Sunday, December 28, 2008

Word of the Day: Rental Rodent

Rental Rodent: A kid on a rented snowboard or skiis. From Bart King's The Pocket Guide to Mischief

Usage: You can't seriously be going to Park City this today, the mountain will be overrun with rental rodents.

Confession: I've never heard this before, but thought it still might be a fun word of the day. We don't have so many rental rodents at Beaver. You're more likely to have a tike zoom past you on his/her older siblings' gear.

Yule Log!! December's Daring Baker's Challenge

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand.

The challenge it to make a log that includes ALL 6 of these elements
1) Dacquoise Biscuit
2) Mousse
3) Ganache Insert
4) Praline (Crisp) Insert
5) Creme Brulee Insert
6) Icing

The hosts have made all sorts of recommendations for using different flavors for the layers. I may have to make two so I can try out my favorites. I'm thinking of making one following the hostesses' first choice flavors and one with alternative flavors, leaning toward the tropical.
1. Almond Dacquoise Biscuit
2. Dark Chocolate Mousse
3. Dark Chocolate Ganache
4. Praline Feuillete
5.Vanilla Creme Brulee
6. Dark Chocolate Icing

1.Coconut Dacquoise Biscuit
2. Mango Mousse
3.Dark Chocoalate Ganache
4. Coconut Crisp
5. Chocolate Creme Brulee
6. Dark Chocolate Icing

This month, I am not going to make the mistake of trying to write the entire blog in 15 minutes sitting in a friend's kitchen. I throghoughly enjoyed last month's and I'm not sure if that came across. This months' looks like quite the challenge. So many parts! Luckily I have family coming at the end of the month, so I'll have someone to share it with.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ruby Pipeline

An Idaho ABC affiliate is reporting that the Cache County Council has taken a neutral position on running the Ruby Pipeline through the county. This reverses an earlier decision by the council to no allow the pipeline. The buried line will run from Wyoming to Oregon and serve California and Oregon.

I attended a Cache County Council meeting several months ago in which a representative from a local government in Wyoming gave advice to our County Council members on making decisions regarding the pipeline. The major message of this gentleman was that the county could position itself to gain from the pipeline, but that it would have to be well organized to do so. The impression I was left with was that the pipeline company could be quite forceful. If the county isn't careful, we could end up with a pipeline that served no one but the citizens of California and Oregon. If the pipeline company is able to get federal approval for a route and a private landowner along the route will not sell, it will be able to use federal laws to condemn the land.

It seems that the Cache Cache route was considered after several obstacles arose for a route through Idaho. The reasons cited at the Council meeting for considering the Cache route were a prohibition of locating the pipeline too close to (within eyesight of) the Oregon trail and cost savings. The BLM doesn't want the pipeline going through national forest with out road access as would happen on the northern route. Additionally, it sounds like there are many pipelines in a cooridor along the norther route, so it may be getting a bit crowded.

The original reasons cited for the "no" vote on the pipeline were environmental impacts and a disrespect for the private landowners. The reason for the reversal seems to be that no one spoke against the pipeline in an October public hearing. If you've ever had to follow an issue through the county council, you'll know how difficult it is to find out whether your issue is going to be on the agenda. The agendas are not published in advance. The most recent agenda published on the website is currently from September. You basically have to subscribe to the Herald Journal where I assume they publish at least the public hearings. Or you can call every two weeks on the day of the meeting and ask what's on the agenda.

I do hope the county saw to resident's concerns regarding preservation of the national forest, private landowner rights, and reduced natural gas expense for the area before reversing their decision. But I am skeptical that this has occured. The minutes from the December 2nd County Council meeting don't reveal much.

The proposed route is through the Cache National Forest, southwest of Hardware Ranch, North of Porcupine Reservoir, near Avon, then north of of Mantua, over to Brigham City. You can see the topo maps (and perhaps make more sense of them than me) at the Stop the Ruby Pipeline Coalition website. A newsgroup ariticle explains the case against the proposed route.

Since it seems that these pipelines seem to be constructed in utility cooridors, I wonder if this is the first step in establishing a new cooridor.

Friday, December 19, 2008

More Snow Vocab

Courtesy of the Herald Journal's article on snowboarding.

aggro: aggressive
Betty: female snowboarder
crater: to land a jump badly
duck-footed: in a stance when the toes point outward
dude: any person
eggbeater: bad fall
grommet: young snowboarder
huckfest: when riders compete trying to catch bigger and bigger air
Jibber: a freestyle rider
old school: primitive techniques
spew: talk a lot about oneself

Opening Day!

