My boys playing in the Virgin River in the Narrows

My boys playing in the Virgin River in the Narrows

Columbia Omnifreeze Zero keeping me cool in the heat

Columbia Omnifreeze Zero keeping me cool in the heat

The crew making our way through The Subway

The crew making our way through The Subway

     My boys and I were familiar with Zion, as we had spent time there last year. But I was particularly excited to hike “The Subway” with them this year. If you don’t recognize this hike, it’s has 2-3 miles of the most unusual and beautiful scenery in all of Utah. An absolute MUST DO as far as hikes go. Being that this is mostly a water hike, July is a great month to experience this grand trail. But the permit system for “The Subway” is by lottery only, and they only allow 80 people on the Left Fork trail a day. Most hike from the bottom up and back, but top down is the best route… If you know the route. It could be easy to get turned around up top crossing the slick rock, believe me I know. I recommend going with someone who has hiked it before, at least your first time. That way you can learn the route.

Columbia keeping traction in the Zion Narrows

Columbia keeping traction in the Zion Narrows

     I originally had a 12 person permit, but ended up giving away 7 spots because I couldn’t fill them all. Weird that I couldn’t even give them away, apparently I’m not as well liked as I might think. My boys and I arrived in Zion a few days before Jeremy and Erika were coming down, so we thought hiking the first 3 miles up the Narrows would be a good warm up for the 10 mile “Subway” hike. All that did was get me super stoked on my Narrows permit I have for later this month. decked out in my Vibram 5 fingers (my favorite water shoe), my Columbia Sportswear Omnifreeze shirt and Tetonsports day packs, we trekked up the Narrows with a light sprinkle of rain above us. Other than the Neanderthal “jocks” we encountered, who were not only bouncing a football of the slot canyon walls, but tried to sail a 30′ log down the shallow Virgin river, all was right in the world. The beauty of the Narrows is unparalleled, the Grand daddy of slot canyons. If you decide to venture up from bottom on a day hike, take it to the Orderville canyon confluence. Believe me, you will know when you get there.

Orderville Canyon confluence

Orderville Canyon confluence

Hiking into The Subway Photo by: Erika Wiggins

Hiking into The Subway
Photo by: Erika Wiggins

     Later that evening, Jeremy and Erika arrived at camp, and we began making plans for the “Subway” route the next morning. We set out around 9am, letting the other groups pass us, as we wanted the distance from separate hikers so we could enjoy the canyons beauty. Though the water in the “Subway” was really murky, and pretty much stained my brand new Columbia Omnifreezezero shirt, it was still another amazing experience. And even more memorable than hiking it the previous year, because I was able to share these moments with my 2 best buddies. My boys did great, no complaining, no whining, and even powered through the last mile with only 1 rest in the middle. High 5’s handed out all around, and smiles accompanied the beers back at camp last that evening. Couldn’t of asked for a better group to join me on this Epic hike.

Caelan swimming through the murky waters in The Subway

Caelan swimming through the murky waters in The Subway

The Dudes exiting The Subway

The Dudes exiting The Subway

     The following morning, we said goodbye to Jeremy and Erika. Packed up camp and began the long drive to RMNP. I opted on taking the scenic route driving past Bryce Canyon, through Escalante, and Capitol Reef NP. This route took a an hour or so longer, but mileage wise, was shorter and much more majestic. We managed to break up the monotony of driving with a brief layover in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. A quaint little town, that other than my hotel being a POS, I rather enjoyed. The margarita I had with dinner had just the right kick and my waffle the next morning was amazing. We got back on the road by 9am, eager to reach RMNP and set up camp. I had extremely high expectations for this NP.

skipping rocks in RMNP

skipping rocks in RMNP

     The first evening after camp was set up, we took a swim in the 40° Colorado river, and I spent some time teaching my boys to skip rocks. It was a father-son moment I will never forget. Amazingly, we were allowed camp fires in RMNP, so we went old school and roasted some weenies over the fire, followed by the ever classic s’mores. Early to rise, we took the drive over the Trail Ridge road, spotting a number of elk, deer and mountain goats. Taking the shuttle up the to Bear Lake and hiking around this awesome lake with mirror images. We opted to hike further up to Nymph Lake which turned out to be the high light of RMNP for me. The water was astounding, and covered with water-lilies, a sight I have never seen previously. Caelan even fell in at one point, “claiming” it to be an accident..? Very suspicious. We carried on to Dream Lake, after all how can you pass on visiting a place called Dream Lake? The vista was amazing, exactly what the name suggests… A Dream. The crystal clear lake settle directly below Hallet Peak, a sheer rock face that can be summited via climbing, or hiking. But you want to start that expedition early as late afternoon weather can quickly become a factor in your safety.

