Land of Sky Blue Waters
Hello Friends,Three weeks ago I received a post card with a picture of a jagged barrenmountain range and the message "Mt. Borah awaits El Lobo Grande! Beafraid......be very afraid!!!Mt. Borah lies in the Big Lost River Range in Idaho..This served notice that my annual trip into the Idaho frontier with mygoodfriend Steve Otoole was coming up soon. Last year we backpacked Hell'sCanyon, the year before we hiked the Sawtooths. Steve's card made melaughnervously. Mt. Borah (Idaho's highest point) was only 12,662'-How difficultcan that be? I mean Humphrys peak (Arizona's highest point) is 12,600' andconsidered only a moderately difficult climb -- just a walk in the park. Iput the card with the majestic peak on the refrigerator. The knife-edgedridge couldn't be that tough?Steve picked me up at the airport Thursday evening and we immediatelyheadedfor the Ram's Head, directly across the street from Boise State, to slamdown a couple of local microbrews and plan the logistics for the trip.The next morning we drove to the Craters of the Moon National Monument andenjoyed some light hiking in a landscape full of detail and surprises. Oneearly travelor dubbed Craters of the Moon "The strangest 75 miles on theNorth American continent".That afternoon we camped at the base of Mt. Borah. We talked to a number ofclimbers that had just come off the mountain. No one had summitted.Some had turned back at Chicken out ridge while others were chased down bythe ferocious afternoon Thunder storm that was in progress.The campground was quite full of climbers that were going up the nextmorning. This particular August weekend is the most optimum for the climb.Approximately 200 climb Borah every year and it seemed like they were allthere for this weekend. During a break in the thunderstorm half a dozenguysassembled below the mountain, all staring at the steep path. Steve hasclimbed Borah twice and had quite a bit of route finding information thatwasabsorbed like a sponge.The Thunderstorms started again and continued well into the night. Wedecidedto start at 4 in the A.M. do a check on the weather, start in the dark andget down before the next days storms rolled in. The climb is only 3.5 milesto the top but the elevation gain is 5200' so you gain approximately 1500'per mile. Borah is primarily a climbers mountain with just one route thatisaccessible to the advanced hiker.The first two miles were completed in the dark. Being numb and not seeingthesteepness helped us to get to Chicken out ridge just after first light. Wescrambled along the knife ridge , up loose rocks, inclines and cliffs. Thesnowfield in the middle of the saddle had turned to solid ice. Muchverticalexposure there.Steve went a route above the icefield and I foolishly chosethe icefield path. Big mistake.I felt like I was on a tightrope. Should have roped up. Fortunate to getacross.The last 800' up Borah was yet another scramble on loose rock.On top of the summit we stared down at three glistening lakes. Thepanoramicview takes in several mountain ranges as well as beautiful valley.Going back, I stayed away from the ice-crossing and the climb up the ridgewas a little less nerve racking.The rest of the climb down was relatively easy and we really enjoyed it. Wecelebrated with a beer and then packed up for the drive to Red Fish Lake inthe Sawtooths where we planned to camp. The campgrounds were full but wehada great dinner and beers at the lodge and then drove to Stanley Lake wherewecamped. This lake was so clear and the environment so pristine that Ithoughtthat this truly must be "The land of sky Blue waters"Idaho is a well guarded secret and a Wilderness paradise.We set out our chairs on the edge of the lake and broke out the Tequila,saltand lime. After this fun, we went to our campgrounds, built a fire anddrankthe rest of the beer and wine. We rolled into bed after exchanging wolfhowls, barks and other animal sounds with the campers up the road. Thenextmorning we had a leisurely breakfast and then took a scenic route back toBoise through the mountains and Idaho city.I arrived back home at 10:30 in the evening to yet another spectacularThunderstorm that closed the Phoenix airport minutes after arriving. I hadtowait 45 minutes for my luggage that had been misrouted, then retrieved mycarfrom a swamp in the parking lot. Arrived home close to midnight, and had arestless few hours of sleep in anticipation of a tough Monday-Monday atthecorporation."Monday morning I've got Friday on my mind"-Easybeats 1967
