Page 1

VOL. 3 NO. 1 • SPRING 2017

GET OUT | GET GOING | JUST GO

Grand Junction’s Wine & Wonder 16

The Spin on Disc Golf 20 Desolation Canyon’s Wild Soul 26


fuel your

adventure

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Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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INSIDE VAMOOSE

8

WEEKEND WARRIOR

Moab in springtime: riding, rafting and red-rock majesty BY KATHLEEN CURRY AND GEOFF GRIFFIN

16

A GRAND ADVENTURE

Drinking in Grand Junction’s vistas and wine country BY KATHLEEN CURRY AND GEOFF GRIFFIN

18

TRAILBLAZER

Moab river guide Carl Dec expands into backcountry skiing BY NICK COMO

20

WHY I … PLAY DISC GOLF

Flying discs plus golf equals fun, friendship and ching! BY RANDY HARWARD

24

BACKCOUNTRY CHEF In search of the illusive morel mushroom BY ARI LEVAUX

Ben Vaughn bouldering on Big Bend

26

THIS IS THE PLACE

Find your wild soul while floating Desolation Canyon BY JERRY D. SPANGLER

28

BE PREPARED

Dealing with illness or injury on the trail BY DORY TRIMBLE

32

CHILLAXIN’

Camping out under blustery skies can be done in style

4 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

LOUIS GRENET

BY LIZ GALLOWAY


2017 PARK CITY TRAIL SERIES

PCTRAILSERIES.COM

JUNE 10

GET A

JULY 8

AUG 12

SEPT 16

WITH EVERY RACE

Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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Issue 1 • Summer 20152017 VOL. 3 NO. 1 • SPRING

Utah GET OUT OUT | GET GOING | JUST GO | GET GET GOING

CONTRIBUTORS

| JUST GO

STAFF PUBLISHER EDITORIAL EDITOR COPY EDITOR CONTRIBUTORS

PHOTOGRAPHERS

PRODUCTION ART DIRECTOR GRAPHIC ARTISTS

BUSINESS/OFFICE ASSOCIATE BUSINESS MANAGER OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR TECHNICAL DIRECTOR BUSINESS DEPT. ADMINISTRATOR MARKETING MARKETING DIRECTOR CIRCULATION CIRCULATION MANAGER SALES MAGAZINE ADVERTISING DIRECTOR NEWSPRINT ADVERTISING DIRECTOR DIGITAL OPERATIONS MANAGER SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES RETAIL ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES

JOHN SALTAS JERRE WROBLE LANCE GUDMUNDSEN NICK COMO, KATHLEEN CURRY, LIZ GALLOWAY, GEOFF GRIFFIN, RANDY HARWARD, ARI LEVAUX, JERRY SPANGLER, DORY TRIMBLE DOM DARLING, LOUIS GRENET, VICTOR RANGER PETERSON, BEN VAUGHN, DANNY M. VAUGHN

RANDY HARWARD Whether spinning records as music editor for City Weekly, or spinning discs on the golf course, Randy Harward makes the world go round with his tales about all things weird and wonderful in the land of Zion. Harward is also working toward a film degree and a career in filmmaking.

CAIT LEE SUMMER MONTGOMERY, JOSH SCHEUERMAN PAULA SALTAS NICOLE ENRIGHT BRYAN MANNOS ALISSA DIMICK JACKIE BRIGGS LARRY CARTER JENNIFER VAN GREVENHOF PETE SALTAS ANNA PAPADAKIS DOUG KRUITHOF, KATHY MUELLER, JEREMIAH SMITH, SIERRA SESSIONS, LISA DORELLI, TYESON ROGERS

NICK COMO Nick Como is the communications honcho for Salt Lake City’s Downtown Alliance. Growing up in New York City, Como moved West when he was 21 for “the mountains, the skiing, no traffic and the quality of life.” For more than a decade, he worked for Alta and Solitude ski resorts and now spends his free time in the great outdoors skiing, mountain biking, river running, canyoneering and dreaming up adventures.

COVER IMAGE: MOAB DAILY SECTION ON THE COLORADO RIVER BY DOM DARLING DISTRIBUTED FREE OF CHARGE THROUGHOUT THE WASATCH FRONT WHILE SUPPLIES LAST. ADDITIONAL COPIES OF VAMOOSE ARE AVAILABLE AT THE VAMOOSE OFFICES:

248 S. MAIN, SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84101, 801-575-7003 EDITORIAL CONTACT: EDITOR@VAMOOSEUTAH.COM

COPPERFIELD PUBLISHING, INC • COPYRIGHT 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

@vamooseutah

6 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

@VamooseUtah

@vamooseutah

ARI LEVAUX Ari LeVaux writes Flash in the Pan, a syndicated weekly food column that appears in more than 100 newspapers nationally. He lives in Missoula, Montana where he hunts, skis, hunts on skis, and skis while hunting, among other pursuits.


Spring Fever

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—Jerre Wroble, Editor editor@vamooseutah.com

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FR AD IE UL ND T LY

f Utah’s dramatic four seasons, the arrival of spring induces the most joy. The sun gently begins to work its magic from a higher perch in the sky each day. Tree sap rises, encouraging leaf buds to sprout on branches. Mountains hold on to their snowpack while cities below them warm to reveal verdant lawns and Spot’s thawing poop. Daffodils and tulips bravely poke their shoots through the clay-like soil. Suddenly, the big decision of your day is whether to ski Alta or play Layton’s Valley View Golf Course. Bike the Jordan River Trail or ice fish at Pineview Reservoir? Winter camp at Jordanelle State Park or road trip to a national park adventure? This time of year, it’s possible to keep a foot in both worlds of winter and spring activities. One destination in southeast Utah remains the ultimate spring break: Moab. It’s certainly the place to warm your bones hiking, biking or otherwise really liking the region’s colorful canyons, mesas, buttes and rivers. And that’s why, in this issue, Travel Brigade writers Geoff Griffin and Kathleen Curry offer tips on how to spend a spring weekend in and around Moab, squeezing in every ounce of fun and flavor. Geoff and Kathleen extended their Moab visit by traveling 90 minutes east on Interstate 70 to Grand Junction, Colorado. The Western Slope of Colorado is lately a booming tourist hub, offering diverse adventures and activities including wine tasting at more than 20 wineries. One Moab river guide has his eye on the snow up north as a place to expand his operations. Nick Como’s Trailblazer article on Carl Dec notes that Dec’s company will offer guided spring skiing and ice climbing in the Wasatch backcountry. And for a true wilderness experience, consider making the five-day run down the Green River through the legendary Desolation Canyon. Jerry Spangler tells how and why you should plan to undertake this unique and wholly wild expedition. Nothing says spring like the “ching” of the chains when a disc hits its intended mark at a disc golf course. Randy Harward divulges why the sport keeps him and his Frisbee-flinging ilk coming back for more. In Backcountry Chef, Ari LeVaux notes the challenge of finding morel mushrooms in the wild, while Dory Trimble weighs in on wilderness-medicine courses. Finally, Liz Galloway encourages you to give cool-weather camping a try. With the right equipment, camping during the off-season can be cozy and comfortable. Plus ... no crowds. The rites of spring are restless, exciting times. If you’ve hunkered down this winter, just know that springtime in Utah’s Rockies is the best time of year to, as our motto says, “Get Out. Get Going. Just Go.” Thanks for letting Vamoose inspire you.

