Thursday, August 29, 2013


On June 7, Kathy and I hiked up the trail which leads from U.S. Highway 50 up to Boss Lake reservoir and then on to Hunt Lake.  Well, actually, we drove up a large part of the way to Boss Lake in Nelson's old Blazer (affectionately known as "The Beast").  Once the "road" became too rough to proceed any farther, we parked the truck.  Just as we were ready to start hiking, there was a sudden snow/slush/hail shower.  The snow accumulated quickly on the windshield and roof of the vehicle.  In about ten minutes, it was over and we headed up the trail.

After a lot of slogging through wet snow, I made it to Hunt Lake, which has an elevation of 11,554'.  In the background is Clover Mountain, located along the Continental Divide.

With snow covering most of the trail once we passed Boss Lake, there were times when we strayed from the intended route.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday Wildlife

On June 6, I hiked the Colorado Trail from the Mt. Shavano campground south to U.S. Highway 50.  Nestled high in an aspen along the trail was this very large bird's nest.  I'm guessing it was built by a raptor.  But which one?


Thursday, August 22, 2013


Aragon Redux

Since I had such a great response to last Thursday's post about Mike's adventure at Aragon Rapid earlier this month, I have added three more photos of the carnage.  In the photo above, Mike approaches the key boulder, which is covered by the river.  The plan is to pass it on river right (the sneak route) or, failing that, squeeze between it and the large exposed rocks to its left (not seen in the photograph).  That second option leads one into a big hole and very large standing wave, i.e. the meat of the rapid.  The key is to avoid hitting the boulder itself, especially broadside.  Oops!

Purely for educational purposes, here is what happened.

Now if only I could locate those photos from last year showing Mike really nailing this rapid. Perhaps they can be located and used in a later post.

Note:  Click on any photo to enlarge.

This is the 200th post of my blogging career.  The first was on Mother's Day of 2008.  It's been fun, I guess.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Wildlife

On our last day on the Rio Chama, a pair of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) crossed the river a short distance in front of us.  They were heading in the direction of Huckabay Canyon, a box canyon on river left.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Two views of Chimney Rock at Ghost Ranch on the morning after my Rio Chama trip in August.  In the photo below, Lake Abiquiu can be seen in the background on the left.  Be thankful that I was not in charge of naming this interesting rock formation.

Note:  Click on a photo to enlarge.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Sunlight

The setting sun illuminates a canyon wall at our camp site on the Rio Chama on August 3.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Mike uses Aragon Rapid to teach our younger viewers the dangers of drinking and paddling.

This public service sequence occurred on the second day of our trip on the Rio Chama earlier this month.

Don't try this at home, kids.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wednesday Wildlife

While trying to locate the loop trail descending from Navajo Peak to where our boats were tied off at the junction of the Rio Cebolla with the Rio Chama on May 31, I came across this male Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina).  It fluttered out of a rocky crevice onto the ground in front of me.  I don't know whether it was injured, still in a torpor, or (perhaps most likely) trying to divert me from its nest hidden in the rocks.  In any case, it simply lay there without objecting to my presence.  As you can see, the bird's coloring was quite spectacular.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


A couple of shots from my Rio Chama trip earlier this month.  On our first day on the river, we stopped at the hot springs located at Mile 4, across the river from the remains of the old Ward Ranch cabin.  Our third day on the river was a layover day at our camp at Mile 16.  Three of us made it to the top of the canyon.  The photograph below is of the view downstream.  If you look closely (click on the photo to enlarge), you can see a few plumes of smoke from some small wildfires on the opposite side of the river.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday Wildlife

After a four-month hiatus, it's back to blogging.  The Saturday Paddlers passed by this yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea) on the San Marcos River this past Saturday.  The sunbathing turtle was a bonus feature.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday Wildlife

An American kestrel (Falco sparverius) is displayed by the "Eagle Lady" at Guadalupe River State Park on January 11, 2009.  This bird is also known as the sparrow hawk.  It is the only kestrel found in the Americas, and is the smallest falcon (and the smallest raptor) in North America.

   Note:  Click on a photo to enlarge.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Rio Chama 2012 - Aragon Rapid

Our second day on the river was a layover day at the Aragon campsite.  Eight of us hiked up Aragon Springs Trail to the end of the box canyon.  While I continued up Aragon Canyon above the pourover (and beyond), three of our adventurers were making a practice run through Aragon Rapid in their empty boats.  We would be heading down the river the following day in our fully-loaded craft, and they were checking out the feasibility of running the rapid rather than portaging their gear and kayaks.  Or, more likely, at least in Steve's case, just wanting to enjoy the challenge more than once.  Thanks to Larry for these three photographs.  As described in my December 20 post, which shows Mike running the rapid, a fallen piece of the cliff face had drastically changed the rapid's character since our trip the previous year.  The new boulder can be seen to Steve's left in the photo above.


Unlike most of our group, Steve ran the meat of the rapid.  The photo above shows him dropping into the large hole at the bottom of this wild section of the rapid.

