Wednesday, September 29, 2010

OK, more moose

Mom and her two young calves had spent a day and a night down at Bill and Loris Benson's house, eating all their trees and shrubs. Now they moved up the hill to feast on the condo food.

They are so cute until you see them ripping a bush out of the ground or snapping the top off a $300 aspen tree. It was about 80 here today (way above normal), so they were camping out in the shade.

OK, they're still cute. These are bother and sister and are definitely less than a year old.

They almost look like they are smirking. Probably about to head to our house for their dinner.

Huge spike in blog hits

I have a little piece of software from Google that tracks the number of people that read my blog. A normal day is 15-25. If the count gets real high, Google sends me an "alert". I recently started receiving them and finally went out to check. Hundreds of people were hitting the blog every day. Why?

I found that a lot of the traffic was coming from Google with searches for "Steve Joyce". I found a few people searching for "Stephen P. Joyce". Whe I did that same search, I discovered that Stephen P. Joyce is the head of Choice Hotels. He had just appeared on the TV show Undercover Boss, where the head of a company secretly takes jobs doing very basic work around his own company.

You never know what is going to drive traffic to your blog.

Feisty truck day

I was heading over to Friends of Animals' Rescue Ranch to do some work this morning. Suddenly I feel the truck get a little squirrely and the air pressure monitor came on. I pull over to check and I had run over something big and sharp, and my tire was losing air fast.

I hopped back in and pulled over where the shoulder was fairly wide and flat. For the first time in five years, I had to dig out the manual to figure out how to unleash the spare and the jack. Twenty minutes later I was back on the road with the spare. Honda made it pretty simple for such a big tire.

Flat tires stink, but if you are going to have one, pick a nice sunny, warm day, when you aren't in a big hurry, and you have a nice flat shoulder to pull off on. It makes everything a bit more relaxing.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I'm going western

I've been out west for the better part of six years and the local fashion is finally starting to wear off on me. I stepped up and got my first pair of cowboy boots. They are more about wearing in Park City than stomping around in the horse poop. At some point I will have to go get a good Stetson.

Stopped on the interstate

I was driving down I-80 to Salt Lake City. I was about two thirds of the way down the canyon when I saw all lanes of traffic at a complete stop. Damn. Must be a wreck.

Suddenly I see a series of explosions go off at the top of the cliff to my right. I realized that the rock quarry, which is stupidly placed right next to six lanes of interstate highway, was blasting. I grabbed my little Canon camera I keep in the truck and snapped a few shots.

Obviously I missed the explosions as they happened. It was such a surprise.

We had to wait about 15 minutes for all this dust to clear before they would let traffic start to move again.

Next time I'll be read for them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

CrossFit Filthy Fifty

Did a workout yesterday that really pushed me. It's called the Filthy Fifty.
  • 50 Box jumps on a 24 inch box
  • 50 Jumping pull-ups
  • 50 Kettlebell swings, 35 pounds
  • 50 Walking Lunge steps
  • 50 Knees to elbows (hang on a bar, pull your knees up to touch your elbows)
  • 50 Push press, 45 pounds
  • 50 Back extensions
  • 50 Wall ball shots with a 20 pound ball (squat deep, rise throwing ball to a 10' line)
  • 50 Burpees
  • 50 Double unders
You do all this for time. It took me about 35 minutes, and I was only able to do 30 knees to elbows and 30 wall balls. I can't tell you how hard it is to do burpees after all that other stuff.

Today I am beat, but not too sore. Next timed I will conquer this, complete and faster.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The great elk hunt

We were at a wedding reception this past weekend and were talking with some friends, Chad and Cathy. Somewhere in the conversation we started talking about how Julie and I saw tons of deer and moose in Park City, but no elk. Turns out Chad is an elk hunter and it is almost elk season.

Today Chad took me on one of his pre-season explorations, trying to find out where all the elk are hanging out. We drove about an hour, to a location that must remain secret. From there we hiked around in search of some elk.

Chad stopped to take a hit off his bong, or so I thought. Actually it was his elk call. When the male elk start getting frisky, entering the rutting season, they start bugling. Chad was making a very nice (I thought) elk bugle to encourage the other males to call back or come see who we were.

We picked a glorious day, although it started at 27 degrees. As soon as the sun came up, it warmed up quickly.

Is this an elk? Nope. However, we saw seven moose! We started with 3 bulls and 2 cows (not all together). Then driving out at the end of our morning, we saw a cow and a calf. These moose tended to be much more skittish than the Park City moose, who will stand in front of your car and stare you down.

This must be an elk. Nope, just one of the dozens of mule deer we saw. If I was hunting from the window of the SUV, I could have been tagging these things left and right.

Look closely (double click if you have to). Are these elk? Nope. These are hundreds of free range sheep. They were chatting up a storm. We could hear them from a half mile away, over a ridge line. It was actually annoying when you are listening carefully for other animals.

Damn it! These must be elk. Nope just a few cows that were wandering around.

I give up. How can you see seven moose and not a single elk? As far as I can tell, elk are just allergic to me. The worst part was walking back to the SUV after a few hours of hiking around. Chad, as a hunter, always watches the ground for tracks. We couldn't be certain, but it really looked like an elk had followed us up the hill from where we parked. If so, I personally would like to hunt that one.

I decided to include these two pictures I took at Yellowstone to prove that, at least in Wyoming, I was able to get close enough to photograph an elk. Now I just need a Utah elk.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A smattering of fall colors

This is just a pretty little clump of trees out in the middle of the scrub and sage. We pass this heading out Brown's Canyon to the Friends of Animals' Rescue Ranch.

Julie and I went for a hike around April Mountain. Around Park City, there is one hillside that always changes colors first.

