Monday, June 30, 2014

Logan Peak Trail race

As I’ve started doing more trail running I have found that it’s not really socially acceptable to just run; you must race.  If you get into a conversation with a fellow trail runner the questions are not “what killer big adventure runs have you done/are you planning”, they are something along the lines of “what races are you doing?” under the assumption that – as a trail runner – you race!  So, in order to fulfill my requisite racing obligation in order to be socially acceptable, I decided on a bit of a whim to enter the Logan Peak Trail “Ultra” up in Logan this past weekend, as a tune up for – yes – yet another Race!

And because blogs many times seem to be along the lines of “This is what I do” and trail runners "do" races I guess that means that therefore I am compelled to blawg about The Races blow by blow!  So here goes the oh-so-scintillating tale….

An early start to carpool up with friends of friends who were willing to drag an unknown entity along with them up to Logan (since I don’t know enough people to carpool with) got us to a nice suburban park in Logan right at the base of their formidable peaks.  The toughness gets going right away, with a 3000 foot climb in the first 4.5 miles.  I have ran short and hard a few times this summer and long and slow a few times, but not very many long and hard, so I tried to be conservative and not blow myself to bits in the exuberance of a newby on this section. 

In the few races I’ve done around here there seems to be “The Guy” who is notably faster than everyone else and as such simply bolts away never to be seen again:  This weekend’s Western States 100 winner Rob Krar in the Jupiter Steeplechase a coupla years ago, Utah road marathoner Fritz Van De Kamp in the Wahsatch Steeplechase, uberkind Nathan Peters in the Skyline Marathon last summer (and Wahsatch Steeplechase last weekend), all around speedy guy Jason Dorais in all his events, etc.  And at first Saturday seemed like no exception:  one guy took off up the trail early and fairly soon was out of sight.  I sorta shrugged and thought:  “well, I don’t know any of these folks and probably that dude is one of the The Guys so I won’t kill myself trying to stay with him” and thus fell in with three other guys and we held a nice steady pace – part time running, part time walking up the steep grade – up to the first aid station, where shortly thereafter the course become more rolling on ATV tracks. 

As we came around to the south slopes of Logan Peak I risked tripping to sneak some peeks at the great views of the valley that seemed a long ways below.  And as I plugged along at a still-moderate pace I realized that the three guys I had been with seemed to be dropping back, so I was alone in 2nd, and thought “well, that’s pretty much the race finish now.”  This went on for quite some time until I caught a glimpse of movement far ahead and realized that it was the leader, and out of curiosity did a quick time check and was surprised to reach the spot where I’d seen him in less than two minutes..  As we made our way north towards the 2nd aid station that was at the base of a 2 mile climb to the top of Logan Peak I came around a corner and was surprised to see him walking on a very gradual grade.  There had been some steep walking sections just prior, but this was quite runnable. As such I caught him pretty quickly and said “Howdy!  How you feelin’?” and he mumbled “I should have looked at the course profile more carefully.”  Ah, indeed.  At this point we were about half done time-wise, I felt good, and figured well, I might as well demoralize the poor guy even further (it is A Race, after all) so I therefore laid into the Logan Peak climb a bit. 

It’s an out and back up to the peak, so it’s a good chance to suss out the positions of everyone else, something that is otherwise nearly impossible on woodsy trails.  I realized on the descent that my pace-layin’ had worked and if I kept a good clip and didn’t crash on the long technical traversy singletrack and long, overgrown descent (that we had climbed earlier) I might have the win.  The trail was great as it wound through beautiful (and very skiable!) terrain, but as it turned onto due-north aspects the rains that had fallen the last couple of days took an effect and the trail started to turn to goo.  Additionally, there had been cows on the trail very recently, so I was pretty much slogging through some pretty good slop that was also well-infused with greasy cow pies.  I passed a posse of what looked like freerider mountain bike dudes just before the sludgefest; at least I didn’t have to haul my 40 lb bike along!  I was also debating about trying to stay in the nice narrow – but muddy – singletrack versus going along the vegetated sides to try to preserve the integrity of the trail, but that seemed fairly silly considering that I was apparently behind a herd of vegetation-decimating bovines. 

