Saturday, July 28, 2007

Busy Saturday, Lots of Miles

Today was one of the busiest Saturdays I have had in quite some time. The day started at 7:00 am with Penelope waking up (it was good since I had snoozed the alarm a couple of times). It was perfect timing since I needed to get out of bed anyway. I started the day with a run up Grandeur Peak in Millcreek Canyon. I've wanted to run Grandeur every since we moved to Salt Lake but for some reason I just never have. I've been needing to get in some vert training so this run fit the bill perfectly. From trailhead to summit the trail is 3.4 miles long and ascends 2299 feet. It is by far the most vert I've done in a single run. It took me 53 minutes to make it to the summit. I had to use a combination of running and power hiking to make it up. I was rewarded with great views of the Salt Lake Valley and the surrounding Wasatch mountains.

The run down took me 30 quad burning minutes. I was surprised it took me that long to get down, however, the trail is quite rocky in some spots (read slower going) and in other spots the plant life would hang over the trail so you couldn't see if there were any obstacles. My quads have never been so tired! Once I made it back to the trailhead I walked to the car. As soon as I stopped running and started walking my legs seriously felt like noodles. A couple times I thought I was going to fall right over! Overall I was quite please with the run.

After coming home, showering, and eating breakfast, Jess, Penelope, and I went up Big Cottonwood Canyon to hike to Lake Blanche. I had read good things about this lake, it came recommended, and we had previously hiked past the Lake Blanche trail. With all those things we decided to give it a whirl.

The Lake Blanche trail is 7.4 miles round trip and ascends 2560 vertical feet. It heads up a side canyon in BCC. It starts by following a small stream for the first mile or so. Then it splits away from the river and the trails cuts through fairly dense growth for almost the whole way. We had started off at 11:20 am and were quite surprised by the number of people we passed who were on their way down. We thought it seemed a little early for so many people to be coming down.

Penelope did great on the way up. It had been awhile since we had hiked with her in our Kelty kid carrier because: 1-she didn't like it before and 2-our kid carrier isn't the greatest. The suspension system isn't comfy and it doesn't fit either of us very well.

Penelope babbled, yelled quite loudly, and slept the way up to the lake. I was relieved that she didn't scream bloody murder like she did in Southern Utah.

When we got to Lake Blanche there were only 7 other people around. Most of whom were close to the trail so we walked to the other side of the lake to find some solitude. We lunched on one of our favorite hiking lunches: tuna fish, cheese and crackers, and Tang to drink. We had great views of the lake and the surrounding peaks.

I did get a great picture of Jess and Penelope with one of the more stunning peaks in the area.

Penelope had fun sitting on the big flat rocks playing with little rocks and banging them together.

The hike down was good. We came across very few people on our way out. One of my favorite things about taking Penelope in the backpack is she loves to stick her head out the side to look around. What I love even more than her sticking her head out is she will fall asleep that way.

When I say fall asleep I mean fall asleep.

The hike was great. It took us 2 hours to get in to the lake and about an hour and half to get out. We were very hungry, tired, sweaty, and ready for some cold drinks.

All in all it was a great day. I got to go running, hike with my two favorite people in the world (and the best hiking partners ever), go to some places I haven't ever been before, see some beautiful scenery, spend the entire day outside (in nature), log 14.2 miles for the day, and ascend 4,859 vertical feet (probably my largest vert day ever).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What's a Squidoo?

I've ventured into the land of Squidoo. I finished my first lens tonight. It is a lens on Louis Lake Lodge and you can find it here.

I also blogged about the lens on the Louis Lake Lodge blog. The funny thing is you can see the most recent blog post on the lens. So when you are on the lens you can see the post about the lens. I find it to be somewhat amusing. It will only be that way until another post is written. If you go to the lens please rank it and help us move it up the rankings! Also if you think Louis Lake Lodge looks like a rad place to go and stay, please pass it along to your family and friends.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Backpacking to Tomahawk Lake

This past weekend we went backpacking for the first time with Penelope. Friday after work we headed up to Louis Lake for a small family reunion. We knew the family reunion was coming up and decided to take Monday off work and planned this overnight trip.

We planned on going up to Tomahawk Lake up in the Wind Rivers. It was 3.5 miles in to the lake. It was the perfect distance for a first over night trip with Penelope. We left Sunday morning around 10:45. Jess was going to carry Penelope so that meant I was going to carry everything else. Jess' parents, little sister, and older sister and her family were all going along the trip as well.

My plan was to take off and get to the lake cutoff as quick as I could and then come back to help carry other packs. I made the 3.5 miles in an hour. A short 15 minute run got me a couple miles down the trail to the rest of the group. I then took Penelope so Jess could take her mom's pack. Another hour or so and we were all at Tomahawk. In total it took everyone three hours to get in.

We had the place all to ourselves. The lake was small and was surround by trees on all sides. We had great views of not-so-distant peaks.

Jess and Penelope at Tomahawk

That night we dined on dried soup with ramen and chicken and homemade s'mores bars. The beginning of the night went well. About 2 AM Penelope started fussing a bit which woke us up. It took a few minutes to calm her down and back to sleep. Jess eventually put Penelope in her sleeping bag to cuddle with her. After that Penelope slept great. It took us a long while to get back to sleep.

Morning time came a little too fast but we didn't mind. We had breakfast and were packed and ready to go by 10:30. We knew Penelope would be tired so we picked up the pace to get back to the Lodge as fast as we could. We made it out in an hour and a half. After getting back to the Lodge I took a quick paddle out into the middle of Louis to go for swim. It felt good to be in the cold water after a warm hike out.

Penelope & Jess snoozin' on the way out.

All in all the first backpacking trip with Penelope went awesome! We won't be ready for the next one until probably next year. We are thinking about sticking with day hikes and car camping until then.

The best part about the trip was finding out that Penelope now likes the kid carrier backpack. When we went hiking in Natural Bridges she was good in the pack for about 20 minutes before the wailing would ensue.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Penelope Crawls

About two weeks ago Penelope started crawling! It started out as a couple of steps but about a week ago she actually crawled where she linked together many steps. We got a short video of her going!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

More WBR Pics

As promised here are some more pictures from the Wasatch Back Relay. I mostly just pulled ones of me and some of team and our van. There were way too many pictures to post all of them. You can find the slideshow here. (I couldn't figure out how to post the slideshow in my blog. If anyone knows how, let me know. I'm blaming it on being tired.)