Despite my big-game hunter plans, wild beasties have plans of their own—like surviving.
I heard some strange sounds, distant and muted by the forest. Noises play funny tricks on you in the wilderness.
Head in the Clouds
If I could get paid for dreaming, and dreaming big, I’d be a rich man! I’ve got no shortage of aspirations, goals and challenges that I’d still like to take on.
Touched by an Angel
Have you ever seen an angel? I have. Lest you think I’m a wacky mystic, let me explain. To encounter this angel you do have to go to higher country.
Crawling Under a Rock
The storm moved in, with cheerless, thick clouds—like slow-moving waves spilling onto distant shores—swelling over the lower mountains west of us. Everything was lower than us at this point. And darker.
Lost at Lost Lakes!
This 19.5-mile hike (we did it as a day hike; most would backpack 2-3 days) is outside Steamboat Springs in a 235,406-acre designated wilderness area and, if you choose, ends with the infamous Devil’s Causeway.
My Final Bow, Maybe
The abysmal lack of hunting success a decade and a half earlier had left me seriously unmotivated …
to play Indian with a bow and arrow.
We assumed that the quick side trip would not impact our overall plans much. We assumed that the Crestones would not be as difficult to climb as the books stated. We forgot Wethern’s Law: “Assumption is the mother of all screw-ups.”
One never knows how a routine hike may actually turn into a story. Sure, I sprained my wrist, but it was worth it.
The morning before—when we started out on the first segment—thick fog blanketed the mountains, so I had no point of reference, except for a lake.
I am just one 20-mile segment short of finishing the whole Colorado Trail (CT). And what an adventure it has been.
Dream a New Dream
This was a story years in the making, covering 486 miles, much of it at an elevation above 10,000 feet.
Raining on Our Parade (er, Hunt)
Life is filled with enough disappointments. Why must I deliberately add more categories—like hunting—to fail in?
For the Love of Pancakes
The concept of pancake-shaped rocks intrigued me; that’s not something you see every day.
Lack of Sleep … and Elk
We were so beat by the time we reached the higher country, we couldn’t even imagine “bagging” something and having to carry it out.
The Soundtrack of My Life
The peaceful music acted as background narration for what was unfolding all around me. I stopped, slowly turned round and round, tried to hum along, but was stopped by having to choke back tears.
Let it snow … NOT!
By the end of April, we just want to strangle Colorado weather’s neck.
What a find! And it was here all along—just undiscovered by me.
Proceed at Your Own Risk
The bright sign warned of potentially very dangerous avalanche or snow slide paths, and said to proceed at your own risk.
Eastern Plains & Beyond
Jurassic Park, CO
I didn’t know that this area was home to the largest set of dinosaur tracks in North America. This, I had to see.
Rattlesnake Country, Denver
I was glad to see that no trail was named “Rattlesnake Gulch” or “Venom Valley.”
These Were Real Buttes
They were way, waaay, out there. We’re talking Wyoming-Kansas out there, far from my familiar Colorado Springs region. They are called the Pawnee Buttes.
I don’t go out specifically looking for stories. Sure, I do hope to find them. But they usually find me, and often in unexpected ways.
You Do Hoodoo?
The park is quite striking and looks like it was designed by Disney Imagineers on peyote.
My Early Years
The Trail to Juvenile Delinquency
It still amazes me that I’m not writing this article from prison. I wasn’t bad; I just did bad things.
We just knew that there was “something going on in there.” I had a good friend who lived right near the gates on Sunnyside Street, and this was a fine launch pad for our Hardy Boys investigation.
A Boyhood Adventure in Bailey Canyon
Just an accident. Full of life at one moment. Gone the next. A slip on gravel, a miscalculation of distance, or not knowing if the ground was solid enough to support its weight, and, in a microsecond, it was all over.
Falling Chantry Flat
It was natural that I take my friend, Diane, on a hike up to Chantry Flat in the Big Santa Anita Canyon area. I had an interest in being more than friends. She, unfortunately, couldn’t see past my red hair.
Wrestling a Mountain
I was just another father concerned about who was dating his daughter. I may have been a little overprotective, I’ll admit. I own a shotgun for hunting, and I let each young man know that.
I’m pleased, if not somewhat surprised, to report that all my children survived our family’s outdoor adventures. They scampered up large boulders and didn’t slide off. They moved dangerously close to cliff edges but didn’t fall over.
Stones of Heart
Some people collect seashells at the beach; I collect small rocks—but for a purpose.
Now That’s an Effort
This sapling could have thrown in the needles and just given up. It could have just stayed where it landed, on the ground, roots embarrassingly exposed.
Cool on the Outside
The moss hangs like a beard on the pines. When drenched by an afternoon rainstorm, it can even look like hairy, mint-colored Christmas icicles.
New Life Out of Old
I’ve found saplings literally growing right out of their fallen forefathers. Some out of the trace of debris, some out of the dry horizontal trunk, some right out of the uprooted foot of the tree.
I’ve Got You Under My Skin
I found out that everything in Texas wants to bite, sting, pinch or burrow into you.
Hiking rules can help get you out of the forest or down the mountain alive in one piece.
Hey, Take a Hike!
Are you troubled? Stressed out? Worried? Take a hike. Are you in need of calm? Quiet? Clarity? Take a hike.
Leaf It Behind
No toilet paper would be allowed. For a 10-day backpacking trip? Seriously?
Being a Camp Caretaker
I had heard that in the off season, after the guests have departed, the wild beasties come back onto the property.