Thursday, June 25, 2015

We Can Backpack By Ourselves

Ever since a year ago when we went backpacking into Havasupai, Robyn and I have been working to become better backpackers.  We've been acquiring the equipment, and we've been on a few different trips.

We even have a trip planned this summer to go backpacking in Oregon.  But while we've been planning our upcoming Oregon trip, we realized that there is a small problem with it:  We won't have Jared.

Jared is a backpacking guru, and my BFF.  He's taken us on various adventures, and he knows how to make sure we are safe and comfortable.  Those are good things, unless you want to be able to do a trip without him.

Thus, we decided that we needed to take a Jared free backpacking trip, to prove that we could survive.  Spoiler Alert.  We totally survived the Jared free trip.

This past weekend was that very trip, and we had a great time.  (Although, we realized it clearly would have been better with Jared guiding us as we pulled out the topographical map a billion times to make sure we were going where we wanted to go.)

All in all, it was a great trip.  Here are a few of the highlights.

We got off a little later than planned, so we had our picnic dinner at the trailhead.

It's important to pose with an apple.

I can never remember where I put the keys when we get back to the car, so I took a picture of which pocket they were in.

I made Robyn get a picture of her looking happy next to snow.

There were lots of really pretty ponds and lakes along the way.

We had to climb over a mountain over into the adjacent valley.  Here I am at the summit.

It's important to take selfies with pretty lakes.

This was my view the whole way, the back of a pretty girl surrounded by trees and nature.

Our destination was island lake.  This sign lied.  One mile from this sign is another sign that says "Island Lake .5"
Because of the confusion about how far island lake was, and because we got off a little late, we didn't make it there until after dark.  But it was fine, we set up camp in the dark and went right to sleep.
In the morning when I woke up before Robyn, it was important to take a selfie with her sleeping.

This is what island lake looked like when I got out of the tent.

Robyn made us a gourmet breakfast of oatmeal and sausage.

This deer wandered into our camp and just stood about 15 feet away from me and stared at me for several minutes before prancing off into the wilderness.

Robyn enjoyed the breeze on the hike back.
It wasn't the most hardcore backpacking trip.  It was about 9 miles round trip.  Real backpackers probably aren't impressed, but we feel we have proven we can survive on our own in the wilderness.

Hopefully we'll also survive backpacking in Oregon.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Jurassic World

I saw Jurassic World on Saturday.   I just felt I had to write about it.  This isn't really a review, because how could I possibly write something objectively about a movie with dinosaurs, and also Star Lord* leading a pack of velociraptors.

Let me repeat those two things in all caps so that you can really grasp them.  DINOSAURS! STAR LORD LEADING A PACK OF VELOCIRAPTORS!

If that all caps business didn't make you say, "I will not close my eyes to sleep until I have seen this movie," then you are clearly dead inside and nothing can be done for you.

So since we know this movie is fabulous due to the all caps reasons stated above, I won't bother reviewing it, but I just had to share some random thoughts about it.

1. I thought the movie was super cool.  I'll admit that I would have thought it was super cool if it was just footage of those 2 kids wearing a GoPro around the park and showing what they see.  I would watch 12 hours of that, including the parts where they stand in line, because DINOSAURS!

2. Also, can we all just agree that if a park ever opens with live dinosaurs that I am clearly going?  Look, I totally understand that people seem to die regularly in those kinds of parks.  I get it.  But I think it's worth the risk.  When those 2 kids were in that little bubble ball driving through dinosaurs, the only thing I wanted in my life was to be them at that moment.
Look how happy we were being chased by a fake tyrannosaurus.  Imagine our joy if it were real.

4. Can we also agree that if we have a park filled with 20,000 people and a dinosaur breaks out of its pen, the solution is not to release more dinosaurs and get them to fight?  I'm not disputing the coolness of watching them fight.  That is what is known as epic.  I just think they could have had better plans such as sending all of their asset control people with lethal weapons so that they didn't all die in the first 30 minutes.

5. I'd like to thank Henry Wu for fixing a concern I've had with every Jurassic Park movie.  He said, "If any of these dinosaurs had pure DNA, they’d look a lot different."  I know they talked in previous movies about using DNA from modern animals to fill in the genetic code.  However, this statement made me realize that these animals are a product being sold to customers, so they are specifically made to look a certain way.  I am no longer offended that velociraptors are too big and they lack feathers.  Well played, Dr. Wu. Well played.

6. Oh, another thing we all need to agree on:  the coolest thing that man can achieve is to be the alpha in a pack of raptors.  This coolness reaches its apex when riding a motorcycle among the pack while on a hunt.

