August 20, 2022 § Leave a comment
This is going to be a very short post. I promise.
If you follow my writings then you know that I just finished writing up my adventure from 2021 a few weeks ago. These long multi-day trips become a chore to sit down and compose sometimes, and I don’t want it to seem like I drone on and on about the same old drivel. So I got distracted and didn’t finish documenting last years trip, and then time kept marching forward, as it always does (tick tock), and before I knew it, other adventures had come and gone, and been written up as well. It wasn’t until I rode the Rockies again in June, that I came to realize I needed to finish the 2021 write-up before I began 2022!
So, what is going on in 2022? Well, let’s begin with who is going. There were four people who wanted to go last year, two of whom actually had monies invested in the trip when shit happened. The other two, father and son, had family obligations that kept them away, and so on the second day of our trip last year, amidst the beauty of the San Juans, I decided then and there to come back this year. I wasn’t going to do the exact same trip, but I would plan a new trip and anyone who wanted to join was welcome.
For a while, I had the interest of a couple of campers who came last year, but other things got in the way, and they backed out. So, it is five of us. A pretty nice compact little group. We have Larry and his son Drew, myself and my daughter Alyson, and my friend Mike. Everyone has spent time with me in the back country before, though this is the first time that my daughter has been able to join us again since the Grand Canyon in 2012.
That is the base. I have been in contact with some others that could join us, but as of this writing, I am not sure we will have anyone else just yet. You might be thinking “If they were going to join you why wouldn’t you know that, and since you are in Durango, wouldn’t they have had to make arrangements already?” and you would be right for most people, but the extras I refer to all live in Durango. We shall see what we shall see.
What are we doing? Last year we took the Durango Silverton Diesel to Elk Creek and then backpacked an inverted “C” from West to East to South To West and eventually came out at the “other” stop on the train. So train in, train out. This year we are going to start at Pine River Trail Head, further East and South of our adventure last year, and hike North East for a couple of day, then turning North West to intersect the Continental Divide Trail, which we follow to the Vallecito. If you read last years trip details, then the Vallecito will be familiar, and we will basically then follow the route from last year. The only difference from last year will be instead of a two day Columbine effort, we will do it in one day.
Now, again, if you read last years account, it should be obvious by now that decisions are made on the trail, and last year we made more than a few. I am sure the same will happen here as well. It all depends on how people feel, however we have distance that has to be covered, so there isn’t a lot of room to do less in a day while there is a lot of room to do more. So let’s leave it at that.
We depart into the wilderness next Friday. I am going out tomorrow, and people are joining starting Sunday. There are things to do still to prep, and I will be working still as well. I am not sure at this point if I will post anything more until I return, but …
January 27, 2022 § 1 Comment
What follows, and what will follow as I transcribe them are a series of love letters my grandfather, Elvin wrote to my grandmother, Vivien while she was in her last semester of college at St, Lawrence College (now St. Lawrence University) in 1935. They had just gotten engaged, and as you will read, Elvin Emile considered himself very lucky to have wooed one Vivien Elizabeth Kent of West Orange. The wedding date was set for September 14, that year, and Elvin was 26 at the time and working in the family business: Star Electric Motor Company in Newark. The business was a joint partnership between the Hollanders and the Petersons, both Swedish immigrants who worked together winding motors in factories they gained employment in upon immigration.
The letter goes into some details that include what kind of budget they will operate under, and just how “nice” the family (and Elvin) find Vivien, and how excited everyone is with the engagement.
I believe Vivien had also just gained initiation into Pi Beta Phi (Pi Phi’s) Sorority, and was now living there on campus, so her address was: Miss Vivien Kent, Pi-Beta-Phi House, Canton, NY. and there was no zip code. In case you are wondering, yes Canton NY is way the heck up there in the cold barrens along the St Lawrence River North East of Lake Ontario.« Read the rest of this entry »
September 28, 2018 § 1 Comment
I am not sure of the date, but it must have been while I was still an under grad at Penn State. The trimester was coming to an end, finals were almost over, and my friend Chris was already spending the summer in Northern Virginia at Larry‘s house. We talked on the phone about me coming to visit before I went home myself, and how I would get there when Chris mentioned that Melanie, Larry’s girlfriend at the time had a brother at Penn State, Mike Smith, who had a care, and I could hitch a ride with Mike. I remember calling Mike that evening, and a low low low voice answered the phone and we went on to make plans to travel. Mike was an engineering major, Nuclear I believe which could only mean one thing. Two socially awkward human beings would be in that car going home.
September 28, 2018 § 1 Comment
Walt, as you may recall from this earlier profile on him, is my brother-in-law. I am fortunate that a man as busy as he is, can find, or make the time to be off the grid for an entire week. In a business where 24×7 problems can be escalated very easily to the director level, or at the vary least need to be socialized with the director, it’s hard to imagine that a) anyone else would want to step into that for a week, and b) the adrenaline rush of having to make those kinds of decisions all the time, can be hard thing to step aside from. To have a silent phone for an entire week. I would imagine there is a certain level of ghost alerts where a muscle twitch feels like a phone alert.
