Memorable Activities in Remote, Beautiful Places - and the Incredible Resulting Natural Drug Buzz!
I quit doing illegal drugs 40 years ago after a long (1-year) bout (well, how about infatuation) with them. Well, actually, illegal DRUG - marijuana was the only thing I would try (unless you count beers behind the high-school stadium as an illegal drug), I was scared of anything else. And my "Long Bout" marijuana phase lasted maybe a year, although I had about a 1/4-kilo of the stuff around for a couple of more years. I had a friend who was back and forth to Vietnam on a regular basis, he had access to some pretty good stuff at pretty good prices - I recall one evening noting that the apartment where I was living must be infested with spiders, because they were all over the walls - and the light switches were moving around inexplicably as well - how odd. I'm told that straight pot couldn't do that, but something did it that time, and I was pretty sure it was straight pot. I remember it clearly. Or at the very least, I remember remembering it.

I quit marijuana because I began to suspect it was a demotivator, and it seemed to hang on pretty good. I have since seen research papers that contended that it DOES reduce human motivation, and that the half-life of the active-ingredient (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol - THC) is about 2-days. I did nicotine for lots longer than I did pot, but I guess it doesn't count 'cause it's not illegal - tobacco interests are too good at lobbying. Actually, the marijuana interests are too bad at lobbying, everything should be legal, therefore cheap, therefore no prison crowding, no street gangs, no international cartels with armies bigger than some third-world countries, etc., etc. Plus the Feds could tax it and then maybe we really could have No Child Left Behind, instead of All US Childs Left Behind the Japanese, Chinese, Germans, Italians, etc. "But everybody would do it and the country would fall into chaos!" - Not likely. Alcohol is legal and addicting and dangerous and not everybody does it to excess. Sure, it's a problem. But it isn't subverting the rule of law, and illegal drugs are very close to doing that in my opinion.

But, I'm off-task once again. The point is, who needs marijuana when you can scare the poo-poo out of yourself and then, with or without a couple of shots of Sauza Hornitas Reposoda at the end, have the most incredible drug experience on the planet! Ha!

I've worked pretty hard my whole life (there is, however, a significant sector of disagreement on that issue) and achieved some reasonably significant things in my professional life (once again, conflicting opinions). But when I look back I see things sticking out of the mist that is my past. Significant things, colorful things. Things that matter to me. And they all have mountains, or trails, or big waves, or howling wind or lightening around them - except for a few professional episodes where a mistake could have eradicated all human life in about 3 counties, or where a mistake could have launched the back-half of a multi-acre manufacturing facility into the air (actually it WAS rocket-science!), or a few more memorable things like that - but most of the really significant events that stick out of the general fog of life are associated with outdoor activities. Maybe a couple to do with my kids - naaa, surely not.

This page is dedicated to some of those special trips - where I was smart enough to have a camera, or focused enough when I got back to write it up.

I hope you enjoy what you find here, whether it makes you feel superior, makes you smile, or makes you want to drag out your backpack and resole your hiking boots - if they are re-soleable at any reasonable cost. Whatever it does I hope it doesn't reduce your respect for outdoor adventure and make you spend more time at work! Ha!

Oh, By The Way. I'm a full on, 100% devout coward. I know people who do crazy things on faith, who just step up and go. Not me. I need as many layers of back-up as I can build into an expedition. I hope for the best, but I plan for the worst (There is a limit to what you can do - a pack is only so big, your back and legs will only take so much, a boat will only hold so much, and everything costs money, usually lots of money, etc.). But even so, when I actually get there and look at what I've done to myself my legs feel like lead, and my heart rate is about 90% of max and I don't know how many times I have stood looking at something - a big rapid, or an expanse of open water, or the trail up a 12,000 foot pass and asked myself in all seriousness, "What am I doing here?". If there were a taxi close I'm positive I'd take it. I did one time, on the Middle Fork of the Salmon - I flew off just above Impassable Canyon, the last stretch before the confluence with the Main Salmon. Of course, I'd already lost my boat, and two people had swam under a log jam, and the water level was 9.2 feet (150% of maximum recommended runnable)- but some of the party did the stretch and lived to tell about it. I've never been sorry I flew out, never once, never for an instant. I had reached my limit. I had had all the fun I could stand.

The only thing that saves me on most of these trips is that they are so remote, or it would cost so much to get ferried out, or whatever, that I am stuck with the deal. Usually the enormity of the journey in front of me doesn't hit until the shuttle has left, or the boat is drifting downstream, or I'm out of sight of land. And by then I'm usually so preoccupied with just making life happen on some reasonable terms that I have no chance to be scared. I sailed solo across the Sea of Cortez at the tail end of one of the worst systems they had had in a while. The boat took a beating and I fully realized the consequences of my decision. While I was on the water it was no problem at all, I was busy bailing water out of the boat, keeping the sails trimmed, watching the GPS mapper for course, picking stuff off the cabin floor after violent 40-degree heels, etc. But within 30-minutes of getting back on land I was actually, honestly thinking of looking for a way to put that boat on the ferry and take it back across that way - no more of that crazy stuff! Ha! (A few cups of coffee and some chiliquiles brought me back to insanity, I sailed it back across a few days later).

I hope the stuff you find here makes you smile, either with me or at me, I don't really care. These were fantastic experiences, I want to tell you about them.

No matter if some of these sorts of things catch up with me one of these days, it will be better than drowning in my own puke in a nursing home.

Good On Ya'!

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