Monthly Archives: June 2010

Backpacking Capitol Reef

Last weekend Tara and I got out on our first backpacking trip of the season.  We headed south down to Capitol Reef National Park for a one-nighter.  We chose to do Lower Spring Canyon, a 9 mile long dry canyon.  The plan going in was to hike like halfway, camp then get up the next morning and hike back the way we came to the car.  Thus, we set out, laden with extra water as there wouldn’t be any in the canyon.

Tara re-applies sunscreen

Being in a dry canyon such as that one is interesting.  The sheer cliffs on either side are breathtaking.  However, at the same time, one feels claustrophobic, longing to see what lies beyond those walls, fantasizing in the hot desert sun about flying up out of the canyon.  Maybe that comes from too much time spent on Google Earth.  Aside from the wonder of what lies outside the canyon, the knowledge that the only water within miles is on one’s back can be particularly nerve-racking and exciting at the same time.

A few miles into the canyon, we both had the sudden desire to “conquer” the canyon—hike it all the way through, emerging victorious at the cool refreshing waters of the Fremont River and the welcoming scar of civilization, Highway 24, at the other side.  Therefore, we decided that rather than retrace our steps back to the car the next day, we’d hike the rest of the canyon, fill up on water at the river, and then hitch hike, walk, or crawl the 7 miles back to the car on the highway.

We did about 7.5 miles that day.  Admittedly, we did not realize how the hot desert sun would suck the water out of us, and when we stopped for the day around 4:30 and set up camp, we were both suffering mild heat exhaustion.  Not to fear!  We sucked down extra water, and rested in the tent in the shade of the cliffs, and were soon feeling much better.

Tara, post heat exhaustion 

Night time in the canyon was incredible.  Bats came out from their dwellings in the cliffs, and we could hear them “chirping” as they navigated the perfectly dark night.  I think we had both forgotten what true solitude is like, and it is exhilarating.

Yes, I did put the camera on BULB mode and attempt to "paint" a heart with the moon


Did not turn out quite like I wanted, but kind of cool anyway 

The next day we made breakfast (had to skip coffee to preserve water), broke camp, and hiked the last 1.5 miles out of the canyon.  I can’t describe how excited we were to get to that river.  Half mile from it, new plants appeared, and the canyon became more verdant.  We knew we were close, and walked faster.  Then, almost out of no where, there it was.  I threw down my pack and jumped in.  It was so cold it took my breath away, but it was absolutely amazing.  Never have I been more excited to see water.

Breakfast dishes


No, I did not jump in with my pack still on 

We forded the river, and walked up to the second joyous sight: the highway.  We sat down by the road, ate cliff bars, and then shouldered our packs and started down the road attempting to hitch hike for the first time ever.  Alas, the road was pretty untraveled, and we weren’t having much luck.  After about 2 miles, I was suddenly struck with an awesome realization:  we didn’t have to carry the packs!  We could just hide them off the road and come back for them in the car. 

Back on the road, lunch in our bellies, with only our day packs, our spirits were lifted.  Now the road was winding through historic fruit orchards planted by early pioneers.  Another mile down, and we were just accepting the fact that we’d probably be walking all the way back to the car when a couple from New Jersey picked us up.  They were hikers as well, and understood the concept of a “one way” trail, and thus felt for us.  Also, the woman said we looked pretty safe.  I have to say the same of them.  I wasn’t the slightest bit nervous.

Within 5 minutes, we were back at the car (yet this saved us a good hour).  We jumped in, drove back to retrieve the packs, and then did one more hike to Hickman Arch (it was a short one).  We concluded the day bay stopping at the historic Gifford Farm and purchasing a homemade strawberry pie which we ate on the spot.  It was heaven.

Hickman Arch: washed out in the midday sun, but whatever

Loving Advice…For Married Men! Vol. II

It’s been some time since my first issue of Loving Advice…For Married Men, and for weeks now, I’ve been trying to hash out a second issue.  Problem is, the first one was so damn good (in my opinion, at least) that attempting to top it, or at least match it with a sequel seems incredibly difficult.  It’s like Don McClean’s American Pie.  Or Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just want to Have Fun.  I’m kidding, of course.  Time After Time was way better.


