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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Another Brother from another Mother...


Unlike Brad who's tall, Waspish and votes Republican, Nelson and I kind of look alike. He's also a Member of the Tribe. 


Together the Sub-Eleven Foot Expedition Team (our combined heights don't add up to eleven feet) have summited the second highest mountain in Wyoming, survived the Mud, Blood, Sweat and Tears hike along the West Coast Trail, escaped from an overzealous Park Ranger at Mount Rainier National Park, pissed off two uptight Minnesotan couples at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and fished each other out of quicksand holes in Paria Canyon.  Yes, these are two tiny tough Hebrews. 

What's makes our feats even more impressive is that the Children of Israel aren't  thought of as explorers (except Moses and Noah, and they had no choice). I've heard rumors of a "Famous Jewish Explorers and Adventurers" book. It's the thickness of a Marvel Comic. 

The accompanying photo was taken atop Hallett Peak in RMNP. The trip was uneventful as far as trails and tribulations go.  At our age, that's not a bad thing. 
I'm hoping my older, shorter brother can join me in many trips to come. Fun and feisty backpacking buddies are hard to find. 


The final photo is the Sub 11.5 Foot Expedition Team. Nephew Keith scored a Kitchen Pass for a short hike around the summits of Boulder. He's waiting in the wings for a full expedition. 

Cheers!
Jeff

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Too much White Death

For the first day of summer. 

On Dad's day and the solstice, I hiked 12 miles to Pear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. There were no fruit orchards at 10,500" but snowshoe amounts of the evil stuff. I post-holed along the trail, took an unplanned dip in Pear Creek (icy water up to my hinterlands), and snapped a few pix. 

It'll be awhile before the  High Country (that can mean a few things in Colorado) will be fully tenable. 

I'm hereby issuing an ultimatum, the cold crap must be melted and flowing downstream before July 8th. That's the day I'm heading west and into the best parts of Colorado. 
If Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, I'm bringing out an industrial sized hair dryer to perform the task. 

Come on Summer to the Mountains!
Jeff


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Dads Day...

Sid Sambur, may you finally RIP.

It takes both parents to create a new personality.

My Mom, Clara was responsible for the Jewish Mother side of me. I'm quite happy with getting her smile, affectionate and nurturing traits. 
My Dad, Sid provided me with my practical side. Sid was a small man with large opinions. He wasn't afraid to call someone out for "talking crazy." He saw the world as a piano keyboard-black or white. He held fast to his many notions and ideas. We called him "The Enforcer." His daily energy output made Hoover Dam's hydroelectric power seem puny.  He was a true survivor in every sense of the word. 

Stories abound of his many almost-got-him escapes in life. He was the one member of a family of five who made it out of the Holocaust years alive. In many ways, he was inspirational in his drive to keep going on. 

Sid and I had our differences, (probably because we were so similar) but I loved the man. 

My favorite notable Sid quote (there are scores of them like Yogiisms) is this one. "How can a man have three sons and each one be so different?"

So Sid, I hope you and Clara are getting along in heaven. (She gave him the silent treatment when she was cross with him.) I wrote the following story awhile ago as a tribute to you.
Hope you enjoy it.

Planting a Tree…                                                                   
                                                                                          
    My father, a survivor of Hitler’s insane concept of human genetics, planted a tree at our house in the Bronx. The sapling was a two-foot white pine that my father appropriated from the Catskill MountainsAKA in the “Big Apple” as the Jewish Alps. “Jeffy, watch! This tree will one day be taller than our house,” he proclaimed. Like a faithful son, I believed him.

    One winter, a Nor’easter blizzard blew down along the eastern seaboard. The heart-attack-heavy snow broke the tiny, white pine in half. My dad, a tailor by profession, but whom Uncle Sam trained to be a medical assistant in WWII, sprang into action. He fashioned a splint made of a few sticks, a side order of rags and a lot of twine. With these meager tools and devices, he made the wounded tree whole again. He reasoned, “It works for people, why not trees?”

