Sunday, May 31, 2009

Air Force Academy to Farish Hike--with a twist

I have been scouting the approaches to the top of the Ramparts now for 2 years. As far as I can tell no one knows more about the different approaches than I. I have taken my dogs up Stanley Canyon, Up Eagle Peak, up the Rampart approach (with an excursion to Blodgett Peak) and all over the front range of the Ramparts. I have seen it all: One afternoon while timber crashing (my term for going off trail) we found a nicely worn bear trail, we have found several very old trails up what I call Deadman's lake forbidden trails, we have been up Eagle Peak searching for short cuts, up Rampart an untold amount of times. I think we want to go on a hike that few have attempted. It's longer than the standard Stanley hike, but it will be somthing new. The dogs are up to it. I need to train a little because this is no picinc. This will be a 10 hour hike of about 10 miles. Bridie is the point dog--she takes the front position. I could probably go in 15 miles cut her loose (actually she is always loose) and she could find her way back home no problem. I had no idea when we got her how good of a hiker she was. If you met her at the house you would think her a timid, nervuous dog, but one day hiking with her and you would know her as I do--I would never attempt to go out on half of the hikes I do without her--period. She has a natural sense about things--its uncanny. When we go timber crashing, she always knows the right way to go. I have, several times, gone in a direction I though would be the best, most easist way up or down a hill only to find her going a different direction, after getting in tight spots with Zamboni I have retreated to follow Bridie. Now after some hard lessons learned, I just tell Zamboni---follow Bridie. You would think a Golden Retriver could not get up a bolder field--I thought that approaching Eagle Peak for the first time. I said well this is it girls, we can't possilbe get up there. I was surprised to see here hopping from one rock to the next--I could not keep up with her. I actually had to pick up Zamboni (my Huskie) and carry her to the next level as she could not keep up with Bridie. A few hike later, here we are going up Blodget Peak and I could not keep up with either. They leap from one Boulder to the next, like its thier mission in life to stay ahead of the two legged dog (me). The lead picture is Zamboine on top of Blodgett peak ( a 5 hour hike). I was feeling guilt one day, because I never see anyone with their dogs on the hikes I go on. I thought, maybe, I should not be taking them on these trips. Until one day I was gone on a trip for a few weeks, I decided it was time for a short hike and when I got out the gear, Bridie actually was crying. She was trying to put on the harness ( I never hook her up--but have the harness as a precaution in case we come accross something where I might want to hook her up). Now its to the point that if I just move my backpack and make the slightest sound, both Bridie and Zamboni are on me as if it is time for another adventure. Okay I will admit, they say never, never ever hike alone. If that means hiking with people, I am guilty. However, I have my dogs and would take them over people any day of the week. I once fell going down a ridge,,, Immediatly both dogs were on me licking my face, hovering over me like I just had liver surgery. You can't get more loyal friends. Look I always go with 3 backup comm systems, I have a first aid kit, food and water for a few days. If something happens to me, I will be fine. I am in the mid stages of training Zamboini to go without a leash, Bridie has been there for two years. She does whatever I tell her. On a short hour hike, I had Zammers off the leash for about 20 min when she spotted something and took off. I called her back, nothihing, I tried again, nothing, I got out the treat bag and shook it, nothing. Finally, out of desperation I told Bridie to go get her, not really expecting her to do so. Much to my surprise, she took off into the woods and a few minutes later came back with Zamboni right behind. It was awesome. Of course Zammers got a scolding, and Bridie got a treat. My heart stopped racing and we called it a day. I still need about 6 months of good training before that Huskie will stick by me on long hikes without a teather. However, I do admint going uphill, there is an advantage to be teathered to a huskie with too much energy.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hockey and Hiking don't mix

One thing I have learned is Hockey and Hiking don't mix. Really! Think about it; when was the last time you saw a goalie lugging all that gear up the side of a hill? Slapshots are hell in rocky ground, and what about the skates? Actually, what I was thinking more close to home was, while watching the first Western Regionals between Chicago (thats west?) and Detroit (Omaha is more west than Detroit), my dogs sat staring at me. They wanted one thing only, okay bacon might be one of them, they wanted a hike. They didn't understand me when I said, "Come on its the first period, its in High Def, and it might rain or snow or a volcano might pop up and ruin our hike." They just kep staring--Bridie with her classic SAD EYES that could make a statue cry and Zamboni who has perfected the guilty look. BUT ITS THE STANELY CUP! I rebuked... That didn't help. What is he truth is you can't be out being Lewis and Clark when you watching the game. Its not like baseball where you head out between pitchs go grocery shopping, change your tires, get an appendectimy all before the next pitch and not miss a thing. No in Hockey, you watch it all or you will miss something---only there is something ever 15 seconds--its just that Hockey is a fast moving sport.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Red Bull Air Races In San Diego

Just got to watch the practice runs for the Red Bull Air Races. I have watched them on ESPN, and was amazed at the precision of the pilots. They fly a fixed course through Pylons that are held in place with blown air. I got to see one of them hit a pylon and it sounded like a cannon going off. I was lucky enough to capture it in a photo. Here is it. You wonder what that must feel like traveling at 250mph and clipping one of thoes. This guy hit it pretty dead center on his wing. It's amazing how close they come. You can see from this one there is little room for error.
They are running this race right in the bay which is inbetween the city of San Diego and Coronado Island. I stumbled across the test runs as I was preparing to leave North Island Navy Station. They were preparing one of the piers for the military to watch the show for free. I got stopped my a Security Policeman because he did not want me taking pictures of the "assets". In other words the USS Regan (CVN 76) and The USS Nimitz (CVN 68) that were docked. He was cordial enough, and got to see all my pictures. We talked for awhile. I told him that our company, Northrop Grumman built the Regan. He knew that. Here is one of the planes coming in over the Regan into the entry area. I took this photo from the shopping area at Coronado Island. Speaking of Coronado Island. this is where they train Navy seals. The water is ice cold at times and the Seals are in it all the time, no wet suits nothing. They also Filmed Some Like it Hot here in 1958 with Tony Curtis, Marilyn Manroe and Jack Lemmon. You can watch the move in Hulu.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

USS Reagan

This is the USS Reagan. Its huge. Home station is Coronado Naval station--North Island Naval Station. This is the place they filmed Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis. Its the place where they train Navy Seals. The water is ice cold. The beach is nice. Just next to the Regan is the USS Nimitz, CVN 68.
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