Thursday, October 20, 2011

Always Unprepared to Always Prepared

Every day we wake up and face a certain number of tasks that we hope to accomplish. Every individual task involves a certain amount of preparation even if we might not realize it. If you’re going to work you have to do the necessary preparation to get ready for your day whatever it might entail. The same situation proves true with school, leisure, or outdoor excursion. Chances are you lay in bed the night before running through details of what needs to be done in order to get the necessary tasks accomplished for the day.

In the realm of physical activity, you can apply the same concept. If you go out to play 18 holes of golf for example proper preparation is necessary. You figure out what the conditions are for the day. Will it be hot? Windy? Is there a Chance of rain or a possibility of extremely cold temperatures? While this is just an example, how much time and consideration you put into these decisions, depending on the sport or activity you partake in can be critically important.

In August I had a minor heat stroke while out riding my bike. Preparation had a lot to do with my situation. I had not properly hydrated that morning, as I drank several cups of coffee and not much water. I chose to go out at the hottest part of the day, 110-degree temperatures on blazing hot asphalt. I only packed one Gatorade bottle, which was half full of Gatorade, and half full of water. With the heat of the day and my lack of preparation for the ride I quickly found myself out of water and alone on a lengthy bike ride. I was fortunate to make it back home that day, where I spent the remainder of the day recovering and kicking myself for my lack of preparation for the situation I was going into.

A few weeks back a friend and I went for a lengthy hike in Jackson, Wyoming. The morning started out cold and crisp and warmed up slightly through the hike. As we reached our first stopping point we had hiked over 4,000 feet to a much higher altitude. The temperature quickly dropped and the clouds moved in making the beautiful Tetons disappear. We stopped to rest and warm up. Despite our knowledge of the cold weather and high possibility of rain we decided to continue on to our destination, Marion Lake.

The hike to Marion Lake was 6.2 miles from where we started. The hike there was not that bad we went through some rain and it began to get muddy on the trail. I realized a few miles into that portion of the hike that having a rain jacket would have been the best way to be properly prepared for the backcountry Wyoming Mountains. We arrived to our Marion Lake destination and headed back. As we begun the hike home the rain began to pick up and the temperature quickly dropped.

My lack of preparation to pack accordingly to hike was beginning to take a serious toile on me. I was completely saturated in freezing rain and sleet and I was having trouble keeping feeling in my hands. With still four miles to go all I could think about was getting back to a safer situation then what we were in. I attempted to warm my hands and tried to have optimistic thoughts and ignore the current situation, which was seemingly becoming worse. The last few miles of the hike were pure adrenaline. The desire to live which might seem farfetched but after my recent heat stroke, I knew hypothermia and frostbite were becoming a serious factor. We pushed through and made it to the base of Jackson, Wyoming.

As I type currently I have not regained full feeling in my right hand. At first I was worried, a little scared about what this might mean for the long term. I have spent hours kicking myself for not preparing myself properly for that day on the mountain. But as the days go on I realize that it was a learning experience and there is nothing I can do about it at this point. After my heat stroke I am always sure to pack plenty of water after this experience I will always be sure to be properly equipped when hiking. Never leave home unprepared. You can never be over prepared, but you can always be underprepared.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Light up the Sky

I saw he most incredible rainbows this evening. The entire rainbow appeared through the clouds and rain for just long enough to get a entire view of it; stretching from one end of the sky to the other.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Ray of Sunshine: Keep Fishing

Thunderstorms moved in and around the Jackson Hole valley today, which has been a regular occurrence in the past two weeks. The storms started up in the morning and carried out through the rest of the day; dropping temperatures slightly and clearing off the river which was a good reason for me to go fish this afternoon. The dark clouds and thunder moved right around me all afternoon and into the evening. The fish were bitting so I had no reason to put the fly rod away. Another sign not to get off the river came in the form of a ray of sunshine:

A Good Friend Is Always Watching Out for You

Point and case proven today in Granite Canyon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Waiting for the Snow to Fall

There is something about snow skiing that is unlike anything else you will ever experience on this earth. It brings a since of self accomplished freedom. It puts you miles away from everything that is anything. There is so much going through your head but at the same time your mind is completely blank. As a skier, you wake up you just hope it is a powder day:

“There is nothing in the world like going out onto an untouched, open, virgin mountain slope drenched under a thick blanket of new powder snow. It gives a supreme feeling of freedom, mobility. A great sense of flying, moving anywhere in a great white paradise.” - Hans Gmoser