    In 1978, I escaped the hassle and hustle of the Big Apple and moved out West. Now I, a son of a son of a tailor and graduate from the Syracuse College of Forestry, nurture trees at my home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
   
    I can’t take all the credit; I get a lot of help from Mother Nature. Neighborhood squirrels burrow acorninto the mulch and forget where they placed them. A white-oak sapling will arise a season later. My furry friends do the same with apple cores and cherry and peach pits. I have a virtual fruit stand growing in my yard. We haven’t had much luck with avocado pits yet. When the oaks, peaches, apples, cherries and ashes grow too close together, I’ll go in and do a “thinning operation, and rearrange some saplings. Once in awhile, I have to place a few up for adoption.

     Letting go of my green children is always a difficult process. First I have to find a suitable “parent.” Then the lengthy application process begins. With questions such as, “Are you aware that Colorado is now in a drought?” Then a follow-up query, “Will you be able to provide an adequate supply of water for this young plant?” After that, I quiz the applicant about his or her general knowledge on such diverse topics as soil conditions, fertilizers and peat moss. Only when I am satisfied with their answers will we venture out into the yard with a shovel in tow. As we dig up the adopted seedling, I make sure the new owner understands that I get visitation rights. It’s never easy to let go.

    In the fall of 2000, I went back east to visit family and friends. I borrowed a car and drove out to see my childhood home in the Bronx. I was glad that I had faith in my Dad. He was right; that white pine tree is now taller than the house.

    Do yourself a favor; plant a tree. It’s good for the soul.
    

    
     
                                                                                                                                                                    

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I can now add...

Professional Cat-Sitter to my ever expanding retirement card resume.

Even when house sitting, there's always a CATch. 

Kevin and Lisa allowed me to hang out while they rafted the Mighty San Juan River. 
All I had to do was water the plants, feed the cats and scoop up litter box feline poop. 

How is it possible for two cats who barely move, hardly eat and drink no water to produce so much by-product? I kept looking for a box of Ex-lax they might have slinked into, but none was found.

(Cat-lax?) Could they be bulimic? 

Alas, the large home wasn't big enough for the three of us. Since it was two against one, I slept in Barley the Van in the  driveway. I'm highly allergic to cat dander anyway.

If you were one of the thousand or so who read "Destroying Demons on the Diagonal", you would see the irony of this situation. A day without a cat hug is like a day without an IPA. NOT!

I think I'll stick to Fido the Pug as far as pets go. He's purr-fect. 

Thanks K&L!

En route back to Boulder now,
Jeff



Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Early Blogger gets...

The Peak to himself. I hit the Grey Rock Trail a few hours post sunrise. It was cool, quiet and the only living things besides me was green. (Be mindful of the poison ivy). 

There was water flowing everywhere! 

The Grey Rock Trail was originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Core in the 1930's.
Roosevelt's Tree Army did an admirable job with all their projects. This trail is no exception.
Strong Work! Gentlemen!

Grey Rock (7,513") is a National Recreation Trail. 
It was crazy busy by the time I descended. How busy was it Jeff?

There was a "Wait List" for reaching the summit. 

"Smith Party of four, your peak is waiting!"

Foreign visitors were on the "Will Call" List. 

Cheers from Fort Collins, Colorado 
Jeff



Sunday, June 7, 2015

Meet the newest...

Colorado Rockies fan.

Yesterday, Little Syd Sambur took in her first MLB game. That's her proud father and my nephew Keith hugging her. (He's the World's tallest Sambur). 

I'm not sure if L. Syd understood the subtleties and nuances of America's Pastime, but she sure loved those chocolate covered strawberries before the first pitch. Whatever works. 

Speaking about pageviews, I'll never grovel for assistance from my readers in reaching a milestone again. You all left! Come back! I promise I won't beg again. 