Nymph Lake

Nymph Lake

Dream Lake & Hallet Peak

Dream Lake & Hallet Peak

     At this point, I was over impressed with RMNP, quickly realizing why Boulder, Colorado was such a sought after destination to live. It beauty for high altitude hikes is amazing. Then I saw to 2 boulderers descending the trail, packing their crash pads. My excitement began to build further. I stopped to talk with the next group of boulderers I encountered. They informed my RMNP was “world-class” bouldering, a top 10 destination apparently. My mind was made up, I would return to this breathtaking park. Crash pad and all. What more could you ask for..? Crisp, cool summer temps, gorgeous mountain and lake views, and world-class bouldering. Colorado, you have won me over. I forgive you for your sports teams, your landscape is wondrously stunning.

Reppin' some TETONsports gear

Reppin’ some TETONsports gear

   Model looks on this kid

Model looks on this kid

     We exited the park via the east entrance, due to the fact the west entrance was closed for road construction. A bit irritated that the previous evening there was no signs letting people know this would be the case. But it turned out for the best. We got to see the astonishing Colorado sunrise from the Trail Ridge road. The highest continuous paved road in the USA, reaching 12,183 ft in elevation. And we also got to travel through the lovely town of Estes Park, a place I could definitely hang my hat for a while… Though it’s probably extremely expensive these days.  I admit, my thought and views of Colorado were a bit swayed by my Utah roots. Strange because everyone I’ve met from this awesome state is extremely warm-hearted and wonderful. Finding now that the 2 are not much different. Aside from the marijuana laws in CO, and the predominant LDS population in UT. The states have more in common than most might think. The elevations of our major cities are both near a mile high. We share a love for skiing, climbing and MTB. The southern portion of our brother states are covered in red rocks, while the northern is mountains, lakes, quakies and pines. Even the liquor laws are fairly close (look them up). Colorado, I salute you!

Sunrise from the Trail Ridge Road

Sunrise from the Trail Ridge Road

     Thanks to the awesome company TETONsports for their great support in all my adventures, these guys are amazing. Thanks for reading. Have you ever visited a place you had a preconceived notion about, and were proven wrong? I’d love to hear about it…

Choose Life

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I have an idea… Put down the lap top, stop tweeting, facebooking, and save the instagrams for when you return from an awesome day, weekend or even week-long adventure. Take pictures with your smart phone, share. Enjoy, make memories. Experience! That’s happiness… Live small and dream BIG. Take chances, travel. Visit all the places you once envisioned yourself going. Make it happen, because there is only so many days you can live. Choose Life!
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People often say they don’t have time, money or the “know how”. But the simple truth is, if you wanted to experience you would… I understand financially it can be hard. Believe me, I understand. I’m a single father with a mortgage and 2 growing boys who will eat everything in the refrigerator in a day. I work a 9-5 job, make a decent living but by no means am I a rich man. Even if you make it out for a day or weekend, you can find time. One day a week is not a lot to ask for your happiness, your sanity. Get away, chase a dream. Even if it’s just a weekend warrior dream. You can make time.
Jeremy Arnold in Blue John Canyon

