Monday, December 25, 2006

Road Trip Day 6

We awoke early and had some waffles. The one I made wasn't as great as the first one I had in the beginning of this trip. Must have been much more hungry that morning or something. We headed out on the day's adventure.

First stop was a dirt road in the west district of Saguaro NP. Although we had seen primarily the same thing the day before, we concentrated more on birds this morning and taking turns walking Jenna down the dirt road.

But even though we were concentrating on the birds, I still snapped off the cactus photo. I particularly enjoyed this one.

Afterwards, we were going to walk around the Arizona Sonoran Museum, however, there was a sign that said no dog left unattended. We were going to risk it, but the old man security guard had seen the dog. We walked down to the entrance just to look and decided against risking it. The security guy had followed us back to the vehicle, but didn't stop. As we went to leave, I stopped to do something and parked across several parking spaces to fix something. The security guard stopped and watched us. He then paralleled us until we turned to leave. We both wanted to turn again and make circles so he would get nervous, but we didn't. He watched us leave the area.

Defeated there, we headed north towards Phoenix, but decided to find some more ruins. I have to say I have been disappointed with the park units we have visited in Arizona because each one had a city surrounding it. I'm spoiled in Utah. Casa Grande Ruins had a Wal-mart across the street. However, Jenna was pretty excited that she was allowed to go out near the ruin and even walk straight through the visitor center. We were so suprised that I took a photo of her and Murray in the visitor center.

We finally arrived in Phoenix just in time to head over to a sister's house for grub and a game of 20 Questions. If you see one, this one bought in Kohls, pick one up because you will be amazed. It is an electronic game and you think of something, it asks the questions, and then guesses your answer. We stumped it several times, but it did come up with platypus.

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and enjoy the rest of the year.

More photos here

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Road Trip Day 5

We left the last town and headed west today. Even though this morning the heater ran for a short time, by the end of the day we were using the vent and a/c. I wore only a t-shirt and sweatshirt rather than long underwear, t-shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, and gloves. The other day we were in a town where the high was 30 degrees and today the high where we are was 60+. 30 degree difference. Our original plan was going to take us north back into the cold, but we have decided against that. We are going to keep in the warmth as long as we can.

Today we went to another National Park, which pisses off the dog. We were quite upset that they don't ever have to wear winter uniforms. Those in the park service understand that statement. And I have realized that I have become spoiled during this trip. Yes, yes, I know I already am, but being at Chaco all by ourselves really spoiled me today.

We arrived at Saguaro today to a bus full of people. The visitor center was packed, the sidewalks were packed, and they were walking over everything. I stamped my NPS passport, Murray grabbed a map and guide, and we got the heck out of there. But the bus was not the only people. There was another group in a white SUV. They pulled up and about 10 people piled out of the vehicle. It was like clowns coming out of a VW. They were loud and I was crying CHACO CHACO.

We traveled along the 8 mile road, stopping where people weren't, and driving by other pullouts where people were. There were numerous places I wanted to stop and take a photo, but I didn't want to be like the visitors I constantly yell at or kindly ask to move at the other park.

We attempted to do some birding. But the only types of birds we saw today were Silhouette Birds. You probably won't find those in a typical bird book, but birders will understand what kind of birds those are.

When we stopped to take this photo of this dead cactus, which was a little down from the car, we left Jenna in the vehicle. Sometimes when we leave her in the vehicle, she climbs into the back where luggage is piled to the top of the backseat and waits patiently for us. I often wish I could hear what she is thinking. I know most of it is cuss words and why aren't you taking me. She eventually gets over it I hope!

I asked the nice park ranger what the quickest way would be if we were heading to Phoenix. He told me to go back out to I-10. Of course, he told me to take a certain road, but upon leaving the park, we saw a sign that said I-10 left. So we followed it. As the road wound east, we wanted to head west, we laughed. And heck, if we would have followed the other way, we wouldn't have seen the deer cross the road. We've been in this situation a couple of times as well and since we are on a vacation, we don't give a shit. Actually, we pretend we are in the Amazing Race game and everyone else is behind us. HA HA.

We finally found our hotel, checked in, actually declared Jenna this time, and went to the Texas Roadhouse to eat dinner. Funny thing is they don't have any in Texas. It was one of the best meals I have had in a long time. They had awesome bread with honey butter, great pina coladas, the steak was done right, and the shrimp was delicious. And of course Jenna loved the leftovers.

Tomorrow we head to the big city, but not after visiting some other places. We'll be hanging with family and friends for the Christmas holidays. Every one have a great one!

more photos as always

Friday, December 22, 2006

Road Trip Day 4-Birding

We left the hotel room sometime this morning after finally pulling ourselves out of bed for the continental breakfast. The other day we had waffles and I was craving them again, but they didn't have the set up for them. Absolutely disappointed. Oh well. Tonight's hotel, the same chain, doesn't have them either. Dang it!

We went to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. We went mostly for the birding, however, we did get to see a deer and then it disappeared. In its place were five coyotes. And they say that coyotes don't hunt in packs anymore. HA!

Jenna kind of enjoyed the park as well because to our surprise the lady at the gate told us the dog could be out, but had to be on a leash. So she was allowed to get out some places. Her first adventure was out on a boardwalk and she was quite intrigued with the coots and other birds in the water. At the places where we did not let her out, she enjoyed pouting.

When we first arrived at the boardwalk, we spooked a coot from under the boardwalk and it flew for a little while. Then it thought it was landing on water, but slid on its ass across the ice. It was one of the funniest things I have seen.

