Relax & Watch

Friday, June 20, 2014


Today was my nephews birthday. He passed away last year suddenly. We all feel the pain of him being gone and that  feeling that may never go away. We all stand by each other and hope for the best for his family but that doesn't make it easier nor does it make the situation any different that they lost a son and a brother. This tragedy is something that will last for uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, and everyone down the line. It is hard to accept the death of someone so young as Liem. 

Liem was playful and resourceful as a young child, he wanted to mimic his siblings but knew just when to hold back. For a young child he tested his boundaries and laid them out to meet his needs. He played fiercely with his cousins who never gave him an inch. He loved every minute that he could spend with his family, grandparents and loved ones, and I loved every minute I could spend with him. 

Here's looking at you my man wherever you may be! 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hello Again

To start a post with "it has been awhile" is always something that I hate to do but it has been and I already did so there you have it.

Life is the same here for now; our lives between the mountains and the desert remain unchanged except for those minor fleeting moments that really don't mean much. We have a lot of changes coming up which I will write about in future blogs as I have promised to myself that I will be more diligent from here on out.

A fair amount has happened in the 7 months since I last wrote. Nothing specific, just day to day life which is always fun.

Another school year has passed with many school programs and field trips to the mountains with the kids from Ash Creek. The 12 hour days of bus ride and school are over for Tristan as he will begin a new journey in his education and our daughter finished her first year of college although summer classes are in her very near future. The kids continue to grow and are figuring out their place in this world we can guide them and offer advice but especially for our daughter the choices that she makes are hers and sometimes those can be hard. My daughter Abigail was here in March with my Grandson Max and his father Wes. We all had lots of fun and spent time at several of the southern Arizona parks while they were here. Always good to see your kids and the life that they are leading coming together.

Work is relentless as we still dealing with the fire damage of 2011. The winds have been non stop this year with countless days of the park being closed due to hazard trees coming down on the road. After several of these occurrences I gave into my hard nosed ethic of letting them fall and dropped about 30 trees along the road with our sawyer. It makes the road safer and it has been free from closures since but those damn stumps are terrible to look at. We are still preparing for the coming monsoons by cleaning the drainage along the road from fallen trees to avoid clogged culverts and trying to fix two large under cuts along the road by building gabions walls to protect the road. Lots of work and short staffed...if you know of anyone looking for work they can contact me. We can use the help. The monsoons are right around the corner and things will surely pick up.

We have spent a lot of time working on the house and yard in Tucson this year. New walkways, moving the Koi pond and a nice wood deck around the pond. We built a shade structure over the patio near the pool and installed a solar heating system on top of the structure to give us a little longer swim season. This has already been a benefit as Tricia typically doesn't swim until the end of June and she got in back in April.

Our summer will be a busy one. Monsoons at the park, a trip to Idaho and the cabin and rambling around in the mountains of the southwest. Maybe we will get the kayaks out for a few trips this year.

Reading everyone's blogs it sounds like folks are busy and having fun. Enjoy yourselves it's later than you think....that song was on just now.

Also I'm having trouble adding new pictures to the blog. It will only let me add photos already added to Picasso rather than new imports to my iPad. If you know of something I am doing wrong let me know. Here are a few photos from back in the day...

Take care everyone and enjoy these spring months where you are at. Adios!

Sunday, October 13, 2013


What is adventure? Is it the challenge, the unknown, the realization that things aren't going your way and you need to move forward regardless? Can it mean different things to different people depending on the circumstances? 

We all have a different level of adventure, for some stepping out of the vehicle at a trail head and walking that trail and what you can see and what this might bring is the meaning of adventure. For others it is walking away from the vehicle without a trail and no direction to go but the first foot you put forward. For most anyone it is that idea of getting out there and whatever that might be. The pumpkin patch and walking through the corn maze getting lost can mean the end is near as I found out from my son today and then a week ago as we watched two elephants push each other into the water at the at the zoo for 20 minutes as they played and fought for the high ground, we then watched the new grizzlies move around and experience their new home. This was adventure for my son and for me in the sense of something new to see and experience. 

