I’ve been wanting to walk up the hill to the west but an attentive bull has been hanging around the last several days, trolling back and forth on this side of the hill, vocalizing softly but constantly. First day he appeared he looked straight at me and now he’s been hanging around.
Today he wasn’t there so I grabbed the daypack, the dog, and the Multipurpose Walking Stick and headed out.
The other day when I was looking on Google Maps I saw what appeared to be irregularly-shaped denuded spaces but thought it was an artifact of image stitching. But I saw today they are really there:
Around noon today a kid got separated from her family somewhere in this offroad area. One of the family members walked into camp around 1220 and asked if I’d seen a stray 9yo redheaded kid.* Nope, he was the first human on foot so far today, although there had been one UTV on the trail earlier in the morning. After he continued down the path I walked to the top of the rise I’m parked behind and scanned with binos. Nothing.
It hadn’t been very long and I was paying attention but not yet worried. For now I moved my reading spot to be able to watch a wider area to the west (my only clear-ish view) in case she came through. I flagged down a couple passing UTVs to ask them to watch for the lost lamb.
Around 1300 menfolk from the family stopped by in a UTV — still not found. Not good. They were clear-headed and calm given the circumstances, which is both admirable and helpful.
I asked for a bit more info: she probably didn’t have any water (had left her pack), did have some group hiking experience, dressed in white shirt and probably blue checked Continue reading “SAR, cardio”
This view is what I see past the laptop. The red circle is at a spot that had been tempting me (click for full pic):
That spot called me because (from the camping spot at least) it appeared to be as far up the rock face as you could get on foot. So Sunday the 5th Muffin and I decided to make the approach. I loaded the camelbak-style day pack with water, some granola bars, a charged phone, her folding silicone water cup (like this one except plain red and $2 in the camping section). Some basics stay in there all the time: pocket knife, small flashlight, etc.
About a mile off the dirt road I let Muffin off-leash. I didn’t want anyone/anything around as we’ve only been together since December and I don’t know how she reacts to everything.
When I take off here leash she stands there and I tap her on the rear while saying “OK!” She starts running like a possessed creature for about 100ft, stops and looks back. I’m there? Good, run more. Stop, check, run. If I change directions she makes a high speed flyby past me in the new direction and starts the process again.
We got up there in maybe 3 hours. I was fatigued as it’s a consistent uphill jag and most was loose sandy material over rock. She was breathing harder, too, and not running so fast any more. I lost the rubber cane tip off the bottom of my MPS (multipurpose stick: broom handle / camera mount / walking staff / laundry plunger).
Muffin and I walked down a rocky ravine down into the river bottom.
I couldn’t see the whole thing from the campsite above, but I knew it was passable because there’s a Hereford (mix?) bull that appears up top and in the river bottom on subsequent days. The bull is a little too attentive for my tastes, but he was far away across another ravine when we went down…
I took trekking poles and that was a good thing. The walk down was rough with large rocks, washed-out places, and general instability. Once down I looked around to assess the best approach to the water if I needed it in an emergency.
The journey back up was less successful; I overextended my right (damaged) ankle pretty good on a rock that rolled on me. It hurt some but the tight binding and trekking poles prevented it from becoming a re-injury. It was steep enough that the dog was breathing hard as we crested back up top.
amateur stunt flyer
The other day I heard prop noise close by and saw a small airplane flying down in the river canyon. It’s not uncommon to see VFR fixed-wing and helos following the river here at legal altitudes, but this guy was in the canyon.
I reached for the phone — by the time I looked back he was in an pitched up, heavily banked maneuver at the top of the canyon. Getting the cam app started gave him enough time to climb well out and level off:
There is a power line string going across the canyon a couple hundred yards back. The catenary hangs down into the canyon where there is maybe 60′ of clearance between the wires and the ground.
I assume he was goofing off flying under the wires and the banking/climbing maneuver was him pulling back out from under the wires in the curved canyon. I hope he’s good at it. It brought to mind the American pilots whose flyby cut the lines to a tramway in Italy and killed a bunch of people. If you’re going to cowboy it you better be right, my man.
Before I left for ELP I bought a highly rated shaving bag off Amazon. It seemed fine until I used it the first time showering at planet fitness. The hanging loop was on the wrong end. If it was hanging and you unzipped it to get something there was an avalanche onto the floor. Grrr..
I put up with that for three days then cut off the original tag. I found the thickest layers of canvas on the correct side and reamed holes with the awl on the SAK. Ran a loop of paracord through the holes; problem solved:
I also bought ski poles at a thrift store ($5 for the pair) to use as trekking (hiking) poles and also as awning support poles. The trails out here can be treacherously narrow, steep, and/or off camber.
A walking stick was important equipment on many I’ve been on and I found myself wishing for two. Sometimes the ability to put a few pounds pressure both here and there can reduce risk (and terror). Particularly valuable when soloing.
Another issue was my stick didn’t have a lanyard yet. This caused a problem in very steep sections where hands were required if one wanted to keep all body parts in their present configuration.
I was going to add a lanyard to make dragging the stick easier but diverted my attention to the poles. They came with terrible, stiff, ugly, undersized lanyards. I unscrewed the handgrips, removed the leather ones and replaced with paracord:
The poles have carbide tips on them but I’ll try to find rubber boots for them. I cut off the snow “baskets” at the tip end, deeming them both unnecessary and unwieldy.