Friday, January 31, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014

It's 2 a.m.

Tom is sleeping. Having a dream, or in this case a remembrance. Thirty years ago, living in Colorado Springs, his cat got in the neighbor's garbage. The neighbor put the lid on to teach the cat a lesson and then went to work with the plan to free it when he returned. The neighbor was pretty broke up when he came over to tell us and return our dead cat which had suffocated. Tom wakes up. Why did he have that dream? There's a reason. Tom is getting dressed and putting on his boots not yet sure why. Then he realizes. He and Johnny sealed up Kobae's house pretty good. Can Zorro breath? If he's in there ramming the door he'll be using up a lot of air. Tom pulls the truck up so he'll have enough light and then pops the trap door under the straw bails. Zorro is right below him and runs back into the tunnel. Tom leaves the door open for a few minutes to resupply Zorro's air and then closes it. Tom pulls two of the three nails out of the front door and pulls one corner back a little so there is a fresh air exchange. When morning comes Tom can see where Zorro has been pushing against the door but he doesn't see any tracks where Zorro has yet escaped.

Johnny's First Kayak

This is a side picture of Base Camp from Caveman Ranch on the other side of the Colorado River. Once a week or so Tom has been taking Johnny groceries and whatever other supplies he might need. It's a one hour drive to town on the road you can see above Base Camp along the side of the cliff in the background. Then a one hour drive to Caveman Ranch. Then repeat on the way back. The 500 feet across the river is an 85 mile and four hour drive with much of it jeep roads. On Wednesday after messing with Zorro, Johnny and Tom with most of the ice in the river gone kayak all of Johnny's groceries across saving Tom four hours of driving. Tom's kayak was a little lower in the water with two 30 packs of beer in it but he made it.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Moving Day for Zorro (Reverse Psychology)

In a long, deep, dark, narrow, tunnel, sits a creature with nails so long and sharp the Wicked Witch of the West looks like she's a grooming specialist. Teeth that make a shark look like a guppy. So much attitude that just the capital A in attitude takes up a full page in Funk and Wagnall. Today's mission Johnny and Tom, is to make sure that creature comes out because it wants to come out, and once out, never wants to go back in. Tom has passed on frontal assault, fire crackers, and smoke bombs. At the grocery store Tom mentions to the checker he has a badger living at the lodge. She says with her family they were in the La Sal Mountains and found a badger trapped in a cage. Her and the kids climbed up a tree and the guys got the door open and released the badger. It's face was all bloody and beat up where it had been ramming the cage trying to get out. It was at that moment a light came on in Tom's head. Kobae and Zorro are much alike. Kobae hates being locked in a room. In the early days Tom would lock him in the laundry room if he was leaving for the day and upon return would find Kobae had rammed the door until the latch broke or the door came off the hinges. Johnny and Tom have sealed up all the cracks and main entrance and think they have locked Zorro inside though neither wanted to crawl down into the tunnel to see a bunch of shiny teeth coming at them to be sure. They've left it so that if Zorro really wants out he can get out but it's going to take a lot of work. He's going to have to ram the front door quite a few times or dig through the frozen earth to get out. Tom has raked all the tracks off the ground. If Zorro is in there and escapes Tom will know which way. If Zorro isn't in there and tries to return Tom will know, unseal it to let Zorro in, then seal it back up. Zorro needs to know that anytime he goes in there he is at risk of getting trapped inside. That's the plan.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Tom spends Tuesday at Caveman Ranch stopping to pick up Alf who he met two weeks ago wandering around Hurrah taking pictures. Johnny comes back with him to do some Wednesday work around Base Camp and to help with what Tom has been dreading, Wednesday is evict Zorro day. Should Tom lose a ligament in the process he'd like somebody to drive him to the hospital. Tom has been checking the internet for suggestions on how to catch a badger and is glad he did because he's found lots of ways he doesn't want to use. Here's one.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Another Short Cut

Tom has found the end of both roads and it's time to head back but it's a long ways. Then Tom spots the propane gas line going to the Pot Ash plant which travels right down Jackson Ladder. Tom should be able to follow the propane pipe right to Jackson Ladder. On the way Tom finds more remnants of the phone line he found two winters ago that he had tracked all up and down Jackson Hole for four or five days and then lost at the bottom of Jackson Ladder. Just a few hundred feet from Jackson Ladder Tom finds a single pottery shard.

Short Cut

It's Day Six on the Amasa Back and Tom's trail selection didn't loop to the other trail he wanted to take so he's cutting across the canyons to see if he can find it.

Amasa Back (Day Six)

On Day Five Tom saw two trails branching off he'd never seen before. On Sunday night he checks all his maps and they aren't on there and there's no mention of them. Tom elects to take the one to the east hoping it will loop around to the one going north. It doesn't. In the distance Tom can see the Tombstones.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Friend

There are already three ringtails that come to the porch each evening to eat. The large one which wants nothing to do with Tom. The medium size one which only wants to be fed hot dogs on the roof. It will come down one of the porch poles to get Tom's attention and then run back up and jump on the roof where Tom throws it a couple of hot dogs. Kitty, the smallest ringtail which will eat out of Tom's hand most nights. Having just returned from the Amasa Back Tom sees a very nervous and before unseen small ringtail come to the porch.


Tom returns from the Amasa Back to find Zorro sitting at the opening to Kobae's house waiting for Tom to fill up the food bowl. Not quite sure how yet to get him out and keep him out, but thinking about it.

False Kiva

Linny, Evelyn, and Tom found a False Kiva on the Amasa Back last summer and Tom runs across it again during Day Five exploring. At the time only the 3rd False Kiva Tom has visited. Very rare Barrier Canyon petroglyphs above the False Kiva but very hard to see.

More Amasa Back

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Amasa Back Bicycle Trail

Coming down from the Amasa Back bicyclist jump off the ledge to the dirt below.

Recent Pictograph (Real recent)

Amasa Back (Day Five)

Today Tom is exploring all outcroppings of rock sticking up on Amasa Back and to the east of Jackson Ladder.

The Ridge

A long ridge, southwest facing, has become Tom's focal point of Day Four's afternoon. It's a dimensional problem. Taking one ledge to it's end, doubling back sometimes to find a way to get to the ledge above that, the one above that, and all the way to the top. Having reached the top it is nearly two hours before Tom can find a way back down as he moves along the ledges. One thing Tom likes about hiking in the winter is no fear of Midget Faded rattlesnakes as he crawls into overhangs or reaches into holes and crevices. One thing he doesn't like is the shrubbery is dry and each time Tom's levis scrape against dry shrubbery it sounds like a Midget Faded rattlesnake so it takes some getting used to.

Day Four Stuff

Looking down into Jackson Butte, a pack rat nest with a golf ball in it, and Jackson Ladder that Tom climbs each morning and descends each evening.

Moving On

Finding nothing of significance above Jackson Ladder Tom begins moving east and finds sign of a long time ago but not what he's looking for.