Maybe one day, I'll figure out my fickle electronic audience. Beer (right word) with me. This is still a blog in progress.

Gee. It's raining and lightning again.

From Fort Collins, Colorado.
Good Evening to all,
Jeff


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Backpackers Wanted

Anyone out there interested in backpacking in Colorado's Wilderness Areas this summer? The White Death might be gone by mid to late July to hit the trails. 

I'll provide the pre-hike and post- hike brews. You'll have to carry your own beers on the trail.

I'm serious. We ain't getting any younger and there's plenty to see in Colorado. I can be a partial Sherpa. I can't carry everything though.

Who wants to play before we are too old to do this stuff?

Come on summer!
Jeff 


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ceremonial Kiva or Man Cave?

You decide.

Many of you scoffed about my "It's all about the beer" theory concerning the Ancient Ones southern migration around the 1300's. 


I'm not the kind of blogger who gives up easily. Today, I went back to Mesa Verde National Park to unearth proof of those wily Old Timer's beer drinking habits. I took a short hike to Step House Ruin. A few other visitors were engaged in conversation with the on-duty Ranger. While she was being distracted, I scooped up a few shovelfuls of dirt near the Kiva/Man Cave. 

In the final photo, this is what I found. A few well worn Koozies and a beer bottle cap. Thus proving my theory. The Ancient Ones had great tastes for baseball teams, diners and beers.
Fido (my obedient Pug) heeled in order to provide perspective for the photo op. 
That's a good dog!

En route back to Boulder beginning today,
Jeff

PS. Speaking of beer. I'll be at the Old Town, Old Chicago this coming Fat Tuesday. We can toast to the Ancient Ones there at 6. Come on by!


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

19,000 Pageviews or...

BUST!

On July 4th, 2014, I launched "A Wandering, Wondering Jew" on Google's Blogspot. 

I began the blog for a number of reasons.

One: I wanted my musings and photos to be independent of Facebook. Yes, I still use FB to advertise my site. You can't beat the price - FREE! 

Two: The blog keeps my creative nectars spilling out in case I decide to pen a second book. BTW have I ever mentioned I once wrote a book? A W, W Jew is my Practice, Practice, Practice writing venue. 

Three: I was curious about all this viral talk. (I don't think you catch it from a dirty toilet seat). I was wondering how many hits I would score in a year. 

So...here's where you readers come in. If you've enjoyed following  along as I wander through time and space, please take a moment to share, forward or the old fashioned way-speak to others about A W,W J. 
Hackers from the former Eastern Bloc Countries are invited to help too! 

Right now, I'm sitting at around 16.780 pageviews. Seeing 19,000 on Independence Day would be so swell. 

Thanks in advance and I'll still buy rounds whenever we meet,
Cheers
Jeff

PS. I still had time to take a walk in the woods.


Monday, June 1, 2015

For Years I've been...

driving past the "Gunnison Gorge National Conservation  Area" sign on Highway 50. (Also known as the Loneliest Highway in America on its Nevada stretch). 

I was always curious about what the heck's out there. Today I was able to work a look-see into my BUSY schedule by taking a 9 mile hike on the Ute Trail to the Mighty (if it weren't dammed up) Gunnison River. 

Lemme tell you, it's not often a trail is in better shape than the road to the trailhead, but that's what happened. 
The Peach Valley Road (sans orchards) was a bit wash-board-y, but it was the Autobahn compared to the 2.5 mile Ute Road. Barley the Van and its contents (me and my stuff) were jostled, juggled and shaken, not stirred around. 

It was so bad. How bad Jeff? 
My Baby Grand Piano flipped over in Barley the Van's Great Room. That's how bad it was.

I need to figure out a better way to secure those ivories down. My candelabra shattered too. Bad day for stuff, great day for a hike. Yin-Yang. 

From the United RV Park in Durango, CO 
It's raining and windy here! OY!

Good day!

Jeff