Recent comments

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 12 weeks ago

    See Hurricane Ridge.

    Basically, this is Olympic National Park. Socially; as far as the cumulative human experience is concerned. Yes, the puny remaining downhill ski facilities are to-snicker-at, largely because they are overshadowed by the miles of groomed & 'wild' cross-country runs, and by all the hordes who have previously been humiliated by impulsively jumping on rented cross-country skis - now wisely supporting the booming snowshoe venue.

    I don't have the stats handy, but Olympic (bravely) puts them out - and I think Hurricane is hands-down the main event.

    Yeah, it's an alpine resort, with a podunk downhill. Several acres of asphalt parking, a big two-lane road gouged 17 miles up the jutting face of the outlying Olympic ridges. Nice ol' lodge that's now mostly an oversized hangout-hut, classic outside viewing decks (and great view), incredibly overused bathrooms, and assorted concessionaires. Feverish snow-gear rentals all winter.

    ... Ok, I checked: Hurricane by itself pulls 3 million annually. It may be a LOL resort, but they all pay to get through the gate at the bottom of the hill, and it's called "The Hurricane Ridge Road" because that's what statistically everybody goes up it for. And then they pull out the serious cash at the top. A nice piece of a billion dollar bill annually, no doubt.

    (Bigger truth is, you can - and many locals do - play around in the nice pull-outs going up the road, and from the top, after the snow melts, from the aforementioned expanse of paved parking, drive 12 miles out along the skyline of Hurricane Ridge on the (only slightly hair-raising) gravel/bedrock/melt-muck of Obstruction Peak Road to Obstruction Peak, its half-acre of pot-holed trailhead parking, and thus motorized access to what the surging hordes (3 million, eh?) back at Hurricane really wanted, but didn't quite have the nerve to go for.)

    In winter, Obstruction Peak Rd is the more-serious cross-country track, I believe not-groomed. 24 mile run all the way out & back, all on terrific exposure.

    Deer Park - Blue Mtn

    Now, just a few miles short of Port Angeles, which you drive through to get to Park Headquarters and the foot of Hurricane Ridge Road (They bought extra land and built extra road, just to tie HQ and the Visitor Center to the big Hurricane draw. No accident.) you drive past Deer Park Road. There's a big cinema complex at the intersection. When you see the cluster of big movie-theaters in pretty-much a countryside setting, that's where the foot of Deer Park Rd is.

    Deer Park, on Blue Mountain, is where the olden-days ski-resort was. 19 mile road (more than slightly hair-raising & crude), cleared higher up only in summer. I've seen old pictures, and Deer Park was one serious swingin' winter shindig. Later it shifted over to Hurricane, where the scene has hung on uninterrupted.

    But if you'd like a ski-resort-like setting without the 3 million companions, that you can drive up to, get out your map and find Deer Park Road. Just a few mile east of Hurricane. Campground, trailheads, tiny Ranger Station. Trail goes back to Obstruction Peak, so with 2 vehicles a mayor high-country traverse is possible, one-way.

    Call HQ about road-conditions first - it gets graded/plowed/cleared only once it's finally 'practical' (snow nearly all gone).

    Yep, Hurricane Ridge is a ski-resort. And ol-time lodge.

  • Brady Campaign Sues Interior Department over Concealed Carry in National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    The Brady appropiate name. mindless sitcom mentality.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 12 weeks ago

    If you're gonna trek from South Carolina to western Colorado, there are two other NPS gems you can't miss: Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, where the six-mile roundtrip hike of Monument Canyon is one of the best on the Colorado Plateau. Rim Rock Drive is easily the best and most scenic drive (and especially bike ride) anywhere in western Colorado. While you're there, and if you've got a sturdy high-clearance vehicle, check out the BLM's McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, where a hike of Mee Canyon will yield the most amazing sight in canyon country - the Mee Canyon Alcove, where the wash at the bottom of the canyon inserts itself 300 feet into the canyon wall. The alcove is so big -- said to be the biggest anywhere on the Colorado Plateau -- you could park a 747 inside.

    Also, if you're going to Mesa Verde, Hovenweep National Monument can't be missed.

