10/15/2004

Butterfield Stage Route

Just a short note on the Desert Sonoran National Monument. "The boys" and I explored this area on Sunday. It is only a 45 minute drive from Phoenix and offers fantastic
rugged Sonoran desert scenery as well as the historic Butterfield Stage Route. This new National Monument is infrequently visited and would be a great place to camp. The Butterfield was the first overland mail route to operate on a regular basis. The journey apparently was difficult and dangerous . Attacks and looting by the Apache are recorded as common.
We hiked a good portion of the Margie's Peak Trail. It is a seldom used, easy trail.
Afterwards we enjoyed cervezas and played catch at the trailhead.
If you want solitude, primo Sonoran desert and some history close to Phoenix-check it out.

Lobo

Fish Creek

Our plans were dynamic for this weekend. Our original plan was to do a couple of side canyons in the Grand Canyon. All changed when we had the opportunity to accompany my friend Mark, an REI employee and river guide, down the mighty Salt River.
Mark suffered a death in the family so we settled for a day trip, boulder hopping, scrambling and climbing upper Fish Creek Canyon in the Superstitions.

Participants were Jackal, Dingo and the Snake.

All behaved badly, but the Jackal demonstrated particularly
bad behavior throughout the course of the day.

We worked around several large pools. Fish Creek had a strong flow due to recent rain. Surrounding the pools were cottonwoods, sycamores, and cattails with a backdrop of high canyon walls and saguaro cactus.

Dingo found on the topo map, about four miles up canyon, several trails leading to various parts of the Supers. We agreed that this had potential for a challenging future trek.

We played catch afterwards and stopped at Tortilla Flats for a couple of cervezas and mixed with the charming biker crowd.

Fish Creek is a scenic narrow canyon, worth exploring. It can be reached by driving highway 88-The Apache Trail for about 25 miles to the bridge over Fish Creek.

JTree-Crack Climbing

"How I Love Being a Free Man"
Me & You & A Dog Named Boo-Lobo- 4/71


Lobo just returned from three fabulous days of climbing at JTree California. (Joshua Tree National Park) This event was hosted by REI and managed by Vertical Hold and Wilderness Outings whom provided guide service and instructors.
Vendors, included Black Diamond, Montrail, Mad Rock, La Sportiva, Scarpa, Five-Ten, Prahna and Petzl.

El Lobo left a happy man, sporting new demo shoes, climbing shirts, chalk bags, and a nut tool/knife.

I needed more gear!!!

Clinics included Crack Climbing, Anchors, and Friction Climbing Techniques.

I was able to get in 12 climbs at Cap Rock and the Atlantis Wall.

"El Lobo Grandeeee nailed a 10Deeeeeee at JTreeeeeeeeee was chanted around the evening campfire by some of the group while we enjoyed a few adult beverages-OK, it was only me doing the chanting.
My El Lobo moniker was eventually replaced with "Hog" (Hot Old Guy) by a few of the women participating. Hey-I'll take it!!

We camped at Sheep Pass and Mexican dinners were provided by Ed Chadas. Continental Breakfasts were offered in the mornings.

Last night we enjoyed a special showing of "Parallelojams," a climbing movie that Jim Donini co-produced on crack climbing in Indian Creek Utah. Jim is one of the premier crack climbers in the world. He invited me up to Indian Creek to spend a few days with him, and I jumped on the invitation.

This event is rated a 10++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I made many friends and contacts, had a great time and learned a ton!


"You Crack Me Up"


Respectfully Submitted

Celebrity Theatre-April 22, 2004

(Best place in the world to see a concert)
Concert #446
Artist or group # 205

Performers

Ron Dante, the lead singer of the studio group The Archies. Ron also was the lead singer of other studio groups -The Cufflinks (Tracy-#9 on the charts in 69) and the Detergents -(Leader of the Laundromat #19 in 64) a parody of the Shangra Las "Leader of the Pack"
Ron also produced all of Barry Manilow's hits.



Andy Kim-wrote "Sugar Sugar" and had a string of hits in the late 60s and early 70s including the million sellers "Baby, I Love You" and "Rock Me Gently"


Billy J. Kramer- Part of the British Invasion, Billy wrote "I Feel Fine" a number 1 hit by the Beatles and was teamed with the Dakotas by Brian Epstein the Beatles manager. They had a number of hits in 64 that were written by Lennon & McCartney including "From a Window" and "Bad to Me" They also had a top ten hit with "Little Children"

Peter Noone-lead singer of Herman's Hermits and a big part of the British Invasion. In 1965 they had more top 10 hits than the Beatles, (7) including number one positions with "Mrs. Brown You've got a Lovely Daughter" and "I'm Henry VIII, I Am"

Outside, my concert partner Gerry and I were negotiating ticket price with a scalper. We wore him down and scored 3rd row seats for a general admission price.

Inside, we got our cervezas and went shopping at the souvenir stand. Gerry scored a Herman's Hermits World tour T-shirt and El Lobo selected an Archies T-shirt to add to his collection of the coolest T-shirts in the free world.

We took our seats and I scanned the crowd and thought about why each was here on a Thursday night. I decided that many were here for the same reasons we we, to see and hear those that had played an important part of their personal rock & roll history.

Ron Dante opened the show with "Yummy Yummy Yummy, I Got Llove in My Tummy" and the mood was set, the crowd went wild and silly. He finished with "Sugar Sugar" the song of the year in 69. Awful song, you say?

I love it!

(Remember the cartoons on Saturday morning?)

Women threw panties on the stage and were going berserk. They were alive
again!!

Next up, Andy Kim. Andy has the perfect profile as a Las Vegas lounge singer and he was very appreciative to be there. He thought that he would never perform again but his good friend Ron Dante gave him the opportunity and he relished hearing the applause again. He went through his hits and his big 2 ("Rock me Gently and " Baby I Love You) went straight to to the hearts of all the old broads.

Next, Billy J Kramer - belted out his hits with gusto. The cervezas were flowing and it was 1964 again at a State Building Dance in Reno Nevada.
"Bad to Me" sent me over the edge.

"Herman's Hermits" closed and by this time the lifeless boomers were in a frenzy. The Hermits had a high stepping guitar player that
shot out instant energy. Crank it Baby!!
Herman cranked out all his hits including "Silhouettes", "Wonderful World", "Just a Little Bit Better", "A Must to Avoid", "Listen People", "Leaning on the Lamp Post", "There's Kind of a Hush" and "No Milk Today."

The underwear flew on to the stage. Everyone danced in the aisles. And suddenly it was over. The aging boomers went home, it was now 2004.
The Eastern world is exploding. The air is dirty and the job draining.

But, we had experienced a piece of rock & roll history and for three hours were 16 again.


"Ahhhhhhhhh Sugar, Honey Honey"

El Lobo

Babo-Planet of the Apes

“There are only 3 sports-bullfighting, car racing and mountain climbing. All the others are mere games.
Hemingway


Escaladores:

Carlita Bonita (Studette)
Dingo Dan
Mad Dog Dan (Stud)
El Lobo Grande
Zo


The OK Corral

The border patrol agent’s words merited consideration. “Are you bringing a gun? It’s like the old west out here. Anything goes. The camp on the west side is where the drug runners meet.”

Our climb was on the west side. The standard route is the easiest way up Baboquivari, the only major summit in Arizona to require technical climbing skills. The Tohono O’odham Reservation forms the western boundary of this highly scenic wilderness area.

“Babo” is a distinctive landmark that according to Tohono O’odham legend, it is home to Iitoi, or “Elder Brother.” Elder Brother taught the tribe how to live in the desert.

After a four hour drive, we headed up a back road on the east side. We put up the tents in a rainstorm, and camped a mile from the Humphrey’s Ranch. The Nature Conservancy holds a pedestrian right of way across the primitive land.

