Friday, December 30, 2016

The One, That is Different

There have been four ringtails for a long time. During the summer a fifth showed up, younger, smaller, and goofier (if that's possible). She comes out at night and sometimes during the day. Runs all over the place, climbs into the tree, bites on to her tail, and then does circles around and around the tree limbs, as if someone were spinning a hula hoop on a stick. Lately she's looking much larger and it's the wrong time of the year for that. While many times the females will stock up on hotdogs I saw here eat three on Wednesday night and four more, this being the last, just prior to this video. She probably weighs two and a half pounds so yesterday I saw her eat nearly a pound of hotdogs. A third of her weight in 24 hours. Looking down between the walls of the cistern and the outside rock I saw wrappers to three energy bars in the corner. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hiking Last Hurrah in Pictures

Plenty of Room


Welcome to the Polaris Ranger 800 six seater to the Base Camp family. Pretty sure it's not going to fit in the current garage so good thing we'll soon have a second one.

Monday, December 26, 2016


 It rained hard Saturday night so I'm hiking over to Last Hurrah to see if there have been any issues created as a result of the rain.

When I first moved here I was reading a tracking book with a section on how to determine where deer and big horn were spending time. They would take their antlers and dig a slight depression. Going back and forth clearing out all the rocks. While out hiking one day with Kobae I came across this spot in the first video with signs of deer or big horn tracks and three slight depressions that had been cleared. The next day I hiked up into the rocks for a good vantage point to see my three deer.

Around noon one buck showed up and settled into the first depression sheltered by the shade of the trees. Not much later as the sun hit that position it moved over to the center depression and was again sheltered by the branches and leaves of the tree. Shortly after the sun reached that spot he moved to the third depression. Three deer weren't coming. Based on past experience one guy had figured it out.

Experience is a big deal. It looks like it's just me this year to run both places and deal with at least twice as many guests. I'll get a routine worked out but I can't have surprises. There won't be time. I'm trying to learn as much as I can now. Here's a spot where the rain is running down making gullies which will in time turn into mud slides so best to figure out how to prevent it now.

To some this might seem like a little thing but I remember when I was going around visiting 15 or so of our facilities on a regular basis, most of which had snack bars. Some facilities had rodent problems developing and some didn't. Talking to the managers they all claimed to clean their facilities good after the previous day's activities. There was one little difference that seemed insignificant at first but was the determining factor as to who had unwanted critters and who didn't. The managers who had their facilities cleaned right after the last game of the night was ended didn't have issues and the ones that came in early the next day to clean did. From the mouse's perspective the last game ended at midnight and it had free run of the place and all the spilled food until 3pm or so the next day (weekdays) where as managers who cleaned right after the last game ended and before going home left no reason for the mouse to hang around and no ill gotten gain if it did. Little thing. Big deal.

Walking over to the hogans I see the water is being funneled around the female hogan and washing out the dirt next to the hogan and underneath the deck area. That will be a little bit more complicated figuring out where to rout the water but while it's the same problem as on the hill in back of the lower house it'll probably be a different solution. When we built indoor soccer facilities in Houston and Shreveport they had to be able to withstand hurricanes. In Oklahoma and Kansas the local codes were designed to survive tornadoes. Colorado, Utah, and Idaho we had to make sure they could survive the snow loads on the roofs and you better not have your main building entrance facing the north side of the building on an east west building or when the snow melts off the roof it comes down and creates a huge solid snowdrift on the north side that never melts and is tough to move. In California and Arizona it was the environmentalists. I three times went under contract in Tucson and each time they found either Indian artifacts or bones.

Friday, December 23, 2016


Hall's Place

Before I got here there was a guy named Hall who had his own 50 acres and he and his Indian wife lived in a structure he built under an overhang.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

East Gate

Bottom of the driveway, turn left, just prior to the entrance to Last Hurrah turn right at the sign says Jackson Hole. Through the creek bed, up the hill past the fossil field to your right, there is a left hand turn with a gate. That is the eastern boundary of Last Hurrah.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Bone Yard

Over a packed house Thanksgiving I caught a cold and kept it for ten days and then got a week long stomach infection that was pretty painful. It's been three or four days since I've felt remotely healthy and it hasn't helped the amount of work it's taking to prepare for the Last Hurrah acquisition. Today I'm walking through an area at Last Hurrah called The Bone Yard where all sorts of things left over, not used, confused about, unsure of, unidentified, or homeless, have been planted.