The Beav will be opening on Monday December 22. Hours are 9am-4pm. This is the day we've been waiting for since the first early flake fell in September. My ski rack is on. My skis are tuned up. At last! I probably won't get any skiing in at the Beav until after Christmas, but it's good to know it's there.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Word of the Day: Pow

Being new to Utah, I've had to get used to some new terms.

Pow: Short for powder, the fluffy white stuff.

Usage: 2008 was an epic pow year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New Brew Pub in Logan

The past couple of weeks, Logan has been a buzz with talk of a new brewpub opening downtown. Mikey at Utah Beer summed up it up in his blog. The biggest concern at present is whether or not the brew pub will smell. Sounds minor and sounds like Logan will have a brew pub soon.

I believe the current issue before the city council is a an ordinance change that will allow a brew pub. Then individual proprietors will have to go through the process of opening a new business under the ordinance terms.

The proposal passed. And Mikey's summary of the history of brew eastablishments and prohibition in Logan is pretty interesting.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daring Baker's Challenge Nov 2008: Candy Lab

A couple of months ago I ran across a blog of someone who had done a Daring Baker's Challenge. I was attracted to the community of alternative bakers. The idea is that everyone involved cooks the same recipe and posts it on their blogs once a month on the same day. The rules are that you follow the recipe and instructions as directed unless you have a health concern that prevents you from doing so.

I don't have any health conditions, but I would like to eat more healthy. In particular I'd like to avoid sugar because of the diabeties in my family. For my first month, I have just followed the recipe as directed. I would like to try an alternative verison that uses stevia, agave and/or brown rice syrup, but I didn't get around to that yet.

This months recipes are: Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon, as published on Bay Area Bites . And Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich. The host this month is Shuna of Eggbeater. Cohosting are Alex of Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo, Jen of Foray into Food, and Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go.
This month is very much dedicated to sugar. It's caramel cake, with caramel frosting and optional caramels. I love candy making (caramel popcorn and toffee), but I hadn't tried caramel yet.

The syrup is required for both the cake and the frosting, so I started there. It was hard to get know when to take it off the heat. The first time I under cooked it and it turned out to be a thick mass of solid uncarameled sugar. The second time, I cooked it a bit longer and think I got it about right. Here they are side-by-side, with the correct one on the left. The one that is under cooked looks like a tub of butter, but it's really hard.

I opted to make cupcakes instead of cake, because I thought it would make them easier to share. I also made some as mini-cupcakes. I didn't have wrappers for those and most of them broke coming out of the pan. Drats! I had to eat those. The cake recipe was pretty straight forward. The frosting was pretty easy as well. I did have to warm up my caramel syrup a bit to make it easier to spoon out.

I was wondering if I could make something out of the sugar mass from the caramel syrup gone wrong. So I reheated it adding a litte cream and cooking it to the fudge stage. At the time, I wasn't thinking that would turn out to be like pralines, but I realized it was as soon as I poured it. I should have therefore made little patties instead of the big mass of candy I created. Here's how it turned out:

Because I thought it would be pretty, I drizzled some of the praline like candy and the caramel sauce over the frosted cupcakes. I was a little overwhelming for the flavor because the cupcakes with frosting were plenty sweet enough all ready.

I loved the idea of making the optional caramels. I made them with cardamom as recommended and then made a batch with lavendar. Both turned out a pull-your-fillings-out consistency, kind of like Sugar Daddies. I think I might should have reduced the cooking temperature because I'm at high altitute. I loved the flavor though of both the cardamom and lavendar. I rolled them in powdered sugar to prevent them from sticking to each other. I forgot to take a picture of that. I would consider wax paper instead of foil in the future, because I ended up with bits of foil stuck to the candy.

Candy Lab: Once the caramels were hard and I realized they weren't a good texture. I tried reheating them in a couple of different ways, adding milk, butter, and soy milk. I did find that they were salvagable. I would cook them with the liquid/fat until bubbling again. I ended up with all range of textures from thick sauce, to burnt hard candy. It was fun to play around.