CELEBRATING

20

YEARS

IN SUGAR HOUSE!

Ben Vaughn

Camping near Indian Creek

1063 E. 2100 S. 801.463.9393 FIDDLERSELBOWSLC.COM Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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SPRING INTO MOAB’S RUGGED RIDING, RAFTING AND RED-ROCK MAJESTY BY KATHLEEN CURRY & GEOFF GRIFFIN

O 8 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

f the many symbols that represent Utah to the rest of the world—Temple Square, the Jazz logo, skiers waist-deep in powder, Promontory Point and fry sauce—one symbol shows off Utah’s natural beauty so well that the state chose to put it on a license plate: Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, just outside Moab. Moab is a destination offering no shortage of adventures. Two national parks—Arches and Canyonlands—provide unparalleled hiking, climbing and camping opportunities. Rafting the Colorado River connects you with the unique terrain of southeastern Utah. The surrounding landscape offers horseback riding, hiking, canyoneering, rock climbing, ballooning, off-road riding and, of course, mountain biking—the sport Moab made famous (or perhaps vice versa).  With so many choices, it’s a difficult to squeeze everything into a long weekend, but give the following itinerary a shot with your own personal tweaks. Also, if you can add on another day or two, continue east on Interstate 70 just beyond the state line to Grand Junction, Colorado, where you’ll find a national monument right next door to wine country (See story on p. 16).


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The Fins near Devil’s Garden in Arches National Park

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Orem Provo Holladay Layton 801-373-4400 801-278-0281 801-224-0006 801-544-1182 www.allenscamera.net Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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THURSDAY ••••

Salt Lake City to Moab

Leaving Salt Lake City in the early afternoon, prepare for a 233-mile drive to Moab that takes about 3 ½ hours. Travel Interstate 15 south to Spanish Fork, where you’ll hop on U.S. Route 6 and travel east. That road eventually joins up with U.S. Route 191 South, just outside of Helper. By then, you’ll be about mid-point in the trip, making it the perfect time to stop at Balance Rock Eatery & Pub (148 S. Main, Helper, 435-472-0403, online on Facebook), a time-tested eatery serving everything from breakfast to steaks, plus a few original items such as a beef stroganoff sandwich. Whatever you get, don’t miss out on a side of fresh, hand-cut fries. The restaurant also regularly hosts live bands showcasing original material.  After dinner, continue on US-191 south until it joins up with I-70 East near Green River. Travel east on I-70 to the Crescent Junction exit where you’ll pick up US-191 south again. That road will take you directly into Moab.

Paul M.

A time-tested eatery: Balance Rock Eatery & Pub

For your first night’s lodging, consider Red Cliffs Lodge (Mile Post 14, Highway 128, 866-812-2002, RedCliffsLodge. com), a few minutes out of town. But once you get there, the views are stunning, and you can relax in your own cabin right by the Colorado River. If you arrive before 7 p.m., stop by the Castle Creek Winery (435-259-3332, CastleCreekWinery.com), located on the property, to pick up a bottle of Monument Red or Petroglyph White to sip as you watch the river roll by.

10 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

Red Cliffs Lodge

Castle Creek Winery


FRIDAY

Horseback riding/exploring Moab

••••

Red Cliffs Lodge

In the morning, walk over to the Main Lodge on the Red Cliffs property for the breakfast and a view. Also, put in an order for a box lunch to take with you on a horseback ride through the surrounding area led by Red Cliffs’ own experienced wranglers. The ride will take you on trails traveled by many Hollywood cowboys. When you return to Red Cliffs Lodge, head downstairs in the main building to visit the Moab Museum of Film and Western Heritage. Moab has long been a favorite of filmmakers, and the area’s unique landscape has been the backdrop for entertainers ranging from John Wayne to Johnny Depp. The very land Red Cliffs sits on was used by legendary director John Ford while making a string of classic Westerns in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Red Cliffs Lodge

The Gonzo Inn

The Gonzo Inn

Later on, if you have time, check out the Moab Area Movie Locations Auto Tour (DiscoverMoab.com/pdf/movie.pdf) developed by Discover Moab, featuring set locations ranging from John Ford’s 1949 Wagon Masters to Michael Bay’s 2014 Transformers: Age of Extinction. In the evening, head back into town and check into The Gonzo Inn (100 W. 200 South, Moab, 435-259-2515, GonzoInn.com), a unique boutique hotel in the heart of town and within walking distance of restaurants and outfitters. Another in-town option is the Lazy Lizard International Hostel (1213 S. Highway 191, 435-259-6057, LazyLizardHostel.com) where you can get the classic international hostel experience for a low price, or even rent a stand-alone cabin. Either way, be prepared to pay in cash. 

After settling in, head out to some of Moab’s freshest food at Milt’s Stop & Eat (356 E. Millcreek Drive, 435-259-7424, MiltStopAndEat. com). This classic American drive-in features grass-fed, hormone-free beef and buffalo burgers along with ice cream and malts made from locally sourced milk. The chili cheeseburger has been a favorite with diners since the place opened in 1954.  If you want to keep the evening going, head over to Moab Brewery (686 S. Main, 435-259-6333, TheMoabBrewery.com) and check out locally crafted brews such as Porcupine Pilsner and Dead Horse Amber Ale.

Moab Brewery

Moab Brewery

Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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SATURDAY

Floating the Colorado River/Hiking at Arches National Park

In the afternoon, head back into town and track down Quesadilla Mobilla (89 N. Main, 435-260-0289, QuesadillaMobilla.com), a gourmet food truck that melts cheese onto a tortilla with all sorts of other great things like slow-cooked beef, sautéed corn and spicy sweet potatoes. The truck can often be found on Main Street, but check out Quesadilla Mobilla on Twitter and Facebook for exact locations. After lunch, head to Arches National Park (435-719-2299, NPS.gov/ arches), on the north end of town. One of the park’s charms is that accessing many of the world-famous rock formations—Delicate Arch, Double Arch, Windows and Park Avenue—are all easy hikes, many less than a mile. You don’t have to travel far to take in the breathtaking beauty of spots you’ve only seen before on calendars. 

Start the day at Moab Diner (189 S. Main, 435-259-4006, MoabDiner.com) for breakfast.This place is noted for its Sweetwater Skillets—a blend of fried potatoes, bacon, green onions, bell peppers and cheese topped with two eggs. You can also opt for chorizo, fajita steak or kielbasa, but whatever you choose, make sure to get it smothered with their famous green-chili sauce. After breakfast, head down Main Street to Moab Adventure Center (225 S. Main, 435-259-7019, MoabAdventureCenter.com) where you can book a variety of trips, from ballooning to Hummer safaris. But it’s hard to beat a half-day of guided rafting on the Colorado River from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. During the spring, you can expect mild-to moderate-whitewater rapids.

Gourmet fare to go at Quesadilla Mobilla

Andrionni R.