The Heebie Jeebies

I got up in the middle of the night and could see the silhouette of a monolith in the distance. It occurred to me that perhaps we had landed on the planet of the apes. I expected to see monkeys next.

Donde son los monos? PIC by Zo

We got an early start in the morning, our plan was to climb 2500’ to the saddle and then bushwhack to the west side and find the standard route which follows the “Great Ramp” to the 80’ high Cliff-Hanger pitch.

After crossing the ranch, the trail dipped in and out of a stream bottom as we headed up Thomas Canyon. We were surprised to find that the route had been little used and that it eventually faded away as we approached the head of the canyon. The area was thick with spiny, prickly sharp, stabbing desert plant species as well as Mexican pinon and Arizona Oak. El Lobo led the way and the group followed his stream of blood.
The going on this bushwhack was extremely slow and the entire group did not arrive at the saddle until almost 11:00.
At the saddle we followed some cairns and hoped that they would lead us around the mountain.-Not- We climbed to within 600’ of the top and hit a section that was not safe to free climb. Zo scouted it out. Passage was questionable. The rock was wet and another storm had blown in.

The notch-PIC by Zo

“Backing off a climb is not a failure. Not surviving is failure”
El Lobo Grande

We carefully down-climbed and headed back to the saddle for lunch. We found a much better route down and enjoyed the scenery. Wildflowers and butterflies brightened the landscape and our spirits.


The lovely but tough Carlita sez "Vaminos!" PIC by Zo

Back at the Ranch

The Fab 5-PIC by ZO

At the car we put up our camp chairs and broke out the cervezas. We experienced a bit of disappointment and frustration at getting so close and not reaching the top but with the knowledge we gained of the area, we were confident that we would return and nail it.
The next time we will drive to the west side and leave at 3:00 in the morning thereby avoiding a camp.(and a gunfight?)

The Old Pueblo

We stopped in Tucson at “El Minuto” for possibly the best Mexican food and margaritas in the world and arrived back at 9:00 P.M... Dingo was greeted by his family, happy to have daddy back home for Easter egg hunts the next morning. Thanks to Dingo for driving and thanks to all for the adventure that we shared.

Men & Women behaving badly

-Lobo, at 6:00 A.M for chanting Babo Babo Babo
-Mad Dog Dan for bringing light beer-what a sissy!
-Lobo and Dingo for losing the trail and leading a bushwhack up a spiny, thorny, stabbing drainage.
-Sweet innocent Carlita- for using the language of a truck driver when attacked by a thorny bush
Lobo-for not bringing his rain fly (because rain wasn’t expected)
Carlita, Mad Dog Dan & Lobo for flaunting their challenge grant gear-new REI sleeping bags, tents, and liners.
Dingo for blasting Frankie Lane’s “Rawhide at 6:30 A.M. on the car stereo to roust Carlita and Mad Dog
Mad Dog for picking a wildflower, having a moment and then trying to hold Lobo’s hand
Lobo- for returning with poison oak all over his body, and then spreading it to an area that he frequently scratches.
Mad Dog for crying about a couple of little patches of poison oak on his leg.

Men & Women Behaving Bravely

Zo-for sleeping in Lobo’s tent
Carlita-or going on an adventure with four foul guys.

Zombies

It’s the Time of the Season.



What's your name?
Who's your daddy?
Is he rich like me?
Has he taken any time
To show you what you need to live?



I have been waiting almost 40 years to see the Zombies. Riding the wave of the British Invasion, they came to Reno in the spring of 1965 and played at the Centennial Coliseum. Their initial hit, “She’s Not There” hit #2 on the American charts. “Tell Her No” also reached the top 10. Sometimes I flash back to 65-- Sitting at the Cow Palace Drive In with my friends listening to the Zombies on the radio.
Their sound was utterly unique and I immediately had a passion for their haunting melodies. I also was passionate for Jill, a blue eyed blonde who worked concessions at the Coliseum. Her friend and coworker Mary was dating my good friend Doug Damon. (The Fabulous SPOOK) Doug was even more passionate about Mary. –Along comes Maryeeeeeeee

Jill and Mary were asked to pick up the Zombies at the airport and were of course, delighted. Spook and I were somewhat less than delighted, I mean like, the Zombies could steal our girlfriends!

We got drunk on Colt 45s, yet another passion of ours, and I don’t even remember seeing the concert.
Afterward, Jill and Mary went on and on, talking about the Zombies. Spook and I were very jealous and although we loved their music, we wanted to pound the Zombies.

In 1969 the Zombies had been defunct for some time when one of the tracks from their album Odyssey, “Time of the Season,” was released as an afterthought and became a million seller. I absolutely loved that song, as well as my current passion, Gerry.
Being together and listening to that song was as good as it gets. (And still is)

The Zombies were coming to Cooperstown, Alice Cooper’s club in downtown Phoenix. Now I would have my chance. To see them that is.

Zo and I arrived early. Gerry had a work conflict.
There were many groupies there. Some had Argent albums. Rod Argent had formed that group and had a #5 hit in 1972-“Hold Your Head Up”

El Lobo scored a Zombie’s collector’s guide and a 60s style concert poster. So cool!!
The concert was up close and personal. The group is defined by Colin Blunstone’s breathy vocals, choral backup harmonies and Rod Argent’s jazz.
Both were on stage, as well as a 20 year member of the Kinks and a former member of Procol Harem.
They played a string of intricately arranged singles including “I love you”, written by Argent but made a hit by the group, People in 1968. A number of lost classics, some relegated to B-sides that were virtually unheard in the 60s as well as Argent’s hits were well received by the appreciative and loyal crowd.
As I pounded back my fourth Foster’s Oil Can, they closed with “She’s Not There”

“Well let me tell you about the way she looked
The way she acted and the color of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool; her eyes were clear and bright
BUT SHE’S NOT THERRRRRRRRRRRRRE!!!!!!”

The crowd, already at frenzy, went wild. It was at this point where I totally lost my mind; it was incomprehensible that anything could be this good.

They came out for a double encore and then signed autographs.
This one goes down in my top 25.

Note: She’s Not there is # 4 and Time of the Season is # 21 on my all time top 350.

Well that’s it, concert number 445 - lifetime list, on the road to 500. Thanks to Zo for going.

Men Behaving Stupidly

- Jake, for telling Zo that this would be the worst concert of all time.

