Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Founding Fathers

I listened to the audiobook version of "The Politically Incorrect Guide to The Founding Fathers". It currently has 5 stars from 5 Amazon reviewers. I liked this book. It's loaded with interesting information, most of which was not included in my public school education.

Here are some of the review comments from the back cover:

"Brion McClanahan does far more than merely rehabilitate the Founders. In his devastating and relentless presentation, he reminds us, on one issue after another, how utterly opposed they were to what has since become fashionable opinion. Here's the stuff our competent historians know but would rather you didn't."
--Dr. Thomas Woods, author of New York Times bestsellers Meltdown and The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History

"Brion McClanahan's bang-up new book gives us the Founding Fathers as they really were, providing what intelligent readers of history want: the plain truth. In short, the men who made the USA deserve our admiration, and McClanahan's fascinating account shows just why."
--Dr. Kevin Gutzman, author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution

"The American history profession ignores or denigrates our founding fathers because they were champions of liberty and feared Big Government. Brion McClanahan's Politically Incorrect Guide to the Founding Fathers sets the record straight and revives the true history of these great men. Every student--and teacher--in America needs to read this book."
--Dr. Tom DiLorenzo, author of Hamilton's Curse

"Our American Founding Fathers were the leaders in the creation of a unique and noble experiment in liberty and self-government. The passage of time, the misunderstandings of superficial commentators, and misrepresentations by those pushing agendas incompatible with the Founders' wisdom, have hidden and distorted our real history. Dr. Brion McClanahan, one of the ablest of younger historians, has gone a long way toward uncovering who the Founders were and what they really intended."
--Dr. Clyde Wilson, Professor Emeritus, University of South Carolina and Editor of the John C. Calhoun Papers

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Route Up Progeny Peak

For the benefit of anyone wanting to hike Progeny Peak, here's a map showing my routes up and down (green). I've also indicated all the other approaches I've tried (blue).

Here are a few photos I took along the way. I'd seen photos online of an arch on the SW face of the hill called "Two Pines Arch", so I first headed for that. It's a nice waypoint because it's easy to see from below. Once you're barely off the road, you should be able to see the arch.

From the arch, I walked up the small ridge to the left and continued in the same direction, following a seam of light colored rock. Here's a shot looking back down that ridge toward the arch.

Here's what it looks like looking to the right toward the road.

Here's the view a little further up that ridge to the left of the arch.

When I made it to the big cleaved sandstone, I turned right and headed up the hill. I foolishly followed some rock cairns I saw that led me toward the right (south) side of the summit rise. It's easier if you head for the left (northwest) side - that's the way I came down. Some of the hill was a little steep, so I did some traversing to make it easier.

On the way down, I could easily see (and aim for) the cleaved rock. It was a great waypoint. Some of this section was kind of steep and the surface rocks are unstable. That gets your attention for a short distance.

I walked down to the place above the arch, then traversed to the northwest where I had this view before heading down into the drainage gully and on to the road.

I posted a short video taken by the camera attached to my backpack shoulder strap. It's about 10 MB in size and covers the very last part as I made the summit from the south face. That file is named "Progeny Peak Summit.mp4".

I also posted a short video I took from the summit. It's about 7.1 MB in size and formatted for my iPhone. The original is 71 MB with a much larger frame size. I took it with my Kodak Zi6 video camera. It's a great little camera, but lacks image stabilization. Its replacement model (Zi8) has that, so I may buy one of those. The file is named "Progeny Summit View.mp4".

Both videos are posted here to my Google Sites page.

It took me 1 hour 10 minutes to reach the top and less to return to the car. Now that I know the terrain better, and know some waypoints, it would take me less time. I recommend this hike. But please do NOT carve your initials into the sandstone at the summit like some bozo did. That's totally wrong.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Progeny Peak in Zion NP

For a few years, I have been trying to hike to the top of a hill on the east side of Zion Natl. Park. Here's a Google map centered on the peak (Lat: 37.221486, Lon: -112.931063). I've tried about 6 or 7 times, choosing routes from all sides, never reaching the top. It had become my nemesis hill. Last week I finally made the summit. I've also learned that it's called (unofficially) Progeny Peak. Here's a photo of it taken from a canyon on the south side of highway 9.