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Actually, there's a small alpine resort on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park...

    A resort (?) LOL!
    The Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club that runs and maintains the lifts is not for profit.
    Anybody can become a member!

  • This Park Combines Scenery and History on a Desert Island   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Todd -

    Bob's reply to your question about my "desert island" comment is correct... at least as I chose to use the term. The Dry Tortugas' location is a classic example of "water, water everywhere..." since fresh water is unavailable on the islands, except for rainwater collected as it falls. Perhaps that's not a bad thing, since it helped limit development - and long-term human populations on these fragile ecosystems.

  • NPS Retirees Oppose Carrying Guns in National Parks   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I carry a weapon in my fanny pack each time I take my kids hiking. Pragmatically, it is impossible for the NPS people to protect me and my children. I'll continue to do so and when we pass each other on the trail you'll see nothing but a big smile and a 'how ya doin' from me and the kids. You won't have any reason to fear me or feel threatened.

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Actually, there's a small alpine resort on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park...

  • Weekly Snowshoe Treks Coming to Glacier National Park   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Glacier NP is one of the best NP i have visited and i have visited over 100 NP. My wife and I go to Glacier when we enter Canada's Waterton National Park just north of glacier. Both parks or a good 17 day stay area. Best time around May, June, July, Cool weather and fantastic beauty.
    enjoy it all and visit regularly. If you have an RV and want to travel Canada Dont use the Canadian Interstate. A comparison to the USA roads the Ark. Road are better (if you know the Ark roads.) Use I-90 then enter Canada in Minn. or Wisconsin

  • Yosemite National Park Officials Looking For Suggestions on Preserving Badger Pass Ski Lodge   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Debates over capitalism, wealth transfer and the like have drifted far from the original post as to whether or not the old Badeger Pass day lodge should be demolished or rehabilitated, and the related discussion as to whether lift-served skiing/snowboarding belong in national parks.

    As the one remaining Alpine ski area in a national park, Badger Pass is able to provide an incredibly affordable, if modest, ski or snowboard experience without snowmaking. An adult season pass at Badger Pass costs $376 ($249 if purchased by the end of today, Jan. 4) and just $118 for children to age 12 ($115, not much of a savings, if bought today). With easy slopes and reliable snow, it is the ulimately beginner/low intermediate ski area. The legendary Nic Fiore has been unning the ski school for more than half a century, so there's even human tradition at issue. The area recently spent $2 million to upgrade its chairlift.

    I don't live in California and have no personal stake in this decision, but if I did, I would lean toward keeping Badger Pass operating as long as people are coming to ski. It brings families into the Yosemite in winter to see the park in its tranquil winter beauty.

  • This Park Combines Scenery and History on a Desert Island   6 years 12 weeks ago

    We went out there for a day trip last year at the end of December. I really wish we'd opted to camp for a few days. It's really an amazing place. We'll be back to camp this year, hopefully. Even though it is so small, we didn't get to spend near enough time there in a day.

  • Man Bitten at Saguaro National Park by Gila Monster   6 years 12 weeks ago

    this is the most retarted thing i've ever heard of, why would a person pick up a gila monster, they are poisonous, and DUH! your going to get bitten dumb***

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   6 years 12 weeks ago

    You can't eat values. And forests would have been better off and more productive without the CCC's fire suppression.

    The economic theories of Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard have been confirmed, not shattered, by recent events, and Peter Schiff, an economist of the Austrian School, was recently proven right while Keynesian theory has been proven wrong.

    Beamis, California, an economic indicator, is effectively bankrupt. Ahnold is sending out IOUs instead of tax refunds because the state is insolvent. Real change is around the corner.

  • Traveler's View: Concealed Weapons Have No Place In Our National Park System   6 years 12 weeks ago about...Article:Mountain lion victim heads to San Francisco for more su:/n/a/2007/01/28/state/n160726S88.DTL
    Article:Mountain lion victim heads to San Francisco for more su:/n/a/2007/01/28/state/n160726S88.DTL
    Back to Article

    Mountain lion victim heads to San Francisco for more surgery
    By RACHEL KONRAD, Associated Press Writer

    Sunday, January 28, 2007

    (01-28) 19:42 PST San Francisco (AP) --

    A Northern California hiker attacked by a mountain lion last week was airlifted to a San Francisco hospital Sunday, where he will likely undergo more surgery.

