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Warped Tour 2018: The Final Cross-Country Trek

For the last couple of summers (2017, 2016, 2015), Diane and I have had a great time going to the Vans Warped Tour in Salt Lake City. This annual tour has allowed us to see a lot of our favorite bands at one time that we probably wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise. That’s why we were saddened to learn earlier this year that this is going to be the last year of the full cross-country tour. We will definitely be there this afternoon to catch our very last Warped Tour in SLC!

Warped Tour 2018

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Hiker finds prehistoric pot in Arizona Strip

Looks like there is another article about the ancient mug I found on the Arizona Strip that was posted today. This one is found on The Daily Courier in Prescott Arizona. The full article can be found at the link below, and I have included the full text below just in case the article ever disappears from their site.



KINGMAN — People come from all over the world to view the scenery at the Arizona Strip, but one visitor was surprised by more than the beauty of the area when he stumbled upon a prehistoric artifact partially buried in the sand.

Colorado resident Randy Langstraat is an avid hiker who frequently finds rock art and runes, but he’s never come across anything like this before.

“This is the first time that I’ve actually stumbled across a mug, something I wasn’t expecting to find,” he said.

He frequents hiking destinations all over the Colorado Plateau, and the Arizona Strip is one of his favorite places to explore. When he came across the partially covered pot, he first thought it was a broken piece of pottery, which he always keeps an eye out for.

“And that’s when I started moving the sand around and noticed there was more than just a potsherd, so I pushed the sand away and found a complete pot,” Langstraat said. “It was pretty shocking to find.”

Not only was the pot, or mug as Langstraat described it, itself intact, the handle was as well.

“I’ve seen plenty of pots before, but I’ve never even heard of someone coming across a mug, let alone one with the handle intact with an animal effigy,” he said. “I could tell it was something old and something special.”

The Arizona Strip is located on the north side of the Grand Canyon and borders Utah to the north and Nevada to the west. (Map image by Walt Haas, Wikipedia)

What does one do when finding something out of the ordinary, especially an item that could have archaeological significance? The proper course of action was displayed by Langstraat.

“I’ve been hiking for enjoyment for a while, and sometimes things disappear and it’s saddening when that happens,” Langstraat said. “That was a big reason I reported this one, because I didn’t want it to fall to the same fate.”

According to a BLM article written by archaeologist Sarah Page and public affairs officer Rachel Carnahan, Page, along with another archaeologist and law enforcement officer, were able to recover the pot thanks to Langstraat’s handling of the situation.

“Langstraat did the right thing by reporting the discovery of the pot to the BLM and by leaving it in place,” Page wrote in the article. “Just like Langstraat, everyone can help to protect our nation’s fascinating past.”

Most importantly, he didn’t take it home, relocate it or disturb it further. He buried it back in the sand where he found it, took photos and GPS coordinates of the location, and then contacted the Bureau of Land Management.

“They were pretty interested and excited to go recover it,” Langstraat said.

View of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in the Arizona Strip. (Bureau of Land Management)

BLM discovered the artifact where Langstraat said it would be, and found it in “near perfect condition,” Page and Carnahan wrote.

After further investigation and analysis, archaeologist David Van Alfen concluded the artifact is North Creek Corrugated, making it from the Late Pueblo II period around 1050 to 1250 A.D.

“The effigy handle appears to be that of an animal, possibly a deer or bighorn sheep,” Page and Carnahan wrote. “However, the ears or horns have been broken off making it difficult to determine precisely.”

So how can hikers increase their chances of finding artifacts? Langstraat has some fairly simple advice.

“My biggest recommendation is obviously to be safe, go prepared,” he said. “If you do find something, don’t take it. Either leave it where you found it, or if it’s something significant, report it to the BLM or whatever land management agency covers that area. And have fun, take photos.”

BLM intends to put the pot in display cases at its visitor center in St. George, Utah.


The Effigy Mug

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Little Aspen Trunk

Little Aspen Trunk

Things didn’t go my way this weekend. Between the rain and a couple of road closures, I had to completely change my plans a couple of times. Here’s a small scene I saw along a trail in the West Elks near Crested Butte on Saturday. I like how the vibrant green ferns contrast with the white aspen trees. The full trip report will be up soon!

