Friday, July 26, 2013

Lone Peak - 2013

Every summer, since 2005, I have taken a backpacking trip somewhere in Utah. This summer was no different. Last year, I went to the Uintas all by myself because my stalwart backpacking partner, Christopher Davis, was in London for a mission. This year, I convinced Christopher's little brother, Andrew Davis, to go backpacking with me.  
Andrew Davis
Both of us grew up at the base of Lone Peak. That fact, combined with the rumor of being the deadliest peak in Utah, creates a kind of irresistible appeal. Although I have summited the peak twice before, Andrew had never been up there. So last Monday, at 5 AM, we started up the mountain.

There are several trails that go up the mountain, but because I am me I decided to go up the steepest, longest, and toughest one, Cherry Canyon Logging Trail. The advantage of this trail is that it gets you to the top of the mountain quickly. The disadvantage is the steepness of the trail, especially with a 40 pound backpack. As is always the case putting one foot in front of the other got us up the 4,000 vertical feet to our campsite at 9,100 feet.
Getting to camp with Lone peak in the distance.
My tent at camp.
Andrew's tent and myself about to eat dinner at camp.
We made it up to the campsite by 9:45 AM and went about setting up camp. A requisite amenity that had to be found was a source of water. I was relatively confident that there was water 5 minutes of the trail. Unfortunately, this was not the case. After searching though, we were able to locate running water, it was 10 minutes up the trail. We spent the rest of the day in and around the camp taking it easy, we even took a nap.

The next day was the main event, summiting Lone Peak. From the camp we had quite a ways to go to get to the summit, not to mention the 2,000+ foot elevation gain. 

Looking down to northern Utah County from a huge granite slab we had to cross.
Micron can be seen below Andrew's finger.
Looking up the small canyon leading to the cirque.
Looking down from the top of the same canyon. Utah Valley is getting smallers! 
Approaching Lone Peak.
I feel it necessary to give a warning here. If you have a fear of heights or are apprehensive about your balance, you should NEVER attempt this summit. The approach is very much exposed and one false step could be your last.

Having done Lone Peak twice before and not ever seeing a single person on the approach, I was surprised to see three different groups on the approach. One group, two young couples, were on a precipice right below the summit. I was waiting for them to continue to the summit. After a few minutes I asked them if they had any intention to go to the summit. They 'informed' me that the precipice they were on was technically the peak as it had this geological marker.
I then informed them that the higher peak 10 yards to the south had a geological marker also and was indeed the peak. They seemed not to believe me so Andrew and I continued on. We then got a picture of the real Lone Peak marker.
Here are a few pictures from the summit.
Where lookin down becomes sage advice!
Looking toward southern Salt Lake County. Kennecott can be seen  in the distance.
Looking toward northern Salt Lake Valley.
Looking down the north side of the summit.
Me taking it easy on the summit with Upper Bell Canyon below.
I was a bit apprehensive about getting down, but the descent was relatively uneventful. 

The next day we took a hike to the Allen Brother's Cabin in an upper drainage of Little Willow. 
Allen Brother's Cabin
Looking inside. Someone must have been there recently cleaning up and maintaining the cabin.
We then took an impromptu hike on a trail we found by the cabin. It quickly became apparent that the trail was to merge with the main trail that leads to the peak. We decided to stay by the neat granite rock formations on the ridge and follow that to just below Lone Peak.
Neat rock formation.
More neat formations.

The granite spires towering at the top of Big Willow.
Looking down Big Willow.
That night we climbed Enniss Peak, adjacent to our camp. where we watched residents of both Salt Lake and Utah counties celebrate the 24th of July with fireworks. We were so high that we looked down on the tiny exploding fireworks, which we knew seemed large from the valley floor.

The next morning we packed up camp and descended the 4,000 vertical feet to the trailhead. The steep trail made the descent very quick. When we looked back up at the mountain, we were very proud at what we had accomplished.
Lone Peak (not my picture, from Dean on SummitPost)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

London; final day.

Today I wanted to go see the natural history museum and the British museum here in London but something more important turned up. My good friend, Christopher Davis, is serving a mission for the LDS church here in London. I was going to meet him in downtown but that didn't work out, he had to wait for furniture for his new flat. The moving company conveniently told him that they would come between noon and 6. As such, I went out to him instead, he resides in Romford. I took him and his companion out for lunch and then we walked around a park in the town.
Christopher and me

Christopher and his new companion.

