Tuesday, September 02, 2014

o verão, porque você tem que sair?

Today is the day after Labor Day.
I have the fondest of fondest memories of Labor Day. I grew up in a beautiful house in Connecticut, on almost 2 acres of land/woods with a marvelous back yard, complete with a largish pond to boat, swim, and explore around. My family loves a good party. We are VERY good at organizing parties. I believe this a spiritual gift somehow (although I refrain from mentioning Party-Throwing in the SS lessons about spiritual gifts as one of my spiritual gifts--it's better to keep these things to one's self). Every Labor Day my mom and dad would organize an unofficial turned official Labor Day picnic for all and everyone we knew. Neighbors, friends, church peers, work peeps, extended family--all were invited, and it seemed, everyone always made an appearance.

Included in said Labor Day celebrations were preparing fish packets full of freshly caught blue fish to bake over the numerous BBQ set-ups, BBQ'd corn on the cob, freshly caught lobster, (guys, it was Connecticut--we fancy and we like our freshly caught seafood), fresh lemonade, and so many potato and pasta salads you could drown yourself in all the mayonnaise. Now, all of the set-up and preparation was technically the responsibility of Boy Scout Troop 268 (they caught the fish/lobster, pops was the scout master or something...), but being a) a resident of the picnic location b) a sister of 6 brothers [scouts] c) daughter of a scout master and efficient user of resources d) a bit of a tom-boy, I was deeply involved with preparation of said picnic. I loved/hated Labor Day. It was so much work. But the Brown in me loved it because people LOVED it. Like, highlight of their year loved it. People would come to our party and swim and play volley ball and get beat in a King of the Dock competition and play in the annual balloon catching contest (we're talking sling-shotting water balloons a couple hundred feet into a crowd of people with outstretched hands, shirts, and towels for a chance to catch one to trade in for a candy bar). Every year, someone would think of an awesome contraption to build that would somehow enhance the enjoyability factor of the picnic. One year it was a giant slip-n-slide that involved slathering grease all over our bodies. Another year it was a 30-foot platform that was brought out to the middle of the pond to jump from. Another year it was a zip line (or the year one of my brothers almost DIED) into the pond. GUYS IT WAS SUCH A GOOD TIME. Someday, I vow to give an annual party that people love as much as our Labor Day picnic. I would die happy.

Today is also the day after a baby was born. The sweetest baby was born yesterday, and I got to see it. I drove home yesterday morning with the dorkiest smile on my face. Life is a freaking miracle. It is also a really dynamic (read: hard, rough) experience. There is so much SHIT (sorrynotsorry) going on in the world. Racism, genocide, mindless wars, and corruption is all I read about, and it makes me so so so sad sometimes. Sad that people can't be nicer. Nicer to each other, to themselves, to the Earth. I mean, I'm not perfect. Maybe I'm also sad because I see my own internal conflicts as I become increasingly aware of my short-comings and weaknesses and places were I could do SO MUCH BETTER. But I do try. I try to be nice. I try to send out positive energy. I try to love and treat people with care. Because as K says, we all basically have the same problem: we just need to learn to give each other breaks and to be kind and to love one another.

This day marks the official (hopefully not unofficial) end of summer. This probably makes me the saddest, because last winter was hard. I hope the incoming winter won't be as difficult. Here are the highest of highlights from Summer 2014:
Moab Climbing with Xtine. Moab, UT

The worst half-marathon I have ever run. Herriman, UT 
Quality time with the loveliest nephew. Grand Junction, CO

The dudest climbing partner. Little Cottonwood Canyon

Sisters in everything we do. Supai, AZ 
Havasupai bro. Supai, AZ  
On top of Standard Ridge, Big Cottonwood Canyon, doing my thing; terrified of toppling over several hundred feet. 

City of Rocks, ID
My favorite adventure people, hiding from the rain; City of Rocks, ID
Secret cave, secret location, doing my thing.
Antelope Island, UT
 Delirious after the Wasatch Back Ragnar; From Logan to Park City, UT
Fireworks with K, Fourth of July, SLC
The silliest of bestest of friends. St. George, UT
Sand Hollow paradise. St. George, UT
Capital Reef NP
Capital Reef NP
A PR. Timpanogos Half-Marathon; American Fork, UT
Red Pine Lake, Little Cottonwood Canyon 
We did it for the medal; Deseret News Classic Half-Marathon, SLC
Englestead Canyon-->Orderville Canyon-->Narrows, Zion NP for a birthday celebration. 
Birthday of epic proportions; Englestead Canyon, Zion NP
Salty Lake Swimming; The Great Salt Lake, UT
Xtine cultivating a new love in my heart: trailrunning. Millcreek Canyon, SLC

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Um lugar de segurança--o meu carro

After a long day, I pull into the driveway, I turn off my car and I sit. I recoup. I'm ready for the day to be over, but I'm not ready to go inside. The car is so quiet. It reminds me of being in the woods. Which is silly,  because it's a car, but it has an incredibly calming effect on my soul. My safe space. 

