Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The first place that we went on our trip was to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Last Tuesday (Pioneer Day) I worked for 5 hours and then we drove from Salt Lake City to Montrose, Colorado. The drive was pretty uneventful. Because of the holiday, there were a ton of cars coming back to the city and very few going the way that we were. It was nice to drive on roads that were very uncrowded.

Wednesday morning we made our journey to the National Park. I had heard about Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park a few years ago. I knew that it was one of those "hidden gems" that few people actually visit. It's not a huge place but the views (as you can see from the slide show below - all photos taken by us, if you'd like a copy then let me know) were fantastic. The canyon is anywhere from 2000-2700 feet deep and the walls are very steep. We stopped at a bunch of canyon overlooks and Alison and I alternated looking at the views while Ada slept (This worked really well for us and we ended up doing this in almost all of the places that we went).

At the end of the canyon is a 2800 yard hike that we went on, where we took the picture shown at the beginning of this post. Ada is always pretty good when she is in the backpack and this hike was no exception. We were hoping to see some bighorn sheep (a couple of bears were spotted the day before near the visitor's center, but we would rather see them while we are in the car) but we only saw a few birds. Before leaving the park we took a 6 mile, 15% grade road down to the bottom of the canyon where we had views upwards of the canyon.

After visiting Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, we made the drive from Montrose, CO to Durango, CO. This drive crosses a couple of 11,000 foot mountain passes and it was just beautiful. We ate dinner at a mediocre Italian restaurant (Al had pizza, I had enchiladas...) on Main Street in Durango before driving the last 45 minutes to Cortez, CO where we stayed for 2 more nights.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Almost a Decade

9 years ago today I got my hotmail e-mail account. For a few years before that, I had a juno account, but that was before we had our own dial-up service. I used to get quite a bit of spam, now I only get 4-5 pieces of junk mail a week. Not too shabby.

The Grand Circle

Alison, Ada and I just returned from our summer trip. We didn't go anywhere last year, so we were looking forward to getting away for a few days. Here is a general overview of our little trip (for those of you not interested in our travelog (or travelblog if you prefer) then feel free to skip these posts). I'll post more about each item when I get a few minutes and once we have our own pictures uploaded. We spent 5 nights on the road and we did 5 main things. They were:

1. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

2. Mesa Verde National Park

3. Four Corners Navajo Monument

4. Canyonlands National Park

5. Arches National Park

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pioneer Day Peach

Legend: green - usual route to work, light green - marathon route, red - parade route, blue - todays route to work

Happy Pioneer Day! Especially to those outside of Utah who have never even heard of such an exciting article. This morning when I got up to go to work (I'm working today because we are leaving to southeastern Utah later today - more on that later) I knew that I would have to avoid the parade route on my way to work. When I was driving down 800 S, It looked like I would be able to cross the parade route (it was 6:30 AM and I thought that they may not have closed the crossing roads yet.

It turns out that I was wrong. All of the roads that were to cross the parade route were already shut down. I half-expected this so I decided to cut through the avenues on my way to work when - I saw runners up ahead and the road (S. Temple) closed off to crossing traffic. I ended up backtracking and having to go entirely around the parade/marathon route in order to finally get to work. At least I left home 15 minutes earlier than usual. All of this could have been avoided if I had been thinking straight - but, the disturbance was nowhere near as bad as when President Bush overnighted in Salt Lake City last year.

I brought yogurt and a piece of fruit to work to eat for breakfast. I also had the presence of mind to grab a paring knife in order to quickly skin my peach here at work. I was halfway through peeling my peach when I though to myself: "How odd that this peach has no fuzz." It turns out that it was a nectarine. I don't mind eating the skins on nectarines (I know that some people do). I must be going crazy.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Graduation From Babyhood

Happy First Birthday Ada! One year ago today, Ada was born. She has certainly changed a lot since then (as have Alison and I). Most of the time it has been fun to have a baby around the house. I remember back before she was born and it was hard to imagine how it would be once she was born. Once she was born, everything seems to happen so quickly and we were so exhausted that everything seems to run together. Thanks to everybody who helped us out during Ada's first year.

I think that I enjoy her now more than when she was just a tiny baby. I love being able to interact with her. I love is when she crawls up to me and screams with delight when I get home from work or school each day. I even try and time my arrival so she's not napping and not sitting in her chair eating when I get home because it's so fun to have her come and stand up next to me waiting for me to pick her up.

She is such a good sleeper. In the last 6-8 months, she would rarely wake up in the night and when she did, we knew that she was sick or teething. Last night she woke up around 10:00 PM (she's teething) and I went in a rocked her back to sleep (she won't normally let us do that). I didn't want to get up because I enjoy so much when she is asleep in my arms.

I'm glad that Alison can stay home with Ada. It allows us to have a much greater flexibility in doing things and I think that they both benefit from it enormously. I don't exactly love going to work each day (who does?) but I know that I am doing it for them and that makes it a whole lot easier.

I've always loved going on walks (and more recently hiking) with Ada. She's always enjoyed them and she seems to enjoy them even more so now that she gets to relax in a backpack on my sweaty back while I toil and struggle up the hills. I think she knows what's going on but she always talks to us and babbles to keep us interested and awake.