I spent the last weekend of August on a great road trip through EasternMontana to North Dakota and Teddy Roosevelt National Park. I have beenwanting to visit this obscure, seldom frequented park that honors thememoryof the great conservationist, for a long time. Teddy Roosevelt is close tothe top of my list of great Americans, that played a major part inAmericanHistory. The North Dakota Badlands sprouted many of his personal concernsthat led to his later environmental efforts. He once remarked "I neverwouldhave been President if it had not been for my experiences in North Dakota."Our road trip started in Billings and took in a 600 mile round trip to seethe Park. The drive followed the beautiful Yellowstone River, for much oftheway. The Yellowstone is one of the last great rivers that hasn't beendammed,and screwed up. We enjoyed the simple beauty of the Park-the badlands, thegrasslands- inhospitable and barren but home to a variety of creatures andplants. There are over 200 bird species and we particularly enjoyed theprairie dogs that once were nearly extinct. Careful management saved them.Icould watch them for hours, they are a Gerry Corey personal favorite.The long drive back to Billings included a few road beers and stops atCowboy bars.One hole in the wall at Hathaway featured a 250lb. + female bartender andthree cowboy locals armed with fly swatters engaged in casual conversationand frequent fly kills on the bar. They even let me have a turn. I alwaystry to make friends with the locals and take in some of the culturalevents.Getting North Dakota on my state list was quite an effort. I now must getSouth Carolina and Arkansas to complete 50 state exploration. Ger and Iareplanning a trip to Hot Springs NP Arkansas and Charleston SC, but won'tgetthere before the milenium.Checked out the logistics for a climb up Montana's highest -Granite Peak.Itis close to Red Lodge where our friends the Ewalds are developing a ranch.This also will have to wait until next year. The time window for the climbisvery narrow.This trip wraps up an ambitious, exhausting August that included adventuresin seven Western States. I was planning on packing into the DesolationWilderness in California or the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico this weekendbut will remain in Arizona and catch up.
My son Jake and I along with my friend Peter the sheep enjoyed a specialshortbackpack this weekend. (after a week of tense budget meetinings inMinneapolis.)We drove 4 hours, that included 40 miles of backroads to enter the Eastendof Aravaipai ("little running water-Apache name) canyon. We walked most ofthelength of this 11 mile high walled canyon in the creek to keep cool as thetemperatures exceeded 100 F. Aravaiai creek is one of the few perennialstreams in the Southwest. Aravaipai is a fragile ecology with primativenature. There is a tremendous amount of flora and fauna in this lushcanyon.We met Todd & friends at Horse camp and stayed there for the evening. Onlysaw 2 other hikers the entire weekend.We didn't see any Ash throated fly catchers or tiger rattlesnakes but didseemany loach minnows. After dark we sat on a rock in the middle of the streamand were treated to a show of flickering firefflies illuminating the creekwalls and diving bats.This was truly awesome.My cowboy poetry readings were very popular with the group and I do believethat the applause after each reading was more than polite-perhaps simply anappreciation for the fun of it.
I was fortunate enough to share a splendid wilderness adventure with myyoungest son Jake.The Blue Range Primitive Area was simply awesome!! It is a good six hourdrivefrom Phoenix including 40 miles of backroads but was worth every minute.Wehadplenty of fun CDs to listen to. This is truly a remote area. Most of theBluerange is seldom visited by hikers and offers a real opportunity forseclusion. It was storming on Friday, we had hard rain all the way to Pinetop, soIthought we were in for a miserable weekend but the weather cleared and weonlyhad to deal with a few Thunder showers.Lamphier canyon is one of the prettiest areas that I have been to. Agurglingcreek, wildflowers everywhere in a shaded canyon with grapevine lacedtrees.It rivals the California lost coast.Both Jake and I developed some good blisters -We went 14 miles the firstdayin order to get off the Mogollon rim, where we would have been vulnerabletolightning. A good part of the hike after Lamphier canyon is steep to therimand the trails are feint and confusing. Did not see much Wildlife- AlpineKingsnake, a few frogs, but did run across very large pawprints well defined inthe mud. Mexican Wolf? Perhaps-Apparently the pack is roaming all over theBlue and doing well.Overall I rate this one a 9. It would have gotten a 10 if the trails weremaintained and not so difficult to find.