The birding was mostly a vehicle tour with Murray saying stop, back up, etc. He was the spotter and then I would stop, get out, slam the door, and the bird would fly off so I couldn't get the photograph. But I did get some photos...

And more

We drove on to another town today and found our same chain hotel. Tomorrow we head for Arizona. We are still looking for warmth.

Happy Holidays

The wildlife: 5 coyotes, 1 deer, northern shoveler, bufflehead, kestrel, snow geese, merlin, northern harrier, hooded mengauser, northern pintail, sandhill crane, says phoebe, killdeer, northern flicker, gadwall, coopers hawk, golden eagle, bald eagle, ring necked duck, ring-necked pheasant, widgeon, sandpiper, marsh wren, pied bill grebe, green winged teal, and others we didn't identify.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Road Trip Day 3

We left Santa Fe this morning under iffy road conditions. It was still snow covered which pretty much left icy conditions. But it didn't last long as it was also sunny and somewhat warm today. Of course as soon as the sun disappears, it gets mighty damn cold. We traveled north from Santa Fe to Bandelier. Another Indian ruin area and another stamp on my NPS passport.

In the park service, the crowd is small and you usually know or someone else knows someone else and so on. And of course I knew someone from here who I used to work with. At Aztec, one of the workers knew someone I currently work with. Geez, it is a small work community.
I've seen a lot of ruins, but nothing like these. Each time I raised my camera to take the photo the guy with the walking stick would walk in front of my photo. He did it about 5 times. Unbelievable.
Unlike Chaco where we had the entire park to ourselves because it was so damn cold, we had to share the park today. The snow was so bad there yesterday they had shut down the park. Like at Chaco, my camera fell again and this time instead of the mud got a little damaged (ladder photo). No biggie though. Friends ask why I leave on the plastic cover on the LCD screen. Now you know.

We finally finished up the hike and Jenna was quite excited because she is getting sick of being left in the vehicle. We drove into Los Alamos. We aren't glowing. We went to the Museum so we could learn more about how and why and everything else we did and didn't want to know about the A-Bomb. Then we went to a historical diner. Finally back at the vehicle, Jenna was ready to kill us even more. We found a road off the highway and took her for a much needed walk and run. Plus, part of her dinner was my pork chop so I think we appeased her. Tomorrow we are going to try to find something strictly for her.

Not sure where tomorrow will lead us but it will be down I-25 hopefully to warmth! Happy Holidays!

More photos

Road Trip Day 1&2

We left Moab on Tuesday and headed southeast. When we woke up Tuesday morning the ground was covered with snow. And the rest of the day was driven in snow and rain.

Our first unscheduled stop was a casino. We only dropped 20 of Murray's money. And I have decided that I couldn't live in a gambling city because I would have a problem with gambling.

We arrived in Farmington NM sometime that day and drove straight to Aztec Ruin National Monument ( QUIZ: What is the difference between a National Park and National Monument (Parkies can't answer). Of course the lady working there knew people we knew. (Green Hornet-you took her over EH)

We stayed that night in Farmington. While staying in the La Quinta because that is our choice hotel, I received an email from some "old" camp hosts from Arches. (And I don't mean OLD). How about past. That is better. Mike said something about Farmington and I said oh shit, they live in Farmington. So I sent a message in hopes he would get it before we left. Then we went next door and had one of the greatest drinks I have ever had. Raspberry Liqueur, Kahlua, half&half-shaken over the rocks with a splash of Sprite. YUMMIE!!!!!!! The next morning Mike called and we met up for breakfast and coffee. Then we headed onto Chaco.

Driving down 550 the road was ok. Not much snow left over and not slippery. We turned onto a paved county road and then onto the dirt road. About 20 miles of dirt road to reach Chaco. Mike had told me about the washboard, but thought they might be ok because of the snow. NOPE MIKE...they are still there and still crappy. But we made it. And saw two coyotes on the way. We pulled into the parking lot and were the only ones there. It was windy and freezing ass cold, but we endured. We had the entire park to ourselves. Jenna (the dog) didn't like it much because she didn't get to go on a lot of the trails.

But it was really nice to have an entire park to ourselves. And I am sure the area looks completely different without snow. And just a is always important to actually take the trail guide so when you come to the numbers you know what you are looking for or at. At #8, we searched and searched and then when we read the trail guide at the end of the trail, it said nothing was there.

We left Chaco after freezing most of the tour of the park. We stopped at a large pull out to eat lunch in the vehicle and let Jenna run. After about 10 minutes she came back to the vehicle. We aren't sure if it was because she was freezing or could smell the sandwiches. We turned back onto 550 and headed south towards I-25. And here came the snow. The Rocket (my vehicle) made it through without one slip or slide. One vehicle used me the entire time...each time I pulled out to pass, he was right behind me. Little did he know that a female was driving. HAHA.

We found our La Quinta in Santa Fe right near a mall, which was nice so I could get a stocking cap since I can't find mine. Today, the roads are icy, but we are still heading north towards Bandelier. Until then...keep warm...

As always more photos

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Road Tripping

We set out this morning for a road trip to numerous states, parks, and unknowns. Stay tuned for photos and stories I am sure....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Two Women

Have you ever seen this?

I have about a zillion times. I have looked at it about zillion times. And for the life of me I have never been able to see the two different woman-one young and one old.