I hung out with them all afternoon. After Romford I went to Westminster to see the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and Big Ben. These were all very neat to see. Unfortunately it was too dark to get pictures. Now I have to fly home in the morning :(.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cambridge and London Day 1

This week I have been in England for a developer's workshop and some fun in London. The first part of the week I was up in Cambridge working hard at the semi-annual Phenix developer's workshop. The first impressions of Great Britain : the full English breakfast is great, driving on the lef-hand side of the road is strange, and everyone rides a bike... AWESOME!

The real story from Cambridge is the food, the rest of it was 'boring' scientific software programming. We stayed at a bed and breakfast where I took advantage of the full English breakfast each morning. The dinners were pretty awesome too. The first night we went to a Turkish restaurant with plenty of yummy kabobs. The Second night we went to an Indian restaurant, very good food! But I didn't enjoy it because there was coriander in my dish, as such that was all I tasted...yuk!! The third night we had dinner in old Cambridge library in Sidney Sussex College, which is where Oliver Cromwell's head is buried. (The Royalist dug up his corpse and beheaded him after they re-took power.) We had a very fancy dinner there consisting of duck and potatoes. The final night in Cambridge we went to a local restaurant, The Backstreet Bistro, where I had a very good Pimm's lamb.

Yesterday we took the train to London where my lab mates and I went out for Tapas. This was by far the best dinner of the entire trip! This was real Tapas. We tried about eight different dishes and they were all of excellent quality. My favorite dishes were TXIGORKI and PIMIENTOS DE PADRĂ“N, look it up. So next time you are going by King's Cross Station be sure to hit up Camino! After that I went my  own way leaving my lab mates to fly back to the States. I found a place to stay with some local members of the Mormon church.

So today I spent time at the Tower of London and Regent's Park. The majority of the day was spent at the Tower, I got there at 9 and left at 3. It was awesome! I then spent the rest of the day at the gorgeous Regent's Park. I'll let the pictures tell the story. Sorry that some are not straight, I took most of the pictures ;).

Going into the Tower grounds, looking at the outer wall. The grassy area was the moat.

Just inside the inner wall looking at Wakefield Tower.

Waterloo lock, where they keep the Crown Jewels. Also, where the olympic medals were for safe keeping.

The White Tower.

Me in fron of the White Tower.

Tutor buildings east of the White Tower

Me in front of Tower Bridge.

Regent's Park

Regent's Park

Me at Regent's Park

Friday, September 14, 2012

One Day More

Tomorrow is the day I ride in the 'Rid Without Limits' event here in NC. I even was able to promote the ride on TV:

I want to sincerely thank everyone who contributed to my ride. So far I have raised exactly $3,000. Still haven't donated? There is still time! To help you gauge how much you should donate I'll chronicle my logged rides thus far in 2012 (thank you Garmin!). You can see how much work I put in to training for this ride and then you can try to match my effort, monetarily speaking of course.

Count:63 Activities
Distance:1,442.04 miles
Time:88:01:01 h:m:s
Average Speed:16.4 mph
Average Heart Rate:162 bpm
Average Cadence:81 rpm
Calories:93,963 Calories
For example, you can donate the following: $1 for every training ride ($63),  $1 for every 100 miles ridden ($14), $1 for every minute I've spent in the saddle ($5,280) or every second ($316,800). You get the idea :). In all seriousness, whatever you can contribute would be great! Here is why you should donate:

Thank you all so much! United Cerebral Palsy could not do the inspiring work that they do.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Last Push

Just 50 years ago many people with disabilities were institutionalized only because they were unable to communicate. Luckily society has progressed and we don't see this happening often. The progress has come as society learns how to respond and assist people with disabilities. This work is difficult because each different person has their very unique set of challenges. The Easter Seals is a charitable organization that takes on this work and provides the needed specialized services to many in our community. Like any charity they rely on donations to do their important work. Their largest charity event is a cycling event, Ride Without Limits, which I am participating.

As a rider I am to ask for monetary donations. So far I have had a great response, raising nearly my goal of $3,000; however, I am not quite there yet. I am making one last effort to not only meet but exceed my goal. So if you can donate push this button:

If you can't donate please share this link via email, facebook, twitter, etc.