Hot-air balloon rides with Moab Adventure Center

Moab Adventure Center

••••

12 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

Arches National Park

Eye-popping views at Arches National Park


Albert Herring

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Arches’ Fiery Furnace hike: a labyrinth of sandstone canyons

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The Blue Pig

Sugarhouse’s Bike Shop Since 1930

Blu Pig’s finger-lickin’-good ribs If you’re looking for something more challenging, check out the ranger-led Fiery Furnace hike into a labyrinth of narrow sandstone canyons. The hike takes three hours on an unmarked trail that includes all sorts of narrow gaps. The cost is $16 for adults and $8 for children. Contact the visitors’ center for current times and hike registration. In the evening, once you get back to town and cleaned up, check out the Blu Pig: A BBQ and Blues Joint (811 S. Main, 435-259-3333, BluPigBBQ.com) where live music is a nightly occurrence and the ribs are always ready. In addition to all of the pulled pork, brisket and sides you can put away, you can indulge in steaks, burgers and Southern classics like fried catfish po’ boys. Besides all that meat, Blu Pig claims to have the largest selection of whiskey, tequila and beer in the Moab area. 

Est. 1930

2175 S 900 E | 801-466-3971 Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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SUNDAY

Canyoneering/Dining in Moab

Get up early and grab a quick coffee and “Rise & Shine Tacos” filled with eggs, pico and ham or sausage at Wake & Bake Cafe (59 S. Main, 435-259-2420, WakeAndBakeCafe.net). Once you’re full, get ready for a vertical adventure in canyoneering with Moab Cliffs & Canyons (253 N. Main, 435-2593317, CliffsAndCanyons.com). The half-day trip to Ephedra’s Grotto is perfect for beginners. The 4- to 5-hour guided trip includes a short hike and an exhilarating rappel into a green canyon next to one of the largest natural land bridges in the world. 

Oh My Dog exotic dogs

14 | Vamoose Utah • National Spring 2017 Floodstage in Arches Park

Moab Cliffs & Canyons

Oh My Dog

Moab Cliffs & Canyons

Moab Cliffs & Canyons

••••

Cliffs and Canyons will drive you back into town where you can get a hot dog to go at Oh My Dog (83 S. Main, 702-622-7236, online on Facebook). Look for the orange food truck on Main that has gourmet hot dogs, including classics like Chicago and Coney Island styles, but branching out into Vietnamese and other exotic creations. On your afternoon return to Salt Lake City, stop in Price at Sherald’s Frosty Freeze (434 E. Main, 435-637-1447, online on Facebook) for a burger or sandwich and pick from a variety of shake flavors.  Once you’ve tried Moab, you’ll find yourself going back again and again because there’s so much more to experience. The itinerary provided here doesn’t even include Canyonlands, mountain biking or dining at Moab’s many unique pubs and eateries. Simply put, Moab is an adventure playground that can be rediscovered every time you visit.  Follow Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin on Twitter @TravelBrigade and check out their weekly travel podcasts at TravelBrigade.com. 


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A Grand Adventure Cross over to Colorado’s Grand Junction for a taste of wine and red-rock country. BY GEOFF GRIFFIN & KATHLEEN CURRY | PHOTOS BY VISIT GRAND JUNCTION

Colorado National Monument’s Rim Rock Drive

When it comes to recreation, one of Grand Junction’s best-known attractions is Colorado National Monument (1750 Rim Rock Drive, 970-858-3617, NPS.gov/colm) where red-rock monoliths soar above stunning cliffs and canyons. Visitors can take in magnificent views while driving along 23-mile Rim Rock Drive, which is also a popular biking and marathon route. Numerous stops along the way offer trailheads and hikes. Another place to explore is Grand Mesa, the largest flat-top mountain in the world, at 11,000 feet in elevation. The 500-squaremile area offers more than 300 lakes to splash in as well as Powderhorn Mountain Resort (48338 Powderhorn Road, Mesa, 970-268-5700, Powderhorn.com). The Bookcliffs Range beautifully frames the north end of the Grand Valley and is also home to the Bookcliffs Wild Horse

16 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

Area, with over 30,000 acres set aside to protect wild horse that roam in the area. (Find more information at BLM.gov/com or VisitGrandJunction.com.) If you’d rather stick to a lower altitude and enjoy a bike ride, head to Palisade and stop by Rapid Creek Cycles (237 S. Main, Palisade, 970-464-9266, RapidCreekCycles.com) to rent an e-bike, which provides all the fun of a bike with less of an effort. They’ll provide a map for one of the more popular bike routes, one that visits some of the area’s wineries. Not only do the wineries produce classic reds and whites, but since the area has long been a center for growing pitted fruits—especially peaches, fruit wines also abound. For example, Carlson Vineyards (461 35 Road, Palisade, 970-464-5554, CarlsonVineyards.com) makes a delicious dessert wine from sweet-tart pie cherries. The


S

ometimes, a boundary or border is simply an arbitrary line drawn up by mapmakers. In other cases, it can be more symbolic. Crossing the border from Utah into Colorado along Interstate 70, however, the contrast couldn’t be more distinct. It’s as if Napa Valley were set down in the midst of the incredible Western Slope landscape this area is known for. The Grand Valley area—which includes the towns of Grand Junction, Palisade and Fruita—is about a 90-minute drive from Moab (see related article on p.8) and is home to not only outstanding recreation but also a burgeoning wine scene of more than 20 wineries.

Fourth of July on Independence Monument at Colorado National Monument

winery recommends taking a piece of chocolate made by local Enstrom Candies (701 Colorado Ave., Grand Junction, 1-800-3678766, Enstrom.com) and melting it, and then dipping the rim of a wine glass into it for a dessert treat. Another unique option is Meadery of the Rockies (3701 G Road, 877-858-6330, TalonWineBrands.com), which makes 12 different types of honey-based wines, some combined with local fruits, such as the strawberry honey wine. Any time there is good wine around, there are usually chefs nearby who create great dishes to pair with them, and Grand Junction abounds in fine-dining offerings. 626 on Rood (626 Rood, Grand Junction, 970-257-7663, 626onRood.com) offers wine flights featuring locally produced wines paired with locally grown foods, such as the fresh peaches used in the grilled peach caprese salad.

Two popular times to visit to celebrate the region’s food and wine offerings are the Palisade Peach Festival (Aug. 18-19, 2017, PalisadePeachFest.com), when the town celebrates its history with food and fun, and the Colorado Mountain Winefest (Sept. 14-17, 2017, ColoradoWinefest.com), when more than 50 wineries from throughout Colorado come together. Grand Junction offers the unique combination of beautiful recreation sitting side-by-side with gorgeous vineyards, and is an easy drive of just over four hours from Salt Lake City. Follow Kathleen Curry and Geoff Griffin on Twitter @TravelBrigade and check out their weekly travel podcasts at TravelBrigade.com.

Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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TRAILBLAZER

Moab river guide Carl Dec expands into backcountry skiing. BY NICK COMO

T

he Y-Couloir. Coalpit Headwall. Mount Superior. These are the crown jewels of backcountry skiing in the Wasatch. Like most skiers, I’ve gazed at these faces and chutes for years—sometimes before I even knew they had a proper name, let alone had been skied. I learned more and more about this terrain from reading the venerable Chuting Gallery by Andrew McLean and from watching locals like Noah Howell, who I’d routinely bump into at the Alta Peruvian Lodge bar (the P-Dog), through his many Powderwhores films. In the past decade, I’ve ticked a few runs off my list, a lucky side perk of being an outdoor writer and maintaining a loose connection to the local ski industry.

18 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

Adventure in all directions

Carl Dec

Lacking competent friends to help arrange excursions to these challenging and difficult-to-access lines, my options to earn a safe introduction to these iconic runs were severely limited. Even if I had the funds to drop on heli-skiing, many of these gems are inaccessible to ’birds, whether due to terrain or wilderness restrictions. So, what’s a ski bum to do? Over the past decades, a few guiding services sporadically offered tours into some of these backcountry areas, but the U.S. Forest Service is always hesitant to allow more permits. Enter Carl Dec and Red River Adventures. If you’ve ever wanted to take a raft down the whitewater of the Colorado River beneath the Fisher Towers and climb sandstone spires, or canyoneer through the narrow crevices of Arches National Park’s Fiery Furnace, a call to Southern Utah’s famed Red River Adventures is the only one to make. As the head honcho for Red River team, Dec recently expanded from his usual desert haunts outside Moab to offer guided backcountry skiing and ice climbing in the Wasatch mountains this winter. I spent a week playing phone tag with Dec, receiving voice messages from him along the lines of: “Hey, Como! Sorry I missed ya. I’m just getting back from an ice climb. The GWI in LCC is in, and it’s great. So, you wanted to talk about something for an article? Give me a call back tomorrow. Oh wait, I’ll be out skiing from 5 a.m. ‘til about noon—so sometime after that.” When I finally caught up with Dec—who, it turns out, is a New York-transplant like myself—he briefed me on Red River’s new endeavors with enthusiasm and optimism. “We’ve lined up some of the world’s best ski guides including Noah Howell of Powderwhores [named one of the 50 Icons of Backcountry Skiing] and Andrew Mclean [author of The Chuting Gallery] to lead these amazing tours,” he says, noting his guides have the most experience in this terrain. They’ll guide their clients to experience the best snow, he says.


Dec is starting out slow, only booking 100 guests this season. From introductory tours, up to and including the steep and deep, his goal is to offer an unforgettable backcountry experience to small groups using his hand-picked guides. The classic tour is suitable for kids as young as 10 and aims for moderate ascents between 1,500 feet and 2,500 feet vertical. Intermediate and advanced tours range anywhere from 3,000 feet to 8,000 feet vert in a single day’s (ouch!) outing. Depending on group size (ideally around three or four), rates can be as low as $200 per person—an affordable price given the complexity of these routes and the experience Red River’s guides can lend to a day in the backcountry. With spring around the corner, many of the Wasatch’s prime cuts are “in-season” toward the end of the ski season. Thanks to a generous snowpack—the best I can remember in the past few years—several routes that were off limits are game this year. And who better to show the way than the man who wrote the book (McLean) and the guy who documented it (Howell)?

Red River Adventures 1140 S. Main Moab 435-259-4046 Toll Free: 877-259-4046 RedRiverAdventures.com

WHERE’S CARL? We asked Carl Dec for his top adventure treks in summer and winter, north and south: MOAB: I’d go with Castleton Tower (north face). An incredible route on an incredible tower. Steep and clean. RED ROCK CANYON (OUTSIDE LAS VEGAS): Inti Watana, an intricate semi-long approach to keep the crowds away. Twelve pitches with a little bit of everything. Mini big wall fun. BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON: Ice: Storm Mountain Falls—steep ice and usually a bit of mixed climbing to ice the cake. Always a treat to get this one. A rare former—blink, and it’s gone. Ski: Gods Lawn Mower. Steep, long and, when filled in, it skis like the big north face that it is.

Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

19


Why I …

PLAY DISC GOLF

Flying discs plus golf equals fun, friendship and ching! Victor Ranger Peterson

BY RANDY HARWARD

Touring pro Chris Tellesbo tees off during the 2016 Solitude Open

I

20 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

Randy Harward

Chris Tellesbo of Salt Lake City practices putting at Shades of Pale

first played “Frisbee golf” more than 20 years ago in a junior high school parking lot. We used regular old Wham-O’s and the same rules as ball golf—hit the target (light pole) in the least amount of shots. We played two or three more times before we both forgot about it. Then, within one week in 2009, two different strangers told me that disc golf is a real sport. They explained that there are courses in public parks where you throw three types of discs—sharp-rimmed drivers, blunter midranges and stubby putters—at metal baskets draped with chains. It seemed silly to use more than one disc, much less a bag of 20-plus, and to stretch before throwing like the man in the group ahead of us. Moments later, I watched the same guy, effortlessly and gracefully launch a disc more than 300 feet, landing 5 feet from the basket. I wanted to do that. My new friend, Arnie, handed me a midrange called a Roc. Although denser and certainly heavier than any Frisbee I’d owned, I figured it couldn’t be much different. Arnie tried to explain that these discs required a totally different technique. I brushed him off (“It’s a Frisbee, dude.”) and threw. The


Randy Harward

Faith Cross bangs the chains with a putt on Hole 16 at Creekside Park

the cup. In disc golf, you can hit one the conventional way—on the fly, or from skips—or nail one on a fluke, like when a roller hits a rock and jumps in. A friend of mine once threw too low, but the wind caused his disc to rise and fall dramatically until, 310 feet later, the wind lifted the disc into the chains. After eight years of playing, I have had three aces: one on a fat s-curve and two from skips. We crave aces, but there’s more to the game. Any disc golfer can recite a litany of the sport’s redeeming qualities. Simply walking the courses, communing with nature, is good for the soul. Throwing anything is cathartic; doing so with more finesse than force is pure Zen. Watching that disc soar through lush green parks, majestic mountain courses and rocky deserts is transcendent. Then there’s the social aspect. The disc-golf community transcends gender, class, race, sexual orientation and levels of fitness. It’s inclusive and nurturing; we love to share the game with others, and help noobs learn. We take joy in each

Randy Harward

disc traveled about 60 feet before diving hard left—right into the ground. I finished the round some 50 strokes above par, but had a great time. We played daily from mid-March to late November. Soon, I had my own bag crammed with colorful discs that all flew differently and had names like Sidewinder, Valkyrie and Destroyer. Arnie “the novice,” and I, “the noob,” watched more experienced players throw crazy 300to 500-foot shots—left-banking hyzers, right-banking anhyzers, snaky and surgical s-curves, tight flex shots, long rollers, high helixing tomahawks, upside-down scoobers, and laser-beam tunnel shots through and over thick woods. These led to shorter second or third shots that made the sweet, satisfying sound of ching! when discs hit chains. For disc golfers, ching! is like the telltale crack of a home run, or the swish-snap of a three-pointer. It signals success, and we yearn to hear it. Sometimes you smash chains on a drive. Laypeople call it a hole-in-one; golfers of any stripe call it an ace. In regular golf, the ball either lands in or rolls into

Randy Madill after hitting an ace on Hole 16 at Creekside Park

Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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Randy Harward

The author attempting a difficult shot at Chichen Itza

Randy Harward

other’s successes, even when we’re playing horribly. We linger on the course when the game is done, talking shop, telling stories, teasing each other, trading discs and tips, and making plans to travel to tournaments together. The game is the nexus that connects us, and the bond is strong. Consequently, we play day and night, 365 days a year, in all kinds of weather, even blizzards. Few activities offer such fulfillment. Disc golfers have a long-standing professional organization for the sport (the PDGA), and top pros are even beginning to pop up on ESPN highlights. The sport’s popularity is growing but there are no reliable metrics— yet. So, ask around. Chances are a family member, friend or co-worker plays. And we’d be stoked to show you how.

Disc golfers prepare for the Creekside Open 2014

How to Get Started Playing Disc Golf?

PDGA.com lists 63 disc golf courses statewide, most of them free to play. The game’s spiritual home in Utah is The Walter F. Morrison Disc Golf Course at Creekside Park (1650 E. Murray-Holladay Road [4800 South], Millcreek), named for the Utahn who invented the flying disc, which was co-designed by Steady Ed Headrick, the “Father of Disc Golf.” During summer months, for a high-altitude challenge on mountain slopes, try Solitude Mountain Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon (SkiSolitude.com/ summer-activities/disc-golf). Also, check out Utah’s revived original first disc golf court designed by Headrick, Roots, Jordan River Disc Golf Course (1250 N. Redwood Road, Salt Lake City). Utah County has the hidden and very technical Art Dye Disc Golf Park (573 E. 700 North, American Fork). Down south there are three gems for weekend trips: the challenging Rim Rock Disc Golf Course (1st tee at The Rim Rock Patio, 2523 E. Highway 24, 3 miles east of Torrey), a picturesque course at Goblin Valley State Park (Goblin Valley Road, Green River) and the isolated camping-friendly course (you’ll need a SUV) at Base Camp Adventure Lodge (Lockhart Basin Road, Moab).

Get Gear

For in-person, hands-on assistance, Play It Again Sports (located in Sugar House, Cottonwood Heights and Orem, PlayItAgainSportsSaltLakeCity.com, PlayItAgainSportsOrem.com) is a great source for new and used discs. Logan-based Infinite Discs (1125 W. 400 North, No. 120 Logan, 435-799-1106, InfiniteDiscs.com) aims to be one of the country’s largest online disc golf retailers but also has a storefront and an informative website. Discs start as low as $8.

Be Cool

Relax. Have fun. Observe basic disc golf etiquette: Don’t throw until the group ahead of you moves on to the next hole. If your disc is headed toward another player, shout “fore!” If you must play in a large group, allow smaller groups to play through.

22 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017


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THOR

Backcountry

BY ARI LEVAUX

The Morel of the Story

M

orel mushrooms are the stuff of legend and fantasy. Scattered upon the ground, they look like a little tribe of forest gnomes with magical powers, like beings from a game of Dungeons and Dragons. They taste like an earthy distillation of fungal flavors and aroma, and command respect from cooks and eaters alike, who speak of them with reverence. For pickers who hear the call, they are a beacon to adventure and profit. Finding morels is all about finding morel habitat. And to do so, you need to understand morel habits. The single most important distinction in morel behavior is between the so-called “naturals” and “fire followers.” Naturals come up year after year in the same spots. These stashes are zealously guarded by those who know them (unless they are in Michigan, the government of which publishes online maps so locals can go find them). Naturals come up in spring in wet

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areas, like near rivers and creeks, when the soil temperature hits about 40 degrees. But the majority of gathered morels, including virtually all of the ones available for purchase, were harvested in the fire-scarred mountains of the West. While a handful of naturals would be considered a decent harvest for a day’s foray, the fire-following varieties can be astoundingly prolific in spots that were burned the previous summer. Sometimes they grow in such density that it takes effort not to step on them. With buyers paying as much as $20 a pound (they can retail for more than $50/pound), good pickers can easily earn more than a thousand bucks a day for their efforts. Wait, did I say “easily?” Scratch that. Even if you live in the same state as a fire—and in Utah, you certainly do—you’ll probably have to drive a few hours and bump along dusty dirt roads for a while in order to get to a spot that may or may not have had morels, and may or may not have already

What better excuse to get lost in the woods than hunting for mushrooms?

been picked. Simply going to a burned forest is a good first step, but hardly a guarantee of success. Within burns, mushrooms are finicky as to where they will pop up. In my experience they prefer burnt fir stands to pine, but not too burnt—some blazes are so hot they sterilize the soil to the point where nothing will grow. These fleeting fungi only grow where there is the correct balance of soil humidity and temperature, which means south-facing slopes will “pop” first, north-facing slopes last. You can arrive at the perfect habitat a few days too early or too late and make the long drive home empty handed. The time and gas invested in fruitless picking trips can quickly add up to a significant investment. According to Don Johnston of the Mushroom Society of Utah (www.UtahMushrooms. com), that worst-case scenario typifies the state’s fire-following morel situation. He’s picked fires in other states, and has a feel for it, but even in promising burnt-forest habitat,


sooner lend you their ATM cards and tell you their PINs than steer you in the right direction. Thus, the expression: “Anyone foolish enough to ask a picker where he found his will be foolish enough to believe the answer.” But all the pain, frustration and expense of getting to the goods will quickly evaporate at the sight of a little “fun-guy” poking through the black duff. You quickly scan the area for others, pull out your knife, drop to your knees, and start picking. The endorphins and adrenaline surge with the primal thrill of the hunt as you fill your bucket, and every time you eat them you re-live this feeling, and the sublime connection to the landscape that it embodies. If you dry them for later use, the feelings and flavors can be accessed whenever you rehydrate a few. So if you have to pay a premium price at the market for them, think about the work, risk, gas and other expenses that the harvester went through. The buyers take on risk as well, as morels can rot very quickly and, even under the best of conditions, will shrink daily. Larry Evans, a picker and buyer in Missoula, Montana, says his inventory loses about 5 percent of its value every day. Prices are always high at the start of the season, as the northern states begin producing major quantities from their massive fires. If you want to try your hand at chasing firefollowers, look for burns in high-elevation forested areas. Creeks within burns will provide good humidity as the season progresses, prolonging the “sweet spot” of a flush of fire-following morels. Speaking of sweet spots, Stephanie Cannon was kind enough to offer a ninja morel-finding trick for one of Utah’s most prevalent—and growing—habitats: suburban sprawl.

Morel Sauce

INGREDIENTS INGREDIENTS

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1 cup morels, either whole or sliced ¼ cup heavy cream 1 tablespoon butter zest and juice of one quarter lime ½ medium yellow onion, minced pinch nutmeg Salt and pepper to taste Button mushrooms (if you’re cheap) ¼ cup dry sherry

Morel mushroom: the little “fun guy” Mary Smiley

he usually strikes out. Johnston suspects Utah is just a little too dry. Naturals, he says, are the way to go. And no, he won’t tell you where he once picked 16 pounds in a single day. And even if he did, it wouldn’t help you much, as that stash has been petering out in recent years. Stephanie Cannon, current president of the Mushroom Society of Utah, has had “two or three” days like that herself in 25 years of picking, always naturals. Big harvests usually happen in wet years—not to be confused with 2016, which saw no rain from May through October. Don’t get your hopes up, she warns. “Feel lucky when you find some, and don’t tell anyone where!” With that being said, even failed morel hunts can be successful walks in the woods. “It makes a hike more interesting if you come back with a few,” she says. She also looks for shaggy manes, enoki and oyster mushrooms, among others that she knows how to spot. You should, too, unless you have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to mushroom hunting, in which case you should probably contact the Utah Mushroom Society. In addition to the dangers presented by the mushrooms themselves, there are also dangers inherent to the wilderness: Don’t get lost. Bring water. Don’t go alone. Etc. I’ve gotten lost, run out of water, tumbled down mountain slopes, been chased by a moose and nearly broken my ankle in the middle of nowhere, all in pursuit of this glorious fungus. Once, picking morels in Alaska, I awoke in my tent to gunshots, as a frustrated mushroom buyer emptied the clip of his pistol into an inflatable raft that had spilled hundreds of pounds of mushrooms into an icy river. Getting reliable information is tricky in morel country, and those you ask would

Look for newly poured concrete, and the accompanying new landscaping. “White morels are being shipped in on wood chips from the Midwest,” she says. You can find those magical beauties hanging out beneath the new plantings. “It’s only good for the first year, April/May-ish.” If you just want to cook and eat them, and can skip the adventure, prices will start to ease as the season wears on. So frugal morel purchasers might want to sit tight. Another way to get more fungal mouthfuls for your dollar is to combine morels with your standard button mushrooms. The flavor of the wild ones is so strong that it will augment the relatively mild flavor of the buttons. Morels should be cooked; eaten raw they can cause gastrointestinal distress. They respond well to being combined with butter and cream, as in the accompanying recipe, that is as good as it gets.

Melt the butter in a heavy bottom pan. Add onion and morels (and buttons if using). Cook together until onions are translucent and the morels give up their moisture—about 10 minutes. Add sherry, and let it cook off. Add nutmeg, lime zest and juice. Cook a moment and add the cream. Cook five more minutes, season with salt and pepper, and serve. You could serve these on toast or in puff pastry, toss them with noodles, or eat them out of the pan in their buttery, creamy glory. Whether you went to the trouble of picking them, or forked over your hard-earned cash, the effort and expense will melt away as your mouth heads west to a burnt forest, the exact location of which you will never know. Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah | Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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Splendid Isolation, Splendid Desolation Discover the true meaning of wilderness floating the Green River’s Desolation Canyon. BY JERRY D. SPANGLER PHOTOS BY COLORADO PLATEAU ARCHAEOLOGICAL ALLIANCE

Near Flat Canyon

Three Fords Rapid here are times when the outdoor experience doesn’t seem all that special. Maybe it is the rumble of a generator at 5 a.m. coming from the neighboring camp spot, or the packs of whining ATVs that shatter the solitude of your favorite hike. Or maybe it’s just too many people enjoying what our great state has to offer. There are times when my soul aches for quiet isolation away from all the hubbub, and in those moments, I find myself turning to Desolation Canyon—a 90-mile stretch of the Green River in eastern Utah known by river enthusiasts as merely “Deso.” The canyon earned its moniker nearly 150 years ago when John Wesley Powell laid claim to being the first white man to float the length of the Green (he probably wasn’t, but that’s another story). In the intervening decades, the canyon corridor has remained

T

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Middle Desolation Canyon largely untarnished and undeveloped, and in 1969, on the 100-year anniversary of the Powell Expedition, about half of the canyon was designated the Desolation Canyon National Historic District to reflect these unspoiled characteristics. Deso is currently the largest wildernessstudy area in the lower 48 states—a prized jewel in the campaign for Utah wilderness. Oiland-gas developers must keep sufficiently distant that the sights and sounds of their rigs do not impact the tranquility of the river corridor. In other words, once you float away from the Sand Wash boat ramp (commonly accessed from the Myton turn-off on U.S. Route 40, just east of Duchesne), you will not see or hear the outside world for the next four or five days (there are no roads). Chances are you won’t see very many people, either (the Bureau of Land Management limits

Deso rapids range from Class II to Class III the number of people of the river at any one time). You also won’t be interrupted by your cell phone (no service) or kids playing video games (no way to charge batteries). Deso is a float trip through millions of years of jaw-dropping geologic history and thousands of years of human history. There are places where the canyon is more than a mile deep and maybe only half that wide. Bighorn sheep watch you disinterestedly from the cliff ledges as you float by, and pelicans dive in the murky brown water around you. About the only sounds you hear are the occasional slap of a beaver tail and the welcome pop of a beverage can on a hot summer day. If you are, as I am, fascinated by the ancients who once called this home, there are dozens of places to camp or break bread along the way that reveal traces of the


Florence Creek Flat Canyon

ancient farmers. You’ll see rock-art images pecked and painted on the canyon walls and granaries tucked on the cliff ledges. It’s a great reason to spend time exploring, because discovering them is half the fun. Also, there are river guidebooks that offer some clues; my favorite is Desolation River Guide (WestwaterBooks.com/productspage/river-guides/desolation-river-guide). Every side canyon offers discoveries of something glorious. In the spirit of this remarkable isolation, you feel as if you are the first to ever discover it. You could spend days exploring Range Creek, Flat Canyon and Rock Creek. I have logged nearly 30 Deso trips, mostly as part of my archaeological research. And each and every time, without exception, I have pulled off the river at Swaseys Boat Ramp with a renewed feeling of discovery. Here are a few ways to experience Deso:

Former CPAA archaeologist Andy Yentch documents a tower site in upper Desolation Canyon.

n For river novices, it’s best to use a commercial outfitter, and there are lots to choose from. I have worked closely with Sherri Griffith Expeditions (GriffithExp.com) and Colorado River & Trails Expeditions (CrateInc.com) and can vouch for their environmental ethics on the river. These folks care passionately about our public lands. They also handle all the organization and cooking. It can be pricey but worth every penny. n Another popular way to enjoy the river is by self-support kayak or inflatable canoes (rubber duckies). The dozens of rapids found here are not monsters like you’d find in the Grand Canyon, but they are technical. You need to know what you are doing. And you will be required at check-in to prove you have all of the required gear for safety, first aid, self-rescue, human-waste removal, etc.

n And last, organize your own float trip with your own tribe of friends. If you or your friends don’t have rafts, you can rent from university outdoor shops. River permits for private trips always sell out on Recreation. gov. But, if you can be flexible on your dates and wait until a month or so before you want to go, there may be cancellations (about a third of permits cancel), so chances are good you can snag a trip. For information on permits, visit Recreation. gov at bit.ly/2iEYtN1 You should plan on at least five days on the river, though, seven is better. You won’t have a clue as to what happened in your absence, and you won’t care. Jerry Spangler is executive director of the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates for protection of archaeological sites on public lands in Utah and other Western states. Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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Be Prepared

Heeding the Boy Scout motto is the best way to deal with illness or injury on the trail. BY DORY TRIMBLE

C

Knowing how to stabilize, treat and evacuate the sick or injured in28the| backcountry matter of life or death. Vamoose Utahis• often Springa2017

Courtesy NOLS, by Jared Steinman

raig Gorder woke up inside his blue Toyota minivan in a campground at Southern Utah’s rock climbing mecca, Indian Creek. He drank coffee with Kelsey Brasseur, his climbing partner, and reviewed plans for an upbeat, casual day of climbing in the Bridger Jacks, a series of blocky sandstone towers. At the crag, they left their phones, packs and first-aid kit at the bottom of each climb and came back down for snacks between pitches. The pair started up Sunflower Tower midmorning, and Gorder followed Brasseur up the first pitch to a wide belay ledge sandwiched between red-rock towers. From the ledge, Gorder wasn’t sure where to go next, so he took an educated guess and headed skyward. About 20 feet above his partner, with no protection between them, Gorder found a vantage point below a band of loose rock. He took his time, knocking on the rocks around him, looking for the best place to venture up—and as he pulled down, a block the size of a freezer broke off and knocked him into the air. Gorder landed on the belay ledge next to Brasseur, and the rock exploded in his lap, shattering his pelvis and slicing their rope into pieces. “I bounced off the ledge and into the 160 feet of air below,” Gorder explains—but he didn’t hit the ground. His rope, by pure chance, was wrapped around his ankle—and Brasseur caught the end as it flew past her, holding Gorder upside down a dozen feet below her with her bare hands. Gorder managed to pull himself upright and shove his body, broken bones and all, into a wide crack in the sandstone. Brasseur pieced together their damaged rope, lowered herself to him, and pulled them both to relative safety. Gorder assessed his injuries—the bleeding wasn’t


Courtesy NOLS, by Jared Steinman

Wilderness First Responders learn basics like how to conduct a physical exam, obtain patient history, assess vital signs, provide emergency care and make evacuation decisions.

Being a WFR doesn’t prevent injuries, but it does help manage them.

Courtesy NOLS, by Luis Camargo

serious but the pain was, and he was at risk of going into shock. A friend who was climbing nearby saw what happened and rushed to Gorder’s aid. Still conscious, Gorder asked his friends to feed him sips of water. Meanwhile, another friend who learned of his injury happened to have cellphone service and was able to call 911. They then awaited a helicopter rescue, which took hours. Gorder was eventually flown to Colorado. Gorder is a lifelong climber; he and his partner were fit, experienced and climbing within their skill range. Gorder had also taken a Wilderness First Responder course just months before the accident. His training helped him do something few people ever have to do: assess his own potentially life-threatening injuries. “I hesitate to use the word ‘fun’ to describe it,” he laughed, “but I was able to use the skills I had just learned.” Wilderness First Responder (WFR) courses train non-medical professionals how to manage accidents and emergencies when they’re far from a hospital, using the tools available 100 feet up a sandstone tower or deep in mountain backcountry. Being a wilderness first responder didn’t prevent Gorder’s accident, but it did help him manage what happened afterward. If you want to brush up on your wildernessmedicine expertise, spring season is the perfect time to do it—and like with any outdoor pursuit in Utah, you’ve got options. Mountain Education and Development (MED) is a Salt Lake City-based organization that teaches rock- and ice-climbing skills and medical courses all over the world. MED has its roots in international volunteerism—a team led by current Operating Director Nate Smith who launched the organization in 2011 after spending several weeks teaching mountaineering, highangle rescue and wilderness first aid to the Kenyan Wildlife Service. Smith describes MED’s current instructor team as “educators and technicians,” and the team shares a passion for continuing medical education and bold objectives in the outdoors. One instructor climbed Patagonia’s Fitz Roy on his first attempt; another ran the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim and the Zion Traverse in a single month. Smith himself is a professional Alpine athlete for CAMP, and just completed

Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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Courtesy NOLS, by Michael Trewartha

His training helped him do something few people ever have to do: assess his own potentially lifethreatening injuries. “I hesitate to use the word ‘fun’ to describe it,” he laughed, “but I was able to use the skills I had just learned.” —CRAIG GORDER

his 15th tour teaching light and fast Alpinism workshops across North America. If you’re looking for highly educated instructors with unparalleled backcountry experience, consider a course with MED. Upcoming WFR courses: Extended format, Tuesday/Thursday evenings Feb. 21-April 8 with some weekends, in Salt Lake City Cost: $650 Learn more: MountainEd.com The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) claims to be the largest provider of prehospital wilderness-medicine training in the world. Based in Lander, Wyoming, NOLS offers more than 800 courses each year. With a focus on leadership and risk management, NOLS also offers courses that integrate technical and medical instruction, and college students can look to them for semester programs in locations as far-flung as Baja and Patagonia. If you want to learn from a time-tested organization with an international reputation, NOLS is the right place to start. Upcoming WFR courses: April 4-13 in Moab or March 10-19 and May 6-15 in Salt Lake City Cost: $720-$740 Learn more: NOLS.edu

Wilderness Medicine of Utah (WMU) provides comprehensive wilderness medicine courses at an affordable price—hundreds of dollars cheaper than their competitors. Cedar Coleman, WMU’s executive director, believes that “the more

30 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

people that are prepared in the backcountry, the better off we all are,” and the organization has been promoting backcountry preparedness in Utah since the early 1990s. Coleman explains that WMU donates all its profits to fund wilderness medical education and research at the University of Utah School of Medicine. WMU’s instructors are medical professionals with wilderness experience, ranging from EMTs to practicing physicians, and guest lecturers with expertise in areas like diving and high-altitude activities often make special appearances in WFR courses. If you’re looking for an affordable course with a strong focus on medical essentials, WMU might be a good fit for you. Upcoming WFR courses: March 13-18 in Salt Lake City or April 17-22 in Moab. Cost: $449 Learn more: WMUtah.org Weeks after Craig Gorder’s accident, we talked on the phone while he took himself for a walk on his crutches. He was philosophical about his bad luck that day—“I decided a long time ago that I take risks, but that yes, climbing is worth it,” he said. We all assume risks when we head outside for our favorite adventures—and sometimes, despite our best efforts, accidents do happen. Brushing up on wilderness-medicine expertise is a great way to make sure you’re prepared for your next adventure, no matter what nature decides to throw your way.


With a full selection of technical apparel and ski gear, as well as a huge demo fleet and ski shop, the Black Diamond Store is your local source for all things backcountry.

Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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Chillaxin’

With the proper gear, camping out under late winter’s blustery skies can be done in style and comfort. BY LIZ GALLOWAY

I

s camping during late winter/early spring better than summer? Some think so. With the right gear and a few warming tips, even newbies can learn the basics and enjoy the rewards of an offseason campsite. Whether you’re setting up near the car, packing a snowmobile, mushing reindeer, or hauling gear with good ol’ human power, pack well to withstand chilly temperatures and stay dry, so you can forgo any cold-weather whining. Our recommended gear list will keep you in check through the seasons, through rain, wind, sleet and snow. Even if you missed REI and end-of-summer sales, you can still find deals from local retailers and online wholesalers. Take our advice, and your camping trip may consist of more than shoveling snow.

Rab Neutrino Endurance jacket

Four-Season Shelters

Shelter is at the top of the list, and unless you plan to wait out the night in a snow cave laden with evergreen branches, your choice in a tent can make or break a trip. Go for a four-season tent for warmth and safety. Guides and pros have long trusted the North Face Mountain 25, and at a moderate price for a tent ($580), this 2-person option is nicely liveable. Double-wall tents are popular for winter, but they weigh more, so choose wisely. We also have a crush on the Hilleberg Nammatj high-altitude tent that pitches easily and is great for all locations. At $765, this 2-person tent is pricier but is lightweight and handles extreme weather conditions.

Sun Power

Most of us don’t totally unplug, even in the wild. Thus, portable solar-power options are your solution. For shorter trips, you may be able to do with a battery pack, but for longer hauls, a solar charger may be worth the extra weight. The Goal Zero (locally owned) Venture 30 solar kit ($170) is a rugged and well-made solar panel that will keep you charged. We also like BioLite Solar Panel 5 ($60). Its slim design weighs in at 12 ounces and has a 360-degree kickstand to capture rays wherever you like. It’s best to fully charge them before you leave, just in case. Cloud cover be damned, ain’t nothing going to stop us now! And you can catch a little solar power and some Vitamin D.

Function & Style

You can still enjoy style while utilizing effective layering and the right jacket. The essentials: A base layer, an insulating layer, a waterproof shell, a puffy jacket. With a combination of smart wool, fleece, Gore-Tex and down, you’ll laugh in the face of winter. But no cotton, no jeans and always sweatwicking technology. Canadian goose down is a plush choice for winter-specific jackets, and the Kensington Parka ($995) is top-drawer. For something more moderately priced, check out the Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket ($375) with yummy goose-down insulation. We could do a whole review on down, insulated, soft-shell and hard-shell tested-tough jackets, including those for the winter intolerant that use rechargeable lithium ion batteries. But that’s just the start. You’ll also need, insulated, waterproof mountaineering boots like North Face Snowsquall ($130) and Western Mountaineering Down Booties ($100) Tip: fleece-lined waterproof socks are heaven!

The Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar kit 32 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

North Face Mountain 25 four-season tent


Therma Rest Ridge Rest

BioLite Campstove and Pellets

Fire

While cold-weather camping keeps away the bugs and most other campers, it also makes it a challenge to find firewood for your cookstove or campfire. Alternatives like BioLite BioFuel pellets ($20) paired with the BioLite CampStove ($130) can truly make happy campers. The BioLite not only creates a smokeless fire for cooking meals and boiling water, it generates electricity so you can charge LED lights, mobile phones and other devices. Weighing 2.06 pounds, the BioLite has a tripod base, USB port and a flex-light side lamp. If you’re not going for the traditional campfire that requires cutting wood above the snow line (a lot of work), you could opt for the folding FireBox Stove with a grill kit ($80). It’s an easy-to-assemble cook stove able to use wood, charcoal and other fuels. Another option is to bring along your own bearded mountain man.

Nodding Off

Bedding is key! Choosing the right sleeping bag and pad to create ground separation will help retain your precious body heat. Not into Bear Grylls dirt beds? We recommend a sleeping bag rated to at least 10 degrees below the expected outdoor lows— especially if you are a “cold sleeper.” Try the Big Agnes Storm King ($380) down to zero degrees and 650-fill duck down. We like a bag with a little space, and this one has it. Being mummified is not on our list. We also recommend the Marmot Trestles Bag with a solid synthetic fill ($112). Next up is your sleeping pad. You’ll want one with heat-reflective material. Tip: Sleeping-bag ratings are made with the expectation that you will be using a sleeping pad. Retain heat with a pad that boasts a higher R value rating (measurement of material’s thermal resistance) Recommended: A self-inflating pad. You’ll thank us. Try the Therma Rest Pro Lite ($60) or the Therma Rest Ridge Rest ($20)

Lithium Ion Batteries

Keeping Extras

Our dream list shown here is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Space allowing, keep a supply of batteries (lithium is better in cold), gloves, hats, hand warmers, headlamps and outer shells. Also, consider extra eye protection from wind, cold and snow glare. Camping weather in late winter/early spring is unpredictable. Being prepared means that your cool-weather outing won’t become a MacGyver-esque survival feat. Keep the warm beverages coming, stay hydrated and pack plenty of food. Then, let sit back, warm as toast, taking in your frozen wonderland, listen to the silence and gaze upon the panorama of endless stars.

Big Agnes Storm King sleeping bag Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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1

VAMOOSE GEAR GIVEAWAY Vamoose Utah is giving our active readers plenty of reasons to get outside this spring. With our March and April Gear Giveaway you can enter to win awesome prizes from the outdoor businesses featured here. All you have to do is visit vamooseutah.com and sign up for the Vamoose Utah newsletter to get weekly updates on prizes.

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READER GIVEAWAYS MARCH 15 THRU APRIL 15

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1. Allen’s Camera

Enter to win this ultra lightweight tripod valued at $149.95. Use the single locking knob for quick and easy movement of the aluminum ball head: this is an extremely fast way to set up your shoot. Check the leveling bubble to always achieve the correct shooting position. 4 locations in Utah allenscamera.net

2. Park City Trail Series

The Park City Trail Series is a 4-race series designed to introduce new trail runners to the sport. The series is a 5k, 10k, 15k, and 13.1 All of the events are on the Round Valley Trails in Park City, Utah. 2454 S. 700 E. 801-484-9144 pctrailseries.com

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3. Wasatch Touring

Enter to win gift certificates good toward equipment rental. Our demo fleet was established in every sport so that we could test out what was new each year and share the fun with others. With the help of a knowledgeable staff and tools, we developed a shop that can service repair & fit almost everything we sell and use to access our local trails. 702 E. 100 S. 801-359-9361 wasatchtouring.com

4. Moab Adventure Center

Enter to win a day of rafting for 2 down the Colorado River. Your adventure begins with a beautiful drive up the river corridor where you’ll launch your raft onto one of the most popular stretches of the Colorado River. You’ll

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experience such rapids as Onion Creek, Cloudburst, Rocky Rapids, and Whites Rapid. You’ll also have plenty of time to relax and swim, plus you’ll savor our delicious riverside buffet. 225 S. Main St., Moab, UT 866-904-1163 moabadventurecenter.com

5. Fisher Cyclery Sugarhouse

The road calls. From high mountain peaks to friendly neighbourhood streets, it’s an open invitation to ride. So whether you’re digging deep to ride faster and further, or on a casual cruise to a local café, Giant bikes help you make the most of every on-road experience. 2175 S. 900 E. 801-466-3971 fisherscyclery.com


Spring 2017 • Vamoose Utah |

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36 | Vamoose Utah • Spring 2017

Vamoose Spring 2017  

Get Out, Get Going, Just Go!

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