Guest Author: Daren Bloomquist Archives

January 4, 2006
Hiking Viking Update: A Special Report by Guest Author Daren Bloomquist

I hope all the readers of the Viking Underground had a Happy New Year. This should be the final installment from me for a while. The Friday before Christmas I hit two peaks in one day with my eldest daughter. From our starting point of 4400, we followed a ridgeline and had to cross over Pyramid Peak (5261’) on our way to Bishop’s Cap (5419’).

With all the ups and downs along the ridgeline the total elevation gain was about 1600’ and 4 miles in length. I couldn’t tell you what the purpose is for the tower on the top of Bishop’s Cap...other than 30/30 target practice. I can tell you, however, that within the rocks of Bishop’s Cap lie the fossilized remains of ancient crustaceans from when an inland sea covered much of southern New Mexico. We had hoped that making two peaks would deliver Packer and Viking victories that weekend. No such luck.

This past Friday, just before News Year’s Eve, I took my youngest daughter to Aden Crater which lies about 30 miles west of my house. It looks very much like a moonscape. There was very little elevation gain to speak of. With all the climbing up to and within the crater we probably had a total elevation gain of about 500’. My daughter and I raised the flag on the deepest floor of the crater,.......

AdenCrater 033.jpg

....and later our group walked the rim above the crater.

The crater is about 1 mile in circumference. Within the crater, and not far from the crater floor, is a 110 foot deep volcanic vent. The mummified remains of a giant sloth were found at the bottom and are now on display at the Smithsonian. Aden Crater is a shield volcano that produced lava flow some 10,000 years ago.

Well that’s all for now folks. Stay tuned for more updates if COD finds them worthy. I will continue hiking and raising the flag on every hike I undertake. A hike of note this coming spring will be the Bataan Memorial Death March hike here in Southern New Mexico. It is a 26.2 mile hike that I completed (and regretted) a few years ago. I’m in better shape now and want to do it without physically empathizing with those who endured that dreadful event over 60 years ago. So long for now…your friendly Hiking Viking in Las Cruces, NM.

Coming Thursday

Fantasy recap and a new VU fantasy playoff game!

Coming Friday

A podcast with the head Washington Redskin Hoggette. We'll find out just what we missed out on with regard to Gregg Wiliams. We'll talk about owners in the NFL. And we'll talk some playoff football.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:26 AM
December 21, 2005
Hiking Viking Update: A Special Report by Guest Author Daren Bloomquist

On the fourth consecutive Saturday, another hike was planned to show our enthusiasm our Vikings’ recent efforts. We overcame many obstacles on our hike this past Saturday and raised the Viking flag at 6390’ on Baylor Pass.

Unfortunately, our Vikings couldn’t overcome their own personally manufactured obstacles, as they lost to Pittsburg. This time I set out with my kids on an ambitious hike. Fortunately, my kids ignored the sign at the beginning of the trail. Even if they saw it, they wouldn’t have said anything. They know how dangerous it can be if you go off-trail. The plan was to hike over 3 miles to Baylor Pass and back again. It’s a 6.2 mile hike with an elevation gain of just over 1,500 feet. Along the way the kids raised the flag on a rock outcropping.

Baylor Pass Hike 011.jpg

I knew my two girls aged 12 and 7 could make it but I had doubts about my three-year-old boy. Robbie was a real trooper. I’m so proud of him and the girls. He hiked about 2 miles up a gradual incline. I carried him in the backpack carrier when he got tired and all the way down the trail back to the SUV. The wind was blowing about 40 mph at the pass.

In the background here you can see White Sands Military Base and the White Sands Missile Range. It is a key site in the development of Star Wars technology.

Another hike is planned for next Friday. We’re not out of the playoff race yet. Let’s go Vikes. Put this game behind you and come out firing on Christmas night. Until next time….your friendly New Mexico correspondent, “The Hiking Viking.?

