Thursday, September 15, 2011

Utah/Point Reyes | 2011

Daddy had a lot of fun this last week. Here's what he says [though he left much out]:

Capitol Reef
For the third time in just over a year, my sister decided to marry one of her kids off to some unsuspecting person. So we bundled up our van and hauled off to SLC. First business: the second semi-annual Lewis Brother Backpacking Hooliganism Adventure Thing [see the first here].

This year we planned on taking two nights in Lower Muley Twist in Capitol Reef. It promised to be a bunch of fun, but almost certainly not as nearly-disastrous [read: "adventurous"] as the last. But Muley Twist is pretty rad:

To continue tradition, we took night-time pictures.

Unfortunately, Veedot and Kwiddufer are quite old and couldn't keep this up until we actually got a flawless shot. Nonetheless, it was blastificularly awesome.

After a windy and monsoonly-rainy night, we woke up in the morning to find this thing looming above us. Instead of proceeding down the canyon we decided to try to climb up to the ledge 1/3 of the way up the cliff.

But... we couldn't make it, so instead we did what came naturally--tried to knock the biggest rocks we could into the canyon. Nothing quite compares with the combination of the massive low-frequency seismic DUHDDD and instant cordite aroma that comes from boulders exploding on boulders. Unfortunately, we couldn't quite get this one over the edge [don't worry, there was nobody down there but Kwiddufer]:

The canyon was full of these infinitely-climbable sandstone walls. How can I resist?

Several miles down the canyon we found this giant under-cut wall. The river slams right into the wall and runs along it for dozens of meters before looping back. Under the roof, a huge pile of flaked-off rubble fills the space inside the loop. It's a perfectly self-reinforcing feature that can only end in a massive and spectacular catastrophic KKKKKSHSHSHSHCHCHCHCHKKKK. Another even-bigger version of this feature occurred just downstream. It was a wildly atmospheric place to eat lunch, deep under the roof. No lens in existence can wrap around this thing from the inside.


We hiked about 18 miles and solved many of the world's problems along the way. We skipped the second night to bail out the wimminfolk and avoid night-time monsoons. Maybe there were no murderous willows or chin-deep, eyeglass-swallowing pools but it was a blast and a wonderful time two spend with two of my favorite people.

Cache Valley
We bolted way too soon from the wedding festivities [which we particularly rue] and headed to our friends' new place in Cache Valley. A-Ron and I went on our biggest bike ride yet--a 67-mile loop into Idaho that included exceptionally rocky canyon roads, wrong turns, not nearly enough cheap carbs, a persistent stiff headwind [non-conservative force, I'll have you know!], a newly-deformed front hub, lots of drafting, a pink saddle bag [and, relatedly, lots of disturbed ranchers], a lunch at a park in Franklin Idaho that I had a picnic in 7 years earlier, an absolutely deadly last climb and 4.5 hours of toil with one excellent friend. We both bonked [partially because of the above excuses] about 5 miles prior to the finish and barely barely limped to the end. Picture: two young guys on solid bikes, wearing legit cycling gear, trying to bike across the main intersection in Smithfield, over completely flat ground, pedal-coast-coast-pedal-coast-coast [etc]. It must have taken us a minute just to cross the intersection. Still, our overall pace wasn't too shabby given the circumstances and we think we could have easily done 80-100 miles with a bit better preparation [and less wind!!].

[a picture or two if I can get Boni to give them to me!]

We had a fabulous day-and-a-bit with these wonderful friends then had to head out early in the morning for...

Point Reyes
Starting bright and early the morning after we got home, I went off with some friends to Point Reyes for an overnighter. Attending: Mitch "Big Freakin' Laser" S., Jared "Chia" H., Thomas "Always has to be the Hero" H. and me.  We trooped off to a nice little place on the coast called Arch Rock after spending some time replacing Mitch's busted tire.

We scampered around a bit here, failed entirely to take pictures [that was me], and set off again. Mitch set an I-just-climbed-Whitney-and-I-could-blitz-this-thing-with-a-she-bear-on-my-back pace down to our campsite at Wildcat.

We hiked up the beach a bit to a beautiful little waterfall right on the beach. This is where we lost Mitch, who had some nonsense early the next morning and/or was unsatisfied with a measly 9 miles for the day.

We started trying to gather materials for a fire. Grunting may have ensued.

Jared brought a crab snare that we filled with summer sausage and threw into the surf. It was a plan motivated by irrational coveting of crab meat more than, say, an adequate supply of fishing line. In fact, we didn't have nearly enough, which is why Thomas felt the need to dive into the water and retrieve the line we had. Fully clothed...

...and with his iPhone in his pocket. He seemed absurdly pleased with the new non-functional state of his phone. He was forced to change every item of clothing he had. The moment of complete undress coincided precisely with the arrival in camp of a gigantic passel of girl scouts. I kid you not. Like, 15 of them. That might have not been the kind of wildness promised to them after 7 miles of packing into the forest.

That night we built the absolute best fire in the history of history. We constructed a perfect little ultra-hot core and burned unbelievable quantities of random beach detritus, but no burrowing ducks. Bull whip heads give a satisfying DHUD when they explode in the fire, we found out, and are great for discouraging girl scouts. All the different damp seaweeds produced different pops and hisses and tones when thrown on the fire and it was a pretty sweet symphony down there next to the surf. A complementary rich wafting of scorched marine matter topped it off.

We slept on the beach, waking up to a light drizzle [or, as I apparently called it upon waking, a "bright sunny day"]. Probably the best sleep I've had since I was still wetting my bed and sleeping through it [meaning, by the way, a looooong time ago]. The fire was still scalding.

The hike back went through a whole different universe:

We found a lovely little glade in the forest where we listened as...

...Jared instructed us on the fine take-home points of Phinneas Gage.

All told, we hiked about 20 miles in the two days and solved at least three longstanding philosophical dilemmas that have vexed the sages since the ancient days. Great, great time, boys! Thanks for making this an unusually sweet overnighter.

So, that's 3 little adventures in a week, ~110 miles by foot/bike, ~1700 miles by car, 25 nieces and nephews [including the new one], ~10 hours of rich conversation, exactly 1 righteous camp fire and 1 awesome wife who let it all happen. Thanks, all!


Real said...

That was the THIRD brother's hike, wasn't it? I remember one from before 2006. You guys left from our old house.

Real said...

Also I love whatever powers you have that make Chris have fun in front of a camera. According to our photographic history he hates us all.

Nikki CB said...

Awesome shots! I especially like the evening/night leaping shots.

trogonpete said...

Real: our first one was in 2000 to King's Peak. So, yeah, third hike, but it is hard to justify calling it a tradition with a decade-long gap in it!