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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

On Pins and Needles


There are more pins and needles around here than the kind that draws blood and flattens tires. I'm talking mountains with steepled ridge lines, pinnacles that boggle the mind and swoons the heart. Throw in a few clouds and mild temps and it's about as close to heaven as one can get on planet earth.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Nostalgic Notes From A Boondock Near Wickenburg...

“You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”  John Green, Looking for Alaska

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

"A Separate Peace," and Flat Tired Of Flat Tires

The "compromise" happens every year, shortly after Thanksgiving. So it comes as no surprise, really, till this year, when a renegotiation of previous "treaties" was agreed upon. You see, Peace requires compromise, and compromise requires putting your pretty little feet into another person's stinking shoes.   

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Chasing Weather That Suits My Clothes, and Two Magnificent Must-Do Loop Bike-Rides

An easy three and a half hour drive returned us from the warmth of a boondock near Valley of Fire, Nevada, to our boondock-with-a-view of a freshly snow-capped Pine Mountain.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Reflections On My Induction To Septuagenaria...It Beats The Alternative

Just shy of one month ago, the gods bequeathed your's truly a milestone birthday...a birthday that seemed inconceivable while wading through the sex, drugs, rock n' roll and "Mary Jane" haze of the 60's. Alright, alright...technically I was still a virgin in the 60's, but the rest is truth.

Monday, November 23, 2020

A Chronicle Of Chronologically Assorted Purdy Pictures, Or, My Attempt To Inch The Blog Closer To Realtime

To all Rv'ers in search of summer's warmth from November through March, all is fair in love and weather. Especially when Old Man Winter huffs and puffs and blows his way into Southwest Utah's red desert, and my entire wardrobe consists of 8 pairs of shorts.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Chris Spots A Hidden Petroglyph In Natural Bridges National Monument That Rivals Anything We've Ever Seen

Bobbie and I have camped at Natural Bridges National Monument a couple/three times, back in the good ole days when you could just roll into a campground without making reservations a year in advance. We hiked the loop road on top, which, more or less, follows a deep, multihued canyon, well garnished with streaks of desert varnish. But for some reason, maybe because we were always in a hurry on our way to or from a higher prioritized destination. Until—what was it, 2016?—we made a date with Suzanne to get this hike in our respective "bags" and see the "bridges" from the bottom up instead of a "pull out." 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The Will and Skill To Survive In A Hostile Land

It's difficult to fathom the incalculable amount of change that has taken place on planet earth since the industrial revolution, and, perhaps more importantly, the some-good/some-short sighted consequences there of. And to think, that a mere few hundred years prior to the I R, bands of semi-nomadic Native Americans were carving out an existence all around here, in the four corners region of the great Southwest. For the most, part they did it what the had...tools of stone, keen intellect, and a cooperative spirit, for a while anyway. Around the 13th century, "co-op" turned to war-hoops, and shit hit the fan. It's a lesson that shouldn't be lost on us today right here in the good ole USA. Cooperation, not division, is the key to Survival.      

Friday, November 6, 2020

Accidental Tourist Stumbles On A Backdoor, Cross Country Route To Yet Another Cliff Dwelling...And, Bobbie and Chris Shows Up In Camp!

A couple days after healing up from my Hike-a-Bike fiasco, I climbed back in the saddle...vowing to stick to familiar roads and trails. Of course route vows, unlike marriage vows, are written in sand instead of stone.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Looking Back, 700 Years Ago

After several languid days of hike-a-biking mountain trails above Monticello, Utah, I motored on down the road to a favorite ridge-top boondock in the high pinion/juniper desert country west of Blanding.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

The Cure

It took a week of “pre-flight” prep to get Rv Daisy loaded and ready to soar. I was solo for a couple weeks while Bobbie tied up “loose ends” at home. There is an allure to “Blue Highways,” a term William Least Heat Moon coined for lesser travelled squiggly blue lines on paper maps that preceded internet Google Maps. I pointed Daisy west through the peaceful and lovely desolation of Western Colorado, bound for Eastern Utah’s sunburnt version of Lovely Ouray. 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

An Indian Summer Hike To Remember

We are joyously wallowing in a remarkable run of Indian Summer days, the kind that forebodes a change in season is long overdue. Mornings are crisp, exhales steamy, and the ungloved hand seeks warmth in pockets. Wardrobes are a contradiction if fall, a time when shade mandates extra layers while full sun begs a simple t-shirt will be more than adequate. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Thursday, September 24, 2020

A Long Awaited Rematch With Leon

I love my bike. It's there for me when bruised and battered feet grow weary of hiking and climbing...foot-slogging, saddled with a burdensome arch-flattening pack that ofttimes threatens to peel me backwards off some mountain.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Put A Bow On It

This oneway, exiguously trailed, orienteering-required, mission improbable backcountry trek should come with a freaking warning label.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Mission Improbable: What Happens When You Go For Broke...