Our walk went through a lot of pretty pinks, reds and oranges.

It's nice to have this on trails that go right behind our house.

The prettiest colors always seem to show up best against the blue skies.

These are all maples, and they turn first. The biggest swathes of trees are aspens, and they are just now starting to change. Too bad we can't convince all the trees to go at once. That would be breath taking.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The view from the wee hours

So, if you were to wake up at 4:00 in the morning and not be able to go back to sleep, what would you do?

Me, I make a pot of coffee, go out and unscrew the bulbs in the neighborhood street lights, and sit in the driveway taking pictures of the stars. I knew the moon was setting last night around midnight, so the skies were about as dark as they ever get around a town.

There really are gajillions of stars up there. The camera can pick up so many more than my eyes could see. This exposure was so long that the stars blurred a bit, but this gave the best idea of the incredible numbers.

To see the detail of a picture, double-click on it.

I like having a bit of horizon in the photos. Gives it some perspective.

And my favorite for the morning.

The bummer is that when I pulled the pictures off the camera to look at them on my PC, I had an idea of how I could have shot them better. I threw the camera back on the tripod and went back out, only to find that the very, very first light of the morning had washed away a lot of the stars. The sun is still an hour from coming up, but it sure doesn't take much light to make the dimmer stars fade out of sight.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A bit of moose excitement

I know I have too many moose pictures on my blog, but I find them so interesting. They are such a powerful, majestic looking cow-things.

For people who have read the blog for a while, you might remember my Where's Wal-dog series. Here we have Where's Mr. Moose? Double-click on the picture if you can't see it.

Haven't found it yet? Seriously, there is a huge bull moose just inside the trees.

This gives you a little better hint.

If you didn't see it, he is halfway down and about three quarters of the way across.

So once he came out and ate some more tree, you can start to get a better view.

I was being very careful about the moose, as you don't want to surprise one and you absolutely never want to come between mom and her kids. I figured out that there was dad, mom, and a one-year old that's hidden in the trees. Dad only cared about mom.

After taking pictures for 10 or 15 minutes, I heard a noise behind me. I knew where they all were, so I was confused and a bit concerned. Perhaps just a hiker being noisy?

Nope. Out of no where, another bull comes out of the trees. This encouraged me to find a place as out of the way as possible, quickly. I did not want to be in between two bulls having a disagreement about who gets the lady.

The new entrant approached the group. I was really surprised that it didn't seem to have any effect. He was definitely smaller, so he either just wasn't a threat or perhaps he was related somehow.

I always thought that if I saw two bull moose this close, it would be a fight. Someone at CrossFit suggested that they might either be gay or bi. Not sure how that works with moose.

And we end with a couple of profiles of the individuals. These are always my favorites.

Notice how different the colors are and how they have different shaped beards.

Mom and the young one stayed back in the woods and I used a little judgment about going in to find them for a picture. My heart was still clicking along at a good pace from the second bull wandering in behind me.

As I hustled back to the house, I ran across a gorgeous red fox, but he scampered into the trees before I could snap a shot.

Someone stole my oxygen

OK, we all know that if you come out to high altitude, you get to gasp for air as you exert yourself. For some, that means they lose a minute per mile on their run. For others, it makes they curse the God that allowed the invention of stairs. Live out here long enough (we live at 7400 feet) and you get used to it. Your body and blood adapt, or so we thought.

Turns out that at 6500 feet, the suicide rates are about one third higher than sea level. Living at altitude is now actually one of strongest risk factor for suicides. Seems to be something about the lower levels of oxygen effecting your metabolism.

I find this whole thing depressing. Guess I need to start buying lots of oxygen in a can.

It's always something......

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fly fishing

Our friends and neighbors, Miriam and Greg, went fly fishing about a week ago. Miriam had a great day and here is one of her accomplishments. There is a ton of great fly fishing around here, but I still haven't gone. It's on the list.

A great day for a hike

Julie and I went for a hike yesterday. The weather was just perfect and some of the trees are really starting to show their color.

As we got close to home, we found this unwelcome guest sitting on the path, soaking up some rays. I don't mind snakes, but I wish they would choose the hundreds of acres of open space, instead of the path I use every day.

Our ever-alert dog had just walked over the snake. Never noticed him and fortunately the snake didn't seem bothered. Anyone know what kind he is? You can double-click on the picture for a better view.

UPDATE: My mom determined that this is a Wandering Garter Snake.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Another exercise game

A quick fitness test that you can do in a few minutes:

Do one push up, rest 10 seconds
Do two push ups, rest 10 seconds
Do three push ups, rest 10 seconds
... and so on

Do good, clean, chest to the ground push ups. How far can you go before collapse? It seemed like it should be easier with all that resting. Not so much. I would say I am just getting older, but I was even weaker as a kid.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Park City Miner's Day Parade

The Miner's Day events in Park City are simple, but fun. It all starts with the Running of the Balls. You buy numbers, each of which is written on a golf ball. The money goes to the Huntsman Cancer Fund. The balls are all up in a cart at the top of Main Street.

Just like the running of the bulls, the first thing you see is the runners coming down the street.

Then a trickle of golf balls start rolling down the track.

The volume picks up and you see hundreds of balls.

Then the masses come rolling along. They had about 2,000 golf balls. At the bottom of the run, they collect into a track. The first ones down are the winners. I think the top prize was a season ski pass. None of our balls won.

The parade was surprisingly long, with lots of entries. However, not nearly as much thought or work went into the event as the big July 4th parade. Mostly it was just cars with signs on them, ....

or a motorcycle....

or people with dogs.

Crossfit Park City had a presence. It's a lot more work going down Main Street if you are flipping a giant tractor tire.

The parade was fun to watch. Nothing exciting but it was such a nice day. You had to be outside.