Thursday, October 29, 2015

With a Dwindling IPA Supply...

and time constraints, Jenny and I retreated from Beyond the Zion Curtain to brew and marijuana friendlier Colorado. Despite less than stellar weather, we stayed in motion. We visited lots of stands of Red Rocks. 

We had the moist fortune of glimpsing a rare tap pole shrimp. They occupy a small niche in the big order of things. Their whole life cycle revolves around the periodic pools of pot holes. 
Birth, childhood, sexual maturity, Happy Hour, parenthood and death all within the wet and dry cycle in a sandstone depression. They made great protein supplements for our dinners too. Use a really tiny lure to hook them if you want to be successful. They are most excellent when served up Cajun style. 

From The Hot Springs Lodge of Glenwood Springs,
(Barley the Van took the night off),

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hiking between the...

wet spots. 

Somehow Jenny and I lucked out for a few hours when there was nothing liquid falling from the sky. We opened this window of opportunity to tiptoe through the puddles to see these ohh-ahh views. 

A high pressure (sort of) system is pushing the moist stuff out. Yay! 

Back to the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park manana. 

Compared to being in Moab, it really will be "west and wewazation at wast!" 

From the wilds of Canyonlands RV Park, deep in the heart of downtown Moab,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Heck of a Way to Run

a Desert. 

As Hebrews, Jenny and I are genetically linked to arid regions. Think Moses and the Tribes wandering around the Negev for forty years. Those poor snooks had more luck finding Manna than moisture.

Since we've arrived near Moab and its famous red rock attractions, most of what we've experienced are Noah's Arc downpours and icky clouds. 
In downtown Moab, Barley the Van hydroplaned through three creek crossings. In a normal October they are dry street crossings. In Dead Horse State Park, a mudslide nearly inundated two REI tents. (Not ours!)


I yearn for a return to normalcy. I wanna talk to who's in charge! 

From dank and dreary Dead Horse Point State Park,
It's a great day for hypothermia!

I still have plenty of IPA's and a dry hotel room in Moab is looking better and better.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

"West and Wewaxation at Wast!"

Thank you Elmer Fudd.

After my gig at repairing 4X4 doohickeys in the Maze, I needed a break. 

So I turned thumped up and filthy Barley the Van east to Grand Junction, home of my long time friends Jack and Judy Miller.

Barley was wounded too. I had to replace a cracked battery that couldn't handle the road abuse. There's nothing like sniffing sulfuric acid fumes for a good night's sleep. No wonder I had a scratchy throat and itchy eyes. 

Manana, we're heading back behind the Zion Curtain. My beer and coffee supply are holding up well. Jenny will be joining me for her first close encounter of Utah. We hope the weather cooperates. One can only spend so much time at the Moab Brewery.

Last photo: "Be vewwy, vewwy quiet. We're hunting wabbits!" 

Elmer Fudd is the Yogi Berra of cartoon characters. 

Cheers from River City,

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Edward Abbey's Classic...

character from his breakout novel, "The Monkey Wrench Gang" is named George Washington Hayduke. In one chapter, our hero is on the lam and being hotly pursued by the Mormon Posse. Where did Mr Hayduke run to? To the Maze of course.

It's still a place, I discovered where one can disappear. 
This notion makes me grin. 

While there, I covered thirty miles of sketchy trails. The act of missing a set of cairns could have had me wandering off to Neverland. No, not Michael Jackson's estate where creepy things happened, but the one that makes front page news in a bad way for the hiker. (Me). I never saw a soul in those miles. That makes me grin II.

It's a drastic landscape of washes, slot canyons, slick rock, spires and arches. There's little frame of reference to use as a lighthouse. Oh yeah, once in awhile the La Sal Mountains spring up into your personal viewfinder (Moab lies at the foot of them),  but you can't get there from here by walking. There's cliffs, two icy western rivers to swim and all the above obstructions to negotiate. Even Chuck Norris couldn't do it. 

Our expedition was running out of gas so we had to cut our trip short. It was a grueling nine hours of driving time to make it back to a gas station, hotel and a meal in Green River, Utah. Greg's Ford Truck 4X4 thingamajig  broke. Greg was able to repair the what-ya-ma-call-it in the dirt. I was the able bodied assistant. 

"Jeff! It's righty tighty! Lefty loosey" As you can see, my hands got dirty.  

