“Play is the highest form of research.” Albert Einstein
Header Photo: Ms Autumn comes to the high country

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

With Every Obstacle Comes Opportunity…


In the previous post Bobbie and I were about to head up Red Mountain's switchbacks to do some high altitude snowshoeing on the pass (11,000 feet).  It was the first clear day after a series of holiday storms that left several feet of snow in the high San Juans. About 3 miles from town we found Highway 550 South barricaded for "avalanche control." Ugh… 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015

The Old Man In the Window Is Me…




Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all our friends in the BCB audience. It is snowing hard here in Lovely Ouray this morning, a beautiful sight to behold. For now we are warm and snug by the fire, but will venture out soon and work up an appetite for a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings. The following is a Christmas Post blast from the past. I thought it appropriate to republish as a gentle reminder of Christmas's past and future. Love to all, Mark and Bobbie.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Little Big Horn and Harem


On a crisp, clear morning Bobbie and I waded a couple days worth of fresh snow... up Oak Creek Trail to solitude and beyond.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

On "Change" and "Leaving"


"…Every person has to leave, has to change like the seasons; they have to or they die… seasons remind me that I must keep changing." Donald Miller

Sunday, November 29, 2015

From Red, to White, to There Ain't No Cure for the Wintertime Blues…


“… free in her wildness, she is a wanderess, a drop of free water. She knows nothing of borders and cares nothing for rules or customs. Her life flows clean, with passion, like fresh water. Time… isn’t something to fight against." (Roman Payne)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gratitude


Assuming whimsical gods favor your continued existence, there eventually comes a time when the bulk of our lives lies in the unalterable past. Compensation for this injustice is said to be “wisdom.” And though it’s not a fair trade, wisdom for youth, it beats the cold earthen alternative. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Road To Happiness Is Paved In Red


Something challenging to do, in a place that inspires me to do it, and a friendly face or two with whom to do it, that's all I need.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Caught in a Flash Flood of Sunshine in Hell Hole: Not a place to be when It rains…


We stay out of slot canyons when rain is in the forecast, for obvious reasons. But what about when the Weather Guessers get it wrong, like on the day this family got caught in Little Wild Horse and captured this flash flood Video? Good thing it was a "light rain."

Friday, November 20, 2015

Rim Walk on the Flying Monkey


Another gorge-ous day in Virgin, Utah. Sun was full throttle and the breeze as light as our spirits. Chris and Suzanne had yet to do the Monkey Walk, so we took a picnic lunch of smoked turkey drumsticks and headed up to do a little dance around the edge of the ledge that separates life from death. I rode my bike, of course, and met them across from the super secret Government Compound for Research and Development of Weapons of Mass Destruction. My opinion, you understand. Why else would there be 8 foot fences with barbed wire, "Danger Keep Out" signs every 25 feet, locked gates, and funny noises emanating from within? 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hidden Canyon Rearranged


What a difference a (wet) year can make. Bobbie and I have noticed that several of our canyon hikes feel brand new this time around.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Surf'in Safari To Tripodius Maximimus


"Catch a wave and you're sitt'in on top of the world," especially if the wave is red and warm.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

You Only Get One Story, Make It Good


"Once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can't go back to being normal; you can't go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.” (Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

On Risk/Reward


In the distant west, Pine Mountain lay hidden under a mantle of clouds, clinging remnants of a one day storm that gave abused feet and legs a day off from work, er, "play."

Monday, November 9, 2015

Many Options On The "Many Pools" Hike


The hike up Many Pool's canyon(s) can be as easy or hard as you feel like making it. But one thing is for sure, it is a slap-in-the-face gorgeous trek.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

East Rim to Weeping Rock; "Who's Cryin' Now…"


It's an ambitious and exhausting hike, East Rim to Weeping Rock. But, what's a life lived without challenge, adventure, and adrenaline?  Highly overrated, I'd say. No one knows the grains of sand that remain in their "hour glass." Set your imagination free. It's never to late to add a few compelling chapters to one's story.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Men In PInk Tights


When Jesus was treading around the Middle East in his Teva sandals, you know, healing the lame, raising the dead, and turning well water into a fine Pinot Noir (hic), there were more people (Native Americans, to be politically correct) inhabiting this area of Utah than now. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Risk, Home, and Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs


For me, it's never been what I do so much as where. I'm not sure where that philosophy came from (my light-footed parents?) but I'm thankful for the leeway it brought to my life. It allowed me to set a course to unpopulated and oppositional places, where lowly deserts rub elbows with high mountains, and a life that suits my restless G-nome. If "home" is where the heart is, I'm there, 24-7-365. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Closing The Gap In Capitol Reef's Spring Canyon


It's amazing how much disagreement exists amongst so called "authorities" when it comes to such an important number. Why, sometimes I wonder if the National Park Service leaves it to tenured Desk Jockeys to come up with the "official mileage" for hikes within Govies' inner sanctums. They drag out a topo map, look at the "one inch equals a mile" scale, then use nicotine stained fingers instead of their legs to come up with total distance. Take the Spring Creek hike in Capitol Reef, for example… 

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Day In Capitol Reef


 When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silenceAnsel Adams

Thursday, October 29, 2015

AWOL, and Natural Bridges



From the perceptive "seeing-eye" mind of Helen Keller: "Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Red October Hunting


Hunting, fishing, drawing, and music occupied my every moment. Cares I knew not, and cared naught about them…
 John James Audubon

Friday, October 16, 2015

"About Time"


How cool, that only an hour's drive separates recreation amid vast Canyonland's and red rocks from recreation amid neighboring Abajo Mountain's red maples and yellow aspens. It's also 7 degrees cooler… important for those whose bacon had been fried crisp on an 11.2 mile "Baton march" through the Needles District.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Utah's Folly: Palling Around In A Ludicrous "State" Of Mandated Sobriety… Another Annual "Abstinence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder" Rant


I should just get over it… you know, let it slide like so much 3.2 beer off a duck's back (quack!). But to let stupidity slide without mention is tantamount to endorsement. So here's my "inquiring mind" question to Utah's Mormon Rockwell School of Leadership: What in the freaking Joseph Smith's dry corner of Hell is the point of opening a Brewpub in the ultra-conservative lunatic fringe Beehave state of Utah?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Lost In A Maze Ment


Sunburned, dehydrated, chaffed, chapped, bleary eyed… sore of foot, calfs, quads, back, neck… physically post-tramatized, stressed, disordered, to the very brink of the valley of the shadow of the here-freaking-everafter—where life wobbles like an inertia-spent top, teeters like a drunken sailor eying the curb. It is within that "turned soil," where reality shrinks, awareness dissolves, and you can't decide between nightmare or reality, heart attack or stroke, death or life, that endorphins begin to sprout like dandelions in a spring meadow. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Holding Court on the Summit of Courthouse Mountain… A Farewell to Autumn Ascent


Tomorrow is Wednesday, Departure Day. Goldie sits mostly packed in front of the garage, thankful to be out of the "pound," eager to be on the road again. Checklists shorten, lines strike through all but a few "To Do's." Rain came and went the past couple of days, left snowcaps on mountain tops. Cooler now, Autumn leaves all but gone. Finally my time has come… gonna change the scene, walk a new trail, dream a new dream. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Strolling By Woods On Glorious Autumn Morn


Can we all agree, for the sake of argument, that if everyone was in agreement about everything there would be little reason for discourse, and even less reason to get out of bed? As soon as you completely agree with me or I with you, one or both of us is going to nod off. So please, let's just disagree to agree. Can I get an amen?  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Paradise Lost To Fat Wallets and ATVs


This week Bobbie and I received an invitation for "pie and coffee" from long time BCB readers Rocky, Al, and Doug. Actually, Rocky's the pup and can't read yet, but he seems to enjoy sniffing my photos :)  Sitting on a sun-dappled deck in front of the slightly askew Seldom Innwe whiled away a delightful Sunday afternoon, tête-à-tête over Al's mouthwatering, homemade apple pie.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I'm Back…


I had my six-week post-op evaluation in Montrose on Thursday. Doc Sharp shoved a long, gloved finger into the upper reaches of my inner sanctum and asked me to turn my head and cough a couple of times. "Feels appropriate," he says. "Appropriate?" I say. "Well, in Med School we're taught never to say 'It feels good' when poking around erogenous zones." 😘

