Spring break was last week and just like every other time I have been in Utah, it was awesome.  The first half was spent camping in Capitol Reef National Park for a geology field trip.  A group of geology and geography students and professors hiked around the park for 3 days discussing whatever cool geology we came across.  It was super informal and very relaxing.  Best 2 credits ever.  From there I went to Zion National Park to visit some friends and get some information on a project I am doing for school.  Below are some pictures from Capitol Reef.

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A few months ago I was gifted a slow cooker (crock pot).  Thanks Mom!  It would be a stretch to say that it changed my life but it has indeed made life more awesome.  Just imagine:  wake up, dump ingredients into the slow cooker while you are making breakfast, hit the “on” button, go snow boarding all day, come home to an amazing smelling house, and fill your tired body and empty stomach with food with nearly no effort.  This is what the slow cooker can provide.  I’m not sure if you can have them in the dorms but if so, you could make a pretty awesome meal without having much more than a knife and cutting board.  Also, most recipes for slow cookers make tons of food so you can have left-overs for days.  From what I have read it appears that the slow cooker was once a house hold staple that sort of fell off the radar.  However, it’s back… so get slow cookin’.

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To take advantage of the gorgeous weather this past weekend, El and I went for a walk around Penitente Canyon.  There is a trail that goes through the canyon that we took and then just scrambled and wandered our way around the area.  For those unfamiliar with the area it’s a popular sport climbing area and has campgrounds as well.  Definitely a gem of the San Luis Valley.

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There have been a surprisingly few amount of very cold days and nights so far this year but we still have February to treat us to that super cold, snot freezing sweetness.  I got into bed last night and noticed that the entire inside of the window was coated in really cool ice formations.  Thankfully, I have a thick down blanket and flannel sheets to keep me warm.  Here are some pics…
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Today was the first day of my last semester at Adams.  I am only taking 8 credits consisting of Historical Geology, a field excursion to Capitol Reef National Park in Utah over spring break, and my senior capstone which is basically a final, senior project.  The lack of a “normal” class load will surely be compensated by the final project.  Not sure what I am doing it on, but I will have to figure that out pretty soon.

The winter break went well.  Spent 10 days in Virginia visiting family and friends and then came back to Alamosa to spend some time snowboarding.  To finish the break off, ASAP had its annual 7-day winter training where we got a Level 1 Avalanche certification, did some ice climbing site management stuff, and some winter camping in snow shelters.  So overall a pretty good break.  Here are a few pictures from said break.

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A place near and dear to my heart; a swimming hole at Sugar Hollow outside of Charlottesville, VA

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Kyle, ice climbing.

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Sunset as seen just through a patch of trees by our camp site.

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The kitchen.

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The busiest week of the semester is over.  This is good.  All that remains is a week of 3 exams and then a month of sweet, sweet break time.  So as a mental break before the begining of this past week a few of us went out bouldering.  The place we went is called  Boulder City and it’s in the Falcon Colorado bouldering guide book.  The link above will show you where it’s at, and a proper map or knowledgable local will get you there.  High clearance would be a good idea, dont need 4-wheel drive though.  We spent quite some time on this V3 traverse which was super fun.  Also, that same day, a buddy and I drove up to get some shots of our project research areas near by and spotted some bighorns.  Always great to see some wildlife!  Here are a few pictures from the day…check out my flickr stream under Links to the right for a few more.
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Big Horn Sheep
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View from the bouldering area
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Bryce, sending.

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Temps are dropping and water is doing that thing it does when it gets cold. Why is this good? It’s good because this new seasonal state of matter that water has entered provides entry into the world of winter sports. The Thanksgiving dinner I had with my boss, Mick, was fantastic (loved the purple mashed potatoes!) and the days to follow only got better. Friday a few of us went to North Clear Creek Falls to hopefully find some ice to climb. Our wishes were granted and we were presented a gorgeous waterfall of ice. I’m relatively new to the whole ice climbing game but it’s starting to grow on me. Then the next day a buddy and I went to Wolf Creek which was great even considering the early season conditions. So yeah, a pretty good break. Here are a few pictures of North Clear Creek Falls

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My first ice climb of the season

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Derek on lead

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The countdown for the semester has begun and it cant come soon enough. Projects in all classes are keeping my busy but a few have me out in the field which is nice. A project for Hydrogeology involves doing some tests to the west of the sand dunes near by and the Geomorphology project involves looking at a the upstream section of Terrace Reservoir that has a very active (geomophologically) stream cutting through the sediment at the bottom. Here are some pictures of the areas. Check my flickr stream if you want to see a few more.

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Amy and Dan doing some surveying for the Hydrogeology project

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Point bars, cut banks, chutes, meanders, aeolian process, oh my!

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An ant’s view of some features from shrink/swell

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Looked out my bedroom window last night and saw this:
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It’s been a busy couple of weeks since my last post.  The day before Halloween, we hosted a climbing competition here at Adams as part of the Collegiate Climbing Series.  It was a lot of work to get it all set up but it paid off and the comp went great.  Also, its nice to have some fresh new routes on the wall.  Then, on Halloween, we went up to the Geological Society of America conference being held in Denver.  This is basically an enormous hardcore nerdfest (in my personal top 3 of “fests”) jam packed with awesome and interesting talks on a wide variety of subjects focused strictly or loosely around geology.  There were also poster sessions and tons of vendors handing out freebies.  This was the first GSA I have been too but it was similar to the Association of American Geographers conferences which I have been too.  Both are great organizations and I would highly recommend joining them and going to the conferences if you are in a related major.  Not only because you get to nerd out for a few days, but you see new studies and angles of geology and geography that you may not have even knew existed.  Or, maybe you will be inspired to make up discover a discipline like  “4-D paleohydrobiogeomorphology modeling of exoplanets with binary stars”.

The next few weeks are going to be jam packed with so much super awesome amazing rad fun!! sitting in the library working on final projects.  Maybe I can take some artsy fartsy pictures of my bloodshot eyes after 15 cups of coffee and hours of staring at a computer screen doing research.  Graduation….so….close….

But enough doom and gloom.  The weather is getting cold, there is snow on the mountains, and snowboarding season is creeping up.  And of course, the south facing rocks in the valley are always good for some climbing even when its cold out.  Winter training with ASAP is going to be sweet and oh yeah, the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education conference is coming up!

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