Happy New Year! Kathleen and I hope that the best
parts of your life will be "Deja Vu all
over again!" for you in 2006. As you may have guessed, this is my traditional year-end
review. For a more flavorful account of our 2005 adventures, tune in to the reports.
The highlight of 2005 was the two months we lived in the
wild vastness of
the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Central Idaho.
We staffed Little Creek Guard Station at river mile 36 on the Middle Fork of the
Salmon River, one of the originally designated Wild & Scenic Rivers. This was a
volunteer position, and we worked and played hard. We built a
lot of post-and-rail fence and hiked to several abandoned mountain-top lookouts.
It was a delightfully deluxe experience. Kathleen wrote a summary of our experience, entitled
"Volunteer Summer in the Wilderness - or giving up email and learning to love the U.S.
Forest Service." I too wrote a not so summary report of our experiences, the "Salmon Sojourn!"
See the Salmon Sojourn! report.
A good amount of free time in 2005 was devoted to
exploring the SouthWest, including a 10-
day backpack, Jumping Up Into
Thundering River: Kanab Creek Wilderness to Monument Point.
This epic took us (Al & Mary, Kathleen and I) deep into the lair of desert rivers, along the
mighty Colorado, and back to the P-pines of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We also
wandered The Wave of the
Paria/Coyote Buttes area with Aaron and went
the Goshute Mountains of Eastern Nevada,
where Kathleen was privileged to hold and release a
very intense Sharp-Shinned Hawk (see the trip report for this raptor). We started out the
year with a ski-camping overnight (with Al & Mary, and Mark C.) to a
in the Wasatch Mountains and ended our hiking season with a trip
to the San Rafael Swell & Reef.
We had started the chilly Spring with a backpack into the ruination of Grand
Gulch, where our thin tent was coated by heavy frost due to 20 degree cold evenings. Our backpacking
partners were Kathleen's friends, Tim F. & Elaine G., and Jerry J. & Sandy. Later that
Spring, we day-hiked The Needles District of Canyonlands NP. We also explored part of the
labyrinth of the Escalante Canyons with Preston M., backpacked the Fish & Owl complex and
visited The Great Gallery in Horseshoe Canyon, and
enjoyed a bit of day hiking in our luscious local Wasatch Mountains.
Between trips there was lots of work and more work. Yes, Kathleen
and I are still living in Smog Lake, where the state motto has been officially changed to
"Industrial Propagation until the earth implodes!" Where 90% of "representatives" are pro-birth
but not pro-life. Where public land decisions are made with short-sighted deference to commercial
extraction of what made America great, and where bushco is mostly mindlessly blindly supported
in his lies wrapped in slogans and seasoned with large doses of fear. Ahh, but what luscious
and delightfully deluxe public lands we have in this pretty great state. May you freely
enjoy your local public lands in 2006.
The adorable Kathleen and I are well, and we plan to enjoy
what is left of our public lands in 2006 :-)) We wish you the very best. Finally, please
remember, wherever you go there you are.
Take good care, Rob