Today is September 6, 2011 it is still quite warm, and it will be a few weeks before the seasons first snow fall. I find myself waking up in the morning craving the cold air, longing for the snowfall; each day telling myself that it is one day closer to the start of the season. Fortunately there is plenty to explore and keep me sufficiently occupied in my back yard in the meantime. Each evening lately I find myself on the river tying flies, learning the technicalities of fly fishing. Hoping to bring in more trout than the day before. As I fish into the sunset with the Grand Teton's in the background, I know that the first snowfall, and first powder day is just around the corner.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Six things to take from a 7.5 mile hike

This morning I hiked from the Summit Trail to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. This trail head starts at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. The 7.5 hike is a consistent uphill grade, covering 4,139 feet to the top of the mountain. It was certainly not an easy hike by any means, and was something that I had been looking forward to accomplishing. There are six things that I took from my day on the mountain.

1.) Always Be Aware:
With recent bear activity in the area the smart thing would be to hike with a friend. I did not have anyone to hike with on this Tuesday, but I had bear spray on me and was sure to make plenty of noise on the trail. It can be nerve racking knowing there is bear activity in the area where you are hiking, but that comes with the inherited risk of what you are doing in the first place. Coming across a bear is a rare occurrence but as a hiker you need to be ready and know how to react if the situation arises.

2.) Take in what you’re doing:
This was a very strenuous hike. In order to get the most of it, I found it helpful to stop on occasion for a break and take in what I was doing; hiking to the Summit of one of the most amazing ski mountains in the world.

3.) Compare the summer mountain to the winter mountain:
It was a unique experience to take in the mountain and all of its glory during the summer. It has a totally different feel and look than it does in winter but it is an awesome experience to see the runs that I am used to skiing up close and without snow on them. Just a few short months and I will be skiing this mountain day in and day out.

4.) The last Mile; Push hard don’t look back:
The last two miles of the hike was a steeper vertical incline. The sun was becoming warmer, the a and the thought of reaching the summit began to linger in my head. I had to concentrate on each step to stay focused. I couldn’t come all this way and not reach my goal of summiting the mountain. I focused on finishing what I had started and before I knew it I had summited the mountain.

5.) Take in your accomplishment:

6.) Count the days until ski season begins:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rivers, Mountains, and Streams: All of the above.

There is something special about living 6,237 feet above sea level. While I have not yet started working in Jackson, there is plenty to keep me busy in the meantime. Every time I get in the car I cross over a river. Every time I blink I see a mountain. Outside my apartment is a window of opportunity so large it is hard to grasp. Going to sleep every night is exciting; getting up in the morning is a thrill.

Most residences in Jackson do not have air conditioning. During the summer and into the early fall there is simply no need as mornings and evening are pleasant as the temperature rises and becomes warm during the day. Come winter the heater will become necessary as heavy snow storms constantly come through with below freezing temperatures.

Whether visiting Jackson or living here no one should be spending time in his or her place of residence during the day. Beyond the city of Jackson you can fly fish, road bike, run, or hike; and that is just during the summer. Sure you might be able to do those things in another city, but in Jackson you can drive twenty-five minutes to Grand Teton National Park and explore one of the most beautiful National Parks in America. Drive beyond Grand Teton and you will find yourself in renown Yellowstone National Park.

Spending time outdoors is something every individual should strive to do. Turn off your television, your computer your phone take in the fresh air and go explore.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Think it’s to hot in August to Ski? I beg to differ; so did they.

On August 22, 2011 I took the tram 4,139 to the top of Rendezvous Mountain at Jackson Hole. I descended 800 feet into Cody Bowl. As I made the trek in the snow packed surface caught my eye; two sets of ski tracks. Two dedicated skiers had hiked a long ways to make just a few turns.

What a great example of the dedication of the sport I love.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chasing the Storm

I recently moved to Jackson, Wyoming. The drive started in Birmingham, Alabama and spanned 1,900 miles until my arrival in the town of Jackson. I drove though Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska and finally into the great state of Wyoming.

After a long day on the road, the Wyoming border was just a few miles away. As I drove west across the state of Nebraska I was inching ever so close to the could mountain air, when the skies began to darken.

I quickly checked the radar and saw nothing appear at first. The clouds continued to darken and the wind began to howl. Lightning became more and more frequent to my east. Just as the rain began to fall weather advisory appeared on my cell phone; 50 mile per hour winds plus penny sized hail coming directly in my path.

As I drove into the heart of the storm most trucks and cars had pulled over my Tahoe was shifting with the severity of the wind; but at this point in my journey west there was no stopping.

