Great Basin National Park

This latest trip started and finished stressfully, however the quality inbetween was superb!!!Dealing with some serious work crisis and my Bosses boss caused me to makeamad dash from North Phoenix to pick up Ger in Tempe and make it to theairportin a 1/2 hour in order to make our Friday afternoon flight to Las Vegas.Fortunately the plane was late so we made it to the gate 5 minutes beforetakeoff. I was still on my cellular working when we were on the runway andpicked it back up at the LV airport upon arrival.We drove 4 1/2 hours to Baker Nv on Friday night and stayed at the BorderInnfor $29.00. The Border Inn is a nice little slice of life. I loved theplace!!On Saturday we hiked in Great Basin NP to a couple of alpine lakes and aglacier(actually an icefield) and to the Bristlecone pine forrest. Bristleconesarethe oldest living things on earth, reaching more than 6,000 years. TheWheelericefield is the only permanent icefield in the Great Basin region betweentheSierras and Wasatchmountains. This was a very nice hike.Great Basin NP is the least frequented park in the system and is truly aremarkablegem. It is over 300 miles from the closest major airport in LV or SaltLake.Baker is a state of mind when things were simpler, it is in a time warp. Ithasn't changed much since it was founded in the 1880s. It has unusualartworkall about.In the afternoon we visited Lehman caves, paleing in comparison to Carlsbadbut was still worth touring.The Mt. Moriah Wilderness is just North of Great Basin. We did not get upthere but I understand that this is one fine Wilderness to find yourselfallalone in large Aspen groves.We had a fun dinner at one of Baker's 2 cafes, retired early and then gotupat firstlight to start up 13,063 foot Mt. Wheeler. This was a fantastic hike,starting in meadows we saw many deer and quickly ascended above 3 alpinelakes. This is a 4.2 mile trail climbing from 10,000 to 13,000. It wasquiteeasy with the exception of the last mile that was quite steep. There wasstilla lot of snow on the mountain but we did not have to hike in much of it.Infact it snowed here three weeks ago. The sun was very intense on top. Theviews were panoramic covering some of the prettiest scenery that you willeverlay your eyes on. We started down at 9:15 which was fortunate asThunderheadsrolled in shortly after and chased us down the mountain in the rain.This was really a special hike for me. Tto complete Wheeler NM and WheelerNVon successive weekends and to be able to return to the Nevada high desertthatI love really made it worthwhile.The road back to LV turned out to be a lot more stressful than the hike.I turned the wheel over to Gerry in Caliente (hot) famous for its boysreformschool- to catch a little shuteye and within 10 minutes she managed toattractthe rador of the Nevada Highway patrol while she was passing another carthatwas also speeding. After retrieving a whopping $270 ticket -98 in a 70zone-Lobo took back the wheel. Next, instead of getting gas like I usually do Ideferred to the gas gage that read 1/2 and my wife's insistance that wehadplenty of gas. Just as we passed the sign that read no services for 93milesthe gas gage took a plunge much like my stock at work this week, andregistered at 1/8 of a tank. It was over a 100 out and we coasted into N LVonfumes with the out of gas alarm giving me its third and final warning.I found all this a little stressful. So life decided to really give me thebusiness by having me wait in line at the Flamingo Hilton for over an hourtoregister for our HotelThe tense, crowded, noisy LV hotel Casino was just what I needed - quite arefreshing change from the contrast of Baker Nevada and the serenity ofGreatBasin.We did walk to NYNY and have dinner. A lot of overweight middle aged folks-Just like us- Guys in Tank tops and mamas in hot pants. Nice!!!! The showmustgo on. Too bad we had to get up early the next morning so I could make itintowork on time at my LV site. We missed Siegried and Roy!!!!It rained so hard that night that flash floods flooded our building andbrought down much of our equipment. I really like my job!!!!On our flight home this evening AW lost some reservation files and since wewere "ticketless" we almost did not get on the flight. Being a Masterfrequentflyer is the only thing that saved us as they had cancelled 2 previousflights. AW blamed their computer problems on the thunderstorms-just sweptaway their reservation files-Amazing!!!Another adventure bites the dust.