Cowboys & Cowgirls-Peeterrrrrr the sheep and I just completed a great weekend backpack in oneofthe more remote areas in Arizona-The Galiuro Wilderness.We started this adventure with Mexican food in Globe to enhance the essenceofthe trip.Because this Wilderness can only be reached by many miles of backroadtravelafter many hours of travel from Phoenix- it is bypassed by most hikers andoffers plenty of solitude-We saw no human species-----but plenty ofwildlife-including a rare sighting of a bobcat, white tailed deer, a skunk, Javelinaand plenty of bear signs.We hiked up to Kennedy peak on a trail that had abundant evergreenoak,pinyonpine, juniper mountain mahogany, manzanita., Chihuahua pine, mexican whitepine, Az cypress and occaisonal Douglas fur. We saw literally hundreds ofbutterflies. The trail in the lower reaches featured desert grasslands andmany varieties of cactus. This combination of eco systems makes awildernessparadise and is exactly why I love living in Arizona that has every ecosystemfrom Mexico to Canada.Arizona has more Wilderness areas (90) that any other state with theexceptionof California (129) which is in a league of its own. Plan your nextWildernessadventure here, it is magnificent!!!! Do it now before the monstereconomicdevelopment destroys the west.Hiking in the Galiuros is a big challenge as the routes have not beenmaintained for years and some sections are simply non-existant. Also theBovine and horse puckey on the lower reaches get on your nerves. They oughttohave open season on cows!!!!!!!!!!Overall, this is an excellent getaway and is rated a solid 8.5 Thepanoramicviews of the Pinalenos (Mt. Graham) and the Santa Teresas are breathtaking.The clear star filled skies were like a picture out of Arizona Highways.Mexican wolves were in this wilderness until the 50s.We ended this trip with Mexican beer, quarts of Bud and Junk foodpurchasedfroma supermarket on the way back. This store (close to a reservation) featured2week old cooked pizza. I wolfed down stale popcorn, MMs, ice cream,fritos,and a dolly madsen pie that had been on the shelf for 5years.------MMMMMMMMMMMM----Health foodNext week is the big one ------Thunder River --North Rim Grand Canyon-4daysI hope that my feet and body heal, cause I understand that this is a tough,tough outing. Bob Shea is flying in from Minneapolis for this one.
We missed out on the the Grand Canyon Bass to Hermit trip. Let a bad roadreport spoil a great trip. This was extremely disapointing, as I had lookedforward to this particular adventure for some time. In order to make up forthis bad decision we decided to do a short Pack in the Chiricahuas. TheSnowshed trail proved to be another poor choice.My hiking partner Steve and I left Thursday afternoon and drove 5 hours toPortal, on the East side of the Chiracahuas. We stayed at the Portal PeakLodge, and started hiking Friday morning. The Portal Cave Creek area isdelightful and the Lodge was full of enthusiatic birders.Our Packs were extremely heavy (55 to 60 lbs) as we had to carry additionalwater,not having any confidence that there would be any at the Springs on route.(Fossil,Deer, Anita)The day started out beautiful, the hiking was tough as we were climbingcloseto 4,000 feet-- up to over 9,000 feet. The first five miles were tough butwent fine, the next three were pure Hell. The "trail" became a "route" atbest and we had difficulty staying on track. Evil winds (40 MPH) were inourface, and the "route" became an obstacle course. Fallen trees from therattlesnake fire of 94, required climbing over, under, around and throughthem.This exhausted us and the winds did a nice job of dehydraating ourdryold bods.At eight miles we made a decision to stop short of deer spring, conserveourwater and make camp on a ridge, this being the only flat area we had seenfor3 miles.Setting camp was very challenging. We got into our bags at 6:00P.M. to getout of the winds. The evil spirits pummelled us all night. The temperaturedipped below freezing and the wind chill factor brought it down close to 0.I love mild torture!!The next morning, we broke camp in record speed, we were concerned aboutfinding the path back, without trouble. Steve did a nice job with thepathfinding and the obstacles were not as difficult to negotiate with packs5to 7 lbs. lighter.The winds died down and the morning turned gorgeous. We were out by 11:30.Chalk this one up to adventure.Overall, I rate this hike a five. The first five miles were pretty, but thecharred forrest was not, we both had enough of the soot. I do not recommendtaking the snowshed trail to get to the heart of the Chiracahuas. I thinkthat we were the first ones through since the fire. All signs are burned.
