Sunday, February 22, 2015

Winter Subway

Marty, Tully and I took advantage of the unusually warm February this year and ventured into the Subway of Zion National Park.  We actually entered the Subway via the Russell Gulch variation and arguably the more "pure" beginning for this fantastic back country route in Zion.  It was sunny and about 65 degrees in the afternoon.  Our start was at 1 pm due to Marty's college schedule.  We were not worried as we were confident we could negotiate the canyon in good time.  We found the water crystal clear and of course very cold.  A few pools had a half inch of ice floating on the top.  To our surprise and delight, we encountered no other parties of people in the Subway.  This made for a more wilderness experience and a great back country day.  The three of us have completed many a canyon together and once again we traveled quickly and quietly and savored the beauty of Zion.  Darkness was settling in as we trudged up the trail to the parking area with my truck.  Awesome day!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

February Sun Tan

Normally in February many of my free days are spent ice climbing and snowboarding.  Rock climbing is mixed in there on the sunny days between storms and mountain biking is usually kept to spin classes at the gym.  Not this year.  Sunny day after sunny day in Southern Utah with mild spring-like temperatures.  Great for rock climbing and mountain biking and hiking.  Deb & I came back from the Cayman Islands with good sun tans and normally it would fade until about May when we get the boat back out and head to the lake.  Not this year.  My tan continues to build as I shed my shirt on the sunny cliffs around town.  Today was one of those days.  A mountain bike ride on the Barrel Roll trail near Santa Clara and then climbing in Snow Canyon in the warm afternoon sun.  My February Tan.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Island Time

Today was the last full day for us on the Brac.  Where did the week go?  The days have flown by for sure.  I ditched Nick & Emily and let them go diving and I stayed back with Deb to snorkel, explore caves and sun it up on the beach.  Good choice I believe.  I did see an octopus and stingray in the shallows inside the breaker reef today while snorkeling.  Cool.  This afternoon all 4 of us went climbing at the Seahorse Wall.  I put the rope up on easy routes and all of us had fun.  We are headed out to dinner at one of the few small restaurants on the island.  The best food here is Jamaican dinners such as Jerked Chicken.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Over the Ocean

The day started with diving off the North side of the island.  Spectacular diving spots.  Clear water with amazing corals, sponges, & fish.  I got down to 96 feet on the first dive of the morning.  I could still clearly see the surface above. The afternoon Deb and I went to the Northeast point of the island with another climber named Tim (we meet him a couple of days ago climbing here) and we rappelled over the edge down to climbs on overhanging cliffs just above the crashing waves and ocean below.  It was a 45 minutes hike over very rough terrain to get there.  We ran into many brown headed Boobies (birds) nesting along the way.  The climb was very good but also very intimidating and committing.  I am proud of Deb for being able to do it.  Wild!  The waves crashed so hard against the cliffs that I was sprayed with water multiple times before I could climb out.  My climbing shoes were soaked and my chalk was paste.  Fun and scary at the same time!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Diving & Climbing on the Brac

Today was a full day.  We checked in at the dive shop early in the morning and saw that the wind had abated some during the night so the seas were not as rough.  Nick, Emily & myself went out on the dive boat to two dives just off the north shore of the island. Deb went solo and found some interesting snorkeling places also on the north side of the island.  The corals and reefs are impressive with abundant sea life.  It was a little spooky to dive again after two years of not having been out.  It is still amazing to me to be 80 feet down in the ocean breathing air and swimming around.  The diving in the Cayman Islands is so good!  After lunch we hiked over to the Wave Wall on the east end of the island to traverse a tricky wave splashed ledge to get to some cool climbs.  Deb was very intimidated by the hike out there, but soon got used to the different kind of exposure these climbs had to offer.  Pounding waves on a rocky surf just below your feet on a slanted slab.  Nick & Emily joined us for a few minutes and Nick jumped on one of the climbs before they worked their way back.  Yesterday we snorkeled in the morning and climbed in the afternoon and then we watched the Super Bowl on a big screen TV at an open air restaurant with about 10 other people.  These vacation days go by so fast. Tomorrow will be more of the same.  Cool.