1.  In marriage, especially sans children, you’ll find that there is no need whatsoever to “steal the moment”.  To that end, there’s no hurry up, lets do this—my roommate will be gone all afternoon only to have him walk in unexpectedly because he did not dress warmly enough for that cold May day.  As a result, small blunders, such as reading the newspaper and failing to respond to your wife as she asks you a question is grounds for cancellation of all planned activities for that evening even if she was in the middle of pulling out her lingerie…

2.  When it comes to work around the house, you can gain a position of power by identifying the high-point chores.  Things that she can’t stand to do, like cleaning the bathroom, are ideal.  Sucking it up and happily carrying out such tasks will get you a lot of points to redeem for, really, whatever you want.  It’s like the Chuck E Cheese prize counter after winning the jackpot on that stupid game where the light goes around in a circle and you try to…I digress.  Think about it: She says: “Why isn’t dinner ready?”.  You respond: “I was too busy cleaning the bathroom”.  Congrats, my friend—you just won dinner, dessert, and dessert.

3.  Harassing your wife with a wax-covered Q-tip is NEVER a good idea.

4.  Enter an agreement with your wife that you will buy her flowers from time to time, but it will never be on a flower-oriented holiday such as Valentines Day, Mothers Day, etc.  You can save yourself a butt-load of money and long lines with this simple idea.

5.  Sorry if this sounds more like something you’d read in some cheesy email forward, but I promise it’s legit.  Instead of always commending your wife for the same things, challenge yourself by regularly mentioning new things that you love about her.  She’ll be especially flattered, and besides, nothing beats making her blush just like she did when you were first dating and she said “I’m really hot” after a summer run, and you said “Yeah, you are”.

6.  The next time the two of you are in Wal-Mart, and she heads over to get new razors (or something), loudly announce to her that you’ll be in the family planning section.

7.  If, at the gym, your wife happens to gesture towards the treadmills and say: “Oh my God, that girl’s practically falling out!”, you’ve just been given a very rare gift.  DO NOT BLOW IT!!  Put on you most critical face, observe for no more than 5 seconds (but even that may be pushing it), and say something to let her know that you agree and are equally disgusted.  Don’t even risk a second glance, lest you never receive such a privilege again.

Nice Weather Sucks for Blogging

So it’s been a few weeks since my last post.  Blame the nice weather.  Anyway, since May was such a crazy month, I think for this post, I’ll give a brief update on the lives of Andrew and Tara.

James Cameron is asked by “experts” for advice regarding the oil spill.  WTF?  I’m pretty sure that there’s a hoard of unemployed NASA scientists that probably solve problems like this one in their heads for fun…

So, as for my life…

Tara graduated with her Master’s in Genetic Counseling back in the beginning of May.  We are very blessed and thankful that she found a job right here in Salt Lake at the university as coordinator at a neurology clinic.  She officially entered the real world on May 24th.  Since she’s started work, I’ve had the joy of making dinner a bit more often than I did before.  No, I haven’t done anything as elaborate as Rachel, and yes, reheating leftovers still counts.

The hat throw

Before starting work, Tara also found time to take a trip back to SD to spend time with family and grandparents while I stayed in UT working and mountain biking.  Despite suffering some slight embarrassment at the grocery store when I inadvertently tried to use coupons for items I hadn’t actually purchased, my week of bachelorhood went well.  In fact, I kept myself so busy, that I barely noticed that my lovely wife was gone despite that fact that there seemed to be a lack of dinner being made/laundry being done.  Kidding!

Pipeline Trail Solo ride

When Tara returned with her family, we helped a classmate of hers move out of her apartment.  She was going back to Florida, and was getting rid of all her furniture.  In exchange for our efforts, we now have a new bed, kitchen table/chairs, couch, desk, and various other pieces.  It’s fantastic—the apartment is now well on it’s way from underclassman pad to actual adult residence.

I don't have any pics of the new furniture yet, but here's a pic from the top of Grandeur Pk that we climbed in May

Lastly, for memorial day weekend, we drove to Lake Tahoe and met up with my aunt and uncle at their cabin.  We arrived just before 1AM on Friday night (Saturday Morning, but that sounds weird), and found that we had brought the wrong key.  My aunt and uncle were asleep inside, but did not answer cell phones or respond to the doorbell.  After about half an hour of trying to break in, and minutes away from going to find a hotel for the night, they stirred from their slumber and realized we were outside.  The weekend was a lot of fun.  Tahoe is absolutely beautiful, and we did plenty of hiking, biking, and wine drinking.

Sailboat on Lake Tahoe


One of the better pics from the hike