Here's some picks of the candy in the pan and with a bit of foil stuck:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cross Country Skiing

I went cross country skiing at Tony Grove today. The snow wasn't great, icy and choppy (A water skiing term, but I feel it works. Think frozen waves.). You can find the snow depth at the snotel site.

This was only my second time cross-country skiing and the last time was about 8 years ago. I some how completely forgot that a person might need skill for the activity. That quickly became apparent.

The trails that we could get to by crossing the dam were icy, but good practice for a beginner. The snow was nicer on the nature trail (look for the trailhead at the end of the parking lot). Sorry no pics :(

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ski Swap Tonight and This Weekend

Details for this year's Beaver Mountain Ski Patrol Ski Swap. Beaver Mountain has an all volunteer ski patrol and I thin this is their main fundraiser.

USU Stan Laub Center 1400 N 1000 E Logan, UT
Nov 13 7p-10p
Nov 14 9a-10p
Nov 15 9a-6p

Skis, Snowboards, Boots, Bindings, Poles, Gloves, Hates, Googles, Ski passes and More! All major credit cards accepted.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Growing the Logan Team

To me what we're doing here in Cache Valley with Team in Training is really amazing. The team is really expanding the fundraising base for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The more we run, the more other people find out we're here and want to join. At the same time, we're increasing awareness of services for cancer patients in the area. The society has found us our own team honoree, Ian, right here in the Valley. For me that brings home that we're working for this amazing national organization, but there's also a really important local connection.

The picture above is of of Team Logan's captains and coach recruiting at Logan's First Dam 10k/5k run.

If you'd like fight blood cancer by running the Salt Lake Marathon/Half Marathon or the Country Music Marathon/Half Marathon, it's not too late.

Contact me or the Utah Chapter of Team in Training:

180 South 300 West, Suite 260
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
Phone: (801) 519-6600
Fax: (801) 519-6606

To donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society visit my fundraising page.

Beaver Mountain Lodge Upgrade

For an article check here. I snagged their pic.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Annual Nordic United Fundraiser and Membership Party

Annual Nordic United Fundraiser and Membership Party

When: Wednesday, November 12, at 6:00 pm

Where: Cache Valley Learning Center (75 South 400 West)

What: Please help support Nordic United by joining us for an evening of good food, many auction and raffle items, and live music!

Nordic United is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and provide non-motorized winter recreation opportunities in the Cache Valley area of northern Utah.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Beaver Mountain Ski Patrol Ski Swap

Looks like the 2008 Beaver Mountain Ski Patrol Ski Swap is going to be November 13-15. But I haven't seen it advertised any where, just the organizing info on their webpage. It was at the Stan Laub (1050 E 1400 N) training center last year.

Team in Training 2008-2009

It's Team in Training time again. Last year, 5 of us raised over $6000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year, the team in growing. We're going to run the Salt Lake Marathon and Half Marathon in April 2009.

I want to thank all of the people that supported me last year and made our team successful. You donated your own money and passed the word along. It really adds up. I raised over $1700 one donation at a time. 380,000 participants just liked me have raised over $900 million dollars. The research this has funded has greatly increased the survival rate and comfort of cancer patients. But there still isn't a cure, so we keep racing to save lives.

I really need your support in helping to fight blood cancers. Please visit my fundraising page to make a contribution.

Ski 2008-2009

Ski season is here. Snowbird opened up for early season today. To which people in Cache Valley will respond, what about the Beav? Not yet. Check the weather report for the Beav here. Welcome the cold and percipitation :D

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Anyone have any zucchini recipes?
I went to the gardner's market on Saturday mainly on the look out for tomatoes (no luck, though there were promises of tomatoes on this coming Saturday. I induldged in some Hip Mama's Lemonade. Then I ran into the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen. The lady told me they were good for baking, so I figured I take advantage of the 3/$1 giant zucchinis.

This morning, I went out my front door for the first time in a couple of days and there were two giant zucchinis. So me, to leave my zucchinis hangin' on the porch. But where did the other one go and the bag they were in? I looked around a bit and then just took my stash in. And there to my surprise was my bag of zucchini.

It turns out that I am the beneficiary of the local custom of pawning off your unwanted zucchinis on neighbors. My coworker says that you need to leave your car windows rolled up in the summer or you'll find zucchini in your car when you come back.