Although that was a very controlled and real experience for us at the zoo his life during the week is much more different. Much of his adventure is seeing the black bear, coati, ringtails, javelinas, and deer on a daily basis as we hike and drive through our home in the National Parks. My true goal is that he is still in amazement over each encounter. Just the other day we watched a family of javelina at a pond outside of the park. His enjoyment to watch the animals doing their thing was a joy for me to watch. 

Our lives working for the parks are much different than others. We live in a mountain range in Southern Arizona it is beautiful but can come with its own heataches. We have to teach our son and daughter about strangers in Tucson and then turn around and teach them about what to do when you see a bear, a mountain lion, and other critters of the desert. We have to talk with our children about border issues and drug smuggling in our area because it is something that is real here and happens. You see it on the news and think how far away it is but we see it daily.How many dangers did you have to explain to your child today?                               

We all live our lives by rules that are set for us and set up against us. "No Off Trail Travel" is one of my biggest heartaches. Can we get that same experience from walking a trail? Yes I do believe we can, but we have to have that option to leave that trail and walk off into the woods on our own, to me that is what makes us animal and what makes us who we are. 

This can be looked at on several disciplines that have I walked. It is the climber that steps away from the designated route and finds his own way up, the mountaineer that tackles that ridge for the first time, and the hiker that walks that drainage that has no trail through it on the map. 

We have all been there and have made that choice, to take the road less traveled in a sense, to set off out on our own and not know what the outcome will be. It is that excitement that we all feel as we set out on with that adventure in our minds and afoot that we own and that we have decided for ourselves. 

The joy of setting off on that adventure I realized as I was young walking with my dad and my brothers in the woods back home in Idaho. We would take trips into the mountains and be left to our own as we spread out fishing and hunting in the mountains. My dad had taught us to be in the mountains and get around but it was never without headache for my dad as he wrangled 5 boys in the woods and desert lands that he would take us to. It never seemed to me he fussed much about us as one or another boy wandered off, but I remember times of a certain brother getting a bit "confused" and spending more time out then what was allowed. 

Within the last few months I went on one of those adventure hikes with my father. We set out on an unknown adventure, not really knowing where it would lead but just taking that first step out of the vehicle with no trail marked on a map and nothing but drainage, plateau, and a beautiful morning in front of us. We headed up a drainage that would prove to be too narrow and steep and the summer monsoons that chased us off the ridges. 

It was a little know drainage that we headed up with a trail for only so long and then we headed across the upper ridges from there. You could not follow the creek as the canyon was too deep and winding and as we headed across the land trying to work our away around the deep drainages heading into the main creek it turned into several additional miles as we we worked our way across the uplands of the Gila.  We followed ridges picking up old flag lines from fire crews and their escape routes from the fires in 2011. We snuck up on a ridge and watched a group of elk moving off the ridge into the drainage. Several large bulls and a fewcows, it was close to rut and we could see every tree limb rubbed by the bulls. It was a hunters heaven to see the sign that we saw; but no hunter that I know has the nuts to walk back there and get a big elk out. We stopped in the flat areas above the drainage and saw signs of they ancestral people in the fields. The area was scattered with pottery, tool making remnants, and several pit houses. They hunted these grounds and set up their camps here, lived for generations and then vanished, yet another story. 

We continued to walk the ridges and then dropped into the drainage and then back out again to try to gain high ground. The afternoon thunderstorms had not treated us well and were upon us again. My fear of the desert monsoons is the lightning and what that typically means is flash flooding. You have the choice of staying high and tempting the fate of the lightning bolt or down in the lower ground and watching the water levels. I've heard desert rats go both ways. My thoughts are always the lay of the land up or down, wait or stay, it's always a chance no matter how you play the dice. We had walked 7 miles and really did not have a good idea of where we were. 

It was 3:00 in the afternoon and we were not gonna make it out before dark no matter which we we went. We hit a ridge and saw a few cairns, the first human occupation that we had seen in hours. We walked the hillside for a bit looking for others and the storm really moved in. I moved quickly off the hill slope. My dad lingered as he looked for cairns. My fear of the storm probably didn't phase him as he has walked and worked through way worse than what we were seeing. Either way he agreed with me that the best thing was to get off the ridge and back to the drainage.

So we end up in the darkness of a seldom visited drainage of the Gila. We had covered the ridges across much of this country and  now we were in the drainage and no where to go if the water came up. We walked into the open drainage that we had waded through before with confident seeing the elk sign on the tree and then watching it disappear as the canyon grew more narrow. 

