Sunday, June 17, 2012


Canyoneering: A client of mine and a couple of other people in his ward invited me to go Canyoneering a week ago. I thought this would be a nice pedestrian walk in the wilds of Zion’s with a little rappelling and a time to hang with the guys. So I said yes. There were 6 of us and I was about 20 years older than anyone else and the youngest was a slight 14 year old.

During the 12 hour drive we read several stories of people getting stranded in the canyons for days, running out of food or water and freezing in the stagnant water spots. There are things called “potholes” where the sides are so steep you can’t crawl out and the water is so deep you can’t push off the bottom to rescue yourself. This wasn’t going to be the walk in the Park, with a picnic lunch I thought…. I kept thinking; just avoid the “potholes”.

We got a very late start; 9:30 instead of 8:00 am, but made great time hiking up to Angel’s Landing. The sign told of 6 people falling to their death since 2004. What had I gotten into? We hiked far beyond that point going up 2 thousand feet in 4 miles. Mike, one of the guy’s legs gave out to cramps, and I felt like gramps with my hips starting to give me fits. I was determined to not slow down the group and stumbled along in a little pain. We finally got to the right canyon and started bushwhacking down the mountain. We went a ways and stopped for lunch. It was now afternoon and we hadn’t got to the rappelling part yet and Mike was hurting. We gave him a blessing and he was OK for the rest of the day. Thank you for the priesthood.

We finally arrive in the heat of the day to a steep place and misread the map and went to the left instead of the right.We had to scramble up the side of a scary bowl shaped rock face to a tree to rappel down.It took lots of time and now we started worrying about the pace we were setting. We got down to this fairly level place and if it had been wet at all it would have been super slippery aaannnddd super scary. The view was great but this was very intense.

All 6 of us rappelled straight down a 120 ft. cliff to a ledge the size of my office with another 140 ft. cliff as the only way off the ledge. My client chose to tell us this story while we were on that small ledge. He said there were two other canyoneers traveling through the canyon in a similar situation on a ledge with no way down except by rappelling. The first guy went off and halfway down discovered the ends of the rope were uneven and he thought he could manage with only one rope through the mechanism. Well it didn’t work and he fell 40 ft. to his death but that caused the rope to run through the top hitch so the remaining climber was now stuck on the ledge. He was there for 5 days until he was rescued. I think my client took great delight in sharing that scary story

After an incredibly beautiful hike through the bottom of the canyon the next rappel was a little different….we had to tie off on a rotten log. The guide book (published in 2006) actually says rotten log. It was a 70 foot rappel into an icy pool of green brown water. No luck in keeping my pack dry, we all came out soaking wet cold and stinky. But the rappel was really fun. We were all laughing and joking at our insanity. Then we came to the pothole rappel and sure enough the first guy down, Dave, was reaching out for the rope and fell in the pothole. We were all up on the ledge, with no easy way to help, listening to him splash around trying to crawl out of the hole. After 45 mins we started a rescue hitch when in some miraculous way Dave figured how to crawl out of the hole. As I went over the lip of the ledge and saw this massive deep and steep pothole I thought that angels must have lifted him out.  

 That rappel was also tricky because the rope got caught up on the rocks and we couldn’t pull it down to use it on the next cliff. We tugged and pulled and finally we were able to whip the taught end off the hang up and the rope was free and we could continue on.

We came to the last rappel and the sun was leaving the valley and light was now a precious commodity. We had to scramble over and around this huge boulder and hitch onto the decender rope on a steep section of rock 165 feet above Emerald Pools. The rappel is 40 feet on rock and then it is a 125 foot free hang all the way down to the bottom. Getting started is always the worse and it was terrifying to go next to last, because the anxiety really builds up the longer you wait. But what a fun rappel going down that far that fast. It was great. I loved it.

When we finally all got down and packed up the light was gone and it was totally black out and there was no trail. We had to bushwhack down a stream bed in total darkness and I was stumbling over rocks and in the scrub oak. What a mess, we got lost and separated and that was also terrifying. We finally connected with the trail and had a pleasant mile walk to the last shuttle of the day finally down the mountain at 11 pm.

