September 29, 2008

Words to Live By

Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me! I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy--myself. Make me always ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes.
So when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.
Lakota Sioux, Chief Yellow Lark - 1887

September 28, 2008

Daisy's Hard Days

Daisy encountered her porcupine on Tuesday, and Steve promptly removed as many quills as possible with a hemostat. Some broke off, though, so we anticipated further problems. In this Thursday photo, note some swelling on her right muzzle: Later that day, one of the quills pointed through the skin. Apparently it was deposited inside her mouth and worked its way out through her muzzle. Steve was able to pull it out. Note the barbs, as seen under a microscope: The portion pulled out was about half an inch long, as seen here lined up with a ruler:On Saturday's ride, Daisy had the misfortune to get under Boss's feet when he was turning, for the second time this week. The first time, she was lucky because they were in a bog and she wasn't hurt. This time, she got her foot scraped, but otherwise seemed okay. She squealed,though. I'm sure it smarted.
After the ride, I noticed another quill point had appeared in her swollen area. Steve grabbed his trusty hemostat and pulled out yet another quill, also one that was deposited on the inside and poked its way out on her muzzle. Here is the swelling on Saturday evening: Daisy has had a difficult week. We can only hope that’s the last of the quill remnants, but probably not.

September 27, 2008

Blind Stream

We drove the road from Mountain Home toward Upper Stillwater Reservoir, passing Big Ridge, Dry Creek Ridge, and Farm Creek Peak, all festooned in autumn glory. Almost to Upper Stillwater, we turned left on a road that eventually leads to Hannah. The track is narrow, windy, and unpaved, passing through some lovely aspen groves, and under the shadow of some impressive limestone cliffs. The rocks beneath these cliffs are loaded with fossils:
Soon after the road levels out, past Blind Stream Peak, but before reaching Blind Stream, there is an old road bed leading uphill to the right at a steep angle. We parked truck and trailer near there, saddled up and started off. We had passed only one SUV on the road while driving up, and met maybe half a dozen four wheelers. Right after we got out of our truck, a 4 wheeler passed with a freshly gutted deer on the back. Daisy took off after it, hoping to have a snack, but she came back when she realized nothing was being offered. (How insensitive of that hunter!)
We began riding without our EasyBoot Bares, but after a couple of miles the trail continued to be littered with sharp rocks, so we stopped and put the boots on. The road didn’t seem to follow the path shown on our map, so we soon took off cross country, headed for some overlooks at about 11,000 feet. (We had started at about 10,000 feet.) We continued over hill and dale and through spruce forests. As we reached tundra and the Krumholtz (stunted, twisted evergreens that grow up high), the ground was covered with gravel sized rocks, allowing for easy trotting and cantering.
The overviews had steep drop-offs to the valleys below. Aspen groves on East Granddaddy Mountain across the valley were clearly visible. We also identified Blind Stream Peak. The view was vast and breathtaking, as is so often the case in the Uintas. We didn’t even try to follow the road on the way back, but just set a compass heading and took off, making for a much faster transit.
Overall, we traveled 12 miles, 2000 feet elevation gain, in 3 hours moving time. This trailhead ends up being about 1 hr, 25 minutes from Roosevelt, at trailer towing speeds.

September 26, 2008

Foliage from Autumns Past

New Hampshire River, New Hampshire, October 6, 2005:

Range Creek, Utah in the mist, 9-18-05: Taylor Mt. area near Vernal, Utah, 10-1-05: Dry Fork overlook near Vernal, Utah, 10-2-05
Salt Creek, Canyonlands, early Oct, '00
Neph's Canyon, Salt Lake City, UT, late Sept, '91

Alpine Loop, UT, Sept, '90

Nacogdoches, Texas, fall, '90:

Woodland Hills, CA, 1980: Yosemite National Park, CA 1980:
Near Taos, NM, fall, 1981:
Shreveport, LA, 1976:

