Lobo Linguistics:
Exploring the White Mountains of Arizona

Headwaters of the Little Colorado River
June 5 - 10, 2014

Text and photos © copyright by Rob Jones

Co-adventurer: Kathleen
Camera: Panasonic DMC-ZS19

El Lobo - Mexican Grey Wolf
El Lobo - Mexican Grey Wolf
(Click the image for the full-size image)
Shooting  Star
Shooting Star
(Click the image for the full-size image)

Pillows on route to Mt Baldy
Pillows on route to Mt Baldy
(Click the image for the full-size image)
Volcanic Spires
Volcanic Spires
(Click the image for the full-size image)

Movie of Lobo Linguistics, Audio! 21mb
Movie of Lobo Linguistics, Audio! 21mb
(Click the image to HEAR the short video)

     "Only a mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of a wolf...We reached the old wolf in time to watch the fierce green fire dying in her eyes... There was something new to me in those eyes - something known only to her and the mountains. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch. I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer that no wolves would mean hunter's paradise, but after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view." - Aldo Leopold

     "Now the hungry lion roars, And the wolf behowls the moon." — William Shakespeare

     "We listened for a voice crying in the wilderness. And we heard the jubilation of wolves!" - Durwood L. Allen

Movie of El Lobo, 11mb
Movie of El Lobo, 11mb
(Click the image to see the short video)

     “There are, of course, several things in Ontario that are more dangerous than wolves. For instance, the step-ladder." - J.W. Curran

     ERM* = Energy Required Miles. A mile is added for every 500' elevation gain or loss. It's a very serviceable method of estimating energy required miles. And, see a study about the validity of using ERMs below.

     Summary: Kathleen and I decided to explore a bit in the White Mountains of Arizona. We were unsure where to start, so picked an area that looked close to wild country, and yet high enough to stay out of the heat.

     Day 1: Winn-ing it: 3 miles; Meadow walk, Winn CG.
     Headed for Winn CG, at 9200', in the Apache-Sitgreave NF, we travel through some drought-crisp landscape. Sadly, yet predominantly, a land populated by republicans and other welfare artists, loafing off the land, receiving more tax dollars than they contribute, and thinking that global warming is a hoax. This hoax is cooking our forests and creating opportunities for catastrophic wildfires. War and disaster mitigation, a republican job plan. And, out of Show Low and into the high country, crossing wide tundra-type meadows lined with pines and aspens and observed by the occasional Pronghorn. To a very quiet Winn CG, 5 total campsites in use. Laid back.

     "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." - Stephen Colbert

Movie of Shooting Stars in the Little Colorado; 4mb
Movie of Shooting Stars in the Little Colorado; 4mb
(Click the image to see the short video)

     Day 2: Mt. Baldy Blowdown: 14.1 miles; ERM = 22. To Mt. Baldy ridge, West Fork of the Little Colorado River.
     The waddling porcine porcupine races through the tangled forest of fir, spruce, p-pines, and aspen, too quick to get a photo. The porker is surprising light on his bristly feet. We've walked above the meadows of the West Fk. of the very Little Colorado and are headed for the Mt. Baldy ridge. Pick-up sticks of fire-killed ghost trees block our way again and again prior to the switchbacks and again as we approach a bowl below the summit, which is on tribal land and off-limits.
     After 7 miles and at nearly 11,000', we quit, seeing yet another tangle of trees. Discouraging. On the way down, we see a cow elk racing through the obstacle forest - apparently at full speed. Wow. Wild Iris and Shooting Stars grace the wet areas.

Map - White Mountains; West Fk. (14 miles; ERM = 21); and East Fk. Little Colorado  (13.5 miles; ERM = 20.5)
Map - White Mountains; West Fk. (14 miles; ERM = 21); and East Fk. Little Colorado (13.5 miles; ERM = 20.5)
(Click the image to see the map)

Movie Wild Iris and Swallowtail; 2.2 mb
Movie Wild Iris and a Swallowtail; 2.2 mb
(Click the image to see the short video)

Day 2 photos - West Fk Little Colorado

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wwhite-mountains-2014day2-1  Wild Iris.jpg (286349 bytes)

wwhite-mountains-2014day2-1 Wild Iris.jpg

wwhite-mountains-2014-day2-2  West Baldy Trail.jpg (349067 bytes)

wwhite-mountains-2014-day2-2 West Baldy Trail.jpg

wwhite-mountains-2014-day2-3  Shooting Stars.jpg (261288 bytes)

wwhite-mountains-2014-day2-3 Shooting Stars.jpg

     Day 3: Big Lake Look-about:
     While writing these notes, a young Downy Woodpecker undulates to the tree where I am sitting and grabs bark a few feet above me. She looks at me upside down, and that's probably the way I appear to her. It's quiet time in Winn CG after a short investigation of the camps and THs near Big Lake, a puddle of blue in a stark and open meadow. It's now Saturday, and Winn seems to have lost population - to 3 campers. Fine with us. The bovine intellects (cows this time) have mostly been herded away, and don't interrupt the quiet with their proclamations that they are better problem solvers than tea-baggers. Moo-belch-ooo-moo-ooo.
     We enjoy a grand nap swaying in the hammock, buffeted by gusts of early afternoon wind. Cozy, romantic, and deluxe.