As I moved around to the western slopes of the peak I blasted around a corner to see a very discouraging sight:  Not only were there 4 or 5 horseback riders on the narrow trail but there was what appeared to be a huge herd of cattle!  Oy vey, am I going to get caught and risk losing this race because of a bunch of stupid cows?!  And I hate cows.  But the folks were nice enough to get their horses out of the way immediately into a conveniently-located opening and I blazed up behind the cows with my best “YAH… YAH…YAH COWS”  that I had learned from my many, many years as a cowpoke out on the range.  It worked, because they frantically ran up the trail and one by one stumbled off the trail (to the really steep downhill side; I almost felt bad for a second) and out of the way, fortunately without shitting in my face, which seemed like a distinct possibility at the time. 

Then came the quad-busting 3000 foot descent that was actually not too bad; it was just steep and overgrown enough that it wasn’t blazing fast, so my relative lack of footspeed didn’t really come into play.  And soon enough the park came into view and the huge throng of thousands of spectators (at least, the requisite handful of husbands, wives, kids, and dogs) roared their approval. 

1-2.  Pablo Garcia charged from 5th place to 2nd
Of course, success in these races is always a function of who shows up: if the likes of the aforementioned Fast Guys or the legendarily hard-training Lars or any of a big gaggle of strongmen decide to come, then it’s a different race.  And actually the defending champeen whose time was notably faster than mine in much warmer temps was there but he had battled the flu all week (good on him; I would not have done so!). And I’ll most certainly be pack fodder in 3 weeks at the Wasatch Speedgoat sufferfest at Snowbird. 

As we rolled though the first mile nice guy Nick Sourlos mentioned to me that it was 26 miles versus the advertised 28 miles, which for sure was good to know as the race transpired, but it meant that…I still wouldn’t be a true “ultra” marathoner.  And sure enough, on the little gps gizmo watch that I had borrowed my total distance was…..26.2 miles. I’m still not worthy! 

Thanks very much to all the race directors and volunteers who so happily get up at gawdawful times haul up food and water and watch us shove pieces of bananas in our faces with barely a “thanks” mumbled through it.  And of course thanks to new friends Carolyn and Kevin for the ride up.  

A fun community and fun event, which is probably why “What races you doing?” is a very good question indeed.     

And if this account isn’t enough….here’s an article written by a very earnest young reporter for the Logan paper about the race (the Stanley Cup and NBA finals must be over….)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What's that? I'm goin' DEF!

I know, it's a lot cooler to go to house concerts, bluegrass festivals, blues guys at Pat's Barbecue, soulful singer-songwriters at Red Butte Garden, or great bands I don't know but are sooo cool at The Depot, but every once in a while it's good for the soul to go to a good ol' fashioned huge Rock Concert.  And considering that Def Leppard has been one of my favorite bands since I was introduced to them in high school and they continue to indulge Salt Lake by coming back here at least every other year....well, Lets Get Lets Get Lets Get Lets Get Rocked!

And there's more added incentive; one average day in the early courtship of Tom and Ash we were driving along when Pour Some Sugar came on the radio and Ash blurted out of the blue "I LOVE Def Leppard!"  Literally music to my ears!  When I told her I'd seen them 4 times....well, the rest, as they say, is history.  So romantic.

Which brings us to last night, when Def shared a bill with - of all bands - Kiss.  Considering that we saw a t-shirt there that advertised a show some years ago where they shared a bill with Heart, I guess that's a little bit better, but still.....Def Leppard has sold over 100 million albums!  "Opening" for another band??!!

The night got off to a slow start when we realized the err of urban planning ways on the West Side and we crept along for miles through Magna - or maybe it was Toole? Delta? - to get into the show.  But it started to pick up as we entered the venue and started hanging out with our fellow fans:
The trademark Def Leppard Union Jack, worn resplendently by a fan
and it was clear that the Subaru was not the appropriate rig to bring to a show like this:

And we got to hang out with official members of the Kiss Army:

And promptly at 8pm - hey, they're now old and need their sleep! - the boyz leapt onto the stage and started into their long set.  And one nice difference between 1983 and 2014 is that now we feel like if we're gonna go, we're gonna pay to get close enough to make a difference, so the ticks that Ash got were pretty dang close.