VIkings Xmas Greeetings

I got my personalized (cough-cough) Xmas card from Zygi Wilf and the team today. I use to get them from Red McCombs as well. Red's would have he and the wife with the current coach and three or four "select" players. Zygi has gone with the team concept showing the team on the front of the card and the staff inside the card. I like that Zygi has done that as I think the entire organization should be shown as it is truly a family. Here is the front of the card:


And the inside:


Upcoming Podcast

The next podcast should be up Friday. If you have a question or comment you'd like addressed during the podcast, just drop me a line.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:42 AM
December 13, 2005
Hiking Viking Conquers another Pinnacle: A Special Report by Guest Author Daren Bloomquist

Hello again from Las Cruces, New Mexico. This is the third, in a continuing series of hikes, to celebrate our Minnesota Vikings and encourage them to persevere through the challenges that face them as they make their playoff run.

Big Juniper to Organ Peak 047a.jpg

I thought this past hike was going to be much longer than the Needles hike. With such limited sunlight this time of year we were very nervous about making it back to the car before dark. It reached 60 degrees during the day, but once it becomes dark the temperature in the mountains plummet to the teens this time of year.

As a volunteer fire fighter for 7 years I’ve helped carry injured hikers and dead hiker from these mountains and I didn’t want to be another statistic. I’ve got more flag raisings planned. I couldn’t let myself get injured. Just in case, I packed in a sleeping back, long underwear, a winter hat and gloves, emergency blankets, a Sterno can, my fire radio, and plenty of water. My pack must have been about 20 pounds. Good thing because my hiking partners didn’t bring squat. If you go hiking…be prepared. Near the summit I dumped my pack and climbed the rest of the way with my waist pack.

Just under 4 hours from time we left we reached the summit as seen in this picture. Just under my left arm you can see White Sands National Monument. It’s a spectacular 200 square miles of white gypsum sand dunes. This second picture shows my hiking partners Scott on the left and Ron (the photographer in all earlier pictures). Far in the background you can see the mountains around Juarez, Mexico.

On the way back we found this dead deer covered with grass. We assume it was a mountain lion kill. Finally, you can see the tail section of an airplane that crashed in these mountains years ago. I’m sorry but I don’t know the story behind the plane crash. Until the next flag raising…the Hiking Viking.

Note From COD: If you missed the earlier podcast with Hiking Viking, you can still catch it at the VU Podcast page. Look for VU Podcast Thirty-Three

All I've Got Time For

As I said Monday, this is my intense time of year at the real job so there will be days between now and the end of the year when I simply have no ticks in the clock to put together a blog entry. All I've got time for in this entry is a couple of links. The first one is just pure fun for those wishing to waste time.

The second is, well, if you missed it Sunday then take a look.

Video Description: Frank Caliendo consoles a distraught QB that you may remember.....and remember that sometimes you have to be able to laugh at yourself.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:53 AM
December 7, 2005
One More Win, One More Mountain: A Special Report by Guest Author Daren Bloomquist

Hi, everyone.

I’d like to thank COD for continuing my series of flag raisings on the Viking Underground.

Our team found a way to win this past Sunday, despite far too many penalties. I hope all Viking fans are as inspired as I am to show their support to our team in any way they can, just like last weekend when I climbed a peak and raised the Viking’s flag.

The 6500-foot Squaw Mountain peak was this past Saturday’s goal. It was a much easier hike than the Needles hike last Saturday. According to Ron, my hiking and geologist friend, Squaw Mountain is a small mountain consisting of volcanic tuff, rock made from compressed volcanic ash, minerals and other stuff.

It only took four hours to complete the hike. Bush whacking the entire way, Ron and I reached the peak and took a few snapshots.

The first shot of me holding the end of the flag shows the Organ Mountain Needles peak on the left side of the picture. Of the two high points on the left side of the picture, the peak to the right is the one I reached last week to begin my Viking flag-raising series.

The second photo shows no flag, but gives you a glimpse of this coming Saturday’s hike to the second highest peak in the Organ Mountain Range…Organ Peak (in a far background).

Squaw Mountain 12-3-05 022.jpg

Finally, the third picture shows me holding the flag with an unnamed peak in the background that looks like a shark’s fin. I’d like to fly the Viking flag on that one, too.

