Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tour De Timp

Today, I went on a 40-mile mountain bike ride generally along the Great Western trail surrounding Timpanogos. I thought I would be done in 4 or 5 hours, but it ended up taking me 8.5 hours. I don’t know that I would recommend the ride to the average biker. There were many steep climbs, quite a bit of hiking while off my bike, and many steep up and down grades. Here is a map of my route, with Timpanogos in the center. The ride was an epic ride, but I was glad to have it done.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I had a goal this summer to redo the landscaping in my back yard. My previous efforts to landscape my back yard over the last few years have been in vain. One problem was water…not enough or the incorrect amount of water was being delivered to the plants in my back yard. Another problem was weeds…the weeds had overtaken my back yard. Here are a couple of pictures of my yard from a couple of months ago:

As you can see, my yard was infested with noxious weeds that troubled me throughout the growing season. In May, I hired a landscaping company to tear out the weeds and re-landscape my backyard. During the last couple of months, and after much dust, dirt, and hard work, these landscapers have made my back yard a beautiful place. Here are some sample pictures of how my yard looks now, about a month after they have completed their work. These were taken from about the same locations as the two pictures above:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Gardening, Tulips, and some Training Runs

I have spent almost every night this week gardening in my yard. A border along the south side of my house was becoming quickly overgrown by grass and weeds, so I decided to take the matter into my own hands and plant some shrubs along this border.

I am really pleased with the result of my many hours of hard labor. Here is a picture of a part of my work:

It doesn’t look like much, but it’s the result of many hours of digging, packing soil, and laying down weed barriers. It feels good to have done a good job with this.

The tulips are in full bloom here. I have some tulips at the entrance to my house. Here are some pictures:

Yesterday and Friday, I have been doing lots of running, trying to get ready for the Ogden Marathon in May. On Friday, I went on the “roller-coaster” trail through the mountains early in the morning. The air was clear and cold, but the run was invigorating. On Saturday, I ran about 18 miles total up to South Fork Park and back. The run took about 2 ½ hours, and my legs ached at the end of the run. I managed to finish planting my shrubs and watch Arianna’s (my little niece) dance later in the day.

Last Saturday, I went on an amazing run in the foothills above my house until I hit snow and then down into Pleasant Grove. I followed the canal back to my house. At the end of the run, the sun was shining in my face and it was getting a little warm, but it was a great run.

Yesterday, Arianna danced at BYU. I went to that dance and had a nice time watching it. Then, I went to my brother Loren and Kara’s house to visit. Loren and Kara came to dinner here tonight. We had chicken, rice, broccoli, and Kara’s special bread. We had ice cream push-ups for dessert. Arianna and my roommate John played blocks while my nephew Lincoln and I walked around the house after dinner.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Washing Windows

I get lots of advertisements from people who want to wash the windows at my house. I think that’s something I can do on my own, but I must not do it often enough because this morning I was looking out my kitchen window and all I could think of was how spotted and dirty it was. So I decided that I would spend time washing my upstairs windows tonight. I started this thinking it would be a small task that could be done in a few minutes, but after I began, I realized this was a bigger task than I anticipated. I think this happens with many things we set out to do.

One problem I encountered was that I could not reach all the windows. This was easy to fix. I just lugged the heavy ladder around the house with me as I cleaned all my windows. The second problem I had was that my windows had screens over them. This problem was a little trickier since I had to go inside and open each window to take the screens off properly. The screens were very stubborn, and would not come off easily. Putting them back on after the windows were cleaned was a whole different challenge. Eventually, I was able to finish cleaning all my windows and replace all the screens. I am so proud of a job well done (not a prideful type of pride, but a warm, happy feeling that I did a good job and now I have clean windows—I like things to be clean).

I am excited that tomorrow is General Conference. It will give me an excuse to sit down and rest while I enjoy the conference sessions.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Home Teaching, Running, and Bike Rides

I was recently called as the Elder’s Quorum Secretary in my ward. I have spent the last hour trying to find a good way to organize the Elder’s quorum home teaching list using a Google Spreadsheet. I think I found a good way. Hopefully I can get the presidency to use and edit the Google Spreadsheet, and I will only need to worry about keeping the church computer’s copy of the home teaching list up-to-date.

I have had a good time riding my bike to and from work during the last two days. It has been pretty cold as I rode to work in the mornings, but this morning the sun was up. It was cold, but it was good to feel the sunshine on my face as I rode. Yesterday, as I was riding home, the sun was setting and the mountains had a unique glow to them.

I will be running in the Ogden Marathon in May, so I am getting ready for that. Besides riding my bike to and from work every day (7 miles each way), my preparation consists of running all around my house early in the morning. This morning was a clear but cold morning. As I was running, the light from the sun began to appear and I saw the crescent of the waning moon just above Cascade Mountain as I ran along the Provo Reservoir Canal on my way home. It was an amazing sight. I’m glad I was able to spend time outside this morning.

I went on an amazing run up in Provo Canyon on Saturday. That day, I ran up the canyon to Timpanogos Park. From this park, there’s a road I call the “roller-coaster” road that heads up about 500 feet to the “Bonneville Shoreline” trail/road. After connecting with this road, I took a trail (part of the Great Western Trail) that drops down from a gate on the road to Canyon Glen Park. There are some amazing views of Cascade Mountain and Mt. Timpanogos from this section of the Great Western Trail. From Canyon Glen Park, I ran home. Here is the route—about 8 miles total:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Visit to South Carolina

Today is fast Sunday in our stake since next week is the Church’s general conference. So as I am fasting, I thought I would take some time to write in my journal.

Last week, my co-worker Clark and I went to Columbia, South Carolina for a WMS training course. While there, we kept busy during the days doing training. On our second night there (Tuesday), we went to visit the Congaree National Park (I believe this was formerly called the Congaree Swamp National Monument, but it was recently changed to National Park status). We walked around this park for a couple of hours, probably walking about 3 or 4 miles in all. That was an amazing place, and this park contains some massive Bald Cypress and Loblolly Pine trees that we could view as we walked along a boardwalk trail in the park. One interesting thing about the Cypress trees was how their roots grew out of the ground, possibly so they could drink the water from the swamp during one of the frequent floods.

Here is a picture of me next to one of the large Cypress trees. This was one of the largest trees I had ever seen:

As we continued along the trail and approached a lake along the edge of the swamp, we found a massive Pine with an 8-foot diameter trunk. Here is a picture looking up to the forest canopy from the bottom of that tree:

Clark and I had a strange feeling as we walked along the boardwalk above the swamplands in this unique, other-worldly place. We felt as we may have been on the planet Dagobah and that Yoda might pop out from behind one of the trees. Here is a picture of the sunset on the swamp as seen from the boardwalk:

Our first night there, after driving around to find the place where our training would be held, we walked around the South Carolina state capitol building and the campus of the University of South Carolina. The locations of shell and cannonball hits from Union guns during the Civil War can still be seen on the statehouse exterior. Here I am in front of the State Capitol building on that walk:

Our third night there, we walked around downtown after dinner at Motor Supply but did not take any pictures during our walk. The fourth night, we went out to eat at Outback Steakhouse, which was an 8-mile drive from our hotel. We left for home on Friday morning after completing our training and having a good week of work and fun.

Sunday, December 2, 2007


Yesterday, there was a big snow storm here and I made a snowman in my front yard. I think of him as my “little pal”. Here is his picture:

A snowman in my front yard