Tagged ‘utah‘


I’m in Utah now for a month of emergency medicine at the University of Utah, trying to persuade them to take me as one of the nine emergency medicine residents that they accept each year.

Travel, particularly airport travel, really wears me down, but getting my feet back into the Wasatch range brought my energy right back, and I quickly made the decision to risk heart explosion and run an 11k’ peak unacclimatized.

The line at the Delta baggage drop at… 4:30 am.


Upper Red Pine Lake. Past two to three miles of steep roots and rocks, a small slice of alpine paradise.

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Wasatch Powder Keg 2014

Packed for the 2014 Wasatch Powder Keg

Nearly packed for the 2014 Wasatch Powder Keg

I’m sitting in the Salt Lake City airport , waiting for a flight to Denver. My heart rate is chugging along at 86 bpm, and I’ve just downed 1400 calories in under 15 minutes. In spite of my bulging gut, I feel lean and worn in a deeply satisfying way that I have seldom been able to access. It’s 6:00 pm, and I’m waiting for my flight home from the 2014 Wasatch Powder Keg (ISMF North American Skimo Championships).

With recent local success racing at Mt Bachelor, I was ready to have my ego destroyed at the Powderkeg. The race is the longest-running skimo event in the US, and this year it was chosen to be the North American Championships. That meant that in addition to the strong Wasatch crowd, a pack of Canadians, Coloradans and other far-flung speed suit types would be coming to downsize my opinion of my own fitness. Nevertheless, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to jump in and tangle with much better racers in three different race formats; sprint, individual, and teams races against the best on the continent.

Start corral for the individual race.

Start corral for the individual race.

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North of the Border

I’m standing in the Northernmost stand of Joshua trees, or so the plaque says.

This plaque I discovered while wandering up a deserted wash, just north of some numbered state route just north of the Arizona border.  Arizona’s so close I could almost toss a rock across the invisible line, if I hadn’t driven a few miles up a rough road across some recently flooded washes.  The kind of driving that doesn’t really worry me, unless the rain comes back.

Some poor BLM bloke, he had to have driven as I did across these washes, parked, as I did, at the turnout by the water catchment hole, and then he had to have walked, as I did (though likely with more purpose) up the rocky wash to affix what must have been a pretty heavy plaque.  It’s about two and a half square feet of brass, bolted to the limestone walls of the wash.  Must have been a charm to carry over there.  And what a place to put it.  If I hadn’t been working hard to finish our 3.2 beer before leaving the state, I never would have thought to walk up here.  What with the Mojave rattlesnakes, approaching storm and all.  But I did, and I found this.

Two other men may have seen this strange apparition.  They were hunting for ‘chuckers’ they said, walking past our camp in what felt like the early morning, but turned out to be almost noon.  They’re ground birds they said, like a blue-grey softball.   But they hadn’t seen any, scattered across the desert by the storms of the last few days they thought.

This is the second time that I’ve been up this road this year, the last in the late spring.  When I was last here I thought silently to myself, ‘I’ll likely never return here’. Read on →