Trans Rockies

"I've got to ride like the wind" Christopher Cross-2/80

This 600 km odyssey (373 miles) began August 10th in Fernie, British Columbia, crossed over the Continental Divide three times and climbed a total elevation gain of 40,000 vertical feet before dropping into Canmore, Alberta seven days later. The second annual Transrockies Mountain Bike Endurance Race, touted as the toughest race in the world drew 156 riders from around the world. Last year it snowed on the fourth day, one rider lost his bike in a freezing river. This year forest fires rained ashes for two days. In the first hour of the race, one rider shattered his sternum, another broke his leg.Riders camped in tent cities at night. The Canadian Rocky scenery was heavenly. One is the loneliest numberI first noticed him at the pre race party in Ferney. He was hopping on his only leg with a big smile on his face. My first reaction was one of pity. I wondered if he once rode a mountain bike.We exchanged small talk and I was struck by his high spirits.At the end of the last grueling stage in Canmore the crowd witnessed one of the most remarkable performances of determination and courage in any sporting event. A rider with a smile on his face, without benefit of two legs or even a prosthesis crossed the finish line in front of most of the field.When he was presented with an award that evening there was not a dry eye in the house. The image of his smile and crossing the finish line will stay with me for the rest of my life and will always serve as an inspiration to never giving up-Never!Workin for the manI worked this race as a support person and had the opportunity to ride some of the shorter loops of the course on a demo bike. I came back thoroughly exhausted.In the beginningI met a European television crew in Calgary and was given an RV to transport to Fernie. I had never driven an RV before and tried to stay close to the film crew that was driving at breakneck speed. I may have been responsible for a few minor instances of road rage while trying to get out of Calgary.When I arrived in Fernie I was given the jobs of showers and RV operations. This was a very good match of my skills given my recent RV experience.The Transrockies is modeled after the Transalps race in Europe and put on by a German group. I received my orders in German by many different parties, often times in conflict. One morning I was commanded in a frenzy to drive an RV to some camp ground called Etherington. I was told to fill the RV with water, dump the waste and add propane. It didn't seem to matter when I tried to explain that I didn't know how to get to Etherington and needed a map. When I mentioned that the RV's operating instructions were in German, the response was:Sie werden lernen! (You will learn?)At this time the only German word I knew was yaaaa. Later I learned nein.The trip that involved driving the RV 30 miles on backroads was quite an experience and along the way I stopped at a tourist attraction -----The biggest truck in the world.It certainly was impressive. I used to love playing with trucks when I was a wee lad.Eat your heart out Mooseman!!! You have not seen it!!!!As the race progressed I got more and more bosses and more and more jobs and orders. I shared living quarters in an RV with five people and a big dog that kept licking me at night. Real men don't need sleep.I shuttled racers, played security, unloaded racer's bags, worked with the start/finish crew in back breaking set up labor and then filled and carried 5 gallon (40) lb. shower bags. I also carried the wastewater to a dumping station. My calculations had me carrying over three tons of water. This was all done while the start/finish guys sat in camp chairs. They must have been union? At least they threw a few beers my way at night.The work was worth the appreciation that I received from all the racers, happy to take a shower after a grueling day. I exchanged emails with a number of them and hope to get together for a future outing."This is the end, my only friend, the end"Finishers were given medals by Canadian Royal Mounties in Canmore. A beer bash was held that evening and I sampled a bottled concoction of root beer and vodka. It went down real smooth. There was no need to go to bed that evening since I had to drive a van back to Calgary at 2:00 in the morning. I had a 6:00 A.M. flight and had to clear customs.The adventure continued when I was given a middle seat and sat next to a woman who was having a fear of flying attack and held my arm in a death grip. It stopped the flow of blood through my arm and made it a little difficult to nap.Sweet home ArizonaLater that afternoon Cody and Gerry picked me up at the airport and Cody was so excited to see me, she left a big puddle in the drivers seat. Gerry opted for the passenger seat.

Bill Williams Canyon

"After three days in the desert fun I was looking at a river bed, and thes tory that told of a river that flowed made me sad to think it was dead"Horse with no name-America 2/72

The Santa Maria and Big Sandy Rivers are damned in Western Arizona to formAlamo Lake. This dam was built by the Army Corp. of Engineers for floodcontrol purposes in the Havasu area? Alamo Lake State Park with it'sartificial place in the desert is nothing to write home about.(Embedded image moved to file: pic07936.jpg)UGLY DamOut of the dam flows a pleasant looking stream through a canyon ofcolorful metamorphic rock Bill Williams River Canyon was the destination of Zo, Jake, Dingo Dan andLobo for a day of Canyoneering. We stopped in the economically challengedhamlet of Wenden at a hole in the wall restaurant for a lousy breakfastspiced with local flavor.After our arrival at the lake, we found the road closed to our entry pointinto the canyon and took an unplanned 2 ½ mile walk down the road.The road was closed because they were building guard rails. The State Parkguy told us that he could not let us drive the road due to the danger.There was of course, no danger.Crossing the pleasant stream did not end up a pleasant experience due todeep mud that unleashed a putrid smell. The nauseating odor was a result ofagriculture run off.We were further delayed getting down canyon by spending much time trying toclimb around a long deep pool at the beginning. No one wanted to swim thisone. We ended up rim locked several times and finally climbed a lengthy upand around route.(Embedded image moved to file: pic04088.jpg)There were many feral burro paths and the frequent burro crap added to ourenvironmental disillusion. There are supposed to be over a 1000 of thesewild animals in the area. The State Ranger told us that one was too many.We agree!(Embedded image moved to file: pic03502.jpg)Jake, Dingo Dan & LorenzoAfter going a short way down stream it was obvious that time was workingagainst us and we would not reach our original planned turn around point atan area where the river leaves the canyon and flows into a wide valley. Noone was inspired to continue to slog down the canyon.We had lunch and agreed that there are too many nice spots in Arizona thatoffer more natural beauty and that we would not return.On the road back to Phoenix we stopped again at Wenden for beers andburgers at an unusual establishment with an unfriendly proprietor. We tooknote of the baseball bat he had behind the bar and modified our behavioraccordingly.The ride home was long and arduous. Thanks to Zo for driving.This trip is rated a 4.5 and only gets points due to the company shared.Men Behaving BadlyDingo Dan for reminiscing about his days in college when he was a stud ponyand had a well endowed girl friend. (BoTaTas)Lobo for "interviewing" Dingo Dan and asking detailed probing questions.Dingo Dan commenting that "The best part of this trip was the wild ass!"Hmmmmmm, it seems that the dirty dog has a one track mind!Jake for several SBDs after beer and burgers on the long ride home anddenying responsibility for any of them.Lorenzo for frequently rolling down the window to get a blast of air thatblasted Lobo and not Jake.
"We take these risks not to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping us" -

Sterling Canyon is a steep rarely visited canyon in upper Oak Creek northof sissy Sedona and south of Flag.Access is via a rough dirt road for six miles off highway 89A.Los Hombres malos-Dingo Dan-Zo-El Lobo GrandeWe started walking downstream from Sterling tank about 10:00 a.m in a creekbed surrounded by large Ponderosa pines. Six white tailed deer immediatelybounded across our path. Poetry in motion.We followed the creek bed for a couple of miles to a steep drop off.Here we started our day of Canyoneering, dropping close to a 1000 feet toSterling Springs, the permanent water source for Oak Creek.Along the way, there were many pools with frogs and steep red walls goingup for 500 feet. Ponderosa pines were growing right out of the rock! There were some large white and douglas fir, aspen, and bigtooth maple along thebottom of the canyon. Absolutely gorgeous!(Embedded image moved to file: pic07250.jpg)Dingo & El LoboThe descent was mostly a scramble but did have it's share of climbing. Wereturned the way we came and were in our camp chairs enjoying cervezas alas cuatro de la tarde.(Embedded image moved to file: pic27646.jpg)The end of the lineWe had dinner at the Brew Pub in sissy Sedona and arrived home close to tenthat evening.The very popular Men Behaving Badly section:-Dingo Dan for getting us stuck in two feet of mud in his super SUV, andthen sheepishly uttering "Oh Oh"-Two Turkey Hunters for not only accepting beers from us for pulling us outof the mud, but for enthusiastically chugging them at 9:00 A.M. Sundaymorning!-Lorenzo for mouthing a weak yoga type mantra noise when he passed wind.-Dingo Dan for grossing us out, picking up many ugly spiny bones, skulls,and carcasses of wild animals.-Dingo Dan, after an educational day of Spanish lessons, taught by Zo,went home quite satisfied, remembering only "tetas Grande" and "un chingo"I will not dignify with a translation!-El Lobo Grande for screaming at a Pink Jeep Tour outside of sissy Sedona.This act was justified, however:It was after leaving the Microbrewery.The Pink Jeep was hurting my eyes.The driver was telling lies to the greenhorns.The tender feet were unruly, jumping up and down and exclaiming "Look at DARed Rock -- Look at DA Red Rock"They were all high on vortexes.

10/13/2004

Asheville

“In my mind I’m going to Carolina”
James Taylor


How yall doin?