It seemed sort of a shame to have these guys playing in the blazing sun - rock n roll is a bit of a nighttime thing, after all - but it didn't have an affect on the crowd, who sang along with every song.

Including this guy:
Is he a Super Bowl champeen or something with all them rings?  
and they did not disappoint.  True, Joe Elliot's voice can't quite soar to his previous heights, but nobody cared, including them; they don't take themselves too seriously, which is one of Def Leppard's great appeals.  And given the rock and roll lifestyle, they are actually faring pretty well; Phil Collen is looking pretty dang buffed at 55 years old:
a teetotaling vegan rock star?  
 And it's still remarkable to me that a super-successful rocker drummer can tear it down like this guy can with only one arm....

Unfortunately, Def only played for a little over an hour, but they went out in flourish with Rock of Ages and Photograph, of course:

At the break Andy and I were standing in line for a beer and I looked around in a bit of awe and said "Wow, this place is definitely shithead central!" and just as we were laughing about that the guy behind us suddenly leaned in between us and said "Ya know why they put the beer line next to the women's bathroom line?"  We looked at him in startled amazement; did he hear what I had just said and was quick enough to leap right into the fray with a sort of accompanying riddle? Or was this just wild coincidence?   "It's so we can just stare and drooool!"  Ah right you are, sir!  

I have never been a KISS fan, despite being the Cat drummer guy for Halloween one year.  But I was intrigued by the prospect of seeing their legendary show, and - of course - the infamous boots.  And they didn't disappoint; their entrance was grand, the costumes were beyond over the top, the pyrotechnics were hot......

.....and the music sucked (not to mention the bulbs seemed to be out on the "K" above!).  Sorry, but these guys have a pretty severe lack of talent- amazing after all these years! - but it is totally made up for with their brazeness and showmanship, which clearly goes a long way.  We couldn't really bear the thought of waiting through the whole concert to see "I wanna rock and roll all night" and then spending a few more hours in the exit traffic, so we bailed prematurely, but were totally satisfied.  

As an interesting addendum to this tale, I suddenly had an inkling of a remembrance today that the original spaceman Ace Frehley was replaced by a guy named Tommy Thayer - who is still their guitarist - and was a few years ahead of me at Sunset High School and had a younger brother whom I knew.  And - this is the kicker - wayyy back in the day our mom went on a few dates with Tommy Thayer's dad! So, there's really only about 1.5 degrees of separation from Ginny Diegel and....Gene Simmons!

Thanks very much to Team Southwick for rallying with us to such a cheesy show and laughing and jamming alongside!  

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Obbard Overland

Many moons ago I was on a ride with the venerable - and famously frugal - Rick Steiner and we were having a discussion about the ultra mountain bike races up in Park City.  Rick said something to the effect of: "Why should I pay good money to ride 75 or a 100 miles on local trails when I can just do that anytime?"  To which I retorted "Because you never ride that far!"  Well, Rick took that as a challenge, and as an ode to his impending 60th birthday, organized the first "Steiner 100" mountain bike ride in the summer of 2006. Over the next few years the name informally changed to the "Steiner Memorial 100" to which Rick weakly bleated: "But I'm not dead!" No, not yet, but you're closer than most of us!

A couple of years ago Rick asked that the unbearable onus of organizing the ride and the subsequent party be taken over by someone else - and with that, the rights to the name of the "event" (if it really were "an event")  and of course there was only one person for the job:  uber-achiever and ultra-enthusiast Alex Obbard.   And thus this past weekend was the annual running of the Obbard Overland.
Only Alex would not only design the logo but also do the T-shirts for everybody!
The route has historically started up Emigration to the Mormon Trail, down to East Canyon Creek, hooked into the Park City trails, and ended flying down the Crest, Great Western, and back into Mill creek.  The earlier quest for the relatively-arbitrary 100 miles evolved into simply creating a long and elegant loop, and as such it's now a little less than 100 miles - enabling more time for the party! - but is an all-time ride that now uses the Pinebrook trails to climb to the Mid-Mountain trail that traverses to the Park City's newish Pine Cone trail that then leads up to the Crest.  The participants ebb and flow a little, but every year ~20 folks show up at Alex's house at dawn for a good long day in the saddle.