This was one of the best backpacks I have participated in. Nothing lessthangreat.My good friend of 36 years-Bob Shea arrived on schedule Friday morning fromDenver and we were able to get on the road by 1:00 P.M after some finalprep.We arrived at North Kaibab Lodge around 8:00 P.M. and made contact withSteveYahner, the GC warrior whom I hiked the South Canyon with in July. We hadagreat trout dinnner at the lodge and were able to retire early and was abletoget a good night's sleep.Steve's two friends Lynn and Russ met us in the morning and it took us onlyanhour on backroads to reach the trailhead at monument point. The backroadsare reasonably smooth and the Bill Hall parking trailhead is close to 30milesfrom the pavement.Russ finished the drive with a flat tire. We decided to change it when wereturned. The winds were high on the rim and it was quite chilly startingoutat 7050 ft.The trail eventually drops abrubtly and is difficult downhill travel,contending with the steepness and the rock/loose shale.The temperatures were perfect for this type of hike. The trail offers someofthe best scenery in the Canyon. We enjoyed beautiful long range vistas andbroad slickrockfor the first part of the descent. Some of this is very reminiscent of theslickrock around Moab in Canyonlands. We all carried an extra gallon ofwater(additional 8 lbs.) and cached it at the Esplanade where we would stay onthelast night.After descending a moderate grade through the sun scorched Surprise Valley,Iexclaimed what is that sound Bob? Is it Thunder? Yes!!! It is THUNDERRIVER,MAN!!!!!!!!THUNDER RIVER came into view and is one of the most remarkable sights thatIhave ever seen. THUNDER RIVER surges out of twin caves, dropping 150 feetandthen crashes steeply down a canyon for a half mile, rushing into TapeatsCreek. AMAZING!!!!!!The whitewater roar is deafening. Tall cottonwoods line the banks of theriver. The view of this river is equally impressive to a view of the GeatBarrier Reef.IT'S THUNDER RIVER, MANNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!We followed a relentlessly steep trail down to Lower Tapeats camp area andsetup camp close to the gushing Tapeats Creek.We enjoyed a pleasant evening, socializing with Steve, Russ, and Lynn.Therewas a full moon that night and the stars were abundant.The next day, Bob and I day hiked down to the Colorado and spent some quiettime relaxing. Lower Tapeats camp looks real nice but offers little shade.We enjoyed another pleasant evening with the group and started out earlythenext morning. The trip out and up was a lot easier coming in, than goingdown.We were able to find our cached water on the Esplinade and camped in anareathat had a view to kill for. We enjoyed yet another evening with the group.That night the temps got down to a "freezing" 39 and Bob from Minnesotacouldnot understand why us Arizonans were shivering in the morning and dressedlikeEskimoes.The hike out that morning although steep, proved to be easy for the entiregroup and we reached the rim early. Russ and Bob changed the tire in timetobe out of there at 10:00 A.M.Bob and I got back to Phoenix close to 7:00 P.M. in good shape to take careofour gear and get him to the airport the following morning with a goodnight'ssleep.Overall, I rate this hike a 9.9. It would get a ten but there were two manycars in the parking lot. We saw only few people, but knowing that they wereout there somewhere cost the hike .1 point.This was certainly one of the best packs that I have been on. The companywasgreat, and the beauty and taste of the Canyon magnificent.This hike was rated very strenuous in the book-dropping and climbing >5000ft.is always difficult, but I would give it a moderately strenuous rating.Definitely going uphill was easier than going down. Perhaps it would beverystrenuous in hotter climate. Our climate was close to perfect. October isprobably the best month to go.EL LOBO GRANDE SEZ:If you have ever wanted to see the Canyon. Do it!!!!!!! This is the bestpartof the GC.If you have ever wanted to do this loop. DO IT!!!!THUNDER!!!! THUNDER RIVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