A long time ago I found a most effective treatment for anxiety/depression, be it from stress, loss, a broken heart, negative thinking...whatever. And no, the most effective treatment is not a pill and doesn't come in a bottle. For me, and most likely you, the best treatment for sorrow, despair, and regret is to get outdoors and get moving. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Passing Of A Patriarch

Somewhere around 4:30 in the morning on Wednesday, July 1st, my cell rings. It's in the living room, on the hearth next to my chair, so of course I don't hear a thing. 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Red Mountain Three...

"Uncertainty is all. Crazyass passion is the staple of life, and persistence its nourishing force."  Rinker Buck, The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey

Thursday, June 25, 2020

A New Abram Summit "Dot" For Ruthie And Michelle

There are a few mountains I can skip without regret. Abram is not one of them. Abram is compulsory. A summer without at least one Abram summit feels incomplete.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

"Just The Two Of Us, We Can Make It If We Try..."

It's our 34th anniversary and, of course, Bobbie wants to celebrate by going for a hike. A short discussion ensues, followed by a decision on destination. It will be 13,000 feet. There will be snow. How far can we get? It's all the unknowns that drives excitement.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

In The Shadow Of My Giant

That's him in the middle—the Big Guy, clowning for the camera with brothers Milton and Harold—sporting white bucks, bell bottomed slacks, and waves of wavy jet-black hair that drove girls crazy back in the day.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Guide Noir: Going Off Trail To Richmond Pass

Two days after Bridge of Heaven, the 3 "hiker babes," plus Your's Truly, headed up the Million Dollar Highway in order to hike the Richmond Pass Trail. There are several ways to get to Richmond's lofty Pass, but this trail is the shortest...thus, the steepest. Not 200 yards out of the "gate," we were already gassed. Note: Rate of Ascent + Angle of Ascent + Altitude + Headwind = Yards Till Gassed. Simple math.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Higher You Go, The Smaller You Get

Anyone who spends most of their time playing in the mountains knows the old adage: The harder the climb, the better the view.  Of course there are less grueling choices for when hearts overrule Type One minds. But for me, well, they just don't feel quite as satisfying.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Another Attempt On Yellow Jacket Mine

Recall a couple/three weeks ago when our geezer hiker club failed in an attempt to hike up to Yellow Jacket Mine via Bear Creek Trail. Unfortunately, we were turned back by a precipitous slide area that had throughly eroded any trace of a trail, where one slipped step could send the slip-ee over a cliff into a roaring creek swelled with spring runoff.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Oh The Views From Hayden Trail, As Hiked From Crystal Lake

I truly loathe the spurts and bouts of weather regression during spring, especially after a couple of teasing weeks of outdoor perfection. So our weather pulled a "Breaking Bad" a few days ago. We're nearing the fourth consecutive day of unnerving, tree-toppling wind that pack gusts to over 40 mph. Worse, the weather guessers now predict snow tonight.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

To Those Who Ask The Rhetorical "Why?"

"If you're gonna be an ultra-runner, you're gonna have to embrace suffering..."   Errol "the rocket" Jones

Thursday, June 4, 2020

A Wander Up Engineer Pass Road

Getting High On Corkscrew "Wine," and Our Trash Marauding Bear

Unless you happen to love post-holeing through knee to hip deep snow, hiking above timberline this time of year generally requires "equipment," things like snowshoes, gators, crampons...backcountry skis. We seldom prepare for lingering spring snow, thinking we'll just figure it out as we go...which usually translates to, if the "draw" is strong enough we'll just post-hole...end up with bloody shins from ice-shards, heavy soggy shoes, and frozen toes. But post-holing is not as much fun as it used to be. Nowadays, we try to minimized it to once a year. Fortunately, there's a solution around Lovely Ouray for hiking above timberline during spring's prolonged meltdown.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Hike To Upper Cascade Falls and Chief Ouray Mine

I've always found Upper Cascade Falls difficult to photograph, primarily due to the precipitous, and at times, vertical landscape that encircles this natural wonder. I think a drone mounted camera would be the best tool to photograph Cascade and other falls. Maybe I should give Mike of Ouray By Flight a call.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Another Day, Another Overlook, Another Rant.

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such moments, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready."  Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

So That's How They Did It! Bobbie Finally Unlocks A Mystery Regarding Grizzly Mine

There are more than a few mountain mine locales that Bobbie and I frequent...scratch our sweaty brows in wonderment at how miners managed to cart hulking, cumbersome pieces of heavy equipment up to their hard-rock digs. One of the more astounding examples of this is Grizzly Mine, with its improbable narrow access literally etched into the cliff-face above Bear Creek. You'll find this trail less than five miles south of Lovely Ouray on the infamous Million Dollar Highway...another etched-in-a-cliff-face wonder, as in "How in the Hell?"

