my dog and me...

Hiking with my best buddy, my golden retriever, Murphy, is one of my favorite past times.  Helps bring me back down to earth to take a stroll in the hills with her.  She has a demeanor and attitude that is something to admire.  Her zest and appreciation is fun to watch and desirable to emulate.  Take a little stroll with us across the creek, up to the falls, and to the high country sunset.

 ^Murphy approaches this rushing creek with some caution.  It is flowing pretty heavy, and she has taken a ride down a slippery creek chute before.  She has respected the dangers of creeks ever since then.  She is still all in, but just moves through it a bit more cautiously now.

^Of course, if there is a bridge option, then she will opt for the higher road.  She is no dummy.  She will take the path of least resistance.

^"I'm coming! Wait up!"

^Barely hanging on in high water.

^Murphy always takes time to smell the flowers.  Good life advice.  We ascend the path to higher ground and the promise of waterfalls and scenic views.  

^She is always on the lookout too.

^The first waterfall in the series, and Murphy is pumped.

^Second waterfall, and she is still pumped.

^These waterfalls are in a secluded little side canyon on one of our favorite hikes across the street from our home.  It is an overgrown and steep ascent to this series, but it is a really cool little place to be.  Christine and I have even found some promising bouldering problems to try to climb.  We have yet to drag the pad up there, but it is fun to scout.  One of these days we will go for it.

^The little side canyon also offers a really cool lookout.  There is a perfect natural bench up here with a little fire pit put in to enjoy.  Not the best place for fires so it is always one best to error on the side of caution so you don't burn the whole show down.  That would suck.  The views are plenty.


^The rat race looks so much more peaceful from up here.  Comings and goings and running around, but not right now.  Right now, just me, Murphy, and a cool breeze.

^Another sun down on another experience with my buddy, Murphy, and a chance to be thankful for all the blessings of my life.  Getting up above the rat race has a magical ability to melt away the stresses of the world.  I am super jacked for the encroaching winter and ski season, but for now I will continue to find some solace in the very same hills as they are right now with my pup.  Colors are starting to change and that is exciting and beautiful unto itself.  Be happy in the moment, each and every one of them.

high and low...

High and low is way more then the elevations at which my wife, Christine, and I were recreating recently.  It can translate across purposes to include the highs of newborn babies, and the lows of the news of a dear friend losing their companion.  My heart goes out to each of them in their experiences on the opposite ends of the highs and lows of the human existence.  I choose to take inspiration from them, and appreciate everything around me that much more because of their examples in both life and death.  Beautiful experiences with my wife and dog are that much more rewarding in the afterglow of the inspiration they have given me.  The views are that much richer, and the fog of sentimental reflection is as thick as the Northern Wasatch scrub oak.

^Christine is climbing higher through the rocky scrub oak lined switchbacks. 

 ^The wild flowers of the north slope at about 8,500 feet take on just that much more splendor through the lenses of inspiration.  Our hearts were broken by the news of my friend and ski athlete coworker, Kate Hourihan, losing her boyfriend Jake Rigby in a terrible hiking accident.  We were both kind of floating aimlessly through our morning routine to get ready for this ride.  At one point Christine was staring off into space when I asked her what was up.  She simply replied, "Just feeling very sentimental after hearing about Jake's fall."  She never met Jake or Kate, but I think she was deeply identifying with Kate and her losing her career outdoorsman companion.  These lifestyles amongst the worlds wildest places are a little more dangerous than most, but those of us living them know how rewarding and enriching they are.  I know Jake lived an inspired and appreciative existence in his time here, and that inspires me to live with that much more zest, love, and exploration.
^Riding through this setting is a gift.  Our spirits were lifted by the view and thin air filling our exasperated gasps for crisp mountain air.  Inspired, appreciative, and sweating.  I will take it all.  

