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Archive for the ‘Outdoor’ Category

All Natural Tan

Posted by jbharp on May 19, 2008

Last week and yet again today at work a heard this phrase;”Looks like you’ve been getting a little sun.” My coworkers were referring to the mild darkening, slightly red tone of my skin complexion. Today I could easily excuse it because I spent a fair amount of time outside yesterday in a relay race. But caught off guard by the observation last week, I lumpishly affirmed the statement and nothing more; “Uhhh…yeah. I’ve been getting ready for summer.” And then I awkwardly slipped away from the conversation like a normal engineer.

Why was it awkward and what am I trying to excuse? Tanning. Yep. I fake bake approximately eight minutes a few times throughout the week. But I’m not going to hide it anymore.

Some may scoff or laugh at tanning simply due to the reason that it’s not natural. If natural, in terms of tanning, means skin tone that is a result of only the sun, then it is true that fake baking is not natural. But so what? There are many unnatural things we do in our everyday life. Isn’t wearing clothes unnatural? Isn’t brushing your teeth unnatural? Isn’t getting from one point to another by means other than your own two feet unnatural?

We as humans have the intellect and volition to make improvements in our lives and ourselves.  We have the ability to take what is natural and alter it. Being natural isn’t good or bad and neither is unnatural. Making such an assessment would be a flaw in thinking.

So, I’ll keep on tanning for the time being. Just because I converse awkwardly like an engineer, doesn’t mean I should have pasty white skin like an engineer, (but maybe that makes me an unnatural engineer).


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Unending Adventures

Posted by jbharp on April 14, 2008

When I first moved to Colorado in early 2003, I found myself in a conversation with a group of people about everyone’s favorite season. Here in the Centennial State we are fortunate to have all four season throughout the year. Sometimes we have them all within a few days or even hours. In fact, the weather changed so much last week that I think that a fifth and possibly a sixth season were in there somewhere.

Back to the conversation…I was shocked and completely blown away when everyone said they enjoyed the summer months in Colorado more than the winter months. Nobody waffled. It was unanimous. Even though I had just moved here, I thought I knew the greatness this state has to offer during winter and these people didn’t have a clue. How could they be saying such anti-Rocky Mountain drivel?!?

I don’t know when it happened (most likely by the end of my first summer here), but I too converted to a Colorado summer enthusiast. Don’t doubt my love for winter though. With skiing and my latest passion for snowboarding winter is certainly a time for excitement and enjoyment. But the opportunities during the summer months are nearly endless. I quickly recognized I would need to live multiple lives (or not work) to enjoy all Colorado has to offer between April and September.

Last night I took the first steps to my next summer time hobby – kayaking. A friend and I will be participating in a short adventure race next Sunday in Pueblo. A portion of the race will be kayaking which I’ve never done before. I figured it was a good idea to practice before I get out in the middle of a reservoir (see mom I’m not completely reckless). A local kayak club has been opening a High School pool on Sunday evenings to allow new comers to practice. Perfect opportunity.

Fortunately, I found an instructor to teach me some of the basics of kayaking. Within 1.5 hours I was able to do a roll – I flip my kayak upside down then using my paddle and a ‘hip snap’ turn myself back upright. My instructor shouted with excitement and the entire pool (full of other kayakers practicing their techniques) erupted with cheers when I emerged from my first successful roll.

It was only a matter of time before kayaking became a new (expensive) hobby for me. But it is finally here. And so is summer…almost. The forecast calls for 1″-3″ of snow on Wednesday following a beautiful 77 deg Tuesday.

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Porcupine Quills

Posted by jbharp on April 7, 2008

During the winter months, I frequently take my dogs out for a late night run at one of my favorite neighborhood parks. It’s close to my house and the loop is only 1.5 miles, which I usually run at least twice. That’s about all Charlie (the husky) can handle these days. Her slowing pace is partly due to her aging and gaining a little weight. But I’m partially to blame for that since I don’t take her with me all on my runs. On the other hand, CJ (the border collie mutt) ping-pong bounces all over the trail but stays close by my side no matter how far I’m running.

