Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hiking in Spring Hollow

Snowshoeing in Spring Hollow Martin Luther King Day offered and excellent chance to enjoy some of the great outdoors. What made things even better was the fact that it had just snowed quite a bit in the mountains the weekend before. I woke up and left Heather to enjoy breakfast with her sisters-in-law as I rode with Erik, Bruce and Berkley up to Spring Hollow on the South Fork of the Provo River.

We arrived at the trailhead and put all of our gear on. There was only one other car there, which was probably due to the rather cold temperatures, somewhere in the mid-teens. We finally started up the drainage around 8am.

The temperature remained cold, but we had a blast! We got the see the run rise on back of Cascade Mountain and then as the shadows gradually fled from the narrow valley we were hiking through. We followed snowmobile tracks for a while, and then the tracks of a lone snowboarder. Finally, we broke just a little trail of our own and stopped and simply enjoyed the beautiful scenery on a cold morning in the mountains. We had hiked around 4 miles and gained over 2,000 feet of elevation.

When we finally started to get cold again, we turned around and hiked out. We saw several groups of people closer to the trailhead, and we were grateful that we got our early to enjoy the solidarity and quietness of the mountains. We made it down to the trailhead, stowed our gear and took off. As we drove out of the canyon, we saw storms brewing on Cascade, and we were glad that we had turned around when we did. All-in-all, a great way to get out for a few hours on a wonderful winter day.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns After visiting Timpanogos Cave National Monument in October, Heather and I decided to head down to Carlsbad Caverns National Park on our way to Texas for the holidays. The weather turned out to be wonderful, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

After a long drive from Provo to Carlsbad, we got up early to be at the cave when it opened the next day. The drive to the visitor's center was quite pretty as we made our way through a canyon to a bluff in the Chihuahuan desert. We opted to walk in the natural entrance, which is a daunting mile-and-a-half walk through down a paved path. One wonders how the original explorers, mainly Jim White, managed the decent over a century ago.

Once down in the cave, we rested for a bit at the underground rest area, and then departed on a ranger-led tour of the Kings Room. In addition to the Kings Room, we took the self-guided tour around the Big Room (ground area of over 14 football fields!) and saw many other formations and features. When we'd had our fill of the caves, we took the elevator the 750 feet back up to the surface and began the long drive to our destination in Dallas.