So, as the season continues, I will hike a new peak and raise the Viking’s flag the day before each Viking game.

Until next time…your friendly New Mexico correspondent, Daren the Hiking Vike.

Note From COD: Look for a possible blurb about Daren the Hiking Viking in this coming Sunday's STrib. I'll pass on more information as it becomes available.

VU Fantasy Updates

The VU Pick 'Em League had another interesting weekend. Coworker Jim of the league leading Cuyahoga Riverdawgs almost ran the table getting only one game wrong. And he has some explaining to do after picking against one of his Ohio teams, the Bengals. Coworker Jim finished one point ahead of The Wizzinator who also very bearly ran the table...picking only the Carolina-Atlanta tilt incorrectly. Congratualtions both!

The Top 15:

1 cuyahoga riverdawgs
2 Bubbling Farts
3 C.J.'s pix
4 The Wizzinator
5 Straight Cash Homies
6 Pogo
7 Ron Burgundy
9 hawgdawg
10 Ragnar
11 paviking
12 Big Dogs
13 Mr. Cheer Or Die
14 Wisconsin Vikes?
15 Smooth Jimmy Apollo

Over in the Beer Brotherhood Fantasy League, all hail the #1 Seed! All hail the #1 seed! ME!

That's right, I took home $50 for winning my division and another $50 for the Most Points Scored Season title. The latter was assured when the Seattle Seahawks defense posted 36-points for me Monday night. The 36-point score was the most ever for any position in the BBFL's history.

And I'll have to be happy with that money because in the BBFL being the #1 seed means you also are stuck with The Curse. The Curse has struck every #1 seed as far back as we can remember. What happens? Well, the #1 seed loses to the #8 seed in the first round of the playoffs. It has happened time after time after time. And I get stuck this year. Or do I?

My tenative lineup heading into the playoff game:

QB C. Palmer, CIN CLE
RB S. Alexander, SEA SF
RB T. Barber, NYG @PHI
WR T. Holt, STL @MIN
WR J. Porter, OAK @NYJ
TE C. Cooley, WAS @ARI
PK P. Edinger, MIN STL
Def Seahawks SF

My opponents tenative lineup heading into the playoff game:

QB B. Johnson, MIN STL
RB D. Davis, HOU @TEN
RB L. Jordan, OAK @NYJ
WR D. Branch, NE @BUF
WR S. Moss, WAS @ARI
TE R. McMichael, MIA @SD
PK J. Brown, SEA SF
Def Giants @PHI

I know, I know....there is no way I lose this game, right? But then, it is a curse....THEE curse. And not only do I have to worry about the curse, I also will get muscle spasms and twitching each time Big Bad Brad throws a TD pass this Sunday! OH, THE HUMANITY!

Check back next week and see how I fared.

Quoting COD?

This was just too much of a coincidence to let go. I mean, what are the chances of Sisyphus being referred to when speaking about the Vikings? Let me explain.

Last week I spoke about how updating this blog can be a chore. The direct quote:

Earlier this season it got to be a chore to keep this blog going. The Vikings were losing and were not even competitive. I was tired of everything NFL. Tired of the Vikings. Tired of this blog. Tired of updating the blog that, in my already limited time, was just barely able to sustain.

Yet I had no choice but to continue. Even though on most days I felt like Sisyphus forever rolling his stone up the mountain. For I have seen slow starts by NFL teams before and felt that the Vikings future was not determined. Not all the options had been foreclosed.

Later that week, I was interviewed by the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand for a small piece that appeared in last Sunday’s STrib. In Rand’s latest article, he speaks with Chuck Klosterman who writes for Spin magazine and occasionally for ESPN. This quote made me think, “Hey, the Chuckster reads the VU!?:

If Minnesota ever won a Super Bowl, it would be like Sisyphus losing his rock. As such, Viking fans are not tortured at all. They are simply embracing their self-reflexive doom to the highest possible degree. It's actually somewhat noble.