The snow that fell early in the week caused emails to start flyin' about possible route changes, but ultimately a scouting mission indicated that the entire 10" of snow that fell up high would not only melt but also the trails would dry, and the only problem might be old snow that didn't get a chance to melt out during the storm, and the benefit was that the summertime dust that had already formed got mercifully tamped down to perfect-tacky (can we please have weekly rainstorms delivered this summer?).
The trails were in great shape.....
.....until they weren't.  However, the deadfalls were few and far between
We met the rest of the crew and - bless her heart! - Jill at Pinebrook, where we had a bit of a rest and made short work of the Nutella sandwiches and water that she brought up.

A bit of local knowledge was useful to navigate the maze of the Pinebrook trails, but soon enough everyone was on the Mid-Mountain blasting towards the Red Pine lodge, where we were able to picnic again and watch the freeriders slaying it in the Canyons mtb park (this sport seems vaguely familiar in that they are on 2-wheeled, non-motorized machines, but that's about where the similarity ends!).

As an aside.....why is it that ski resorts like Alta, Brighton, and Solitude "must.....have..... Interconnect! To make more money" and then let the barely-forward-thinking resorts like The Canyons and Deer Valley have the big, lucrative summertime crowds because they actually offer amenities that people want, like DH/freeride mtb parks, while their resorts are either deserted or have people wandering around on steep service roads wondering where they can spend money?

But I digress. The remainder of the day was pedaling over hill and dale on miles and miles of the Wasatch's best singletrack with blessedly overcast skies with no mechanicals, crashes to speak of, or issues besides a few cramps.
Why is this woman smiling?  She's on the tacky Crest with no joeys in sight!  (except her partners)
To end at Alex's where some of the gang relaxed:

Before the great party hosted by Alex and the lovely Sue, who doesn't mind a bunch of stinky, dirty cyclists tromping around in their house, dirtying towels, and mowing hard into all the food put into their general vicinity.

Jim Manos has been an integral part of the Steiner 100 and Obbard Overland, but he had a conflicting event on Saturday to celebrate  his cancer-beatage with hundreds of like comrades for 140 miles on the roads
I'd suck wheel on this guy!!
But of course he made it to the party!

Thanks again to Alex for carrying on a fun tradition! We'll be back for the 2015 version.
Another feather - or leaf, as it were - in the cap of the Obbard Overland's namesake

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Spring Storming The Castle

Providing further proof that global warming is a hoax perpetuated by the liberal elite who don't believe in spring skiing, we got a nice "freshening" of 10" of cold smoke on top of dirty runnels, (I love that word), sun cups, and bare ground.  It was almost more dangerous than early season storms, because the old patches of snow were punctuated by barely-covered - but unseen - rocks so just about the time you were feeling like you were "good" the 'pack could end at any moment and you could auger into some granite.  But it was hard to pass up an unusual opportunity.

I typically don't post much about ski outings because it typically involves going to a pretty common area, going up and skiing a few laps of nice snow, and having a nice time; pretty much the same as everyone else in the Wasatch and not necessarily worthy of a "no shit there I was and you should'a been there" post .  But unusual situations call for unusual measures.

Colin and I knew that everyone would be looking for the few high/north lingering patches of snow, which are limited now.  The Alta Wildcat parking lot was sporting plenty of cars, so we moved on to check out Gunsight, which was already tracked.  However, looming beyond that lay the untouched Devil's Castle, which we rarely ski (inside the resort) that we knew had some lingering snow patches prior to the storm.

We summited the mighty Sugarloaf peak first:
Such cool guys on top of....a big mound.  
and then skied what I would call West Castle:
couldn't give'er too hard.....