Thank You!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Summer "vacation" 2012

As is usual, my summer vacation began with a scientific conference, this time in Long Beach, CA. This conference was 3Dsig, a conference dedicated to computational structural biology, the closest broad description of the kind of research I do. Unlike previous conferences that I have attended, 3Dsig was a short two days. Unfortunately, I was not able to see very much of the city as most of my time was spent listening to exhilarating scientific talks or having scientific discussions around a poster. One thing I enjoyed in Long Beach was the weather; we hit the city with two relatively cool days. After the heat of NC this was very refreshing.

 Ketchup(Bradley), Swati, and Banana(Daniel) two lab mates

Me and my poster (my poster is cloth...NEATO!!!)

I then headed to Utah where my vacation really started. Other than visiting family, my plan was to do three major things in Utah; backpacking (solo), backpacking (with Three Summit's Ranch), and attend Ryan Jackson's dissertation defense at Utah State. Before I tell about what really happened in Utah I have to tell you about something that happened a day before I flew out to Long Beach. I was commuting to work on my bike when I suddenly fell for reasons that remain a mystery. This was a relatively bad spill with a bonked head and plenty of road rash on both knees. Although the road rash stung quite a bit I knew that in short order the road rash would heal. The bonk in the head was something a bit more concerning, it tweaked my neck. My neck hurt for a long time after the incident, I am talking a significant amount of pain. This made sleeping at night fairly difficult. This fact, combined with my aching body, had me doubting whether I'd be able to go backpacking. However, if you know me and my summer backpacking trips you'll know that only something substantial could get in the way of my backpacking! I decided that the only option was to try it out.

I went to the upper reaches of the Roch Creek drainage in the Uintas. To get there I took the Uinta Highline Trail. For those who know the area: the trailhead is just past Mirror Lake if you're coming from Kamas. This trail was well traveled; in all I saw no less then fifty people on the trail over my time up there. I had planned for 4 days, two for hiking in and out and two for day hikes/relaxing. Even though I had a new pack, sleeping bag, and tent designed to lessen the weight of my pack I still managed 40+ lbs, heaviest back yet...not sure why. Being in the mountains was great, I'd say therapeutic :). Even though it had been a VERY dry winter the Uintas were as wet as ever; there were plenty of wet bogs to navigate. I ran into several scout groups taking their summer high adventures. I even saw two pack goats and three llamas in training. I may look into renting a llama or two in the future :).

The hike in was long, I hiked all the way into Lake Brinkley, which is tel plus miles in. I don't know why I alway am surprised at how long ten miles is. To be fair this ten miles was not flat in the slightest. The trail head started just under ~10,400 feet and I had to go over Rocky Sea Pass, which tops out at ~11,280, and back down to Lake Brinkley at ~10,480. Despite the less then ideal shape my body was in I made it. After setting up camp I filtered water and made dinner (thank you Mountain House!). I was pretty tired and actually crawled into my back before it was completely dark. The night was long and cold. Sleep was hard to come by for two main reasons, my neck and the ground. My new sleeping bag, which I brought along, was rated at 20 degrees and thus considerably smaller and lighter than my other bag rated at -10 degrees. Although my hands and feet were toasty warm I literally felt cold radiating from the ground. I never experienced this before; I guess it is time to get a sleeping pad. Because of the bad night I decided to cut my trip short and stay two nights instead of four.

The next day I was still feeling the effects of trekking over ten miles with 40+ pounds on my back. Nonetheless I had to explore the area. As such, I decided to take a hike. My plan was to try to go to Lightening Lake, a beautiful lake at the base of Priord Peak (12233 ft). without exerting myself too much. The Uintas never disappoint, there were a lot of gorgeous small lakes surrounded by towering 12,000 + foot  summits. I wish I had pictures but alas I was alone, typically cameras and I don't get along :). I was just at tree-line, the point at which only stunted sub-alpine fir grow, enjoying a lunch overlooking Gladys Lake when I hear thunder in the distance. This is never a big surprise as it typically rains every afternoon in the Uintas. The question I had to ask was whether I really wanted to be at a lake named after lightning in the presence of thunder. Further, did I want to be above tree'line in such a situation? The answer to these two critical questions was a definite no. I quickly descended back down into the trees and when safely there a healthy rain began. Since I had experienced the Uintas in the past I knew that this storm would likely pass within 20 minutes, thus I stood in the boughs of a fairly large fir. Since the storm came with a stiff wind the rain was coming in at a slant and I stayed dry without a poncho.