I've never minded not reaching the top. I really enjoy hiking in that area. The landscape is beautiful and I often encounter very large big horn sheep. For me, it's a great way to spend some time, get some exercise, and enjoy the outdoors.

I wanted to reach the top because I figured it'd have a great view, since it's taller than many of the nearby hills. I also thought it would offer a nice view of the tunnel entrance on the east side. I was right about both of these.

The closeup is thanks to my camera's 12x optical zoom and image stabilization.

The weather was great, with a high of about 93 down in the valley, meaning about 80 where I was. The view was also great. I had a terrific view to the south, over the slickrock that I've hiked many times on the south side of highway 9. The photo below shows some of the routes I've hiked across that slickrock, including the scary steep slope up out of the canyon. The photos here show that, indeed, I could see the tunnel entrance. Cool.

On this hike I experimented with using one of my video cameras to record the hike. I strapped it to my backpack shoulder strap. The video turned out pretty well, considering. The camera's 170 deg FOV seems to use a fish-eye lens and that made the ground beneath my feet look more rounded than it was (mostly apparent when viewing the video since you can then see the terrain features warp as I walk past them). Here are a couple screen shots. I discovered afterward that the camera was directed too far downward. Next time I'll use a narrower FOV camera and pay attention to where it's pointed.

The hike took about 1 hour and 10 minutes to reach the top. As often happens when I hike off-trail, when I got to the top, I realized that I could have taken a much easier route. I took the easy route back down.

This was a terrific hike. I recommend it if you have some time and don't mind some class 3 scrambling on loose sandstone.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Miller Brewery

Every time I drive by the Miller brewery, located off the 210 freeway at the 605, I'm overwhelmed by the smell of McDonalds french fries! Maybe my sense of smell is broken. It makes me hungry. Based on this, I have deduced that MGD is made from french fries. ... It's just a theory.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Wave

Last week I stopped off at the Paria Contact Station to enter the walkin permit lottery for hiking The Wave in the area called Coyote Buttes North. I did this 4 years ago and was lucky enough to win a permit and make the hike. This year wasn't so lucky.

There were 45 people there! Only 10 walking permits are awarded each day. Two groups who won permits early in the drawing had 3 and 4 people in them, leaving very few slots left.

I poorly framed the photo of the list showing the number of people for each day. I didn't capture the short part of the list at the bottom where one day had 75 people!

If you're interested, here's the official BLM page about the hiking permit process.

So, lacking a permit, I drove down to the Stateline Campground. It's a very nice little campground.

I also drove down to "The Notch" to look for the famed petroglyphs. I found none at the small parking area, so I hiked up above to see the trail leading off to the actual notch (see photo below). That's probably where the petroglyphs are located. I didn't hike there, since I think I'd need a permit.

I spent the day driving some of the 4wd trails in the area. I gambled and drove roads on my map (but not in my Garmin Nuvi). They showed hardly any signs of use and were a little difficult. I took almost no photos because my attention was so focused on the road.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Secret Service Tell All Book

I just finished listening to the audiobook version of "In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect."

It's a new book and currently has 3 stars (of 5) from 78 Amazon reviewers. I enjoyed the book and I recommend it to anybody with an interest in the USSS or federal law enforcement. I also recommend it to those interested in learning some previously untold stories about the personality quirks of past US Presidents and their families.

This book swings back and forth between bashing USSS upper management and revealing secrets about the famous protectees. At times, it seemed as if the book were intended to lobby for additional funding for the service. That was annoying.

Also, I was surprised at how much is revealed about past presidents and their families. That seems contrary to the Secret Service's obligation to keep such things secret. Maybe I don't understand their obligations, and maybe they are only to keep secret things they overhear, and not bound to keep secret their observations of personality quirks and odd behaviors.

Regardless, it was an interesting book.