June 27, 2021 § Leave a comment
Before we even finished The Eagle Cap Wilderness, we had our next destination decided. It started with a discussion around one of our camp fires where Larry (and maybe Drew) brought up the subject of “Where next?” Now, they came prepared to propose the Weminuchi, but they pretended to let me think I was in control of future destinations. Like I am some kind of adventure tyrant who says “This is our plan, take it or leave it”. In fairness, that is how the 2012 Grand Canyon played out. I chose the route, the dates, and simply said “Be there or be square!”, and they all complied. On a return from Phoenix, my favorite brother-in-law, Walt, gave me a copy of Backpacker magazine which had a lengthy article on The Highline Trail that crossed the expanse of the High Uintas, and I was immediately taken with it, and that is where I picked, and that is where we went in 2014. Banff was next, as Mike B asked me if we could target that and bring him back to the mountains he visited many cycles of the sun earlier in his life. There might have been a woman involved, but I investigated, and picked a route, and that is what we did. Scott attended that trip which his partner home pregnant and a baby girl in their future, and while we were on that trip he mentioned the Wallowas, and the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and that is how 2018 came about. The idea of Oregon allowed our Oregonians (Scott, Mike S, and possibly Dan) to attend, however circumstances always get in the way, and Scott was unable to join us except on our last night in Oregon after the trip before we all flew out. Dan and Mike S camped with us before we went into the back country.« Read the rest of this entry »
April 3, 2021 § Leave a comment
Having purchased my own snowshoes from REI, I was ready for a more challenging adventure. I had already been to High Point 3 times, the first written about here, and then two more follow up trips, the weekend prior where I introduced the activity to Robert Risberg and his family. Robert had actually mentioned that he and his family were taking some time up outside of New Paltz, NY and asked whether I would be interested in a snowshoe hike in the Catskills. I was very interested, however when I checked in with him, he no longer had the time in his schedule, so I looked to Mike to see if he wanted to give the Catskills a go. Now keep in mind, getting to High Point takes about 90 minutes, maybe less when there is no traffic, however getting to the Catskills is 3 hours, so if plans aren’t made to spend the night up there, and they weren’t, then that is 3 hours up, hike all day, and then a 3 hour drive home. Six hours driving in one day is lot for anyone. Add the efforts of a snowshoe hike, and chances are high, I would get a good nights sleep when it was all over.« Read the rest of this entry »
April 2, 2021 § Leave a comment
An unusual thing happened this winter. It snowed! It didn’t just snow, but it snowed a lot. I live at the Jersey Shore, where I wouldn’t say that it doesn’t snow, because it does, but the Jersey Shore just isn’t a place where it snows a lot. At least not consistently. Occasionally there are storms that come, and dump, and the conditions are right, and a lot gets dumped, but those conditions are rare. This year, the snow gods aligned their energies, and the conditions were right. That isn’t necessarily enough though, because sometimes, when it snows a lot at the Jersey Shore, it doesn’t snow a lot where it’s better to have a lot of snow. Like in the mountains. That wasn’t the case this year. While the Jersey Shore got 10 inches of snow, High Point NJ got almost two feet! With two feet of snow, there are a lot of options on the winter sports table.
The day after the storm ended, and the roads were clear enough, I drove over to my local hiking park, Hartshorne Woods, and donned my micro spikes, and set off into the normal loop I do with Mike and Jed. The going wasn’t too bad. There was about 8 inches of snow, and only a few people had been on the trail, however that included one brave soul who took in Laurel Ridge on cross country skis. A cross country skier, I am not, but Laurel Ridge seems like a pretty challenging route on skis, but this skier was perhaps a very experienced one, and able to make a go of it, as the tracks looked to be fairly stable, and I didn’t see anything that looked like the person had suffered for their choice of route. There were no broken trees, or bloodied bushes, so control seemed to have been maintained.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 29, 2020 § Leave a comment
Ali used his normal a.k.a. as his trail name, The Persian Prince, and I saw no need for yet another alias in my life, so I simply used my cycling nickname, Big Bird, or just Bird. It’s the culture of thru hiking to have an alias. One it gives you a little bit of anonymity, but in another it actually better identifies you. You tell your family you are going to “off the grid” (though that really isn’t the truth anymore), for a long period of time. You tell them where you are going in, where you expect to come out, and more importantly when you expect to come out, and if you are diligent, you sign all the registers along the way, so that should you not come out when you are expected to, then authorities can scan those registers and try and find the last place you checked in.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 21, 2020 § Leave a comment
Baby Harp seals have to be among the cutest most innocent looking creatures on the planet. I know, there are a lot of critters out there whose young are super cute, and that includes human critters as well, though let us be clear, sometimes, there are some real ugly babies. But this isn’t about ugly babies, it is about cute and innocent, and launching into something with the greatest zeal and perhaps over estimation of just where on the fitness scale one actually sits.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 19, 2020 § Leave a comment