     Day 4: A very Little East Fork of the Little Colorado: to Mt. Baldy (limit of trail, reservation boundary); 13.5 miles; ERM = 20.5.
     The volcanic pillowed spires jut above the Aspens and firs, seeming to scrape the sky a bit. The proper sky scrapers. Yet, we don't see any sandstone, as the FS trail guide says. We've crossed the tiny E. Fk, of the Little Colorado to see Shooting Stars before climbing above the meadow and to and through the spires. Two sets of bear tracks are pressed into this very dusty trail - a tiny cub and probably, the mom. Parry Primrose appear about the time more blow-down trees do - yet the obstacles are certainly not as horrid as on Day 2. Most jumbles, we walk around or crawl under without issues. We also see remains of an airplane, perhaps part of a wing? At almost 7 miles, we encounter the trail from the West Fork. A spur leads to the summit of Mt. Baldy - yet it's on the Apache Reservation and off-limits because of spiritual splendor. So, we call off the leisurely climb at about 11,200'; the TH is about 9300' Mt. Baldy is 11,400'.
     As we contour back toward the volcanic spires, we see a copper-topped structure on the ridgeline across the bowl. What? Probably the top of a ski lift on Sunset Peak. Poor neighbors to the environment (pollution, erosion, disruption of Winter range and migration corridors, etc.), ski areas are a wart on our public lands.
     We're back in Winn CG, at about 9200', and it's time for a sun shower and appetizers and beer. Yum. The air cools rapidly as sunset approaches, and three layers of clothing is just right.

Day 4 photos - East Fk Little Colorado

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-1  East Fk.jpg (434510 bytes)

wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-1 East Fk.jpg

wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-2  Shooting Star.jpg (249732 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-6  Spires in forest.jpg (483473 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-7  Volcanic Spire.jpg (237032 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-8  Volcanic Spire.jpg (295614 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-9  zen pile.jpg (238346 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-10  pillows.jpg (485740 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-12  old squiggle.jpg (404134 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-13  view to Big Lk.jpg (310548 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-14  bear track.jpg (555198 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-15  Parry Primrose.jpg (294278 bytes)

wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-15 Parry Primrose.jpg

wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-16  airplane part.jpg (373939 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-17  California Cornlily.jpg (479062 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-18  view NW.jpg (429667 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-19  more spires.jpg (335615 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-20  meadow.jpg (324627 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-21  trail end.jpg (468926 bytes)

wwhite-mountains-2014-day4-21 trail end.jpg

     Day 5: Scorched Earth - tea-bagger denial: Indian Springs Loop near Big Lake; 9 miles; ERM = 13.
     The fire-blackened singed dust poofs around boots as we approach Big Lake Lookout. The LO is gone - yet part of the superstructure remains, and from the high point one looks out over a black ghost forest. Climate change coupled with tea-bagger/religionist denial of science and starving of our government (e.g., sequester, etc., essentially no money for fire prevention - what money there is gets shunted into fighting the catastrophic fires; continuing the spiral of poor forest health) have resulted in the toasting of many acres of public land. Sure, fire is an essential ingredient in healthy forests, yet not at the scale we are creating.
     The trail continues through the ghost forest, eventually passing some historic water troughs at Spillman Spring and then more baked trees, locating some only singed and good for shade and a snack. Continuing down the meadow, we surprise a cow elk cooling off in a tiny pond. She thunders out amid a spray of mud and water and up a hill, stopping to display her tawny butt before melting into the trees. The developing drainage is bisected by a causeway for the (long retired) Maverick spur of Apache Railway and we join this route (no rails or ties) as we climb back up the bench. Circling back through greenery, we complete the loop. We are the only campers in our CG loop tonight.