^This ride provided a dual experience of overlooking the mountain valley of Pineview Resevior and the small towns around it, with the opposing view of bustling Ogden City.  The macro view of the city's coming and going always gives me a sense of rising above the madness of everyday life and as bluegrass man Sam Bush sings, "Take a little time for sunshine.  Take a whole lot of time for love.  Take time praise and thank heaven up above.  Take your life, as it may come cause boy it will be gone soon. Take a little time for howling at the moon!"

^Big old Ben Lomond peak.  Pretty high up there.

^Later we descended in elevation to the salty depths of the Great Salt Lake.  Antelope Island is a favorite sunset experience of mine and Christine and I boogied down there to enjoy one. We were a bit late to get to my favorite spot, but this one did not disappoint.

^Locked up and landing.  Pretty cool moment.

^Murphy got quite the surprise when she dipped her tongue into the thick water for a drink.  The salty taste didn't stop her from diving right in though.  I have heard the term salty dog before, but this was a very literal version.  Needless to say, a bath was in order when we got her home.

 ^The waterfowl are abundant out there with the large food source the salty lake provides.  Murphy took advantage of the abundance to chase the feathered friends on the buggy beach.  You can see the bug swarms and waterfowl retreating the tongue flapping, tail wagging newcomer.  Murphy was so fired up to be amongst all the wild activity.

^The sun eventually did set on Murphy's fun, and the orange landscape gave way to the deep purple of the transition of the setting sun to the rising moon.

^The cycles of the universe and life continue each day without interruption.  I can only be thankful to be leading a blessed existence, and take deep inspiration from the examples of those around me.  My wife and I were given the gift of some really deeply enhanced appreciation of some great experiences because of the sentiment gleaned from Kate, her family, and Jake's family in their tragic moments of loss and grief.  It reminded us of our blessing for each other, and our shared experiences.  Many of our friends and family are also getting pregnant and having new babies recently as well.  They add to the appreciation of our blessings we derived from the lows of passing life, with inspirational faith in the existence of the highs of life as well by watching them experience it in the birth of new and beautiful lives.  I am thankful for all of it, and all of them.   

Killer Anaerobics...

The time has come to further prepare for the madness to come.  Every winter my world turns into a marathon of action and adventure.  Getting in shape to sustain the season is a monumental task.  This is the program that makes boys into men, and whips my off season legs into the right shape to tackle a professional ski season.  So here it is:

J.T. Robinson Freeheel Efficiency Anaerobic Workout

 This workout is very intense, but very efficient. Warm up and stretch well before routine. Conduct workout on a padded surface such as carpet or grass, and not on concrete or hard floors to preserve knees.  Massage knees and knee ligaments each night to preserve knee wear and tear. I also like to add in V-sit crunches and supermans for some core strength training.  I try to get up the motivation to do this program four days a week.

So here is how I go about this routine.  Start with some jumping jacks to warm up a little. Then, stretch well. Next, I do some V-sit bicycle crunches and Supermans. After this I run about a quarter to half mile to a location that I like to perform the routine. I do each part of the routine rather quickly with little rest between each maneuver to make the whole workout a cardio routine as well as anaerobic. Then I jog 3/4 of the way back home finishing with a walk to cool down.

Allow me to explain each maneuver in detail:

V-sit Crunches- Lay flat on back, elevate legs six inches off ground. Hands joined behind head. Then perform crunch by bringing right leg up and doing a crunch sit up to bring left elbow to meet right knee. Alternate right elbow to left knee then left elbow to right knee so legs are doing a bicycle motion and upper body is doing a twisting crunch to make elbows touch knees. Feet should never touch the ground throughout.

Supermans- Lay flat on stomach. Arms straight out above head like Superman flying. Elevate arms and legs up about six inches off ground so just your belly is touching the floor and hold this position until muscle failure. I do a couple of these and count off each time to gauge progress.

^Butt Kicks- A hamstring maneuver kicking legs back till your heel hits your butt.

^Burn Outs- Short little jump on tip-toes as fast a possible and barely leaving the ground. Keeping knees locked straight.

^Burst Ups- Short burst jump on tip-toes without bending knees, but this time going as high as you can without bending knees and speed is not a factor.

