Crazy Man Summits Mt. Timpanogos

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And that crazy man is me. One of my friends, Josh Orr, is an avid hiker. Is is also a good 60 pounds lighter than I am and has the metabolism of a shrew. But every since last summer he has been talking up the beauties and splendor of hiking Mt. Timpanogos. Eventually last spring he convinced me that I should go with him. Knowing it was months and months away I always put off thinking about it. But the fateful day came and it all started…

At 6am I woke up and decided that I didn’t need to shower becaue I would just get stinky on the hike anyway. So I packed up my carefully selected supplies and got in the car. I decided to borrow a water/backpack combo from my brother-in-law. I also acted on a tip to freeze the water in the bladder so that it would be cold all day. So I had 100 oz. of water (frozen) 1800 calories of trail mix, a flashlight and laser pointer (so I could signal people when I got lost–this was my wife’s idea), a leatherman, GPS, cell phone and sunscreen.

Josh had really planned well and he left a car on the Aspen Grove side and we met at the Timpooneke trailhead. That way we could take either trail down at the end of the day and have a car waiting.

So we met at 7:45 am at the Timpooneke trailhead and headed up the mountain. The trial wasn’t too steep and we were in the cool shade of the mountain all morning. The wildflowers were all in bloom and everything was bursting with color. It was a lovely day for a hike.

About 2 hours in I looked down the mountain to the switchback just below us and recognized another friend of mine, Kevin Doyle. Actually Josh, Kevin and I constitute the IT department at my work but we are also friends. Kevin actually had me hold onto his backpack while hiking some of the steeper sections of trail.

At 11:30 we stopped for lunch in the valley where we could either split off to the summit, go back the way we came or go down the Aspen Grove trail. We decided to hike to the summit. By this time I had found two sticks to use as hiking sticks which helped tremendously. By this time we had traveled about 5 miles and climbed through about 2,000 vertical feet.

The climb to the “saddle” was hard, but the view from there was very nice. This is where most people turn back–but not us. We continued to climb and hike the scarriest trail I’ve ever been on. In one section the trail was about 15 feet wide and you were climbing up 6 feet at each switchback (about 12 switchbacks in all). It was like crawling up the side of the mountain. This was the killer section.

By 2:30 PM we had made it to the summit at 11,000+ feet. There as a nice view but by this point it was only for the bragging rights to say I had made it. I don’t think I’ll ever hike to the summit again. At this point Kevin said he had things to do and went back on his own moving at a much faster rate than I could muster. I saw him several times jogging.

Instead of going back the way we came we opted to take the trail more to the south and slide down the permenant snow field. This was quite an adventure and a little cold. In the end the cold didn’t bother me but having soaking wet socks and shoes did. If I were to ever do it again, and at this point it is academic, I would somehow keep an extra pair of socks around. But going this method was fun and cut a good hour off our decent.

We then started down the Aspen Grove trail which is steeper than the Timpooneke trail. The descent was killer and, in my opinion, much harder than going up. By 4 PM I was in pretty good pain but I still had 2.5 hours left. Not to complain but about 5 PM I had run out of water and was getting thirsty and very tired. The others decided to drink out of what they claimed was a spring but the thoughts of Geardia were never far from my mind and I decided to wait for the drinking fountain at the end of the trail.

By 6 PM I was going half the speed I had been going two hours before and I was really hurting. We finally finished up at about 6:30 pm. Almost 11 hours of hiking over 16 miles and 5,000 vertical feet. Phew!

By the way, I got very sunburned. And I mean VERY.

One very interesting thing to note. When we got to the bottom of the snow field there as another couple who split off and went down the Timpooneke trail. We took the Aspen Grove trail. When I got back to my car at Timpooneke (a 15 minute drive from Aspen Grove) that couple was just getting to their car too. So time-wise they are about exactly the same.

The Tonsil Tango

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I got a pretty sore throat about mid-June and, sparing you the details, I now get the rare pleasure of having my tonsils removed as an adult. I’m scheduled for “the procedure” next Thursday, August 3.

I’ll be spending the day at home feeling lousy if anyone wants to join me on the Caves of Chaos MUD (telent port 5555).

Cats That Look Like Hitler

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Yep. That subject line just about sums it up. I swear, anything you could ever think of is out there as a website.

LED Flashlight

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I’ve always wanted an LED flashlight but the good ones cost a lot of money and the bads ones are cheap. Or crap, whichever way you want to read into it. Some of the features like the number of LEDs, the number of lumes (brightness) etc. all play a role. I wanted an LED flashlight that was as bright as a regular flashlight. Finally, I found one.

I picked up a 9-LED flashlight at Harbor Freight Tools for $9.95. It is as bright as a regular flashlight and I believe it is waterproof. This thing is awesome. I saw a similar flashlight at Target yesterday and it was $27.00. That’s a big difference.

Anyway, just thought I would let everyone know.

Clean Publicly-Accessable Restrooms

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I’m not a traveling salesman or anything like that but I do seem to be on the road more than I like. Between meetings in some 3 different locations–some 40 miles from each other I do find myself on the road, eating lunch, having meetings, running errands, etc.

Over the years I’ve learned where some nice public restrooms are so if I’m traveling I know of a nice non-filthy place to relieve myself. I’ve noticed a trend of bathroom cleanliness that has given rise to guidelines I use to seek out a restroom while I’m out and about.

Nice Restrooms
1. Hospitals. The restrooms in hospitals are the cleanest I’ve seen. Ever. They are always roomy, private, clean and well stocked. This is my number one preference.

2. Book Stores. I don’t know what it is about bookstores but their restrooms are always clean and well stocked. I’ve noticed that there is usually a Borders or Barnes and Noble close to anywhere I eat. I guess they are placed there strategically. I’ll often eat at a restaurant then go across the street (or a little ways away) and use the bookstore restroom. I’ll make a disclaimer that the Pioneer Bookstore in Provo has THE ULTIMATE WORST BATHROOM EVER. EVER! It’s the one exception I know of to the bookstore rule and definetly worth seeing because you won’t believe it.

3. Scrapbooking Stores. I guess with all the women in there the men’s room doesn’t get used a lot. That’s to my advantage.

4. Hotels. The nicer the hotel the better the restroom.

Restrooms to Avoid
1. The restroom in the Elks Building in Downtown Salt Lake City. Sorry Matt, but it stinks.

2. Any restaurant bathroom. They are typically very bad. One exception is the Bangkok Thai Siam restaurant where the bathroom is clean and big enough to part an elephant in. Plus it has real towels, trees and a gigantic mirror.

3. Gas stations.

4. McDonald’s. I don’t really classify McDonald’s as a restaurant so it receives it’s own entry.

5. Airports.
A few years ago I wanted to start a website where people could SMS their current location and it would send back a list of the best restrooms sorted by distance. I never did it but it would have been a fun project.