Boundary Waters & Anza Borenga

I did take a weekend with my good friend Bob Shea and snowshoe backpackintothe boundary waters bordering Minnesota and Canada. The weather was quitewarm, it only got to a few degrees below zero. We slept on an iced overlakeand if it were not for the Muklluks I purchased in Ely, my feet would havefrozen.We did see a couple of Mushers with their dog teams. Also had theopportunity to visit the International Wolf Center in Ely. This was veryeducational and a first class operation comporable to the Arizona DesertSonoran museum in Tuscon. They hadfour wolves born in captivity on a couple of acres. They feed the wolvesroadkill deer.We also drove the coast of Lake Superior and spent some time in Duluth. AllinAll ,a great little adventure.Gerry and I took four days and went to San Diego. The weather was not greatbut we did get in the zoo and had a nice valentine's dinner on Coronadoisland. On route we stopped at Anza Borenga desert state park and took ahike.This is a beautiful state park and highly recommended.We spotted a lone bighorn sheep on the ridgeline and watched it for closetoan hour. Later we sighted a group of 18 bighorns so it was a nice additiontothe beautiful streams and natural palms that we hiked to. On the way backwevisited Joshua tree National Park and enjoyed a short dayhike.

Hell's Canyon-Devil's Wilderness

Hell's Canyon/& Devils Wilderness Hi Gang,Just returned from an outstanding wilderness adventure in Idaho.I met friend and companion, Eric Redmond in San Francisco and we flew intoBoise late Thursday evening. My old friend, Hillbilly Steve Otoole pickedusup at the airport and we finished charting our trip around 2:00 A.M.The drive to the Wilderness was really pretty follwing the Payette river agood portion of the way. Idaho is an undiscovered paradise and property isstill very reasonable.There isn't a lot of diversity in Idaho and we ran into quite a few guys bythe name of "Clem". but you can't have it all.The hiking book stated that the 7 Devils can create their own weather asstorms sweep off the Oregon side of Hells Canyon and recirculate over thepinnacled mountains. The devils ("He Devil, She Devil, Devils Tooth, TheOgre, The Goblin, Tower of Babel, Devil's Throne) were at work when westarted out. We battled a hail storm with dime size stones pelloting usgoinguphill in the wind. The loop chosen, had quite a bit of elevation gain andloss and we knw we were in for a fun day. We treked along with intermittantblasts of rain and Hail to Basin lake and hurriedly set up camp. The viewswere fantastic along the way in spite of the limited visibility. We ranintothree wild horses on a ridge and a very large Blue Grouse.Good weather held up long enough for us to get settled and eat before itstarted raining again. It rained heavily all night and the rain turned towetsnow the next morning. Fortunately everyone was prepared and had the rightgear and clothing and were able to keep somewhat dry. We did take some riskwith a 6 mile side trip to Dry Diggins lookout tower for a spectacularviewof Hell's Canyon.(8000 Foot drop) The Devils allowed sunshine to breakthrough so we could feast our eyes on the Canyon.The following day was dry most of the day and we fished one of the lakes.On the way out we ran into an ornery mule packer that ordered us off thetrail. El Lobo politely mentioned to this fellow that he should put hismuleswhere the sun don't shine. I think this guy was one of those Deliverancetypes.After this ugly incident a large rainbow covered the skyline and liftedourspirits as we trudged uphill and passed wind in the intermittant rain andsleet.Overall this trip is rated a solid 9.9. - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED -The terrainisrugged but offers nice views and a lake or stream to camp at each night. Ireally enjoyed myself in spite of the weather adventure and spendingeveningsin a small tent with a foull smelling Idaho mountain man! This tells youhowgreat this area is.On the way back we stopped at McCall resort area and broke the world'srecordof Mexican food and margarita consumption.