The whole time was supposed to take 9 hours and it took us 13. We were hurting but no one was hurt. Just glad for the incredible experiences and I plan on making sure my client buddy has lots of life insurance for him and his family.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A crazy Real Estate Week

We have been doing some Real Estate work and it almost buried me this week. It seemed
everything needed major attention:
1. We refinanced our new Parker place.
2. We are refinancing the Branson property.
3. We are selling the duplex in Arizona.
4. We are trying to rent the triplex in Arizona. The water was shut off for a
week and I put up the renters in a hotel until my agent there cut off a lock on
the water main and got the water turned on again.
5. Buying and selling Danica’s old house. It involves a tricky HELOC and perfect timing
to accomplish.
6. A legal issue with an investment property here in Denver with lawyers and a court date.

But we had time on Saturday for mom and me to go to Colorado Springs to attend a Mitt Romney rally. It was great with signs and yelling and enthusiasm. The paper reported 700 people but there were at least 2,000. One story from the rally: when Mitt helped started Staples, they did it with about $5,000,000 a few key people in a back room in a strip mall. Instead of Obama and Solyndra; when he forked over $500,000,000 of our taxpayer money to a bunch of his
campaign contributors and they built a new multi-story corporate headquarter instead of investing in new technology. Vote Mitt!!!

We also got blasted by a nearly 2 foot high snow fall. We really needed it, but let’s spread it out
a little. It is nice to have a south facing house in a snow fall – the driveway clears itself almost.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Keeping me young

I have two new things in my life now that are trying to keep me young or maybe a little more patient: Teaching primary and starting back into competitive swimming. I'm discovering that both of those activities are for the young of body and heart.
I have the 7 years olds, so it is before the age of accountability and they take full advantage of their upcoming free baptisimal pass to remove their sins. Trying to get them to listen for even a few sentences is like keeping Austin and Don from talking about burps and farts at the dinner table. We are together during the last hour and they are wired by that time. I even had them doing jumping jacks and push ups to burn through some of their energy. The only time I can get them to listen and be quiet is when I tell them an animated story or pass out candy. I'm exhausted when class is over with but I'm excited for their baptism - then they'll be responsible for their actions and will behave so much better......yeah!

Since we don't live in Highlands Ranch anymore I don't get to go play racquetball with the guys anymore and have joined the Parker Masters Swim Team. getting in the pool at 5:45 on cold winter mornings is simply painful and then trying to keep up with a few of the younger swimmers really humbles me. But if Janet Evans can qualify for the Olympic Trials in the 800 M Free at 42 I can at least do a few swim practices. It hurts all day and tests my heart but with my SwimP3 player I actually enjoying getting into the water. It keeps me young.....right?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I will write my blog with comments and pictures like I did
before. I was feeling a little
disconnected from the family and I would like to capture some of the missing

Last weekend we were in Gilbert, AZ for Austin’s baby
blessing and had a blast. It was one of
the greatest joys of my life to sit down and talk with Don about giving
blessings and listening to the spirit.

It brought up all the keen feelings of being a father and all the hopes
and dreams you have for your kids. To
catch an insightful glimpse of their potential and the sheer joy that a life
well lived can produce. There are few
things as sweet as being surrounded by loved ones collectively calling upon
heaven’s blessings for a new born infant.
It was the highlight of the trip.
While in AZ mom and I found a new property to buy, decided
to sell our existing duplex, played Scatagories, cheered on the Broncos as they
beat Pittsburg, stayed up late and went out to dinner. We also spent some time with a missionary who
had lived with us named Mike Naylor. His
family had horses and while I played Naylor in racquetball mom went for a wild
ride and a frisky horse named Blackie.
It must have been very wild because she swore off horse for a while and
is having problems with her back. AZ is
so nice in the winter; it was 80 degrees out as we had a picnic lunch with the
Naylor family.
While we were in AZ a bunny got into our garage and left
many small black reminders of why we don’t have any more pets. I saved the dead bunny’s body to show the
grand kids. It died with soft fur and a
smile on its face.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Moving on Up

As they say; "The only thing that doesn't change is the fact that everything changes" We are going through some interesting family changes.