Last year, 2019 Christmas, I started and knocked out the Connecticut portion of the Appalachian Trail. You can read about that here and here, and maybe even here, however in preparation for that trip, I purchased the AMC guide book for that section, and what came with that was also the maps and guide for Massachusetts as well. So, it should not surprise to anyone, that as I was mass transiting back to NYC, I had already started thinking about what it would take to knock out Massachusetts as well.« Read the rest of this entry »
January 14, 2020 § Leave a comment
The sixth time I felt my bladder had to be emptied, was around 5:10 in the am. I had slept on and off, however 5 times I had to get up at night, and one of those times, I needed to go around my tarp and move the rocks to tighten up the tautness in the tarp. I even extended the tent poles a little more to give me a wee bit more clearance. Anyway, here it was 5:10 in the am, and I knew I needed to get up. The question I presented to myself was this: “Why not simply get up, eat, and get going? Why pull into the destination shelter near the end of light? Why not simply, get there early? I contemplated these thoughts within the warm confines of my bag for another ten minutes, and then decided to follow through and this time, rather than simply dressing to pee, I dressed for the day.« Read the rest of this entry »
November 28, 2018 § Leave a comment
Dan was offered a spot in this years adventure, but children. Well, child. Well, daughter getting married. That was a priority that we couldn’t work around, but like Mike Smith, we were able to get Dan to meet us in Joseph Thursday night, and spend car-camping time with us until we went into the woods Saturday morning. It should be noted here, and we were all very thankful, that Dan brought his Coleman camp stove, as well as a frying pan, and bacon, and eggs, and cheese, and wraps and a coffee pot and coffee, and he took care of us each morning. We mixed his breakfast with our breakfast on Friday, but we all pretty much sucked up to Dan for one of his bacon, egg and cheese wraps on Saturday. There was no better excellent way to start the day.
I first met Dan by way of Walt, when I finally accepted one of Walt’s many attempts to get me on one of his trips. By the time I had accepted, Walt was backpacking, and since I like backpacking, you would think I would have jumped on his bandwagon the first time he went into the Grand Canyon. I did not. Missing the first you might surmise that when he chose to enter it again, I would join him that time. I did not. It wasn’t until Walt said “Look, this is the last time I am going into that hole, and the last time I am going to invite you, so please come.” And so I did. Dan was a member of that crew along with Herb, and Scotty. We hiked in at Hermit’s Rest and out along the Bright Angel, and spent 3 lovely evenings on the Tonto Plateau. By the hike out, Dan had developed, not to plan, a pretty severe blister on his foot, requiring Dr. Everetts to intervene and repair Dan as best he could. To alleviate Dan’s climb out we all volunteered to carry some part of Dan’s gear to lighted his load. The reader may recall this trip was the inspiration for getting my own adventures together, which Eagle Cap is the fourth edition.
The following year I joined the same crew for a walk across the Zion Wilderness. Dan, was on this trip as well, and physically he fared a lot better than the previous year’s trip into the Canyon. In fact other than extreme heat, cold and wind, everyone handled Zion quite well and that was the last time I saw Dan until 3 weeks ago.
As I recall, Dan was working for Motorolla in Tampa, Fl when Walt was assigned to a project there, and Dan was his go-to Systems Engineer. This was back in the Cell Tower explosion of the late 90’s after Walt had transferred back to Motorolla when Iridium failed to catch on at its initial price point. Walt was installing city wi-fi and cellular, and Tampa was the current project. Let’s say the two of them hit it off nicely when Walt suggested they discuss some issues over a few beers instead of stale office air.
These two maintained their friendship beyond the Motorolla links and found themselves together on at least one of Walt’s week long canoe adventures. More than likely it was their John Day River adventure in Oregon. Dan, of Bend Oregon, would have found that a convenient trip to participate in. When Walt moved from the canoe to the trail and started multi-day trips into the wilderness, Dan was right there along for the adventure. I am sure that if Dan could have made it happen, he would have loved to accompany Walt when Walt went to the Himalayas, but for most of us mere mortals, getting three consecutive weeks off is a challenge beyond our capabilities. Even for a trip of a lifetime.
It was a great pleasure to have Dan meet up with us this year. If not for his daughter’s wedding, we could have enjoyed his company for the full 10 days, but as it was we got to share some time together. Let this be notice to you Dan, that you need to set 10 days aside in September 2020 for our trip into the Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado. I look forward to seeing you again.
September 26, 2018 § Leave a comment
Larry and I have been backpacking for close to 30 years now. It is kind of a fog, the dates. It somewhat depends on what year my first Mill Trip was, because although I had met Larry a few times prior to that, it wasn’t until I started coming to The Mill that our friendship began to develop. I am going to say my first Mill trip was probably January 1987, and I must have attended a couple before I heard about the Winter backpacking weekends. Like I said, that was a long time ago, and many trips later, as well as many Mill trips later Larry is one of my go-to friends. As Walt would call him, a pall bearer, though I plan on cremation, but pall bearer it is.
January 15, 2018 § Leave a comment
I don’t have any pictures of any of the hunters that we saw/met on the AT this past weekend. When you are unarmed, and miles from witnesses, it doesn’t seem like self-preservation to raise up your iPhone and start recording the dudes with the guns.