Jeremy Arnold in Blue John Canyon

     I know when you get home from work your tired. You still have to make dinner, clean the house, do yard work and take care of the kids. This can be exhausting, but if I can find time doing this all by myself, (and still make it to the gym) so can you. Here are some tips to managing time:
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– Try and prioritize your duties and responsibilities. Do what needs to be done first.
– Make a list of daily chores. Do them in little increments. When you come home from work, do one chore an evening. If you don’t try to do everything at once, it’s not that overwhelming.
– Get the kids involved. If you can’t find time to get outside without the kids, bring them with. They will appreciate getting away from the wifi.
– Go on a short day hike, climb close to home. If you get out somewhere close, you can easily make an evening trip, or a single day adventure.
– Hiking, climbing, whatever your outdoor adventure is, can be amazing exercise. This taking the place of going to the gym for long, sweat dripping hours.
Me pullin' down on Watermelon Sugar 5.12A Maple Canyon

Me pullin’ down on Watermelon Sugar 5.12A Maple Canyon

     Money… We all think we don’t have enough money to actually do all the adventures we seek. But the reality is, most times it doesn’t cost more than staying home. Think about it, when you’re at home, you have to eat, you use power/water/gas… If your off on an adventure, your utility bills aren’t sky rocketing from the 40+ hours of T.V. your watching weekly. Ask yourself a question and be honest. How much time do I send watching T.V., surfing the Internet? Both activities using power, costing money. You probably have the AC or the Heat running all the while… And I’ll bet your watching a show about adventure, or reading an Internet article, wishing you we’re the one experiencing it. Here’s a few tips to help you save money while still getting outdoors:
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– Find an adventure buddy. You can split cost of gas, food, park entrance fees. It doesn’t cost nearly as much when the cost is cut in half, or thirds.

– Save a little from each paycheck, even if it’s just $10-$20. It usually doesn’t cost more than a $20 to do a single day adventure. And a week-long isn’t more than a few hundred. Most of which will probably be gas.

– Look for cheap affordable or free camping near where you plan to adventure. If your back packing, camping is usually free if you are a mile off the road.  But always check local rules, some areas require a back country permit (which are typically affordable).

– You don’t have to eat steak daily. Dehydrated food packs can be quite cheap, they don’t taste bad and make  large portions. And all you need to do is add water. Snacks are an easy way to stay nourished on the trail as well.

– When you first start adventuring, find experienced adventure friends who already have most the gear. They can help you pick out quality gear at a good price for what you will need. Who knows if it will even be your cup of tea? Don’t go buy the top of the line gear if your unsure you will even like it.
Sean Kenny climbing Sprout 5.13A Maple Canyon

Sean Kenny climbing Sprout 5.13A Maple Canyon

     And last, but certainly not least, the “know how” to do specific adventures. Newbies always say “I’ve always wanted to go climbing, but I don’t have the gear..? I don’t know where to go back packing..? Or, I’m afraid I’ll get my arm caught under a boulder and have to cut it off..? All these are good, understandable reasons to stay inside your home. Safe from all the scares and dangers of the outdoor world. But they’re really just excuses. Here’s some tips and where to get the “know how”:
Testing some future gear

Testing some future gear

 – Take a class… Local community colleges or climbing gyms offer climbing classes. They will teach you the basics on how to get started. And they usually have gear you can rent. May be the best choice, as you don’t even know if you will enjoy it.

– REI has classes every month on different gear usage and maintenance. Plus, I believe they are free. Don’t be afraid to ask a worker at the local adventure shop “how to”. Most of them are seriously friendly and enjoy sharing knowledge.

– Join a hiking or climbing group on the Facebook. They’re everywhere. All you have to do is sign up and you will get daily emails informing you of the planned adventures. Then just RSVP. Most the people setting up the adventure are ready and willing to educate.

– Make a friend at the local gym. Ask someone if they would be interested in taking a newbie climbing or back packing..? If they don’t seem to enthused, offer beer. Works almost every time.