After a 15 hour day driving, nothing could stop me from getting across the border into Wyoming. In a few months that same storm will be covering the mountain of Jackson and bring fresh powder for me to ski the mountain of Jackson Hole and explore the wild west all winter.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

PGA Championship Tuesday August 9, 2011: Beat the Heat

Tuesday proved to be another great day at the Atlanta Athletic Club. A lot more players decided to play 9 or 18 holes today than Monday, with the start of the tournament drawing near. It was another warm day and many players to start their practice round early in order to avoid the Atlanta heat. Check out some of the pictures from Tuesday at the 93rd PGA Championship.

Graeme McDowell takes his second shot on the par 4 18th, one of the most difficult finishing holes in golf.

Phil Mickelson, his caddy Jim "Bones" Mackay, and Jeff Overton take a break from the Atlanta heat on number 15.

Rory took time to sign autographs after every hole today.

2011 British Open Champion Darren Clarke and 2011 U.S. Open Champion Rory Mcllroy played the Front 9 of The Highlands Course together this morning.

Rory Mcllroy practicing a sand shot on number 5.

Paul Casey on Number 6.

Phil Mickelson was on the putting green around 7:45 AM this morning.

Monday, August 8, 2011

2011 PGA Championship: Monday August 8, 2011

Pictures from Monday's Practice Round at the 93rd PGA Championship.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Largest Sporting Event in the World just got Larger: Tiger Warning

The PGA Championship is the largest sporting event in the world, drawing fans from countries across every continent. It is the year’s final major and is an event with storied history and tradition. Sixty-three individuals have had the opportunity to hold the Wanamaker Trophy. Past winners include: Walter Hagan, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, and former number one in the world, Tiger Woods.

Woods has had numerous issues that have kept him from returning to golf in the dominant form that he once had over the field. He played in the Masters this year and made a Saturday run to put himself in contention to win another Green Jacket. Tiger was unable to close out the tournament and the golf world was left with no Tiger for the next two majors.

The U.S. Open and British Open belonged to the country of Northern Ireland. Twenty two year old Rory Mcllory won the 2011 U.S. Open in historic fashion over the field in Washington. Fellow countryman Darren Clarke won the British Open.

Recently Tiger Woods fired his longtime caddie Steve Williams. This was a decision that came as a surprise to many, including myself. After showing years of loyalty to Woods, Williams feels disgusted by the way it happened. Yesterday Woods announced he would be returning to the golf circuit of his twitter account: “Feeling fit and ready to tee it up at Firestone next week. Excited to get back out there!”

With this return it seems that a healthy, focused Tiger will be making a run at the 2011 PGA Championship; his last win at the years final major came four years ago in 2007. Tiger’s return adds a new variable to the equation. When Wood’s was at the peak of the game he was the most intimidating player in golf. His dominance of the game and ability to win major after major was one of the most incredible feats in sports history. There is no doubt he is a contender in my mind. He is the most focused golfer in the world.

Who will lift the Wanamaker Trophy on the 18th green on the Highlands Course at the Atlanta Athletic Club? Will Rory Mcllroy win his second major of his young career? Will Phil Mickelson win his first PGA Championship since 2005? Does Martin Kaymer defend his 2010 Championship and win this year? Or, will Tiger Woods win the years final Major and mark his real return to golf?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pressure: Down in Flames

Pressure is something everyone experiences in daily live. It might be pressure to pay the bills, study the proper amount for a test, or to meet a deadline at work. In the sports realm, pressure is something that every athlete must learn to deal with.

Every sport brings different pressure in different situations. I really enjoy golfing and have recently gotten more into the sport in the past sixth months. Last week I had the chance to play The Highlands Course at the Atlanta Athletic Club, the same course that will be used in a month for the 93rd PGA Championship.

I went out to the range that morning before we played focused and was striking the ball exceptionally well. I was controlling my irons and putting strong accurate swings on my wood and driver. I was playing loose and relaxed. It was time to translate practice into success on a very difficult course.

The course was in perfect condition to prepare for the championship. The sheer fact that the best in the world would be taking similar shots to me in a month made my knees a little weak. I cannot wait to see guys like Rory and Phil play the course in a few weeks.

My good swings on the range did not translate to a good day on the course. Five straight 3 puts to start the day tempered my mood and I was frustrated with my game for the rest of the day. Instead of a smooth violent swing on Par 4 and Par 5 tee Boxes I took a short, violent swing that left me in the second and third cut for most of the day.

The lone bright spot for the day came on the par 3’s. There are three Par 3’s on The Highlands Course and I was on every one of them putting for birdie. Once again frustration and pressure came into play as I ended up 3 putting all three for three bogeys.

