An old adage says when you get a lemon, make lemonade. I set out April 21 to find Angel Arch in Canyonlands, getting ten miles in on sandy Salt Creek wash, only to be blocked by impassible juniper trees, deadfall, thickets, giant boulders and steep talus slopes, all into a dead end box canyon-surrounded above by cliffs. Hmm. After a hot 5 hour hike I quit for a rock ledge with a cave as I felt nausea from the heat, fatigue. I clapped my hands, sending my echo to two inquisitive turkey vultures above me-go away and they did. After bedding down with a space blanket over my survival bivy I decided to abandon my quest, for returning to my truck at 3:30am. You cant win em all. I used a wrist compass/paracord bracelet and the Big Dipper, plus a silhouette landmark on canyon wall to get out, ducking & dodging more trees & boulders with a fresh flashlight. Like failed attempts on Everest or Apollo 13 astronauts, I told myself at 65 I didn’t get a broken leg, heart attack or stroke- got back unscathed except my pride. Anyway later in my latest Utah adventures I spent three successful nights on the Big Thompson Mesa overlooking the Waterpocket Fold, of which Hall’s Creek is a part of-the southern end of Capitol Reef on the Burr Trail, not far from Lake Powell. Great views of this geology consisting of Summerville, Curtis, Navajo Sandstone, Chinle, Kayenta and Wingate formations. I had the Henry Mountains to my east, sharing the scene with black-throated sparrows, mockingbirds, blue gray gnatcatchers and a lovely Scott’s oriole! Once above the abyss Brimhall natural bridge is visible below (not shown). Watercolor
Easily reached from Colorado this park consists of three districts: Island in the Sky out of Moab, Needles southeast of the Colorado River and the remote Maze: Hite road near Lake Powell off UT95 or via Horseshoe Canyon/Hans Flat from UT24 on the park’s west boundary. Below: Candlestick, Mesa & Washer Woman Arches, Cleopatra’s Chair, Green River Overlook.
A blast from the past, I left Colorado during a pre- New Year’s Eve snowstorm to head north for Jackson Hole arriving Jan. 1, 1993. As I recall, this ski bum had two bicycles clamped onto a truck bar in the back of a Ford F-150 at the time as well as my Kastle RX skis and a new pair of Atomics to try in the powder. Short on money and common sense I slept in the truck below Walden CO and in the forest near Grand Teton National Park. As I look back I believe I stayed in a Lander room, partied with the locals! I remember the stunning view atop Togwotee Pass as Moran, Teewinot and the Teton range loomed distant. After a day on Rendezvous Peak at the Teton Village cable car I did get a room at the Motel 6. My memories include the Buffalo Bills coming from behind in the NFL Playoffs and going to the movie theater to see Jack Nicholson as Hoffa with Danny DeVito-good flick! Later I drove the Snake River Canyon road past Alpine Jct. and Victor to Driggs in Idaho, stayed at an inn. Grand Targhee in many ways was more relaxing, less crowded than Jackson Hole; I found some ego powder, not too deep but enough to leave S turns in the 10F degree snow. The day was clear overlooking the Idaho countryside below. Tonight I looked back into my skiing past, honoring the two young US Ski Team racers who lost their lives to a Solden, Austria avalanche, reminding me of the inherent dangers of extreme backcountry skiing which I really didn’t do that much. In the 80s & 90s I did Europe, Alta, Snowbird, Red Lodge, Bridger Bowl, Sun Valley, Wolf Creek, Vail, Steeplechase atop Aspen Highlands as well as some East resorts like Wildcat, Cranmore, Mad River Glen and Smuggler’s Notch. My skiing slackened during the 2000s with maybe one or two days a season. I miss the outings, but not the cold, crowds and driving, high prices too…pole plant for rhythm in turns, weighting the downhill ski through carving, up & down pushing into the fluff!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here's an excerpt:
A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 270 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.
As another New Year’s Day has arrived this 2015 I dug into my journals to look back. In mid-January 2001 I returned to my then Colorado rental in Grand County to find -19 degrees below zero, my Mercury barely able to start. The restless wander lust bit me like frost bite and I ventured south to Texas for Big Bend National Park. I recall staying overnight roadside near Vaughn NM just freezing, moved on toward Carlsbad. I spent two nights in a tent Brantley Resevoir State Park with some fishermen, a golden eagle, a harrier, white-winged doves, pelicans and meadowlarks. The wind blew hard too. In Carlsbad I entered the Chihuahuan desert zone with sotol, lechuguilla, prickly pear, cholla, yucca and century plants under a soothing warm sun. The elevator took me down into the famous caverns. I entered Texas for my first time in the Guadalupe Mountains-ecstatic over the expanding terrain and comfortable climate. I remember the hike on the El Capitan trail, the mist below in the mesas/valley as I departed the pecan trees and oak mistletoe for the long drive yet to Big Bend. I passed through Van Horn, a Border Patrol blimp on the ground near Marfa and the big town of Alpine. Darkness set in as I pressed onward into Cottonwood Campground, accessed by the Ross Maxwell Road. I awoke the next morning to the view above, sketching this formation to my east amidst the mesquite trees here. In the coming days I toured the Castolon Historic District (old Army post vs Poncho Villa), Santa Elena Canyon, Mule Ears Peaks, the snow-covered Chisos Mountains and Panther Junction Visitor Center. I returned to the Chisos Basin in spring 2002 for hikes up Emory Peak 7825′ and the Window trail pour off, the Hot Springs on the river and Boquillas Canyon in the park’s east side. Pencil drawing.