Phield Notes

“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” — “Cactus” Ed Abbey

TR-Guadalupe Peak April 23, 1985

It’s been quite a while since my first climb up Texas’ highest point, Guadalupe Peak (8,751′ now, was listed at 8,749′ then). I don’t have any notes from that hike; just fuzzy memories and some fuzzier photos from an old point & shoot Nikon I used to borrow from my dad.

me, approaching summit in '85.
me, approaching summit in ’85.

I was twenty-six years old, still in the middle of my offshore oilfield career. I had read the old “Trails of the Guadalupes” guide, published by the Carlsbad Caverns Natural History Association, backwards and forwards while working on out in the Gulf of Mexico and had decided I needed to go see Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GUMO) and climb the highest mountain in Texas.

Continue reading TR-Guadalupe Peak April 23, 1985

It’s been quite a while since my first climb up Texas’ highest point, Guadalupe Peak (8,751′ now, was listed at 8,749′ then). I don’t have any notes from that hike; just fuzzy memories and some fuzzier photos from an old point & shoot Nikon I used to borrow from my dad.

me, approaching summit in '85.
me, approaching summit in ’85.

I was twenty-six years old, still in the middle of my offshore oilfield career. I had read the old “Trails of the Guadalupes” guide, published by the Carlsbad Caverns Natural History Association, backwards and forwards while working on out in the Gulf of Mexico and had decided I needed to go see Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GUMO) and climb the highest mountain in Texas.

Continue reading TR-Guadalupe Peak April 23, 1985

TR-Guadalupe Peak 1997

A very brief trip report.
I climbed Mt Wheeler, highpoint of New Mexico, in summer 1997. Along the way, to get some altitude and conditioning in, I summited Guadalupe Peak again.

I’d started out from Austin and stopped in Davis Mountains State Park. I got up early in the morning and drove to GUMO. I have some notes from this trip:

On to Guad Park–(Note: Dawn (light) not until ~7:00 a.m. CDT here.)

Arrived GMNP ~9:00 CDT. Wx excellent ~50s, -60; light breeze, clear sky. Park almost deserted. Asked young woman behind counter about old Pine Spring Cafe-she didn’t know-was before my time.)

Began ascent ~ 9:50 a.m. CDT-one break past (that place*) (at 1:08 of hike.) in the first extensive forest. Felt good-last 1/4 mile was hell, through several false summits. Summit at 12:45 CDT (2:57 hatse??less 18 minutes in breaks is 2:39 hike. Dead calm at summit. [at summit 35:07; 1:48 for descent-5:20 less 18 less 35:07 = 4:55 total hike – sign at trailhead suggests 6-8 hours.]

“That place” mentioned above, I now remember, is the spot after you finish the first part of the climb. You hike up a steep limestone wall, basically, with some of the trail literally blasted out of the side of solid stone; depending on the wind that day, you may be buffeted by 40-50 mph winds. I was, the first time I’d done that hike in the 80s. But you come around a bend, and almost magically the wind goes to nothing and you’re in a forest. And not far ahead are convenient boulders to sit on and rest a spell.

Ken Sleight-Seldom Seen Smith

Ken Sleight was an old river runner/desert rat who was the inspiration for Ed Abbey’s character “Seldom Seen Smith” in The Monkey Wrench Gang.”

I like that he calls Lake Powell “Lake Foul.”

“It was probably foolish and masochistic of me to have hung around and watched it happen. But I just had to. At first it would rise a foot overnight, and you saw things you loved go under. First it was Music Temple. Then it was Gregory Natural Bridge. Then Cathedral in the Desert. I’d think of those fools that said this was a good thing, that we needed this dam. Then I’d see Hidden Passage or some other lovely spot with no name go under…it was unbearable.

“And I’ll always remember the sign at Rainbow Bridge. There was a Park Service sign along the trail and it read: ‘God’s Work. Tread Lightly.’ The next week, the lake came up and buried the sign and the trail.” By late 1964, the reservoir had reached Hite and Glen Canyon was gone…for now.”

https://www.canyoncountryzephyr.com/oldzephyr/archives/ken-sleight.html

http://continuum.utah.edu/features/fighting-for-the-wild

Here are historical data on the levels at “Lake Foul,” among other things…U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Martin Litton

Martin Litton was an uncompromising conservationist of the West, and another legendary foe of the Glen Canyon dam.

He was the movement’s Jeremiah — the crier in the wilderness who spotted the threats, condemned the desecraters and rallied the leadership to the defining preservation conflicts of the early 1950s through the ’80s.

David Brower, who as the Sierra Club’s seminal leader in the last half of the 20th century was compelled to make some of the compromises Mr. Litton fought, was known to call him “our conscience.”

–New York Times

NY Times obit

About Martin Litton

Roger Reisch-GUMO NP

I discovered his obituaries in the regional media websites (Trans-Pecos Texas, Southern New Mexico) when I was looking for info for  the NPS ranger I’d met way back in my earliest trip to Dog Canyon in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

(I include the NPS page here, but I’ve also captured the page to a PDF if the park service changes the link in the future.)

https://www.nps.gov/gumo/learn/news/park-mourns-the-passing-of-roger-reisch.htm

I’ll start from way back when. Continue reading Roger Reisch-GUMO NP

TR-Wheeler Peak-New Mexico Highpoint

[Original date August 31, 1997]

Trip report from a hike to the summit of Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico (13,161′) undertaken August 31, 1997.

Wheeler Peak is the highest point in New Mexico at 13,161′. The hike to the summit via Bull of the Woods is about 15 miles round trip, and has an elevation gain from 9,000 to 13,161′. This climb is non-technical during most of the summer. But extreme care should be taken during the thunderstorm season-July and August-since much of the Wheeler Peak trail is above timberline and exposed. Getting to and off the summit before thunderstorms this time of year will entail a near-dawn departure.

Continue reading TR-Wheeler Peak-New Mexico Highpoint

Go outside! Go!