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SPOT X Review

SPOT-XI have been a SPOT Messenger user for almost ten years now, so I was intrigued when I first saw the SPOT X announced a few weeks ago. I’ve been using the SPOT service almost every weekend for those past 10 years and it has worked reliably for me with the Gen1 and Gen3 devices (the Gen2 was another story, but I didn’t keep that one long because it had some known problems). I wasn’t originally planning on trying out the new SPOT X right away and thought I might give it a go before my next renewal date, but after SPOT contacted me with an upgrade package price that I couldn’t refuse, I decided to give it a try sooner. I ended up ordering mine from REI before they were available and it arrived sooner than anticipated.

I have been using and testing my SPOT X device for about two weeks now, and here are my initial thoughts. Once I have used it longer, and if I decide to keep it, I will turn this into a proper review. Right now I cannot recommend this device and cannot trust my life to it unless they get a few issues worked out. I will continue to update this post as things change. If I cannot get some of these issues resolved I will go back to my Gen3 and maybe look into trying out the Garmin InReach.

The Bad:

  • 7/16/18: After receiving a new device from SPOT earlier this month (which came quickly), it does look like my original SPOT X was defective. So far I have been able to get around 6 days on one charge with 10-minute tracking turned on. This is much better than the previous device, so at this point it looks like I am going to stick with the SPOT X. When I have some time, I will update and organize this review a little better.
  • 6/29/18: SPOT has finally decided to replace my device and the new one arrived today. I will be testing it out over the next week or two to see if it lasts longer. If it does not, I will be returning it and going back to my Gen 3.
  • 6/19/18: Still having serious issues with the battery life. I cannot get this device to last more than two and a half days. This past weekend the device showed a full battery and blinking green LED and then just ran out of power without any warning. I called SPOT yesterday morning and was expecting a call back in the afternoon, but still have not heard back.
  • 6/13/18: Currently I am struggling with battery life on the device. SPOT claims 10 days with 10-minute tracking selected. Right now I have a ticket open with SPOT Technical Support (who have not been getting back to me as promised) because my SPOT X will only last about 2 – 2.5 days with these settings, and that’s not near long enough.
  • 6/12/18: After charging the SPOT X completely overnight (the message on the screen told me it was completely charged and to unplug it), I rebooted the device and the battery symbol showed that it was empty, although the green LED light was blinking. The SPOT X only lasted less than 2 days before warning me that the battery life was under 20%.
  • 6/11/18: The SPOT X has locked up on me a couple of times. The first time I had to call Technical Support because I could not reset it. There were no instructions in the manual and nothing on their website. I found out that I needed to press and hold the center ‘select’ button in the middle of the directional pad and the power button for about 10 seconds. The device locked up and reset itself on my backpacking trip over the weekend, however, since everything looked OK on the screen I thought it was working. That was until I tried to send out a test message at camp and it reset itself. When I returned home I found that the device was not tracking us the whole way up to camp, only after it reset itself.
  • I’ve never really had to deal with SPOT’s Technical Support before, but apparently they are only there from 7:00am until 5:00pm Central Time, which means when I get off of work at 4:00pm Mountain Time, they are already gone. That has made working on these issues with them more difficult. Especially when they promise to call you back within 24 hours and then don’t.
  • The directional pad with middle select button is kind of small for my large fingers. If have to be careful when using it or I will accidentally press the wrong button. The biggest issue with this one is when I go to select ‘Messages’ from the menu, I seem to frequently hit the right button at the same time and it sends out a ‘Check In’ message when I didn’t mean to.
  • No weather forecasts.

The OK:

  • The keyboard is definitely small, but that’s always a trade-off for a device size. I’m able to type on it OK, but not very quickly. Maybe I will get more used to it with time…
  • The device is noticeably bigger and heavier than the Gen3, but smaller than the original Gen1 (minus the big antenna).

The Good:

  • It seems to send and receive custom messages pretty quickly….averaging about 3-5 minutes.
  • Having a dedicated phone number for the device is nice so family can easily send me a text if they need to get a hold of me.
  • You can setup 14 pre-configured messages on the SPOT website and easily send them out from the device, and these do not count against your custom message limit if you get the lower priced plan.
  • ‘Check in’ messages seem to go through very quickly, just like they did on my Gen3.
  • The tracking feature now pauses when the device is not moving. I have tested this to make sure it actually works right and so far it seems to be. This will help save on battery life if you get to camp and forget to shut off tracking of if you are taking an extended break or something.

A quick photo of my three different SPOT Messengers for size comparison.

SPOT Lineup

Here are the specifications about the device straight from SPOT’s website.


Below is a map that shows the kind of overage you can get with the SPOT devices around the world. The green/blue area is where you can get S.O.S. and 2-Way Message Coverage while the orange area is where you’ll only get S.O.S. and 1-Way Message Coverage.

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