Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Countdown Starts

Just a quick update on my knee. I decided to go to a specialists, Dr. Devon Nelson to see why I was having problems walking. I had been going to therapy in American Fork but the pain just intensified daily. After ex-rays, I found out that my arthritis was full blown and that I was rubbing bone to bone. Only two things that you can do at this point, live with the pain and take lots of pain pills or replace the bad part and start another journey. I decided to replace the knee and had scheduled surgery for November 15th at Mountain View Hospital in Payson. My doctor tried to convince me it was the better choice. After talking with family and friends, I decided to hold off until after Thanksgiving so now I am counting down the days and not looking forward to the big cut. But I am looking forward to having less pain in the future and getting back to camping, hiking, and riding.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

San Rafael Reef - NOT

I have been planning all summer to go down early with Dennis to the GeoCache fall camp event. Dennis finally picked a spot that the group had gone to I think back in 2006 (N 38° 55.890 W 110° 25.300). We continued to make plans and I decided to drop my trailer off at his house in Price and then continue down to Moab for my annual golf event (more volunteer work). As I continued to pack up the trailer, my leg started getting worse. The pain started about 3 or 4 weeks ago and was centered just below my right knee on the back side (in the calf area). I thought my arthritis was kicking up and was hoping I didn't have to have surgery or replacement like my left knee. On Thursday (Oct 11th) morning, I decided to call and get a doctors' appointment.

At the doctor's office I got some bad news, no driving for a few weeks. In other words, no Moab, no San Rafael Reef trip. Talk about bummed out. The doctor told me I had a gastrocnemius rupture (tendinitis) in my calf area. How I got it, I have no idea unless it was moving the dresser upstairs which it could have been. Oh well, it is painful at times. The sad thing is, I'm not heading to Moab or San Rafael. I guess I will have to wait for Dennis and others to post pics on their FB page or Dennis' blog (www.udink.org).


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Snake Creek

Jeff Bowles has been itching to go riding again and asked Ken (Cluff) and I where we would want to go. He was thinking about Reeder Canyon but after discussing this with Ken, we felt that was too far for just a quick day trip. Reeder Canyon is down by Joe's Valley and takes a few hours to get there. It would have been great to see the fall colors but Snake Creek is a lot closer.

I ran over to Ken's place Thursday evening and loaded up his trailer (since I sold mine). I loaded my ATV Friday morning and then went over and loaded up Ken's. Ken's hip is getting better but he has me load and unload his ATV (and I wouldn't let him anyway). At 77 yrs old, he's not as nimble as he used to be. We met up with Jeff at his house at 9:00 am and headed up to Snake Creek / Miller Flat trail head.

After unloading, we headed up the road and up top to the junction of Cascade Springs, American Fork and Snake Creek. Instead of continuing on to Tibble Fork we decided to head to Snake Creek trail and take it since it was at least an hour or two ride. Ken mentioned that the gate at the bottom was probably locked and we would have to come back up to the top.
As we headed down there was a tree that had fallen across the trail. Ken started heading north through the trees to find a way around it. It took him about 20 minutes but he finally made it. I was hesitant to go because I didn't know if we could get back up the same way. We thought about hooking our winches on and try pulling the tree to the side but it was a big heavy tree and I forgot to take my saw!

Jeff went around the tree the same way Ken did so I decided to follow and worry about returning later. Ken told me this was an easy trail and it was a first but then I got to a sign that said, "Keep Right, Use Extreme Caution". It wasn't extreme but when you put on the brakes you slid quite a bit and to go fast down the hill was not advisable.

The colors were great with green, yellow, red, and other shades. At the bottom it was quite warm and we found that the gate was not locked but looked that way. We decided to head up a ways to have lunch and I knew as soon as I let Ken lead, he was going to go most of the way up, which he did. I decided to head on up to where the log was across the trail where we had lunch.

After lunch, we headed back down towards the gate. I took a short cut at the bottom and found another way out to the road. Jeff and Ken followed. We made it back to the trail head, loaded up and headed home. What a great day. I really enjoy spending time with good friends. These rides are for the senior citizens and we take it kind of slow. When I go with my younger friends, I know that it's rushed and everyone wants to get to the end as quickly as possible. Since retiring, I have gotten off the fast lane and it's been nice to take it easy and slow at times. But my next ride will be fast and furious at the Swell!!!

Additional Pictures:
Jeff (left) and Ken taking pictures

Ken trying to find a way around the tree that fell across the trail
At the bottom of the trail by golf course
The Bib Overall twins

Looking over the Heber Valley

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Silver Meadows

I have been spending a lot of time working both UGA and USGA (golf) events. I was kind of burned out so when Jeff Bowles called to go riding on Saturday up to Soapstone Basin, I decided to go camping and get away for awhile. I didn't realize that it was the last weekend before school started and the opening of the archery hunt.