So stupid that it's my car. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013


for a moment (to be)
for rain
warm bed
white noise
rustle of trees
wind so big
talk talk talk
of mountaintops
and of waiting (to be)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

As vezes, eu estou engraçado.

Also, why does jk auto-correct to jj?!

Viveres só uma vez!

(Is that the portugues version of yolo?)
Last minute trip to Bear Lake? Yes please. 
Magical Dani. 
Such a beautiful lake. And cold. 
Mars and D on a dock in a lake. 
We headed over to Bloomington Lake above Bear Lake to try out the the rope swing. It was probably more cold than Bear Lake, but I swung off like 5 times.  
So graceful. 
Good job guys. 


My father is a beekeeper. Well, he became one this year. We harvested our honey a couple weeks ago. 
After being attack by the bees (seriously, it was the Thomas/My Girl experience I had nightmare about as a child, but I did only get stung once) we got down to business:
First we cut the caps off with a warm knife. Then we stuck the racks in a centrifuge where we spun the honey out. 
Worth it?
12.5 pounds of the yummiest honey ever. 

Saudades das montanhas das Apalaches

Yup. Suchadork. 
The classic Katahdin pose. Where I will be picking up next go around. 

Feliz aniversario querida

That one time for my birthday...
This year I turned 27. So I went to Havasupai to celebrate. Almost. 
It got flooded. A lot. We unfortunately didn't find out till we were there at the trailhead. 
We of course stopped at the Hoover Dam on the way. 
(The sadness in this picture is overwhelming.)
So we went to Sedona instead. Not an equal trade by a long shot, but still fun. 
(Slide Rock State Park)
(Sterling Pass, a short hike; we never did find Vultee Arch though)
We did an overnighter up the West Fork Canyon. This is where we camped:
(My little tent under the little lean-to)
(Looking pretty good for a 27yo.)
The first three mile you criss-cross the river until the trail ends and you hike in the river for the next 3 miles. 
Worth it. 
Arizona is the prettiest. 
Then of course we thought it'd be a good idea to go to the Grand Canyon. We camped in Kaibob National Forest, right outside the park. 
Arizona sunrises. 
I've never been to the Grand Canyon. I had no idea I'd experience the awe that I did. It was incredible. 

Next time, Havasupai, next time. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ás montanhas poderosas

Utah Valley is surrounded by seven major peaks: Mount Nebo, Mount Timpanogos, Lone Peak, Provo Peak, Cascade Mountain, Santaquin Peak and Spanish Fork Peak. I have a goal of climbing all seven. Up until last week I had only climbed one of those mountains--Timpanogos. Then last week me and my friend Scott (who hereafter shall ne known as S) ventured up Lone Peak. It's elevation is 11,253 ft. Quite a difference from the Appalachian Trail. (This last stint I didn't ever go above 5,500 ft.) Lone Peak has several different ascent options. Jacob's Ladder and the Draper Ridge Trail being the most popular. Since we're too cool for popular, we took the trail less traveled: the Sawmill Trail. Sawmill doesn't exactly go up to the peak. Rather it goes up to the top of Big Willow Canyon, where you then have to pop over the cirque to the ridge of the mountain.
We started about 06:45. So early, but it was nice to get the lower elevation stuff out of the way before the heat of the day set in. As we got into middle and upper Big Willow, we started getting wet. Since it's not a very well-used trail, it was pretty over-grown with scrub oak and other vegetation, which was also full of dew. I wasn't expecting to get my socks wet on this hike, but wet they did get--almost soaking.

We stopped several times to rest/refuel with snacks and water on the way up. We finally made it up to the top of the canyon. It was bursting with wild flowers, and I'm kicking myself for not taking more pictures of them.
At the top of the canyon there's a beautiful alpine cirque. We scrambled up scree and boulders and finally made it to the ridgeline of Lone Peak. I believe our time that we made it up to the top was around 14:00. A long morning of climbing...But it was totally worth the view. From the top you could see into Utah Valley, Heber Valley, Salt Lake Valley and beyond. I wish I had brought a map to identify all the peaks with me to the top. (Another goal of mine is to know all the peaks of my beautiful Wasatch Range.)