For the next several hours we waded through chest deep water and swam through deep pools that had pine trees pinned ten feet above our heads between the tight canyon walls. We watched the dark storms above the drainage putting down rain and lighting as the day grew into night. We went through pool after pool of dirty filthy water. The pools were so deep at times that the water came over our heads as our backpacks dragged us down, you reached to remove it just as you would feel the stable ground beneath your feet. We pulled out headlamps and prepared ourselves for the dark. Walking along the banks no longer became an easy route as we could not see through the thick brush and often the canyon narrowed into a deep slot with no other way in or out, It was easier to see down the stream bed where it was often more open. 

The bear tracks that we had seen earlier in the creek made the travel that much more interesting. My other travels in the night at Gila had very few bear encounters, but only a month before my wife and I had a close encounter as I obliviously walked into the Gila not seeing a bear only feet away on the other side the river. Thankfully my wife's attention and the fact that the bear was as startled as I was the situation turned into nothing more than a good story. To avoid similar situations my dad and I made considerable noise as we moved through the creek and in and out of the thick brush. 

As we came out of the narrow canyon I began to see more familiar canyon walls silhouetted in the moon. We still had a few more miles to go but I was now in more familiar area. Tricia and I had been in the lower canyon a few weeks previous and had scaled up the steep canyon walls to inspect a cave. As Tricia and myself looked at the cave that evening and we were about to climb back down of what seemd an impossible 20 foot climb to the mouth I spied a pictograph of what appeared to be an elk on the wall just above the cave. We still did not climb the last 20 feet leaving a mystery of what may have been hidden in that cave in that remote canyon. 

My dad and I passed below that general area, although it was hidden in the darkness I knew it was there and we were close. We continued down the stream hitting a small trail here and there and continued to follow our bouncing headlamp beams in the darkness. We passed more familiar areas, then hitting the familiar man made power lines, the road and finally the truck. 

As we reached the truck I checked the windshield for a note from work or search and rescue as we were now close to 5 hours past what I had told Tricia we would return by. Luckily nothing. There were several worried phone messages once we returned to the house and another hour and she probably would have made other calls alerting others of our disappearance so thankfully we returned just in time. 

As we loaded our packs in the truck and breathed a sigh of relief, returned t the house, got cleaned up and had some food I was happy to have had that experience with my dad. There are very few others that I would have wanted to have been on that hike with and fewer that I would have wanted to be with when things didn't go as planned. 

After a short night of sleep we awoke, lounged around and had some breakfast. We loaded packs again and set up a trail, for a short seven mile loop. The first few miles were slighly painful as we walked off the soreness from the day before. We walked close to the upper end where we had planned to come out the day before to see if we could tell how close we had come. We followed the trail back down another canyon to the west fork of the Gila. As we made the last river crossing before the return to the trailhead I looked back and saw lightning hitting the ridges behind us and the sky began to turn black. I smiled as my dad made the last crossing thinking about the day before and the hikes that we had done over the last several days another set of adventures behind us and fond memories made, can't wait for the next one with my dad. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Old Friends

It has been a few months since my friend Bob has passed. Many things have happened since that day. In my heart I new he was passing on, I left the Gila and stopped on my way to Tucson to see him in the hospital which was the last thing I wanted to do. My perception of Bob was the strong willed type that wanted no help, I did not want to forget that . From the time that I knew him 15 years ago he lived a private life with family and friends. He always stopped in Tucson to say hello and drop of a few plants. We have Almond trees, prickly pears, Alepo Pines, and dozens of other plants thanks to Bob. To see him any other state but strong, digging holes and moving rock was a heartbreak to someone  I looked up to to as a hero. 

He left this place for the better. Sharing his thoughts and ideology with those that he crossed paths with. He never meant for that to happen. He was not a preacher or a saint to take you on a journey for self discovery, but it was. You could walk with Bob in the deserts, in the mountains or in the middle of town and he could make sense of it all. He could tell you about the past the present and where he thought we were headed. 