The first place I saw this was at my Iowa Grandma's house. I want to say it was in the basement, but I can't remember. May be a relative can verify. And did it make it over to the Overlooking the River House?

I had started visiting Grandma's house on my own probably between the ages of 8 or 9 or may be later, but I am pretty sure I was flying back there when I was a little shit. And I continued to visit well into my college years.

And for all those years, I only saw the younger woman. I could never for the life of me see the older woman. I think I might have told people I saw two because that would make me cool. But for 33 - years I have never seen the second woman.

I have succeeded today. I have finally seen it. Of course, it had to be shown to me in two different photos, but I can easily see the two now. I called my sister and asked if it was in Iowa Grandma's house. I told her I had finally seen it. And she had to rub it in that she has always seen it.

So it has only taken me 33 - years to see it. Oh well. At least I can see the two.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Airport Adventure

I am currently sitting in the SLC airport. I took a shuttle bus up here from my home and arrived 3 hours early. So like any good alcoholic, I went straight to the bar to have lunch and start my drinking. I also have coupons on for my flight and so by the time I land in Chicago, I will be tanked. Won't I be a joy tonight. But save the day as the world has WIFI for a price.

So I sit in Dick Clark's listening to the tunes, watching football, and enjoying my new addiction of My Space. But I was thinking and may be in some airport there is one...why isn't there a movie theater in this airport. Instead of drinking away my day, I could be watching some sappy love story or violence enriched killings or some humor based stupidity. But instead I am watching Texas A&M and Texas battle their strength and Poker.

But at least I have my blog community and my friends at My Space. Hey, if you are in the airport, I'm sitting at the bar in a yellow shirt flanked by two unknown men---one drinking a martini and one drinking a Sam Adams. Stop by and say hello.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Photo End

Well my season at the Pillars has come to an end on Thanksgiving. Click the title to check out the last photos.

Everyone have a great Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Serious Ass Pucker Moment

On Saturday, which was my Friday, I was leaving the area in my personal vehicle when a blue sports vehicle approached me traveling at a high rate of speed. I used my hand and attempted to get him to slow down. And he did brake, but then accelerated again. I called my partner and informed her about the vehicle. I continued on toward my home with my music cranking.

In about 10 minutes, I heard my call number and answered the radio. She was requesting my assistance back at the park because she couldn't get the vehicle stopped. She said she was doing 70 mph. Now, we don't drive pursuit vehicles, we drive 4wd pickups because normally we are pulling people out of the mud. And the speed limit in the area is anywhere from 15-45 mph. I radioed I was returning. I had my badge and radio. Nothing else, but my vehicle.

I saw them coming and put my vehicle in my lane. I also used an innocent passerby to semi-block the other lane. The blue vehicle came around the corner and was heading in my direction. I was standing in the road holding up my badge and telling him to stop. I saw the look in his eyes as I am sure he saw the fear in my eyes as I felt I was about to get run over by this asshole. I was able to jump out of the way as he drove unto the shoulder on the passenger side of my vehicle. And he disappeared. We never saw him again on the road. I was hoping he would hit a cow or deer like so many innocent people do. We had already called for our backup which consists of about every law enforcement officer in the area.

I heard the radio crackle with "I got him doing 105 mph." The UHP's voice just went up a few octaves. The UHP had taken up pursuit and was requesting spikes and a small town down the road to be shutdown. The speeds of the pursuit reached 120 mph. Come to find out later that the vehicle had nitro in the trunk and would go from 100 to 120 in a second.

The driver missed the first spikes. And I guess the second ones tipped upside down, but he decided it would be best to stop at this point. When we arrived on scene, there was the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife, Sheriff, and UHP and then us, Park Service. Like I said we all come to help each other. When I walked up to the vehicle, there was a syringe and crack pipe sitting on the trunk. Looking at those made me realize that he had ZERO concern for the life of anyone else including himself.

I looked in the front seat....besides the riff raff in the vehicle, there was the HOLY BIBLE on the passenger seat. Was he reading that while he was driving like a fricking idiot putting everyone's life in jeopardy? Was that BOOK supposed to make me think he was a good soul? That even though he attempted to run me down, I should forgive him because he is reading the BIBLE? Actually, seeing that BOOK made me more and more pissed off.

Dispatch came back with more wonderful news---he was wanted in California for drugs, armed and dangerous. Oh yea, the bitchen souped up vehicle he was driving was also stolen. But hey, all is well he had a HOLY BIBLE on his front seat.

I shook hands with the UHP officer who was able to keep up with the 120 mph speeds and thanked everyone and the Dispatch for their help. I was dropped back off at my vehicle and reflected about life on my drive home. Which I have decided without the BOOK, I am doing just fine.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Week 8-10

Here are the photos:

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Nothing to exciting. I had to pull several individuals out of the mud, which required me to get wet and dirty. I had to be pulled out myself from a hole. And we've had a lot of wetness and washouts.

I also participated in a search for Chain Link Fence (not her real name). She luckily realized it would be best to sit her ass down instead of walking in circles. She did spend a night out there alone in the elements, but was smart about it. She flagged down the helicopter the next day. Some days I want to get lost just so I can ride in the helicopter. :)

Hope all is having a wonderful Fall.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hike of Week 7

October 7, 2006 at approximate 0815 hours, I pulled into the EH parking lot. One other vehicle. Not suprising since the rain drenched all yesterday. I grabbed my gear and started up a well worn path, however; never appeared to have been walked on thanks to the rain wiping away all existence. My footprints would lead others to the unknown known.

