Monday, August 27, 2007

Hikeblogging: Santaquin Peak, Uinta National Forest, August 25, 2007.

After my unexpected adventures in mountaineering on Twin Peaks last month, I was looking for a hike this month that would be more pleasant and less taxing. Specifically, I wanted a hike that would give me a good workout (~10 miles round trip) and allow me to bag a decent peak (>10,000 feet elevation) but that wasn't too steep (less than 1,000 feet elevation gain per mile distance) or too far away (<60 miles) and had a decent trail going all the way to the top.

After consulting my hiking guides, I found that Santaquin Peak filled the bill perfectly.

The trail begins up Payson Canyon at the Loafer Mountain trailhead. The trail itself is quite well-maintained and easy to follow, but there are a couple of intersections and if you take the wrong turn you'll end up somewhere else. Follow Forest Service trail 098 all the way up.

As you go up the long ridge of Loafer Mountain you can see the Payson Lakes in the basin below. David Day of Utah Trails recommends doing this hike in the fall, and I can see why: There's alot of aspen and maple trees in the forest here.

Off in the distance is the imposing Mount Nebo, the highest point in the Wasatch Mountains, and a peak that is on my list for next year. I would have climbed it this year, but I didn't have the time to the recommended two-day backpacking trip.

Up on top there's a mailbox containing a notebook for peakbaggers to sign, along with some emergency supplies. Thanks to anyone who came here after reading my entry.

You have a great view of Utah Valley from on top, almost as good as the one on Timpanogos with only a fraction of the crowds. I only ran into about 20 hikers all day, and half of those were from a single ambitious Boy Scout troop from the town of Woodland who were going to descend the front face of the mountain to get home. I wonder if they made it.

The top is covered with interesting rocks made of sandstone or mudstone with layers of halite (mineralized salt) sandwiched in between. Apparently this mountaintop was a flat shallow sea basin during the Paleozoic Era that repeatedly dried out and then flooded, leaving the salt from the previous evaporations.

Overall, this hike was everything I hoped it would be. It was steep coming down in some spots, and I got a couple of small blisters and a mild sunburn, but I wouldn't mind hiking this mountain again some future autumn.


Friday, August 03, 2007

And These Idiots What to Be President

This week has shown us just what lightweights some of the candidates for president actually are. First Obama told us that he would invade Pakistan and he would never use nuk-lur weapons when going after terrorists, then Hillary got in the act and did a 180 on Obama's "no use nuke" policy and said that she would not rule out the use of nuke when going after terrorists. Finally, Rep. Tom Tancredo said that we should nuke Mecca and Medina to deter terrorist attacks. All this saber-rattling produced a quick rebuke from the State Department telling the candidates to "shut up" (I think is was more along the lines of "STFU!").

Although bombing Mecca and Medina would be a great Rambo-esque fantasy to get back at the terrorists, it would really piss off the Muslim world. If you think that Muslims hate the United States now, just think what would happen if the US was actually dumb enough to do that. It would rank up there as the biggest foreign-policy blunder in the history of the world as we would succeed in turning all Muslims against the United States. If you think that the daily death toll from suicide bombings in Iraq is bad, multiply that by one thousand-fold as any Muslim would deem it his responsiblilty to kill any and all Americans to avenge the destruction of the two most holy sites in Islam. The total stupidity of actually suggesting this just shows what mental lightweights some people are. And the Defeato-crats think Bush is stupid.

Bombing Mecca and Medina is not something that the US would ever contemplate, BUT, it is something that Israel could conceivably consider. Israel remembers all too well the Holocaust and the various threats that have been proffered against it over the years by Iran, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, etc. As I have often said, if a nuke ever goes in Israel, you can kiss Mecca, Medina, Riyahd, Terehan and Damascas good-bye. Bombing Mecca and Medina is a desperation move, something akin to "firing the FPF and calling in artillery on your position because the enemy is coming thru the wire" because you have nothing to loose. If Israel decided that the Arabs were "coming thru the wire", that would mean that Holocaust Part 2 is about to begin, so you might as well use your nukes before you loose the ability ("use 'em or loose 'em") and take as many Arabs with you as you can. For this reason, it's probably in the best interest of the Middle East to not piss Israel off. If not, say hello to "nuk-lur holocaust".