I have to grudgingly admit that winter does have it’s advantages.  On Thursday after it stopped snowing, I took 7  kids (by myself) sledding to the hill at the amphitheater.  I had Brynn, Kayla, Garion, Grace and Meg, and Tyler and MaKenna.  We had a blast!  Kayla in particular has been asking to go sledding for weeks!  We didn’t even own a sled until about 2 weeks ago and since then have just been waiting for the snow.  It finally came.  And it came hard!  Wednesday night and Thursday it snowed pretty hard, then Friday it stormed really bad all day and rumor has it, it is suppose to snow and storm all weekend.  Although, here it is noon on Saturday and not a flake yet today.  Maybe it will hit tonight.  Anyway, the kids had a blast sledding and afterward we all came back here for a cup of hot cocoa!  We made it sledding for about an hour before the girls all got too cold.  Since we only had 3 sleds for the 7 kids they had to share, but the 4 year olds had a hard time getting up the hill and down by themselves.  They need a parent to help, so I would like to get another sled so that while Garion is doing his thing, either Jason or I could be taking the girls down the hill.  So mainly, while Meg, Tyler and Garion sledded, the girls and I played in the snow at the foot of the hill.  At the end of the hour, when we were leaving, they took off their gloves and all their fingers were bright pink and ice cold!  So I took a picture of them all saying “Burrr!!” and holding out their hands.  Super cute!!!

Making a Splash

What a night, after my team paintball practice, I had to run down to the American Fork pool to help my brothers’ ward scout group learn basic kayak safety. They’ve decided that they are doing a kayak high adventure at lake Powell this year. So my brother and I brought down two of the kayaks, and started with the basics of entry, seating, control, and water escape. It’s been a few years, so the demo of water re-entry was a little scary, but I did it.
It was great to get the boats back in some water (and quite warm at that), and we’ll be getting quite a few more chances to take these guys out to practice this summer so they can get the feel for kayaking before their trip. And yes, these aren’t tiny little whitewater kayaks. 🙂 19′ Seda Glider, and a 17′ Necky

Leatherman Skeletool

leatherman-skeletool.jpgOoh, and as we move towards the “Gimmie” season, I always love seeing the new products companies come out with to vie for my attention.  Well Leatherman has a very interesting new tool that looks quite cool.  The Leatherman Skeletool.  I currently love the Leatherman Wave that I carry, but this one has some spiffiness that cannot be denied.  I really like the look, the increased blade width, and the dual purpose carabiner/bottle opener.  It doesn’t offer quite as many  “tools” as my wave, but covers the important parts, in a sexy new look, and especially in the CF body, a very nice weight.

GPS Recommendations

So my old GPS is finally beyond hope.  It has fallen into a state that can only be deemed useless, and I need a new one.  I’m hoping to get some recommendations from folks about what GPS models features you like the most.  Some of my requirements include:

  • Screen – not just tracking
  • Topographical Maps
  • Mac Connectivity – Preferably bluetooth

Basic Usage for me:

  • Plot waypoints before a hike
  • Use During a hike to verify location/path
  • Little geocaching
  • Exporting hike details to Google Earth, etc..

So, what models do you prefer, and why?

Unwinding At Grandaddy

I live in Utah.  I love camping.  With that said, some people find it strange that until this weekend, I’d never been to the Uintahs.  Of course, I didn’t grow up here, and just now have had the chance to really get out a bit more.  So this weekend my neighbor and I headed out to the Uintah mountains to the Grandaddy Basin.

The hike out, over Hades Pass, was 4 miles, and I had been told quite difficult.  Well, not really.  Was a lot easier than expected, which let us spend a bit of extra time finding a great camping spot.  We had heard the area was a popular spot, so we were a bit worried about seeing too many people, especially on a holiday weekend.  Instead we were pleased to have only about 4 groups total in the area, which led to an overall very private weekend.

The Grandaddy basin is quite a nice area.  After leaving the oppressive Utah summer heat it felt great to be surrounded by trees, and numerous lakes and ponds.  Spending time wandering in the forests I couldn’t help but keep finding nice water pools and meadows.  Nights were brisk, another enjoyable thing, but the fishing was extremely slow for various reasons.

As a geek, it’s extremely nice to be able to completely just get away, to spend a weekend scrounging around in the dirt, and just having fun.  I’ll definitely be heading back to this area, and hopefully bringing my family as the kids get a little older.  There are lots of fish (normally biting), lots of big and tiny lakes, short hikes, easy distance.  It’s just a great location.

Grandaddy Lake Photos
Grandaddy Lake Picasa Gallery

Ahorn Wildland Fire

Well, I received a sad call this morning from my grandmother this morning, a little bit of a call to the reality of the fire season.  See, we have a family cabin that my dad and grandfather built when he was a teenager.  I’ve blogged about going up there before, it’s serious backcountry solace to my heart.  Well, a recent lightening strike started a fire just up the canyon from our cabin.  The benchmark road/canyon is filled with an old forest that is well past it’s prime for a heavy fire, and due to years of mismanagement, the whole forest is a large tinderbox (lots of ladder-fuel, etc.).

Well, the fire is currently mostly headed a different direction, but it won’t take much, especially with the current coverage to head down the canyon and include our cabin.

The one interesting note about this though, is that my grandmother is one of those people we all know that never got into computers.  After retiring from working for the state of Montana, she retired to living her summers at this primitive cabin, when she called she had some very useful information for me.

“I have an internet number about the fire for you to call..  it’s ‘H’ as in home, ‘T’ as in toy, ‘T’ as in toy, ‘P’ as in…”

I think you can see where that is going.  Out of it though, I found a really interesting site called inciweb, that is a good mashup of several sources of information, if you want to track any fires.  Good maps.  As for the fire I’m concerned about:  Ahorn Wildland Fire

And links to some of our cabin pictures:
Hall Family Cabin Benchmark 1
Hall Family Cabin 2

A Jaunt up Timp


So last week I got a call asking for some help with our scouts.  Apparently the adults talked the older boys into hiking up Timp.  Not being one to turn down an opportunity to camp, I jumped on the chance.

True to form the kids wound up deciding not to camp as my neighbor and I were ready to go.  But that wouldn’t stop us.  So Jamison and I headed up AF canyon and just kept driving until we found a spot to pitch our tents and sack out for the night.  A few minutes of scrounging turned up plenty of firewood, and we had quite the enjoyable evening.

The next morning we quickly packed up, and headed to the Timpooneke trailhead.  Following the example from the day before, what was supposed to be a large group that they needed help with turned out to be only 2 kids, which left us oh so dissapointed :).

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Ophir Expidition

*Further Tales of the Weekend Warriors*

Friday night my neighbor and I decided to head off for some camping. Our destination was just above the town of “Ophir”: a small village that once was a booming mining town on the west side of the Oquirrh Mountains.
!>×240-IMG_2531.JPG (Jayce^ at the Oquirrh Mountains, Sharp Mtn.)!:

My house is at the north base of the lake mountains, with a great view of the Wasatch front and the Oquirrh Mountains. Many times have I sat in my yard, longing to climb these peaks that are so temptingly close. To this end my neighbor and I have begun to set up plans for how to best access this area.