Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mud Caves

When I worked at Kyocera I received five weeks of vacation a year. That was wonderful and gave me a great deal of freedoms. That was when I decided to start building up some clients for a consulting business on the side. I did a lot of my work in the evening but if there was an emergency or something I would just take a vacation day and take care of it. That worked out real well. Now that I no longer work at Kyocera and I'm at Hi-Z I have no vacation days but I still have my clients. Unfortunately, this week one of my clients has an emergency and needed a good deal of help before next week Wednesday. Now I had a dilemma. Alycia was arriving Thursday, Serene and Sydney are coming down on Sunday and I had a camping trip planned on the weekend so that was out too. I decided to just pull some all nighters and get it taken care of. After work on Tuesday I headed over to the clients house and worked until 3:00 AM. I crawled into bed but I had a conference call with Germany the next morning at 8:00 AM so I was up at 6:45 and headed off to work. Wednesday night I had scouts and after scouts I headed back into my clients lab to finish off the job. Unfortunately, my client hadn't done all the work that needed to be done so I had to do that as well and I pulled into my driveway at 6:45 the next morning. I still had a lot of work I needed to do at Hi-Z so I slept for two out and headed for my day job. I was really dragging and could hardly get out of bed. As you may remember, Thursday is the day I work at the Temple so it was nearly 11:00 before I got home Thursday night. If I add it up correctly, that made it sixty six hours with five hours of sleep. I thought I was going to die. I needed to get up at my normal time because I was leaving work early for camping and I wanted to get a good days work in but Lisa refused to wake me up and let me sleep in. I was concerned but somewhat grateful for the extra sleep.

My camping trip was to the mud caves. I've wanted to go there for some time but this weekend I finally got to go. I love camping and what a wonderful way to relax after a very stressful week. The stars are so beautiful out there. In the city you can see very few stars but out in the desert they are so beautiful. I tried to take a time exposure of Orion but the picture doesn't do it justice. I was so relaxing to just lay there and look at the sky.

And then the moon came out. I had to grab this picture. It was very dark but this time exposure of the moon came out very nicely.

And of course you always have to have the campfire. How relaxing.

I woke up to the beautiful desert. This place is so desolate I can't imagine how anyone could scrape out a living here. On a trip like this one you have to make sure to bring a lot of water. It is very different than when I camped in Canada. We never took water anywhere because you always came across the random stream and we would drink straight from the stream. You never tasted better water.

The desert was covered with these pretty little flowers. We had some rain a few weeks ago and it has caused all of the flowers to bloom. How pretty.

There is a story about a prospector who got caught in a flash flood in one of the canyons up here. They say he was buried in the mud. It looks like he was found in canyon behind our tent.

This range of hills stretches on for about five miles or so. The hills are made of something between dried mud and shale but it is very easily erroded by a good rain. From what I can tell, the top of these hills are filled with holes, cracks and crevices where the rain can flow into the hills and washes out tunnels. We saw about a dozen tunnels and hiked through five of them. Some were quite large but some you had to crawl on your belly to get through. I am a bit claustrophobic and totally not up to the belly crawl but there was one that was plenty high enough but very narrow. I was quite surprised to find that I was getting claustrophibic. I sent Brett Havertz ahead. Brett is about four feet tall so when he started complaining about how tight it was getting I said to myself, "I'm out of here". I am shuddering now as I think about it.

I wanted to take our little point and shoot camera up to the camp but it recently broke so I took up my nice camera. The camera was way too nice to take into the caves but I did run into the mouth of one of the caves just so I could have a picture of me in the tunnel. This picture was taken about a hundred yards into one of the tunnels and the tunnel continues on for about half a mile. We hiked all the way through it. They are really quite cool. We saw bats and everything including a pile of guanno.

On our way home I thought I would snap a picture of the desert. I have come to realize that all regions have their own sort of beauty. I used to think that after growing up in the Rockies everything else was just boring and in some cases "ugly". I don't believe that anymore. Brandon taught me to see the beauty in the prairies and I've come to think of the desert and beautiful as well. Very harsh but also very beautiful.


Lynn said...

Fred, those are AWESOME photos! That one of the rock skeleton is so cool!

Hope you can catch up on your sleep soon. I just posted a while back about what lack of sleep does to a person. I know.....I'm not one qualified to be preaching.

Dean and I have done what you did this past week for over 17 years now. Sick. I know. I can only imagine what more we might have been able to accomplish if only we had slept more. (What a ironic twist that statement is!) However, it certainly is REALLY hard to break any habits formed. We just can't seem to find more time to put in more sleep. sigh*

Justin, Kira and Evan said...

Oh Daddy, you need to sleep and take care of yourself!

Those sky pictures are INCREDIBLE!!!! Wow ... really amazing!