The sun was awake and trying to dry everything. The desert still smelled 'just after the rain'. The sage brush was emitting its fragrance and everyone once in a while the juniper smell would jump off the branches. Everything was silent, but rejoicing after the spa treatment they received in the last 24 hours.

I walked with my nose to the perfumes. I shuffled my feet, scampered over slickrock, and slithered through cervaces. Every so often the trickle of water would stop me and I could feel it cleanse my veins as it cleansed the Earth. At the trail junction, the trickle became a flow and I felt all my sins washed away.

The trail followed the creek bed. There was a lot of rock and sandbar hopping. Of course 95% of the sand was quick and my feet would start sinking. I kept thinking of movies where people disappear. (Does anyone know where I am hiking today? NOPE). Thank goodness rock is just a short distance down.

Another junction...I should have zigged instead of zagged and I missed my orinial destination. But I was still on unchartered trail to me. When I saw my first person 4 hours later, I knew my mass, my holy quest, my religious pilgrimage was finished.

I retraced a trail I'd done before to another new trail to the first trail. The first trail was now in footprint ruins wiping away my start. I returned to the parking lot, where both were overflowing with noise and souls. I threw the car in drive with the windows rolled up tight holding in the silence and continuing to homd my happy heart beat.

Total Distance: 11.4 miles
Total H2O Drank: 100 oz
Food consumed: 1 PB&J, two granola bars
Total people encountered: 20 too many
Enjoying the first 4 hours along: Beyond Priceless

Week 6

Week 7

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Best Worst Trip

On Tuesday, September 19th, I was driven to the bottom of the canyon. Ok, really I was driven to the location of the start or end of the trail system. I was shoved out the door with my 900 pound pack with a beautiful canyon floor awaiting me below. And then I dropped into the canyon and began my four day, three night adventure. I was hiking into old indian country, but I was pretty sure I was not going to get scalped or impaled. But I was wrong. The trail system had not been used in quite some time because of the scorching heat so there was a lot of bush whacking and relocating the trail quite a lot during the trip. Within the first two miles, I was impaled in the lip. It is amazing how much the lip bleeds. I exited the marshy area to find my lip and arms splattered with blood. But then I kept reminding myself I was getting paid to do this and should not complain too much. There was so much to see, but I had a mission and I stuck to it. That first night I hiked approx 5 miles. And fell asleep peacefully under the stars.

The second day I trudged on. As many of you know, I have a slight problem drinking water. And I was about to spend 4 days hiking 22 miles so at some point I was going to have to filter water. I was kind of nervous since I barely can drink tap water, but I have to say that the filter water wasn't that terrible. The second day when I awoke the gray fluffless clouds were forming in the west and by mid-afternoon I would be ducking and hiding from the rain every chance I got. I actually waited out the rain at one point only to get absolutely drenched after bush whacking through the reeds. But then sometimes it was worth it.

The rain always brings out the best in colors in the desert. Of course while I was taking this photo, I am sure this is where I missed the trail for about the third time. The wind and hail were an extra bonus of fun. What is nice is that there are tons of nooks and crannies where I could shelter myself from the torments. On the second night after losing my Nalgeen bottle down a 20 foot cliff, almost falling down the cliff when the sand embankment gave way (well at least I could have gotten the bottle), and bush whacking to hell; I gave up and climbed up the embankment to sleep with a pack rat. Each night I set up the night under an overhang because it had an integrated rain fly and I wasn't too confident in it, but in the end it held true. The pack rat or mountain lion only scratched at my pack once.

The next morning I hiked to my last location. According to the map, I would have 8.5 miles from the canyon head to the end. Due to the rainy time, I was afraid my pickup might not be at the trailhead because of the road being impassable and figured I might have to travel an additional 3.5 miles. So I decided I would hike down 5 miles and be that much closer to the trailhead just in case I had to walk the additional. Well sometimes GPS units or maps lie. Thursday night it rained all night and when I awoke on Friday the creek was running at a good speed and amount. I packed up early and headed down the trail. A fresh pair of socks never felt so damn good. 10 minutes later they were soaked from crossing the creek in numerous places, some places up to my knees. The quick drying pants weren't drying quick enough. Within an hour I was at the trailhead. As I said things lie sometimes. I called for my support vehicles, who said she would be there in 30 minutes. An hour and half later she arrived. I was near hypothermic at that time. But it was well worth it. Like a good condor, when the sun appeared, disappeared, and reappeared, I stretched out my wings and sunned myself to warm up.

As always enjoy the rest of the photos:

Week 4

Week 5

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Week 2&3 Aug 22-Sep 9

I had been hiking for several hours. Checking this canyon, peeking between those rocks, looking for something interesting. I found the Racecar Arch and the Molar. And then I went up the canyon to check a site we monitor. I figured what the heck I would just go further up and find the site on the way back. I found a mining claim from 1957 and some old corn cobs that the Natives ate. And then I happened onto the site. I walked around the other side and looked at an overhand and thought...if I were a native, I would hang here. I noticed a bird laying at the back. First impressions were it was a spirit from the past, a skinwalker. There had to be native stuff around here. I stepped back to see all the handprints they had left behind. They say the handprints represent ceremonial times...was it a skinwalker? I decided to leave the bird to rest in peace. You can see the bird just below the white line at the back of the overhang.