Skinned up the main shot:

and had some nice skiing.

Colin blowin' smoke
In order to "complete" our morning Spring Storming the Castle we moved over to the East face, where we had plenty of huge rollerballs from blower-turned-chowder; if the sun hits April powder hard, it's an absolute laser in June!

That's all, folks, til November, if we're lucky.....
Geek Stoke.
As it turns out, pretty significant sluffs came barreling out of that notch not long after we left!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Runneling the Tetons

We had been hearing that the Tetons had a good snow year and were at 175% of normal snowpack and that people were galloping up and down the Grand, so as the temps climbed and the snowpack declined in the Wasatch we looked to get out and check out our northern neighbors without an agenda or grand ambitions.  Of course, that also meant that we needed to check in with Drew, since not only is his place one of the nicest little cabins on the planet on the edge of Lupine Meadows, but he's a stellar host as well.  And if you happen to have an issue, it's not often to have a friend who had received a Medal of Valor from the Department of the Interior!

Our first morning we were awakened by the sound of munching:

An elk more interested in us than the nice view of Teewinot
 We were a little surprised at how high the snow line was, but we found later that it's been quite warm and dry in the Tetons for the last month and the snowpack went from "big" to "average".  Not a big deal, just a bit more walking in shoes.

One of the biggest problems with going to a place like that is with so many amazing choices, what to do?  We were on a pretty mellow, recon-sort of pace, and decided that Disappointment Peak - right in the heart of the "big" peaks there, with amazing views and some good ski options - was the best bet to start on.  A nice moderate hike through the woods and some challenging skinning perched on the rims between tree wells brought us to a nice view of our intended line:
The "football field"and the Spoon Couloir spilling off of it above Surprise Lake, or maybe Amphitheater lake; I can't remember.... 
so it was good that we had a burly mountain man to point out the obvious:
"look!  there it is!"
We charged on up and indeed had amazing views:

agape-ing at the views, and apparently looking for my bike
 One of the things about spring skiing is the possibility of runnels and sun cups.  I think we were a little late this season, because they were around in abundance.  That super-mellow football field was actually pretty challenging, since - as Colin put it - it's like trying to ski back and forth across inconsistent railroad tracks.  But finally we got to the couloir, which was a bit less cupped.
Colin navigating the smaller railroad tracks
It had softened enough that the small runnels were buffable. 
It's a fun line
 On our way out we saw a bunch of folks - including little kids -postholing in the deepening afternoon slop on a nice family hike somewhere in the vicinity of a trail that was several feet deep.  We felt like calling Drew to tell he and his Jenny Lake rescue team to not make any plans for that evening since they might be busy!

We then decided to head for nearby Buck Peak, since it looked like there was not only more snow up there but also a bit more north facing lines that may not be as cupped/runnelled.  As it turned out, we got nearby, but a small storm moved in:
And following our noses through the fog got us to....Static Peak.  Which was fine; there's a great line off the top of that as well.  But the Runnelfest continued in a bit bigger way, and while it was nice to boot up the "tracks" and we could sorta clamp the whippets on either side of the runnel ribs it was pretty dicey skiing.
Possible cover photo for Runnel Magazine?  
 We did find one short, south facing shot that had softened enough and wasn't quite as beat up:

 And again the views were amazing and the recon was really helpful.  We just need to get up there a little earlier next time.

That night we were hosted by Zinnia and her trail crewmates up on the Blackrock river, where we feasted on meat that was brewed all-night in a pit barbecue that would have made any Texas or Southern pit barbecuers proud:

Another fun run along the Valley trail (which I regretfully bypassed last summer on a great circumnav run with Jason and Jared) and nice jaunt up the dramatic Death Canyon and we were heading for the barn.

However, for a variety of reasons I had never been in Jackson at the time when the legendary Kings Wave was firing, so by coincidence the river was at an optimum level and we had our boats, so we did a nice surf session
It may look like just sitting there, but I swear....I'm doing something!  
At least this looks like something is happening
Brother Paul having a Riot
It's nice the whitewater kayaking  is dying enough to the point that such an awesome wave with a phat eddy was nearly empty on a Sunday afternoon!