August 25, 1869- "Great Quanities of lava are seen on either side; andthen we come to an abrupt cataract. Just over the fall a cinder cone, orextinct volcano, stands on the very brink of the canyon. What a conflict ofwater and fire there must have been here! Just imagine a river of moltenrockrunning down into a river of melted snow. What a seething and boiling ofthewaters; what clouds of steam rolled into the heavens! "Thirty five miles today. Hurrah!" Powell ReportI was required to spend some business time in tinsel town, (Las Vegas) andtook the opportunity to visit old First Interstate friends Dan Mckimmey andAl Yates,and hook up with my friend James Cabanas for a weekend adventure.Dan Mac is legendary for his austere lifestyle. He holds the world recordforattending garage sales. He also knows of the cheapest restaraunts and tookAl and I to one sleezy Casino for the $4.95 steak dinner special. Since,Ipaid (again) I really appreciated this bargain of a meal.The next night I took my team to the Harrahs's Range steak house to restoremy taste buds. The Range is a great Nevada restaraunt and highlyrecommended.I Nailed my presentation and met James late Thursday afternoon for the 2hour drive to St. George, and close to 100 miles of backroads in theArizonastrip to Toroweep. Gerry was in San Diego for a conference so I had noproblem getting a weekend pass.We arrived at St George at 5:30P.M. and started our sojourn towards Mt.Trumball.I rented a high clearance four wheel drive and we needed it!Most of the drive was in the dark, but a full moon and excellent navigationfrom James got us there around 8:30P.M.That night we camped on the runway of Tuweep International Airport. Theairport terminal consists of a ramada and 2 picnic tables. There was awoodensign designating concourse C, we were the only travelors.The next morning we rose early to drive to the Lava falls trailhead. The"trail is only 1 1/4 miles from rim to river but drops 2700'. -very steepandtreacherous.! Lava falls rapids at the bottom.The descent was negotiated slowly and carefully, but the route consisted ofnothing but loose rock and scree. We spaced our distance from one anotherforabout 50'' and that decision prevented serious injury. I dislodged alargebolder that almost took out James.We fell a number of times and escaped injury until I slid into a jaggedrockthat put a nice punture in my right leg. Bandages would not stop thebleedingso we wrapped my bandanna around it and continued. I felt lucky that itwasn't broken.After a 20' bolder climb down we arrived at the river in just 2 hours. Thetemperature was in the high 90s and the rocks were extremely hot to thetouch.LAVA FALLS RAPID-North America's toughest whitewater. (8-10) drop 13'-measurement of main rapid only and does not include lower rapid 1/4 miledownstream.Just as we arrived a group of rafters and Kayaks were sighted. Great Luck!Not that many run the river in late October.The river runners got out at a beach and studied the water for close to anhour- and then-what a show! No one wiped out, a few close calls.This was great fun, but we had to start back up. The hike up was easier toget footholds but physically much more demanding.The low point was losing the route around 5 P.M. after 3 1/2 hours ofclimbing. Going up the wrong drainage could mean real trouble. We hadaboutan hour's daylight and little water. To add to the fun, I almost stepped onalarge rattlesnake. Fortunately it was not aggressive and just crawled undersome brush. After retracking, and scanning the countryside we finallypickedit up. The car! The car!Even though we were dehydrated we elected to down a couple of ice coldCervezas at the car. The best ever!That night we camped in the primitive campgrounds right at the edge of a3000' drop. My new Sierra Designs tent with duel doors allowed James tosleep with his head outside the tent. The combination of freeze driedLasagna, a lb.of peanuts and numerous Tecates was lethal.I do not have the words to describe the spectacular Toroweep overlook.Nothing that you have seen before can prepare you for this awesome view.The only sound was the wind rushing through the canyon and the distantroarof Lava Falls, some 3000 ft. below.This trip is rated a solid 10+. The "hike" is rated a 10 for it's uniquereward at the bottom but is given a -5 for the effort and risk factor.