8/30--driving into uncharted canyons by me, I witnessed an abundance of wildlife today. And not one of them was caught on camera. First, we saw what we believed to be two coppers hawks. Then I dropped my coworkers off and traveled beyond. I was driving in a wash bottom when I came upon the red-tail hawk who casually flew it a snag and made it easily identifiable. The next few corners held a badger. First I just saw it moving away from the water in the wash and thought what the hell was that. I mean initially I thought it was a wombat, but those are in Australia. Then it paused on the bank as I scrambled for my camera. It gave me a dirty look and moved into the bushes. Then I went up the wrong canyon and came across a coyote running along the road and off trail. I even had my camera out, but it wouldn't stay still long enough. On my way out, I saw a grey fox. Initially, I thought it was the largest squirrel I had ever seen. Shit, do I need glasses? Anyway, it was a grey fox. And lastly, I saw either another Coopers Hawk or Sharp Shin. I would like to say sharp shin, only because I had already seen a coopers.

9/6--So I was driving back from the town to work this morning at some gosh awful hour. I had planned on being back last night, but the retarded rescue of the girl with a dislocated shoulder, who ended up walking herself out after we put a sling on that her friends could have easily done, required some hiking and by the time I got back to town, for safety reasons I stayed there. So I was driving back this morning to make work at 8am and was dodging all the animals...rabbits, deer, chipmunks, turkey...and I got thinking some serious thoughts.

1. No matter what time I drive that road, animals are darting across in front of my vehicle. ??? Do these animals ever sleep?
2. Do they ever run across the road when I am not driving it or other cars are not there? You always see dead animals. Why don't they dart across when no cars are coming?
3. And is it a game they play like chicken? Are their friends waiting on the other side hoping they make it across? Do they get initiated into some club for making it? And if they don't make it, then they weren't meant to be in the club?
4. What is exactly on the other side for them? Why must they go over there?

9/7--Driving along in the backcountry, I smell it quickly approaching. A rain in the desert is nothing like a rain in the mountains. A rain in the desert smells so damn good. But when it rains in the desert, it pours quickly and leaves a lot of water in minutes. I am driving on another road I had never been on and quickly starting wondering if I was going to have to cross any washes because by looking at the sandstone slabs to my left, they were pouring water into every drainage there was. I paused to take a photo of some water behind me on the road. When I turned back around I found this...

And those three photos were taken within seconds of each other. Not sure how much was coming behind that flow, I jumped in the vehicle and got the hell out of there.

Sorry for the weekly delay, but I haven't had a chance to upload photos until tonight. Enjoy as always.

Week 2

Week 3

Friday, August 25, 2006

Week 1-New Job

Hey folks:

I will be posting photos of each week I am at my new job. And here is a little tidbit of a visitor encounter....

Man walking toward me.... (italics indicate in mind)
Me: Hello
City: Sure is quiet out here.
Me: City Boy. That is the point of it.
City: Are you sure it is ok for me to be out here alone.
Me: It is much better when no one is around. We will be rescuing him later
City: "Jumps at site of lizard and then pulls out camera"
Me: I just laugh and walk away.

The photos: Week 1

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Outta Here

I believe my blog days are over. One reason is that I don't get that many people reading my stories. However, I love the regulars for stopping by when they could. Second, I am leaving the world of civilization for a time being and blogging won't be a top priority. I will attempt to keep reading everyone else when I can.

Have a great year.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Adventure Day

I gotta say that I probably have one of the greatest jobs. I mean besides the usually traffic stops on a daily basis; there are days that I can leave the road and explore the unknown and untouched. So on Sunday BF and I did just that. Of course Jenna was not too pleased with us because she thinks she should get to go with us every time we leave the house. But since we were in the park, she had to stay home. Her fun would come later in the day.

We headed up the road and parked the vehicle in a position to slow down the speedy visitors. And we set out to uncharted rocks by us. Jack graced us with his presence almost immediatley. And we saw the occasional lizard, but not much else wildlife except the paw prints left behind. We scrambled over rocks, we crawled under rocks, and we squeezed through rocks. We, or mostly I, searched out cracks and areas for an arch I had not found before. I think we found one. There were many baby arches, but in order to be classified as an adult arch, you have to be three feet and most of the ones we found weren't there yet. We finally made it up one area, skirted around the back side, and then were looking for a way down into the valley. BF finally found what he thought would work just fine. Of course it was going to take some chimneying, but it was doable. Uh, CHIMNEYING? That is where there is a crack and you wedge yourself in there and go up or down. We used the back against one side and feet/knees against the other. Then just work your way down or up. Important information to know when you have a flashflood coming on you and you have to attempt to get above it.

After that we played it easy by following the wash and chasing after the fox prints. We once again came to a dead end. At that point, I was tired and hungry and ready to be finished with the hike. We went up and over the sand and came to another canyon area. And that is when we found the arch for my record. BF thinks it has never been found before which would mean I get to name it. But I believe it has. The photo is a joke for those who have ever been to Arches National Park.

BF went home after lunch and I went back to work cleaning the cache after our flood. I called BF at 3PM and asked if he had the boats loaded. He laughed and said no. Of course when I made the telephone call, I knew he didn't. We were heading up the river to drop in the boats for a short daily trip of paddling. And this is where Jenna got to have some fun. We paddled lazily down the river looking at nothing and the herons.