Ger and I just returned from Asheville North Carolina. This is Thomas Wolfe country. Thomas Wolfe is arguably the greatest American author, certainly, of the twentieth century. We stayed next door to the home where Thomas grew up.
Gerry has long desired a Southern cultural experience. I have wanted to return to North Carolina ever since 1992 when we saw the epic romantic adventure, “The Last of the Mohicans,” starring Daniel Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe at the movie theatre. It was filmed in Western North Carolina and the scenery left me breathless.
We were not disappointed. Asheville is down home, full of southern charm and eclectic. The Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains, and Pigsah National Forrest were a brilliant spectacle of peak fall colors. After thirteen years of fall color and season change deprivation while living in the Sonoran desert, we received a strong “fix”.
North Carolina is also of course, “Tarheel” and “Blue Devil” country. It boasts many fine Universities.
We enjoyed First class accommodations on our Phoenix to Houston leg of the journey. First Class now means no meals, pillows or blankets as America West has cut to the bone to stay alive. First Class turned into “Some Gas” when the gentleman resembling Dr. Dolittle, sitting behind us snored loudly and made some other loud, interesting sounds while sleeping. When he was awake he vociferously complained about not being served a meal.
We flew into Knoxville Tennessee on a Continental Regional flight out of Houston. There were a couple of guys named Clem and Jethro on board and they may have been “hill people”. There were no barefoot beauties.
The Knoxville airport has been renovated and is quite nice. It may be the only airport that provides rocking chairs to sit and watch the planes.
Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee Volunteers and Lady Vols. The football team had just beaten “Bama” and the atmosphere was quite festive. The Vols won the National Championship in 98, led by the legendary Payton Manning. The Lady Vols have long been a collegiate basketball powerhouse with many National Championships to their credit. We toured the campus and enjoyed an excellent anthropology museum that featured the early Cherokee Indian Nation.
On our drive to Asheville, we passed by “Dollywood” without stopping. This was done over my objections. Maybe next time.

Highlights of this trip included:

-Hanging out at the shops, galleries and theatres in Asheville
-Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
-Walking the elegant Biltmore Estate and winery
-Slamming down Highlander Gaelic Pale Ale at the “Mellow Mushroom”
-Touring Cowpens National Battlefield in South Carolina
-Hiking the Mountains to Sea trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway
-Climbing Chimney Rock and walking the Cliff trail to some of the locations used to film the Last of the Mohicans
-Enjoying a relaxing, therapeutic soak in a Hot Springs located in Pigsah National Forrest

This was a high quality trip. I rate it a 9.9. North Carolina is absolutely beautiful and a great fall destination..

El Lobo’s “All come to look for America” lifetime lists/milestones:

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is US National Park number 40 visited. Fouteen left to complete. Cowpens is number 151 of the US National parks, monuments, historic sites, battlefields, memorials, rivers, seashores etc. There are over 370 in our National Park System. I hope to see them all. This country is awesome!! Go see America!!!
South Carolina is state number forty nine. Only Arkansas is left to complete. This may be considered a cheap check mark as we only spent half a day in South Carolina.. To legitimize this entry we plan on spending a week in Charleston next year. El Lobo’s standards are high. You cannot just pass through or touch down on a state and be awarded a check mark. You have to spend quality time, and cover some ground. You must experience the culture and feel the texture. You must interact with the locals.
El Lobo has spent more than two months in each of twenty of our great states and would love to cover more territory.

10/11/2004

The Magnificent Seven -Redux

Hombres de Montana (Mountain Men)

Zo- Gay (happy) Glissader
Dan- Young Stud Number 1
Eric-Young Stud Number 2
Drewsky-Give me a Brewsky
Dingo Dan
Bad Aim Mark
El Lobo Grande


The boys got a little out of control when El Lobo
was displaced as the alpha wolf.


“Every mile is two in winter”
George Herbert



The Fractured Fairy Tale:

Day 1- Snowshoe up the Humphreys Peak Trail to the saddle at 11,600’
Set up winter camp
Practice self arrest techniques with the ice axes
Melt snow, have dinner, crash


Day 2 –Get up before daylight
Have a hot breakfast and break camp
Start at daylight and crampon to the summit with full packs
Turnaround time planned for no later than 2:00 P.M.
Perform a sitting glissade down to below the tree line
Snowshoe down to the Arizona Snow Bowl
Party at the Beaver Street Brewery


Warning: Contents may be offensive:
If you are sensitive or have any value of decency, please do not read any further. Do not share this email with any responsible person. Not since my misspent youth have I been associated with such a high concentration of disgusting behavior. (Men Behaving Badly) I believe that there is a direct correlation in the leadership, planning, organization, and execution of this adventure.

I will tell it like it is.
The group met at El Lobo’s Den and left about twenty minutes late. In Flagstaff, it was announced that Dan had left his hiking boots in the street back in Scottsdale.
Fortunately, Popular Outfitters in Flag opened at 9:00 and after a leisurely shopping trip a new pair of cheap boots was purchased. Popular’s customer service would be tested later when the boots were returned.

We started up the snow packed trail close to 11:00 A.M. approximately 2 1/2 hours later than planned.
At a break, Eric announced that his GPS was missing and he thought that he saw it fall in the snow. After much digging, the search was abandoned and we continued climbing up the trail.
Dan went ahead of the group and would wait for Lobo who was close behind. After climbing a couple of thousand feet Dan and Lobo stopped and waited for the group.
When Zo and Mark, the co leaders, arrived around 4:00 we discussed continuing on to the saddle or going back a quarter of a mile and setting up a camp with much less wind exposure. Due to diminishing day light and temperature, we went back and started setting up camp. There would be no self arrest practice today.
The rest of the group arrived shortly after. The temperature was close to 0.
Setting up camp proved to be a laborious effort. Snow had to be dug out and leveled with snowshoes and a shovel that Dingo Dan had brought. Zo, Mark and Lobo really struggled putting up the TAJ3 (3 man 3 season) tent, rented from REI.
We had a killer view, and a brilliant sunset triggered a group exuberance, despite the now sub zero temperature.
Dingo Dan and Drewsky brought over cigars, and a lemon drops concoction and plastic cocktail glasses. Eric broke out the Jack. Everyone defied the facts that alcohol thins the blood, making you colder and further dehydrates your body. An adult exhales a liter of water in his or her breath during a night of sleeping outside in freezing temperatures.

But--It was parteee time!!!

Dinner was put off until it was dark. Snow was melted and everyone ate in their sleeping bags. Water bottles were stored in the bags, along with our boots.
Pee bottles were made handy. El Lobo questioned the wisdom of Zo’s Gatorade pee bottle with the “pencil dick” opening. I elected to sleep next to Mark whose pee bottle had a “big beauty” opening. This later proved to be the wrong strategy.
No one slept more than a couple of hours. Periodically the thought arose that it was very cold and that I had never experienced such cold. It may have been colder when Mooseman & I camped on a frozen lake in the Minnesota Boundary waters, but this seemed like greater suffering.
El Lobo got up at five to take care of business. (I suffered only a mild case of frostbite on exposed cheeks.)
The leaders elected to stay in bed. The temperature was close to -20 per my Suunto.
Zo and Mark finally got up when the sun came out around 7:30.
No one else would get up.
Breaking camp was very painful. My cheek bones (face) were numb despite wearing a balaclava.

El Lobo became impatient waiting for the group and elected to go ahead and scout out a route to the saddle. The trail had stopped a quarter mile past camp and passage required plowing through deep powder straight up to the saddle.
El Lobo felt nauseous and his head was pounding with a nice case of dehydration & altitude sickness. Dehydration causes a decrease in blood volume resulting in less oxygen reaching the muscles, thus causing cramps. Mine were in my stomach. I cursed my stupidity and the plan to carry full packs to the summit.
Tell me again why we are not leaving our packs and returning the same way?
Oh, that’s right, we can glissade down, and it will be easier.
After climbing about a hundred feet, Mark arrived and beckoned me back down to a different route. Lorenzo also arrived and there was quite a bit of discussion as to the most efficient course to the saddle.

