Sunday, April 6, 2014

From Snow to Desert

Can't beat Canyonlands country. Standard view from Deadhorse Pt. 

I think as much as we all enjoy snow and winter activities, there comes a time when its time to halt the skiing and embrace spring by heading south and forgetting about all that white stuff, though the skiing is still excellent. (near death avalanches help speed this process along)

However, I guess I need to almost kill myself more often as I had a record number of page views on my last post. Normally my five friends, some family, and some random people bored on the interweb view my blog posts, so I get somewhere in the 30-60 page view range on average for every post. I got 512 on the avy post. Watch out Six Sisters, I'm gaining! Sponsors are flocking like seagulls to a garbage dump!

My family had planned a nice weekend in Moab and it was just what I needed after last weeks debacle(despite having visited the desert two weeks prior. You can't get enough desert). The desert is fantastic in April/May, and since Annie and I usually end up sleeping in the dirt illegally or in the back of our Hyundai when we visit Moab, its always nice to have an alternative to that dirtbag lifestyle and have the parents pay for a luxurious rental home where beds, movies, and large quantities of delicious food are available.

My folks and Annie were nice enough to let me go to my own thing in the morning, then join them for some lighter hikes in the afternoon. However, my dad, Caroline, and Annie joined me for an early run Friday. They ran for about an hour up Hidden Valley and back and I did a nice loop by heading up the Hidden Valley Trail, then down the Moab Rim, back on the Kane Creek Rd(crappy, but unavoidable) where I hopped onto the super nice Pipedream trail back to the car. Overall it was a great 14-15 mile outing with around 3k'. I was lucky enough to see only a few folks in the 2:20 it took to run it as all of those trails are fairly popular with mountain bikers and the evil jeeps/dune buggies/OHV unpleasantries.

Hey look! A hidden valley with a buffed out singletrack! 

Fun slickrock running down Moab Rim to the river
Colorado River

That afternoon I took the family on a tour of my favorite mud towers. The Fisher towers are pretty crazy formations, and the 5 mile out and back trail was enjoyed by everyone. The family got to witness some poor climber struggling to mantle the diving board on Ancient Art for about 5 minutes while the usual conga line present on the route waited impatiently.

Ancient Art Headwall. Look at all the Mud! 

The Titan, aka "the big dirty". Inspired me to take up aid climbing, though both major aid lines have now been freed at the relatively pedestrian grades of 5.13 and 5.12c with large portions of  "5.11 sketch" according to Will Stanhope. 
A cool video of Mr Stanhope enjoying some "mud-aneering" and the Smileys doing the standard aid practice

Free the Titan from paul on Vimeo.

Finger of Fate, The Titan from Mark Smiley on Vimeo.

More mud. Cottontail and Kingfisher
For once it wasn't me making funny faces

Saturday I embarked on a great run I had mapped out in Canyonlands on my own, thinking I was pretty clever, then discovered many a folk had already done it including Ted and Christy Mahon of  "stuck in the rockies" (they've done everything) so I felt stupid for a sec then got over it. Its a 20 mile loop starting at Alcove Springs TH, down to Taylor Canyon, out to the WRR, over to Upheaval Dome TH, and back up via the south Syncline loop to Island in the Sky. The National Parks do not disappoint. Click on the "bigger map" link below for a more detailed view.

Running down Alcove Springs

Loved running around the corner and spotting these guys

Yee Haw! Solitary singletrack down in remote Canyonlands

Need to get back and climb Zeus, Aphrodite, the other two lines on Moses, Charlie Horse much to do

Don't miss the cutoff from the WRR or you'll be running a lot longer than 6.9 miles back to the rim

Slime Oasis in the wash. I've drunk/drank/drunken from worse

Lots of wash running. Not too sandy but not exactly efficient either

It turned out to be a fantastic run, and I finished in 3:15 with about 3k' again. The family then went and hiked Delicate Arch, which was a bit of a cultural shock going from seeing 5 people all morning during my 3 hour run to seeing the entire population of Rhode Island in the parking lot. We aren't huge fans of crowded places. Speaking of destroying mankind, we rounded out the day with a viewing of the new movie release Noah, which was nothing like the Biblical story whatsoever(Giant rock fallen angel creatures that behave like Lord of the Ring Ents?), but entertaining nevertheless.
License plate shot

Sunday we packed up and headed out to Corona Arch as neither of us had ever been out there. No rope swinging ensued(the sabbath), but we did climb on top to check out the setup.
Corona Arch. 

Can't wait to get back and do some climbing.

Steve and I have plans to run the Zion Traverse at the end of April, so this week was my first real week of serious running. I managed 65 or so miles which I think was pretty good. He's already run a 50 this year so I'm behind in the miles category. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice runs.

    Ha! We saw Noah also. Entertaining. The bible says that there were "giants in the earth in those days". How can a giant be "in" the earth? Maybe they were rock giants? The whole idea of the "Watchers" came from the book of Enoch which talks about the fallen angels ( It is a pretty difficult task to try to portray the incredible fable of Noah with all of the details that make it seem somewhat feasible. Not sure if you can say it was "nothing like the biblical story".