We were going to make one stop to check out a old mining rock house. It was a short stop as the storm was thundering and lightning. Once we got back in the boat and started down, Jenna decided she was done being in the boat and jumped out. BF put her back in, but within minutes she was out again. We decided to let her swim. After a few minutes and one photo op, she decided being back in the boat was ok. We came around the bend and could see the river bridge. The head wind was so damn strong I was making zero progress and actually moving up stream. We finally made it to the launch ramp and were graced with a sand storm. Oh I love the desert. We loaded up my vehicle and shuttled back to BF's. As we were driving we saw this guy running along the road in sandals. If I had to put a description on him at first glance I would say skinhead. I said we are not picking that guy up. When we got back to BF's vehicle, there was a kid sitting by a bunch of rafting gear. I said on second thought we are. So BF picked him up and shuttled him to his vehicle. Rule of thumb...always carry your lifejacket on that road because any local will pick you up. And if you have the child, hold him or her out there because the pickup will be quicker.

Hope you are having a great summer.

More photos under: Jenna's life, Utah (Wildlife, Adventure Stuff, and Flora)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

James A. Haran

I went over to see Jenn the other day and found her writing about this...2996. So I did what it asked and signed myself up. And it immediately assigned me James A. Haran. And so I did some searching on who James A. Haran is an amazing thing and a scary thing... James was a broker with Cantor Fitzgerald.

This is what I found...
September 11 Victims

9-11 Heroes


I know that James photograph and memory will forever be etched into my mind. I am sorry for the loss to his family, especially his wife and children. May they know people every where think of them even though they do not know them.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Higher Ground

After working six days straight, two of those with overtime, and all those days over 100 degrees, and wearing a ballistic vest makes it 150 degrees, I decided to get the hell out of the heat and head to the LS Mountains. They are just behind the house somewhat. I mean I can see them from the house. All I knew was that is it cooler up there than it is down here. So I loaded up a cooler with one Corona and two cokes, grabbed a bag of grub, and told Jenna to get in the vehicle.

We drove up the mountain to the O Lake. We left the heat of the desert where the lizards were scorching on the rocks. As soon as we left the black top for the dirt road, I could smell the green. The aspens and pine mixed together for a wonderful aroma that floated through the windows. When we arrived at the lake, the fisherpeople were throwing in their lines. I could smell the freshness of the water.

I let Jenna get a little wet and then we started up the trail with no destination in mind and zero time frame. The weather was warm, but it was not hot like the desert. Jenna ran ahead and crisscrossed the trail looking for something. Anything to chase really. I of course was looking for a bear the entire time. We finally came to a stream, crick, brook where Jenna enjoyed the water for a short moment before heading up the slight incline. That is when we ran into Washington. We talked for a while about things. He thought he was heading to W Lake. And I of course didn't know where the hell I was heading so he pulled out his map. I found out that there was a loop trail I could take so that is what I decided. He told me there was another lake up the trail. Looking at the map, I noticed the only way to get there was by hiking so I figured I would be alone when I arrived.

Well I was kind of right. Washington told me the Cow Woman would probably be there when I arrived. And sure enough she was and I asked her about the trail, but she didn't know about it. And although he said it would be signed, it didn't say the loop trail. She had told me that the G Pass Trail was a long ways, but I risked it anyway taking the trail. I figured it would loop eventually.

We kept behind the cows and enjoyed the side stepping of droppings. When we would hear them moo, we would stop to let them get ahead a little more. We finally came to a meadow and saw a trail head off to the right. I kept telling myself if the side trail wasn't around the next corner, I would turn around. Thank goodness that corner finally came. We started down the trail when I heard the 'boing, boing'. Okay, it didn't sound exactly like that, but it got my attention enough. Jenna wasn't sure if she should chase something that big so she just watched from the trail looking between me and the deer. After the deer, we were graced with the presense of numerous birds, but I was only to get a photo of this guy.

We continued on the trail and eventually made it back to the lake when Jenna immediately cooled off. We grabbed our Corona, grub bag, and a book and headed down to an area by the lake where the fisherpeople we not. After Jenna took a swim, we ate cold pizza. I read a chapter in the book and finished my beer. She took a couple of swims and then we headed home to the desert heat.

More photos at under Everything Else, Jenna, Flowers

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Highly Allergic

About three weeks ago, I escaped the confines of my yard and went around to the front of the house. Mom isn't sure what I got myself into, but she thinks I ate the dead bird in the front yard. She believes that possibly the bird had an insect on it and I got stung. Whatever it was, when mom kindly grabbed under my chin to say "what are you doing out here" she felt the grapefruit size lump on the left side of my chin.

She laid on the floor with me for quite a while. It was about 11pm. When my eyes started to get glazed over and I was looking like I was in dream land, she called my normal vet. No answer on the emergency number. When my breathing became labored and I stopped several times, she called the other vet. We rushed down there at midnight 20. After two shots, the vet sticking something up my arse, and his finger down my throat, we got to come home. Of course it was now 130am and the vet told mom to monitor me for the next 3 hours. Um, well she wasn't about to sleep on the floor for three hours, so I got to sleep in the bed. Interesting, may be I should have reactions more often. Dad was away so I spent the next three nights in the bed with mom.

On Tuesday, mom, Pheebs, Jake, and I went for another road trip. We had a good day until the last pitstop for a piss break. First, there was the water that mom kept us out of. Then there was a carcass of some sort. And then we started walking down this road. Mom and Pheebs started getting bit by mosquitoes and so that cancelled the walk. We got back in the vehicle and there were bugs in there and one was on my nose, which they slapped at numerous times. We drove on to the next town to get gas. Mom was gassing up when she noticed my face was very bumpy. Pheebs ran into the store and mom bought some benadryl. It was children's liquid and so I drank out of the cap. I wasn't having trouble breathing, but mom was still in a panic. She sped home where I was given another benadryl, which pretty much put my ass out for the rest of the night. Mom snapped photos of me...

