Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall Musings

After a short 2 months at Naturalists-At-Large I am looking forward now to a grand adventure in China, Thailand, and Borneo this winter. The itinerary, beginning Nov. 8, is starting to fill up with endless forays into new and never visited climbing areas across Southeast Asia. But before I launch into preparations for the upcoming journey I felt it only to necessary to recount a few excellent adventures from the last bit of this play called work.

So to recap: The Southern California fall has been nothing short of fantastic. My regular tour of the region this season included some of the Golden State's most beautiful and less visited natural areas. I began in September at one-of-kind salty, tuffa'd Mono Lake and I moved around working and touring through the dry yet elegant Mojave desert. Along the way I was accompanied by a colorful cast of devoted and outrageous outdoor educators. Campfire music sessions were numerous, miles on the Interstate were even more numerous, and the time spent with friends in wild places was notable in the fact that despite the many times I have visited these places they are still just as I want and need them to be.

Programs at the end of the Colorado River were fun and the weekends following in dirty, quaint Yuma, Arizona were clearly scenes out of low-budget Hollywood flick backdropped by neon cheap hotels and sad palm trees. A canoe trip below the Hoover Dam meant Vegas was just a short drive away but we chose to spend our evening watching the presidential debate in the back of a local bar and wandering the streets of a desert town lost in the middle. In Pinnacles we befriended the rangers, took the superintendent's 10 year old daughter climbing and later, Andrew and I climbed the serpentine Machete Ridge with speed and grace (not always the case) until dark.

This season I reflected on how truly lucky I am do be working at a job that lets me visit some of these incredible places. As the world continues to spin into an increasingly unpredictable place I am excited and thankful to be continuing to live this life of constant exploration, honest fun, and rewarding pursuits. May the adventure continue....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A nearly secret part of the Colorado River

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Home Back Home On the Mighty Colorado

The Colorado River is a one of a kind place. No other river on Earth can mimic its comforting grand canyons nor the deep mineral hues of its' coves. The Colorado River drains so much of the southwestern US that it encompasses and links many diverse regions. Yet, because of the river's endless enchainment of dams each piece must be explored separately. The Colorado River that I know begins as a chilly silt-free discharge from the bottom of the historic Hoover dam and flows decisively south toward the Davis Dam. Everyone that has visited this oftentimes quiet piece of the Colorado River has become fond of it.

On this particular week this peaceful Mojave Lake backwater is baking at well over 105 degrees. The winds only help to enhance the feel of living in a convection oven. The bighorn hide sleepily in the shade and the echos of my powerboats engine bounce across the tepid clear water. We are supporting nearly 80 people as they paddle through the numbing heat. We wait, we motor, we unload, we swim, and then repeat our now familiar work day. It feels good to be working and living in a place where most humans are only short-term visitors.

On the last day we begin to explore a cove that previous friends had visited. It is muddy and brushy at the shore. After three years out on the river I have never been here before it seems like a discovery is about to take place. We push through the sharp brush and immediately enter into an unknown tall slot canyon. There is nothing like this along this stretch of river; it is unheard of. We are excited and taking pictures like school children. We have made yet another amazing find along the under appreciated river corridor. We all agree we like our job today and then we get back to work.