Sunday, December 2, 2018

Hiked 100 miles during the month of November.  In addition to our usual day jaunts to Skelton Point, we spent three nights in a cabin at Phantom on our own and two nights over Thanksgiving with friends.  Who, after hiking out, are still speaking to us. 

On Friday, we started down in a blizzard, which one of us was not happy with, but it cleared off and we even got a rainbow once below the Redwall. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

First I got drafted to lead a four-day intro hike down the South Kaibab and over to Indian Garden.  Go ahead: twist my arm.  The group meshed very well: it is not that unusual to have one person that everyone would leave behind if they could.  Weather was perfect.

Then the next weekend we took Paul into the Canyon for his first overnight.  He tells me that he did hike down with us once in July, the time I found a Grand Canyon Pink rattler in the middle of the trail eating a wood rat.  On that occasion, everyone but me hiked back out and I guarded the snake for a good two hours to keep it from being stepped on.

Anyhow, I got a permit for Saturday, and then got into the "walk up" line at the BCO to get a Friday night as well.  Then I had to work Friday, so we did not start down until 2:30.  It gets dark at 5:30, but we made it just in time to snag the worst campsite: the one right next to the bathroom.  This would seem ideal, except every time someone opened the door, the light flashed right in my face. 

Next morning I espied a woman packing up from my favorite site.  This one is also near the bathroom, but shielded by a thick screen of trees.  We lurked until she left, and then moved sites.  I am sure she thought I was stalking her. 

That day we hiked to Ribbon Falls.  So all in all, we did 30 miles within 48 hours.  That is harder than just hiking in and out. 
The lower route into Ribbon

Paul at ribbon falls

Monday, September 24, 2018


Rode the Pedal the Petrified this weekend.  It was great.  Looking forward to next year, when I shall train my derriere to ride the entire 60 miles instead of just 30.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Spent a week in Boston for a wedding.  It was a pretty big affair.  The rehearsal dinner, the wedding it self, the reception...  The reception included a procession of the bride and groom, the mother, the father, the grandmother...fortunately I did not qualify for a march across the floor.  The music was so loud, we cut out early. Why do we have to destroy our hearing to attend these events?  Part of the idea is to talk, which one cannot do when music is blasting.  I made my wedding dress out of $5 worth of material I bought at Goodwill, so ha!.

After the ceremony, we were instructed to turn to the person next to us and share a special thought.  As an introvert, I hate this part. I motioned Robbie closer and told him, "If you plan a big wedding, I shall knee cap you".

Since we flew all that way, we spent the week exploring Boston.  We lived there for two years, so we had some idea of how to get around and how to use the T, so we bought a week's pass.

One day at the aquarium with Robbie and Renata, three days in the Science Museum (we bought a membership), two days on the Freedom Trail, one day on the African American Trail, one day in the Harvard museum, one day on Georges Island to Fort Warren. We closed the museum every day.  We get our money's worth, by George.

Park Rangers are special. They are over educated, under paid, and every one of them has an area of expertise.  And all they are ever asked is Where is the bathroom.  We toured with a couple of historians who added a lot of detail.  Then we went into the African American museum with another volunteer.  I had no idea that there were four million slaves in the South before the Civil War.  The museum had just spiffed up the place with a grant from the Obama administration.  The historian told us that would never happen with the current administration, and I said, "Oh, ya think?"  He laughed.

At Fort Warren a volunteer showed us this eight-sided brick. A ranger did a trivia contest, which I won, and we attended a program on a Confederate memorial which was recently removed.  Fort Warren was mainly used as a Confederate prison, which I knew, but I did not know about the memorial.

Then a ranger at the new Bunker Hill museum gave an excellent talk on the battle, about which I knew nothing.  If the temperature is over 80, they close the monument and move outdoor tours indoors.  Wimps.

When he was a kid, Robbie loved this kronosaurus at the Harvard Museum. 

Lighting show at the science center: did this twice

the martian

Fort Warren.  The roof is held up by this eight sided brick.

