Good Senses

Looking into the Copper Canyon backcountry

Starry nights
And faraway lights.
Where storm clouds go
And a wild lightning show.

Above the peak
And the end of the trail.
Crossing a log
And staying out of the bog.

Warm days in winter
And fields full of color.
Snowfall in summer
And a distant drummer.

Intriguingly perched boulders
And birds flying south.
The movements of herds
And undefined words.

Second winds found
And hills lit by the sun.
Uncharted miles
And grandeur that smiles.

Mysterious corners
And faces in logs.
Waves rolling in
And time without end.

Branches all tangled
And stickers that stick.
Why campfires smoke
And cause you to choke.

The bacon that’s cooking
And ants that don’t bite.
Dust Devils on the horizon
And moments that wizen.

Unknown new roads
And scratching an itch.
At the top of the climb
And the future time.

Life fills up your mind
And lights up your path.
So, free your spirit to wander,
There’s so much to ponder.

Audio Version:

A campfire to smell

Inside a Bolivian Mine

Unexpected Footbridge in Mexico

My wife, Lori, and I ended up in the city of Potosi on the last part of our Bolivian vacation. After considering various things to do around the city, we selected the “mine tour” option. The city is over 200 miles south of the capital city of La Paz. At 13,400 feet of elevation, it’s one of the world’s highest cities. And, as we found out, it’s dominated by a big mountain named Cerro Rico, which has been mined regularly for silver since the Spaniards were the rulers.

Continue reading “Inside a Bolivian Mine”

Guaymas, 1971- Revisited

Unexpected Footbridge in Mexico

It was Christmas break of my sophomore year in high school when Jake and I took off from Denton. We geared up and drove his parent’s VW Camper/van (with their permission), bound for Mexico with a stop in Douglas, Arizona. The plan was to meet up in Douglas with an older, more mature person named Jim, whom I knew from the summer camp where I had worked the previous summer. From there, the three of us would travel to Guaymas, Mexico, where we’d camp, have some quality beach time, and experience a bunch of “neat adventure stuff.” In the van, we had scuba gear packed away under one of the seats in cardboard boxes, places to sleep, and we must have had some food somewhere. (Note- I’m not sure how we got our parents to agree to the plan. Although I do remember it being a good thing that we would be under the supervision of someone older).
Jake and I drove to Douglas, where we connected with Jim at his parent’s house. We spent a day there doing “the friends visiting from out of town” routine, which included supper across the border in Agua Prieta. The next day we loaded Jim’s baggage into the van and took off across the border toward the coastal city of Guaymas, which we had randomly chosen as our destination.

Continue reading “Guaymas, 1971- Revisited”

The Incessant Wind

2 people standing on a rock and looking out at the mountains
Watching the Wind

Turn and face the wind,
And feel the voice,
Touch your skin.

Close your eyes,
And drink it in.
To your past,
You are akin.

An unknown something,
Makes you stir.
What’s behind you,
Is a blur.

Some people, paths, and places,
Are familiar yet unknown.
You see no one with you on your journey,
Yet you never feel alone.

Yesterday is always there,
Standing quietly by your side.
Forever it is with you,
As your mentor and your guide.

Whether it slaps you in the face,
Or nudges at your back.
The wind is your friend,
And helps you down the track.

No matter if it roars,
Or sings a lullaby,
It always blows around you,
And will never say goodbye.

So, rejoice that it’s there.
Know the power of your yore.
Seize the moments of your day,
And treasure times that came before.

Descending into a valley in Bolivia.

Mourning Coffee on Huayna Potosi

Rope team ascending Huayna Potosi in BoliviaAdventure Recommendations

 

It was cold and restless sleep at our high camp on Bolivia’s Huayna Potosi. As I think back, it was actually more like quiet time, except for the constant banging of the tent flap out in the frigid, high-altitude night. Sometime in the very early morning, I got up and went outside to relieve myself and, while doing my business, marveled at how clear and full of stars the sky was. But that marvel was tempered by my personal acknowledgment that ultimately the clear skies would just mean even colder temperatures. At least, I reasoned, since there was no threat of snow, I wasn’t going to have to get up and shovel any of it away from the tent in the wee hours of the morning. I quickly got chilled, and so, once back in the tent, I pushed myself deeper into my minus 25-degree bag and cinched the hood tightly down around my head. Cinching down and tightening the hood, along with a persistent need to go outside and relieve myself, periodic dozing off, and a mental organization of the rope-up logistics, occupied the bulk of my supposed sleep time.

Continue reading “Mourning Coffee on Huayna Potosi”

Big and Small

 

Tent on the Kahiltna Glacier in Alaska with a glacier travler moving away from camp.
Glacier Travel- Maybe a big thing?

Morning coffee,
By the creek.
Pondering how,
My day I’ll tweak.

Climb the mountain,
Rising high.
Knife-edge summit,
Fills the sky.

Gulp of water,
Clear and cold,
No sight of flecks,
Dirt, or mold.