    A spokesman for Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata said doctors wanted to send Jim Hamm to a major research hospital in San Francisco after they performed emergency surgery on his scalp and downgraded his condition from fair to serious.

    Dense fog along the Northern California coast prevented the medical plane's liftoff all morning, but Hamm was delivered to California Pacific Medical Center Sunday evening after the fog broke, the hospital confirmed.

    Ayotte emphasized that mov ing Hamm to a hospital with more doctors and sophisticated equipment was a "proactive, highly precautionary" measure.

    The 70-year-old Fortuna man first underwent surgery Wednesday after a female mountain lion ambushed him at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. He and his wife, Nell, were hiking in the park when the lion pounced on him, scalped him, mauled his face, ripped off part of his lips and inflicted other puncture wounds and scratches.

    Hamm is taking antibiotics to prevent an infection, but his doctors remained concerned about bacteria entering his body from the cat's claws and mouth.

    "Infection — that's our biggest concern," Ayotte said. "You can have exactly the same injuries in a traffic accident or in a wild animal attack, but your chances of infection with a wild animal accident are far greater."

    Although the Hamms are experienced hikers, neither had seen a mountain lion before Jim Hamm was mauled while walking on a trail amid old-growth Coast Redwoods in Humboldt County. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park abounds with Roosevelt elk, deer, coyote, foxes and bobcats, but it's rare to see resident black bears and mountain lions.

    Tawny-colored mountain lions — also called cougars and pumas — roam the widest range of any New World land animal, from northern Canada to the southern Andes. Adults can weigh up to 200 pounds. The stealthy, swift creatures usually eat deer but have been known to attack pet dogs, livestock and, on rare occasions, even children and adult humans.

    Upon noticing that the lion had her husband's head in its mouth, Nell Hamm, 65, grabbed a four-inch-wide log and beat the animal repeatedly — to no avail. She then removed a pen from her husband's pocket and tried to poke it into the cat's eyeball — but the pen simply bent and became useless.

    She went back to using the log. The lion eventually let go and, with blood on its snout, stood staring at the woman. She screamed and waved the log until the animal walked away.

    Nell Hamm refused to abandon her husband on the trail but knew he needed immediate rescue. She managed to encourage him to walk with her a quarter-mile to a trail head, where she gathered branches to protect them if more lions came around. They waited until a ranger came by and summoned help.

    After the attack, game wardens closed the park, about 320 miles north of San Francisco, and released hounds to track the lion. They shot and killed a pair of lions found near the trail where the attack happened.

    The carcasses of the lions — believed to be siblings — were flown to a state forensics lab, where researchers identified the female lion as the attacker. She did not have rabies.

    Wild animal experts have praised Nell Hamm as a hero who saved her husband's life — both by standing up to the lion and encouraging her bloodied husband to walk a quarter-mile to safety.

    The couple — who are to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next month — had been virtually inseparable in the days following the attack. But on Saturday doctors in Arcata urged her to go home and rest. She was expected to fly to San Francisco on Sunday afternoon — not on the medical plane but on a private one closely following her husband's.

    "Nell — God bless her. I don't think I've ever met a woman quite like her. You can just tell the love they've had over the past 50 years," Ayotte said. "I get goose bumps when I think of what she did."

    Associated Press Sections
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  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   6 years 12 weeks ago

    It's the same old story: theft is okay as long as the proceeds go to something I approve of.

    While liberals don't like the booty going to fund war, conservatives object to it being spent on wilderness trials. The theft and unproductive redistribution is never called into question, just where and when it is to be unprofitably squandered.

    I really don't expect this state of affairs to change until the government is finally totally insolvent-----and that time is a comin' soon to a theater near you.

    Happy New Year y'all!

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   6 years 12 weeks ago

    @Frank: You really believe that, do you? And your economic theories aren't shattered by the recent developments, right?