September 25, 2008

Don't Kiss the Porcupine

On a two day riding trip this past Tuesday and Wednesday, we returned to the Strawberry River area. Starting Tuesday from the corrals, we rode the Mill B route, circumnavigating Currant Creek Peak and adding a sidetrip to the Willow Creek corrals on the Bjorkman Hollow road. The aspens were about 50% changed at 9000 feet, making for gorgeous views. Around the Willow Creek area, many of the aspens were red-gold.
This is a great ride, almost all alluvial, suitable for trotting and cantering much of the way. We didn’t even use boots on the horses, and they did fine on the 18 mile, 3800 foot elevation gain route, all in 4.5 hours moving time. Cows were still grazing in the high country, although a trough at the base of Currant Creek Peak had ice on the spout at mid-day. Cowboys were in the area this week rounding up their animals. A friendly cowboy said they’d get all of them out by the weekend.
Gooseberries were lush with berries around the trough.
The most unusual event on the ride was Daisy’s encounter with a porcupine. We had just passed a stock pond above the Willow Creek area. Daisy was lagging behind. I heard her bark once. Soon after, she showed up behind me, making gagging noises, alternating with flopping down and rubbing her snout on the ground. As she came up beside me, I saw something pointy sticking out of her mouth. I alerted Steve, who rode ahead. We both dismounted to check out the situation. Steve quickly diagnosed her as nailed by numerous porcupine quills. They were sprinkled over her nose and jaws, and some were stuck in the roof of her mouth.
Luckily, Steve had a hemostat in his saddle bags. (Amazing, all the useful stuff he has packed in those leather pouches.) With both of us holding her down, Daisy Mae tolerated having the quills pulled out. Some on the outside of her muzzle broke off. She may have some swelling and infection from those, but no problems yet. Seemingly delighted to be free of quills, she completed the ride in her usual exuberant fashion. Back at the trailer, she wolfed down her dog food, and slept just fine all night. She seemed no worse for wear the next day, either, and still looks okay today.
On Wednesday, we rode the area again. We started out on a trail to the west of the Strawberry corrals and road to the top of the Row Bench Trail. Steve spotted a mama moose and her half-grown calf. We passed an on-foot hunter (in camo, carrying a rifle) on the way up and again as we rode down. Don’t know what he was hunting, but we didn’t tell him about the moose.
Nice views of the Wasatch from the Row Bench ridge. Since that trail led mostly downhill after the ridge, we returned to the corrals and took Mill B to a turnoff leading to Willow Creek and made a loop ride with the Mill B trail that we had partially explored on Tuesday. We rode through beautiful aspen groves with great views of Strawberry Reservoir framed by fall colors.Back on Mill B, we heard bugling and saw a big bull elk with a nice rack standing between aspen groves. He melted into the aspen, but we saw him several more times, and also saw his herd of cows and calves hiding out in the trees. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem wary enough, and I’m afraid he won’t last through the hunting season.
Wednesday’s ride was a total of 14 miles, 3900 feet in 4 hours. The drive to this great trailhead is only 1 hr, 20 minutes from our house in Roosevelt. Before the aspen gold is gone, maybe we’ll get in one more outing in the area.

September 22, 2008


I was fascinated by the genetic research intrigue from the very beginning of this book. Then I talked to Steve and found that many of the incidents that occurred in the fiction have actually occurred in real life.
Such as, genes are really being patented. This seems absurd. Genes belong to those of us who possess them as an integral part of our DNA, not to researchers who happen to obtain a sample of our blood or tissue. Also, as Chrichton points out, the possessiveness of patents can only serve to inhibit research and slow fighting diseases caused by these genes.
Also, several lawsuits have actually been filed, as happened in the work of fiction, against university hospitals that took a person’s cell material during treatment, and the genes were then patented and sold for millions.
I found the story, that at least begins with today’s facts, interesting and thought provoking, well worth the read.

September 21, 2008

Miner's Gulch

Is there a trail to the top of Miner’s Gulch? We set out to find the answer. Miner’s Gulch is on the way to Upper Stillwater Reservoir, just a few miles past the Lower Stillwater trailhead we used to access Big Ridge.
We began our sojourn on a road, rocky but well defined. Unfortunately, that road crosses Miner’s Creek and heads toward Bear Lake, which wasn’t our destination. We followed a smaller two track straight uphill, but that ended after another few miles. From there, all we could find was an “old horse trail”, Steve-speak for “nearly invisible, except to the Steve-meister’s highly trained eye.” The “trail” had lots of blowdown and boggy areas. In one of the bogs, Boss stepped on Daisy’s foot. She howled to make sure Boss and everyone else knew about it. Fortunately, she was okay. Steve’s trail finally became so overgrown and impassable that we gave it up.
Almost back to where the road turns to Bear Lake, we found a four wheeler trail and followed it for awhile. However, it wasn’t going up, so that was no good. Turning back once again, we found yet another two track, this one going up, the correct direction. The road was quite steep, but it made a good workout for the horses. We achieved 9500 feet, and there the road/trail (and our adventure) ended. Answer: no trail reaches the top of Miner’s Gulch. At least not one we could find.
Nice views of aspen gold: -We pulled the horses’ Easy Boot Bares and rode them barefoot on the way down.
Here’s a hornet’s nest we found built under a rock ledge: Here’s a blue elderberry, full of ripe berries: All in all, we went 10 miles and 2900 feet elevation gain. We started out in sunshine and rode most of the way in clouds. Clouds are good on a warm day. Makes it cooler for the horses when they’re working hard.
Back at home, the sun shone through the clouds, plasma making nice with terra firma:

September 20, 2008

Double Rainbow

The sky looked like rain this morning, so we stayed home, read, and enjoyed life on the farm. While we were checking how the pasture looked after Thursday’s irrigation, our neighbor Jim and his boys stopped to chat. As he suggested, we took a load of leftover squash out to Jim’s chickens and collected some eggs. A nice trade.
This afternoon, the horses were waiting at the corral gate for us to let them out to graze. Mischief gets impatient and plays with the gate. Unless it’s carefully latched, he’ll let himself out.
This time, we beat him to it. He and Boss raced out the gate, squealing and bucking and having a fine time, with Daisy running on their heels.
As we walked back to the house, a drizzling rain began. Looking up at the sky, we noticed a rainbow, faint at first, but becoming brighter as we watched. By the time I got the camera, a lovely double rainbow arced across the alfalfa pasture across the road.


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