It was my friend Bob that helped me carry Jake to the helicopter that fateful day in 2006. We shed tears as we covered Jake and lifted him from the mountain to go down to his final resting place. It was Bob that talked with Jakes family and helped to make sense of it all. His easy understanding and appreciation for family and life made Bob that saint, that myself and Jake's family remember to this day.

My respect and admiration for Bob was something that was always apparent. His family and mine seemed to click in the good and bad times throughout the years. My friend Joe, Bob's  son, and the many heartaches that their family has been handed  is unbelievable. We have witnessed the death of Bob's son Carlos, the death of my dear friend and their father Bob, and the apparent attempted murder and beating of his wife, my friend and co-worker Karen Gonzales. This family has been through so much.

My mind however wanders back to pleasant times along the trail with Bob and looking at the work that  needed to be done and the crews that would be there to do it. He knew it would not be him nor me that would see that work complete, there is just too much left too do...

The work goes on forever
The last stone will not be placed
The damn trail washed out again
Why the hell did they have to burn this place

The work goes on forever 
Another high line set to roll
We'll move this stone all week
Build a trail that will hold  

The work goes on forever 
Another crews has come and gone
Bob'll be back here tomorrow
to make sure the work is done.

Adios to my good friend.....

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I've been absent from writing lately due to my detail in New Mexico and issues we have had at the park. I'm sure everyone was expecting a post on those things, but it's just not time yet for me to write about. Instead I have decided to write about the title in the subject that you can see. Close now if you are expecting flowery outdoor writings that I normally post. 

Many of you may know  our son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. There were signs that led to us having him tested and my wonderful sister, Amy, clued us into many of those signs on a visit to our house when he was about 2 years old. What an odd conversation it must have been for her, a licensed therapist that treats autistic children to call and say that our son had similar symptoms that she saw in other children that she worked with. The conversation is still impressed on my memory and I don't think things have been the same since...but for the better I suppose.  To me she helped us get my son to where he is today. 

We saw similar things that she had seen in his behavior as he grew older from not responding to his name, to a decline in language and a persistent need to stack and line objects up as well as a fixation with rolling and swinging objects. At the time I had no idea about autism, what is was or what it looked like, it was a topic that other parents had to deal with not me. We passed it off as the remote area we lived in, lack of interaction with his own age or the need to bother communicating. Basically any excuse I could come up with that blamed me was the reason he was the way he was. We battled this for a few years with Tricia dealing with the brunt of it as I worked away seeing the effects on both of them when I would return in the evenings.

During this time we looked for help, taking him to Children's Primary Hospital. They did hearing checks and other observations but gave us no real ides of anything. He was still a playful boy that loved the outdoors and playing in the mud. He was happy with the hose and a mud hole, but once inside and the need for food or basic needs would arise he could not communicate. He would point and mumble and if that would not get your attention he would beat his head on the floor until you could understand what he was asking for. For a time he went to a school in town in the mornings with similar kids, but he did not change nor do I think he or us understood why he should be there. It was of little use and caused frustration for us and him. 

We then moved back to Tucson. Our son was three and non verbal. We had developed our own skills of understanding what his needs were without talking and with minimal frustrations. He had issues with many public places, loud noises, including something as simple as florescent lights and the noise the lights put off. You may not hear it but listen closely and and imagine that hum multiplied by 1000 times. We would have him wear sweatshirts with hoods so he could cover his ears or he would take our hands and place them over his ears to muffle the noise.  We began to understand what bothered him and what overloaded his system. 

Soon after moving back to Tucson we worked through the process, testing and evaluations and our son received a diagnosis of moderate to severe autism. It was something we had expected and known but to hear brought on both pain and relief. We could enroll him early in intervention programs that could help him along further, but we knew the path that was in front of him would be hard to follow. 

Over the next several years our son went leaps and bounds we went from picture cards for understanding his wants and needs to language by 5 years of age. This was largely due to parent interaction and school activities by early intervention programs that were available.  We always had an active part in his education from story boards and pictures at home to trail crew building a sand box at his school on their days off, his well-being and the schools well-being  meant the most to myself and Tricia. We played such a part that we were asked to assist in selecting a new teacher for our sons class in the first grade that we sat through interviews with the staff and helped select the teacher that would be a part of his life over the next two years. 

