Sunday, April 29, 2018

Poe Canyon

I had the weekend off around my April birthday.  Deb agreed to watch Sheri's kids for the weekend, so I contacted a friend and arranged to go canyoneering in the Lake Powell area.  Ideas were shared and plans were made.  We pulled my boat over to the Bullfrog Marina on the northeast end of Powell and launched with 6 persons and full packs.  The weather started out rather chilly but with full sunshine.  Our course took us up the Halls Creek arm of the lake where I beached my boat and tied it off with 4 lines.  Then the next 3 1/2 hours we carried very heavy packs over slickrock and through willows and tamarisks and deep sand.  Once our camp site was chosen we dropped our overnight gear and immediately headed for our first canyon.  Soon we were "gearing up" and rappelling into Happy Dog Canyon.  The canyons in this area are known for deep tight slots and large round potholes.  Soon I knew why Kip instructed me to bring knee and elbow pads.  Strenuous chimney moves and stemming were required.  Rappelling off of sandbag anchors and using potshot rope tosses and assisted down climbing was the style.  This style of canyoneering is called "ghosting".  Interesting and appealing, but it does add an element of risk.  We emerged from the canyon just before dark and made dinner around a campfire already physically fatigued after our first day.  The second day we got up at first light and quickly loaded up for a long day.  This was the day to do Poe Canyon.  It had a reputation as being a very difficult and challenging canyon.  We were all excited.  Guy was the only member of our team that had been down the canyon.





 It was a great canyon and did require teamwork as we ghosted through the many potholes and drops.  We did have great difficulty getting over and around the Pit of Despair.  A large deep mostly dry pothole.  Multiple attempts to throw potshot lines over it were futile.  Finally Mark our lightest and nimblest member was able to rock climb over and up and pendulum onto the other side.  Almost 3 hours at this one spot!  Whew!.  Again we arrived back to camp at dusk.  This time I was really physically spent.  The campfire time was enjoyable and the desert night sky was brilliant.  The next day we had plans to do a third canyon, but all of us had had enough and we knew we still had a long hike out and a ride in my boat to the marina followed by a long drive home.  I was glad we decided to backpack out in the morning as we found the lake to be windy and the waves already growing in height.  It was my 57th birthday.  The best part of the day was when I arrived home to find my daughters and most of my grandkids waiting for me with presents and cake.  An awesome welcome home!

Monday, March 05, 2018

Thailand 2018




Deb and I went to Thailand for a 5th time.  It was our longest trip thus far to one of our favorite places to visit.  Tully and a few friends told us they were going to Railay to climb this year so I convinced Deb we should join them over there.  This trip was different in that we first went to the island of Loa Liang.  This required more traveling and boat time as Koh Lao Liang is further south, almost to Malaysia.  The extra travel there by speed boat was worth it as Lao Liang was beautiful and quiet.  It had warm, soft sandy beaches with good snorkeling.  The climbing was right there on the beach near our tents.  We also took kayaks and explored the neighboring island where there was excellent snorkeling along the reef and deserted beach.  Sunrises were spectacular! The tents were large and comfortable and we had a fan to keep us somewhat cool at night.  The food was interesting and served 3 times daily under a thatched pavilion.  Sometimes we weren't sure exactly what we were eating but it was good and authentic Thai cuisine.  After a 4 night stay there we traveled to Railay.  At that point Tully and the gang went on to Krabi and eventually Bangkok.  Deb and I stayed 7 more nights at the Bhu Nga Thani, our favorite resort hotel in Railay.  We found the area to be much the same as before.  Still bustling with tourists from Europe, Russia and other Asian countries.  The early morning climbing sessions were cool and quiet and definitely the best time of the day.  We enjoyed the beaches and sun, but found the peak afternoon hours to be quite hot this trip. I did also take a rest day to go diving.  It was a particularly good dive around a small island.  Deb snorkeled above as usual.   Towards the end of the trip, Deb came down with a high fever and headaches.  I started her on antibiotics, but I think she picked up a viral infection.  Possibly even Dengue Fever.  Our flight home was very drawn out and long.  This prompted us to upgrade to better seats on our flight from Wuhan, China to San Francisco. It made that 11 hour flight much more pleasant.  We arrived home exhausted as we had been up for 51 hours and traveling for 41 hours.  Wish there was an easier way to get to our favorite vacation spot.





Saturday, October 07, 2017

Summer Climbing Trips




This summer I traveled to a few new locations to climb.  I climbed at Tahquitz and Suicide Rock in Southern California with JJ.  And then I flew back to New England and hooked up with Chad Farr and climbed at the famous Gunks in New York State.  We also spent a few days climbing in New Hampshire at North Conway.  Both were great trips with some bold "old school" trad climbing.  Fun but scary.




Larsen Reunion 2017

We had a fun Larsen Reunion this summer at Bear Lake.  We did miss Marty and his family though.  I took my Mastercraft boat all the way up the state so that we could enjoy some wake boarding on the beautiful waters of Bear Lake.  It was fun, but I am not sure I will do that again.  The house we rented was spacious and luxurious.



Marty Departs for Medical School


Marty & Hailey moved to Kirksville, Missouri this summer.  That is a big change for our family.  Marty is attending  A.T. Still University, the first D.O. school created in 1892.  They have a nice place to live and have found several other LDS families as the small town has two LDS wards.  Deb and I have already paid them a visit.  We sure miss them and the "boys".  We are glad that Marty has finally begun his journey to becoming a physician.