Mom and I are finally moving to a new house this next week after 17 years in the same place. It has been very painful trying to sell the house, because people are so cruel in their comments. They have said that the house looks tired. I thought after housing Tracy and I, raising 6 kids, 2 foster kids, 4 exchange students, occasional guests, 1 son-in-law and 1 grand child, and over 25 missionaries maybe it will look a little tired, but very happy. It has been a great 17 years.
We have spent this weekend celebrating with Don and Austin some changes in their lives. Don is moving on to start school and soon to be a father . He is ending his work as a landscaper in the heat of the Phoenix sun and trading in his shovel for school supplies. Don and Leslie are so happy that he will be able to spend more time at home.
Austin has just graduated from 3 months of Marine Boot Camp in San Diego. We were able to walk around the base with him after a few ceremonies on Thurs and then he graduated on Friday. They call it Family Day on Thurs and keep building up the tension by having the recruits run and march in front of us for a couple of hours before we actually get to see them. When they first pulled up in front of us wearing their running shorts I couldn't pick Austin out of the crowd. I though I had the wrong group. He looked so different. He had gotten a little tubby, but was tubby no longer.

They do the Moto Run (Motivational Run) and then go change into their dress uniform to come out and march in front of us. We were sitting in the stands waiting for the company when this recruit limped by and he kinda of looked like Austin and so I tentatively said, "Austin????" and it was him. He hurt his knee on the run and was given permission to come sit with us to watch the others march.
We had a grand time as he narrated the action on the Parade Deck and jealous parents all around us had to wait another hour before they got to visit with their recruit.Austin distinguished himself in a couple of ways at Boot Camp. Within 2 days he was selected as a Squad leader over 14 other recruits based on his energy, wisdom, loud voice, ability to understand directions and help other. They change out squad leaders over the 3 months, but Austin only missed one day as leader. He was also chosen as Prayer Leader. He gave scripture study lessons from both the Bible and Book of Mormon and lead the prayer every night. Probably the highlight of the day was after the Marine graduation we went to a local church and Austin baptized and ordained to the priesthood a recruit from his platoon. The recruits mom went on and on about the positive influence Austin had been in her son's conversion.Bold

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July Weekend

Mary Ellen has a new torture called a simple black sand bag. It is exhausting work. We pick up this stupid black 30 lb sand bag, heft it to one shoulder, squat, drop it to the ground, we drop burpee style, do a push up and then jump back up to do it all over again. I had to do 60 of those on Friday in 10 mins. I know it doesn’t sound bad but it was a killer and my shoulders are dead, hey I’m 59 now and things hurt.

Sunday night the 3rd mom and I went to downtown Denver to Civic Park for a big band concert and fireworks show. It was incredible, especially when the band was playing the 1812 Overture or patriotic music and the fireworks were blasting away. I loved it and I also heard birthday greeting from all my kids. It was a great day.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Kick Off Event

It was "old folks trying to act young and be cool in the mountains, by Buena Vista, to kick off the summer" weekend. I think we did a great job of looking at least 10 years younger then our actual age...but we blew it when the conversations around the campfire centered on retirement income, our aches and pains, visits to the doctor, and grandkids. We had a blast riding the ATV's up to old mining sites or Kayaking across a windy lake to tour some old buildings. I think 60 is the new 40.

This was our campsite and mom is waking up on a chilly morning.

Mom was having so much fun she didn't even scream on these narrow and steep ATV roads.

I got a rare photo of the Goddess of the Lost Mine, she looks quite striking in the mid day sun.

This was on old remote brothel for the rich folks in Leadville during it's heyday. it is a very large building for it's day. The winter's are long and cold in the mountains.
Dot doing a sales job on how great Buena Vista is to live and play.