Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

May 30, 2013

Rattlesnakes, Lions and Slickrock, Oh My!

Yeah, the NOLS Wilderness EMT campus in Wyoming is the bomb.  There are cabins on site, which means that I get to look out my window in the morning and wake up to sunshine on slickrock.   This is probably the closest I've ever lived to beautiful scenery.  Sure, I've seen a lot of it, but here I can slip on my shoes and be hanging out in the rocks within a few minutes of getting out of bed.

Of course, between the full days of training, night classes, studying, and rotations in the ER, there isn't a whole lot of time left to explore.   Luckily the area around the campus is pretty compact, so even in an hour for lunch it is possible to get some fresh air and enjoy the scenery.

The rattlesnake!
While searching for petroglyphs the other day, I came across my first rattlesnake.   My instructors were right...the sound was unmistakable, like a really loud cicada which just happened to start up as I walked by it.  I think I paused in mid-step, and looked around carefully.   And I found the rattlesnake just where I expected to see it, on a sunny ledge underneath a cliff.   Luckily it was far enough from me that I didn't need to scream like a little girl and run off.   Instead, I pulled out my camera and took some shots, from a very safe distance.  It continued to rattle at me, so I passed with a wide berth and kept hiking.

There is also a resident mountain lion on the property.  It lives across the river so you actually have to go looking for it, I suppose.  I haven't done that yet, but I want to.  They really come out at night, though, and I don't want to go looking for it at night!  One of our instructors caught a photo of it with a motion-sensor camera, and has seen footprints.  I want to take my GoPro camera out there and set it up for timed photos, but it's not very good in dim light.    Perhaps I'm just making excuses for why I haven't tried it yet.

So there's lots of slickrock all around us.  Great for playing in the rocks and photo opportunities.  And there are wide open skies all around us, too.  When thunderstorms come through, we can see them coming for miles and miles.   The great sky-scapes have worked well with the time-lapse capabilities of my GoPro camera.  I've been running out during class breaks to set it up when I see the clouds are looking interesting.  Standby for a video of what I've taken during my month here!

Ok, I just love standing on this rock!

May 28, 2013

NOLS Wilderness EMT Course, Wyoming

Life keeps moving.  Somehow I am now living in Utah, although that some times still sounds like a dream.  Maybe a dream come true, since I've always wanted to live somewhere out west.

And I keep learning, too.  Most recently, this has brought me to Wyoming for an Wilderness EMT course.   For this course, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) have teamed up to provide an intensive, month-long course about wilderness medicine.  When I graduate, I will be able to work in an ambulance if I want to.  Now that's a scary thought.  The campus is a purpose-built facility out in the middle of nowhere Wyoming, with space to explore and conduct training exercises.

Why am I taking this class?  Well, I've always wanted to take a NOLS course.  They have a great reputation for the quality of their instruction.  And if I was going to be spending more time in the outdoors, it seemed like a good idea to know what to do in an emergency situation.  Let's face it, our natural tendency in an emergency is to run screaming in the other direction. Or freeze like a deer in the headlights and do nothing.

So I'm learning some useful skills which will help me stay calm and make the right decisions when the worst happens.  And when it doesn't, I'll be able to go into the backcountry confident that I could handle a crisis with only the materials stored in my head...well, that and a well-stocked first aid kit!

The student cabins
Room to explore in every direction!

May 26, 2013

Bell Canyon Reservoir, Sandy, UT

In the shadow of Lone Peak and looking over the congested salt lake valley is a hidden little gem called Bell Canyon.    I absolute love how close it is to my new digs...even a relatively short run from the house could get me up and around the reservoir and home again.   
My first trip up their was with my nephew and his friend.  We encircled the Lower Reservoir and then started exploring the paths along the creek.  Aidan took the lead and we did a little bushwacking to find some nice waterfalls and a great spot in the boulders for a snack.  

The trail continues farther up the valley, where there is evidently another reservoir.  Appropriately named Upper Bell Canyon Reservoir, it's near Lone Peak itself, so there is some substantial elevation gain somewhere.  When the snow melts a little more I will be back up here trying to find my way to the top!  

May 19, 2013

Spring Skiing in Snowbird, Utah

Skiing was a big reason for moving back to Utah.  After all, the license plates here say that Utah has "The Greatest Snow on Earth".

I've made it up to the slopes at Snowbird a couple of times so far.  Fresh powder and sunshine is a hard combo to beat.

So it's getting pretty late in the season, I guess.   By May, most of the locals have moved on to summer sports and the slopes are almost empty.  But we had a couple of late snowfalls and my nephew convinced me to go skiing with him one more time.

So we had a blast.  It was warm out, amazingly so, and by the afternoon we had stripped down to our t-shirts and were blasting down the ski slopes with bare arms and heads.   The snow was actually great,  it wasn't so warm that it turned to mush, just a nice soft top coating.   We made the most of it, enjoying the great views and the perfect weather.  But now, perhaps it's time to move on to summer and warmth!

May 5, 2013

A Waterfall Find!

Our new, somewhat temporary lodgings in Utah are close to the mountains!   Yay!  Yet I didn't realize just how close they were, until we went out the other evening and discovered a waterfall on a short trail up a canyon just 1 mile from our house.  That's right, we could set out our front door, and 20 minutes later, be sitting next to a crashing waterfall, with rocks to play on and shady trees.  I think it will be a great place to escape in the summer when it gets hot.

In my home state of Iowa, this would be a park...here it is just a short trail in a network of cool places.   The waterfall is probably only a quarter mile from the main road, yet there are places to sit and enjoy the crashing water, and another trail going who-knows-where higher up the mountain.  When my nephew got bored, he started climbing the rocks, and we ended up (via trail mostly) high above the waterfall looking down on everyone else.

A great little place to discover.  Let the exploring continue!