Archive for the ‘Experiences’ Category

Black Friday

28 Nov


Black Friday represents so much of what is wrong with this country.  Nobody I know takes part in it.  It’s only existed for a dozen years.  I keep hoping it will die as a fad, but the media and the corporations won’t let it.  They wear maniacal grins while they rub their greedy palms together, leading consumers to think they’ll miss something important if they don’t go shopping.

(Click on photos for clearer versions.)



Meanwhile, at least one company closed on Black Friday. R.E.I., which is a store that sells outdoor clothing and ski gear, encouraged people to get out into nature on Black Friday.  I was out in nature, but didn’t see anyone else.  But then most of R.E.I.’s customers are high end consumers who only want the appearance they’re into nature.



It was a bright and sunny one degree Fahrenheit (-17 Celsius) day after a storm that had some freezing drizzle and ice fog.  I love these types of storms because of the interesting ice crystals that grow on the grass, twigs and branches.  In the above photo, contrary to what you might think, the crystals form on the side of the branch that faces into the wind.



The silence was deafening.



07 Aug
From the Continental Divide

From the Continental Divide


I sat on the jagged granite of the Continental Divide, up at 12,000 feet elevation, contemplating water.  The water in front of me, if left to it’s own devices, would end up in the Pacific Ocean.  The water in the lakes behind me would end up in the Atlantic Ocean.  If the water were to meet, it would be at the tip of South America.  I was struck by the thought that if I poured out the water in my bottle, it would be split to take long separate journeys, probably never to be joined again.

Actually the water from here probably will never make it to either ocean.  It will be consumed for human use either directly or as irrigation, or both. Then it will probably evaporate and end up in the atmosphere. But this morning, sitting on the divide, my focus was on the long journeys in the oceans.

I hiked down through the wilderness in an area I’ve never been before.  I discovered the old wreck of yet another aircraft.


Aircraft wing

Aircraft wing


I wasn’t surprised by it.  Lux had once told me there were two old wrecks in this part of the wilderness.  I had forgotten about it.   I visited the other wreck 4 years ago in 2011.  There wasn’t much left of this one.  The fuselage and engine had definitely been removed from the area.  The only thing left were parts of the wings and part of the tail.  If some entity went through the trouble of air-lifting the remains out of this wilderness, then why leave the wings behind?

These days, all of the wreckage is removed from the wilderness if a plane crashes.  Anything that had crashed prior to the 1980’s was left behind.  A lot of planes have crashed here due to the tall mountains and the strong downdrafts on the east side of the Divide that occur in winter. In every case, it was ultimately pilot error.

For the next 3 hours I continued down the valley, mostly trying to find a suitable route.  The valley is full of small lakes, ponds, marshes and granite cliffs.  As I mentioned, I have never hiked in this valley before and I wasn’t entirely sure there was a passable route down.  The trail I had hiked up runs up beside the valley and the backup plan was to take that down if I couldn’t find a way.

After having to double back up the valley a few times due to a long cliff I couldn’t get down, I finally found some soft soil with a bunch of deer and elk footprints imprinted in it, which hinted at the route to take.  Once I was down through the steepest area, I stopped beside the creek and put my hand in it.



The ice cold effervescent water was as clear as glass.  Although it’s much further downstream, this is the same creek that supplies my town with it’s water.  And knowing the source of this water is up in the wilderness, makes me happy.


Kill first, ask questions later

16 Jul

I woke up in the middle of the night with something tickling my face next to my nose.  I woke up more when my finger didn’t land on my face, but on something that was on my face. I immediately squished it and turned on the light. Black blood dripped down from my face onto the bed sheet. Now the adrenaline is coursing through me.  Next to the black blood falls the remains of a black spider, a pile of insect legs. As I am still trying to comprehend the scene, I notice the spider guts on my face are starting to tingle and sting. I stumbled into the bathroom and scrubed my face.   At this point I’m more awake than I want be and know it will be at least a couple of hours before I’ll get back to sleep.

Now the questions.  What species of spider were you and what were you doing on my face?  Fortunately, I wasn’t bitten.  I pulled out a magnifying glass and looked at the remains. Thick stout legs.  Maybe a jumping spider. Not a black widow, which has long, spindly legs. Not another spider that I’ve known to bite, which is more gray.  Then the sci-fi part of my mind takes over.  Were you trying to mind meld with me?