"ALL BLEEDING EVENTUALLY STOPS"After spending Sunday evening at the Grand Canyon Caverns Inn and missingthegreat Red Sox victory over Cleveland due to TV problems at the greatLodge,I met part of our group Monday morning at 10:00A.M. The Inn is cheap andmodest, a popular spot to stay the night before a trip to Havasupai Falls.I took the opportunity to tour the Grand Canyon Caverns at 9:00. The tourwas historically interesting, but the caverns were not impressive.My hiking partner Steve joined us around 10:30. He had just completed a 9dayColorado River research trip.The Grand Canyon Field Institute leader Mike Young did not arrive untilpastnoon so we got a late start. Mike is a former river runner and has the lookof a Mountain man.The Western reaches of the Grand Canyon are not seen by many hikers withtheexception of Havasupai, which is extremely popular.This outing began at Hidden Valley, following a route taken by nativeAmericans as they sought the Springs that establish perennial streams inthedrainages of Blue Mountain Canyon and Diamond Creek. We took an overlandroute known only by Mike, with no real trail, we found our way on thefly.This is Hualapai land without a trace of humans. The Hualapai had long leftthis country with their cattle and settled in Peach Springs. We did not seeasoul or anyhuman footprints. In the Hualapai highlands we stopped frequently to enjoypinion nuts, examine schards, spearheads, arrowheads and interesting rocks.We did come across some "kitty tracks" along with a dead snake that hadattempted to swallow a lizard and appeared to suffocate itself. The antswereeating the leftovers. Nature's way.A pack of yipping coyotes visiting our camp woke us the first morning.On day 2 we climbed 750-1000 ft. and camped on a huge mesa that had greatviews of the country including the Tower of Babylon.The next day we examined a cave and started our 2800 ft. descent of theRedwall. This part had some exposure, and the temperature had risen to theupper 90s.Steve and I left the group with about 1000 ft. left to the Blue Mountaindrainage.The group was going a little too deliberate for us and we wanted topossiblyget to the river early and try to get back to Phoenix for a weddingSaturdayafternoon.We consulted with Mike on the route and headed down to find Blue MountainSpring. We had been carrying 2-3 gallons of water and had two drycamps.-Heavy Packs!We were now close to being out of water and needed to find the Spring. Ontheway down a good size rattler greeted us from a shady ledge. He gave usplenty of warning to leave his property immediately and we passed byquickly.We dropped our packs at the bottom and walked a drainage for 4 miles insearch of the Spring. No Spring. A little anxiety. The group had either notarrived or gone down another drainage to the Spring. At this point wedecidedto put on our packs and get to Diamond Creek-perennial water, which lookedto be about three miles. A half mile later we struck it rich with BlueMountain drainage water holes. We pumped and filled our bodies andcamelbacks. A few miles later we hit the gushing Diamond Creek, cooledourseves in a great little pool and then set up camp.The next day we followed Diamond Creek for 12 miles down a rock strewndrainage.There were so many frogs in and along the creek the ground seemed to move.Wepassed through the Diamond Creek narrows. Negotiated a couple of largeboulder climbs without incident.We arrived at Diamond Pt. close to 1:00 P.M. Diamond Pt. is at the ColoradoRiver and where most river trips end.We hitched a ride with a very nice female Hualapai Ranger (for 20 bucks)going back to Peach Springs (About 30 miles of backroad)Out on Thursday afternoon -three days early. Arrived back in Phoenix around7:30 P.M.Overall I rate this trip an 8.5 because of it's remote and uniqueattributes.Few people have passed this way. It was pure, unspoiled Wilderness.