I told Jeff I would go up early and see him and Ken (Cluff) on Saturday. Jeff mentioned he would bring a few friends. I left Tuesday and headed to Soapstone Basin road but when I got to the top, there were campers everywhere. I decided to head on up to Wolf Creek pass and then over to Cold Springs (7 miles) and Silver Meadows (3 miles). There were trailers and sheep herders on top but down by Silver Meadows I found a good spot to camp. As I set everything up I realized I forgot my CPAP machine. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well that night even though it got down to about 40 degrees.

On Wednesday, I decided to drive home and get the CPAP and a few other things I forgot. It was only 70 miles one way. It was nice to come down as phone service does not work in the mountains. I could get  sporadic service (messages) up at Silver Meadows. Kind of nice not to have service at times. Wednesday night I hooked up the CPAP and about 2:00 in the morning alarms in the trailer were going off. For whatever reason, my batteries were not holding a charge and the CPAP drained the batteries. The last time that had happened was at the family reunion when I tried to hook up two CPAP's (mine and Jack's - my new father in law) together.

Thursday I went out exploring with the ATV and found a trail I probably should not have gone on by myself. I tried to be careful and avoided some of the really steep hills but it was still spooky in a few spots. More campers came in today and one couple camped out in the weeds a few hundred yards from me. I could not believe it as it was not really a camp site, just a flat area.

Friday, I went down to Kamas to make a phone call as I had received some messages. Ken was down in St. George and mentioned he could not come but had his weeks mixed up and realized he could make the trip. It's always good to have him come riding. He recently had his hip replaced and at 77yrs old, I value every time I get to go out with him. I went hiking around camp when I came back and that evening I left the generator on all night so I could use the CPAP. It might not have been noisy for others, but I heard it all night long. So I decided to come home after the ride on Saturday.

Saturday morning about 8:30 Ken showed up and we unloaded his ATV and then sat around until Jeff and his friends came about 9:00 am. Jeff brought his and Ken's bishop and a grandson (about 18yrs old). I had ridden with them up at Hobble Creek a few years ago. I also met another friend, Allen. 

They wanted to go up to Lighting Ridge so I led out. Along the way we found a few mud puddles to play in which Jeff did. I was hesitant at first but decided I needed to get wet. I ran through one and Jeff followed. However, he hydroplaned through it and turned his wheels the wrong way. His machine dumped him off and almost came down on top of him. My adrenaline kicked in and I helped him right side his ATV. That kind of scared me. You see that kind of thing happen on TV but until it happens to you, its not real. I think Jeff will have a few bruises on his hip and back side but he did not have any broken bones. Just to make him feel better, I decided to go through the same puddle again. I even got him to go through but slower.

We headed up to Lightning Ridge but could not get really good pictures because of all the fires in the State and surrounding areas. You could see Mt. Baldy and Iron Mt but the Grand Daddies were smoggy. I hate taking pictures on smoggy days but did take a few. We had lunch and took a break for a bit and watched several groups come up to look over the edge of the cliffs. This place always gives me the creeps as I have a fear of heights. I just keep my distance from the edge unlike Ken who loves to drive right up to the edge.

After Lightning Ridge we took a different way down and then headed to Soapstone Basin to where I had gone on my solo ride a few days ago. This time the trail seemed easier for some reason. It was just as rocky but I guess with friends around, I didn't think anything would go wrong. Ken had already headed back to camp to rest so it was Jeff, Allen, their bishop and his grandson and myself.

When we got back to camp, Ken had already loaded up and gone home. Jeff and Allen helped me finish loading the trailer and we headed home. All in all it was a fun week but I am concerned about my batteries. Got to go get them checked out before the next adventure in September. Gotta go fishing!

Additional pictures of the area:
Silver Meadows
The morning sun looking east
Looking east towards Hanna and Tabiona
Up on top of Soapstone Basin
Phelps Brooks trail, east side (by my cache)
After a good rain storm
Jeff getting ready to ride in his favorite mud puddle
Jeff in mud puddle, Ken taking pics
Looking northwest from Lightning Ridge


Thursday, June 28, 2012


I have been volunteering time with the UGA (Utah Golf Association) this spring and summer for various golf events. Tuesday I headed to Roosevelt for the eastern State AM Qualifying. I left about 11:00 am and would meet with Bill Walker (Executive Director of UGA) at the course about 3:00 pm.

I loaded my GPS so that I could cache along the way. Unfortunately, I only looked for one cache by Strawberry Lake. Just wasn't in the mood.  I got to the Roosevelt golf course by 1:00, had lunch and then went out and surveyed the course until Bill showed up. The course had a new superintendent, Jeremy who had only been working there about three years. Evidently, they had had problems with the former superintendent and others. The course was not in the best of shape. They were struggling with getting enough water to water the course and the former superintendent had sabotaged several holes.

