Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Post spring break blues

For those of you non-grad students who may be jealous of people like me who have a spring break... Let me reassure you that there are time-related down-sides to being a student as well (you already know the financial downsides). I was up until nearly 3am finishing my stats homework last night. Of course, if I had not taken such a great spring break trip or 3-day weekend to Vegas the week before that... I could have avoided the late-night stats session.

Amazingly, I do not feel particularly tired today even though my usual bedtime is 10pm, not 3am. So I'll see some of you at SnB in a few minutes where I'll be working on this amazingly simple felted purse (pdf pattern) which is triangular. It looks cool (sorry I can't extract the picture of it from the pdf), but since it's just a big triangle my meager knitting skills are perfect for it. Maybe crocheting it together or making the strap or felting it will be tough.

Monday, March 24, 2008

In search of desert trails

Spring break (yay, grad school!) was last week and I had my heart set on backpacking through the desert, preferably surrounded by sculpted sandstone. I have always wanted to go to Canyon Lands in Utah, and this seemed like the right time of year, but we could not bring the dog hiking in a national park. Instead, we decided to hike a canyon in Escalante, a mere national monument which does allow dogs. We also had lift tickets for Durango Mountain that had to be used by the first Saturday of spring break. The trip quickly turned into a 4-corners area tour of sandstone.

After a pleasant day of skiing and trying out new telemark skis, we spent the night very near the 4-corners itself, just outside of the Navajo national monument. After a short hike in the morning to see the ruins at Navajo, we continued across northern AZ / southern UT (the roads are not straight) through Page, AZ, over the Glen Canyon Dam and on over to Escalante. We got our backcountry permit from the ranger station and drove out the mud road to our trailhead as it began to snow... rather a lot of snow. Suddenly the prospect of slogging through a few inches of water along the canyon floor in 30-degree weather wasn't sounding so nice.

We abandoned Escalante and went south, all the way to Sedona. It was still snowing there too, but we were led to believe that it would warm up, there were beautiful trails and we wouldn't have to slog through water. It did warm up over the next few days, the trails are gorgeous, but we did have to cross a deep "creek" and eventually could not complete our loop trail because it would have involved wading through waist-deep frigid water to get up-canyon to meet the other trail. We did spend 5 lovely days in the Sycamore Creek wilderness and saw some dramatic scenery and only a handful of other people.

Navajo Ntl Mon - can you find the ruins?

Lake Powell

Escalante Toad Stools (beware the clouds)

Sycamore Canyon, west of Sedona

It was incredible to realize how many amazing places are only a day's drive away from home. I already knew how great it is to be able to hike out of the Grand Canyon and drive home in the same day (it really makes those midwestern tourists jealous when you say "I'll be sleeping in my own bed tonight")... but to see just how many other beautiful desert places are nearby was a lot of fun. If you live out here, you should really make the time to go to these places, they aren't that far!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


So I've been busy lately, but at least I was having fun! I even enjoyed the long drive out to Vegas and back. It's 9 hours of high desert. On the way back, I think we took an extra hour just to cross Hoover Dam. The main highway is a mere 2-lane over this dam, and apparently all of Arizona needs to squeeze through this bottleneck to get home from their Vegas weekends too. I'm still catching up on lost sleep from last weekend. But I've managed to get my flower garden started (with help from Mom) this week and start a new knitting project - a felted purse (pdf pattern).

I'm heading out of town again tomorrow to enjoy spring break with some skiing in Durango and backpacking in southern Utah.