– If all else fails, but a guide-book. These usually have enough “know how ” to start small. They will tell how hard a climb is. How long a hike is. How much water you will need. Where to camp. And they always include maps. But be fair warned, start small. Don’t try to tackle the longest, most strenuous hike in the guide first thing.
Me at Dog Lake in BCC Photo by Shawn Parry

Me at Dog Lake in BCC
Photo by Shawn Parry

     So there you go, a few tips to hopefully help you “get outside”. Enjoy life and see the beauty this world has to offer. You won’t regret it. You’ve seen the inside of your shell, you see it everyday. Don’t you think it’s time to get outdoors and do something amazing? There’s nothing more majestic than the natural beauty of our planet. Share a memory with a loved one, make a new friend, or just spend sometime reflecting on your own past. You might find a whole new person…
Choose Life

Moe’s Valley Bouldering, the motivation to recovery

moes valley 058     As I lay here on my couch with an aching abdomen, I feel as if I’m wasting away… I’ve only been up on the shelf for 2 days, but it feels like its been a month. All I am able to do is putt around the house and dream of getting back out in natural. I long to be climbing, hiking, or even just driving up a canyon. And I realize, you can only measure passion through experience.
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Though the surgery I have recently undergone was an outpatient surgery. And the recovery time is actually pretty quick. I don’t handle being complacent very well. I’m usually an extremely active person. I hit the climbing gym at least 2-4 times a week and try to get outdoors as much as possible. So being cooped up on my couch all day (even if it is just for 3-5 days) is driving me insane. And sanity is a virtue I can ill aford to lose.
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The operation was not by any means an emergency, I knew it was going to be needed. Why I decided to get it out of the way before the summer adventure season started up. After all, in less than 2 months, I plan to hike the Havasu Falls trail into the Grand Canyon. A hike I’ve been fantasizing about since I saw Columbia and the #omniten do it last June. Since then, I have met almost all of them, and have become convinced that Columbia products are as great as I remember from my youth. I actually still have an old Columbia coat I purchased in 2000. Though I do prefer my new Omniheat jacket. Just the liner from my Columbia Whirlibird jacket was enough to keep me warm when the sun went down.
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So in preparation for my surgery, I decided to take a few trips south to St. George to boulder in Moe’s Valley. I packed up the FJ, and took a drive by myself. Meeting up with my life long friend Sean Kenny, the man whom introduced me to climbing back in high school. Sean is easily one of my favorite climbing partners, mostly because he’s extremely encouraging, and far better than I am at it. Thus meaning he pushes me passed my limits. The man is inspirational, and has taught me many things about life and becoming whole as a person. Don’t tell him, but I look up to him the way a younger brother does an older sibling.
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As you can see, many photos were taken, and I even edited a short video of our time there. My passion for bouldering has increased 10 fold… So much so, that I think I might love it more than sport climbing. Moe’s Valley is a sweet little valley tucked out in the edge of the city limits, no more than a 10 minute drive from the main drag. The approach into Moe’s is an easy 5-20 minute walk to most every boulder in the valley. The sandstone is bomber and there is actually still vast room for expansion. I believe there could be quite a few more problems put up there in the next few years. After all, the place is BLOWING UP! We made a new friend while in the valley, Danielle even agreed to come back to the condo we were staying at and sleep on the couch. Cuz that how we roll… Mi Casa es Su Casa. We ran into Chad, Chris & Darren from The Front (the gym I climb at in slc). And also brought a few friends of my own along with. Climb on, Teton Sports, Black Diamond to spot.
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Though I was brought back to reality in my first “real” trip bouldering outdoors. Eventually I regained my abilities and sent 2-V5’s. and I realized, that projecting a problem outdoors is much harder than in the gym. But I am definitely looking forward to the challenge. The only real bummer is that the bouldering season at Moe’s will be too hot by the time I recover from surgery. So I hope you enjoy the video, and watch for more later in the year when I visit Joe’s Valley, and next winter when I return to Moe’s… Motivation to recovery.

As always, thanks for reading… And feel free to comment, criticize, or challenge me

Search for truth in Life

pc2 977     Upon changing my point of view… I began to realize, I could now see life from a new perspective. It tasted like joy, and felt similar to the dreams I once owned as a child. I enforced the thought, that I controlled my happiness. And the future was before me, I just had to choose the path. A release of all the darkness & pain… I wanted to live again, and share my experiences with those who are passionate about the collective ideas that life was beautiful. I longed to be free and distance myself from all that was thought to be “normal”.pc2 969