Map - White Mountains; Indian Springs Loop near Big Lake; 9 miles; ERM = 13
Map - White Mountains; Indian Springs Loop near Big Lake; 9 miles; ERM = 13
(Click the image to see the map)

Day 5 photos - Indian Springs Loop

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day5-1  Indian Sp loop.jpg (403578 bytes)

wwhite-mountains-2014-day5-1 Indian Sp loop.jpg

wwhite-mountains-2014-day5-2  fire.jpg (148973 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day5-3  yikes.jpg (479013 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day5-5  toasted.jpg (435021 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day5-6  black forest.jpg (425833 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day5-7  Spillman  trough.jpg (320108 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day5-8  ghost trees.jpg (284449 bytes)

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wwhite-mountains-2014-day5-9  ghost trees.jpg (643478 bytes)

wwhite-mountains-2014-day5-9 ghost trees.jpg

     Day 6: Lobo Grande! Lobo Linguistics:
     Sustained, soulful howls awakens us in the crepuscular time. "What! a Coyote?" asks Kathleen. "That's no Coyote" I quip, then get up, put on sandals and go toward the sound with my camera, intending to get an audio of the eerie, wild, haunting, yet homecoming sounds of Lobo linguistics. The howl dwindles, then stops. I'm standing at the edge of a meadow, wearing sandals and rapidly cooling in the morning stillness. Then, the howl resumes and I see some movement out in the meadow. El Lobo! A Mexican Gray Wolf! Like a giant reddish Coyote, the Wolves appear. I try for a brief video, at distance. Wow! What an amazing way to conclude a Lobo Linguistic exploratory of the White Mountains.
     How lonely is the night without the howl of a wolf.

     *ERM: Energy Required Miles, are there data to support this mileage adjustment?
     Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education and Leadership
     Petzoldt first proposed his theory in his 1976 book “Teton Trails” to help backpackers plan trips and calculate their energy needs on mountain trails. “Petzoldt defined one energy mile as the energy required to walk one mile on the flat. He recommended adding two energy miles for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain, so a person hiking one mile and 1,000 feet upward would use the equivalent of three energy miles,” Phipps said.
     Petzoldt’s energy mile theory was just a reflection of the mountaineer’s “gut feeling,” Phipps said. The theory had never been tested in a laboratory before the study began in WCU’s Exercise Physiology Laboratory in the spring of 2010, Phipps said.
     To determine the validity of the theory, the study measured the energy cost and perceived exertion for walking on flat ground, with and without a 44.5-pound backpack, and up an elevation gain of 1,000 feet, with and without the backpack, through the collection of metabolic data, Phipps said.
     Twenty-four student, faculty and staff volunteers, including 12 males and 12 females, went through four testing sessions as the research continued into fall semester of 2010. The study results showed that the additional energy cost for ascending 1,000 feet ranged from 1.34 to 2.02 energy mile equivalents, for an average of about 1.6 miles, compared to Petzoldt’s use of two energy miles for each 1,000 feet. The range revealed by the study was due to the “hikers” personal weight differences, Phipps said. “It is remarkable that Petzoldt’s energy mile theory is so close to the actual energy cost measured during our study,” Phipps said. “In the field of outdoor education, it’s important for leaders to include an estimation of energy requirements during the planning of hiking trips.”
     Phipps said the energy required for hiking up steep mountain trails would vary for individuals and groups, and the variables of the trail would also factor in, but he recommends that backpackers stick with Petzoldt’s idea of adding two energy miles for every 1,000 feet of elevation gain when planning trips.
     The Validity of Petzoldt's Energy Mile Theory, 2010
Authors: Maridy McNeff Troy, Maurice L. Phipps
Publication: Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education, and Leadership



Eaarth : making a life on a tough new planet, McKibben, Bill, Time Books, 2010.

Maybe one : an environmental and personal argument for single-child families, McKibben, Bill, Simon & Schuster, 1998.

The end of nature, McKibben, Bill, Random House, 1989.

An Important Link:

Scenic Toilets of Inner Earth

Again, to Comedy Corner - More Truth than Joke:

science of convenience
science of convenience
(Click the image for the full-size image)

what danger of lowering carbon?
what danger of lowering carbon?
(Click the image for the full-size image)

border problems
border problems
(Click the image for the full-size image)

who were the teabaggers teabagging?
who were the teabaggers teabagging?
(Click the image for the full-size image)

republican jesus
republican jesus
(Click the image for the full-size image)

another 4 years - of what
another 4 years - of what? !
(Click the image for the full-size image)

corporate welfare, once again
corporate welfare, once again
(Click the image for the full-size image)

which type of welfare should upset you?
which type of welfare should upset you?
(Click the image for the full-size image)

More Comedy Corner

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wcorporate2-fun-times-2-2011.jpg (572477 bytes)


wcorporate3-fun-times-2-2011.jpg (414216 bytes)


wcorporate-health-fun-times-2-2011.jpg (599867 bytes)


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