I said GIANT. Here's a pic for scale. That food processor at the top is a 14 cup and the zucchini make it look tiny.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Salt Lake Tribune's Hike of the Week

I just ran across a source for local hiking info. It's the Hike of the Week published by the Salt Lake Tribune. The hikes as you might suspect aren't confined to Cache Valley. In fact, I only see three in Salt Lake, but if you're looking to hike in the Salt Lake Valley or maybe even some of the Parks down south (this week's hike is in Escalante), it would be a good resource. The Cache hikes are White Pine Lake, Naomi Peak and Wind Cave. He also lists ski/snowshoe trails for the winter.

Logan NewComers is hiking White Pine Lake on Sunday, August 3rd. Meet at the Logan Ranger station at 8:00 am to join the goup.

Monday, July 28, 2008

NewComers Article

The Herald Jounral sent a reporter to the 1 year anniversary meet and greet for Logan NewComers. Here's the article.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Out of the Wilderness

There's an article in The Economist about the decline in visitors to US National Parks. They give several reasons including competition from cities for tourism and conservationists attempts to reduce impacts on local ecology. The point of the article seems to be that if conservationist manage to thwart all efforts to upgrade park infrastructure (e.g. nicer hotel accomodations and new campsites), Americans will stop going and eventually stop supporting the parks through taxes.

I'm not sure where the right balance lies between protecting the parks and providing access and amenities that make them more enjoyable for more people. I recently noticed for the first time on a hike up Card Canyon that fire roads provide pretty good access for ATVs and 4WD vehicles in the Cache National Forest. One the one hand, it kind of takes away from the hike when you're left in the dust of a dirt bike and realize you aren't as remote as you thought you were. On the other hand, I realized that if my dad made it out in June/July, I would be able to take him into meadows of wildflowers.

BTW, the Card Canyon Hike was on in late June. The Mountain Bluebells were at their peak. On the east side of the loop, we walked through waist high stands of them. The east side trail was also a bit overgrown, but still easy to follow. At the pond (misquito pool), just make sure to walk left toward a dead tree that currently has a pink marker flag.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Richards Hollow

I went on a hike at Richard Hollow with Cache Hikers yesterday. It's a 5.5 mi hike listed as moderate. I can see doing it as a mountain bike ride. There are some sections near the beginning that look pretty tough, but most of the trail looks pretty approachable. We did run into several people on motor bikes.

Richard's Hollow starts out from Left Hand Fork in Black Smith Fork Canyon. It goes through a fairly deep canyon before coming out into meadows. There's a nice waterfall near the beginning. You canget to the bottom of it by taking a short steep side trail.

We didn't make it to the top of the trail. We decided to stop for lunch and turn around near a series of Beaver pools. It was very serene. I had no idea that Beavers could have such an impact. There were a series of pools one after another that were quite large.

There were lots of wildflowers blooming. I had bought a field guide for the purpose of identifying them. I hoped that there would be a single comprehensive field guide that would have most of the flowers I was looking for. But I don't think there is such a book. Luckily, the Cache Hikers I was with yesterday were a great resource. They made the hike an enjoyable educational field trip.

I thought the most exciting wildflower find was the Sego Lily, near the trailhead, but we didn't see notice it until we were on our return. There were several on a sunny east facing slope.

List of wildflowers we saw (I didn't take the pictures in the links)

  • aster - purple daisy-like
  • monkey flower - yellow
  • mountain bluebells - these are the ones that are waist
  • flax
  • sticky geranium - pink, five radically symmetrical petals, maple like leaves
  • wild white geranium - look just like the sticky geranium, except white.
  • white columbine
  • indian paint brush - bright red at top of plant, very distinctive
  • scarlet gilia - red tubular flowers on an elongated stem
  • horsemint -
  • yarrow - clustes of tiny white flowers with fern like leaves
  • woodland star - white, dsitinctive shaped petal, I thought it looked like a snowflake
  • wild sweet pea -
  • cow parsnip - clusters of tiny white flowers look similar to yarrow, but the leaves are very different
  • larkspur - purple, also called delphinium
  • western salsify - I had been assuming that the giant dandilion puffs around here were from giant dandiloins, but they're from salsify

Friday, July 11, 2008

Black Pearl Fortune

There's a new chinese restaurant in town. This is pretty exciting because general consensus has been that Logan has no good chinese. I'm not quite ready to give the Black Pearl a full thumbs up. I thought the egg drop soup was a little weird, but the sesame chicken was decent (deep fried anything should be easy to nail though). I could just be skeptical of all local chinese now. They definitely were quick in putting my order together. I called them when I was on 200 N and main and they had my order ready to go by the time I got there (2095 N Main).