^Calf Raises- One leg calf raises on ball of foot with heel hanging out over an edge of some kind. For week one it is 10 on each calf.

^Full Ups- A two leg full jump with legs shoulder width apart, hands out front. Jump as high as possible and bring knees up to chest at the apex of the jump and compressing down to a squatting position on the landing. Take these slow to really emphasize position and jump as high as possible on each jump.

^Step Ups- A one leg jump with one foot up on a bench or stair and the other on the ground.  Jump with the leg on the bench then alternate in the air so the other foot lands on the bench.  Each jump is 1 so for week one it would be like each leg does 25 jumps for a total of 50.

^Tele Downs- In a tele stance jumping up and then alternating in the air like a tele turn and compressing all the way down into a deep tele stance till back leg knee touches the ground.  I like to do this on a slight downward incline to mimic teleing as much as possible.

^Side Steps- Down in athletic stance hands out front leap to the side. I do this like a one leg jump to one side and what would be tele back leg follows behind slightly and crosses behind front leg that is taking the pressure of the landing then pushing off that front leg to jump to the other side and then the back leg would become the front leg to land and the foot you just pushed off with would follow behind and become the back leg that crosses behind the front leg.    

shop stops in slc...

The other morning I had some business to attend to in downtown Salt Lake City.  Any time I head into the city I try to get everything that I need to do down there crammed into one day.  I made the best of the trip.  In my travels I managed to mix in some enjoyable stops that are worth mentioning.  
^I brought some gear down to 2nd Tracks Sports.  Ben Johnson is the shop owner, and an old friend of mine.  Of course, just like all my friends, I am too busy to see him very much.  Whenever I do it is always good for a couple laughs.  As well as some killer deals on outdoor gear.

^The shop expanded in a big way last year, and it is still wall to wall gear at deep discounts.  The 2nd Tracks Sports website says it best in describing what they are all about, "2nd Tracks Sports is the only outdoor gear consignment shop in Salt Lake City. We specialize in slightly used outdoor gear and new gear being sold below wholesale."

^Wall to wall deals.

^Good folks too, of all kinds.  Ben and his dogs are helping me get my gear dialed in.  The pups are mostly chilling, but that is how they roll.  This shop is a must visit in Salt Lake City.  If your a resident needing to buy or sell some gear, then this is your place.  I can testify to some brand new "in the plastic" gear that I have there selling at deep discounts.  I mean deep.  If you wait until a pow day this winter, then you could miss them.  When the Wasatch delivers 8 inches or more of powder, the shop does not open until 1:00pm that day.  That is how I like my shop to be.  So get down there this fall, and make it easy on yourself.  Get some.

^Another good time stop in my day's travels was the grand re-opening of the Causwell shop.  Very cool looking set-up down there.  It is a true showroom.  The boys down there do great work.  I met up with Weston D and Shaun Raskin outside the front of the store.  

^Weston was quickly perving the new Surface sticks.  He is excited for the winter.  I am with him all the way.  You can tell that the riders are all starting to feel the pull of winter.

^Owner, Mike Schneider, is helping this guy, Matt, with some Surface skis.  Kind of a funny story.  I grabbed some lunch at Einstein's Bagels before going to the shop, and I met Matt sitting outside eating my lunch.  I told him about the shop, and that I was heading down there.  I was talking to Mike in the shop when Matt walked in the front door.  I laughed when I spotted him, and I introduced them to each other.  Mike showed him some gear, and Matt ended up getting a smoking deal on some Live Free fat skis for this winter.  Very nice ski.  I think he will be stoked on the purchase.  

Good shops, and good friends, old and new.  Gotta love the interactions, and the stoke that exists in shops like these.  The air is crispy and the mornings are chilling off.  The attitude and stoke are ripe in the wind.  You can feel it when you walk into these shops, and into any dank ski shop across the country for that matter.  These kinds of places are magic to people like me every fall.  The energy inside is electric, and I for one am loving the vibes in the build up to winter.  Very exciting.