Monday, June 26, 2017

June Lake Powell Trips



This summer I have done two trips to Lake Powell.  First was the Young Women summer camp trip that Deb convinced me to help out with and then second was an overnight trip with Marty and his little family.  The girls camp trip started out just fine as Deb and I went over a day early and set up camp on the shores of Gunsight Canyon not too far up lake.  We had 17 girls and 6 adults on the trip and only two boats.  On the second day of that trip my boat abruptly quit working.  We had just taken the girls hiking up West Canyon and we were then on our way back to camp.  The boat wouldn't start.  A brief storm bore down on us and we were adrift.  Crazy and frustrating.  Todd Bristol had to tow me back to camp and then back to the marina the next morning. Hours of trolling across the lake.  Fortunately, the weather was good and we had no waves to contest with.  We ended up getting my boat repaired at a Mastercraft shop in Page, Arizona. But I ended up driving over to Page and then back to St. George in one afternoon.  It was the fuel pump.  With Marty's trip we conveniently picked up the boat at the shop in Page and then launched onto the lake.  This trip went much better.  The "boys" did really well and we had a lot of fun with them.  We even had cooler weather for the beach and it was comfortable sleeping in a tent on the shores of Lake Powell in June.  I just might have my fill of Lake Powell for awhile.




Saturday, April 08, 2017

Baja Sailing Trip



Deb & I just returned from a sailing trip down in the Baja California Sur of Mexico.  We flew into Cabo San Lucas and caught a shuttle to La Paz where we spent one night. Their we met John Tully and Trevor Jolley at the Costa Baja marina.  It was there that Tully had arranged to rent a sail boat from Dream Yacht Charters.  We chose a 45 foot monohull "cutter" that could sleep 8 persons.  Tully had experience and certification to sail the vessel.  Trusting Tully we sailed out into the Sea of Cortez towards several islands off the Baja coast.  We spent 6 nights on the boat sailing to a new anchorage each evening.  The weather was near perfect with warm days and cool nights.  On one day we had strong winds which gave us exciting and challenging sailing.  At times the winds died down and the ocean was surprisingly calm.  That is when we had to turn on the motor to keep moving.  Deb and I felt that the area reminded us of Lake Powell.  Only on a much larger scale.  Rocky desert islands with fun hiking and scrambling with the occasional beautiful white sandy beach.  The snorkeling was very good and we spent every day checking out a new area.  Many stingrays where in the seas around us and often jumped into the air flapping their "wings" and smacking back down on the surface.  We did get to snorkel with some sea lions on one occasion which was quite cool.  I did suffer from some sea sickness the first evening but with a little medication I was good the rest of the trip.  We anchored at islands and villages with names such as:  San Francisco, Isla Espiritu Santo, San Everisto, Isla Pardita, Ensanada Grande.  Deb and I both took turns at the helm sailing the big boat.  Tully was a good instructor and a good cook too. The week went by way too fast, but as always, it was good to get back home to our home in St. George.  We live in a great area!



Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rainy & Snowy Year


Over the past month or so it has continued to rain in Southern Utah and snow in the mountains.  Finally I have been able to jump on my snowboard and cruise through some powder.  I have had to be more conservative with my descents down the hill, but it feels so good to get back out doing things.  I have even been able to do some toprope rock climbing.  I am still far from full strength, but gradually I can tell I have been improving.  Now it is Deb's turn.  This past week she underwent back surgery (laminectomy/fusion at L4-5).  She spent 3 nights in the hospital.  It was a post-op ileus that kept her in an extra day.  Otherwise she is doing quite well.  This surgery was clearly a bigger surgical procedure than either of us have ever had.  It will take awhile for her to heal.  She has given up her group power class for the time being to another instructor.  I'm sure she will somehow work her way back to teaching it again.  Marty has been accepted to the D.O. school in Kirksville, Missouri.  He is still waiting on final word from the U of U.  He has discovered that it is highly competitive to get into medical school in 2017!




Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Christmas 2016





I didn't have to work Christmas this year.  Instead of taking advantage of the time off and sneaking in some rock climbing and snow boarding, I was recovering from rotator cuff surgery.  Soon after my arrival home from the Himalayas, an MRI confirmed a full thickness tear of my cuff.  I made a quick decision to have it repaired.  Dr. Randy Clark along with Mike Anderson used arthroscopy to repair my right shoulder on a Sunday evening immediately after a work shift.  I hoped it would be a simple surgery with a swift recovery.  But no.  It was not to be.  It has been a slow and painful recovery and I am realizing that it will be months before I will be able to return to my usual activities.

Eric was at home with us so no early morning awakenings on Christmas Day.  The evening before most of our children and grandchildren spent some time with us doing the usual things.  Pizza, a rousing pounce game and a Christmas movie.  It was a cold and rainy spell and we almost had a white Christmas with the snow falling on the red cliffs just above town. Christmas Day was a Sunday.  The hour of church was enjoyable as our ward always has a great ward choir and program.  Deb always participates in the choir. Apple watches dominated the gifts and we helped our married children with cash.

Marty and Eric were able to enjoy a few big powder days at Brian Head during the holiday break.  I went on a few hikes in the desert with Siena and Cara.  My work shifts over the New Years weekend was stressful as expected.  The year 2016 generally was a good year for me until my shoulder injury.  I hope 2017 will be even better for me and all of my family!