The best part was the genuine fortune cookie. How long has it been since you got a fortune cookie that actually risked making a claim about the future? Mine did. It read: "You deserve respect and you'll have it one day." That's good stuff.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hiking in Cache Valley: Resources

Cache Valley Hikers: A local group that meets from spring through fall to do various hikes, mostly in Logan Canyon and on the weekends. They post their upcoming events on the Logan Library Events Calendar.

NewComers: Has a hiking interest group.

Trail Guides
There is no comprehensive resource for hikes or trails in the area. Cache Trails by Jim Sinclair is the closest. It is not avialable for sale online, but is in local outdoor stores. I have the 2004 edition (rev 2006). I haven't seen any newer versions. A 1994 edition is posted online. It lists Jim Wood as the author, but has a similar structure and the same publisher. There are notable differences between the two, so it's worth looking at both. The online version focuses more on the trails and provides notes on how to put them together. The book focuses more on recommended hikes and frequently joins several trails together, sometimes piecing them together with fire roads.
The Logan Ranger Station is working on a list of local hikes, but it doesn't include much descriptive information. It does give information about what type of access is allowed (horses, bikes, ATVs, etc) and the seasons that the trail is open. The visitor's bureau lists some city hikes that aren't elsewhere.

In DC/Arlington, there were only a couple of "hiking" trails within half an hour of the city. So I'm used to driving over an hour for a good hike. Most of the hiking information above is geared toward hikes right in the Logan area. If someone was looking to explore futher there are trails available off Hwy 36 between Preston and Montpelier, ID. This area has Cache National Forest signs, but there US Forest Service map online shows the boundary at the UT/ID border. Cache Trails shows some trails into the Idaho border including Danish Pass and Sink Hollow. In any case, the proximity of the Logan Canyon hikes makes it tempting to stay local.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Upcoming Newcomer Events

June Meet and Greet
Picnic in the Park
Saturday, June 28th, 5:00-8:00pm
Willow Park, 500 West 700 South
Potluck, BBQ, Zoo, Fish Pond, Playground, Volleyball

Card Canyon Hike
6.5 mi, moderate difficulty
Meet at the Ranger Station, 1500 East Highway 89, Logan,
Sunday, June 29th, 9:00 am

July Book Club
Date: TBD
Book: We Need to Talk About Kevin

July Meet and Greet
Saturday, July 26th, 5:30pm
White Owl, 36 West Center St, Logan
On the deck upstairs
Come celebrate the Newcomers One Year Anniversary!We hosted our first event at the White Owl one year ago

For more information about Logan Newcomers see

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Birds

About a week ago a blackbird buzzed me out of no where. I thought it was a rather freakish, fluke fly-by. But then it came back at me. But who ever heard of a bird doing anything by flying away from people. I crossed the road to get out of it's way, but it followed me. It flew right at me, missed me, turned around and flew right back at me.

Luckily, I was out for a jog and had my water bottle. So I started running away from it, then turned around and squirted it with water so it wouldn't actually peck/claw me. Jog, turn, spray, jog turn spray. It was so freaky, I logged all of .26 mi on the run, and retreated to the safety of my apartment.

I thought I might be a rare victim of Hitchcock like birds. But today there's an article in the Chicago Tribune posted on the Drudge Report about these vicious birds terrorizing the citizens of Chicago.

Loganites, be careful on 400 E from about 1600N to 1700N. The nest is in the powerlines on the canal side of the road. If you have to walk down this road, I recommed a squirt bottle. You might just want to keep one on you where ever you go -- just in case.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cooking with Lavendar

I ran into this recipe for lavendar scones in a Sunset magazine earlier this year. Then, when I was roaming around the Whole Foods at Kimble Junction (Park City), I ran into culinary lavendar. Score!

I've never made scones or cooked with lavendar before. The first time I made them, I was worried that the dough was too dry. I added some extra liquid, thinking that would help it hold together better. Even after adding more liquid and butter, this is what it looked like when I turned it out to knead:
I was afraid it wouldn't come together, but actually the scone part of the recipe turned out fine. The lavendar flavor was really weak. I wondered if there was a misprint in the recipe and there should have been a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon of lavendar.