Friday, September 25, 2015

On Legacies and Hoity-Toities


Just when I thought I had spammed the BCB's gracious, long suffering audience with the last of too-many-photos from Aspen/Crested Butte, Suzanne's "Après" post reminded me that I overlooked a batch taken at the John Denver Sanctuary. Buck up, Mates… Red Rock is in your near future, as soon as I undo one last buckle on the ole medical "straightjacket." Less than 2 weeks till we spring Goldie from the impound and point her smile west into the most scenically diverse, alcohol averse state in the USA, Utahemphasis on the Ahhhhh

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Take To The Trails


May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the cloudsEdward Abbey

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Red Hat Society



We got word that hiking pal Suzanne was in Durango and taking the early train to Silverton (there is no midnight train to Silverton). So we weighed the pros and cons of driving twenty six miles in order to let someone buy our lunch and beer… and showed up. How gracious are we?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Idling Along


It's like the Wizard of Oz in reverse, as if plucked from the canyon bosom of Lovely Oz by some twister and thrust on to the tedious, featureless plains of Kansas. Behold, our vertiginous mountain surround lies hidden behind a dreary pall of clouds that hover just above city limits.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

To My Fellow Fiscal Conservatives and The Right Wing Lunatic Fringe At Large…


Speaking of "carnage," man, what a mess in the GOP… a 16 ring circus with "barker" The Donald smack in the middle and seemingly running the sideshow. Lordy. What's next, mud wrestling?

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I Fall To Pieces


"It could be worse," I whisper—a mantra so overused lately it's as pointless as a dried out, sun rotted rubber band, the one that falls into as many pieces as Patsy Cline's poor broken heart.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

No Simple Task


“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” 
(Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Strolling Ironton, Guston, Yankee Girl, Colorado Boy… A Summer Versus Winter Perspective


With legs and lungs in need of a break from the vertical realities of this part of the Rocky Mountains, Bobbie and I suggested a "strolling exploration" of some old mining ruins and ghost towns up on "Red." 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I'm Still Here, and, On My Conversion To Fatalism


The surgery to reduce my Battle Of The Bulge is finally over, and—much to my amusement and your entertainment—I'm still here, peeking out the Imax Window while pecking out another post from a vast archive of hikes recently celebrated with The Gang.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Alone At The Top


Twin Peaks is a hike that resembles a climb, a favorite of mine ever since the day we met. They stand like sentinels, watching over Lovely Ouray some 2.5 trail-miles and 2000 vertical feet above town. I can't look at them without wishing I was up there, gazing down off boot-tips at our canyon-bound hamlet.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Rails-to-Trails (and backroad) Ride To Ridgway Reservoir


Debbie, a steadfast member of the Red Rocks Gang, availed her service as Subaru Valet Bicycle Pickup for our ride to Ridgway Reservoir. Turned out we needed two Valets, so Kimbopolo drove a second Sue Bee. We agreed to meet at Taco Del Gnar for lunch—the Gnar standing for gnarly, which is the absolute, if not understated, truth.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Glorious-Day Hike Up Red Mountain Number Three, Minus Two…


While To Simplify Glenn was breaking a lonely, high altitude camp, somewhere deep in the scary wilderness about 10 "Crow-fly" miles from Red Mountain Pass, The Gang (minus two, plus four) were disembarking a convoy of vehicles in preparation for a road hike to the summit of Red Mountain Three. Climbing to 13,000 feet, on a steeple steep road, on tired legs, in wind gusts enough to make us walk like a bunch of drunken sailors after a night out on the town, wasn't nearly as easy as it sounds.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Postcards From The Edge Of Heaven… and Butt Glacading


If there is one hike we never tire of repeating it is the trek to Bullion King Lake and beyond, to one of several 13,000 foot plus ridge line saddles that connect a series of ragged peaks. The upper basin is indescribable—beyond words, but hopefully not beyond postcards.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Because They Are There…


"I think I climb mountains because I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. I get satisfaction out of overcoming some challenge which is difficult… perhaps maybe a little dangerous." Edmund Hillary

Monday, July 27, 2015

Above the Trees


A few of the gang headed up to Molas Pass for a hike on the Colorado Trail—a 500 mile roughly north/south path from Denver to Durango that frequents the Continental Divide. We swung into Silverton on the way home to pick up some weed :).

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Yankee Boy and the "Governor"


On a clouded day with rain threatening, two gals and a guide braved the road to Yankee Boy Basin to wander wildflowers and waterfalls.