Mother of all adventures/Grand Canyon/Colorado River Raft trip Fellow Adventrapaneurs,Reentry from our recent whitewater float trip has been at best difficult.Returning to LA & work has been ugly. The isolation from the rest of theworld and the rules of the Canyon are in sharp contrast to urban reality.This letter will serve as an overview of the trip. Todd Cretors has agreedtowrite the detailed report, outlining each day's fun.Thanks to Brian Hinshaw for organizing and coordinating a memorable trip.Brian selected a hybrid trip with AZRA that required "EXPEDITIONMENTALITY."Seventy-five percent of the trips on the Colorado are taken with motorizedpontoon type crafts. Twenty-four percent are oar powered and 1% is paddlepowered. Our trip was a a combination of oar and paddle.AZRA is absolutely the best company. The guides were stellar. All were freespirits and extremely competent. Two attractive female river guidesprovidedadditional beauty.The magnificent "eight" enjoyed a tremendous nine days floating from Pipecreek to Diamond Creek.One rapid after another! This portion of the Colorado has the mostchallenging whitewater.Calm-Sounds of the rapid-Forward-Into the whitewater-Exhilaration-Celebrate!!Oars together in the air!!!Highlights included:-Awesome wildlife that included Peregrine Falcons, Bald Eagles, Ospreyflyingwith fish in their beaks, Trout, Wild Turkeys, Blue Herons, Egrets,Chuckwallas, Desert Bighorns, Mule Deer, Ringtail Cats, A Pink Rattlesnakeand more.........-Prominent rapids including North America's premier rapid-Lava Falls-Raft flipping at rapid 209-Best meals ever-Skinny dipping at Beaver Falls Havasu-Swimming the rapids- Laura's Violin concert in a slot Canyon-Hiking the Kanab route to Whispering Falls-Rappelling down to the narrows into Waterfalls at Deer Creek-Jumping off the natural "board" into the Colorado-Catching and releasing beautiful trout-Hiking to Elve's Chasm and to the "Source"-Hiking the River trail-BJ the river guide jumping off his raft on to another and letting histerrified group plunge into a rapid without it's leader-Cervezas at camp-Warpaint and drums ---- The retired Becky (wild thing) dancing naked intheraft en route to Lava RapidsLow Points-Peterrrr da Bighorn Sheep's moniker redefined as "Peterrr Da Cheap" by RobLevy-Ed, the minister, praying in his tent for our group after observing badbehaviors-El Lobo demonstrating bad behaviors that included refusing to have hispicture taken with the group-Someone stealing 18 of Peterrr da Bighorn Sheep's beers-Brian, clearing out the entire beach and taking El Lobo's title from him.-Rob, flirting with the lovelies and expressing "It's really hard to findgood people!"-Long line in the A.M. for the porta potty-Ann's charming personality-Tevas not gripping -Chacos needed-Missing Thunder River due to Hatch's pontoons taking our landing spot-Flys, Flys, Flys in camp on day sevenHeroesPeterrrrr and Rob get the most adventurous awards. Thanks to James for hisPhotography work.
Spent another great weekend in New Mexico. Was able to add NM Mt.Wheeler(13,161) to the completion list of the highest peak in each of the WesternStates. The hike is a relatively easy one and allows you to bag 2 13ers. Itstarts at the Taos ski area at 9000 ft. Suggest staying the night before atthe Taos ski lodge. You get a room and full breakfast for under $75 andcanget an early A.M. start so that you can avoid the afternoon thunderstorms.Thetrail follows a creek for the first mile and you are above the treeline at3miles in grassy meadows. The entire 7 1/2 miles up has breathtaking beauty.The alpine views are tremendous and include many lakes. You reach Mt.Walter(13,130) a 1/2 mile prior to Wheeler. We started back down at 10:30 and theThunderheads rolled in soon after. We caught rain and hail the last twomilesdown.My hiking partner, Richard, would like to bag Colorado's highest-Mt.Elbert(14,433) on my next trip over. It would be a long drive but seems doable.This coming weekend Gerry and I will be in Great Basin National Park andhopeto climb Nevada's Wheeler peak, another 13er. It is the 2nd highest peak inNevada. Boundary peak is the highest. My friend Eric and I completed thatonelast year and it was a great hike in a very remote area. I will neverforgetthe three wild horses we saw on the way up.We are really looking forward to seeing the Great Basin Bristlecone pineforrest and Lehman caves.