All is well as Steve's kayak resurfaces and exits the hole.  As seen in my New Year's day post, Steve filmed himself running the rapid the day after this trail run.  He made it look easy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday Wildlife

A family of Canada geese (Branta canadensis), which included three goslings, went for a swim and a stroll across the Rio Chama from us in May of 2011.  We were at the Chama Wall Camp.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Sunlight

The sunset at the Hausser Ranch on December 14, 2008, appears to set the brush on fire.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Texas Water Safari - 2011

Here are three more photos of Zoltan successfully negotiating Cottonseed Rapids early in the first day of the 2011 race.

Note:  Click on any photo to enlarge.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday Wildlife

A great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) was among the birds presented by the "Eagle Lady" at Guadalupe River State Park on January 11, 2009.  This large species is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Texas Water Safari - 2011

Zoltan arrives at Cottonseed Rapids about two hours and nine minutes and nine miles into the race.  It looks like he is having fun.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Sunlight

More photos of the sunrise on January 10, as seen from the Mountain Deck Home in Garfield, Colorado.


Thursday, January 31, 2013


Texas Water Safari - 2011

Here are three more photos of Zoltan at Westerfield Crossing, about six miles into the race.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Wildlife

A large group of black vultures (Coragyps atratus) roost on a power line tower along the Waring Welfare Road this past Saturday.  It appears that there were about two hundred of the birds.  I had to convince them that I felt quite healthy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Texas Water Safari - 2011

An hour and 29 minutes after the start of the race, Zoltan approaches the bridge at Westerfield Crossing on the San Marcos River.  For some reason, he finds it necessary to duck.  Anyway, six miles down and only 259 miles to go.

Note:  Click on a photo to enlarge.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Sunlight

Looking east towards the rising sun from the Mountain Deck Home in Garfield, Colorado, on January 10.

  Note:  Click on either photo to enlarge.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Paddlers - Guadalupe River

Eleven paddlers participated in the trip from the I-10 crossing at Comfort to James Kiehl River Bend Park.  Although the park is very nice, the new bridge at the road crossing there has made access for boaters much more difficult and strenuous.  The old low water bridge was not removed, but access to it by vehicle has been blocked.  Canoes and kayaks must now be carried some distance up a steep incline to the parking lot at the park.  The new bridge at Seidensticker Crossing, the first road crossing upstream from the park, is even worse from a boater's perspective.  It almost appears that the highway department was acting in concert with the "friendly" landowner there, basically blocking all access from the public right-of-way to what is supposed to be a public river.

The Guadalupe River was low, registering 46 cfs at the Comfort gauge.  This made for a lot of scraping of hulls against river bottom, but it was only at the three portages along our nearly seven-mile route that I had to actually get out of my canoe.  The sun never quite made its promised appearance, at least not while we were still on the water, so the temperature did not reach its forecast high.  But the journey was quite pleasant for a Texas winter day.

Nancy W., Scott, Joline, and Cynthia prepare to launch their kayaks.


Ed was very easy to spot.


Susan and Cynthia made it back into their kayaks after the portage as the small dam a short distance downstream from our put-in.  No one tried running the dam.  Where is Steve Fiedler when I need him?

Nancy G. and Amy maneuvered past the overhanging tree limb.  It was nice having another canoe to keep mine company.

Joline is in the lead as she and Nancy race down the river.

Jon treated us all to champagne, complete with festive glasses, at our lunch stop.  He had a unique method for opening the bottle, as shown in this video:

This second video shows some of the crowd reaction to Jon's trick:

Note:  No glass was left behind in the making of these videos.

Reiko displayed her martial arts moves.  I was afraid -- very afraid.

Some watercress (Nasturtium officinale) growing in a small spring next to the river.

After our river had ended and the excitement about Nancy G.'s lost car key had subsided, four of us stopped for dinner at the Welfare General Store & Cafe.  I had driven by this interesting establishment on the Waring Welfare Road several times before, but it had always appeared to be closed.  There is a historical marker out front with information about the old German community of Welfare.

The "Battle of Nueces" mentioned on this marker is perhaps better described as the Nueces Massacre.  It appears that Ernst Beseler, who settled this area with his parents and brother in the 1850's, was among the thirty-four German conscientious objectors to the Confederate draft who were killed along the banks of the Nueces River on August 10. 1862.  I previously referred to this event at the end of my blog post on December 8, which features some photos of Brownsboro Cemetery, located a short distance from James Kiehl River Bend Park.

Note:  Click on any photo to enlarge.


Joline, Amy, and Nancy prepare to order from the cafe's surprisingly sophisticated and varied menu.  The food was quite good.  I plan to stop there again the next time we are in the vicinity.

Two of the local farm girls admire their chickens.  I was tempted to flirt with these innocents, but knew that their protective father was somewhere close by.

Nancy attracted a new friend.

Behind the General Store is a huge oak tree and the "Goat Barn," which can be used for hosting events.

The front of the Welfare General Store & Cafe faces the Waring Welfare Road.

A nice sunset, viewed here from the front porch of the cafe, greeted us as we were leaving.

I enjoyed two different views of the moon on this trip.

 Note:  For all 46 photographs from this outing, click here for my Flickr page, then click on "Slideshow."