    Fact is: The CCC created values. Values that we still use because they still enhance our National Parks, National Monuments, National Recreation Areas and about 800 State Parks that were created in the first place by the CCC. They build roads and installed tens of thousands miles of telephone lines in rural areas. They preserved soils in the Dust Bowl by planting trees (OK, I admit that some of them were tamarisks that are giving us trouble now). They put up around 8 million man-days fighting fires in National Forests, preserving primary forests and the wealth in timber.

    The CCC kept up the work ethics of the participants, who came from families where no one in the whole family did any work, had any reason to get up in the morning. In Chicago the crime rate dropped by 55% with the introduction of the program and a judge attributed that exclusively to the CCC. The participants got healthy and enough food, health care, trained their skills and furthered their education. Some 40.000 illiterates learned to read and write while in the CCC. After 1937 all camps had courses in a variety of topics, some up to College level.

    The direct economic stimulus was distributed between the rural areas where the camps were located and the urban centers where the participants came from, because from their salary the participants kept only a nominal part and at least $25 per month had to be send to the families at home. Imagine what those $300 per family and year did to the local businesses.

    Frankly: I doubt there was any better way to spend the costs of around $1000 per Person.

  • This Park Combines Scenery and History on a Desert Island   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Precipitation isn't the issue. They're the Dry Tortugas because there aren't any fresh water sources on the islands. You have to capture and store rainwater artificially (in cisterns, traditionally) or ship fresh water in from the mainland.

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I worked atop a CCC lookout built in the late 1930s. The CCC craftsmanship was durable, and the character or work ethic of the men employed are not at issue.

    The fundamental issue is that the CCC was an expensive decade-long program that failed to "create jobs", failed to improve the economy, and failed to "get us out of the Depression".

    Government does not have the ability to "create" jobs; they can merely transfer resources. During the Great Depression, government artificially kept wage rates high, which caused under- and unemployment. Unemployment rates were high throughout the 1930s, so we can not attribute the "creation of jobs" to public works.

    While some benefited from public works (those workers and public lands), the government allocated resources to a non-productive sector. Before arguing "creation of jobs" as being productive, remember that government paid those workers either through taxes, which is simply redistribution--not creation--of wealth, or inflation--the debasement of the currency; the first steals from the rich, the second robs the poor and middle class.

    Lookouts, trails, and benches are all nice, but their creation did not increase the industrial productivity of Depression-era society. In fact, these programs likely decreased productivity, increased unemployment, and prolonged the Depression.

  • This Park Combines Scenery and History on a Desert Island   6 years 12 weeks ago

    What makes this a "desert" island? Is there a lack of rain? Do you mean "deserted"?

  • Earthquakes Continuing to Rattle Yellowstone National Park   6 years 12 weeks ago

    The earthquakes have subsided - at least that's the latest news. The commentary on it in the blogosphere has not.

    The whole reaction to this thing has been very funny to me, though I'm starting to get bored with it (record visits to my Web site newspaper aside).

    Even so, I didn't notice any less winter traffic in the park yesterday (except less buffalo traffic).

    We had a delightful time cross country skiing in the park, and the only earthquake I felt was the one caused by me falling!

    Jim Macdonald
    The Magic of Yellowstone
    Yellowstone Newspaper
    Jim's Eclectic World

  • Weekly Snowshoe Treks Coming to Glacier National Park   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Some of my best days during the time I worked at Glacier were in the winter, and snowshoes are a great way to get out and about in that park during this season of the year.
    This is a wonderful idea for a program, and I hope visitors will take advantage of the opportunity.

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Thanks for the tips, treehugger99; I like the TR pics, too. This kind of feedback is very helpful to me!

    I wish I had lots of time to spend on Wetherill Mesa during our scheduled visit to Mesa Verde. Alas, I won't, and there's another problem too. Long House and Step House, two of the Wetherill Mesa attractions you mentioned, are open to the public only on a seasonal basis. And dammit, they'll both be closed during my visit in early May.