So, I did some more searching and stumbled across this article penned by STrib sports dude Kevin Seifert. Who knew that the tortured soul Sisyphus was such a renowned Vikings icon? I think we have our new mascot!

Artist rendition by Shane Nackerud

Posted by maasx003 at 6:40 AM
November 30, 2005
Midweek Pot of Purple Stuff

Vikings Flying High: A Special Report by Guest Author Daren Bloomquist

What a game this past Sunday! Our defense is really coming together, and our offense was very productive in the red zone against the sixth best team in points allowed coming into the game.

The day before the game, I reached the summit of the highest point here in southern New Mexico. “The Needles? in the Organ Mountains are said to reach a height of 8,990 to 9,012 feet depending on the source. Let’s call it 9000 feet.

The rattlesnakes are all hibernating now so the hike was safe, but the wind was gusting to 40 mph which made the peak quite dangerous at the edges. Lean one way too far, lose your balance and you’re toast…just like the Packer’s season…albeit a little more permanent, if you know what I mean.

I told COD and you readers of the Viking Underground that I’d make this hike and raise the Viking flag to signify our Vikings’ rise to new heights. Ron, Lonnie and I made it to the top and raised the flag.

With Ron, a retired geologist and internet sports memorabilia dealer, and Lonnie, a Pittsburg fan first and Viking fan second, helping me hold the flag bowed by the wind, we got a good picture at the summit.

There are many more peaks in the Organ Mountains here in Las Cruces, New Mexico. For every Viking win from now until the end of the season, I’ll climb a new peak and raise the flag again.

Needles Hike 11-26-05 023.jpg

Go Vikes!

100% Cheese Free

I heard from my close, personal friend Syd this week. No, not that close, personal friend Sid Hartman....but Syd Davy aka 100% Cheese Free. If you want to see a great photo history of Syd and his close, personal friend Randy Moss head over to the Viking Update and check out those photos!

Video Test One

We're still doing some testing with the new upgrade at UThink so here is a video sent to me by The Commish to test my embedded video player

Video Test Two

Here is a Web Cam (aka "Crap Cam") test as I talk about my latest game day outfit as well as explaining about those patches on my helmet.

Over at that Other Blog

I discuss a new issue with big butts and a review a great take on the culture of corruption and incompetence by my favorite radio host.

Posted by maasx003 at 6:43 AM
August 31, 2005
Climbing for the Vikes

Note: Mr. Cheer or Die is on vacation through September 7. (Having mastered seafood culinary skills, he is moving onto Spanish paella.) Writing today is guest author Daren Bloomquist.

Showing the Colors:
:: Planting a Flag on a Mountain Top! ::
2005_Garden_008 007 thumb.jpg
Click photo or HERE to view larger image

Hello again, fellow Viking fans. This is NewMexicoGuy writing to you again from Las Cruces, New Mexico. You might have read my first story COD put up on May 17 this year about growing up listening to the Vikings at our cabin on Whitefish Lake. COD asked me to put something together while he takes a brief and well-deserved hiatus from his work on The Vikings Underground. Instead of another story, Im going to describe something that I am going to do to show my enthusiasm for the Vikings this season.

If you remember back to my original story, COD included a link to a photo of myself in the mountains just East of Las Cruces. That experience hiking to the 8990 peak was the inspiration for my idea. Im going climb to the summit for the fourth time this fallonce the rattlesnakes are all safely hibernatingand hoist a Vikings flag.

Im convinced that the Vikings are going to reach greater heights this year. Raising the flag at the nearest, but highest peak in Southern NM would be my perfect way cheering on our team as they work towards a World Championship. Im psyched about this season!

This will make for one great photo album. Maybe I can continue climbing various mountains across the country and world and plant a Vikings flag, snap a photo, and carry the flag back down and to my next target.

I'll probably write a brief story of my experience to document any funny occurrences, injuries, bone-chilling scares, and other memories. I'll come back here to ppost those stories. I will get a world map in my office and place a pin at the place of each flag raising.