Par 3 Hole Number 4 on The Highlands Course

As I came to the 18th tee box, I had just three putted my way to a bogey on 17. I went into 18 with the mindset of finishing the round on a positive note. Number 18 on The Highlands course is a par 5-dog leg left which leads up to the clubhouse. With the inconsistency of my driver I left it in the bag and opted with a 3 iron. My straightest drive of the afternoon left me in good shape. I hit a three iron again on my second shot to the middle of the fairway.

Once again playing ultra conservative I hit a five iron for my third shot. As I approached my fourth shot, I had an awkward uphill lie on the right side fringe. 178 yards in the second cut over the water.After playing the hole so conservative I decided it was time to take a chance and go for it.

Never lay up

At that point in time, I felt pressure. If I did not hit a perfect shot my ball would be in the water. My knees weakened a little bit. My partner and I were 1 stroke ahead. The smart play would have been to lay up. But laying up is not something that I do in golf. As I took a few practice swings the famous Tin Cup Scene “Down in Flames” flashed through my head.
(youtube clip)
I struck the ball on a line and hit a perfect shot. As I watched the ball come down, I realized it was short of the green as it splashed into the water.

As I walked to the drop zone I lost all concentration. I did not even take time to think about my shot. I simply walked to my bag and grabbed the only club I trust, the 7 iron. My mental mindset was gone at this point and I hit another ball into the water, this time it was a shot that should not have gone in the water. I stepped back took a deep break and realized I had lost the competition. I took an easy swing and landed the ball on the far side of the green. I ended up two putting to end the day on a solid note.

As I walked of the green I took a look around at where I was. An immaculate golf course, home the 2011 PGA Championship. I realized I had nothing to complain about. A day on the golf course is better than a day at the office. If I had to do it all over again I would have hit a 3 iron to reach the green but I am happy with the shot I took.

Down in Flames.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Weekend in Sports to Remember: July 15-17, 2011

A great weekend of sports awaits us. Check out everything we have to look forward to .

-Friday-Sunday: British Open Second, Third and Final rounds (Live daily on ESPN)
-Friday-Sunday: Tour de France: Friday and Saturday Mountain Stages (Live daily on Versus)
-Friday-Sunday: Major League Baseball second half of the season begins
-Sunday: Women’s World Cup Final; Japan vs. USA (2:45 ET ESPN)

There are great athletes competing all over the world. One event I feel like that is being overlooked right now is the Tour de France. Check out this quote by cyclist JEAN-FRANÇOIS PESCHEUX’S:

“We needed to get to the Alps as quickly as possible, but without making the transfers too long. Finishing in Montpellier enables us to achieve this objective. On stages of this type, the heat can be punishing. If the sun is beating down, it’s going to cause some real damage because the riders will already have expended a huge amount of energy. If some riders decide to make the going tough today, it could really have an impact on some of the teammates of key riders. Let’s not forget that all of the favorites depend on those teammates… Every day, there’s a real race within a race! This stage should go the way of the sprinters, whose only chance of victory after this will come on the Champs-Élysées."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pitching , Timely Offense and Defense Helps the Braves take Two of Three from the Reds

While the Braves offense continues to be inconsistent, there are constants that keeps them in games; including their pitching staff and defense. At this point in the season, one can make the argument that they have the best pitching staff in baseball. After exciting games on Friday and Saturday night, the decisive game three was highly anticipated. The Sunday Night Baseball crew was in Atlanta as the game was broadcast nationally over ESPN.

The Baseball Tonight set was at Turner Field Sunday.

The Braves sent their best pitcher this year to the mound, Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens came into the game with the league's lowest ERA, that number would only improve by nights end. Jurrjens was opposed by an impressive young pitcher for the Reds Johnny Cueto. As first pitch approached, the stadium had a playoff atmosphere to it.

Jurrjens and David Ross walk from the bullpen to the dugout
before Sunday Night's game against the Reds

The Reds jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a Jay Bruce homerun in the second inning. Both pitchers settled into a groove and the pitchers duel continued on to the sixth inning. After a Jordan Schafer leadoff walk Martin Prado stepped up to the plate. I cannot think of another player for the Braves who has come up with more key situational hits to win games in 2011. Prado did it again as he blasted a two-run homerun off Cueto to give the Braves a two run lead after six innings.

Two of the past three game I have been to
Martin Prado has hit a game winning homerun.

After putting his team ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning, Prado saved the game in the top of the eighth. With two outs and the tying run at second Brandon Phillips hit a single to Prado in left field. Prado fielded the ball cleanly and threw a one hop frozen rope to home plate. Paul Janish, who had picked off at first by David Ross earlier in the game, attempted to slide under Ross's tag but was called out. The stadium was in an uproar and the Braves were only three outs from taking the series from the Reds.

