“Play is the highest form of research.” Albert Einstein
Header Photo: Season's first snow on White House Mountain, taken from the summit of Twin Peaks

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Rock (Eye) Candy


We've been to Valley of Fire, gosh, I don't know, maybe five times—six, counting this one—over the last 15 years. I've always thought it pretty and outrageously out of place in an otherwise sparse and dull volcanic landscape. The five mile "scenic drive" is a serpentine ribbon of ink-black asphalt, it hugs the lay of the land—heaves, lulls, and weaves through dry sand washes between jumbled mounds of Martian-like red rock. In the early days you could pull off and park any old place and strike out blindly across the pocked and pimpled topography, which, of course, just happens to be our specialty. It always adds a Lewis and Clark "lost and found" element, and great expectations of uncovering something seldom eyed. There is wonder, too, of whether a loop can be made…  and if so, will you be able to find the car?  In todays world one must seek out the unexpected; rarely does it just fall into a rested lap. If and when it does fall into lap, their will likely be a party going on at trail's end.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fortitude Overcomes Folly In Southwest Utah


The lead photo was taken from our first post-Colorado boondock site. Camped less than 20 feet from a precipice along the Virgin River Gorge, we indulged two extremes: a magnificent canyon right out the doorstep, and the distant stately walls of Zion. Out Goldie's Imax Window, mountain bikers ground away on the gnarly Hurricane Rim Trail cross canyon. The trail affords breathtaking-to-heart stopping glimpses into the Virgin's chasm, flirting within spitting distance of certain death. I had the distinct privilege of letting this trail ride me into the ground a couple of years ago; twas a sadomasochistic experience in self-abuse that's right up there at the top with other fond, but grueling memories. It was on that bike ride that I noticed a seemingly impossible manmade canal etched into the cliff face about midway down, and an apparent pathway along its edge. This posed four burning questions to my inquiring mind: Who? What? When? and for Christ's sake, Why?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Renewal In Diversity: From Mountains Cold and White, to Deserts Lush and Green



After streaking 84 mph across a winterized version of the awe-inspiring, otherworldly State of Utah yesterday, we rolled into one of the most panoramic boondock sites ever—literally a 360 degree, 3-D, Triple AAA, 5 star, Sir-Real Postcard. I'm looking drooling out Goldie's Imax Windows now, as morning light sheds hues of gold and pink on purple mountain and red rock majesty, wondering why in God's name we have not camped here before?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"Falling" In Love At Ouray's Annual Ice Festival


Upwards of 15,000 people descend on Lovely Ouray each and every January… a Winter Rush of Ice Climbers from all over the world. It seems our Ice Park farms some of the best ice and climbing routes found anywhere on the globe, and we've become a premier, world class "destination" for spike-shoed throngs of all ages—decked out with high dollar ice axes, industrial strength carabiners, and hundred foot lengths of rope from which to dangle their "participles."

Friday, January 9, 2015

Into Thin Air



The above photo was taken from a windswept ridge line summit above U. S. Basin on Bobbie's birthday hike. We cross country skied to this exact spot once before 32 years ago, and it was etched in our collective memory as a beautiful, but grueling climb. But now, we are twice as old—or half as young, take your pick—and clumping our way on snowshoes, which don't exactly glide with the greatest of ease. Alas, no free rides down to the car on snowshoes. I'm sure a Life metaphor exists in there somewhere, but I'm too tired and sore to go looking for it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Measuring Time in Places Rather than years; How I Met My Birthday Bobbie



Bobbie and I had something in common long before our paths ever crossed. Though mere youngsters with nothing much to show on our Resumes of Existence beyond preparatory schooling and Pie in the Sky dreams, we both valued where over what… Place over Occupation. It was that shared philosophy that landed our orbits out west where they had a chance to intersect… and eventually did.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Cosmos-tology: Last Call and Requiem for Twenty-fourteen


Thanks to a thoughtful and generous friend in the BCB audience, I now possess a finely bound Fall Adventures In Utah photo album.  T'was a fine gesture from Dehui Yang from Shanghai, currently a grad student at School of Mines over in Golden. We met Dehui via the blog, then planned to meet up for a summer hike to nearby Ice Lake. Bobbie and I are grateful for your gift, Dehui, as well as our new friendship with you.