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.


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


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

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.


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

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.


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

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.



“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.


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.


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!


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