Martin Prado is greeted in the dugout by his teammates
after his game saving play in the eighth inning.

After walking the first batter in the bottom of the ninth, Craig Kimbrell struck out two out of the next three batters to preserve the win for the Braves.
At only 21, Kimbrell has established himself
as the Braves closer for the future.

An impressive team performance was delivered Sunday night. Eight excellent innings by the League's best pitcher, and a timely homerun and amazing defensive play from Martin Prado. li.

We could be talking about a Cy Young in a few months for Jair; the numbers do not lie.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cinco De Mayo: The only relevant 5 is Braves winning streak

As I finished up my last class as an Undergraduate yesterday a sense of feeling of relief and accomplishment shuddered my shoulders. Exhaustion was setting as was the fact that it was May 5, 2011, Cinco De Mayo. The Auburn community was finishing up with school and ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in downtown Auburn.

I decided that I would celebrate my completion of my Undergraduate degree at Auburn University at Turner Field watching the Atlanta Braves. A chance to celebrate May 5th by watching

A evening at Turner Field is the only way I wanted to spend my last day as an Undergraduate at Auburn University.

A great game all around. There was great pitching by the Brewers and Braves respectively. The most timely hit came by Braves Martin Prado. With the game tied in the Bottom of the 8th at 1-1 Martin took he game into his hands. Leading off, he worked the count to 3-1 and took a fastball and deposited it 20 rows deep into the left field seats.

Martin Prado rounds the bases after his eighth inning go ahead home run. (photo courtesy of

Kraig Kimbrell worked a perfect one, two three ninth striking out the first two batters and inducing a groundout to end the game.

Sure I finished my Undergraduate Tenure at Auburn University which is a personal accomplishment; but the Braves have one five straight, now that is what I call an accomplishment.

The Day Sports Stood Still 4.27.11

On the night of March 27, 2011 tornadoes ripped across the southeast. The damage was catastrophic. The place that was damaged the worst was Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I realized how bad the storms were and felt called to drive from Auburn, Alabama to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to get a better idea of how bad the damage was. Check out some of my first hand pictures from a day the State of Alabama will never forget.

4.28. The Day After

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why I chose Jackson Hole, Wyoming

“The human element is the ultimate draw, the history contained is priceless…” Dave Reddick , Powder

If I ever have the oppurtunity to live out West in a ski town I would live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There a lot of things I could say to describe my motives and desires behind moving living out west. Just to name a few: the people, the culture, the fresh powder, the cool air, the desire to ski. To get a better understanding of why I have chosen Jackson Hole, Wyoming watch the trailer for the movie "Swift. Silent. Deep."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy Saint Powders day from Snowbird, Utah

Saint Patrick’s day is often noted as days to kick back relax and enjoy local festivities. For the people of Alta and Snowbird, Utah Saint Patrick’s day means skiing especially when a big storm comes into the canyon.

A storm moves into the Canyon the night before Saint

Patrick's Day, bringing nine inches of fresh snow

Saint Patrick’s Day at Snowbird proved to be a great one. A storm moved into Little Cotton Canyon the night before and put some fresh snow on the ground, nine inches to be exact. The storm called for nine to twelve inches so I could not complain with nine as a happy medium. I had trouble sleeping that night because I knew the skiing was going to be the best out of our time out there.

I awoke at six am ready to find the fresh powder, then had to wait in the tram line to find it

My Dad and I were out the door by 7:15 am ready to catch the first tram up the mountain. After a grueling forty five-minute wait the tram opened to the public at 8:00am. We missed the first tram twenty people but were headed up to the top of Snowbird by 8:30am. 11,000 vertical feet is a great place to find fresh tracks, espeecially at 8:45 am.

Our first run of the day came at The Cirque which had been the best run of the week. With nine inches of snow it was even better. I love The Cirque because of its steep vertical descent and wind blown powder. After a great warmup run we headed over to Gad 2 where we found the best snow of the day.

The trees of Gad 2 are some of my favorite on the mountain

There is something magical about the Gad 2 lift on a powder day. It is one of the oldest and slowest lifts in Snowbird but the skiing is always great there. On a really good powder day usually the game-plan is to head there first.

The video above is me skiing gad 2 early that

morning; conditions were ideal.

We spent a good few hours over at Alta but it ended up that the best snow of the day was at Snowbird. That is one of the great things about these mountains, one side of the mountain might have a few more inches of snow and significantly better skiing.

We headed in after a great day of skiing.

The facts don’t lie.

Duration on the mountain: 7 hours 32 minutes and 22 seconds

Distance Skied 19.5 miles

Statistics from iphone GPS Application ‘Ski Tracks’