So I decided to make them again with more lavendar. I also saved the lavendar after I separated it form the milk and kneaded it back into the dough. Also, I didn't add as much liquid, just followed the recipe for that. The dough turned out better and the flavor is great. Here's a picture of the final product:

Bedtime snack with herbal tea.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Temple Fork Sawmill Trail

I returned to Temple Fork, figuring it would be a lot dryer than a month ago. The Logan Ranger Station report is saying that it’s muddy in the shade, but there were only two muddy spots, just enough for Mudpuppy to feel like he was living up to his name.

Look for the sign on the right side of Hwy 89, between Right Hand Fork and Tony Grove. The gate is still closed on Temple Fork Road, so you have to take a gravel road on foot or bike about 2.5-3 miles to the trail head. I would think that the boredom of the road would deter hikers, but there was still some foot traffic. Follow the sign to Spawn Creek Trail Head and look for the Temple Fork Sawmill trail head.

On the gravel road, I noticed a rainbow just hanging in the sky. I noticed something similar on the juniper trail yesterday, but it was so faint when I took my sunglasses off, I couldn't see it. This one was also a lot more distinct with my sun glasses on, but it was visible to the naked eye. I did enhance the picture a little to make it stand out a bit more.

It’s a single track. Right away you can choose between a right and left single track option. The left one is a little more difficult. It's also the one to choose if you're worried about mud. It was dry on May 3rd when the right option was a mix of mud and snow. They meet up pretty quickly. It’s a gorgeous ride along the stream with wildflowers and aspens.

The trail isn’t steep, so I think it would be a pretty mild hike. About two thirds of the way it turned into a bit more technical bike ride. Mudpuppy and I had our most impressive fall to date. Even though it wasn’t too steep, I walked the bike a bit.

At the end, there’s a little sight commemorating the sawmill with a historical marker. Overall, it was a great ride, the perfect amount of difficulty for where I am. Mudpuppy got a bath in the car wash when we were done, so he’s had a pretty good day.

Jardine Juniper Trail

What a difference in the snow pack from May 3rd. The Jardine Juniper Trail is almost entirely dry now. I hiked it yesterday, keeping an eye out for the trail's mountain bike potential. There were at least half a dozen tougher bikers on the trail. Still, I think it’s well beyond my current ability. The scariest part is a wobbly log bridge over some quick water. We saw some bikers just grab their bikes and carry them over it. Yikes! I had to shuffle across real slowly and I still nearly fell. Later in the season, it should be easy to just ride through the water a little down stream of the bridge. Still, even without snow and a wobbly bridge, I won’t be biking up to the Jardine Juniper anytime soon.

It’s 5.2 miles from the trail head to the tree. It’s a pretty steady climb the whole way. It gains over 2000”. The hike isn’t too difficult, but I won’t be taking any lowlander guests. Throw in an elevation factor and it would be dang tough. There are great views all the way up. My friend was playing shutter bug, so I don’t have too many pictures to share.

The word on the trail was to avoid the shady route and take the scenic route (a well marked option near the top) because of mud and snow pack. The scenic route definitely lives up to it's name. There was snow pack on the shady route, but definitely passable on foot (not bike). You can take one heading to the tree and the other going back. They split at the Jardine Juniper sign on the return.

I was quite obsessed with the wild flowers. I had noticed these flowers in Smithfield Canyon last week and then a vendor at the Gardner’s Market who sells local pictures has a picture of one and told me they are glacier lilies. There were plenty of those, mountain bluebells and yellow fritillaria.

That gave me this idea that I should get a field guide for wildflowers and carry it with me. Maybe I could try to see how many I could check off. I went to the Borders today to do that. There were a couple of guides that looked promising, focusing on Utah or the Rockies , but I decided that my test for a book would be whether or not I could find this plant I’m calling snoofpoof (because it looks like it would be in a Dr. Seuss book). No luck. Poor snoofpoof. It looks like the flower elitists don’t value you enough. So I couldn't bring myself to buy one.

The eponymous flora is an old juniper tree growing out of a rock. There seems to be some debate about the age. There is a painted over sign that claims that it is 3200. Reports on the Internet put it between 1500-3200 (can we get a dendrochronologist here?).It’s being touted as the oldest tree in the Rockies.