Currently Base Camp is a roughly 2800 square foot building, a small garage, and a couple of mud huts (hogans) on almost 50 acres. It's about to absorb 2, two bed room houses, a monster garage, a boathouse, gravel pit, boat ramp, two pretty incredible hogans, and some other stuff of unique character I'll visit over the next few days on another almost 150 acres.

Most of the last ten years and particularly the last five years since I retired from Let's Play has been without stress. There's always ample money left over at the end of each year and I haven't had to put in that many hours. Certainly not like working at Let's Play where hundred hour weeks for 20 plus years and a total of seven days off during that time was my life. But, it paid off, and I lived long enough to enjoy the fruits of that financial risk and hard work. This year when business increased for the 10th straight year (25%) and days off started to disappear, I closed. Actually I closed three times for three weeks each time, didn't take any guests, and went hiking with Kobae most days. Now I'm about to add 120% to my monthly debt payment. I feel like it's a really good deal and a good mix to Base Camp but somewhere in the recesses I'm wondering if I'm also purchasing a lot of hard work and an ulcer. I need to increase revenue 120%.

I come around the corner and there's a cottontail, not afraid of me, but can't see him very well with the Go Pro. I'm going to change the settings tomorrow on my explorations of Last Hurrah and see if it helps the video quality.

I've had way worse. There was a time in the Let's Play days where we opened so many new facilities and added so much new debt that we had $50,000 a month negatives. I was Prez. We survived that and became amazingly profitable. So, a real job has returned and lots of work to accompany it. In time though, it will change. It always has and I expect this not to be different.

Coming into the clearing and though still bad video there is a mule deer staring at me, like the rabbit, also unafraid. I had six mule deer before the mountain lion showed up.

Opening 25 indoor soccer facilities all around the country, each one had some things new and different and never faced before in previous openings. In those days I slept on or under the office desk or in the bleachers so I didn't waste time driving back and forth to a motel. I didn't see family for many months at a time. I remember coming home one time after several months working at a facility and as I drove up to the house in San Diego my youngest daughter Heather was leaving for school. She said she was late and could I give her a ride to school. Since school was only a few blocks away that sounded wrong to me but she got in and I drove her to the top of the hill and pulled in front of the elementary school. She just stared at me. I said "Get out." She said "I haven't gone to this school in two years. I'm in junior high school." I said "Where is that?" At least this time I'll be able to sleep in my bed and without having to travel be at work when morning comes.

In the clearing five more mule deer show up. Good, all six of them survived the mountain lion while she was here. Usually she takes a deer every year before she goes back up on the Anti Cline through Dripping Springs where I've tracked her so many times before. I had 11 gray foxes when she got here and I haven't seen more than eight at a time since she departed so she may have got a few of them.


For the hogans (Paul and Hulk) the wood poles go in, the shaved off bark is stuffed in the cracks, and then the entire hogan is caked in mud, eventually dried. Usually in the fall and again in the winter it takes a week or so of redoing it with fresh mud and that is Johnny's task this week.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Some Evenings and David

On one of these evenings, maybe Monday, four of us, plus Jax and Elsie, are watching The Voice and Johnny has left and gone to bed, or not. Johnny walks in, looks at each of us and says "One, two, three, and four. Everybody is here. Why is there a light on the cliffs?" I walk outside and he's correct. I call to the light. A male voice replies "I ran out of water four hours ago and I'm trying to get to the river." I give him directions to get here and 15 minutes later he shows up. "My name is David. My friends are working in Needles for a few days and then at Arches. I told them to drop me off at Needles and I'd hike back and meet them at Arches." That's 75 miles and he's carrying a really heavy backpack that took me both arms to lift. "I did seven miles last night and the rest today." From Needles to here is 45 miles. He hiked 38 miles today carrying that backpack? Almost unbelievable. "I'm from Minnesota. I left Needles last night on my bicycle but it broke down about five miles into my journey and I've been pushing it ever since. It's up on the cliffs." I ask him if he wants a beer "I shouldn't. I'm not old enough. I'd really like some water though." We feed him and put him up in a hogan and since I have to go to town in the morning anyway I give him, his monster backpack, and broken bicycle a ride to the bike shop. It's a quick goodbye and he's gone.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Jax, The Fox

Jax has returned to Michelle's but we got one hike in before he left when disc golfers showed up. He is a true desert dog.

The Way Back

The Echoes

Chicken Corner: The Hike

To the Top, In the Dark: The Story

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Dead Horse Point: The Story

To the Top

Jax, Elsie, Rachel, Tristan, Amelia, and I climb to the top of Catacomb Rock (Wind Caves).

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016