Trail ascending,
Miles to go,
Heavy packs,
And thigh-deep snow.

Sardines with honey,
Such a treat.
Sweet and filling,
Hard to beat.

Unfathomed darkness,
Fills the cave.
To enter deeper,
Must be brave.

Cross a log,
Above the stream.
You don’t fall in,
Or even scream.

Mountain bike,
On sketchy trails.
With massive cliffs,
And no guard rails.

The best 12 peas,
I ever ate,
Were hard and crunchy,
But filled my plate.

Roaring river,
Drops and chutes.
Scary options,
So many routes.

It didn’t snow,
Or even rain.
Now sunshine rules,
And clear skies reign.

Climbing rock face high above.
Footholds, handholds, and lots of gear.
Keep your focus and your balance
Have strength of mind,
But never fear.

Strike a match,
Start a fire.
Warm your hands,
Cold not so dire.

Massive snowfield,
Long and steep,
No run-out,
And the snow is deep.

Things that happen,
Are both big and small.
But remember that,
They matter all.

Audio Version: 

A backpacking trail group takes a break while hiking a trail
A Welcomed Trail Break

Measuring Ancohuma

Climbers running GPS to determine the elevation of Bolivia's Anchohuma
Measuring the summit elevation of Ancohuma

Ancohuma is a big mountain located in an area of the Bolivian Andes known as the Cordillera Real. Until a team of three American teenagers and one adult guide collected summit data in 2002, its elevation was never determined. There was conjecture up to that point that its height was possibly over 23,000 feet, which would make it the tallest peak in the Western Hemisphere, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. It ended up being 21,079 feet- tall, but not the tallest. Continue reading “Measuring Ancohuma”

Outdoor Adventure Is…

A suspension footbridge near Coyachique and above the Batlopilas River
An unexpected bridge

Goal chosen wisely,
Journey planned well.
The unknown awaits,
With stories to tell.

The first step is telling,
Confirms the intent.
Each one that follows,
Will surely augment.

Calm and smooth sailing,
Is widely perceived.
The plan moves on forward,
Just as conceived.

Cloudless skies and well-marked trails,
Stoves that work and wind-filled sails.
Cars that run and sturdy shoes,
Healthy heals and happy news.

But then,

A storm looms to the west,
               The trail sign is gone.
               There’s no way to cook food,
               Good breezes allude.

               The engine won’t start,
               Your boots come apart.
               Big blisters have formed,
               The news has transformed.

When plans go awry,
And you wonder why.
Don’t cry for what’s not,
Think of all that you’ve got.

Be excited when curveballs,
Come your way.

Because then is when,
Real adventures begin.

 

Audio Version:

 

A crevasse on a glacier in Alaska
A crevasse to deal with

A Way of Giving Thanks

The Tarryalls

Embrace the time and place,
That puts a smile upon your face.

Wallow in it,
Soak it up,
Savor the moment,
Pour it in your cup.
Plant the vision in your mind,
Tell the story to remind.

The memories don’t have to disappear,
Or become less clear.

For me, I still….

Feel the river jostling my canoe as I marvel at the sunrise over the Del   Carmens.

Ponder the quiet of the Tarryall Mountains as I lean against a rock on the top of Bison.

Taste the Tuna Surprise we ate on Mount Borah.

Am amazed by the midnight sun as it finally begins to set over the Kahiltna   Glacier.

Hear the Popo Agie River roaring while I search for a good place to camp.

Feel the flow of the Puke Loop when I finally point my bike downward.

Make the right combination of moves near the top of the Rock Staircase.

Turn my eyes away from the blowing wind and snow as I near the top of       Huayna Potosi.

See the Milky Way come to life as I look up from my bivouac in the Winds.

Walk to the cadence of the Semana Santa drums in Copper Canyon.

Smell the campfire telling me how to get back.

Each instant a wonder,
A tale of its own.
Remember and treasure,
Help it be known.

 

Audio Version:

Ecuador

Remembering

People, places,
Visions, and faces.
Pictures, stories,
And skimpy traces.

Thoughts, dreams,
And blurry schemes.
Memories, tales,
And forgotten trails.

Colors, voices,
And always choices.
Before, after,
And often laughter.

Luck, mistakes,
Clear alpine lakes.
Gushing fountains,
And foggy mountains.

Breathing hard,
And hardly breathing.
Winning, losing,
Always amusing.

Hard, easy,
And sometimes queasy.
Win, lose,
And one time wheezy.

Upward, downward,
Often inward.
Planning, hoping,
Incessant coping.

Bluebird days,
And starry nights.
Scary heights,
And distant lights.

Peaceful summits,
Windblown meadows.
Forgotten canyons,
Where no one goes.

Hot and thirsty,
Cold and dry.
Frozen toe,
And sweaty eye.

Lost and found,
And outward bound.
Profound, astound,
At times renowned.

So many moments,
All melted together,
And frozen in time.

Audio Version:

Hike a Bike on the Silver Trail
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