Thanks again to Drew and Zin for their great hosting and to Paul and Colin for the fun weekend and all the above pics!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


"Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over."
- This quote has been attributed to Mark Twain, but until the attribution can be verified, the quote should not be regarded as authentic.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about water.  This historically has been common for me this time of year, because snowmelt season also means paddling season, but when I realized some years ago that I lived in the desert and paddling is – at best – challenging, water took on a bit less meaning.  But this year has been different, partly because I read the excellent “River Republic” by Dan McCool (who has the best last name ever) that’s essentially a much-more-readable update to the legendary tome “Cadillac Desert”, partly because I was stunned to hear Jerry Brown declare a state of emergency drought in California in January,  the arrival of the annual sprinkler systems watering Kentucky Bluegrass in Salt Lake in April (historically one of the wettest months), and a trip to western Washington, where water is literally bubbling out of the ground everywhere. 

Just one of the zillions of random WA creeks that has as much water as one of Salt Lake's main water supplies 
The Wasatch had a pretty lean snow year to start, but a snowy March/April brought the snowpack up to effectively “average”, though I realized this year that our water managers care naught for anything below about the base level for the ski resorts; we had almost no backcountry skiing below 8000 feet this year.  Now Big and Little Cottonwood creeks are gushing happily from their high elevation snowmelt, the water managers are happy, and our slice of the desert Southwest's perpetual water woes (essentially in place because the Colorado River Compact was created after a several-year cycle of big water years and before major population shifts to the SoCal and the Southwest) has been staved off for another year.  But whither this water?  I know that if by some remote chance SLC mayor Ralph Becker or his water chief Jeff Neimeyer reads this they’ll be deeply offended, but our “watersheds” are pretty weird:  you can’t have dogs in the canyons that hold the water and you can’t swim in the alpine lakes, but apparently you can have a freeway (Parley’s canyon), 3000 inhabitants (Big Cottonwood Canyon), multiple ski resorts and major, well-traveled highways that are salted many times a year that all drain that salt, antifreeze, transmission fluid, oil:
Apr 30, 2014 - A truck crash in Parley's Canyon has led to a large oil spill and snarled traffic Wednesday.”

 Or turkeys:
Turkey truck crash into Utah reservoir sparks fears of contamination
directly into our “protected” drinking water sources 

However, despite our best efforts to the contrary, the water stays remarkably good thanks to Ma Nature.  And once in SLC it is treated and comes out – as Mr. Neiermeyer loves to point out – as some of the purest water in the country.  Now, I’m no water expert, but I do know that in Washington and Oregon the municipal watersheds are….absolutely, positively, off-limits.  Portland’s Bull Run river watershed is entirely and literally fenced off, and trespassing is a major deal.  A far cry from ski resorts, highways, communities with septic systems, and freeways (but NO DOGS! And NO SWIMMING!).  But, I guess if you put enough chlorine (aka, according to The Wiki: “a toxic gas that irritates the respiratory system”)  it becomes potable. 

The ironic thing is that – after paying for this purification with our tax dollars - we then put 60-70% of it on our lawns (and a recent study pointed out that something like 90% of US households don’t even “use” their lawns much/at all), poo and whizz in much of what’s left, and then…..we don’t even drink it! 

Acording to this site:  they proudly state that the average American drinks almost 30 gallons of bottled water per year.  I must say, hats off to the likes of Dasani (aka Coke), AquaFina (aka Pepsi), Arrowhead (aka Nestle), and others whose marketeers realized that people will exchange their hard-earned money for….water that they can get out of their own tap!  And it’s not cheap:  the other day at the grocery store I saw bottled water that varied between $0.02/oz to $0.06/oz,  which doesn’t sound like much until you realize that at 128 ounces to the gallon that we are paying between $2.50 and $7.50 per gallon for water.  Compared to gasoline that has been extracted from the earth, transported as crude halfway around the world on a boat, refined into high-octane gas, and then trucked to gas stations for practically the same price or even much less….bottled water is not a sweet deal.  It’s even more expensive than cheap beer! Good marketing indeed.  But at least Dasani and others are simply tap water that is also trucked across the country and packaged in plastic containers that are far more expensive than their contents (but they love to greenwash themselves in envirospeak by touting how much recycled content they use!  C’mon, are we that gullible?!?!  I guess the answer is…yes, we are that gullible…..)