Our selection of his new teacher was largely based on an idea called "inclusion". When you look at the word itself and the meaning it sounds elementary, but for children with disabilities, including learning disabilities, it can mean the whole world. The idea to be in another class and play with other kids had taken over our sons life. He was apprehensive at first but loved to sit on the floor with the other kids and listen to a story, to play on the big toys with the other kids and to be a part of their activities. He knew he was different but just wanted to feel normal. We did activities with the school that included zoo trips, water fights and  picnics. After attending many of these events we could understand what many of those children wanted was to just be included. 

When my wife and I took the jobs in Chiricahua in January we decided to leave our son in school in Tucson so that he could finish where he was at. The school and what we had both worked for was too much to pull him out part way through the school year. Tricia and I spent the next several months driving the two hours each way to Chiricahua and Tucson so that he could complete that year and go into regular classes that following school year. 

Today we are in a good place. Our son has been in a regular school for a few years now and does good on a daily basis. His memory and creativeness is that far beyond someone his age. He can memorize entire movies in one sitting, but won't always apply that same memory to some school work that he sees as useless. He will never adapt to standardized testing, but frankly they can shove those tests up the state and federal governments ass. At what point was it decided that our children should standardized? He questions authority much like our daughter does and wants facts to be proven to him before he will settle on an argument and you better be able to prove your point. It is refreshing to see a child's mind think and question all reason. Our children should not have our minds forced on them but their own proven to them through their own experience, we are merely guides.  

The other day I was at our sons school and met a young man with autism, maybe 16 years old, he saw a girl he recognized and said hello. With a bashful face he reached out his hand to shake hers. The young lady looked at his hand almost in disgust of touching him and turned her back from the boy. He turned away rocking in the same manner my son does when he feels stress mumbling lowly to himself to calm his frightened state similar to my son. My heat sank as I placed my hand on my sons shoulder knowing that his struggles are far from over. 

We then watched the children read their books and poems that they had chosen. They ranged from silly songs from the younger children to Bang Bang from the elementary class. I watched my son read a story about dinosaurs in front of a crowd that could not pronounce half of the words he read from that book and I watched that sixteen year old tell jokes that he had written himself, and they were pretty funny. 

Then I watched that lonely girl that had turned her back on him recite something so low and inaudible that I could not hear it, she was so apprehensive that you could not understand anything she said... and it dawned on me that I should not worry about the 16 year old nor my son. They are the ones that will change the future, they are the ones that will have the voice that will be heard. They are the explorers and the future. They are not the ones that will bring hate and prejudice to the world and make it a lower place. 

You can read the statistics on Autism and conjure up your own thoughts and your own beliefs on why it has taken a rise, 1 in 88 children. Autism is not ADHD, it cannot and should not be treated with the same medications. Autism is not a hyperactivity disorder. My child could teach you a thing or two about dinosaurs, seriously. My child wears headphones because the other noise is distracting, and he knows what you are saying is nonsense. 

Open your ears and listen even those with disabilities, they have something profound to say, probably much more profound than you would think. 


Friday, August 23, 2013

What's In A Name

So the word Gila can have several meanings depending on the language etc. In Hebrew it can be used typically as a girls name meaning joy. In Indonesian it can mean crazy. I've struggled to find what the ancestral people called the river and the area, I'm sure if I kept looking I could find several instances and information on the use. The area has been used for 100's of years based on the archeology studies that have been done and I am sure that the names were different depending on the people living in the area, and the dialects that were used until the European or possibly Spanish name abomination finally came out to Gila. In my limited research of name places that is typically what you see. Maybe someone reading this can school me on the topic but that is not really the reason for this post as a history lesson. But more about my fascination with names.

When I sit down with maps as I do quite frequently I read names listed that could both intrigue and startle a person. It either draws the attention of the person to go to that place or brings fear of remoteness and isolation that the average person has no desire to set off to see that site. For instance several weeks ago I heard someone asking about a place called Hell Hole. This is a remote location in the Wilderness and having been there is not what I would think of hell, all though if it is I'm probably heading to a relatively nice place. The area was columned basalt along a stream that runs year round, the area was rugged to get to but a fairly well maintained trail took you there, and a tight narrow canyon that drew you in. The person that I overheard said something to the fact why would someone walk to such a place, why would someone subject themselves to a hike of great distance to see a place called Hell Hole? 

