a guy who appeared out of nowhere and another behind me who had come up a different route. After checking that I was alright they had me put on a helmet and harness to that they could rope me in between them. While talking I mentioned that I read a book that some guy had written about S&R in Utah that had emphasized the rule to Stop and Wait before something disastrous happened. "Oh, That's my book. I'm really glad that somebody read it and paid attention." He laughed when I told him I was sorry that I didn't have it with me so he could sign it.

Shaun Roundy and another guy who's name I can't remember
Then we went across the rock face that I had earlier stopped at. It's much easier when you're tied to two other guys who know what they are doing. Fifteen minutes later we were across and on solid ground. Parveen was there waiting patiently as only a good friend will.

You might think that was the end of the story but there was more to come. We followed the S&R guys out on a different trail than the one we took in to the falls. This one went down to the resort and when we got to the road we had no idea where we were. We saw some BYU students and asked them for directions but they had no idea what we were trying to tell them so we just started walking.

A few minutes later they pulled up and asked if we wanted a ride. Sure! We hopped in the back of their pickup truck and rode to an intersection in the road. While we were trying to decide what to do a resort person pulled up and asked if we needed help. Once they deciphered our muddled description of where we needed to go they said it was only a couple of miles up the road. The kids said to hang tight and they would take us up to our car. Good thing because the "couple of miles" turned out to be more like five or six.

They dropped us off and we thanked them all profusely. I told them that BYU was where "The men are all strong and the women are all devastatingly beautiful!" They laughed at that and waved goodbye to us.

The moral of this story is that we all need a little help from our friends and, very often, from complete strangers. What makes life so amazing is that those strangers are so abundant and so generous.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

At home in Utah

Several people have sent questions about whether the Beast made it to Utah with it's manifest of motorcycles and other stuff.

As you can see, it is at home in Tooele.

And the motorcycles are safely stored in the garage.

The trip was pretty uneventful except for the run from Grand Junction, CO to Helper, UT. I was getting pretty burnt out and wanted to push through after a short nap in Grand Junction. I queued up an audio book on my tablet and started listening as I got on I-70. 

I admit that I still call them Books-on-Tape from days past when they were a collection of cassette tapes for your dashboard player. They are a great way to pass the time on the highway when you are trying to get from Point A to Point B as painlessly as possible. 

I was listening to "Fly By Wire" as I rolled onto I-70 and vaguely remember turning north on US 6 at Green River. After that, nothing until I passed Helper and started up the climb to Soldier Pass. Jeez Louise, did I sleep through the whole thing?!?! I was up to Chapter 14 and had no recollection of the road or the story. Creepy!

The climb up the mountain is steep, tight and curvy, mostly two lanes with occasional passing lanes to let faster (and braver) drivers get by. I was certainly focused now as it was dark and Utah does not waste a lot of money on guard rails. They have this quaint philosophy that each person should take responsibility for their own life and suffer the consequences of their own stupidity. Darwin would be proud.

With a truck full of motorycycles and the trailer behind me I took my time and happily pulled over for people to pass me. I was tired but the road and the load had me attentive and alert. Once over the top the northern decent is a wider and gentler grade, much easer to navigate.

Back to level ground in Spanish Fork I was on familiar ground. US 6 links to I-15 and from there it's just a straight shot up to I-80 west. Then the last 25 miles were the same as I take to work and back every day. I got home at 3am and admit that I just pulled up, turned off the ignition, and went inside to go to bed. I think I woke sometime around noon.

Another successful road trip but I think I might break for a motel along the way next time. Every once in a while I'm reminded that I'm not 22 any more.

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