     Through this choice, I found that Inspiration can come in many forms… I was inspired by my own motivation to fill the void that lived so long in my heart. Touching bottom, I realized there was no place to go but up. And I was positive, I wouldn’t remain a bottom feeder. Picking myself back up, I discovered someone who could be proud of me… The answer was ME!  Realization overwhelmed my thought that life is beautiful, and loving yourself is special. Especially when you feel no one else does. I had decided that I would exist for me. And to motivate  myself to be happy, touch lives and smile for no reason.
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“The Jewel is in the Lotus”- Meaning the Jewel being happiness, and the Lotus being the world around you…
     I’d be lying if I said it was easy for me. You see, to some people the simplest thing in the world, is the hardest thing to do. It took years to change my perspective on life. To find an inner peace that would let me be satisfied with who I am. The journey is long, and hard. And honestly, I’m still in the midst of this journey,  I may never reach the destination. But I will learn everyday about myself, I will educate others on the process of finding happiness, and I will follow this path until my heart feels content. Reaching out, I will find my way…pc2 2554
“Long is the way and hard, that out if Hell leads up to light” – John Milton
     You can read about my personal struggles in this page soon, when I start to add my poetry to it. And I will always write about and include my triumphs and failures. As well as my aching desire attain my goals. My adventures, travels and life destinations… I am always willing to share my love and passion for the outdoors with others willing to read it. Please, feel free to comment, I am inspired and motivated to write more when this happens.
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“You can be motivated by success as well as failure” -Sasha Digiulian
     It’s sad that we have to make simple mistakes in life in order to learn how to live… We speak angry words of distention in bitter revenge, only to regret these moments once we see the entire picture. A choice dropped on a whim, actions we can’t take back. But later beg for forgiveness, realizing the loss belongs with us. We have no choice, but to move forward along a new, different path. Embracing the lessons we’ve learned, with hope we never duplicate our mistakes. And choose to believe that something good will spawn from these actions. Lost as we are, we discover an amazing new being. The truth is what now leads us on… Be the past, buried in a memory.
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     I had begun to climb again…

Choose Life

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Upon my descent down, I reminisced with the sunset. Old memories rushing through my mind. Faces and places, cherished thoughts fading into my history. I remembered smiles, and tears. I was reminded of laughter shared through someone else’s joy, but mostly of the sadness that grew daily in my heart. I contemplated the future, and where it would take me. I longed to travel to reach for the unobtainable, to live as the careless lived.

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     I thought about going back to school, obtaining a degree. I thought of my career path, and working for the future. And of my family, and the ones that would miss me… But the truth was, I didn’t care about any of that. I mean, not enough to continue sacrifice. I had sacrificed my entire life, for what others had wanted, needed. I concluded, now was the time for me to be selfish, to give back to me… And for the first time I knew I wanted to disappear. Fade into a life extraordinary. One where few knew me, and no one knew anything about me. And the ones who did know me, knew little of where i was, or where I am going. A life where freedom ruled, and existence became breathing for want, not need. I had finally chosen to live… The way I always wanted to live.
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     I was dying, everything around me was dying. And I would die alone… For the first time, I realized I wanted to be alone… Forever. Companionship was nice, though connection became few and fleeting. And the memories became just that, memories. For I had given up on the past, I had moved into and embraced my future, my fate. The forever sleep, forgotten in the loneliness of my heart. The decision had been made, to leave behind the emptiness, and move forward with each new day.
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     That was 2 years ago. The summer I released my pain, and forgave the insults that had been laid upon my heart. It was a life choice. An acceptance of fate, and promise. Destined to walk in solitary, searching for the freedom I had so longed for. I would finally break the monotony of my being, and start living. At that moment, I chose life…
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     I finished my descent in the dark, nothing but my head lamp to light my way. The darkness can be extremely comforting. It gives the loneliness perspective, when your heart reaches out for the light. The hike that had taken roughly 2 hours to reach the top, took less than 1/2 hour to reach the bottom. And I came away with second chance at life.
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     At the moment, I’m just chasing time. Waiting for that precise hour when I take the dream, and make it a reality.  Until then, I’ll slowly reach for short-lived versions of this imagination. And experience life in tiny bursts of purity. Remember, the journey is at times, more important than the destination.pc2 3294

Goodbye 12… Welcome lucky #13

The year began with a visit to the Zombie Apocalypse Store in Vegas

The year began with a visit to the Zombie Apocalypse Store in Vegas

With 2013 upon us, and still NO Jedi powers… I figured I could just write about my 2012 year in review.