Neither of us really wanted to return the way we came. We knew that we could descend into Bells Canyon, and with a little persuasion from me we decided to wing it and head down that way.
Note for the future: Always bring a good map with you if you plan on winging it...
We looked around for the best place to descend and thought we spotted a good slot to make our descent. It was a lot of down climbing. I was a little anxious to get down off the mountain. I was tired and knew it was going to take a while. (And perhaps I wanted to make it to the free Belle and Sebastian concert down at Twilight...) The point is, I got a little bit ahead of S. We were making rocks fall, so S decided to wait a little bit for me to get ahead of him more so he wouldn't make the rocks fall on me.
Note for the future: never get separated from the person you are hiking with; go down together, therefore, making yourself available to help the other as you down climb; you also eliminate the risk of making rocks fall on the one below.
It got to a point in the process of our down climbing that it was getting too steep to down climb anymore. I was getting extremely nervous at this time. I knew we had been dumb for choosing the path we did, dumb for separating, etc... I was worried that we were going to have to climb back up to the top and find another way down. Then a miracle happened. I saw mountain goat turds, and I thought to myself, "If a goat can climb all the way up here, there is surely a way that I can get down." Sure enough, after some traversing, I found a path that would lead me to some not-so-steep ground. The problem was that it was separated by a small glacier that hadn't yet melted. My only option was to slide down the glacier.
I'm sure you're wondering what happened to S. Well, I knew that at least he was alive because I yelled several times and finally got a response from above. (Stupid Kayte. Not cool for getting separated. Not cool.)
I sat down on the snow and inched myself slowly out to the middle of the glacier. I wanted to get out as far as I could before I started sliding to get away from some sketchy looking rocks that were sticking out. Before I could get too far I slipped.
Note for the future: Never slide down a steep glacier with only rocks to break your fall.
I slid fast. I panicked only somewhat and really dug my heels and clawed my hands into the snow to try to slow myself down. As I looked down below at all the rocks, I never really feared death, but I was terrified that I was going to get severely injured, and that was all I could think about on the way down. I was extremely fortunate and bounced twice on the rocks before I stopped completely. I got up immediately and didn't seem to have any major injuries that I could tell. I tried to take a couple of steps, but then the shock of what just happened settled in.
I'm not sure why it scared me so much, but sliding down that 50 or so feet of snow/ice was one of the scariest moments of my life. The only moment I can think of that scared me just as much, if not a little bit more, was when I fell 15+ feet off a lead climb a couple years ago. Being, in that moment, all alone made it a lot worse. I shed some (or a lot of) tears. I was sitting there for about 20 min before S finally showed up up above me. He slid down the snow as well (although I think his experience wasn't quite as emotional as mine was...). We were together again.
We made our way down into the canyon. It was all boulders. We probably hiked through about 3/4 mi of boulders before we went into some pine/spruce forests to search for the Upper Bells Reservoir Trail. We were very relieved to finally be back on a trail when we did find it. I think both of us had had enough of bush-wacking and winging it.

It was beautiful coming off Bells. The trail follows the stream all the way to the Bells waterfall, so there was plenty of water. S was a bit tired/sore/spent, so we agreed that I would hike ahead to the bottom and call my brother to pick me up and take me back to the car to bring it back in time to pick up S.
I got off the mountain about 20:30. Long day of hiking.
I have no clue what the mileage was. This guy made a very similar loop hiking/skiing, and he clocked it at 14.9 miles. I'm convinced that after reading through his route, we did slightly more--probably more in the area of 15-15.4 miles.
I'm positive that I would never recommend that route to anyone unless they went into Bells another way, but I don't regret it for a moment. All I wanted to do was climb a mountain, and I got what I wanted. I was proud of myself because the elevation didn't bother me much. (Except at the very, very top when I got slightly lightheaded, but I believe that had more to do with blood sugar levels than with elevation.) My energy levels were pretty high throughout the day, I even ran the last 2 miles from the Bells waterfall down to the parking lot because I was so eager to be done. I ended up hiking about 13 hours, which is a very long time for me. Even on the AT I never hiked longer than 10 hours every day.
S and I celebrated our getting down in one piece by a trip to the Sev for cold beverages/slurpies.
Two peaks down, five more to go...