Monthly Archives: May 2011

Things We’ve Been Up To

May is always a busy month here at AbsolutelyAndrew.  And by AbsolutelyAndrew, I mean the Newcomb household.  Mr. & Mrs. AbsolutelyAndrew…

Where was I?  Oh, yes, May.  We made a quick trip back to Omaha to watch Garin graduate.  It was a fun trip, but as always, to fast.

Shortly after Omaha, we checked into Snowbird resort for our annual staycation.  This was only our 2nd one, but we decided immediately after the 1st that it would be a Newcomb tradition.  The resort is only a short drive up from the valley, so we commuted down during the day and enjoyed the steam room and solarium in the evenings.  All couples should take regular staycations.  They are so rejuvenating.

We stayed for a week.  The first Saturday we were there, we snow-shoed around the resort.  There was like 20 inches of fresh snow, and crazy avalanche danger, so we didn’t dare leave the resort.  Across the highway, we were able so see several impressive avalanches (not anywhere near us, Mom).






Sunday, we decided to hit the slopes for the novelty of it.  What a crappy day to go!  It was raining at the base and snowing at the top.  Mid-mountain was dense fog that prevented us from seeing more than 15 feet.  Snowbird’s supposed to be open until July 4th this year, but I think we’ll call that a successful season and shelve the gear until next winter.  After the mountain closed at noon due to avalanche danger, we quickly stripped our wet clothes, (I promise this isn’t about to get awkward…) and jumped into our balcony hot tub.  That’s one bad thing about living so close to the resorts—this is a luxury that we rarely get to indulge in, and it is so amazing!






We found some killer sales at the resort ski shop, and got me a new jacket and Tara a helmet.  I told her I didn’t want her doing those double corks without one.


Tara tries out her new helmet back at the Condo

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bucket List

My little brother, Garin just graduated high school.  I’m particularly pleased with his college plans as he will be doing his undergraduate in Electrical Engineering at my very own Alma Mater, UNL.  Granted, his academic ambitions reach further than mine did—his end goal is biomedical engineering.  As part of his graduation gift, Tara and I compiled a UNL bucket list to keep the kid busy for four years.  Since he’s already received his gift, I’m repurposing the list as a blog post.  Hope you’re OK with that, Garin.




1.  Juggle with the UNL Juggling Club
2.  Go climbing at the Rec
3.  Play racquetball at the Rec
4.  Use the sauna at the Rec
5.  Attend service at the Lutheran Center
6.  Study in the Sculpture Garden
7.  Make-out in the library stacks
8.  Study at the Coffee House
9.  Go to Jazz in June
10.  Get drunk on O St.
11.  Parkour on your way home from O St.
12.  Pee on a coal train
13.  Eat lunch on East Campus
14.  Get Ice Cream from the Creamery
15.  Take a class that has nothing to do with your major
16.  Go on a Campus Rec trip
17.  Road trip to Hell, MI
18.  Spring break in the mountains or at the beach
19.  Take a walk in Pioneer Park
20.  Play an intramural sport
21.  Play Ultimate in the Cook
22.  See an indie film at the Ross
23.  See a play at the Black Box
24.  Yell something at the cross-bearer on P St.
25.  Grab lunch at Bison Whiches
26.  Spend the night at Nebraska Hall
27.  Use the urinals in Arch Hall
28.  Sit on the Berm for a baseball game
29.  Go to a football game (duh)
30.  Get a fishbowl at Duffy’s
31.  Go to a Roller Derby match
32.  Go to a concert at Knickerbockers
33.  Go to Morrill Hall
34.  Go to the Sheldon Art Museum  
35.  Take a Dance Lesson


Reader participation time!  What did we miss?

Backpacking Zion’s East Rim

Tara and I went to Kolob Canyons, a lesser known piece of Zion National Park, shortly after we moved to Utah, but we did not make it to Zion proper until this past weekend.  After an excessive amount of rigmarole, we were granted backcountry permits to the East Rim.  It was a quick one-nighter, but it was nice to get out.




We hiked in 6 miles on an old wagon trail which begins by following a stream through the desert flanked on either side by massive sandstone cliffs, and then transitions to pine trees as you gain altitude.  2.5 miles in is an incredible waterfall that careens a solid 1000 ft. into the canyon far below.  Legend has it that a pioneer family settled there in May when it was all lush and green.  When things dried up later in the summer, the man went crazy and shoved his wife and children off the falls before throwing himself off.  If you stand at the top and look down the canyon, if the wind blows at your face, it is said to be the wife pushing you back, but if it blows at your back, it is the man trying to push you off.




6 miles in is a small spring.  We hiked just beyond this and found another waterfall, much smaller than the first.  We sat on the lush green grass by the stream and made dinner.  Later on, we set up camp and refilled water at the spring.



18mm  F/3.8  1/80 sec.  ISO-100



26mm  f/11  1/25 sec  ISO-100



28mm  f/6.3  6 sec.  ISO-100


There are no fires allowed on the East Rim, so we went to bed early and then got up at 5:30 the next morning in order to make the canyon rim by dawn.  It was an easy 3 miles, and with only the breakfast supplies and my camera gear in our packs, we were standing at the edge of a 2000 ft. cliff, looking down into Zion Canyon in under an hour, the sun just starting to peak out.  Far below, we could see the shuttles starting their daily schedules of transporting thousands of visitors from around the world throughout the park, but up here, not another soul.



18mm  f/6.3  1/50 sec.  ISO-100



18mm f/6.3 1/8 sec. ISO-100


After our traditional backpacker breakfast: Instant Breakfast made with powdered milk, organic oatmeal (not because it’s organic, but because it’s far more hearty than the regular stuff), and coffee made with our Aeropress (thanks Robert!), we packed up and returned to camp where we further laden our packs with sleeping bags and tent, and started the return trek back to the car.  We made impeccable time, even managing a 3 mile stretch with no breaks.  With a 50+ lb. pack (thanks to all my photography stuff), that marked a personal best for me.

We got back in time for a quick ride on the shuttle ourselves to see the main part of Zion, but it was nothing compared to looking down from the rim.


I’m thinking I may not drag all the camera gear next time.  It’s pretty hard to justify when you’re not paid for it…


Tara and I have taken on a new hobby: Rock Climbing.  And thanks to Groupon, we were able to get a month membership at a local climbing gym for pretty cheap.  This particular gym was all bouldering, which basically means short technical climbing. It’s incredible exercise.

Figuring out how to make it up the wall on the various “Problems” is very much like solving a puzzle.  It has turned out to be a great together activity.



 Tara working her way up the brown problem







 Working my way out of the “Bat Cave”







And drop!