I’d say 2012 was one of my finer hours on this planet. I discovered Twitter, Blogging, found new Amazing friends, got into the ORshow for the first time, and saw many new and beautiful places…

I found new motivation, changed my perception of life, and my outlook on the future became very exciting… I even shook the Magic 8 Ball.

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The year began with multiple trips to Las Vegas, once just for fun, then again to check out the NASCAR race with my friends Willie & Delynn. There was loads of drinking, walking, spending evenings at the roulette table and site seeing. Though these adventures aren’t much of the outdoors type, I did feel they deserved a mention, since they were part of this past years adventures.

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As the weather broke and the sun returned to SLC, I decided to take my boys climbing on the rock. Seeing how Kemry had done so well climbing in the gym. So we ventured up BCC to climb at the Salt Lake Slips. Both boys did well, Kemry topping out on the 5.8 slab climb on a top rope, and Caelan making it to the crux. I figured now was the time to put Kem through a trial by fire and give him his first taste of a 5.10a, steep overhung climb. And he almost topped out, making it to the crux. I was proud, that kid has serious climbing skills and little fear. Completely psyched that my boys had finally shown interest in climbing, I couldn’t wait to get them back on the rock.Kemry gets his first taste of a 5.10a boys & I by the camp fire

Kemry gets his first taste of a 5.10a climb..
my boys & I by the camp fire

So we took a camping and climbing trip to Maple Canyon with my good friend Jeremy. And met up with Haley Dahle, the first member of our #Climbchat community I actually met in person. She brought her two cute kids Guy & Ava down and we all camped together and climbed. It was such an amazing experience to finally meet someone I had networked with, and chatted with online for months. I was so happy I had discovered Twitter and connected with such AWESOME people.

The dudes hiking Box Canyon

The dudes hiking Box Canyon

     In June, I had my first ever Canyoneering experience… My frirends Jeremy, Miller and my brother Bill and I all took a trip down to southern Utah to hike the 20 mile version of Buckskin Gulch (the longest known slot canyon in the world, if you do the entire 70 mile hike).

Bill & Jeremy in vastness of BG

Bill & Jeremy in vastness of BG

     With the Canyon being about 80% slot canyon, and beautiful twist and turns throughout, I highly recommend this hike. The lighting in there is a photographers dream…

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We reached the confluence and decided to rest an hour, eat dinner and then press on.  Wanting to finish the hike all in one day, proved to be more difficult than we expected. The last 3 miles were riverbed, hiking through sand, though luckily we were finishing it in the dark.  At one point, I remember my brothers knee almost giving out and him saying “I’m not going to be the guy on the news who had to get Helicoptered out of Buckskin Gulch.”

Billy Riggins & Brandon Miller In the Buckskin Gulch Narrows

Billy Riggins & Brandon Miller In the Buckskin Gulch Narrows

Since we finished the hike in a single day, Jeremy and I decide to spend the second day with a swim at Lake Powell. And I had discovered a new a passion in Canyoneering.

Jerm\emy Arnold in Buckskin Gulch

Jeremy Arnold in Buckskin Gulch

     July started with my boys and I hiking Donut falls and Timpanogos Cave, 2 extremely beautiful hikes so close to home that I had never experienced.  Both short, but fun day hikes that can be done in an afternoon.  Followed by kayaking the Great Salt Lake with Jeremy.  Oddly enough it doesn’t stink in the middle of the lake, and the salt is great for your skin… And you float.

iphone10 813My good looking little dudes

My good looking little dudes

Then I discovered Zion…  Sharing these outdoor experiences with my boys was amazing.  The 3 of us hiked the first few miles of the Narrows in Zion, and camped in the park through a down pour of rain.  It was the perfect way for us to bond, a little father and sons time.iphonehome-1564.jpg

The excitement began to build as I realized next I was going to be hiking The Subway.  One of the most beautiful hikes in all of Utah, with a few miles of the most unique canyoneering anywhere.  We were lucky enough to score some spots on a permit with my friend Ryan.

iphone10 916     A few twists and turns aside, and getting lost trying to find our way into the canyon, we made it, though hiked an extra 5 miles.  The Subway is a hike filled with swimming through deep/cold pools, short/fun repels, and a gorgeous riverbed walk…  And a slot canyon resembling that of a subway tunnel.  I feel truly blessed to have been able to experience this place, and plan on making this hike an annual staple on my adventure itinerary.

