Just released my latest story on www.highonadventure.com. It’s about my recent trip to Whistler, BC, Canada…skiing, bobsledding (with famous Jamaican bobsled coach Pat Brown from the movie Cool Runnings) ziplining and exploring the Olympic Village. Enjoy and read and the photos of this world class destination.
At 365 yards, we reached 80 MPH in the four-man bobsled and G forces of 4plus. It was the most exhilarating ride that I’ve ever taken…likened to astronauts being blasted into space. My respect for bobsledders reached a new level with the experience at the Whistler (Canada) Sliding Center, the site of the luge, bobsledding and skeleton events during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. And of all things, the driver of our sled was Pat Brown who once coached the Jamaican Bobsled Team, made famous in the movie Cool Runnings. View the general public offering at www.whistlerslidingcentre.com. I was rider #2, in the yellow jacket, right behind Pat. My friend John Paulsen was rider #4 in the sled. Out of seven teams we had the top time Last Saturday evening which was also the top time of the week and our top speed was equal to that of the Sochi Games (where Pat just returned from as a bobsled women’s judge) winners. The Whistler track is the fastest in the world.
Death Valley National Park is one of my favorite places on this old and beautiful earth…especially during the winter months when one can warm up like a lizard within the comfortable embrace of this unique zone which encompasses the lowest place in the USA (-284 feet below sea level) and is near the highest elevation in the Lower 48 States: Mount Whitney. My favorite camping area is Panamint Springs, space 27. However I like Stovepipe Wells Campground, too…and the access to the swimming pool…which we had all to ourselves for a week recently. Death Valley is perfect for hiking and exploring, just bring plenty of water, some energy food…and watch out for the sidewinders, especially in and around the sand dunes! With offroad travel in the park, bring an extra tire or gunk for filling up flats. We had one flat. The only repair station is the Chevron in Furnace Creek. Enjoy the laid back ambience of Panamint Springs. 180 beers are available, including several nice tap selections. They even had one of my alltime favorites: Deschutes Brewery’s Abyss! January and February day temps get into the 70s. Nice! Nights can be cool, though, so prepare yourself appropriately.
My latest story at www.highonadventure.com is about skiing and exploring Red Mountain and Rossland, British Columbia, Canada…the hometown and mountain of my friend Nancy Green who was named Canada’s Female Athlete of the Century a few years ago. Enjoy the read and photos!
Rainie Falls Trail is a relatively easy four-mile trek into the Wild and Scenic Rogue River, Oregon. The Trail is accessed 25 miles from Interstate 5, taking the Merlin exit to Grave Creek Bridge which is along the Merlin-Galice Road. The Trail is on the left side of the river. It is steep in places but well worth one’s time as you trek through some very picturesque country beside this famous river. Salmon and steelhead can be seen jumping the falls as they migrate upstream to their spawning grounds. My friend Rick Ponte and I recently took this trek. November is a great time to do the hike though it can be hiked any time of the year if one is properly prepared.
In the deep wilderness, some days sing in tones and resonances that you’ll never experience again. Such was a recent day in the heart of the Rogue River Wild and Scenic section, between Merlin and the Oregon Coast…Blossom Bar, Marial, Rogue River Ranch. My friend Rick Ponte and I drove several hours to Marial, then we hiked three miles to Blossom Bar…a class IV series of rapids, the most deadly in the State of Oregon for rafting fatalities, including two this year. We were the only people on the road and we were the only people on the trail. It was a day beyond magnificence. There was a sombernance and a reverence to this day, too, as I remembered my dear friend George and Jean’s son–Sarah’s brother and Renee’s husband– whose ashes were released at Blossom Bar. Jason: I knew you but I hardly knew you…but I was blessed by your life and your photography and your love for wild places. I felt your presence on this trek, deeply. Thank you for your contribution to humanity.
Jean is a direct descendant of the Billings family which established human presence in this area. John and Adeline were her great great grandparents and Jean’s mom was born in the Big Meadow here. The book Illahe is about her family and the area.
We saw bear, kingfishers, migrating warblers, mergansers. Only two rafts passed, in the late light. The harmony of the river was absolute…as beautiful as it will ever get, viewed by humans. In the modern era we often look at things and relate to things through the ‘eyes of Hollywood’ such as the film Rooster Cogburn with John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn that was filmed here, in and around the Rogue Country. And that is fine…but to be in a place like this is beyond anything that Hollywood could ever provide.
Our journey into the heart and soul of the Rogue was a blessing, a gift, an opportunity. It was poetry defined by landscape and our willingness to go into it.
And a river. Oh, such a river! The stirrings and the gifts of the day will forever pluck strings, hidden in my heart, defined by the willingness to make one’s self vulnerable to something that is unknown.
Marial, the Rogue River Ranch and the trailhead to Blossom is 37 miles from Grave Creek. It is not recommended for travel in late autumn, winter and early spring. Make sure that you check road and weather conditions before attempting this route. Info can be found by calling one of these three 541 area code numbers: 479-3735, 618-2200, 247-3600.
This is an autumn road worth taking on the western edge of Glacier National Park. The road is accessed via Columbia Falls, heading north along the North Fork of Flathead River. It is paved and dirt, ending up on the Canadian border (no crossing here, though). Stop at the Polebridge Mercantile for lunch and one of their delicious pastries/breads. Fly fish the Flathead. Revel in the beauty of autumn meeting winter. I drove it last week. Any of these photographs are available for signed print purchase; inquire message to email@example.com.
I drove to Portland, Oregon, then took the Amtrak Empire Builder train to Whitefish, Montana. Immediately after the 8am arrival, I borrowed my son’s vehicle and drove to one of my favorite places on earth: Glacier Nat. Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Highway because I knew that the following day the highway would close to through traffic for the season. It was a sunny day with broken clouds so I’m happy that I went because the following day the weather pattern changed and the snows came…in addition to the fact that the government shutdown has also closed down all of our national parks. Shame on our government for allowing this to be because these parks belong to all of us!
If you ever get a chance, travel this highway. It’s like traveling to heaven. The views are spectacular and the chances of seeing wildlife abundant, as this is the land of bear, rocky mountain goats, wolves and other wild critters. Pay attention to the road though because it is narrow and steep.
The road is open from the West Glacier side to Logan Pass Visitor Center this year…but that is dependant on the feds opening our national parks back up.
These photos will give you a small glimpse of what you might see. Enjoy!
And remember, my images are purchasable by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was a day spent with family and friends earlier this week. The morning was spent in my hometown of Malin, Oregon. While strolling through our local park, there was a church service going on and also a tug-a-war event with children. The weekend had been great visiting and relaxing with family and friends…along with getting some house chores done. It was wonderful to be back home, though it was brief. After packing, the last shots I took were of Mom and Don in the garden…the waning summer garden. Driving to Surprise Valley, California, there was a lot of traffic coming from Burning Man. Looking east, the sky was ominous and proved just that as we crossed the Warners and drove into a rain storm. We stopped in Cedarville to visit friends Michael and Jeanie of Floating Island Bookstore. The town was hoppin’ with Burners. The last part of the day was spent at friend Jim Matson’s house where several of us enjoyed a barbecue of fresh dove and garden vegetables. We were treated to a full double rainbow and a beautiful sunset. The drive to Bidwell was pleasant, arriving to the new fence and arbor…a project that I’ve been working on for Lynette…built out of recycled wood. No work on Labor Day. Just rest and pleasure!