We trudged on and the rest of the group caught up, but without Drew. He had turned back, wisely, not wanting to carry a fifty five pound pack to the summit.
It was here that I asked if Drew should go back by himself, and if at our slowed down pace we could summit safely and get down in a comfortable daylight time frame. I was told that the turnaround time was 2:00. It would be no problem because we would glissade down. Zo was animated and confident. Eric said he felt good. Dingo Dan did not feel well, but wanted to continue. Mark had done this before and was confident. Dan was chomping at the bit.

“Know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run”

It seemed to me that glissading in full packs and deep powder might not be the best course. I felt like crap and could slow down the group and put everyone in jeopardy. The thought of having previously summitted several times, and not needing this check mark on the old list, was the final piece of data needed to make the decision.
Against my nature, I decided to go back, catch Drew and enjoy a leisurely trip down on a beautiful day.
This ended up being an excellent choice.
Drewsky and I had an enjoyable easy trip down and arrived at the Snowbowl before 1:00. We spent the afternoon at the lodge, had a great lunch, watched the ski bunnies and enjoyed the day. Drewsky is great company.
Drew and I anxiously waited for our comrades. At 5:45 I started to worry, there was not much daylight left and it was starting to get seriously cold. Although Drew thought I was thinking like a fatalist, I started to put together a rescue plan.
A short while later Dan and Dingo Dan arrived. Dan had cut trail and was feeling fine.
Dingo was spent, and very happy to see us. Eric looked good. The leaders staggered in about fifteen minutes later, whimpering and whining. There was no glissading today. The powder was too deep, often times up to the waist.
Eric announced “This was one F%#@^ed day!
Zo swore that he was never doing another outside activity; he would only do climbing in the gym.

All wished that they had turned back.

However----

El Lobo had turned back with his tail between his legs. He missed a big part of the adventure. This was a first, it won’t happen again.
My amigos are all tough hombres and they did finish reasonably close to the time line. Their efforts may have been dumb but still commendable. In a couple of weeks all will be ready for another adventure.

The Magnificent Seven will ride again.


Men Behaving Badly:

Dingo Dan for repeating over and over again. “It is colder than a witch’s tit” or “It is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey”
Mark for his bad pee bottle aim. El Lobo was the recipient of an ice cold splash in the face.
Zo for loaning me a -40 sleeping bag that weighed over 6 lbs. and took up almost all of my pack space. Stuffing the bag was like wrestling an alligator.
Dan for partying until 3:30 A.M. Friday night and then sheepishly mentioning that he left his hiking boots out in the street.
Dingo Dan for bringing a big bottle of an acidic lemon drops concoction with party glasses and then forced El Lobo to drink half of it.
Eric for bringing a big flask of Jack Daniels fire water and then forced El Lobo to drink it.
Drewsky for bringing those fire stick, headache inducing cigars.
Zo- For lying to the American people about glissading
Zo & Mark for arguing about how to put up the tent, cook dinner, level the snow and other important operational matters.
Mark for constantly asking Zo directions to the saddle when he had just camped there last week.
Zo-for trying to slide down a snow field on his sleeping pad. Glissading?
Mark for talking loudly most of the night, causing Lobo to get no sleep.
Mark for not wanting to get up until the sun came out.
Eric for laughing at the rip in El Lobo’s new Mountain Hardware jacket. El Lobo did not laugh when Eric lost his GPS in the snow.
El Lobo for flaunting his new REI Rock Jacket, Mountain Hardware Jacket, MSR Denali Evo Snowshoes, REI Boots, Hat, Balaclava, Mistral Windproof, Waterproof Pants, REI 1 Gloves and Expedition Socks.
El Lobo, Dingo Dan, and Drewsky for being rowdy at the Beaver Street Brewery in Flag before driving home. There was way too much pleasure taken when a poor innocent lady, in her tight, low cut pants bent over in front of them and exposed her plumbing.
El Lobo for loudly announcing in a crowd at McDonald’s that he had to drain his lizard. El Lobo had just finished a SOBE energy drink with a lizard on the label.
Mooseman for being a “no show”. He pretended to be surfing in San Diego. Cmon Mooseman, guys from Reno don’t surf. They just listen to surf music!!
REI Male Customer for bringing back a shell jacket, shredded, and covered with cat hair. He claimed that he was attacked by a bear!

Reflections:

This trip brought back fond memories of being a boy scout in Reno Nevada and spending my summers at Camp Fleishman in Northern California. It also brought thoughts of one of my favorite all time movies-Stand by Me-1986

The movie’s parting line---------

Richard Dreyfus-----

“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?”


Lobo sez Yes

9/12/2004

Fenway, NE, Canadian Provinces

"I want to tell you a story... "I want to tell you about my town... "Down by the river... ³Down by the banks of the River Charles... "Well, I love that dirty water... "Boston, you're my home."
Standells 1966

Bonjour,

This was the ”Mother of all vacations” We drove 2600 miles through five states, four Canadian Provinces and consumed 10 bags of Cheetos. Peaceful coexistence was maintained in the car until the last day (the famous “big blow-up” at Dunkin Doughnuts) when we were stuck in Boston traffic and could not find or get to Quincy Market.
With that one exception we enjoyed every minute of our time, combining the culture and history of urban spaces, with country unbound-civilization and nature in harmony.
Overall rating a 10 + + + + + + + + +

Today is your Birthday

We planned our trip to arrive in the cradle of liberty on the fourth of July where it all started. What could be a better location to celebrate?
Fireworks and Boston Pops by the River Charles anyone?

Do you love baseball?

I have waited all my life to see the Red Sox play in Fenway. On my last visit to New England, tickets in hand, the 9/11 terrorists took this dream away. I vowed to return.

We walked into Fenway Park and gazed at ‘The Green Monster”. I thought that nothing could be more beautiful! My mind raced back to game 6 of the 1975 World Series when “Pudge” hit the memorable home run off the foul pole in the 12th inning giving the Red Sox a 7-6 win over Cincinnati.

I think that the Monster is what gives Fenway Park its magical touch. It is a significant piece of baseball history.
It was born the same year as me, 1947, when it was painted green.

Ted Williams was the first great player to roam left field in front of the Monster, passing the torch to my all time favorite player, Carl Yastrzemski, and down to Jim Rice. A pretty good player by the name of Manny plays there now.
The Monster has seen it's share of good players but no one has played it better than “Captain Carl” He learned to use the wall to decoy players on balls off the wall by making them think it was a routine fly ball. He played the wall like a fine musical instrument.

The Sox shut out and routed Oakland with 18 hits and 11 runs. Nomar pounded two doubles off the Monster. Bill Mueller hit a three run homer over the Monster. Wakefield’s knuckler hummed.
Paradise!

Do you love beer? Oui monsieur, Sam Adams!

After the game, Ger and I partied with hundreds of happy fans at a local pub.
It was a magical evening and the Green Monster is etched in our hearts forever.

