Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I went to the climbing gym, and was working on an highly overhanging route called "Curiouser and Curiouser" and drat -- I found that I also have hamstrings and adductors, rather than just the quads I used to have. And guess what else?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


We had a moderate earthquake today, that I guess might have made the national news. A 5.6 quake centered in the south bay about 20 miles from my house.

It seems everyone is ok.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Few Old Friends

I caught up with a few old friends on Sunday at the first day of the 2007 Per Volquartz Eastern Sierra Photo Workshop in Lee Vining California. Caught up with this Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides) in glorious fall fashion too. Out near June Lake.

There's These ...

... now if there just was some snow.

The Gear Report


___ 2 pair extra socks smartwool hiking --Excellent
___ Wigwam Gobi liners 7.0 oz. -- Failed. These literally hurt my feet, while an equivalent product from REI does not.
___ REI Mohave Pants. Failed. 3 days in the Canyonlands and they were torn and worn.
___ REI Sahara Pants. Excellent. Survived two days of wet hiking, dried quickly.
___ SmartWool Microweight Long-Sleeve Crew 6.3 oz. Excellent.
___ Patagonia Capilene 3 bottoms 5.1 oz. Excellent
___ Patagonia Capilene short sleeve shirt. Failed. This was extremely uncomfortable.
___ Alpaca Hat 1.90 oz. Excellent.
___ Outdoor Research Wool Pullover 14.1 oz. Not used.
___ North Face Summit Rain Parka 1 lb. 12.2 oz Not used. This is too heavy.
___ Sierra Designs Anorak Rain Jacket. Excellent.
___ marmot precip rain/wind pants w/stuff sack 7.80 Not used, Again, too heavy.


___ Sierra Designs Light Year Tent 3 lbs. 15 oz. This is excellent. Stood up to strong wind and blowing sand. Very nice.
___ North Face Snowshoe sleeping bag, 3 lbs. 10 oz. I hate this bag. It's really uncomfortable, I am never warm. It's heavy and hard to stuff. It sucks.
___ Therm-a-rest Pro-Lite 4 Regular 4-season ultralite mattress 1 lb 9.5 oz . Excellent


___ Kelty RedCloud 5600 6 lbs. 0.5 oz. Passed. This bag is heavy but does all the tricks. It has a hole worn in it now so will need to be replaced patched.
___ stuff sacks, The Sea to Summit dry sacks were excellent.


___ Katadyn Hiker Microfilter with stuff sack 14.8 oz. So far, so excellent.
___ 1 Platypus 2-3 liter hydration bag/pouch. Failed. One of these sprung a leak in camp the first day.
___ MSR Whisperlite Stove 15.4 oz. My stove performed OK. It didn't really want to warm up and required a lot of attention to reducing the cooling influences during startup. It was generally grumpy during the trip.


___ Silva Ranger compass 1 oz. Cool.
___ Aurora Princeton led headlamp w/ 6 AAA batteries 4.2 oz. This is excellent and light.
___ (1)Streamlight Scorpion Stinger Flashlight 3.3 oz This light rocks


Canon 20d with 17-85 lens 3 lbs. 4 oz. The camera had many issues on this trip. The batteries died before the hike was over. It fell and the filter broke.


___ North Face Polargaurd Jacket -- Excellent
___ Etrex Venture GPS with neck lanyard. Failed. I have never picked up a Garmin GPS unit that the batteries were still good.
___ REI Men's Sahara convertible pants 1 lb 3.4 oz. Failed. These tore badly during my Oregon trip.
___ Merrill Wilderness Boots 3 lbs. 10 oz. Excellent.
___ Keen Taos River Shoe. Despite having worn these for miles and miles of casual walking and light hiking, and having replaced the shok-cord laces with regular cord, these covered the task of hiking the Paria with a pack so well, that I am now going to buy another pair. I wish I could get the same shoe with a high top design. They seriously rock.
___ Black Diamond Hiking Poles. Excellent
___ Smith Factor Sunglasses 4 oz. Fair. I had two pair. One failed due to blowing sand destroying the lenses.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"We choose to do these things, ...

... not because they are easy, but because they are hard." So says Dale. And John Kennedy.

Although my trip was ten days long, we are just going to talk about the 5 days of serious hiking, and specifically now -- the first two days. We are not going to mention the flat tire in Lovelock, NV. Or mention how many "No Smoking" rooms there are in Utah that smell like smoke, despite a decidedly religous population and the Utah Clean Air Act. Or how difficult it can be to find a meal on Sunday, much less a beer.

We are not going to mention that I entered a raffle for a varmint rifle in Nevada (that den of despair, vice and immorality.) Or that I spent a lot of time with two people who speak metric. "It can't possibly be zero out?" Says I. We are not going to yak on about the broken camera.

So the first night went well in the campground at the trailhead for Paria. Reports from other hikers and the rangers encouraged us to skip our plan to hike Buckskin Gulch. It had water running in it the previous day forcing one group of hikers to bivy at the middle route. It was allegedly muddy down the length and had deep water in places.

So instead we hiked the Paria Narrows to camp at the bottom of Buckskin Gulch just up from the confluence. Right before the start of the hike my camera fell from the picnic bench and required that I change lenses just before leaving . The extent of the damage isn't quite known yet, especially after enlisting the hardware store guy to help me fix it with a pair of channel locks.

The first day was nine miles plus down the Paria River to the confluence with Buckskin. We all put on our boots to head downstream a few hundred feet and then change into our river shoes. We met a pair of hikers from GB who had ridden bicycles from Jasper to the Mexican Border this past summer. They vanished immediately when I fell the first of several times that day. I fell several times that day.

It was like snot -- the mud. "It's really just a choice between grey and brown mud," said one of the upstream hikers.

I fell about six times actually, the pain of which has finally reached its zenith. My ego is bruised, mainly.

The trip down the river becomes progressively narrower and more wet, as the canyon width decreases. The wetter it got the less I fell. The initial crossing was a bit comic. We debated for some time the best way to cross, changed shoes, nervously stepped in. We crossed the Paria about 300,000 times after that, and by the end of the trip down we were in the water all the time.

We camped in a site above Buckskin 50 ft or so. A little platform in the sky.

In the morning there was no dew and it was warm. My weather radar was working overtime telling me it was going to rain. I told "the boys" what my grandfather had always said -- "if there isn't any dew, it is going to rain." We were three or four miles down from where that narrows of the Paria opened up much. We immediately broke camp and left.

I led the charge upstream against the unchanging trickle of the Paria, the threat of rain spurning us on -- done in two hours and forty-five minutes. Dale passing us all at the first break. That's three miles an hour with 300.000 crossings and packs. Not bad, imagine the rate if it really were raining.

Eighteen miles in my river shoes with a full pack and mud. It's pretty amazing to me. At the last crossing there were a couple of people standing there debating how to get across; we just charged in and went across.

"--We choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." -- John F. Kennedy, Address given at Rice University, September 12, 1962 -- I believe he was inspiring us to take the moon.

Elves' Chasm

Although this is not from the trip I just finished ... 7 rolls of film from my Colorado River trip came back from processing while I was away. It's like Christmas.

I am sure you are disappointed, but the story of the Paria Narrows and Canyonlands is quite long and includes several hundred photos. It could take a while to prepare.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Towers of the Virgin

Virgin River bottms.

A weeping spring and hanging garden, looking straight up.
Virgin River Narrows -- notice hikers headed upstream.

End of the line. These are walking sticks left behindby hikers leaving the Virgin narows for the paved trail of the riverside walk.