Friday, July 13, 2018

We spent our usual week on the North Rim.  Got locked out of the cabin, because those 1928 locks are garbage.  Hiked to Redwall Bridge twice and Woodforis twice.    No water fight this year because the pipeline broke again, and the storage tanks were low.  Just a parade.  North Rim is a lot smaller than south, and the rangers all know each other...and me.  Amanda says I make the rangers nervous when I come to the programs.
What a crew of weirdos.  Haley is the only sane one in the bunch.
Ranger Kim, Cathy and Paul Davis, Moi, Rachel, and Haley.

Cabin 305 has a defective lock. Our last morning they had to break in through the window. 

Then since we were so far north, we figured we might as well keep migrating, so we went to Zion.  Hiked the Emerald Pools trail with 1000 of our closest friends.  All the signs say not to get in the water, and I gave up remonstrating everyone.  Sign? What sign? Then we climbed to Observation Point and part of the East Rim trail.  There we met a group of four young men dangling with climbing gear who asked us where Echo Canyon was.  Um, if you are going to canyoneer a canyon, should you not know where it is?  They then decided to follow us because "you look like you know what you are doing".

Trail to Observation Point.  Narrow and exposed.  
It was hot in Zion, so we repaired to Bryce.  There we did the Wall Street - Queen's garden loop with another 1000 of our close personal friends.  We knocked down a bunch of ego cairns in Wall Street, and a father, whom I assume had just built one with his kid, remonstrated.  Brad said the area does not need adornment,  I said, there are ten now, what about when there are one thousand?

Ran into a PSR ranger and asked what he says to these guys. He said, "I am law enforcement. I pull out my badge".  We hiked 8.4 mile loop at Fairyland and only met a handful of people.  Also no ego cairns.  

Had a lot of questions about the geology, and the second geology program we went to was led by the man who was the park geologist for four years.  Score!  He told us all about the Claron formation, and told us the white conglomerate we saw was Boat Mesa conglomerate, and it only occurs there.  Not enough to be an actual formation, even.

Fairyland

Monday, June 25, 2018

Back from first part of vacation.  We visited Becky in the Dalles until her generator caught on fire.  Honestly, if she wanted us to leave all she had to do was ask... So we went to John Day, which everyone had told me I absolutely had to see.  We hiked in all three units of the park.  Not a lot of fossils in situ, but a great museum.

Then to Bend.  Spent two days in Newberry caldura. Hiked 14 miles one day, up the peak and around half the crater.  Then came back to climb the obsidian mountain, a small crater, and walk to the hot springs.  we asked the ranger so many questions that he dragged-us outside to show us where the 10,000 year old pit-house was found.  Since the middle crater in the lake grew about 7,000 years ago, there may have been people to watch.

A day at the High desert museum, and two days at Smith Rock.  The birthplace of sport climbing, as we found out.

Back to the Dalles.  We wanted to hike Coyote Wall, but could not see the turnoff, so we got permits to climb Dog Mountain.  Dog is so popular that they limit permits to 150 people a day on weekends, and a shuttle is available to the trailhead.  A nice steep climb, but no fun on the way down. Everyone in Oregon hikes with at least one dog and usually more. All of them were polite (the dogs) but hiking with a dog in tick country?  We found Coyote wall on the way back.  The sign was obvious.  I guess they ran out after we passed it the first time and put the sign up.  Spent one day going to museums, then back to Coyote Wall and back to Dog Mountain. Most of the good hikes (ie, lots of elevation) were closed because of landslide danger from the fire last year.

They knew exactly who started the fire, because hikers told him not to throw the fireworks into the forest just before he did so.  The kid has been fined with an amount he cannot possibly pay back.  I think he should sit at the trailhead and have to tell people why they can't hike in there.

After hiking in the ticks and the poison oak, I am glad to be back with the scorpions and the rattlers.
Painted hills unit of John day fossil beds

Climbing the caldura.  In the snow, and it is
108 at Phantom Ranch

hot springs

Owl rock art

Me, Becky, and She-who-watches

I don't think the sign refers to me.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

This poem was left for us after the last GCAFI rim to rim

We're hoping for a journaling class
hiking or biking or riding an ass
we'll sign up in a heartbeat if we hear in advance
Slim or Joan are involved without a backward glance
We'll scurry and hurry and be ready super fast
despite weather worry or flurry or storms that may last
thought chances are Slim we'll meet next week on the trail
We hope to join you again in the future without fail
Tom and Missy