Mom also put more photos here under Jenna's life and Utah "Everything else"

Monday, July 10, 2006

New Photos

Click on the title to see new photos...

they are under Rock Art and Everything Else in the Utah album.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Indian Country Drive

Monday seems to have become my day of adventure. I awoke and called Phoebe. Said I was up for an adventure and if she and Jake (her dog) were game. She said sure. Told her I would be there in an hour. I stopped at the Shell upon arriving in her town and bought two cokes and two pieces of beef jerky. I pulled up at her place and stupidly left my door open. Jake loves opens doors so he jumped right into the vehicle. And then I turned around to find Jake sharing my beek jerky with Jenna. Should that have been a sign? This would be an adventure of firsts.

We headed further south. It was now noon and probably 100 degrees. What were we thinking? So we missed the turn I wanted and cruised this dirt road into nowhere except to a blacktop road. It was really weird. So we followed it. And then it ended so we followed it the other way. And it ended, but it ended where it was going to take a 50 point turn to get turned around. I made the turn and started forward to a hole and kind of high centered the vehicle. We missed the opportunity for a photo because we were both in 'oh fuck' mode. This would be the first time I have had the Rocket in four-wheel drive. And she pulled her weight. We got her out eventually. Sorry no photo of that.

We did finally head up the CR Road and found the other side of the blacktop road. The dogs were dying so we were hoping for water. We found a small green probably infectious water and they laid down to cool off. We attempted to find more but as the mud got thicker, we bagged the idea. Actually, we pretty much bagged the entire hiking day. We went down to the San Juan River and spent the next two hours in next deep river water soaking in our bras and underwear. The dogs were loving it. We were getting exercise working against the current.

After the soak, we headed on the backroads to some Indian Ruins. It was mostly driving and short hikes out to the ruins. Jake and Jenna did a lot rabbit chasing. Not sure about Jake, but Jenna has slept most of the day and is walking really slow.

During our tour, we ran into some Texans. They were talkers. Well he was a talker. The female realized we didn't like talking and kept telling him to come on, come on, but he kept talking. We ditched them finally, but only because we missed one of the ruins.

We were heading what we were hoping was towards home, but it just didn't seem right. I mean we were heading west as we should have been, but it was a dirt road. I told Phoebe I would stop this truck coming towards us and ask him. The cowboy on the cell phone said we needed to turn around and head back 6 miles to Pleasant. We finally made it to Pleasant. We were tired and hungry and it was late. The sign to home said 35 miles. It was about 820pm and we needed to make dinner.

We made the diner and had a great meal. We were two of four customers. The waitress asked where we were from and we told her. Then the other customers said my town name wrong as so many visitors do. The waitress asked how to say it properly. Then he said they had been riding ATVs in our town earlier that day. And that ended our conversation somewhat. He later said "I noticed you frowned when I said ATVs". I said "I am about protecting the desert not destroying it." Thankfully they finally left and we had the place to ourselves to eat in peace.

Most of the photos are here, but here are a few....

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Wise One Canyon

On Sunday about midnight, I decided Jenna and I would embark on a mission on Monday. So Monday morning as the alarm went off for some damn reason, I wrestled with the thought of actually going. Ah, what the heck lets jam. I loaded the vehicle with food, clothing, sleeping bags, and other survival materials. I am always prepared for the unprepared. We jumped in the vehicle about 720 and headed south. I called and woke up Phoebe hoping she was in Cello so she could scrap the looking at grass today and head out with us. However, she was in her other town and couldn't accompany us. I told her I would call her when I reached civilization. Come Tuesday night, send out the troops. I also called upon my coworkers and indiciated if I wasn't at work on Wednesday, well come a looking in the vast area.

I have no idea what time we arrived at the trailhead and could care less because it is my day off. I already had a plan of what I was going to do. There are two canyons...The Pisces and The Wise One...normally this is a loop hike, a two day hike, but with zero water in the canyon, it definitely isn't a summer hike. We opted for the top of the canyon with minor level drops. Well I opted for that way, Jenna didn't have too much say.

We came to our first minor level drop. And she did what she always does even though it was so simple to go down. SHE FREAKED. But eventually she went down, but not without some serious pushing.

After viewing the above site we headed around the other side where I had seen another one. She wouldn't even walk down there and it wasn't even a level drop. So out came the rope so she would be presuaded again. This time knowing darn well she wouldn't be able to get down or up the level, I left her water and tied her to a tree.

Of course, as I was chimneying down the rock I was thinking to myself...would I be able to get up? Oops if not. But there had to be a way since there were ruins down there. As I climbed down into the area, I listened for the wind to speak to me. I listened for the voices of the past. And I spoke into the wind myself. I let them know I was here visiting not disturbing. I was here to listen to them tell their story and show me their life. I would leave when I felt I wasn't welcome anymore.

There were these ruins...I would say probably several rooms. Look closely at the photo of the small wall as you can see the fingermarks of them making the wall.

And then farther down the level was these two places...And I can't tell you how much I wanted to be able to peer inside those windows. To be able to peek into their world and souls. To be able to see how they spent their nights and days. How they made due in the harsh environments. And how in the heck they dropped the 200 feet into the canyon below for water?