Was it worth it? Hell! Yeah! It's not often I get the chance to be in one of the most remote areas of the National Park Service land holdings. I just hope I don't have to wait another thirty years for the opportunity to return. 

For you twenty or so blog fans, I'd be more than willing to provide guide service and provisioning if you want to beat up your 4X4 vehicle. I'll even bring the IPAs and coffee. 

Thank you so much Greg Lyle and his wonderful family for allowing me to tag along. 

I hope it was as good for the Lyle's as it was for me. I needed a cigarette, it was that good.

Cheers from Green River, Utah.
I still have real beer left.
Jeff 4X4 enthusiast. 

"Hayduke Lives!"

Postscript: Greg's truck limped into Green River with the equivalent of three Bomber beer bottles of diesel. Six/tenths of a galÅ‚on. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

37 Miles in 6 hours...

37 miles in 6 hours..

to pound, bully and gyrate two 4X4 vehicles into the guts of the Maze.

When we arrived at sunset at Chimney Rock campground, the Lyle's and I were almost too exhausted for Happy Hour. Somehow I rallied enough to lift a cold IPA to my lips. Not an easy task after wrestling a 1985 Jeep through the tortuous terrain. The Jeep won many rounds.  

For once the National Park Service was spot on. The road into the Maze is long and unforgiving. 

Ahhh...but once the IPA buzz took hold and I looked around, I realized the effort (for now) was worth it. From the rim of the canyons, it's big views and big sky country. I can practically see the Moab Brewery from here. Below the rim, it only took a moment to see how the district got its name. It would be an awful place to get disoriented in. There's no easy way in or out. The trails are like the roads, rough and tumble. 

I ventured down to see the "Harvest Scene" petroglyphs. The Ancient Ones created a panel that looks like a cow. Maybe they were lamenting it's disappearance within this jigsaw puzzle landscape? Who knows? The Ancient Ones aren't spilling the Anasazi beans. 

Live from the Maze!
Can you believe I have Verizon cell phone coverage here?
Cheers from the Land of Standing Rocks.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Thirty Year...

dream will come true. No, not dating Bo Derek, that's a 25 year dream! 

I'm going into the Maze!!!

I finally found someone who doesn't fear dinging up his 4X4 Jeep and truck. We will use these macho mechanical beasts for what they were built for. Beat the poop out of them.
Thank You Greg Lyle and his family for allowing me to join in this adventure. I hear there will be s'mores at the campfires too. 

Do IPAs go well with marshmallows? We will soon find out.

This is a truly pack it in, pack it out sort of place. I mean everything!!! We will leave only footprints and tire tracks. 

So to you 20 or so blog fans, stand by for further photos and comments. Our trip is a week long. There will be plenty of yarns and pix to come.

Cheers from Green River, Utah.
My beer and coffee supply are holding up well.
See you on the other side.

PS. Note the pictograph photo of two Ancient Ones baseball players. I'm sure they swung the bat better than A-Rod of the Yankees. They were paid less too. 

The Secret is Out...

about the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park. 

For over a quarter of a century, (that makes me feel old) I've been exploring and loving this isolated segment of grandeur. It's a destination park. There are no through roads. Heck! The pavement ends there 50 miles from the nearest highway. A potential visitor has to make a time and gas money effort to arrive within its boundaries. 

For me, it's a No-Brainer. Where else can I hike to the merger of two rivers, mosey along interconnecting canyons, see the Milky Way in all its intergalactic splendor, or savor the library "Shhh!" silence that abounds here?  Not many places. 

Unfortunately, there are now multitudes of national and international guests willing to venture west off of U.S. Highway 191. 

Yesterday, I counted over 100 hikers along the 11.5 mile Chesler Park circuit. The languages heard were a virtual Tower of Babel. Many years ago, a chance encounter of another human was equivalent to observing Sasquatch or the Loch Ness Monster. 

In the past, securing a campsite was just a matter of showing up. Now the campground fills quickly after the sun rises. Luckily, there's a private campground nearby that has hot water and showers! (You are right. It doesn't take much to excite me.)

As Yogi Berra (may he RIP) would say, "The Future ain't what it used to be." 

For those 15-20 devout blog fans I have, (OY! Are my pageviews down!) you can see a common thread to my posts. The times they are a changing and not for the better. 
With all that said, being here sure beats a lot of alternatives. Work is definitely one of them.

On my way to the Maze!