Happy Birthday Ada, I love you!

ps. read Alison's post about Ada here.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fall Football

Although there are still around 41 days until Utah kicks off their football season in Corvallis, Oregon in The Sporting News two weeks ago, there was an interesting article about the Hawaii football team and schedule. The very best part of the article is a little note in the bottom right-hand corner about the odds that they give Boise State, Southern Miss, TCU, BYU and Utah for busting the BCS (500 to 1? What a joke!). I scanned the article and have made it available for your reading pleasure here (even BYU fans will appreciate this one).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Baseball in Utah

We went to our first baseball game of the season tonight. The Salt Lake Bees played the Tacoma Rainiers at Franklin Covey Field. We were a little nervous for how long Ada would allow us to stay but she ended up doing fantastic. We bought a pizza and ate it on the lawn in the UTA parking lot before heading over to the stadium. It was an exciting game which the Bees won 10-7. We stayed through the seventh inning before leaving to put Ada to bed (although she probably would have been fine staying until the end). At the beginning of the game she would cry any time the crowd would cheer but by the second inning she was used to all of the cheering and would join in clapping with the rest of us. Alison and I both love baseball, hopefully we'll get to go to a few more games.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Man Child

I have eight nieces and now one nephew. He was born Thursday morning at 8:29 AM and topped the scales at 6 lbs 6 oz. He is Shelby's brother (which also makes him Tucker and Rachelle's son). I believe that they are planning on naming him Keaton Tucker Steed. It is exciting to have a new baby in the [extended] family.

It's amazing how tiny he is. While we were visiting them at the hospital he was making all sorts of cute faces and even seemed to have a smirk or a smile cross his lips at times. Maybe the strangest thing about all of this is that all 3 of my sisters have had babies since Ada was born (less than a year!). That most certainly does not mean that we are next ;).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dog Lake

Alison, Ada and I went on another hike yesterday (we've turned into hikin' foo's!). I still worked a full day and then once I got home we headed up Mill Creek Canyon and attempted the hike to Dog Lake. The hike to the lake is 2.9 miles (up hill the whole way) and we only had 2 hours to hike. We set an alarm to go off after one hour and probably made it between 1.5 and 2 miles before we tried to sit and eat sandwiches before heading back to the car. I say that we tried to sit because the mosquitos, gnats, flies and horseflies were so bad (even though we were drenched in repellant) that we decided to eat and walk.

The best part about the hike was Ada. During the whole hike she was just talking and jabbering away. She must really like riding on my back because she always seems to really be enjoying herself. It's so fun to have her with us.

Mill Creek Canyon is the prettiest of all of the Salt Lake City Canyons. There are a lot more trees (hence the reason for all of the area's mills) and the canyon is more narrow than the cottonwood canyons. The downsides are that bikes and dogs are allowed on most trails and there is an exit fee to the canyon. The pine trees and aspens are so thick that is seems like you are actually in the Uintas and not only about 10 minutes from home.

Hopefully we'll have a lot more hike photos to show in the next few weeks. We know that Ada would like that.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday Photo

This is my Dad and me in Homer, Alaska after we went fishing for halibut.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Real American Hero

This post is in response to my newest hero Joey Chestnut. As many of you already know, he beat Takeru Kobayashi in Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest yesterday. He started on record pace, eating 11 dogs in the first minute and 20 in the first two minutes. It was a photo finish and I was as excited as I ever am when watching sports.

The good news is that I have made this contest available for download by clicking here. It's a big (50 MB) file and I think it's about 16 minutes overall. If you missed it yesterday, you won't want to miss it for another day. This video will only be available for 3 days so you best not delay.

If the Kentucky Derby is the most exciting 2 minutes in sports, then this is the most exciting 12 minutes in sports - I was falling out of my chair screaming so loud. I even ate Wienerschnitzel for lunch today to commemorate Mr. Chestnut's win.

Here is a youtube tribute video. The quality is poor but it does a nice job of putting my feelings into words. Long live Joey Chestnut. He is a true American Idol.

HOT Rockin' 4th

I hope that everybody had a wonderful Independence Day. Alison, Ada and I sure did. I worked a few hours in the morning (in an attempt to make up for some of my lost hours from being sick last week) and then we all went on a hike. We had to first buy a baby backpack for Ada. We found one that seems to work pretty well for a decent price. Now the challenge will be to actually use it....

We hiked to Cecret Lake up Little Cottonwood Canyon. It's up in Albion Basin (where a lot of Alta's best skiing is also located). The weather was a little cooler at that altitude and it was a beautiful day for a hike. One of the best parts of the hike was that Ada loved it. She enjoyed riding on my back, wearing me down and talking to us. She just loves to be outside I guess. It's been a long time since Alison and I have gone hiking and that was apparent as we made our final ascent to Cecret Lake. Here are a couple of photos from our hike. Does that backpack make me look fat?

After our hike we went to a bar-b-que at Alison's cousin's house in South Mountain. We didn't stay too late because Ada needed to be put to bed. We weren't planning on watching any fireworks but we could hear the ones from Rice-Eccles Stadium (after the Real Salt Lake game) so well that we had to step outside to see if we could see them. It just so happened that we had the best view of the fireworks from our front porch! They've had fireworks at the stadium before but I don't remember being able to see them so well. We could also see the fireworks at Sugarhouse Park and Franklin Covey Field (both through the trees). Ahhh, the perks of living on the East Bench.