Archive for the ‘Jake the Hiking Dog’ Category
More than an annual tradition, Hogback Day is an official holiday at our house!
Confused? Let me explain …
Our neighborhood is perched on a mesa in the foothills of Pikes Peak, and we enjoy long sightlines to the east. For most of the year, as soon as the sun rises, rays wash into our east-facing windows. But in winter, when the sun travels south, a rocky, spiny ridge interferes with our sunrises. (Geologists call such ridges hogbacks. It’s true — I didn’t make this up!)
In winter, the hogback delays our sunrise. This means sunlight doesn’t stream in until well after sunrise — after the sun emerges over the ridge. On December 21 (winter solstice), the sun begins to travel north again. On February 25, from our vantage point, the sun has traveled far enough north that it rises over the eastern horizon.The hogback no longer delays our sunrise.
At our house, this is a happy harbinger of spring.
Yesterday, Terry and Laurie Lee joined us in celebrating this distinctive day. We tramped through snow, bushwhacked through scrub oak, and scrambled up the spiny ridge. Our goal: an outcropping we’ve dubbed Solstice Rock. (On winter solstice, we see the sun rise over this outcropping.)
Sunny and warm, it was a perfect Hogback Day! Terry and Laurie have already marked their calendar to join us next year. Soon, people far and wide may celebrate Hogback Day!
Sunrise photos by Patrice Rhoades-Baum.
Group shot (Patrice, Mike & Jake) at Solstice Rock by Terry Lee.
When I announced “Happy Hogback Day!” to our fellow hikers this weekend, I was met with a lot of curious looks. Time to explain.
Our neighborhood is perched on a mesa, and we enjoy long sightlines to the east. For most of the year, as soon as the sun rises, rays wash into our east-facing windows. But in winter, when the sun travels south, a ridge interferes with our sunrises. Sunlight doesn’t stream in until well after sunrise — after the sun emerges over the hogback. (Hogback is a geological term for a rocky, spiny ridge.)
February 25 is a special day at our house. On February 25, the sun has traveled far enough north that it rises over the eastern horizon. The hogback no longer delays our sunrise.
Sounds silly, I guess. But keep in mind, with 14,000-foot Pikes Peak due-west of our house, the sun sets as early as 3:00 in the afternoon in winter. Daylight is in short supply around here. Hence the celebration of Hogback Day.
Yesterday, we celebrated Hogback Day by getting a different perspective. We scrambled through brush and cactuses up to the spine, then bushwhacked to an outcropping we’ve dubbed Solstice Rock. (As you might guess, on the winter solstice the sun rises over this outcropping.)
It was a sunny, warm day featuring Colorado’s extraordinary deep-blue sky. A perfect way to celebrate Hogback Day 2012!
Sunrise photo by Patrice Rhoades-Baum
Group shot (Mike & Jake & Patrice) at Solstice Rock by Michael Baum
Colorado’s Beaver Creek Wilderness Area is steep, rugged country. Athough not far from Colorado Springs as the crow flies, it’s surprisingly isolated and, as we later discovered, has no cell coverage.
During Sunday’s hike, we needed to apply some engineering and building skills to cross the deep, icy, fast-flowing Beaver Creek. At one crossing, we were able to lay down small trees to create a bridge. At another crossing, we attempted to move a small boulder into the creek. Our plan was to “strategically” place the boulder in a particularly deep spot, so we’d have handy-dandy stepping stones. It was going to be sooo easy. Simply roll the boulder down the embankment, and it will plop right into place. Right? Wrong.
Combine exurberance, wet rocks, ice, and sheer bad luck, and — just like that — someone was injured. A thick stick bowed then snapped under pressure, and our hiking buddy fell. The full weight of his body hurtled down into the creek, and his chest slammed into a sharp-tipped rock. He had difficulty breathing. He turned deep-red, then sheet-white. He nearly blacked out.
We had no cell service. We were still on the “wrong” side of a deep, icy creek. And we were miles from the trailhead and parking lot. Clearly, we had a problem.
It was surprising how quickly a fun outing transformed into a dangerous situation. We stayed calm. We assessed the extent of his injuries as best we could. We allowed plenty of time for recovery. After a time, he did recover fully. Thankfully. Now we could all breathe again.
But here’s the thing: We thought we were prepared. After all, we always carry plenty of water, a first-aid kit, extra clothing, and some food. For a severe injury, those items would have been virtually useless. What if he had been impaled? What if a lung had collapsed? What if he had had a heart attack? I shudder to think how our hiking buddy would have fared if we needed to get him to a hospital — or if we needed to get an ambulance or emergency helicopter to the site. We would have had to rely on our wits to deal with all aspects of the situation: treating wounds, getting help, and so forth.
All week, I’ve been thinking about the incident. The word that has been on my mind is self-reliance. Even when you think you’re prepared, stuff happens. You have to be able to rely on yourself — and have people around you whom you trust.
Self-reliance is the stuff that built the West. It fuels entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, and small business owners. With self-reliance, the next time a problem or disaster strikes (on a hike, in life, or in your business), you have “more-better” skills to tackle it. You’re more confident. You’re more experienced. You’re stronger. You’re self-reliant.
[Photos by Michael Baum]
Top photo: A hiker crosses our bridge while my dog Jake jumps.
Bottom photo: Rugged country of Beaver Creek Wilderness Area