Then ironically, the outdoor business has done a great job of telling people that water that comes out of the ground out in the backcountry is….bad.  I don’t know the industry sales numbers for water purifiers, but it’s huge, and virtually everyone I know has been convinced that naturally-occurring water is full of squirmy, gut-busting amoebas and protozoas that are certain to make your bowels explode at very inopportune times.  If you come to a stream and are thirsty and out of water, you might was well continue your parch march because it’s absolutely certain that there is a Great Poo Party going on right upstream, just out of sight with all of these guys just squatting over your water source and havin’ one:

So we don’t drink backcountry spring or snowmelt water but we are willing to drink chlorine and flouride treated water?  To be sure, Ash reminds me that I have never had giardia so I don’t know what it’s like, but I know it’s not pleasant. 
Ash going up high in the "drainage" of a spring to avoid the Poo Party
However, Tinadazole is a very effective one-shot drug that was approved in the US in 2004 that effectively replaces Flagyl, which was a weeklong course and ravaged anyone who drank alcohol during the course.  But regardless of treatment, according to the CDC, giardia is not quite as well-understood as the likes of Katadyn and the other purifiers would like us to think it is, and there is a far-higher likelihood of getting giardia from food handlers and from public pools than backcountry water sources. 
At the aptly-named Dog Lake.....I was actually just kidding here; I do draw the line.....
As noted earlier and is well known by now, despite late-season snowfalls California is hurting badly for water.  One look at Dreamflows site that CA paddlers use is pretty shocking considering it’s typically peak snowmelt time.  Our friends Chris and Rebecca in Ventura took Governor Brown’s declaration seriously and looked at all the ways that they could do their part to save water; one example is to catch the water that runs cold before the shower turns hot, and this gets about a gallon or more of water that they then use in their toilet (I had no idea that a toilet will flush if you just pour enough water in the bowl; some sort of toilet siphoning magic….).
Chris capturing

and then using! 

Ironically, Californians already has had historically-decent water conservation, and equally ironically, Utah and Nevada – the two driest states in the nation – have the highest per-capita water useage (the average Utahn uses 295 gallons/day).  But some civic leaders are recognizing that these habits may not be sustainable:  Las Vegas wanted southern Utah water in a big way but UT Governor Herbert shut that down, much to the fury of Nevadans.  But that’s as far as Herbert will go; there will only be a call to conserve when things get acute and he and other politicians will continue to promote water-intensive fracking, coal mining, and even nuclear power (Green River) and development (St George will likely get a taxpayer-financed pipeline from Lake Powell for $1 billion – that is $500 for every citizen in the state!  I’m not that psyched to subsidize their golf course manicures).  In the meantime, our gutters will run with valuable (up to $7/gallon!) water overflowing supersaturated lawns.  And states like Utah subsidize use with tax dollars so consumers don't get the "real" cost in their bills, so there is less incentive to conserve.  And business meetings – like the one I was at yesterday at a place with “Environmental” as part of their name – will continue to serve bottled water at their meetings. 

The purpose of my rant?  Of course, first and foremost it’s simply to rant – and perhaps rave, though not much of that was happening here – but the other is to remind us all that pretty much aside from the rainy side of OR and WA the rest of us here in the West live in deserts or near-deserts, yet we are ferocious water users and that simple actions like not flushing for whizz, taking short showers, not thoroughly washing dishes under a running tap before then washing them in the dishwasher, and being strategic about watering our yards (and/or letting go of the green grass concept) can go a long ways towards keeping our communities viable.  It’s simply embarrassing to be irresponsible water users.  And - this one is simple - don’t drink bottled water.   Despite what I said above, our water – and realistically, ALL municipal water supplies – are good to go, or they would not be “municipal water supplies.”