July 11, 2017 § Leave a comment
After the weekend I had with animals, we were commiserating with our neighbor, eating ice cream in waffle comes, when the story of my sister’s cats came up, and I told it again to lighten our heavy hearts.
My sister left her cats with me once. I don’t think she will ever make that mistake again.
My sister, Leslie, was working in the Atlantic City casino industry when she and her husband of the time, Kenny decided to work a couple of seasons in the Bahamas. Ex-Pat living, collecting the same wage, but not responsible for the same level of taxation. An opportunity to live in a different country for a few years, and to save some money for a future back in the states.
Leslie had two cats: a female Calico named Speckles, and a B&W male named Katahdin, like the mountain in Maine.
They were both indoor/outdoor cats, though Katahdin liked spending more time outdoors than Speckles did, and Katahdin was also a couple of years younger. Both were very personable, and Speckles enjoyed our company, day AND night. A slightly annoying habit of hers was she would walk around your head at night, and occasionally drool a bit of cat spittle on your face. My tolerance level being higher than Susan’s, this cat learned to only drool on me.
These were the old days, before cell phones, before e-mail, when good old letter writing was the norm for communications. I didn’t even have a phone number for Leslie at the time, but needless to say, I am not, nor was I ever much of a letter writer. My cousin Debbie and I wrote each other when we were younger, but I never had a writing relationship with anyone else, so it’s safe to say that I didn’t hear from Leslie, nor she from me for most of the time she was out of the country.
Turns out, there was a reason the cat drooled a lot. Turns out, that the poor thing had developed a tumor in her jaw, and as it grew it pushed the floor of her mouth up and she just could not hold onto her drool. By the time we noticed it, it was too late for her. Cat’s, like most animals, are pretty good at masking their suffering, so that most of the time she simply looked cute and cuddly. At the Vet, the operation just sounded like there would be no quality of life for her, so we had her put to sleep, and I buried her in our backyard in Red Bank. I did not write Leslie about this.
Some time passed, and then Katahdin disappeared. A couple of days went by and we hadn’t seen him, and I decided to go out and look for him. I didn’t have to look far. He had been involved in a car accident (I believe), and still alive, he was holed up under the porch trying to recover, but getting weaker. We took him to the vet, and they were able to help him, but that was the beginning of the end for him, and eventually we had to have him put down as well, and he too is buried in the backyard in Red Bank. I did not write Leslie about this either.
It got to be near the end of Leslie’s time abroad, and Susan, my wife, told me that I had to write Leslie and tell her about her cats. I knew this would be a tough assignment. I can write some funny humorous stuff, but writing serious stuff, I knew would be a chore.
How to tell her? Should I describe the issues they had, and then finish by telling her they were gone? Should I start out that they are gone, and then give the circumstances? Should I apologize for not telling her sooner?
Needless to say I started a few notes, and each one ended up in the trash after a few sentences. At some point I settled on the following:
Your cats are dead.
October 31, 2016 § Leave a comment
I am not sure who had the first thought regarding this event, but it was Andrea Brennan who created the event, and it was an invitation from her in my Facebook notifications to ride this inaugural 2016 event. The original date and I had a conflict, and as it turned out, so did the weather, so rescheduled it was, and as luck would have it, Andrea was treated to a terrific warm and sunny late October Saturday for this event. (video here)
October 31, 2016 § 1 Comment
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar; And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door. It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm— Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."
From “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert W. Service.
I thought about poor Sam McGee often during this day. It was to be one of those days where I knew ahead of time it was never going to get too warm. We were not going to find ourselves in the midst of a late October “Native American” summer day. No, that wouldn’t come until the next day. This day was going to start out in the low high 30’s low 40’s and it would never get out of the 40’s. For that matter we wouldn’t even see the sun until it could clear the Kittatinny Ridge to our east.
October 17, 2016 § 1 Comment
It could be argued (successfully) that I have have known Drew all his life, and that would be true, but you don’t really know someone until you have spent some time in the back-country hiking with them.
Drew and I made up (along with Jim Kirby) Bear Team 1, and together we almost always found the trail to keep moving forward. Almost? Well, we both failed to pursue the apparent loss of the trail heading East out of Wildflower, but no harm done, and we all had fun and were content with the decision made.
October 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
I have known Walt as Marty because my introduction to him was facilitated by my then roommate, who became my girlfriend, who became my wife, a.k.a. Susan who is sibling to Marty, and Marty is the family name for Walt. To me he is always Marty, but I have gotten used to referring to him as Walt in front of people who only know him as Walt.
October 4, 2016 § 1 Comment
When Susan and I moved to Little Silver, we joined the New Comers organization and through our involvement became acquainted with Mike Barris and his wife Bonnie Marvel. Our wives met, either directly at one of the socials, or maybe one of the book groups that form as a result of these social arrangements, and it was quickly established that both of their husbands were hikers, and had to meet.