Back to the Canyon Phantom Creek

: Back to the Canyon-The Endless Bummer "To know the Canyon is to love it? Not necessarily. Crawling up the TannerTrail some moonlight night in August, without food or water, you will hatethe Canyon. That pale rim, so far above, higher than five Empire StateBuildings piled one upon another, seems inaccessable as heaven, remote assalvation. But if you survive...Who could ask for a finer place than our Canyon to taste life deeply byrisking life?By Hanging over the edge? Edward Abbey, 1982, Down theRiverGrand Canyon Trip Plan-Phantom Ranch, Utah Flats, Phantom Creek, PhantomRanch, Indian Gardens-out.Trip Actual-Phantom Ranch-OutGroup-Steve Y, El Lobo, Frank, Dianne and Lynn.Hola amigos,Que onda?Cómo estaba su fin de semana? El mio, estaba un poco tibio.Yesterday at Phantom Ranch it was 102 in the shade. The previous eveningthe ranch area was crawling with the ORDER Scorpionida. The unseasonableheat brought out these nocturnal predators. (What Global warming?)Dingo Dan had reported that his friend Drewsky's sister had been stungthree times two weeks ago at the Ranch. I thought that Dingo was againtelling one of his whoppers. Wrong!After enjoying a couple of ice cold Bud's at the canteen, EL Lobo'sflashlight found Centuroides exilicauda all along the path back to thecampsite. His decision to not carry down a tent and to sleep under thestars weighed heavily on his mind. He knew he would be their prey thatnight. He finally went to sleep but woke up to find one of these crittersfull of neurotoxins crawling on his bag. The large harvest moon allowedimmediate eye contact. The venomous attack was successfully thwarted. Atthis point Lobo decided to forget the much needed sleep and post himself asguard all night. Morning came quickly as Steve got up at 4:00 to get readyfor a 5:00 breakfast.The previous day, we drove to the canyon and started down the all toofamiliar and boring Kaibab trail at 10:30. While having lunch on thetrail, a big horn sheep cautiously scooted past us. Seeing this magnificentcreature on such a heavily used trail seemed extraordinary.Halfway down, Steve and I elected to find the old lower Miner's trail andsent the other three members of the party down the Kaibab. Hacía caluroso!!We had difficulty finding the route and burned up a lot of time and water.After descending a steep 500' we lost the route. This left us totallyexposed to the sun with little water, so we made the decision to cut ourlosses and go back up. This drained us physically, and when we finallyarrived at the ranch we were just a bit dehydrated and extremely pleased tocross Bright Angel Creek to the campground.Diane and Lynn brought back iced lemonade from the Ranch and it was superb!They were very close to reporting our absence to the Park Ranger.That afternoon we saw a desert fox slowly meandering through the bush. Verycool! Steve was able to get us into the shower for the cabins and we wererefreshed and good to go for the next day's climb up to Utah Flats.We got an early start the next morning in an effort to avoid as much of thedeadly heat as possible. The climb up to the flats is steep and the lowerpart is nothing but scree. We had not climbed too far when Lynn exclaimed"No F%$*ing way!" and asked Steve for his car keys and wished to notparticipate in this fun. Steve held a quick meeting and it was decided ifone went back then we all would go back. El Lobo was all OK with this inconsideration of all factors. I certainly could forego the pain.On the way down, the weight of Lynn's pack was too much and she took anasty fall and was in a precarious position. Steve attempted to help herbut also slipped on the scree and somersaulted into Lynn and they both camewithin inches of going over a a large boulder. The rest of the party wasable to carefully assist and we all got back down OK.Steve and Lynn were bruised and cut, but no broken bones. We were lucky.After administering the proper first aid, the group headed back to the rimvia the Bright Angel Trail. It was a long, hot arduous 4500' climb that weall grinded out. Both Steve and I have come out on this trail so many timesthat it's familiarity makes us loco.We showered at the top and finished the four hour drive to my house around6:30. A long day. When we arrived at Lobo's den, Lobo discovered that hisbag of changed clothing and other good stuff was missing. It was left atthe shower. Estúpido!Some days go better than others. The Canyon is always tough. Some canyontrips are more painful than others. Some are actually enjoyable. It's beena while.Overall this trip is rated a 7.0 High marks go for cold beer at theranch, great company and time that our group shared. And, after all, we areprivileged to be able to explore this wonder of the world.Thanks to Steve for organizing and to Frank for driving.