The course had been marked to speed up play so Bill and I spent quite a bit of time making changes to holes #13, #14, #15. We remarked the red and yellow lines and put up boundary stakes.  Bill ran out of green paint so that evening we headed to Lowes in Vernal to buy more. I went ahead to the hotel, the Roadway Inn. Bill wanted to get another room but the place was packed since the Uintah Basin was experiencing an oil and gas boon. Bill and I had dinner and then I told him I was going to spend time with my cousin's, Dennis and Shelly Sorensen. I told him I would meet up tomorrow at 6:30am at the golf course.

Dennis and Shelly live in the area south of town where they can have horses. It is nice and peaceful. I could live in a place like that (if it wasn't in a desert).  I probably should have stayed with Bill at the hotel because I didn't go to bed until late. I had so much catching up on family issues that I forgot about time.

I rose by 5:00am so I could meet Bill at 6:30 in  Roosevelt but Shelly was up reading and we got to talking about the area and why prices are so high. Fuel is $3.74 for gas and $3.97 for diesel. She told me that the area had five 7-11 stores and they were constantly busy. Two of them by Neola were the top producers in the Western U.S. It is like the gold rush of the old west but now it is black gold that everyone is trying to get. She mentioned that even McDonald's is having to pay higher wages to keep up with the oil field wages. About $14 to $16 an hour.  If I liked the hot desert area, hordes of people, high prices and rift raft of every kind I might consider finding work over there. But I have come to enjoy the simple life. The rat race is not for me anymore. I enjoy moving at 70 miles an hour instead of 130 miles an hour.

After arriving at the course in Roosevelt (a little late), we did course set up. Bill Probst came and helped out with Starting and Check point time. There were not many rulings but we did have one DQ. The player was starting to putt out on the 18th hole and realized that the ball he had was not his. The brand and number were the same but the marking was a little off. So he DQ'ed himself. Golf is so different from other sports. It's hard to find such honesty in a sport. Had this player not said anything and played out, he would have qualified for the State AM on July 18th at the Salt Lake Country Club. There were six spots to fill and two alternates. Low round was a 71 (-1 par) with a playoff for three spots at 74.

After the tournament, Bill and I cleaned up and then headed home to get ready for the next tournament on Friday at the Homestead. This tournament I will not soon forget as the Church Camp fire in Argile Canyon produced enough smoke to block the sun and make it very hazy. I was driving down the main drag in Vernal Tuesday evening and wished I could have pulled off the road and taken a picture of a bright orange red sun set. It was unbelievable. Heading home on Wednesday evening the smoke had shifted more east so it wasn't a problem driving. I was so tired that I didn't take hardly any pictures but I did enjoy spending time with family and helping out with the golf event. I get a day of rest and then on to the next tournament.

Strawberry Reservoir. This guy was nuts to be out there. 30 mph wind.
White caps on Strawberry
Looks like an English country side and overcast
Smoke from Church Camp fire


Saturday, June 9, 2012

GeoCache Merit Badge

My friend Brad asked if I could assist them in Scouts by being a Merit Badge Councilor for GeoCaching. I told him sure and went to the required meetings.  Today, I ran up to Lodgepole Camp Ground up Daniels Canyon to teach the scouts what GeoCaching was and what is required to receive their merit badge. It was a great day and I enjoyed being in the mountains (gotta get out more). After explaining what geocaching was, I had the boys take my two GPS units and go find three caches up in the area. After finding the first one, I could not keep up with them as they ran to the next cache about .14 miles away - thru the trees.Good thing Jordon Farr (one of the scout masters) could keep up. I walked back to camp with the other three scout leaders.

I am going to have the scouts adopt my cache that is by our Church and follow the logs for at least 30 days so they can get the required credit. After the scouts graduate and move on the younger scouts will continue to monitor this cache. I will keep tabs on it but let them maintain it. It is really great to see others take an interest in this sport.

Breakfast time
Enough said
Scout Camp (I remember when I was in scouts...)
Brad relaxing in the sun
Ouch, my ankle!

Monday, April 23, 2012

GeoCache Spring Event - Goblin Valley

April 18 - 22, 2012

This year I planned to head down early with Dennis Udink (Price) to the Goblin Valley area for our annual Spring GeoCache Event. I left Tuesday morning about 10:30 am and arrived in Price about 12:30 pm. Went to Smith's, grabbed some food and filled up with gas.
Dennis filling up at Smith's in Price
Dennis' trailer
My trailer
 Hooked up with Dennis and headed to Goblin. We set up camp (not the place we wanted) at the BLM Campsite. We set up on west side of the campground.