Im planning to make the 12-hour hike to the Organ Needles later this fall and you can count on me to send a photo from the Organ Mountains in Southern New Mexico. Go Vikes!

Posted by maasx003 at 7:42 AM
May 17, 2005
Hot Shins, Cold Behind

Note: Today's guest columnist is Daren Bloomquist of Las Cruces, NM. Today is his birthday...and is also Norwegian Independence Day! Daren provides us a story of one of his fondest memories growing up and listening to the Vikings at the lake.

I grew up in Minnesota but have spent most of my adult life in Las Cruces, New Mexico, about 40 miles from the Mexican border. Thanks to the Sunday Ticket, I can watch all the Viking games I want, and thanks to Tivo, I can view themagainand againand again at my convenience, if I so choose.

We didnt have all that fancy technology when I was growing up. A black and white television set is what kept us in tune with the Vikings play by play. On those winter days when we were Up North, a transistor radio picked up the Park Rapids station and gave us kids our fill of Sir Francis and the Purple People Eaters.

I think I will forever remember asking what time it was. How soon is the game, Dad? If we go to Mass in Pequot Lakes would we be back in time for the game or should we go to Mass in Pine River? It always seemed to work out. Wed finish going to church and get back to the cabin in plenty of time.

Needless to say, our cabin was like many others in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We did not have a telephone or television. The only tele anything was the telecommute from northeast Minneapolis to the west side of Whitefish Lake most every weekend.

Dad would get the fire started, and my brother Brian and I would be ready to listen to the Purple win another one. We kept the wood under a tarp so it would stay dry. Just before kick-off, we would run outside to the fire pit.

Thats rightthe fire pit. Unlike many cabins of the time, ours didnt have a wood burning stove or fireplace. We went outside in our Levis, long underwear and jackets. Hey, Brian, dont forget the transistor radio!

Hunkered down by the fire, we turned on our link to the outside world and listened to our heroes of the Old Met: Boom Boom Brown, Alan Page, Ron Yary, Jim Marshall, Bench Warmer Bob, Ed White, Gary Larsen, John Gilliam and Sir Francis.

Before the end of the first quarter, our shins were hot and our behinds were cold. Hey, watch out, the wind is about to shiftsmokes coming your way! my brother and I would alert each other periodically.

I bet the Rams (LA) have frozen feet and want to go home to Mommy, Id say as I stood up with my back to the fire to warm it up a bit. My toes were a little cold by this time, too, so Id do the requisite toe-up dnace until circulation started again. No Thinsulate boots or socks in the good old days.

By this time the hoar frost was starting to melt from the tree limbs surrounding the fire pit. Mom usually brought out hot chocolate just before half-time. Come on in, boys! Hot cocoas ready, shed call.

Just bring it out, Mom, wed shout back. We didnt want to go in at half-time. No way! Wed get out our toboggans and slide down the 60-degree bank onto the frozen lake whose windswept surface made sliding on the ice a 100-yard experience. Awesome! Is this ice going crack Brian? Id ask. Nope, got to be 18 inches thick. hed respond. Then whys it creakin?

Its creakin cause its ticked that it cant come up to the fire and hear the Vikings kick butt on the Rams! After a half-dozen trips down the bank, wed race back to the fire with our jackets off and sweat beading our brows.

We assumed our positions up-wind of the fire and sat our cold butts on seats cut from thick Jack Pine logs that we set on end. Our cheers could be heard all the way to Driftwood Resort to the south and Red Cedar Lodge to the north. An occasional eagle would swoop nearer to see what all the commotion was about.

Bill Brown just ran it in from the one-yard line. Needless to say, our team went on to win that cold Sunday in December and the memories of that day and many others like it will remain in our hearts as long as we live.

Our parents finally sold our 40 acres of memories this past year because all the kids had moved away to other parts of the country. My brother and sister live in Connecticut with their families, and I reside in New Mexico with mine.

Some day hopefully Mom and Dad, with the help of us kids, can all pitch in together and get another smaller place on a lake, because Id like my boy to have the same experience I did Up North.

Posted by maasx003 at 7:22 AM