Tanner Trail Grand Canyon

Tanner trail-18 miles roundtrip-10,000 ft. elevation gain and loss.I am returning to Phoenix from Denver this evening and doing this tripreportinstead of sleeping for those of you that have been asking about the tripreport. You had better appreciate it as I am just mildly exhausted.After spending the week in El PAso and Las Vegas, El Lobo was ready for oneofthe planet's most spectacular destinations-THE GRAND CANYON. The Belagiowasinteresting, but overrated. I did enjoy spending some time with my goodfriends Al and Dan.Tadd Hill met me Friday afternoon at my office and we were able to get going around 3:30. The weather reports were not good but we were willing to taketherisk.Ted and I have been trying to get this trip in for close to three years andjust haven't been able to pull it off, so we were not going to let a little snow stop us. By making this trip Tadd has now removed himself from the badboy Canyon Delinquent list.We arrived at the Cameron trading post around 7:00 and did a littleshopping.This trading post has everything imaginable. El Lobo treated himself to anewcowboy hat that was badly needed. Souveneirs are very important on thesetrips.We had dinner in the trading post restaraunt that was nicely decorated forChristmas. This is a beautiful dining area and the rooms are extaordinary-andonly 59 bucks. Those who know the canyon, know to stay at the trading postrather than the South Rim lodges.Tadd and I both elected to go with the Indian Tacos. They were deliciousbutprobably not the best choice of a meal prior to doing a challenging hike.Thischoice however made us both lethal on the trail.The sky was clear at Cameron in the morning with the usual awesome Arizonaskyof stars, when we left at 6:00 A.M.We were optomistic that we had missed the storm until we got within 20milesof the Canyon. The weather was nasty with dark skies, wind and snow.Our plan at this point was to test the steep section of the trail andestablish check points for return. We started at 7:30. After the firstmilethe snow let up and we stripped off the fleece and shells.This portion of the Canyon is wide open and the views are spectacular.Thereare two very steep sections to this trail and the rest is gradual. Afterabout5 miles, large sections of the river come into view. AWESOME!!!!!We arrived at the river at 11:15 and had a nice lunch in the sun. This areaisvery pretty with great places to set up camp. There are willows andcattailsas well as sand dunes.The Beamer trail goes East 9 miles to the little Colorado and theEscalantegoes West to the New Hance trail, about 8 miles. Backpack trips coveringthisground are planned for this year.We started back at noon. We needed to get moving to avoid hiking in thedark.We were concerned that the trail was covered with snow at the upperelevation.Indeed, a storm had blown in and the last two miles was a littlechallengingto say the least. This section is a 2000 foot gain. After going for 16milesup and down 8000 feet we were a little tired. The snow was thickening andthetrail was being covered fast. After the first mile, I was sucking windaftereach switchback. Tadd was doing great. The last mile was slow, but we madeitout at 4:15 with an hour and 15 minutes of buffer time untill sunset.We spent some time at Desert view gazing at where we had been. It is alwaysfun and amazing to view your distance.Overall this hike is rated as a 9.5. We did not see a soul all day. Ofcoursewe were the only ones crazy enough to be down there! Tadd is a great hikingpartner-we really enjoyed this one. Going down and back in one day isprobablynot recommended, I believe it is close in comparison to doing rim to rim,but if you are in the right shape and enjoy a little torture blended withecstasy-then go for it!The drive back to Phoenix was a long one with many stretches of black icegoing into Flagg. We did come upon a bad broadside accident and Tadd calledinto emergency as soon as we hit Flag.Our treat for this hike was going to be a chocolate shake in Flag but thefreezing temp made us reconsider our plan and we stopped at Verde ValleyMcdonalds.This Mcdonalds has been a trouble spot for Gerry, Haanu and I. On apreviousadventure, we stopped at three places trying to get a shake and every onehada broken machine. But this time the machine was working! Sort of. Aftergetting our "chocolate shakes" and sitting down, my taste buds told mevanilla. I opened the top of shake and it was all white. I returned theshaketo the counter and requested a chocolate shake. The attendant told me thatIhad a chocolate shake, but she would make me another.The second shake also tasted vanilla, and was white. When I returned thisone,I was told yet again that I had a chocolate shake. I was told that thechocolate was at the bottom. I tried to explain that I wanted chocolatethrougout my shake but this did not seem to compute. Soo I asked if theirstrawberry shakes tasted like vanilla and looked like vanilla. I was toldthatthey were strawberry. So I ordered a strawberry shake. The strawberry shakealso tasted vanilla and looked vanilla.I took my two chocolate shakes and 1 strawberry home in the cooler forClint.Clint was delighted.On Sunday evening Gerry and I spent a very nice evening enjoying a poetryreading at Russ Mosser's home.Russ was one of our companions on the Thunder river backpack.The reading was given by one Geofrey Platt. Geofrey was a friend of EdwardAbbey's and lives in Cave Creek in a dwelling without any electricity orwater.He read some of his poems as well as others. He is a very good reader.The food was really good and we really enjoyed the company. This was a funevening for both of us.I will be going to San Francisco and Sacramento this week and we will bespending our weekend at a Cabin on the Mogollon rim with our good friendsDolans, Jaspers,and Peterrrrrr the sheep. Peterrrr's signifigant other will be out of townthis weekend.We are looking forward to a relaxing time and perhaps a little excitementinthe evening at Kohl's ranch cowboy/cowgirl bar.