    Forgive me, but I have a very tough time deciding when it's OK to use Anasazi and when I should use Ancestral Puebloans. Though I'm inclined to use the former in Traveler context, I use the latter in my teaching. Here's what I tell my students (quoted from my assigned reading module for Mesa Verde NP):

    The early residents of the 30,000 square-mile Four Corners Area of the Colorado Plateau (which includes Mesa Verde) are commonly referred to as Anasazi, a Navajo word that is commonly translated as “ancient ones.” However, contemporary indigenous descendants of the Mesa Verde inhabitants, the modern day Pueblo Indians (mostly Hopi and Zuni), dislike the term Anasazi and consider it foreign (being of Navajo derivation) and pejorative. They prefer the term “Ancestral Puebloan.” Since there are inconsistencies in the published literature – and in some Park Service publications, for that matter – there appears to be room for legitimate differences of opinion. Out of respect for the viewpoint of the contemporary indigenous descendants, and at the risk of some confusion, Ancestral Puebloans (or Ancestral Puebloan People) will be used herein to refer to the Pre-Columbian inhabitants of Mesa Verde.

    Incidentally, the first documented use of the term Anasazi in reference to the Mesa Verde ruins/culture was by Richard Wetherill ca. 1888.

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Actually, the CCC did some beautiful work in the Parks that has mostly endured and seldom been equalled since by the National Park Service. I'll bet they could lay a water line that would not need replacing several times a decade as has the one at Paradise, Mt. Rainier. Judging by the photo, the vegetative impacts look to be about the same though. The proposed new program might do alright if the Army ran it again instead of the NPS. And what could be more socialist than the idea of National Parks?

  • To Work, To Work, Off We Go To Work   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I just can't wait to revisit American socialism at its finest. No one can allocate scarce resources like a centralized bureaucracy. It'll be just like the 1930's all over again. Sounds like a party to me. Everyone grab a shovel and let's dig right in!

  • Resolved: I’ll Visit at Least These Five National Parks in 2009   6 years 12 weeks ago

    Hi Bob. I'll chime in with some suggestions.

    Climbing the dunes at Great Sand Dunes is hard work, but it's great fun. It just about killed my Chicago lungs. If you get high enough, you can feel the dunes vibrate when the wind hits the resonant frequency.

    Mea Verde is a true natural treasure. I learned a lot about the Anasazi (now called Ancestral Pueblos in these pc times). You'll definitely want to tour the major dwellings and spend some time in the museum. But my best memory is the time I spent hiking around on Wetherill Mesa. That's the road less taken, as most people follow the other fork in the road. Wetherill has a couple of big dwellings (Long House and Step House). After touring those, I just hiked the trails. There are some digs that illustrate the dwellings during the period when they lived on top of the mesa. It's an easy hike - very flat and never too far from a tram stop. On a Friday afternoon last summer, I had the mesa to myself. It was easy for the mind to wander - and to realize that it must have been a pretty good place to live back in the day.

    I'll give another thumbs up to TR Natl. Park. Make sure to give yourself enough time to visit both units. One thing that was a bit disconcerting as a camper was that the bison have full access to all areas - even the campground. I was used to other parks (like Wind Cave) that keep them out of the campground. In the northern unit of TR, they were in the campground constantly. The rangers told us that they were perfectly safe, and they wouldn't trample through our tents. Then there were a few times when a full herd showed up to graze, and a complement of park rangers showed up to monitor the situation (in case it became perfectly unsafe suddenly). During the night as I tried to sleep, I'd hear the bison snorting as they moved around my tent. Oh well, it's better than bears, I guess. Don't miss the sunset at Wind Canyon. And you can check out my photos of the wild horses here:

  • Wal-Mart Request Would Put a Super Center Next to The Wilderness Battlefield   6 years 12 weeks ago

    I thought this was an interesting observation on the matter from libertarian columnist Lew Rockwell:

    Now a bunch of academic and media propagandists for federal power want to stop Wal-Mart from bringing low prices and great products to the working people of Orange County, Virginia. What is their excuse? The store is to be in a strip shopping mall one mile from a Civil War killing place. The deathfield, where 50,000 defenders defeated 100,000 invaders, is said to be "hallowed ground." But Wal-Mart is not (and cannot) build there. However, the shopping area is also "hallowed" because it was an assembly zone for the aggressors. Can't have it turned to commerce, a life-building activity disdained by left-wing intellectuals.