Update: Snoofpoofs are actually called Waterleaf. I saw one on the Birch Canyon Trail on 6.07 and it was purple instead of white. The Wasatch Bloomers website has a nice index of local wildflowers by color. Unfortunately, it appears that it hasn't been updated in years.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mud Season Trail Report

The Logan Ranger Station has a recreation update that was posted on May 23. It gives an update on the camp grounds, picnic areas and roads that are open in the area. It also gives a report on the condition of the local bike/hiking trails. My guess is that the muddy and snow patches in shade conditions should be fine for hiking. The trails with mud patches should be fine for biking. I guess it depends on how dirty you want to get.

Update: May 31. Perhaps because it's been 7 days since the recreation report was updated, but the Jardine Juniper trail is almost completely dry to the split (near the top). Take the scenic route to avoid snow and mud. The snow and mud on the shady route is easy to navigate on foot. I've heard that both Wind Caves and Crimson are plenty dry.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Update on the Park Strip

The plan to enforce the parkstrip rule passed 4-1 last week.

There may be accomodations made for parking, with each appeal costing $212 and none of the accomodations resulting in park strip parking. Permits may be issued for parallel street parking, costing $200 each. A volunteer group of citizens may be formed as an advisory board on parking decisions that will be made at the individual property level.

For more on the enforcement plan, see the Herald Journal.

Being a Penguin

I like John Bingham's most recent blog about delivering the essential message of being a penguin to 5th graders.
I would have put it in terms of being a llama, but to each his own.

John Bingham is "The Penguin". He writes for mid/back of the pack runners in runners world and travels around giving pep talks and participating in races.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May Newcomer Events

Upcoming Logan Newcomer Club Events

See for more details.

Hiking and Hot Tubs
This is going to be a gorgeous sunny weekend with highs in the 70s
Saturday May 17th Day Trip (or camping Friday-Sunday).
A weekend of relaxing, campfires, hot chocolate,marshmallows, short hikes, and soaking your worries away is waiting for you in a tranquil valley an hour north of Logan at Maple Grove Hot Springs.

Indiana Jones - Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Premier
Thursday, May 22nd, 7:00pm Stadium 8 Theatre. Providence
Meet at Casper’s Ice Cream Shop at 6:00pm.

May Book Club
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
May 27th, Tuesday, 7:00pm

Newcomer Girls Night Out
Rock climbing at Rock Haus.
Wednesday, June 11, 6:30 pm ** Date change
Cost: $8/person plus $3 for shoes

Monday, May 12, 2008

Adventures of Mudpuppy

A couple of weeks ago I bought a bike. I mostly got it so I could bike to work and around town. But if I was going to sink money into a bike, I thought I might as well get something that I could use for recreation too.

So I went down to the Joy Ride and got myself Mudpuppy. He's a Scott Aspect 60. Here's him earning his name on Temple Fork (not quite ready for riding as of May 3). For those not from Utah, there is a fifth season between Winter and Spring called mudseason. I had mud on every part of my body after this ride -- helmet, back, eyeglasses, even in my shorts somehow.

Mudpuppy's other adventures.

Jardine Juniper - May 3 Mudpuppy was so exicted about this ride. He made it about 515 feet. I knew we weren't going to make it when I got of the car and had this view.

Bonneville Shoreline Trail April 26 - before the mud.

Green Canyon May 11

Here's a good list of mountain bike trails in the Logan area; unfortunately a lot of the details aren't filled in:

Local Matters: The Park Strip

Around town there are signs in yards that read "Logan City Leave Our Property Alone". The issue is planned enforcement of a restriction on parking in the "park strip" - the area between the curb and the sidewalk. The proponents of enforcement see this parking practice as being related to blight because it makes these formerly single family homes easier to rent out to college kids.

The area where this is most common (or the focus of the issue) is the area just west of the university that's really popular to rent out to college kids. Many of the homes were built in before 1950. Many of the properties are situated on small lots with structures blocking the ability move parking to the back of the lots. The other local factor is that during winter months parking is not allowed on the streets at night - for ease of snow removal - I guess.

What I find kind of odd in this whole situation is that the area in question has fewer "blighted" properties than other areas in central Logan - such as the west side and the Island. Equally goofy are the "alternatives" being proposed. I'm not sure what Steve Thompson is getting at and why he thinks it will help. Keep the parking, increase taxes and subsidize the improvement of "blighted" property and offer free sidewalk snow removal? The details are as murky as coffee - to borrow Mr. Thompson's "joke".