Ventana Canyon

After spending a couple of days in Las Vegas this week, putting up withTinsel town and a worthless Wells Fargo meeting, El Lobo was in bad needof aWilderness fix.Ventanna Canyon to the "window" 12.8 miles roundtrip 4300' elevation gainOn Saturday, Jake and two of his good friends accompanied El Lobo toTuscon's Santa Catalinas for a moderately strenuous hike up Ventana Canyontothe Esperro trail to the legendary "window" of the Santa Catalinas. The"window" is a soaring natural arch 15' high and 25' wide and affords greatviews of Ventanna Canyon.The hike starts at 2700' amid saguaro and mesquite and eventually reaches7000' surrounded by towering Ponderosa pines. Ventana Canyon is absolutelygorgeous. You are surrounded by steep cliffs and you pass many "indianmaidenpools" on the way up.The temperature was a perfect 70 at the bottom and 62 at the window.We started at 9:15 and finished at 4:00.This hike is rated a solid 9.5. It is an an all day deal leaving Phoenixearlyand returning late.We had dinner at El Minuto-Absolutely the best Mexican food in theSouthwest.(El Lobo has probably been to all the best in Texas, New Mexico,and Arizona)El Minuto is not a tourista place and is frequented by locals. The ChileRelleno is unbelievable!The margaritas are also outstanding.I had forgotten how much I enjoy Tuscon and how beautiful the SantaCatalinasare. We had a great day. The boys were great company and a lot of fun.EL LOBO SEZRemember "The Window" and El Minuto are legendary just like El LoboGrande!!I had to throw that bone out there for those vicious dogs like BrianHinshawwho enjoy jumping and biting at El Lobo.