Hi, Rob here. A Sonoran Solstice Saturnalia Salutation to you!
I found myself feeling sorry for any man who was not free to abandon whatever futility detained him and walk away into the desert morning with a pack on his back. Colin Fletcher, The Thousand-Mile Summer.
I am writing this note to say Happy Solstice and Happy New Year! I hope you are well and that you greatly enjoyed 2008. This is my traditional year-end report. Rather than bore you with lots of text here - I refer you to lots of boring text and mundane photos via links. Here's the note from last year (2007)
We started 2008 hiking around Northern Arizona. Over 30 hikes and routes are featured on the "hiking Northern Arizona 2008" page. Hike 30+ hikes in Northern Arizona.
We opened the backpacking season with a duo of back-to-back explorations of the Grand Canyon.
First, we enjoyed Hermit Hiatus: Hermit Rest - Hermit Creek - Monument Creek - Salt Creek - Tonto to Indian Gardens. Here is the Hermit Hiatus report.
Climbing out the Bright Angel Trail on the Hermit Hiatus, Craig, Bob and I immediately launched into Escalante Escalade: Grandview Trail - Hance Creek - Papago Slide and Wall! - 75-mile Creek - Horseshoe Mesa. Hiking the fabled Escalante Route, the extension of the Tonto Trail, afforded some wild and inspiring views of the canyon. Escalante Escalade report.
I saw that by going down into that huge fissure in the face of the earth, deep into the space and the silence and the solitude, I might come as close as we can at present to moving back and down through the smooth and apparently impenetrable face of time. I was hopelessly insignificant and helpless, a mere insect - Mr. Fletcher wrote of his first night in the canyon. Colin Fletcher, The Man Who Walked Through Time.
I sat there and forgot and forgot, until what remained was the river that went by and I who watched. On the river the heat mirages danced with each other and then they danced through each other and then they joined hands and danced around each other. Eventually the watcher joined the river, and there was only one of us. I believe it was the river. Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It.
This two-for was followed by a true wilderness
adventure, where Kathleen, Bob, and I Dared to say "Dark Canyon!"
Dare to view Dark Canyon here.
Early Autumn found Kathleen and I exploring some new and previously-visited terrain off the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We visited the Saddle Mountain Wilderness and Snake Gulch of the Kanab Creek Wilderness, along with other N. Rim gems. Enjoy a tour of aspects of the North Rim here.
A wonderful new hiking friend, Sonia, invited
me along for Gnarly Nankoweap: Nankoweap Trail - Tilted Mesa - Nankoweap Creek -
Colorado River - Kwagunt exploration in late September.
Gnash your teeth on Gnarly Nankoweap.
At long last, In October, we enjoyed the Chiricahua Cavalcade: Chiricahua National Monument and Portal Porting, hiking the Big Loop in the NM, Chiricahua Natural Bridge and Arch hunting near Portal. Cheer up to the Chiricahua Cavalcade.
It was a fine but frosty November as Craig, Bob and I explored Endearing Escalante: Hole-in-the-Rock, or in your head? Where we hiked Red Breaks, Peek-A-Boo & Spooky Too, Fence Canyon Arches, Zebra Canyon, and I ventured to Little Jumbo, Chock Nut, and the Vreeland Pillars Arches. Endear yourself to the Escalante.
I finally started work on Scenic Toilets of Inner Earth: Scenic Scatology of the Wilderness Vagabond, which you can see here. (Send in your submissions - photos and descriptions, that is). It's a fitting commentary on what bushco has done to our chances for continuing as a species, or, is it just a pause before the end of nature? Survey the Scenic Toilets.
We finished out 2008, and mused of the audacity of hope in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. See the report at: Rock on - into 2009 - on the rocky Southern Arizona trails.
The adorable Kathleen and I are well, and we plan to continue to enjoy what is left of our public lands in 2009 :-)) We wish you the very best. Finally, please remember, wherever you go there you are. Let's all work for more peace and less bushco.
Take good care, Rob
* Congratulations on nearly surviving the carnage
of bushco, undoubtedly the worst presidency, ever. Many of us are surviving and not much
else, given the 'asleep at the switch' and callous corporate welfare policies (and disdain
for protection of working people and our planet) that directly resulted in
the mortgage/banking collapse, disregard for social services, active gutting of
environmental protection/regulation (that's your clean air, water, etc.).
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace. Jimmy Hendrix.