Monday, May 16, 2016

Back in the Rockies, Arizona Trail Scouting Postponed

My 72nd birthday… celebrated driving to Colorado to return to work… to earn money for car repairs and backpacking gear.  Yippy, hooray.

Worked at Meadow Lake Campgrounds in the White River National Forest in the summer of 2012 (you can look at photos for Summer 2012 listed in right column here).  I was just rehired for the Summer Season 2016 with better employment conditions.  I will not be isolated at 10,000ft with  not communications with the world.

North Fork Campground is set in a towering aspen grove on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies at an elevation of 7,800 feet. This is an ideal setting for guests seeking recreation and relaxation.

This is where I will be for the summer. Come visit.

Good news, bad news. I am safe at basecamp. I go on payroll tomorrow (5/18). Yippy. Bad news... no Verizon signal here, now what do I do with 17 Gb of internet per month???? All the chatting and texting I was doing on the phone has stopped. SPOT notices can still go out by satellite.  I will have no signal unless I go to town... but for sure will never be able to use 17GB or even 10 or even 4.

Good news, after arriving at base camp last night, my boss gave me hot chicken soup and told me to take the day off today.  I will set up my solar to charge my house batteries, and settle in.

I am using the company Wi-Fi, I will be limited most likely in how much time I will be online.  Please, if you visit my Facebook page, remember to comment as you please, but refrain from hitting the LIKE button on posts and photos as that eats up too much of my limited time.  I will be blocking people who do not respect my repeated requests.  Thank you.

This employment will allow me to save fund to repair my van  (last month had to replace an 02 sensor and cat. converter on Bank 2, and now I think Bank 1 is going) and to also obtain gear needed for the Arizona Trail hike, which I may postpone til Spring 2017.  I appreciate your continued support and the advances I got for gas to get to CO will be repaid very soon.

Below are photos of my trip.  I hope they will all load.

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Had a COPD episode from visiting homes with pets on the way, lost a crown from my tooth and had to find a dentist, an hour later, I broke a piece off another tooth.  Geez, what a birthday my 72nd was.  It can only get better in the future.

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Lots and lots of water in the Colorado River.  Look out downstream.

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This is the North Fork of the White River… I’ll be camped up that way another 30 miles.

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There is snow on the distant peaks.  We can not yet get to Meadow Lake Complex… the road is still closed.

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I had forgotten how very beautiful it was up here in the Rockies.  My lungs are loving it.  I am happy to be back working with Judith Cottrell, who was my supervisor in 2012.  She is a jewel (and makes very good chicken soup).

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Arizona National Trail—Passage 23 Scouting Trip (May 1 & 7, 2016)Barnhardt Trailhead


More information about Passage 23 will be added later.

I registered to participate in the ATA Volunteer Vacation, but did not at the time realize it was a very tough 9 hour hike uphill to get to the base camp location.  I was not yet ready for such a climb/hike, but I went to see the others off.

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A wrangler volunteered to haul in supplies and equipment.  The pinto is his ride, and he had two pack horses, named Sugar and Spice.

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He and his wife live in southern Arizona but still have property in Colorado and they were on their way to their summer home.

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Wendy Lotz did a pre-hike orientation which Bill and his wife tried to settle Spice down to be loaded with gear.  Spice was having a “Monday” morning.

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So the horses were loaded up with their packs.

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The people were loaded down with their packs, and then it began raining.

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I hiked in with them for about an hour and said my goodbyes as they went on up the trail 8 more hours.

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On the hike back to the trailhead, I took time to enjoy the local plant life… the white flower is a Mariposa Lilly.  I thought they were rare but them were a lot.  The canyon is very beautiful and I look forward to returning one day to hike up to the first water falls and then one day all the way up.

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Graffiti, even on the lichen on the rocks.

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Wonderful, wonderful.

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I spent the week backtracking to explore Passages 19-22 but returned the following Saturday to welcome people back down after their week of working on the trail.

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Wendy plopped down next to my chair to enjoy a beer.  Bill helped his wife Inga get her rain pants off.

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Roger was eager to get his socks changed and lighter shoes on.  We all pitched in to help Wendy reload her car.  Before they got down, I helped the wrangler unload the horse packs near Wendy’s car.

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I had wanted to bake a cake in my solar oven, but clouds did not clear until it was too late to bake.

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The crew had a very good week of trail work and there were not injuries to people or pack horses.  I really enjoyed my time with them and one day I WILL be able to hike that kind of trail and keep up.

I had an unexpected call from a former boss to return to work for her as a Camp Host.  I am in transit now for that job, in Colorado… to begin May 20.  My scouting will have to be postponed until September when the job ends.

Last: Passage 22 – Saddle Mountain

Next: Passage 24-43 Scouting postponed til Fall 2016.


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Help me a little if you can by donating to my equipment fund for the Arizona Trail hike, in the Spring 2017 (postponed to give me more time to acquire gear).  I promise to pay it forward.  There is a PayPal donation button in the top right corner, but I realize people using phone may not see that so I am repeating the button below. You can see a list of gear I need at http://swankiewheels.blogspot.com/p/wish-list.html .

Contribute to Equipment for the Arizona Trail Hike.

Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on https://www.facebook.com/swankie.wheels. In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007 I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in 2016. In training now for the hike.

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