As long as there are canyons, man will be drawn to them.  

The Eminence Break Fault splits the rim and allows access to mile 44 of the river in Marble Canyon of the Grand Canyon.  The class 4 route starts after navigating a good stretch of the Navajo back road system. The passage goes through several layers of the canyon...and the views are off the chart.

Kaibab and Coconino Ravine
Supai Ledges (ledges of death)
A connecting traverse
Redwall Fault Ramp and finally 2700 bone jarring feet later...
At the River..Very HOT (not the river-very cold) in June but a beautiful beach, dunes and tamarisk groves that offered limited shade...President Harding Rapids is just up river.

The route is extremely steep and has many areas of instability and loose rock. There is some free climbing required.  The descent was a lot more difficult than the climb out with slightly lighter backpacks and starting at 4 in the morning with headlamps.

Bill Orman, (whom is considered an expert on Marble Canyon), Dingo Dan and I spent three TOUGH days in this harsh, hot and unforgiving majestic area. The comradery kept us upbeat despite the difficulty of this TOUGH route.

After spending 24 days of gastronomic bliss in Europe, and the month prior,  laid up in the hospital followed by home IV and not being in the necessary industrial strength shape to attempt such a challenge, I'll take it!! 

I have extremely sore quads but vivid memories of the time we shared navigating and laboring in and out of this seldom explored beautiful part of the canyon.  


Les amis,

This was the perfect trip. Countless hours were spent researching, organizing, and planning the logistics, transportation and accommodations. Our execution was seamless and our choices of accommodations could not have been better. 

For 24 days the rest of the world disappeared for us. If there are more beautiful regions in the world, we have not seen them. 

We enjoyed several meals that we shall never forget, because they went beyond the gastronomic frontiers of anything we had ever experienced. The people in both countries were absolutely wonderful. 

Here are a few picture samples. I took over a thousand photos. 

"Aren't you (Tahiti Lagoons) one of the seven wonders of the paradise of painters?"

  Henri Matisse

Bonjour mes amis,

We just returned from Tahiti and I have attached some pictures of this splendid part of the world.  Not much English is spoken and it gave Gerry a nice opportunity to brush up on her French before our trip to France and Italy in May.

Everything was quite expensive but worth every franc, we enjoyed every minute, every moment.  The people were incredibly warm and friendly. The landscape and culture were off the charts. The "Mutiny on the Bounty" makes perfect sense to me for men to rebel in order to stay in such an idyllic paradise, with such beautiful women. In 1891, Gauguin the French artist sailed to French Polynesia to escape European civilization and "everything that is artificial and conventional" 

The highlight of our stay was a day trip to the island of Moorea where Gerry snorkeled with the stingrays and sharks.  ELG stayed on the boat and snapped photos and used his smart phone to purchase a life insurance policy for the intrepid Gerry.

This trip was a bit of an impulsive decision to go to a distant tropical location to get out of this brutal Scottsdale winter weather. We encountered very few Americans, mostly French and New Zealand tourists.  Unlike Hawaii, tourism is not large in French Polynesia. We had talked about another trip to Hawaii because it has been a while since we have been there.  We travelled to Hawaii frequently when we lived in Reno and twice since we moved to Phoenix and love those islands. Sadly, Molokai is the only remaining unspoiled Hawaiian Island and my personal favorite. 
French Polynesia seemed to offer more intrigue and adventure and we were not disappointed.

French Polynesia embraces a vast ocean area strewn with faraway outer islands. Locals told us that each island has a mystique of its own. The 118 islands and atolls are scattered over an expanse of water 18 times the size of California, though in dry land terms the territory is only slightly bigger than Rhode Island. 


The Ultimate Adventure

Please see below a great article I recently came across written by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. He details his experiences when given the opportunity to fly in an F-14 Tomcat.

The article brought back vivid memories of a similar experience I had many years ago with one of my best friends, also a Top Gun pilot that had flown into Fallon Naval Air Station in Northern Nevada. We flew out of Reno. I only needed one airsick bag!
Of all the adventurous activities that I have engaged in over the years, nothing even comes close to that morning in the sky over pyramid lake and the Black Rock Desert.

