"No Country For Old Men"

John Hance (1840 – January 26, 1919) is thought to be the first non-native resident of the Grand Canyon.  He opened the first tourist trail in the canyon in the late nineteenth century

He later abandoned this "trail" in 1895 and built what is now known as the "New Hance 

Trail. Little remains of the original trail, landslides have covered much of it. It is now referred to as a 'route', and that term is generous.

I have wanted to do this remote, historic off trail route for the past 10 years and when the opportunity presented itself, I had to go for it.  Bill Orman, a Dr. from Tuba City and master of off trail routes, (particularly in Marble Canyon) offered to accompany us on this weekend. 

So, 2 weeks ago Zo and I started training, not wanting to miss the opportunity.  We underestimated the difficulty and lazily
did not get into industrial strength shape, adding to the adventure.  The terrain was extremely steep, brush choked, boulder strewn, and tormented us with prickly, spiny, stabbing flora and dangerous rock slides to negotiate.

Very few exceptionally strong hikers that possess excellent navigation skills have attempted this route. Bill Orman is one of these people, having previously explored and completed the route. He patiently lead us down and out the Tonto/Grandview. 

It was one hell of a day of scrambling, climbing, boulder hopping and hiking that included 7400' of elevation gain/loss. We started at 6AM and finished  an hour before dark. (5PM) It was truly a Canyon Tough! Tough! Tough! route!

Today, we are Licking our wounds, my hamstrings are shot! But.......... we got er done!!

When Lorenzo was asked by my wife Gerry about the adventure, his response...PAINFUL! That would be accurate..It was BRUTAL!


А дело бывало -- и коза волка съедала. 
Pigs might fly. "It was happening -- a goat was eating up a wolf."

And Pigs did fly! After four fun days in NYC, we finally traveled to Russia. I have been wanting to see the Russian countryside ever since I saw the movie Dr. Zhivago in the 60s. However, being a child of the 50s and 60s, I watched Russian tanks roll into Budapest and Mr. Khruschev pound his shoe on the table and threaten us with "We will bury you!" I held my breath until the Soviets blinked during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I practiced getting underneath my desk in grade school.
The Soviets were the first in space with Sputnik and that freaked us out! But that of course, has all changed, starting with the Berlin Wall coming down.

The two weeks we spent here exceeded all expectations. The countryside during autumn was unforgettable. Saint Petersburg and Moscow were magnificent. The Hermitage, indescribable! The people were helpful, warm and friendly. We tasted the arts and the culture with many visits to Russian Orthodox churches, a Russian ballet and several classical concerts. We walked around Red Square and saw Putin's helicopter touch down. We saw the the KGB building where he worked. We took a couple of short Russian language classes and rode the beautifully decorated Moscow Metro.
And................shamelessly we went to the Hard Rock Cafe in Moscow where Gerry posed as a drummer and ELG scored several souvenirs, including a guitar bottle opener magnet to add to his collection.


Islands of Thailand

Close to Phuket there are 39 smaller islands to the southeast, studded with tropical forests, mountains, beautiful limestone formations, pristine beaches, surrounded by coral reefs and the aquamarine water of the Andaman Sea.
We saw a few monkeys and baboons off one of the islands.

Snorkeling off of Phi Phi and 4 other islands ....... colorful coral forests, tropical fish and other marine life, including leopard sharks, moray eels, octopus and turtles. We were bummed that I forgot my underwater camera but hope that you enjoy these shots.


Bako National Park-Borneo

"The compulsion to see what lies beyond the far ridge or that ocean-or this planet-is a defining part of human identity and success."
  David Dobbs

At Bako we enjoyed an outstanding diversity of natural landscapes. We hiked in the dense rainforest, home to many flora and fauna including the rare highly endangered proboscis monkey. We spotted several during low tide as they foraged in the exposed Mangrove tree swamps. 

On adventures like this, we discover ourselves and the planet.