The city council will vote on a resolution tomorrow night at the Municipal City Council Meeting, 5:30, May 13. My prediction is that this issue will not be resolved so quickly. As a prospective home buyer, the uncertainty is making it hard to make a decision about where to settle in Logan.

Friday, April 11, 2008

House Parties

If you are planning to throw a house party in Logan, UT, you may want to acquaint yourself with these tips supplied by the city. Note the bail amounts.

Microsoft Plea

The next time you launch a new operating system can you please not also lauch a new Office Suite as well? It's a year and a half later and I still can't get people to stop assuming the Office 2003/2007 file format compatibility issue as a "Vista" problem. This is results in questions like "I don't understand why Susie can't read my files if she got a Vista upgrade." GAH!
Was this really necessary? This is why people like those Mac/PC comercials. Off to shoot out another email on downloading the compatability pack...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Local Drinking Song

So unexpected. Particularly for a school that hosts root beer pong.

More beer for old Utah State

Bring on the whiskey, we drink it straight

Send somebody after gin don’t let a sober person in

We may stagger, but we never fall

We sober up on wood alcohol

And when we’re through we’ll burn the hall

For the glory of Utah

StateRaw, raw, raw.

Spring on the Way

Poll from the Herald Journal:

For people out of Logan, it's 33F right now. The high yesterday was 49. Yesterday I noticed that our apartment pool has opened up once again. There were kids with water wings running around. I usually don't swim before it's 80 outside.
As spring approaches, I keep putting away my heavy winter coat thinking - see you next year. But it keeps coming back out of the closet. I am surprised with 30 or 40 seems cold. Two months ago a 30 degree day felt hot. Perhaps in another winter, I'll be hardened to swim at 50 and join the early flip flop crowd.
Indications of spring: snow melted in most yards in the valley, green grass in many lawns, hyacynth are blooming, other bulb plants are poking their heads out

Monday, January 21, 2008

Team in Training Party

Join Cache Valley's first ever Team in Training for a night of fun, food and fundraising!!

This Sunday!

Location: Firehouse Pizza- 880 South Main Street, Logan
Date: Sunday, January 27th, 2008
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
$25 for one ticket, 2 for $40
$15 with student ID, 2 for $25
$5 for children under 8 yrs old
*****Special prices for families!****

Entrance tickets include:
•All you can eat pizza and pasta buffet
•One raffle ticket
•Silent Auction
•Soda’s with free refills
•Live Music: Ryan Gregson & Triple Threat

Raffle Prizes ….
Gift certificates: Le Nonne’s
Lift Tickets: Beaver Ski Resort
Many more fabulous prizes!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Book Club - Life of Pi

I went to the Newcomer's book club tonight. I was glad that it finally got me to finish Life of Pi, which I had started and put down in the summer. I used to love literature class in high school, but I've been on a slow decline in my appreciation of higher fiction. It was good to not only finish a book outside of the Harry Potter series, but to be forced to think more deeply about some of the concepts - not too deep though and I sure don't feel like righting any papers.
Next month they're doing a nonfiction book about animal behavior (this one I think), a great follow up to The Life of Pi. After that, I think they're moving on to The Golden Notebook. I think I'll try to join in. Mary does a great job of leading the discussion; we had a good time, but I didn't feel like I was in class.
Life of Pi review: Good thinking optional book. Enjoyed it when I was just taking it for what it was on the surface, commentary on animal behavior, religion and a pretty good plot (which picks up 100 pages in). It was also easy to see more to the book once I was in the club's discussion.
Cool. Maybe I can start looking for books that aren't the next installment of Bridget Jones.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ski Report

I skied at the Beav for the first time in a while on Sunday. There was so much powder, I didn't know what to do with it. Man it was nice though. They also donated some lift tickets to the Leukemia Society that we'll be giving away at our fundraiser at the end of the month. Thanks Marge!

It's not done either. Check out the ski report.

Logan Forecast: Nothing but snow.

nothing but snow

Beav Snow Report

beav snow report

Beav Forecast

beav forecast

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Running heled me to come to appreciate winter. I used to think that running in the cold would be miserable. After a winter of running in DC, I came to realize that it never was too cold to run. NPR just said that it's -6F at the airport. has it at a warmer -1F. Brrr.... I think I'll skip this AMs run.