Highlights of this trip include:

-Visiting dear friends and relatives in New England and Canada
-An emotional visit to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum
-Shopping and chowdah in Boston, sight seeing on Cape Cod
-Hiking in beautiful Acadia National Park on the Maine coastline. Hanging out in charming Bar Harbor. Dining on lobstah and Mooseheads.
-Taking the ferry to Yarmouth Nova Scotia
-Touring magnificent Nova Scotia-Annapolis, Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg Seaport and the Halifax waterfront
-Hiking in Fundy National Park New Brunswick. We watched fishing boats come and go to the rhythm of the bay. Inland, we explored lush forests and deep stream valleys.
Riviere De Loup-Dining by the St. Lawrence
-Chateau Bellevue Hotel in old Quebec for four days where we walked the European style neighborhoods and dined in charming sidewalk cafes along the St. Lawrence. Caught the changing of the guard at the Citadel and Picasso at the Musee de Arts
-Montreal- We walked the Festivals, hoisted a few Labatts Bleue and enjoyed a fabulous dinner, hosted by our friends Denny and Carol
-Touring the Adirondack Mountains in beautiful upstate New York
- Touring the Baseball Hall of Fame & Fenimore Cooper Art Museum in gorgeous Cooperstown. James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans is one of my top 50 books.
- Driving the marvelous Hudson River Valley, stopping at the FDR and Vanderbilt National Historic Sites
-Walking the UCONN campus and touring the basketball stadium, home of 2003 NCAA Basketball Champions-Men & Women
-Scoring souvenir Green Monster and Cooperstown t-shirts

Men & Women behaving badly

All Yankee fans for being dirty Yankee fans
Gerry- for telling me how to drive for 2100 miles. (She was asleep for the other 500.)
El Lobo for starting the “big blow-up” at Dunkin Doughnuts

9/11/2004

Tahoe Rim Trail

"The finest of the glacier meadow gardens lie at an elevation of about nine thousand feet, imbedded in the upper pine forests like lakes of light."
John Muir


Hombres de Montana:

Zo
El Lobo Grande


“Its the road, not the inn”

Our “road trip” started at four in the morning on September 3 and ended at two in the morning September 14. The weather was warm, the journey long and scenery spectacular. The junk food was terrific.

Highlights of this trip include:

Stunning Tahoe

-Slamming down Pale Ales at the Brew Pub at Crystal Bay

-Four and ½ days of backpacking The Tahoe Rim Trail (80 miles, 24,000 feet of elevation gain/loss) and taking in breath taking views of ---- Genoa Valley, The Upper Truckee River, Emerald Bay and the pristine alpine lakes----Star, Round, Shadow, Echoes, Tamarack, Aloha, Heather, Susie, Gillmore, Half Moon, Dicks, Fontanillis, Velmas and Eagle.

-Taking a “water taxi” on Echo Lakes.

-A magnificent sunset accompanied by coyote howls and turkey gobbles at Gilmore Lake in the Desolation Wilderness.


Reno/Truckee Meadows

-Visiting friends and relatives

- Two cases of Sierra Nevada's at Ganskas

-Listening to 30 minute “River Runs” on the 60s and 70s station

-Picon Punches and Tequila chasers at Louie's Basque Corner

-Wolfpack Football Game with the Damons---------Wolf!!!

-Jim Boys Tacos-The greasiest and best in the world

-Poker night at Ganskas--Texas Hold’em

-Slamming down Pale Ales in the Brew Pub at the El Dorado

-Bucket of Blood Saloon in Virginia City-Whiskey!!!!

Gabbs

-Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park-fossils and turn of the 20th century ghost town

The Endless Trail-Paradise found

Early on a Sunday morning we took a cab from the Levy's condo in Incline Village to Spooner Summit. The previous day had been spent taking care of business-checking in with my Realtor and property manager and caching some food and water at Big Meadow. Now it was time to hike.
The cab driver had trouble lifting our packs out of the trunk and was amazed that we were actually going to carry them for 80 miles. Yes, our packs were heavy, but we were eager to get on the trail so we bid him farewell and started climbing.

Four and ½ days later, half of the Tahoe Rim Trail completed, we hiked down to Emerald Bay and were picked up by Zo’s friend Ralph Ganska. This was an epoch journey –unsurpassed beauty, serenity and sore feet. The feet have recovered, the fatigue is almost gone and soul remains charged.

Day 1-Spooner to Daggett Pass-20 miles
Fantastic views of Lake Tahoe and Genoa Valley. The 3.5mile residential up and down “walk” from Kingsbury N. to Kingsbury S. should be avoided at all cost – take a taxi


Day 2-Daggett Pass to Grass Lake-19 miles
Star Lake is a refreshing swimming/bathing spot. The hike up to Armstrong Pass is up and up and up. Great views of where you've been.

Day 3-Grass Lake to Benwood Meadow-17 miles
Second most scenic section of the trip and the hardest hiking. Much of the trail is above 9,000 feet and offers amazing views of valleys and alpine meadows above treeline. Shadows Lake surrounded by these colorful alpine meadows cant be beat.

Day 4-Benwood Meadow to Gillmore Lake-15 miles
Desolation Wilderness with its (relatively) sparse tree groupings surrounded by bare rock and chains of lakes is what its all about. Lake Aloha is like an alien landscape.

Day 5-Gilmore Lake to Emerald Bay -9 miles
Standing atop Dick’s Pass and looking down at Dick’s Lake, Fontanillis and the Velmas’ is as good as it gets. All downhill to Emerald Bay from here.


Men Behaving Badly:

Robert Levy for cocktailing with the boys Friday evening, feeling no pain and getting in big trouble with his wife.

Lorenzo for constantly complaining on the trail and accusing El Lobo of enjoying his misery.

Lobo for laughing hysterically at Lorenzo’s misery and pain.

Lorenzo for carrying three pounds of rain gear and a liter of Vodka. Maybe he thought he was in Florida?

Lobo for trying to melt his stove’s aluminum base plate instead of heating the water. The flame should point up, not down Lobo.

Lorenzo for needing anger management counseling –Famous trail quotes:

“F*%K the views, get me to a camp spot”!!!!

“F&^K the birds”!!!!! (after Lobo stopped and said “listen, the birds are chirping”)

“I can’t take another day of this”!!!!

“Perhaps we should stop at Echo Lodge where you can rest, your toe may get Infected”—Lobo-“shutup, and keep hiking Lorenzo”

Hannu for letting a near lethal brown recluse spider bite and knee surgery keep him from the trip. C’mon Hannu, what kind of excuses are those?

A Bear that broke into Echo Lake Lodge.

Tim Hauserman, author of The Tahoe Rim Trail Book for his poor trail interpretation and Kingsbury trail connection. If you want to know how to effectively trek and navigate this trail, call El Lobo Grande. (guia famosa)

El Lobo at Aloha Lake for not jumping in and enjoying his own stench.

El Lobo at the end of the trip in the Vikingsholm parking lot, lying on the ground crying out “water, water, water” until a kindly Sr. citizen gave him an ice cold Crystal Geyser.

Wally Corey for asking the hostess at the Western Village to marry him.

Ralph Ganska for taking us to the Wild Orchid where El Lobo fell asleep and was abruptly awakened by a wild thing that jumped into his lap from a pole.

Lorenzo and Ganska for drinking beer and watching football for fourteen straight hours.


Good-bye Yellow Brick Road

OK that's it, the end of another great adventure and the close of the El Lobo Grande 2004 Tour of Americas. It is now time to get back to work. Thanks to Lorenzo for his companionship and road warrior driving.
Thanks to Ralph Ganska, The Levys, The Damons and The Coreys for their hospitality and the time we shared.

5/13/2004

Dancin Up Charleston Peak

“What happens here stays here-Las Vegas”

Let’s do the Charleston!

Most go to Las Vegas for fun and games and perhaps to get on top of someone. Call us stupid, but we came to get on top of a mountain-Charleston Peak. This was unfinished business.

I was chased off this mountain last year in May due to blizzard type conditions.
We left Friday evening and were on the peak by 11:00 A.M. the following morning.

Dancers

Nu
El Lobo

Charleston Peak National Trail-18 miles-10,000’ elevation gain/loss-7 hours

Charleston Peak (11,915) is the most climbed major mountain in Nevada. Nevertheless, this intriguing mountain belonged on our list. The Spring Mountains are located just 20 miles north of the fringes of Sin City and these natural towers are in sharp contrast to mankind’s Vegas skyline.
The peaks are wet enough to support dense forests. For all its proximity to the city, this whole mountain range remains wilder than most. This is beautiful country.