Nearly two weeks ago we started a run about 9:30 pm. Even though I’m familiar with nearly every rock, washout, and turn on this trail, a full moon lit up the path. It was a beautiful night; cool enough to need only a long sleeve shirt and shorts.

We weren’t the only ones enjoying a stroll in the lighted wilderness. Nearing the end of the first loop, CJ makes a quick bounce off the trail and an even faster return. Then the “bush” he bounced past waddled off a few dozen feet. Even though I knew Charlie as lagging behind I ran forward and called for her to catch up. A few strides later I notice something in CJ’s nose – three porcupine quills. By the time I was realizing the potential disaster, I turn around to see Charlie coming around the corner and pawing madly at her nose.

Charlie had gone in for the kill. It wasn’t until I got her back to the truck (not finishing the second loop) that I realized there was no possible way for me to remove them all myself. So I got to spend a few hours of the evening in the animal hospital ER. They partially sedated her to remove all the quills. One had gone all the way through her tongue. It was clear she was in pain. CJ wined a bit as I pulled each of the three quills from his nose, the last one with a pair of pliers.

My mom had a similar story with the dogs on the farm this weekend. There was one difference though. The small town vet, who primarily cares for livestock, charged a fee of $40. My bill was nearly six times that!!!

Here are a few pictures I managed to get on my cell phone. It was tough to get Charlie to hold still…understandably.


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The Nalgene Danger

Posted by jbharp on March 15, 2007

A friend passed along some information to me this week about the ever-so trendy Nalgene bottle. These things are extremely common here in Colorado. Almost everyone has one, even if they aren’t an outdoorsy type.
Be Afraid!

The article discusses the harmful affects of a chemical in the plastic bottles, bisphenol A (BPA). Also, the use of harsh detergen which can remove BPA from the plastic. Altough there are other sites that insist on the products safety.
Drink Up!

I will continue to use my Nalgene bottles for a few reasons..
1) Majority rules: After an unclaimed Nalgene showed up in my kitchen a few months ago and a super-size Nalgene from my Brother at Christmas, I now own six Nalgene bottles. You might reply “Oh, one for each day of the week, makes sense.” Neah. I usually use one for a entire week. Hopefully it get’s washed and is put back at the end of the line, but I do have my favorites.
2) It’s only as clean as what’s inside: Nearly three summers ago I hiked up the back side of Mt Princeton with the dogs and a friend. It was a bit tougher than either of us expected, but we made it to the top as we finished the last of our water. The descent was long and dehydrating. So we rejoiced when we crossed our first stream. No filter. No iodine pills. Just clean, fresh mountain water.
3) They say a dog’s mouth is cleaner: I usually take CJ and Charlie with me on runs and hikes, packing enough water for us all. I have a handly little plastic bowl that I use to give them a drink. Every once in a while, though, I’ll manage to forget this bowl. Well, you know what I do. Hey, I’m not going to let my dogs go thirsty. (A quick side note – To anyone who has ever used my Nalgene bottles, know that I always wash them after the dogs use them. Or…I have only let the dogs use one of my many Nalgenes. You can tell yourself which ever one makes you feel better). So if the dogs can handle any harmful BPA stuff, then so can I.

Yes, I’ll keep on drinking out of my nalgene bottles. However, I may stop washing them in the dishwasher with the harsh detergent. Or I may just stop using detergent altogether.

***This post and the links attached to it may contain some invalid, irrational, and/or illogical propositions, arguments, and conclusions.***

Posted in Outdoor | 4 Comments »

Fractured Ribs?

Posted by jbharp on January 15, 2007

Here’s some info strait from webmd.com.

What is a fractured rib?

A rib fracture is a crack or break in one of the bones of the rib cage. The most common cause of a fractured rib is a direct blow to the chest, often from a motor vehicle accident or a fall.

What are the symptoms?

Fractured ribs are painful in the area of the fracture, with the pain ranging from mild to very severe. Breathing is often very uncomfortable. If your breastbone is pushed, especially while you’re lying down, you will often feel pain at the fracture site, rather than where your breastbone is being pushed.