7. Indominus Rex was super cool, but I kind of agree with Star Lord when he said, "They're dinosaurs.  Wow enough!"  His point was that there is no need to genetically engineer the dinosaurs to make them more cool.  They're already pretty dang cool.  I think it would have been super cool if this movie just showed us some new species of real dinosaurs that have been discovered since the last movie was made.  There is plenty of super cool stuff in the real world without making up fictional dinosaurs.

That's all the random thoughts in my brain right now.  If you haven't seen this movie you need to, because DINOSAURS!

* Some of you may be offended that I refer to him as Star Lord, even though his given name is Chris Pratt.  However, if you watch the biographical documentary titled, "Guardians of the Galaxy", you'll see that his preferred name is Star Lord, so I choose to honor that wish.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Donut Falls

As you know, (or at least should know) I recently had a birthday and turned very old.

My BFF Jared W generally doesn't get me a gift for my birthday.  Instead, he usually gives me an adventure.  We had planned on a longer hike to Lake Blanche but he wasn't feeling super well so we did a little bit shorter hike to Donut Falls.  I'm super glad we did!

I had only been to Donut Falls once before, and we had done a night hike so I couldn't experience the full coolness of the falls.

The thing about this particular waterfall is that to really experience the coolness of it, you need some light and you have to be willing to get a little wet and cold.

The hiking part of it is only about 3/4 of a mile each way, but to get to where it's really awesome you have to do another couple hundred feet of climbing through the river.

Jared striking a pose in the water

Just clambering up some rocks.
When you get up there, you can see that the waterfall is pouring through a whole in the rock that looks like a donut.  (Hence the name.)

Sometimes it's important to look precious in front of the donut.
However, the really cool part is that you can crawl inside the donut and see it from the inside.  However, doing so requires wading through 1-2 feet of pretty cold water.  It's way worth it, though.

Jared and Breanna were way precious next to the entrance of the donut.
After stepping inside, Breanna realized it was way too cold for her, so she fled back down the river to where Robyn was waiting (she realized it was way too cold for her before we even began climbing through the river.)

The donut from the inside

The donut being eclipsed by my preciousness.

With no womenfolk, Jared and I had to be the cutest couple in front of the falls.
But lest you think the womenfolk weren't having good time while we were getting really cold and wet, there are selfies to prove of the good times they were having.
Look at all that gladness.  (This picture also shows how many people were climbing up to the waterfall at the top.)

Ever since doing this hike at night, I had added "See donut falls during the day" to my bucket list.  So I got to cross off another item.  It was a great adventure.  Thanks be unto Jared W for a fabulous time!

Oh, and since Robyn was underrepresented in some of the pictures, here is a picture of her on the hike up standing in a meadow filled with preciousness.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Birthday Festivities 2015

My birthday was last week.  I turned old.  That's a lie.  I was already old.  I turned 34 which is definitely a new level of old.  It's over 3% older than 33, so that number right there tells you I'm pretty old.

We didn't do a lot of celebrating on the actual day of my birthday.  (Robyn did take me out to dinner that night, though.)  Much like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, I celebrate my birthday the Monday before the actual day.  Most people call this day Memorial Day.  I call it, "My birthday observed."

On My birthday observed, Robyn told me to wake her up 30 minutes before I want to eat breakfast.  I actually thought that meant that it would take her 30 minutes to do her hair and other such womanly activities.  What it actually meant was that it took 30 minutes to drive there.  She took me to The Original Pancake House in Draper.  I the most delicious breakfast burrito known to man, as well as some fantastic pancakes.

Before I tell you the next activity Robyn had planned for me, I should tell you that Robyn takes her students on all sorts of field trips, and I always tell her that I'm jealous and I want to go on a field trip.

So she took me on a field trip to the Living Planet Aquarium.

Field trips are so great!
We took selfies with sharks

I got to touch a ray.  (I've done it before, but it's super cool so clearly I did it again.)

I took a selfie with the arapaima.  (If you don't know what an arapaima is, you need to watch River Monsters.  It's the only fish that really scares Jeremy Wade.)

We had selfies with penguins.

I even got to pose with the napping otters.  (Incidentally, a little kid 3 or 4 years old was put in this same spot by his dad.  When he saw the otters, a look of pure terror came over his face.  It was precious.)
There were also important things that happened that weren't captured in selfies.  (I know.  You wish there were more selfies in this post.)  The first is that when I saw the octopus, I got up really close to his little tank and whispered, "Cthulhu fhtagn".  Doesn't that just seem like something an octopus would want to hear?

The second was when we watched the guy swimming into a giant tank filled with sharks and rays.  He had food with him to feed the rays.  The rays would come up and eat out of his hand.  The sharks knew he had food so they kept swimming up and trying to get it from him.  He would just grab them and push them away.  I kept thinking, "That guy is totally fighting off hungry sharks.  Best job ever!"

I hear you have to have a degree in marine biology to be the guy that fights off sharks.  I guess I'll just have to stick with my computer programming job.

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