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Though I had done so much, I couldn’t believe that the year would get any better.  The first weekend of August I attended my first ever Outdoor Retailers Show (thanks to Haley Dahle).  We met up with the rest of the #Climbchat crew for an after party, and some climbing in American Fork Canyon.  Upon entering ORshow, I realized a few things:

1- These are my people. 2- I had found new adventure companions, climbing partners and friends for life.


photos by Andrew Bradberry

photos by Andrew Bradberry

     Awesome finally meeting Gina Begin, Steve Weiss, Kristie Salzmann, Katie Boue, Whitney Orban, Jacalyn Gross, Shawn Parry, Haley Dahle and Krysia Hepatica.

Old Faithful Photo by Kristie Salzmann

Old Faithful
Photo by Kristie Salzmann

     Later in August, I took Kemry and Caelan on a road trip acrossed northern Wyoimng.  We visited Teton NP, Yellowstone NP, Devil’s Tower and Mt. Rushmore, even got to visit with Kristie again.  During this trip, I decided there was definitely a need to summit the Grand Teton, and climb DT.

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As the year started to wined down, an the adventures were becoming few and farther between.  With only a few climbing ops and the college football season starting.  I joined Kristie in Colorado for a relaxing weekend of beer and climbing Colorado limestone,  then good 5 days in Seattle for some R & R.

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Winter came early, thus so did the snowboarding season.  And with new climbing partners came also new snowboarding partners, and snow shoeing friends.  I had finished out the year in radical style, picking up a new sport in snow shoeing, and meeting a few more of Columbia’s Inaugural #Omniten crew.  I had discovered the motivation needed to move forward in life.  Often I’m asked why I take these risks?  What I gain from these adventures?  The answer is simple…  In these moments, I find peace, my life feels a little more graceful, and obtains meaning.  It’s now that I see the truth of my existence, through the beauty of pressing the limits…

Carving powder @Snowbird

So here’s to new friends in 2013, removing the poison from my life, and moving forward and leaving the sorrow behind.

The Mentor (part 1)

Sunrise in Escalante

I awoke early, before the sun had risen to greet us.  I gathered my camera and decided to take a short hike to the cliffs edge.  Sat down and waited for the sunrise… I’ve been told the sunrise in the desert is amazing, and as you can see, it did not disappoint.  It’s an awesome feeling, watching the sunrise alone, like rebirth.  A time to recollect on life, and become part of your surrounding.  In the moment, if your lucky, you can experience a realization.

Lower Calf Creek Falls

I kept the sunrise for myself, though back at camp, we talked about the terrible nights sleep we all had.  The wind was blowing so hard, we must have gotten at least an inch of sand in every tent.  Not to mention the slapping noise of the tents shaking in the wind all night. Though the camping is free down Spencer Flat Road, I highly recommend a trailer.  You will receive a much better nights sleep, and no sand inside everything.  We decided to hike the upper and lower calf creek falls the first afternoon.  And thought the lower falls are much more majestic, they are also waaaay more crowded and the hike is longer.  The upper falls is an easy approach to the falls, all down hill, and they have the sweetest swimming hole above the falls with a 15′ drop into the pool.  These were the first real hikes I had ever taken my two boys on with me.  While the two of them did well, my friend Jeremy struggled to make it back out of the deep canyon wash that is the upper falls slick rock.  But give the kid some credit, he was in the process of quitting smoking… And was successful.

