Tag Archive: backcountry

Happy birthday, Rich!

A thunderstorm dominates Big Bend National Park’s Chisos Mountains, by photographer Louis Shackleton.

This beautiful pool is near the Mineral King area of the Sequoia National Forest. You can see the shadow of the simple log bridge across that the California Conservation Corps built way back when. The pebbles on the left gradually slant down to the deeper water in the middle. A waterfall is roaring just out of camera to the left, but the flow here is gentle. From this vantage point, I could have climbed down and taken a skinny dip. I wanted so much to do just that, but I was alone there, on a Monday, a mile walk out. I didn’t want to take the chance of getting hurt. When I’m hot and sweaty, I love to look at this picture, and imagine slipping into the ice-cold turquoise water.

This is excerpted from the editor’s letter at the beginning of a Cook’s Illustrated magazine. It just so perfectly describes country life:

“In our small Vermont town, there are many ways of getting news. You can sit at the ’round table’ at the Wayside Country Store before dawn and discuss everything from local DWI citations to the United Nations. Or you can meet on the road, two pickups stopped in opposite directions, the drivers lazily discussing the flatlander who likes to garden stark naked. Or perhaps a neighbor will just stop by while you’re boiling sap, mucking a stall, feeding the pigs, or washing dishes. If it’s close to high noon, you offer a beer; coffee is only for the early morning hours. One of our neighbors, John, used to ask for a cup of tea to which I often add a healthy shot of something made in the Scottish highlands. And of course there is coffee hour after church, the conversation often turning on the prospects for haying given the variable weather. The telephone is never used for social reasons. Old-time Vermonters will almost never answer it, and, when they do, they speak in words of one syllable until they can prematurely end the conversation with a ‘See you then,’ followed by a click and the inevitable dial tone.”

Modern-Day Pioneer Wagon

From my boss Tina in Grants Pass, Oregon:

This guy went by our house the other day and I ran out and took photos, he would not even look at camera.  Horses very calm in spite of 10 dogs barking at fences.


Pretty strange to see this going by your house, but guess he got a lot of attention.  Chuckled as the smoke rolled out of the stack in the roof.





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Mongols Biker Gang

This weekend, the local news media made a big to-do about the fact that the Mongols biker gang had rented spaces at the La Jolla Indian Reservation campground for their annual meeting. I guess a brawl broke out at the last one in Laughlin when the Hells Angels, their arch-rivals, crashed their meeting. The police were going to make sure that as long as they were law-abiding, there'd be no trouble. They'd ticketed a few bikes coming in, mostly for registration or equipment violations. The meeting was supposed to last through Sunday.

Well, on Sunday Rich & I drove to Murietta to visit our families. Our backcountry route takes us right past the campground they were using. We figured we'd see an increased police presence, but BOY we were shocked at what we did see.

Along a 10-mile stretch of road, I counted 52 Highway Patrol and Sheriff vehicles, 2 helicopters, and one SWAT team tank, complete with a dude's head in a metal helmet sticking out the turret.

They all had semi-automatic rifles. They'd park along the side of the road in groups of four or more vehicles, and stand there glaring at every car that went by, holding their rifles. They'd partially block the road, so people would have to edge over the double-yellow line to creep past – not a comfortable situation when there's also traffic coming from the other direction.

In all this activity, we saw only ONE motorcyclist who was being questioned.

What a total waste of tax-paid resources. What if there had been a real emergency in the County? I hope those cops felt silly. I hope the Mongols got a really good laugh seeing all the fuss being made over them. Good heavens.


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