Ger and I arrived in Seatle Friday A.M. and drove to Vancouver BC. We spentacouple of fn days there seeing the city. Spent a whole day in Stanley Parkseeing the aquarium and hiking about. The park is absolutely beautiful,colored with UNBELIEVABLE flower arrangements. Comporable to Golden Gateparkin stature.I booked a "reaonablely priced hotel" downtown and assured Ger that we werestaying at a first class hotel in Seatle so our stay in Vancouver shouldbean adventure. The hotel "Patricia" rivaled the impoverished dive we stayedinDublin. Street traffic consisted rimarily of Junkies and prostitutes andmadethe experience extra special. Walking home from dinner on Friday night waslike running through the gauntlet. On Saturday morning the rent a car wouldnot start so we waited in the parking lot for AAA. A friendly policeofficerafter completeing an arrest asked us why we had chosen this hotel? I toldhimthat my travel agent had booked it. He said that many Junkies were stayinginthe hotel aand that we should consider going elsewhere to be safe. WestayedSaturday night and propped suitcases up against the door in our room as ithadno inside bolt. The sound of sirens, breaking glass, and fighting prettymuchkept us up all night. Another little slice of life. I'm lucky that myspouseis such a sport! She treated herself to a lovely new purse at RootsAthleticsto help with the depression that often comes in the overcast Northwest.I did meet some Pacific Crest trail through hikers at the hotel that hadjustcompleted the 1800 miles and enjoyed talking with them.On Sunday we drove to Cascades National Park and had a great little hikefromDiablo to Ross Lake. We took a fun tugboat ride back up the river to thetrailhead.We spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday visiting a long lost brother and his family and got a grand tour of the Seatle area.We have been to Seatle many times but hadn't taken the time to see much ofit.We were both very impressed.
Subject: "MOTHER" of all road trips HI guys,What's going on? I haven't received any trip reports in a while from manyofyou. I hope that everyone is keeping a good balance of work andrecreationaladventure in their lives.Just returned from 8 days on the road. Gerry accompanied me last weekend toElPaso. We spent Friday evening in Juarez Mex. Further diluted my Oakleystockby purchasing facsimile Oakley sunglasses. REI tells me that the ones thatthey make in Mexico are very close to the authentic and difficult todetectany differences. Juarez was pretty wild and scary. The drug lords haverecently shot a number of rivals in restaraunts in the heart of the city.Finally, after years of deprivation, I picked up a pair of ostrich Cboybootsat the Tony Llama outlet in El Paso for a great price.Saturday, in Edward Abbey's footsteps-we scaled Texas's highest peak(Guadaloupe peak 8749'-3000' elevation change in 4 miles) in GuadaloupeNational Park. It was a perfect day with minor winds. Temperature in thelowseventies.West Texas is harsh and dry . It has arid plains and bitter winds -highlonesome country. The hike is truly one of the most fabulous in the US!!Atthe summit you get the greatest view possible. We really enjoyed the vistasall around.The Chihuahuan desert, like all deserts has a beauty of it's own and I likeit.I was really encouraged by Gerry's ability to get to the top with a steadypace. She passed a number of young army or college studs that werestruggleing. This was a real confidence builder in her battle witharthritus.She felt fine after the hike and was able to hike again the next day inMckittrick canyon which is touted as the most beautiful place in all ofTexas.It was pretty!We drove over to Carlsbad Caverns and took in the "Big Room" on Sunday A.M.Sunday night we had close to the best Mexican food we have had. We ate in ahole in the wall dive in downtown EL Paso and then put Gerry on anairplanehome. As a side note, on this trip I set my own personal record forcontinuously eating Mexican food. Six straight days- which afforded me theopportunity to thoroughly enjoy my hotel room in the evenings whilewatchingESPN.The next day - drove to Las Cruzes and Almagordo NM to meet with theRegionalPresidents. Was able to take in White Sands Natl Monument in between LasCruzes and Almagordo.Flew to Albaquerque the next A.M. and could not believe my eyes when themoststrikingly beautiful Senorita in the world sat next to me. Normally I getsomefat person that farts and/or snores. She did not understand a lick ofEnglishand I was cursing myself for not taking any Spanish classes. Yo Quero TacoBell did not work. For close to fifteen minutes she kept desperately askingme--Bano? and squirming in her seat. I finally interpreted this one and letherout and pointed to the front of the plane. She seemed very greatful.On Wednesday -took a puddle jumper to Hobbs and Roswell NM to meet withBankers. The high intensity winds made this trip quite an adventure and thevisits to these two "cities" was a real slice of life. Hobbs takes on moreofa Texas culture - an oil town run by independents.In Albaquerque, El Lobo visited UNM and was able to pick up a "LOBO" shirtandpatch. I look forward to seeing the Lobo's play in the "PIT" next year.