The trail runs through woods of ponderosa pine, white fir, and mountain mahogany up to 10,000 feet. Beyond that, there are groves of bristlecone pines, the oldest trees on earth.
The peak is the highest point on a long U-shaped ridgeline that wraps around the head of Kyle Canyon. Here at the top of Southern Nevada, our horizon was huge. It was a clear day and we could see for over a hundred miles to Telescope Peak in the Panamint Range beyond Death Valley and to the Sierras beyond that. Our panoramic view took in portions of four states-California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.

Less than a mile to the top

It had been a long time since I have hiked with Hannu. He had been recently bitten by a brown recluse spider and his status was in question.
Hannu is a world class orienteer and he travels at one speed-FAST! His pace is legendary and feared by all that dare to travel with him. He does not like to stop and rest or enjoy the view. He just wants to continue at a torturous pace. I thought the spider bite would slow him down-wrong!

Note: Hannu is also acquainted with the famous Finnish Farter Jim. Jim is from California and can apparently fart at will. The Finns appear to be quite talented at many sports.

On the trail down, I insisted on taking a break and a fast tracking duo passed us. Hannu, paced like a caged animal on this short break, and then he relentlessly stalked the duo until they broke. They asked in a surprising tone, “Do you want to pass?”
After the kill, the energized Hannu increased his pace, now intent to kill me.

At the trailhead we broke out our camp chairs and guzzled down a couple of oil cans of Fosters. “(That’s beer in Australian)”
Later, one of the people we had passed came over to introduce himself and find out “who these fast hikers were.”
Jim is from Las Vegas and has bagged many high pointers in each state across the country as well as most fourteeners in California and Colorado. He wanted company on his next trip to Montana where he was planning on climbing some very remote peaks.
We exchanged email addresses with the promise to hook up sometime in the future.

Living it up at the Hotel Lady Luck

We stayed in a scummy, cheap, downtown room that reeked of smoke, (non smoking room) the television didn’t work, and the sink was stopped up.
Friday night I was awoken by someone vomiting and moaning in the hall. –Perfect!

Saturday evening we dined and slammed down pale ales at the “Big Dog” with my old Friends AAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Yates and Dan Mackimmmmmmmeeeeee with whom I used to work at First Interstate in Reno.
It was great to see them.

That night the power couple in the next room went at it all night long, they continuously slammed their bed into our adjoining wall.

On the road home Nu and I set a record for stops at A.M/ P.M and eating Junk food. It was mighty tasty!!

Men Behaving Badly:

Zo for again being afraid of his boss Richard and being a “No Show”

Dingo for being afraid of Hannu’s pace and being a “No Show”

Erik S for promising us a plush hotel room and half price drinks with his Westin discount and then being a no show because he was afraid of his boss.

El Lobo for acting like he was gambling at Lady Luck in order to get free beers.
When asked where he was playing by the cocktail waitress, he said that he was playing quarters. Unfortunately he was at a dollar machine. His Corona was confiscated by the sexy cocktail waitress in a mini skirt that accentuated her CRLs. (Charging Rhinoceros Legs)

Nu for disgustingly exclaiming - “Sir?” on the trail each time El Lobo cut one.

Nu for continuing to argue that it is not possible to obtain an erection in a Finnish Sauna, even if Pamela Anderson was in there. C'mon Hannu, I know a guy named Disco Will that could!

5/01/2004

Planet of The Apes-Babo

"I can see for miles and miles and miles"
The Who 1967


The Endless Weekend

Friday Evening

I had just returned from five days in Southern Utah's Canyonlands, backpacking in 65 mph winds and record rains. (TR to follow) The gear was a mess and required several hours to clean and put away.

Saturday Evening

Gerry and I spent a quiet, relaxing evening, enjoying a steak dinner outside by the pool. The weather was perfect and we polished off a couple of good bottles of Australian Shiraz while listening to some of our favorite oldies.
Quite a bit of time was spent analyzing and philosophizing the lyrics of "Making Love out Of Nothing at All" a million seller by the Australian group Air Supply, recorded in 1983.
This dialogue was similar to a discussion such as: "What is Goofy? Is he a dog? Exactly what kind of animal is goofy?"
This deep philosophical session put me in bed much later than I had planned.

Road Trip

It was four A.M. Sunday morning and we had been driving for for two hours. Just outside Tucson we stopped at a Circle K for coffee and breakfast. Dingo heated up a frozen breakfast burrito. Mad Dog had not been to bed and scarfed down a frozen Pizza. Zo inhaled a hot dog. Lobo sipped his coffee, pondered the situation and cursed. Why had I planned and organized this outing? Why did they decide to go?

We all, of course knew the answer .....This was unfinished business. Our last attempt at Babo left us 600' from the summit. We were not going to be denied again. By noon we would be on top of the sacred peak.

Escaladores

Zo
Dingo Dan
Mad Dog Dan
El Lobo Grande

This time we made our approach from the West. We followed a good dirt road 10 miles to Baboquivari camp, which is beautifully maintained by the Tohono O'odham tribe. There was no one there at 7:00 A.M. There was no sign of the drug runners that the border patrol had warned us about.
We started our approach up a well maintained trail and hiked up 3500' to the "Great Ramp" where the trail ended and a scramble was now required. This part would be scary for non climbers who may mutiny and demand a belay.
We were shaded from the morning sun by Babo and this provided some relief. Along the way we discovered several campfire pits and areas to camp. (and hide)?
We reached the base of a 150' rock face, the Ladder Pitch at 11:00 A.M.

Zo climbed up unprotected and set anchors for us to climb with the protection of a rope. This pitch is a 5.6.
Mad Dog on his first rock climb (Pic by Zo)

After each of us climbed this face, we went South/West and free climbed a tricky short section with a chockstone. We then followed a vague route to the summit.

Alto de Montana

The summit was simply awe inspiring! The views were 360 degrees into the great wide open. You could see for miles and miles into old Mexico.
A few Indian trinkets had been left as an offering. Several species of large birds soared overhead.

Dozens of starlings zipped past, miniature jets flying 90 miles an hour. A few came too close for comfort and El Lobo became quite eager to start down. I mean, we were only half way done and still had a dangerous down climb to negotiate.
I was convinced that the starlings were sending us a message from the gods to leave the sacred mountain. The boys did not feel my sense of urgency.
"You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know."
- Rene Daumal
Free climbing down the top section was nerve racking but we went slow, had great communication and teamwork, and slowly worked down to the face. Here we each rapped down with a belay from Zo and then he followed.

At the "Great Ramp" we enjoyed a leisurely lunch before scrambling down to the trail. Hiking down was hot and arduous. El Lobo took a bad fall and his arm hemorrhaged. Along the way we spotted a pack hidden in some trees. We did not investigate.
After 10 hours of climbing and 9000' of elevation change we heard loud music coming from the direction of the camp.

We cautiously approached Zo's truck and were delighted to find a group of Tohono O'odham families having a picnic. The children were swinging at a piƱata, having a great time. We set up our camp chairs and collapsed into them. It had been a long day and we still had over four hours of driving left.

Pacificos flowed through our exhausted bodies. A large hard bloody lump had formed on El Lobo's arm. We all debated as to it's status-broken or bruised?

We drove out the back road through a beautiful thick forest of stately saguaros and we arrived in Tucson two hours later where we had dinner and cervezas at the eccentric Old Congress Hotel.

We arrived at Dingo Dan's at 11:00 P.M. Zo, the road warrior, got us home safely again.

Thanks to Zo for leading the climb and driving.


Babo! Babo! Babo!


Hombres Malos

Lobo - For being TOO much of a morning person at 2 a.m. He arrived at Dingo's house half inebriated with the radio on high volume and woke up Dingo's neighbors.

Lobo - for leaving noxious gas in Mad Dog's face during the climb.