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Inspired By Primrose On The Perimeter Trail

As with the improbable evening primrose that blossoms from south-facing hardscrabble earth, life can be tough, fragile, and tenuous. Our task is to not surrender to our plight nor place blame on our assigned plot of gritty, parched soil that sucks us dry. Rather, we must live on in spite of peril, and blossom like the Primrose...
Today's thoughts, inspired by American poet and author Anthony Liccione.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Grinding Out High Roads In Preparation For Long Summer Days above Timberline

While cherry blossoms are likely wilted to Long gone where you live...carpeting your manicured, thrice-mown eastern blue-grass lawn with the sweet funeral flower fragrance that reminds us, at this point in time, of a welcomed death...we who reside here in the "upper-lands" endure winter's dawdling demise with unhinged agitation. The white plague turns us back from lofty, preseason destinations...places we need to inspire us with a renewed since of will-to-live in a world run amuck. Nature and solitude seem to be the only things that can take our minds off the current buttloads of contradictory blather-slather. 

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Dinosaur Tracks, and Twin Peaks Trail Still Locked Down By Snow

A little down this Saturday, especially after reading a NY Times article this morning that suggested we might be living with the Virus for years, as it comes and goes in waves until we either develop "herd immunity" or a vaccine comes to our rescue. Though the Virus has yet to greatly affect our lives here in "Tiny Town"—we are doing pretty much everything we normally did pre-Virus, outdoor things like hiking, biking, exploring, etc. etc.. However! I am beginning to wonder if this "social separation" and mask thing is going be part of our new normal, at least for seniors, anyway. I must say: Of all the accommodations I've surrendered to this fucking pandemic, it is the handshake/hug exchange I miss the most.
I know, I know: It could be worse...

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Guns and Roses

Smack dab within the city limits of Lovely Ouray there's a steep, winding trail that will spirit hardy hikers up to the  "Bridge Of Heaven." It's a quad-crushing 5 mile hike to the "Bridge," the last 2 miles of which involve substantial post-holeing through knee to waist-deep mounds of snow. Trust me, even the last week in April is considered too early to attempt "Heaven's Bridge" without snow shoes. In fact, some years June's pushing it...unless, of course, you like post-holing and bloody shins.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

"To everything a season: A time to embrace...a time to refrain from embracing" On "Hope," and Getting Shit Off My Chest

Just about now, in a "normal" year, I'd be rumbling up our driveway in Lovely Ouray...all worn out and physically fit from over a month's worth of hiking/biking/exploring Eastern Utah's notorious nooks. But this is not a "normal" year (oh how we took them for granted), so that Rv season-ending indulgence got blown out of the waterless red rock desert by the "new normal," for at least for a year or two anyway, maybe more. Revelations is upon us. Go ahead, stamp 666 on my forehead. But please make this C-shit go away.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

"Don't Stand So Close To Me" and A "New Dots" Tortolita Mountain Hike With Hans and Lisa

I went to Lovely Ouray's lone liquor store yesterday, only to find an eight-ish year old kid on a bike parked square in the middle of the store's entry alcove and effectively blocking my urgent mission to resupply the empty beer section in our fridge. I noted a lady inside at the checkout counter, purchasing a 12 pack of Coors Light. I asked the kid if he was waiting on her or someone in the store...

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Flashback To A Couple Arid-zona Hikes With Juliet and Chris...

We are boondocked in one of our favorite camps, amid the rolling, well bouldered foothills of the Catalina Mountains. It's a familiar comfortable spot, like a home away from home.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Groundhog Day and Let It Be...

It's surreal, like being trapped in the movie Groundhog Day, only without Bill Murray and (sigh) Andie MacDowell. Here's what our Groundhog Day looks like: 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sally Jo, Questions Without Answers...

It fit my mood, an overcast morning forecasted to deteriorate into heavy rain with flash flooding. Bobbie and I ease into Greenwood Cemetery and park near the office. I crack my window and gaze at endless rows of headstones and monuments. They rise from a struggling lawn, caught in the seasonal purgatory between winter and summer—life and death. The veil of thieving clouds hijacks color, contrast, an shadow, lending a dismal pall to a long overdue occasion. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Homeward Bound

Though it's only been a short while since I graced (or fouled) these BCB pages, it suddenly feels like we live in an entirely different world.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Camps Catalina and Madera Canyon

Post gold rush days, a wild-eyed movement that pointed easterners westward in search of riches, perhaps today's most precious vanishing commodity is cell-less solitude.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

K O'd

As with automobiles and Indiana Jones, it's not the years so much as the mileage.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Desert Mega-Cities Chomping At The Bit Of Unbridled Growth

The water looked so inviting. But, as we all know, "looks" can be deceiving. Belying the lake and landscape's superficial beauty awaited 54 degree ice water. So we skipped the "dip," opting instead to ponder the contradiction of so much precious water in one of the driest desert landscapes on earth.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020