But without a partner I wasn't going to risk it. Heck Jenna was above tied to a tree and I couldn't leave her like that.

After finally making it back to Jenna, we trudged on, but not without major difficulty as she was freaking about the edges. After checking out this one from above and lifting her up and up and up, I finally gave up looking down the levels.

We walked some more and finally Jenna sat down in the shade by a tree. She was done. I gave her some water and found some shade myself eating my PB&J. At 1215 PM, we started back towards the trailhead. It was getting hot and shade was pretty much nil. The rocks, sand, and crypto were hot on her paws. As she was pausing to see if the lizard was worth chasing, I paused to snap this...

We were almost to the vehicle and much closer than I realized as she turned left between some trees. I said ok, you want to stop in some shade and then I looked up to see we were at the trailhead. The sand was burning her paws, but she is smart and ran to the shade while I ran to the car to open it. She immediately jumped in and I immediately filled her dish with ICE water. We headed out shortly after she stopped panting at 90 MPH.

We stopped here so she could really cool off and I would wake up. Then we called Phoebe to say we were alive.

As always check out the other PHOTOS. Plus I have added some albums and chapters

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Colorado River Trip

Boss lady came to me recently and asked if I would like to go on a river trip. Well, let me think about 2 damn, well, I guess. She said I would have to eat my days off. Oh shucky darn. I figured it wasn't a bad way to eat my days off. I contacted my toe doctor and he said it would be just fine. So on Sunday, June 11, I set out around 8am with T-Berry, Doc, and Telluride. The raft trip would be three days two nights. My biggest concern was having to use the groover.

This wasn't your typical raft trip with oars. We had two Mercury motors on the back. Which seemed to helped quite a bit in the head wind flat water. We started down the river and I would say about 30 minutes to an hour into the trip, I was taking a nap. The sound of the water and the vibration of the boat was soothing.

We did some sight seeing along the way. We went to some ruins and petroglyph/pictographs and to a site of petrified logs. When we went to the first archaeological site, I forgot my camera. At the second one, my battery went dead. But I had a backup camera.

That night as we pulled into Spanish Bottom and T-Berry stopped at several camps to check names for permits, we met Toby and family. Toby had never run the rapids that were below us and asked T-Berry for support. Being a good park ranger, T-Berry said sure and that we were leaving about noon tomorrow. Keep that in mind. We camped right below them and had a wonderful dinner and hung out with the State Park crew. We all tried to stay up for the full moon, but most of us got a glimpse of it as we rolled over and opened our eyes for a moment. The river and sun suck the life out of you.

Monday morning, we arose early and hiked past Toby's camp saying good morning to them and headed up the hill to the Dolls House. The hike was primarily straight uphill, but it was worth every moment of it. It was even worth the pain I was enduring with my toe, which was now uncovered and covered in dirt.

Coming down the trail was brutal on my toe and I watched as blood oozed out of it. Thank goodness we had a doctor along as he kept saying it was ok. We passed by Toby's camp and it was filled with other boaters. Keep in mind that Toby had to pass our camp before heading into the rapids. We loaded our gear and headed down river. T-Berry had told Toby to meet at the top of Mile Long Rapids. When we arrived, Toby was not there.

We checked the banks again and then continued on. After Big Drop 1, we stopped for lunch. I was freezing and had changed shirts and went to sit on the hot rocks to warm myself up. After finishing my sandwich, I was daydreaming when I heard a pop and then watched as a flare floated back down toward the river below us. We quickly gathered our lunch stuff throwing it every where and untied the boat. We went through Big Drop 2 to find Toby on river right with his boat upside down, his belongings all along shore, and only him. He was throwing up hand signals that we had no idea what they meant and shouting directions on how we should proceeded. I was the lucky one to get off with Schmuch (aka: Toby) with a radio. There were two females in the water, a woman and a 16 year old. We were concerned. I helped Schmuch flipped his boat. In the meantime, T-Berry and crew had found the females. We helped him re-rig his boat and T-Berry went over how he should proceed down Big Drop 3, the only rapid I did not get to run. Then we walked back to our boat and waited for Schmuck to scout it and run it. I look up to see him already going. T-Berry took one look at him and said get ready because he is going to flip again.

Now let me back up a bit...the first flip was probably at Rapid 15-17 and the young female was found at Rapid 26 I believe. So she had swam a long ways before hitting shore. Sure enough they flipped again. So she got to swim Big Drop 3 twice. But this time she was over to the shore quickly. As T-Berry drove, Doc, Telluride, and myself picked up Schmuck. This story surely isn't as funny reading it as being a part of it. We rigged a system again to turn over his boat. At one point, he attempted to tell T-Berry how to do something and the look T-Berry shot Schmuch pretty much said...well you can only imagine. We got the boat turned over and T-Berry suggested the girls ride with us through the last two rapids. He agreed. We had already rescued him twice, would there be a third or fourth?

Finally rid of Schmuch we continued on our peaceful way, but without making fun of Schmuch the entire time. We did a hike where I took a short nap with my Nalgene bottle as a pillow. We finished out the night with an unbelievable pasta dish. And I finally used the groover, but not without gagging and nearly puking.

The next morning, we finished the trip in Hite.

For more photos see: Photos

I head to the Doctor tomorrow because I believe my toe is now infected with a lot of sand and wonderful clean river water.