UP BEAR CREEK
On the Road for Fall Work and Play
by Art Goodtimes
Oct 28, 2010 | 984 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
LOST COAST… Backpacking was always a favorite activity of mine. More so when I was young and unencumbered by responsibilities. And back in the day I managed to traipse over some famous trails … In the 70s I took Alaska’s Inside Passage and hiked the Klondike alone, from Skagway over into Canada – an epic journey through grizzly country, starting at the coast and working my way up into the alpine scree and back down to sand dunes and a lake near Whitehorse. All the way imagining the Jack London days of yore with gold-seekers flooding into the interior searching for their yellow grail … On Hawaii’s island of Kauai it was Betzi and I doing the Na Pali coast into Kalalau, weaving down mud-slick slopes through house-high cacti and fluorescent centipedes – to camp on the beach and feast on mangoes, wild cherry tomatoes and opihi … Over the years I’d touched on the Appalachian trail, snuck in a bit of the John Muir in the high Sierras. But I’d never made it to the one wild stretch of California that the highways missed. The fabled Lost Coast … Its allure had always been beckoning me, but there’d never been time or chance. Until last month when my old California hiking buddy Steve Clark called to say he’d gotten time off and was ready. Was I? … Well, no, of course not. I was busy with a dozen projects and commitments. But I got to thinking. I’m 65. The opportunity was here. I’d missed opportunities in the past – like a seat in a raft headed down the Colorado – things I’d kicked myself for not doing. It was time to do what my old folk hero Utah Phillips had counseled years ago at a concert, and which had become a bookmark mantra in my life: “Every so often you have to wake up and jump off a cliff” … Hell with it. I was going, I told my goomba Steve. And so we did (a full account next week).

HELENA… One of the downsides of being in national leadership on the National Association of Counties is having to attend the Western Interstate Region meetings three or four times a year. It’s a coalition of 11 western states that, like Club 20, purports to speak as the primary voice for its members. Its focus is mostly public lands management, and while there are a handful of issues progressive counties like San Miguel would agree with, mostly it’s ultra-conservative in its attitudes – opposed to wilderness, wary of any environmental law, and taking every opportunity to badmouth the Feds … Flying up to Helena two weeks ago was fascinating. I’d never been to the Montana capital, and it’s a colorful place. Our late night tour of the capitol building was a treat – seeing the lovely Charles Russell mural masterpiece on the House side of the ornate dome (valued at $45 million) … But the meeting was far less valuable. I counted 22 attendees on the WIR board – of those 21 were men, 20-21 were conservatives, and there was one (maybe two) progressives (me and one Republican from New Mexico – social liberal but fiscal conservative) … Nice folks, and it was instructive listening to their views, but nothing most San Miguel County constituents could agree with.

TONY CORBIN… John Corbin was a mainstay of the Telluride Mushroom Festival for 28 years until his untimely death last year. Many of us still mourn his gentle giant self – as kind and generous a man as I’ve ever met. And we were delighted that Ed the Norwood Marshal brought his bagpipe to the Shroomfest parade this year, in memory of John … So, when John’s son Tony (who still comes to lead forays for the festival) announced his marriage in Kansas City, I had to go … And a delightful event it was, with a beautiful (short) service and a lovely (long) reception. All blessings to Tony and Val.

HEADWATERS … Mark your calendar. Nov. 11-13. It’s Western State’s annual conference in Gunnison exploring issues of relevance to the headwaters region of the Southern Rockies, where the rain that falls runs to the Pacific and the Atlantic both. San Miguel County sits on the Pacific side of that divide, but the conversation is one that has increasing relevance for our watershed and which has intrigued me for a couple decades … More on this next week.

QUIVIRA COALITION … Courtney White made a grand transformation in his life, from Sierra Club leader to rancher advocate. His group is bridging the gap between environmentalists and the ranch community who depend on the land (and their knowledge and conservation of it) for their livelihood. I’ve been a speaker at their annual conference before, and found it fascinating and incredibly instructive. This year their topic is “Using Stewardship to Build Soil and Fight Climate Change.” You’ll get a chance to hear leading proponents from around the world speak to the ways to build soil faster, increase local food production, improve the water cycle, reduce atmospheric CO2, and re-think business-as-usual practices … Courtney likes to talk about the “radical center”, or what I call the radical middle. If you want to see how we can move beyond lawsuits into real action to protect the future, attend the annual conference in Albuquerque, Nov. 10-12 … For more info, go to www.quiviracoalition.org

THE TALKING GOURD

Headlines


What would Rumi say
to those blowing themselves up
like starbursts at a Sufi shrine?

“Killing nine & wounding 65”
As though keeping score
was a votive offering to the Beloved.

And the black hole of a bomb’s heart
flowering arms & smeared light
was a fearsome explosion of love.
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