Mad Dog - for sticking his snout too close to Lobo

Dingo, Zo and Mad Dog- for torturing the superstitious El Lobo on the summit by purposely taking their sweet time taking pictures and relaxing before descending.

Dingo - For bringing climbing shoes -- it's only 5.6 Dingo! Even Mad Dog, who's never climbed, didn't need climbing shoes.

Mad Dog For laughing loudly at Lobo's bludgeoned arm. Perhaps if Lobo had fallen to his death Mad Dog would have thought that it was hysterically funny?

Mad Dog For mooching a quart of water from Zo, a quart of grapefruit juice from Dingo and a liter of Gatorade from Lobo and then running out of water on the descent and acting dizzy in order to get more free liquid from us.

Lobo - For EXAGGERATING his sneezes at the Congress Hotel.

Group - For not paying the day use fee at the Babo campground.

3/11/2004

Canyon Dreams

"On each side rose the canyon walls, roughly perpendicular. There was no way to continue except by dropping into the pool. I hesitated. Beyond this point there could hardly be any returning, yet the main canyon was still not visible below. Obviously the only sensible thing to do was to turn back. I edged over the lip of stone and dropped feet first into the water."
Edward Abbey



Escaladores del canons:

Chacal
Dingo Dan
El Lobo Grande

Canyoneering can be dangerous. It presents a unique set of challenges with associated risks. Our group elected to forego a Nankoweep backpack, dropping 6000' because of a storm front and Chacal's health. (More on this in Men Behaving Badly Section)
Our alternative plan was to do Marble Canyon day trips down Rider and Jackass Canyons to the Colorado River/Grand Canyon. We also planned on climbing the Vermilion Cliffs via the Spencer Trail at Lee's Ferry. The slot canyons in these areas are beautiful, but can be extremely dangerous when it rains. Hikers have been killed in flash floods generated by thunderstorms as far as 25 miles away.
We took these risks seriously, but elected to take them one canyon at a time, study our maps for escape routes, watch for changes in the weather, stay extremely alert and make good decisions before entering any narrows.

In Jackass Canyon, we made an excellent decision and reacted quickly. A high sense of awareness and playing it smart enabled us to get out of the path of the grim reaper and to canyoneer another day.

"Like a rock, I was strong as I could beLike a rock, nothin’ ever got to meLike a rock, I was something to seeLike a rock"

We were able to easily find scenic, remote, Rider Canyon after 14 miles of driving backroads in House Rock Valley. We encountered a beautiful herd of pronghorn antelopes along the way.
It was a steep descent to the bottom through the Kaibab Sandstone. Once in the canyon bottom, several falls and pools presented route problems that were easily resolved. A 20' rappel and a 5.1 downclimb was required over slippery rock.

"Twenty years nowWhere’d they go? Twenty yearsI don’t knowSit and I wonder sometimesWhere they’ve gone"

At the mouth of the stunning canyon we had lunch in the sun at the mighty Colorado.

"And sometimes late at nightWhen I’m bathed in the firelightThe moon comes callin’ a ghostly whiteAnd I recallRecall"
The six mile round trip took us close to 6 hours, including lunch. At the top, we pulled out our camp chairs and enjoyed our cervezas.

It rained all night long.

The next morning we hiked 1500' to the top of the cliffs just north of Lee's Ferry. On top of the Paria Plateau--an intriguing desert of sand dunes and slickrock, we explored and took in the views. To the North we found Lake Powell, the Kaiparowitts Plateau and Navajo Mountain. Directly below the Colorado twisted through the depths Glen Canyon. To the South, Lee's Ferry and the heavy flowing Paria River were in view. The clouded Vermilion Cliffs framed this scene and Marble Canyon could be seen in the distance, snaking it's way towards the Kaibab Plateau. Awesome!!!!!

El Chacal taking in magnificent Glen Canyon

"Like a rock, the sun upon my skinLike a rock, hard against the windLike a rock, I see myself againLike a rock"

The afternoon weather looked good and after much discussion we decided to cautiously go down Jackass that afternoon. After heading down a sandy wash it started to sprinkle. Cliff walls then formed, and after two miles we reached a 30' drop off into some beautiful narrows. There was much water in the creek bed and a gushing waterfall had formed. The wet rock looked much too dangerous. At best, we would get soaked going down and then be in the precarious narrows for a mile. It was time to fold them and head back. There would be another day. Maybe.
A slippery thirty foot rap into the narrows of Jackass canyon

A small distance up canyon. Chacal asked "What's that noise" Dingo thought it sounded like a waterfall. El Lobo responded with "UP!"
We quickly climbed 20' up a wall. There was only seconds to spare as a raging river of mud and debris tore down canyon below us.
A half hour later the flow subsided and we were able to hurriedly skirt the canyon and make it back to our vehicle. A huge waterfall of mud continued to drop off the plateau.
At the car we broke out the Guinness and toasted living another day.
We kew the risk and accepted it anyway. It's what we live for.
Not entering the narrows and reacting quickly were the good decisions and we relished them.
We also realized that this event may have been a wake up call.

"Like a rock. standin’ arrow straightLike a rock, chargin’ from the gateLike a rock, carryin’ the weightLike a rock"

Men Behaving Badly

Chacal, for not feeling "comfortable" about dropping 6000' into Nankoweep because of his little case of the sniffles and 14 stitches in his leg.

Chacal, Dingo & El Lobo for electing not to take on the challenge of backpacking into Nankoweep during inclement weather and opting for staying in three different Vermilion Cliffs/Marble Canyon Lodges and drinking muchas cervezas.

Lorenzo for again not making a great adventure due to being afraid of his boss, Ricccccccchhhhhhhhhhard.

Chacal for refusing to drive, even though it was his turn. Note: El Lobo drove to South Rim for South Bass/Boucher.

Chacal for trying to be "just one of the guys" when he is, in fact, a filthy rich Republican, and lives in a 1.7 million dollar home in Paradise Valley.

Dingo for making really "weird noises" while he was sleeping.

El Lobo who could not see in the dark and had difficulty finding his way to the bathroom six times one night, bumping into the beds of Dingo and Chacal.

Chacal and Dingo, rico, uncaring Republicans that attacked a very nice, intelligent, caring, liberal young man in the Cliff Dweller's Lodge.

Chacal and Dingo, rico, uncaring Republicans that conspired against the moderate El Lobo during the paper, fist, rock contests, relegating poor El Lobo to the shitty roll away bed with no blankets.

El Lobo for flaunting all his new canyoneering gear. Chacal for being a jealous rico Republican and wanting it all.

Dingo for wearing a bright red ultralight rain jacket over his "Blue Boobies" T-shirt. This event ended his streak of wearing the same Hawaiian Brown Dirt Shirt for 678 straight times.

Chacal for not hiring El Lobo as his crack salesman after El Lobo aced the brutal interview administered by the inebriated Chacal on the backroad from Rider Canyon.

The waitress (Thing) at the Vermilion Cliff's Lodge with the huge gut, and pants down to her asshole, that attacked the rico Republican Chacal, and left him speechless.

El Lobo for greeting all outdoorsmen at the lodge restaurants with "You guys been fishin?" (Lee's Ferry is one of the primo places in the world to trout fish)

Chacal's famous quote "Because I don't want to die" in response to "Why don't you want to go down Jackass Canyon today." Chacal later revised his thinking to "Let's seize the opportunity." Did he learn to shift his position from that dirty liberal Democrat, Kerry?

Chacal the rico Republican, for wearing his Grateful Dead T-shirt for the 25th straight time.

Chacal, possibly the most prolific farter that ever hiked the Grand Canyon for a very weak and disappointing performance.

Chacal, and Dingo for "mmmmmmmmmmmmmming" the cowgirl with the bodacious TA Tas at the gas station in Camp Verde.


Thanks to Dingo Dan for driving.