In reality I believe that places have names for significant reasons or specific locations that were identified so that others following behind them can know the place and understand where they are. They were named after explorers, senators, congressmen etc. often times forgetting entirely what the ancestral and native people called these places. A-Mountain in Tucson is a perfect example as well as the Catalina Mountains which took on either the Spanish or European peoples names rather than the Tohono O'odham names used by the original inhabitants of the area. In todays world regardless of origins these names can assist in navigating the back-country and search and rescue operations. 

The psychology of it is the thought that this person had. That they would not subject themselves to a place with such a name. It induces fear and thoughts of discomfort. You can pick up about any map and find a name on there that would insight similar feelings among certain people. Death Canyon, Death Vally, Purgatory Chasm, and  El Camino del Diablo, are to name a few although the last one is frequented quite a bit by a different kind of visitor if you know the area. If it were named something wonderful like Heavens Gates would it draw more people would people find it safer to go to? 

You will always have the adventurers that could care less about a name of a place but simply the destination or the name intrigues them. The question or maybe really the statement is that many people have lost that intrigue whether it is due to the name or simply the idea of the name and possible discomfort it might bring. Maybe it has nothing to do with the name but simply the fact that fewer people venture from the nicely maintained trail or their couch for that matter. This is not just a statement that I believe but truth in the fact that there are less people getting out into the woods. I'm guessing this is more of a society issue than people being scared of place names, but I can speculate. 

Maybe this is for the best. Maybe Hell Hole and all of those wonderfully scary places would be over run with people coming to bask in all it's glory and be anointed in its river. It would be overrun, a resort would soon follow and yoga sessions on the balcony of the three story hotel after your morning grapefruit and meditation would hide that terrible name. For whatever scares us we tear down and build something comforting in its place. The name would be changed and it would be a safe place to take your family for the weekend. 

Meanwhile I will continue to visit those scary places and enjoy the fact that those people are not there, the fact that I have the place to myself or seeing that fellow hiker pass by only with a slight nod and hello as we keep walking knowing that our secret is safe. Enjoy a few photos of Purgatory Chasm. Adios!

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Water, good old H2O, it covers 71% of the Earth's surface and is vital to to all life. Where we live out here in the desert it is dry and little water exists. Sure we have some man made lakes in the area, and there are those streams up high in the mountains that run on a more regular basis and of course there are the scattered springs and tinaja's in the area that support the bear, deer, coati and other mammals and aquatic life in the area. We tend to seek water out, hiking the mountain drainages looking for the springs, coveting those areas that have the running streams and keeping secret those hidden spots. 

We out here in the desert have the rainy summer months or as some would call it the monsoons. The winds shift bringing more moisture into the area, days begin clear and as the temperatures rise the sky gives way to large clouds building over the landscape. These clouds will cool the temperatures and give way to dust storms at the beginning of the season, high winds, and eventually large amounts of rain in short amounts of time, the flashes of lightning and the roar of thunder covers the area once again. These storms are amazing to watch, the fury as they move through the area and the astonishment and joy of watching a wall of water rushing down the drainage behind the house or on the trail bridge down the canyon. 

For many of us that live in the deserts of the southwest these are welcome times. It washes away the dust from the earlier months of summer, it brings the animals out that we enjoy to watch, and it provides us with the sites and sound of the rushing creek as the mountain rains rush to the valleys below. The often cooler temperatures that come with these storms make hiking in the mountains among the ponderosa pine soaked with rain and the wonderful smell of water soaked creosote in the desert lowlands enjoyable once again. To me it feels like a renewal of the desert as the animals and plants give thanks to the much appreciated water. 

The monsoons are  building this year within the last few weeks. Here in the mountains of New Mexico we have seen them build in the afternoons the last 2 weeks or so, first slowly and then with a fury last night as the stillness gave way to the lightning cracking outside my window. Here in New Mexico where we do have the Gila River running through the area the waters gave way to a muddy, debris filled flow as the water from the upper canyons reached the confluence of the middle and west forks. Back in Arizona the clouds are building in the mountains and the lightning has began its impressive shows with rain falling mostly in the high country with the occasional burst in the lower elevations. You can smell it and hear its arrival to the mountains and hope that it will creep into the valleys below turning the landscape green throughout the region. 