We decided to go grab a cache that had been input into geocaching.com wrong. Dennis kind of knew where to look after talking to the owner. It was 11 miles west on Temple Mountain Rd. We found the cache, a FTF and then came back to camp for dinner and turned in for the night. It was very windy, rainy and did I say windy!!!
Taking pictures on the way back to camp
Man's best friend

Wednesday, I drove to Green River because my oil light came on on the ATV. Grabbed oil and can (to put dirty oil in). I decided to drive down to Hanksville because I had never been there before and I wanted to see how big the town really was. I was disappointed. Not much to see. I did take pictures at a scenic place just north of town. The stream by town was called the Dirty Devil River. Pretty funny. The rocks were a cool formation. I also found a cache close by.

Across the road (east) from the scenic area
Henry mountains in background

 I headed back to camp about noon and changed the oil. I found out that my battery is having a hard time starting my machine. I will have to replace it when I get back home. After changing the oil Dennis and I headed across the road on the north side to look at rock art. Dennis found a rattler again in same spot as he did two yrs ago. Kinda spooked him. We still explored area. I had dinner and relaxed while Dennis went on a hike up Iron wash. Had another dust storm go through camp, worse than Tuesday's. It was bad!

Thursday we left camp about 8:30 am and headed east down Temple wash to highway 24. Headed south half a mile to turn off and then east several miles till we found road going north. This trail was about 8 - 10 miles and extremely bumpy. The trail took us to Rattlesnake Ridge. We took a few pictures and found where people in the early 19th century had etched on the rock and then headed north to Cottonwood Wash (25 miles). Another very, very bumpy trail.
Rattlesnake Ridge from south side
Dennis taking pics of etching
Rattlesnake Ridge from north side
Etching on Rattlesnake Ridge
Dennis heading south in Cottonwood Wash
Dennis in Cottonwood Wash

Crow's Nest

East wash at Crow's nest

Dennis walking around rim
Etched snake at Crow's Wash entrance
Rock formation in east wash
Dennis looking for rock art

 We went down into wash and over to the Crow's Nest (heading west about 4 miles?). We were looking for some rock art that Dennis was told about. There are three washes at the head and we took the east one all the way to the end (about 1/4 mile). We found a really neat rock formation where the water had cut out a bolder right in the middle. It was cool. Dennis decided to explore the other two washes from the south and headed north. I went back down the east wash and was almost to the entrance when I spotted rock art on the east side. Climbing up to the art, I found several places where snakes had been etched into the rock. Pretty cool. Dennis came and took lots of pictures of the art.
Crow's Nest tree
Cottonwood Wash looking north

We then headed back to Cottonwood Wash and up on top then headed south along the ridge paralleling the wash. We went across highway 24 to Old Woman wash and then took the trail along the foothills. We headed south to Temple Mountain rd, then west back to camp. This trip took us about 7 1/2 to 8 hrs. Lots of riding and hiking, I'm pooped. Four more trailers showed up, Jan & Ken, Terry & Karen, Michael & Debbie, Steve & Leslie, and some of Terry's friends with 4x4's. It was another long day but less wind!
Dennis by the old shack

 Friday - Ray came in late Thursday. I gave her wrong directions and she got lost but made it about 11:30 pm. Today Dennis took Ray and I out on a trail ride through the slot canyon of temple wash. Ray hadn't ridden an ATV so Dennis let her use Traci's machine which is like mine with thumb shifting. She did really good. Dennis found some new rock art (he'd been up the wash a dozen times and never seen the paintings). We got back and a little while later Traci and the boys showed up. We took it easy the rest of the day. That night, Dennis and I took night pictures of him twirling steel wool out on the road. Pretty cool.
Temple Mountain from the old shack on the north side
Raylene and Dennis looking at rock art (red paintings between them)
Dennis twirling steel wool (my favorite)
Dennis on Temple Mountain Rd twirling steel wool
Saturday I hiked with the group up wild horse canyon. It was 5 miles although Dennis told us it was 3.5. I petered out so many times and brought up the rear all the time. I couldn't believe how hot it was. It was in the mid 80's. At the west entrance we had taken a few cars and left them there so we didn't half to walk back down. Good thing cuz I only made it 4 miles before I hit the wall and could not walk anymore. Ken and Jan came back to get Ray & I. Ray had to carry my backpack cuz I was dead tired. The wash is relatively flat although you do climb 110' in elevation and the sand is twice as tough to walk in. 
Taking a break in the shade

Torry needed a break

Jan heading up Wild Horse Wash

That evening we had our potluck dinner and then Chris exploded both corn and fruit cocktail in the fire. They were both kind of duds. The corns top blew leaving the can in the fire pit. Also, while we had gone hiking someone (Jeremy) had taken off Chris's back tire on his car and blocked it up on rocks. They hid the tire in a night cache. Chris was calmer than I would have been.
Taking a break
Potluck dinner
Potluck dinner
Only a 3-wheel drive vehicle now!
 Sunday, we packed up and headed home. It was a great weekend and I'm glad I got to spend it with the wife and friends.