My boys & I swimming below Lower Falls

The water in pool below the falls is as clear as glass, but as cold as a deep freeze beer cooler.  If you can make the swim out under the falls, with the temps, its refreshing. Never the less, it’s an absolute must to at least take a dip… After all, you my never be there again.

Caelan conquered a Mini Arch in Devil’s Garden… YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!

A fun adventure for the kids is Devil’s Garden.  It’s a picnic area, filled with natural spires, arches, hoo doos, and domes.  It covers only about 200 acres of ground, but definitely a fun adventure for kids.  It’s right off Hole-in-the-Rock road.  And if you continue down Hole-in-the Rock, it will take you to a passage in the rock, which you can pass over to Lake Powell.

It’s half a peace sign

After our first visit to Escalante, we decided to finish the trip by viewing Bryce canyon.  It may be the single most unique place you will ever see. Thousands of Spires rise up from the ground forming giants sandstone people created by nature.  Millions of years of formation, this entire area of Utah is a constant reminder of our states greatness.  I can’t think of anyone better than my two boys to share this with.

Bryce Canyon Overlook from Rainbow Point

Although we didn’t hike in Bryce Canyon, I will return to make the entire hike the Under the Rim trail.  As with many of the places I’ve seen in my short time, I found myself wondering, “How does something like this happen?”  Only one of the millions of creations upon this great planet, I also realize, there is still so much left to see and do.  And if it takes everyday for the rest of my life, I will experience via imagination.

Escalante Wild Flower

Growing up, I never thought I’d be a father.  And truthfully, I didn’t really ever want kids.  I couldn’t imagine bring a child into this world, and I could barely take care of myself.  But now, having been a father for over 14 years, having met and loved my children, I would never change anything I have done.  They are my soul mates, my real adventure partners, truly my hero’s…  And they are the two beings that I love sharing my passion I’ve found for life with them.  It was through their eyes that I created that passion.

A weekend in the Emerald City

Last weekend I spent a few days in the Emerald City…  Seattle.  I went up there to see a University of Utah football game, hang out with friends and see family, eat some good food, drink beer and coffee.  For the most part, the weekend was a complete success.  I made it to almost every site I wanted to see, and every event I was in town for.  I was even able to meet up with my friend Jacalyn Gross for some plastic pulling at the Seattle Bouldering Project.

As you can see, I did make it to the see the Space Needle, from the base anyways. While all my friends I came to Seattle with went to see the glass exhibit, and take a trip up to the deck of the Space Needle, I was bouldering at the SBP.

Although I didn’t climb as well as I would have hoped, I did come close to sending a few V6 problems, and did send some V5.  Jacalyn and I were only at the climbing gym for about an hour and a half, but it was totally worth the trip just to see how gyms outside the state of Utah stack up… And I must say, the SBP does not disappoint.  With over 20,000 square feet of bouldering walls, 16″ thick pads to crash on, and boulder problems for all levels.  This gym definitely rivals any other bouldering gym I’ve climbed.

The area I chose to spend pretty much every morning I was in Seattle, was Pike Place market.  With some of the best restaurants I visited.  Fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, the most amazing souvenirs and an array of unique people to meet and fraternize with.  Pikes is also home to the Gumwall Alley, and the famous fish toss.

On Veterans Day, I met a really cool vet named Bruce, he was playing his guitar in front of the world’s first Starbucks.  I listened to an awesome anti-war song that Bruce played, then I introduced myself, Gave him $5 and bought one of his cd’s.

  And I also met this amazing artist Graham in the market center. He is holding the piece of Black light art I purchased. I hate to put a price on anyones art, but some deals are too good to pass up.

Although the game didn’t turn out as good as we hoped, it was still fun spending time with friends, and seeing family.  And I was actually one of the most well-behaved during the game. Though I did have to step between my dad and a Washington fan.  And the beer was gooooood!!

I didn’t make it to the Experience Music Project, (my one regret).  But all together it was a pretty solid trip.  Filled with amazing seafood, a constant buzz and I even got in a little climbing.  Seattle is one of the only other places I could live, other than SLC.  And I have already decided, I will be revisiting the Emerald City next summer, as well as Glacier national Park and Olympic National Park….  As always, thanks for reading