Hopefully everyone will have a safe monsoon season down here enjoying those storms as they roll across the desert wishing they would hold together just long enough to reach your location or that spot in the mountains where the creeks will flow again. 

Take Care, Adios!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Summer Fun

The summer has been pretty good to start out with. Tristan decided he wanted to head north with me to New Mexico this week so we have been having some fun with a bit of hiking and checking things out. We have hit the middle fork and a few hot springs and have enjoyed just hanging out and watching a movie in the evenings, his choice of course so it has been Godzilla the last few days. The job has been good so far but only three weeks in. A crew came out to remove hazard rocks from above the dwellings and that project went good and the trail will be safer for visitors and staff. Last weekend I headed back to Tucson with a sandal that had been discovered here in the park years ago and needed to go to WACC. The time frame for the dwellings is approximately 700 years ago, this is after reading up on this particular location and not a specific date for the sandal. For those of you that do not know WACC is the western archeological conservation center. This a place that houses park collections in a treated environment to preserve and protect these items. They give tours at WACC on a scheduled basis, and then parks can also get collection items to display at their visitor centers similar to items at the parks that I currently work at. It is a very cool place and very interesting  to see the process that goes on to preserve these artifacts. Anyhow, it is later than I thought when I started the post so I will cut this short. Enjoy and have a great summer, Adios!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Life Changes

It is always interesting how one day life is carrying on and the next everything flips and you are forced to readjust and change for those new experiences. Our life's can sometimes be chaotic but that is what makes it nice. For me, I would rather not live everyday doing the same thing day in and day out, it is the shake ups, the changes, the new experiences and challenges that keep me entertained with this ride. The nice thing is that I have Tricia and the rest of my family that is willing to jump on the ride with me and see where it leads us.

Our wonderful daughter Maren graduated high school from UHS in Tucson last week with honors. She will be attending University of Arizona Honors program this fall on a full scholarship for the next 4 years. We are so proud of her and of the great things that she will accomplish. Her graduation events were fun starting with a breakfast for families early in the week, an awards event mid week and then graduation at the end of the week. We had a party at the house and enjoyed friends and family seeing Maren taking the next step in life.

The other news is that as I write this I sit in New Mexico at small park where I will be the Superintendent for the next 4 months. I arrived earlier this week and will be here until the end of September. The opportunity to learn will be great and to spend a summer exploring native ruins, rock art, hot springs and 3 million acres of Wilderness is something that I could not pass up. I'll come back to Tucson and the mountains of my home park every few weeks and Tricia and the kids will come stay here at the park with me to enjoy the area so it will only be short times without the family. The experience that I will have will be good but I also look forward to sharing this with Tristan, Maren and Tricia to spend a summer playing in rivers and exploring the woods in another area. In the few days that I have been here I have hiked, sat in hot springs and explored cliffs with art and dwellings staggered along the canyon, it makes me happy to be able to share this with them in the coming months.

Thats about it for the evening. Hope everyone is doing well. Adios!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hazard Rocks

Just a quick update and some photos. I spent the last few days over at Gila in New Mexico at the request of the park to assess rock fall hazards above the cliff dwellings. After fires there a few years ago, rainy weather, and freeze and thaws of the winter there has been concerns with rocks coming down on the trail below the dwellings. We hiked to the mesa above the dwellings to see what was going on and could see 20 to 30 loose boulders in the pour off areas, although not an immediate hazard if they get much of a rain they could potentially come down. In addition to the boulders above there are about a dozen rocks on the face that have significant cracking that need assessed by someone on fall protection to determine if they should be scaled off the wall or are safe enough to leave in place. I'll take a crew back in early June to set up fall protection, stabilize and move the rocks on the slopes above and asses the rocks on the face. Although you probably think we would just sail the rocks above to the canyon below to watch them hit the ground and explode, we will actually utilize rigging gear and move the rock up the slope to the mesa top and stabilize them to where they will not pose as future hazards. Trundling rocks down a canyon is always fun but the damage to the resources below including plants, trails and most importantly the ruins is something that we want to avoid. We will set up about two hundred feet of fall protection line to dangle my trusting crew members down the cliff to assess the other rocks and determine what should be done with those rocks. Always can be a fun and interesting job doing what I do.