Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Free endorsements

i.e. I'm not getting paid for posting these opinions :)

Food-related discoveries from the past several months:

Ziplok Zip N Steam bags - easiest way to cook veggies (especially broccoli) we've ever found

Greek Gods honey yogurt (thank you Sprouts)

Uncle Ben's jasmine rice

Cherry wine from Spanish Valley vineyard near Moab

Farr's Fresh Ice Cream Cafe in Vernal, UT (there are also a couple locations near Salt Lake City, but we didn't find it until we got to Vernal) - make your own sundae, pay by the ounce, fresh fruit toppings, yum!

Dried blueberries on oatmeal (thank you Brandi)

Sabra pine nut hummus

Himalayan Kitchen in Durango, CO - my new favorite-est buffet

Making beans in a crock pot

Annie Chun's sushi wraps - make your own sushi rolls

And last, but definitely not least - we have discovered that John can stir-fry! :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cameltoe Canyon canyoneering

I read in a couple of online reports about a short, seemingly straight-forward canyon near Moab. This would involve finding the route without trail markers, but we're pretty OK with map reading. Relying on my memory of what I read, maybe not as confident. But we decided to try it out and see if we might get in our first canyon rappel.

It was called Cameltoe Canyon - when I saw this, I decided we must be in the right place!

Looking down at what we suspected (correctly) was to be our rappel spot. We went up the canyon along the top, followed a couple cairns down into the canyon, and then came down the canyon back to here:

John the Eagle-Eye spotted Jeep Arch in the distance - nice catch, John! I thought I had seen it from up above during our Gold Bar/Golden Spike bike tour too. You might have to "big" the picture to find it:

John checking out a very small natural bridge:

"And now for my next trick..."

We jumped down one 7-foot drop into a bit of water (well, John jumped and then helped me down - what a sweetheart), plus figured out another down-climb that had me briefly in a tree (!). Canyoneering is turning into a more interesting sport all the time.

One of the easier challenges:

Short section of slot canyon:

The last pool, right before the rappel. John brought his pack across and came back to help me (what a gentleman):

Prepping the rope for the 50-foot rappel:

I went first, managing to bang my right arm on a rock in the process (it's now pretty colors but at least it mostly doesn't hurt). Plus we forgot our gloves, so the rope was a little hot. But otherwise it was a straightforward drop:

Looking back at the cliff we had come down:

Our first bit of technical canyoneering, and with our own rope! Woo hoo!

Heading home through a culvert:

This week we're in Colorado where John is taking a hands-on solar course, and he's really enjoying it. I'm enjoying a bit of running and exploration of the area, nothing too exciting or noteworthy. Next up: The final weeks of Desert Winds training and southern Utah exploration.

Our latest "View out the back of Howie" shot, at the farm where we're parked for a few days:

Today I was treated by our hostess to a wine tasting tour of the local vineyards, yay! Life is good :)

Driving day with Danny

Danny picked us up in his new convertible for a Morning on the Mesa last week. Nice car, Danny!

We first went to Dead Horse Point State Park for the amazing views at the overlook and for a hug:

Hi John!

John's not sure what the big deal about "edges" is. Danny and I are a bit more conservative in that respect:

Hi guys!

Photo fun in the car:

We walked out to (and onto) Mesa Arch - very cool:

We drove further along to the Island in the Sky part of Canyonlands for more great views:

Two friends:

One last look at the 4WD road that we took with Kathy and Bob (still can't quite believe we did that):

And as the other bookend - Nice car, Danny!

Then we went for a delicious lunch at Pantele's - I highly recommend their sandwiches.

Danny's visit was too short, but we sure filled it with a lot of fun and laughter!

Sunset on Amasa Back

While at Milt's (a great little soda/burger joint) we met a local trail runner who asked if we wanted to go for a run. We couldn't pass up that opportunity, so we met Chris and his dogs at the Amasa Back trailhead. He and John ran ahead while I followed at my "I walk the uphills" pace.

Once up high, there were great views of the sun going down over the fins of Behind the Rocks:

And a nice view of the Colorado River on the way back down:

It was just getting dark when we all met at the trailhead. Thanks for a nice evening, Chris!

Arches NP

Danny joined us for a fun tour of Arches National Park. Each time we go, we see more things - especially more arches - always makes us smile!

On the hike up toward Delicate Arch (a must-see)... Danny was doing great, John was barely keeping up :)

Hanging out with a great view of the arch:

There it is! We love the overlook window on the trail up to the arch.

Nice shot of Danny:

Obligatory "playing around" selfie:

Starting a hike into Devil's Garden to see arches and rock formations:

Finally! We made it to Landscape Arch:

Where Wall Arch used to be before it fell (!) a couple years ago:

Wall cairns (?):

Navajo Arch - I think this is the first one we approached from arch-level:

View from under Navajo Arch:

Partition Arch:

Danny with Medusa Hair (probably a better title than "Danny and the Deadwood"):

John and I ran the rest of the Primitive Trail to see other parts of Devil's Garden:

A raven showing the way:

Double O Arch - John had to scramble up to this one, and we got some German assistance with the photograph (thank you!):

The solo spire at the very end of the Devil's Garden formation - finally saw it up close:

Private Arch:

Another great day at Arches!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Paddling with Danny

Danny came to visit us! We had a fun, exciting couple of days showing him around and exploring the area some more. Plus we got to eat breakfast with him at the B&B, which was quite special.

Danny and John took our inflatable boat (the larger one!) down the Colorado River a couple of times, and they had an absolute blast hitting the rapids, getting soaked, bailing water out of the boat, and doing it again. Danny loves the water!

Some photos from both trips, in non-sequential order: