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1  Off The Beaten Path / Random Thoughts / SIGNING OFF on: September 19, 2015, 03:48:04 PM
It's been a long climb and a good one, but now I'm going lone wolf.  

Me and the Wasatch are partners now and forever..

My son and his family have joined us in Salt Lake City;  I'm playing principal trumpet in the Utah Philharmonic; and I've about a thousand friends and relatives signed up for our guest bedroom.  I'm 72 but I am still putting in around 100 days a year on the board.

Good-bye and good luck.

Tommy T.

2  Off The Beaten Path / Random Thoughts / Re: Not a Snow Covered Peak! on: August 31, 2015, 07:22:14 PM
I emailed this to my son, who does not participate on this forum, and he responded correctly in about 5 minutes.  He recognized the same two main features that I did: Pipeline was the first thing that each of us saw and then we used Road to Provo as confirmation.  He went on to note that the picture was taken from the area of the Patrol station at the top of the Tram.
3  Out Of Bounds / Outdoor Planning / New Snow in Rocky Mountain National Park in August!!! on: August 20, 2015, 09:57:13 AM

No joke!  That was taken this week and was posted on the Wasatch Weather Weenie blog board this morning.

That is what an early and strong El Nino can do.

The link to the photo is:

Tommy T.
4  Off The Beaten Path / Random Thoughts / Re: Not a Snow Covered Peak! on: August 05, 2015, 06:20:14 PM
The two high points on the high ridge coming off the viewer's left side of the picture are 11,433' and 11,489'.

Tommy T.
5  Off The Beaten Path / Random Thoughts / Not a Snow Covered Peak! on: July 28, 2015, 12:45:23 PM
Mountains look different when there is no snow.

This was lifted from a web site -- it's not a picture taken by me.

If you recognize it, say so but leave it un-named for a while and don't point out the clues.

Let's see how many people can recognize it without help.

We'll find out how well traveled some of you really are.

Tommy T.

6  Out Of Bounds / Outdoor Planning / Lightning Deaths (If you-re a guy reading BCA you'd better read this!) on: June 27, 2015, 12:32:48 PM
It is great to have a world-class source of information about weather when you're a guy who would spend all day in the outdoors if he could.

The professor posted this url as pretty mandatory for all of us:

The substance of the information at that site is that 64% of lightning deaths occur during outdoor recreation (not forestry or plowing the fields).

Worse! Of those deaths 81% of the victims are male.

The article includes an interesting map showing the average number of cloud to ground strikes per year -- New England isn't bad.  Florida and the California coasts seem to be the most dangerous. 

(My personal favorites, windsurfing and re-roofing the house, during hurricanes, aren't mentioned, although it is well known that hurricanes often breed thunder storms.   Huh )

Tommy T.
7  Off The Beaten Path / Random Thoughts / Re: A Different view of Salt Lake City on: June 24, 2015, 05:28:31 PM
Another weird and wonderful experience in SLC.

We have a small, but private back yard.  Dominated by a huge sycamore tree (state tree of Indiana where my wife and I were born), we have a swinging chair, a plot of grass and a minimalist garden with some strawberries, some potatoes, rhubarb, a pear tree and an experiment with some hot peppers with which we are not familiar.

There is a red bird house hanging in a small pear tree, which was home to a baby or two this Spring; a running water bird bath, just installed; and a hummingbird feeder, in the same tree. 

Today I had refilled the feeder and was holding the body of feeder with one hand while looping its string into a hook hanging in the small tree. 

A hummingbird (probably a male blue-throat) flew up and fed from the feeder while I held it steady and watched in amazement.

Tommy T.
8  Off The Beaten Path / Astronomy / Re: Star of Bethlehem Reappears in 10 Days ??!!! on: June 21, 2015, 01:08:43 PM
I just want to re-emphasize the dangers of looking at the Sun through any kind of optical device:

We had a volunteer in the astronomy program at Chaco who permanently scarred his right lens by looking at the Sun through the view finder on his camera during an effort to photograph a beautiful Sun-set.

Tommy T.
9  Off The Beaten Path / Astronomy / Star of Bethlehem Reappears in 10 Days ??!!! on: June 20, 2015, 02:38:02 PM
Jupiter and Venus will come into conjunction during the nights of June 30 and July 1.  

Even better, it will happen just after sunset, low in the Western sky and will be a very easy visual occurrence.  The two planets, which are the third and fourth brightest astronomical objects (after the Sun and the Moon) will be visually so close together (about 1/3rd of a degree of separation)  that they will appear as a single, very bright object.

Right now, in the last half of June, the two planets are clearly the brightest objects in the sky just after Sunset ("just" after -- don't wait an hour to get out and look!) and are about 15 or so degrees above the Western horizon and clearly visible at just after sunset.  They look like this from my Salt Lake City street corner:

That was taken on June 18th.  The two will be a bit closer to each other every night and will be a bit closer to the Sun, so get out at Sunset and start looking.  Right now 1/2 hour after Sunset is probably a good time, if you have a clear view of a flat western horizon.  

Right now they are roughly 18 degrees apart -- by Sunset on June 30 they will look like a single very bright star.  If it's cloudy evening, the evening of July 1 should be just as good.  On those nights, you actually should start looking 1/2 hour or so before Sunset (remember Don't Look Directly at the Sun and always think twice or three times and very carefully before using binoculars or a telescope to look at anything even close to Sun).

This is a fairly rare occurance -- everything has to line up, at night, when your side of the Earth happens to be in darkness -- once in a lifetime, maybe.  We can run models of the solar system backwards and find that a similar event happened around 2015 years ago.

Observers in the East would have noticed two bright stars getting closer and closer together, as if an omen of something about to happen.  Finally the two appeared to merge and the observers might have started a journey westward toward . . . .?

Tommy T.
10  Off The Beaten Path / Random Thoughts / Re: A Different view of Salt Lake City on: June 18, 2015, 01:24:12 PM
Nice.  I would have offered to ride the Duc to SLC from Texas  Smiley


My wife has a 20 year old, two-cycle, Suzuki 250 down there.  It hasn't been started for a few years and it's retail value is probably near the single digits, but we could buy you a six-pack for the journey.  I'm not sure that it would make it up the road to Brighton Ski Area, but you could probably get from our house there (South end of the Texas/Louisiana line) to our house here in a few weeks.  Winds on the West Texas prairies might blow you back to Mississippi and crossing the Continental Divide might entail walking beside it instead of riding on it, but you could look at the whole thing as a challenge instead of as a thrill.

Tommy T.
11  Out Of Bounds / Trip Reports / Re: Winter is Over/Snow is Gone on: June 14, 2015, 12:38:49 PM
And this represents the moment of transition:

"Tommy T. gets his hands dirty."

Funny thing about this project relates to the ripped open groceries sack that I used to catch the drips from the chain lube.    The sack came from the Harmons supermarket chain.  As I picked it up I read its printed message:


Commitment to our Environment:

Harmons is committed to reducing
our environmental impact through
responsible business practices and
working to create a more sustainable

And then several "Recycler of the year" type awards are cited.

I'll bet that they did not expect that I would extend their recycling one more step in this particular manner.

Tommy T.

12  Out Of Bounds / Outdoor Planning / El Nino is here --2015 on: June 12, 2015, 01:02:54 PM
The majority consensus at the National Weather Service is that El Nino has arrived and will effect the 15-16 snow season in the West.  A minority opinion believes that this is a powerful and long lasting El Nino that will persist into the 16-17 snow season.

It's way too far out chronologically speaking and a bit too early meteorologically speaking, but the Wasatch and New England precipitation patterns are not greatly affected by the El Nino/La Nina oscillation.  The North West tends to increase its precipitation but also its temperatures so snow results there tend to depend on altitude.  

Lots of moisture in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas but not much snow under any circumstances.  If you've been thinking that it is time to go to Taos (and if you haven't -- you should -- see my trip reports from a few years ago), start watching the long range forecasts around the end of August -- Around February, it could be a really good season down there.

It's just something to think about while you're rigging your sails in Narraganset Bay.

Me?  I'm lubing my mountain bike chain as soon as I sign off.

Tommy T.
13  Out Of Bounds / Trip Reports / Re: Winter is Over/Snow is Gone on: June 02, 2015, 11:43:37 AM
There is still "some" snow in the high elevations of the Wasatch, especially on North facing sides.  This is Alta on June 2:

Since Alta and I are not the best of friends, that's the way I like to think of it  Wink !

Tommy T.
14  Out Of Bounds / Trip Reports / Winter is Over/Snow is Gone on: May 31, 2015, 08:35:40 PM
Well, it is the last day of May and the snow is gone.

At least as viewed from our house.

Those two little, pale spots at the ends of the pointers were the only snow that we could see this morning.

By 5pm, when I looked again, they were gone.  

Guess I'll take my board to the basement, wax it up for summer protection and close the books on the winter of 14/15.

I don't know if there will much to report next year. . . .  Well, there will be the interconnect between Park City and Canyons and a promise for new lifts and trails at Canyons to take advantage of the joint system.  Deer Valley has purchased Solitude and the ink on that deal is still wet enough that unimportant detail, like price and category of season tickets, is still not set.

I did not keep a rigorous count for days and runs this year (guess I'm getting old and the count is getting boring) but I was about 50/50 between Solitude and Park City.  Solitude automatically kept track of every ride on their lift system -- total at the two areas was around 80 days.  (From the on-line data that Solitude makes available to me, I could calculate my vertical but it would far from any of my records and is just not worth the trouble.

My wife's titanium knees (one acquired in January and one in April) are in good enough training that we got in a hike up on the trail that runs along  Western front of the Wasatch roughly along the old beach of Lake Bonneville.  Great Salt Lake is the remnant of Bonneville -- the present lake sits at about 4200 feet ASL; our house is just over 4500.  Linda's been taking walks up to 20 minutes on the sidewalks.  We drove up to the trail head in Emigration Canyon (right at 5000 feet) and slowly walked in and up a couple of miles just topping out at about 5250.  Then we turned around and walked back down.  Linda's tough and her knees are working well.  She's talking about the next hike being up in the City Creek Canyon area.

(Funny coincidence:  My daughter-in-law has arranged for shipping of my mountain bike, which rode a lot of New England but is not being fairly tested in Texas.  It'll be here in a few days.  It has a titanium frame.)

I figure it's a 10-10 on this end unless unless something more exciting than I expect pops up on a bike trail some where.

Tommy T.
15  Off The Beaten Path / Random Thoughts / A Different view of Salt Lake City on: May 29, 2015, 12:06:14 PM
We are located roughly 20 blocks from the State House in Salt Lake City.

This picture was taken from our back porch.  The tree is actually rooted on our neighbor's property but the dove [that's a quail -- it's always been a quail, it always will be!!]is calling from our side of the fence.

Earlier this morning, I was practicing my trumpet in our guest room (my music room when there is no company in residence) and a magpie settled in a bush just outside the window and began to sing, seemingly in response to my trumpet exercises.

My wife and I love this city.  We have determined that we will become Utah residents.  We are actively reordering our investments to be Utah state income tax friendly, changing the registration on the car that we have here, making plans to move a couple of heirloom pieces of furniture and room decoration up from Texas, and buying a one-way ticket to Texas so I can ride my Ducatti back.  (Oh!  Also bringing a larger percentage of my socks, t-shirts and underwear out here.)

Tommy T.
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