The Middle Fork’s whitewater offers little room for error. Wood is both light and agile but the Middle Fork is checkered with rocks and Al knows that drift boats have a brief life expectancy. When a quarter inch of plywood is all that stands between a granite boulder and a cold swim, a collision that will simply scuff the bottom of a rubber raft will sink a drift boat. Even a glancing blow from one of ten thousand submerged growlers will splinter the Sapeli.
West of Cordoba, Argentina, flight feather quickly joins another until billions gather in a deep whir that quickly grows to approximate the distant drumming of a diesel generator. Estimated at between twenty and fifty million birds, Zenaida Auriculata is on the move.
After two and a half centuries, the coffins might contain a few bones or scraps of cloth. Excavating around the leather soles I see the blackened bones of a foot and beyond that a slender tibia. Staring at these relics of Kamchatka’s violent history, it occurs to me that desecrating any grave, much less a leper’s grave is a bad business and I quickly stand, brush my hands off and wade back into the river.
“……there was a great glacier run,” Hemingway wrote. “forever straight if our legs could hold it, our ankles locked, we running so low, leaning into the speed, dropping forever and forever in the silent hiss of the crisp powder. It was better than anything else.”
Stirling Moss, who raced Maseratis in the 1950s and ’60s, said “I only know about cars and women………..and I can’t see one thing bad about this car.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger on skis is a force of nature. It is his expression that speaks volumes–the Terminator’s single-minded sense of purpose that refines the image of a 225 pound, six foot two, granite boulder bouncing from edge to edge.
He appeared in the exotic customs of Romania’s Gypsies, in the face of a drunken mad man and in the wet shine of fresh blood spilled across white marble steps at the Golden Crown.
La Grave locals regard any publicity as a catastrophe. Bill tells me the best thing that could happen to La Grave is for the road to be blocked by an avalanche. It is Roberto, however, who cuts to the chase. “So what’s your angle,” he inquires. “More of that it’s so great, it’s so rad, you have to ski it to believe it…..shit?”
“You ought to write about the woman who ate it in Tre Fete this morning.” Bill suggests.
The Marines rapidly loaded the massive .50 caliber brass into the steel clips then handed them to Hull, who shoved the heavy boxes home, racked the slide and selected a target
For tens of thousands of years, altitude and isolation helped protect the Snake Range’s Bristlecones. Then, in 1964, while studying the last ice age on 13,000 foot Wheeler Peak, a University of North Carolina doctorial candidate broke his boring tool in what back packers called the Prometheus Tree.
The moon is said to affect the blood in the same way it pulls at the tides and I wonder if, while finning beneath the dark over hung bank, Browns feel the same quickening, that betrays a need to breed and feed.
Studying my Drathaar’s youthful wire coat and scraggly whiskers, an old field trial buddy noted, “It’s hard to find an ugly puppy, but I think you succeeded.”
The canyon’s nutrient rich cold water stimulates the growth of fresh water shrimp. Hiding in black caves formed by the obtuse angles of massive basalt boulders, the ancient rainbows and ferocious browns grow heavy and old on the abundant feed. The shrimp draw the big fish slowly from bottom to top and by watching the strings of deep dimples, it is possible to mark their progress from the waning inflow, to the slow outflow.
Pepper Spray is a witch’s brew of ground cayenne and propellants guaranteed to make ursus horriblus wish he’d never laid eyes on homo sapien. “Use in short, timed bursts,” the instructions read.
This is not what I expected from Arizona. Not snakes in caves, or war shirts with power or snow that blows over your head.
It is two in the morning and still light when the black bear wakes us. Holding a can of pepper spray in one hand, Andrew opens the door and shoots the huge bruin with a sustained blast to the face. The bear snorts explosively, then clawing at its nose, staggers backward and falls off the porch.
I still can’t say what possessed me to climb into an aging Aeroflot M1-8 helicopter with 23 Russian skiers, their skis, packs, a case of vodka and 650 gallons of AV gas. As Vilyuchensky, one of Kamchatka’s hundred plus volcanoes rapidly expands beneath the starboard wheel, I hope that Alexander the pilot aced his last check ride.
Despite making the switch from left to right, I don’t stutter, am fairly creative, very organized, and as well adjusted as anyone can hope to be given the state of the world.
Robert has entered that dangerous time of life when young men believe they are immortal.
Watching the unbroken snow rise to meet me, I realize that much of my adult life has been defined by Bald Mountain. Without the influence of expert runs that plunge from its broad ridges, I might have spent my life in the pursuit of more worldly, but far less rewarding goals.
When high pressure builds over Greenland and low pressure stalls south of Iceland the resulting collision explodes above the West Fjords in a blizzard that crushes visibility and punches avalanche warnings into the red zone.
Prior to December 16, 2010 a major dump amounted to two feet in two days. Not two feet in eight hours
A flash of yellow squirted through the grass and I am blistered by the acrid stench of burning tires. Other than profanity, there is no describing the skunk’s blindingly strong smell.
To ride the Bataan, you need big guns–buttocks like cannonballs, hamstrings as thick as bridge cables, cordwood for thighs and massive striated calves.