These are the exact symptoms I’ve been having over this last week after snowboarding last Monday (1/7/07). Specifically after I took a fall on my second to last run. That’s one of the causes – a fall. Although I have taken several direct blows to the chest area, not from a car accident, but from one of two older brothers. It makes me wonder if I ever had any broken/fractured ribs growing up after some of our wrestling. Hhhmm??

I’m not completely sure if I have a fractured rib or ribs (I’d be willing to bet so though), and I’m not in enough pain to warrant a visit to the real doctor. So I’ll just follow webmd.com recovery plan. It seems to be doing it’s job so far.

How is a rib fracture treated?

In the vast majority of cases, treatment revolves around relieving pain while the fracture mends. Pain relief not only keeps you comfortable, but allows you to take deeper, more effective breaths. Ice to the injured area, rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, and prescription pain medications such as Tylenol with codeine are helpful to relieve pain. You should also cough or take the deepest breath you can at least once every hour to get air deeply into your lungs. This will reduce your risk of getting pneumonia or a partial collapse of lung tissue (atelectasis). Chest wall injuries, including rib fractures, heal slowly. Your chest wall never gets a chance to completely rest because it is always in motion as you breathe, and this slows down the healing process. Rib fractures generally take about six weeks to heal.

What?!?!?!? Six weeks. The snow won’t stay around forever. And my snowboard doesn’t like being stuck in the closet all winter. Whether it’s a real doctor or a web doctor…they still don’t know what they’re talking about. I’ll be fine. Six weeks…yeah right.

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The real dogs in my life

Posted by jbharp on January 14, 2007

Charlie & CJ

I just want to put up a picture of my dogs. This was taken back in September on a hike here in Colorado up Mt. Shavano. CJ is the most loyal dog I’ve ever had. That’s a typical trait for a mutt. Charlie is a good dog too, but she tends to wander a bit more. She always comes home though. She may not ever admit it (even if she could talk), but she couldn’t stand life without me or CJ.

I’m sure I’ll be making more post about these pups in the future.

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The Wind Blows…

Posted by jbharp on January 11, 2007

I was in Copper Mountain this weekend snowboarding. The wind was viciously cold on Sunday. It was nearly one of the coldest experiences in my life. Though, it did not beat out the time I was camping near Winter Park in between two days of skiing with my Colorado roomie JP. When we woke in the morning it was too cold to even fold up the tent. Instead we took out the poles, wadded it up and threw it in the back of my car. We knew it was cold, but was shocked to find out that it reached -12 that night. Buuurrrrr.

I would have went on a few more runs this Sunday but I finally called it quits when the neck of my coat was frozen stiff. Just before I unloaded from the lift, I realized the collar on my jacket was frozen stiff. I had to pull it off my chin and mouth.

Monday turned out to be a beautiful day to be on the slopes. Not much wind at all. However the wind did cause problems for me on the way home. I was about 45 minutes down the road of my 2.5 hour drive back to the Springs, when I had to change my route because high winds had closed the roads. Well, CDOT should have also closed Highway 285 into Denver because the wind conjurred up a challenging, drive. I was driving 10 MPH, guided by the reflectors on the side of the road. There was so much snow blowing that I could harldly see the lines on the road in front of me. It took me longer, but I kicked in the 4WD and managed to stay on the road.

I did notice a BBQ joint about 30 minutes from Denver called Hog Heaven. I’ll make a trip back to that area sometime to try it. But on a warmer day that’s not so windy.

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Hello New Blog!

Posted by jbharp on January 7, 2007

Hey everyone. Harp here on my brand new blog site. I was over at harp.townhall.com but it always seemed to be slow. Most of the time I’m a fast paced guy, so it wasn’t suiting me well. I hear lots of good things about this wordpress place.

I plan to do more blogging this year to keep some of my friends and fam up-to-date on all the things going on in my world and in my head.

That’s it for now. Got to get some sleep, cause in a few hours I’ll be heading up to the mountains for a few days of snowboarding. Oh pain. Oh joy.

Posted in Outdoor | 2 Comments »