"Now this message is for America 's most famous athletes:
Someday you may be invited to fly in the back-seat of one of your country's most powerful fighter jets. Many of you already have . John Elway, John Stockton, Tiger Woods to name a few. If you get this opportunity, let me urge you, with the greatest sincerity... Move to Guam . Change your name. Fake your own death! Whatever you do . Do Not Go!!!I know. The U.S. Navy invited me to try it. I was thrilled. I was pumped. I was toast! I should've known when they told me my pilot would be Chip (Biff) King of Fighter Squadron 213 at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach . Whatever you're thinking a Top Gun named Chip (Biff) King looks like, triple it. He's about six-foot, tan, ice-blue eyes, wavy surfer hair, finger-crippling handshake -- the kind of man who wrestles dyspeptic alligators in his leisure time. If you see this man, run the other way. Fast. Biff King was born to fly. His father, Jack King, was for years the voice of NASA missions. ("T-minus 15 seconds and counting ..." Remember?) Chip would charge neighborhood kids a quarter each to hear his dad. Jack would wake up from naps surrounded by nine-year-olds waiting for him to say, "We have a liftoff."Biff was to fly me in an F-14D Tomcat, a ridiculously powerful $60 million weapon with nearly as much thrust as weight, not unlike Colin Montgomerie. I was worried about getting airsick, so the night before the flight I asked Biff if there was something I should eat the next morning. "Bananas," he said."For the potassium?" I asked."No," Biff said, "because they taste about the same coming up as they do going down."The next morning, out on the tarmac, I had on my flight suit with my name sewn over the left breast. (No call sign -- like Crash or Sticky or Leadfoot .. but, still, very cool.) I carried my helmet in the crook of my arm, as Biff had instructed. If ever in my life I had a chance to nail Nicole Kidman, this was it. A fighter pilot named Psycho gave me a safety briefing and then fastened me into my ejection seat, which, when employed, would "egress" me out of the plane at such a velocity that I would be immediately knocked unconscious. Just as I was thinking about aborting the flight, the canopy closed over me, and Biff gave the ground crew a thumbs-up. In minutes we were firing nose up at 600 mph. We leveled out and then canopy-rolled over another F-14. Those 20 minutes were the rush of my life. Unfortunately, the ride lasted 80. It was like being on the roller coaster at Six Flags Over Hell. Only without rails. We did barrel rolls, snap rolls, loops, yanks and banks. We dived, rose and dived again, sometimes with a vertical velocity of 10,000 feet per minute. We chased another F-14, and it chased us. We broke the speed of sound. Sea was sky and sky was sea. Flying at 200 feet we did 90-degree turns at 550 mph, creating a G force of 6.5, which is to say I felt as if 6.5 times my body weight was smashing against me, thereby approximating life as Mrs. Colin Montgomerie.And I egressed the bananas. And I egressed the pizza from the night before. And the lunch before that. I egressed a box of Milk Duds from the sixth grade. I made Linda Blair look polite. Because of the G's, I was egressing stuff that never thought would be egressed. I went through not one airsick bag, but two.Biff said I passed out. Twice. I was coated in sweat. At one point, as we were coming in upside down in a banked curve on a mock bombing target and the G's were flattening me like a tortilla and I was in and out of consciousness, I realized I was the first person in history to throw down. I used to know 'cool'. Cool was Elway throwing a touchdown pass, or Norman making a five-iron bite. But now I really know 'cool'. Cool is guys like Biff, men with cast-iron stomachs and freon nerves. I wouldn't go up there again for Derek Jeter's black book, but I'm glad Biff does every day, and for less a year than a rookie reliever makes in a home stand. A week later, when the spins finally stopped, Biff called. He said he and the fighters had the perfect call sign for me Said he'd send it on a patch for my flight suit.What is it? I asked."Two Bags."