After another sleepless night I decided it was time to start heading back toward the trailhead. I didn't know whether I'd make it all the way back to the car but knew regardless I needed to get back over the steep Rocky Sea Pass that day. From the way my body was protesting the full pack on my back I was not looking forward to the steep ascent up the pass. However, my physiology gave me a gift and took it up a notch when I first hit the ascent and I sailed up the pass like it was nothing. In fact I passed a group of boy scouts that were also ascending and I left them in the dust. On the other side, during the gradual decent, I notice a group of four hikers headed toward me. Pretty soon I hear one of them call out my name. It was April and Melanie (and two others), two sisters that lived right by me on Darwin Ave. in Logan five years previous. It was very cool to randomly meet someone I knew on the trail, what are the chances?! Because I was moving so good I decided to go all the way back to the car, the prospect of sleeping in a bed was too tempting to pass up.

At one point I took a break for lunch and to filter water. The trip back was relatively uneventful until I was two miles away from the car. Even though I had filtered water at lunch it wasn't enough. I knew that filtering more water was the right thing to do but filtering water was a huge pain that I did not want to deal with. So I didn't and I walked the last two miles without water. I was feeling the effects of this poor choice the last half mile. At this point I also noticed a pain in my right foot, I had no idea why. Suffice it to say that I made it back, I was thirsty and had a hurt foot but I made it. I quickly descended the Mirror Lake Highway back into Kamas where I consumed 20 ounces of Gatorade in less than five seconds.

When I got back to my parent's home the pain in my foot got worse. It was a pain akin to a sprain or a break. I didn't thick it was either as it did't 'kill' me to walk on it. Nonetheless I was able to get it x-rayed by my sister's husband, Scott, who is a chiropractor. Luckily there was nothing to indicate a problem on the x-ray. Scott postulated that I stressed the tendon by doing 25+ miles in three days, my feet were not used to that kind of harassment, I'm a biker not a runner. Lesson: walk more, biking is not sufficient in preparing for long backpacking trips.

My foot hurt so much that I had to cancel my other backpacking trip with the Three Summits Ranch, a service ranch for boys 12-15. In the past I have talked to these boys about my story focusing on overcoming challenges. Luckily I was able to spend a Sunday up at the ranch where I met a lot of awesome boys. The highlight for me was after my talk a boy showed intense interest in my research. Of couse I couldn't tell him the details but his eyes lit up at the basics I could explain. The neatest aspect was the questions this kid was asking were very impressive, I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up in science.

The last thing I did was attend Ryan Jackson's dissertation defense. Ryan was a graduate student I Sean's lab at USU, we were pretty close as far as lab mates go. It was neat to ba able to make it to see the defense, Ryan did a spectacular job! Visiting with the old lab was really neat too. Sean and his lab are doing great, but was there ever a doubt with the kind of person and scientist Sean is?!

So there you have it. If you'ver read this far I congratulate you. I am now back in Durham getting the house ready for the new tenants coming over the next two weeks. Yippee! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Making Progress

I want to sincerely thank everyone who has donated to my ride! I am only $45 away from my goal with more than two months to go! So, thank you.

For the last few months I've been training hard. My ideal regimen is to do my 30-mile loop every other weekday, on days in-between do a 12 mile recovery ride, and do a longer ride on the weekends. I have not kept that schedule at all; the main reason is weather. It has been HOT the last few weeks. As such, EARLY morning is the ONLY time to ride and while I often do get up at 5AM I have a difficult time doing that every day. Starting a bike ride at 7 is way too late as it heats up quickly. Nonetheless, progress is being made.

I have a bike computer, basically a very souped up speedometer. This computer keeps track of a ton of data; speed, distance, cadence, heart rate, etc. Additionally, since the computer is made by Garmin it records my GPS coordinates. When I ride I always record all this information and then download the information to my computer. This allows me to track my progress. As an example let's look at the ride I did this morning:

As you can see, I did ~50 miles in 2 hours and 55 minutes with an average speed of 17.2 mph. This is the third time that I have done this course this season. I'll let the numbers do the talking.

Bradley's Papa Bear 2 course 2012
Date Time Average Speed
June 10 3:09:07 16.3
June 24 3:03:53 16.4
July 8 2:55:07 17.2

Believe me when I say that a jump of 0.8 in average mph is huge!

You might recognize the guy in this article :). Click here.

There is still plenty of time to support my ride, so tell everyone you know to come to my blog and click: