Mountain Dog Photo Contest Finalists – VOTE NOW!

Check out our 2013 Mountain Dog Photo Contest finalists below.

Voting has closed. Thanks to all who voted, stay tuned for the announcement of the winner!

Trouble Henry


Name: Trouble Henry
Residence: Indian Hills, CO
Greatest Achievement: Being so notorious that we now have to enter through the back door at the vet office. We’re filing discrimination charges as we speak.
Likes to chase…chipmunks, birds, small children
Why I should win: As this photo shows, I am always, always up for an adventure. It doesn’t matter if it’s 5 degrees and snowing at St Mary’s Glacier in Colorado, or 100 degrees in the Utah canyonlands, I am game! I will go ANYWHERE with my humans — and I Will. Be. Happy.  Unless I’m protecting them from dangerous chipmunks or deer. Then I’m FIERCE. Sure, I live up to my name. I’m not an easy dog to have around sometimes. My adventure sometimes end in vet bills. But my humans learn from me everyday, too:  The mountains and nature are right outside. Rejoice!



Name: Canon (and Koa in the back)
Residence: Westminster, CO
Greatest Achievement: Going to the hospital and senior center to cheer people up.  I’m not an official service dog, I’m just really easy going and people love me.  The elevator is still a bit perplexing to me though.  I also run regularly at the dog park helping my favorite person train for half marathons and triathlons.  Last week I ran two 7.5 milers (well, more like 10 milers for me because I’m bad and chase around after the prairie dogs).
Likes to chase…squirrels
Why I should win: I’m 10.5 and I survive that little dog behind me who is 7.5 years younger every day!  (Seriously…did you ever get a naughty little sister well into the golden years of your life?)



Name: Yo-yo
Residence: Durango, Colorado
Greatest Achievement: The eve before Yo-yo and I found each other was the biggest thunderstorm I have witnessed in my life. I was living in the Missouri Ozarks in a trailer with 30 other field biologists and went out the morning after the storm for a mountain bike ride. On my ride I found a scared drenched little puppy that ran into the ditch when he saw me. I put my bike down and he stepped closer. When I took off my helmet, he ran towards me and jumped into my arms! We shared a Lara Bar, and it was love at first bite! That day Yo-yo followed me five miles back to my home, and we began our adventure together. His greatest achievement is surviving the storm and allowing himself to be loved after  abandonment by previous owners.
Likes to chase…crunchy leaves blowing in the wind
Why I should win: Since we have been together, Yo-yo has been companion to me and my partner, Cody, on our many adventures. He has gone on a canoe trip in Missouri, slept in a hammock in Colorado, slept through a thunderstorm in a tent in Arkansas. He has braved a gondola, hiked to alpine lakes, hiked under the full moon. We are trying to expose our little dog, Yo, to as many weird situations as possible as a pup, so he can come with us on all our adventures and keep up with our busy lifestyle. Cody and I are both avid mountain bikers and are planning to be moving frequently the next few years for various field jobs. Yoyo will be bounding along beside us!



Name: Jackson
Residence: I own my own house, I let my parents live there
Greatest Achievement: I have hiked a couple Colorado fourteeners, napped afterwords for the better part of a week, camped in 20 degree weather, “skied” in snow deeper than my legs are long, but I have to say my greatest achievement is cheering up my mom and dad on any given day, no matter what has happened, with my full body wag and doggie grin.
Likes to chase…the usual (squirrels, cats, rabbits) but much prefers to be chased by other dogs – it’s my favorite game
Why I should win: I am a shelter dog who is now ridiculously spoiled and not wanting for much in life, but it doesn’t stop me from trying to win over every dog and human I meet! Give me a chance to win over a few more!



Name: Bella
Residence: Same as her humans
Greatest Achievement: High on Bella’s list of achievements are her multiple 14er, 13er ascents in Colorado, including following her owners up some ridiculously sketchy scree slopes, as well as explorations of countless unruly trails leading to treed summits in the Adirondacks of NY, but these are not her greatest achievements. Bella’s greatest achievement is her unwavering devotion to follow us to the ends of the Earth and ability to convey joy in every step and every moment of every adventure we pursue together. Her greatest achievement is in constantly reminding us of the virtues of living in the moment.
Likes to chase…Porkies (once…only once)
Why I should win: Bella should win because she is a joyous jester, thrilled with every outing, always up for absolutely anything and endlessly entertaining. She embodies and exudes the spirit of the mountains. It’s our belief that we missed a great opportunity for her to have her own TV reality show, but winning this contest would be a fitting entry on her resume…not that she could care less, as long as she’s along for the party!


Mountain Gazette Mountain Dog Photo Contest


The Mountain Gazette Dog Photo Contest is CLOSED!


It’s time for the Mountain Gazette tribe to vote for the top dog in the hills.

Think your pup has the chops? Send us a photo and some words on what gives his bark some bite. We will choose five finalists and then ask MG readers to pick a winner online. The grand prize winner will receive a new Microlight Alpine down jacket from Rab Mountaineering, prize packs from Kong toys for the dog, and swag from the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. Finalists will win prize packs from Kong and the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.


We are no longer taking submissions for this photo contest. Thanks to all who entered, and stay tuned for the next step in the voting process!

Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the contest sign-up page by 12:00 Midnight EST on October 11th, 2013. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Mountain Gazette and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Mountain Gazette reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Mountain Gazette reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Mountain Gazette and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of finalists will be chosen at the Mountain Gazette office on or before November 1st, 6:00 PM EST 2013. Winners will be contacted by the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7 days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received. By submitting a photo, all participants release the rights to Mountain Gazette to post, publish, distribute, or otherwise use at their discretion.

Mountain Gazette’s 60 Best Excerpts

Editor’s note: It is an understatement to say how complicated and time-consuming a process it was to distill the millions of words that have appeared in 191 issues of the Mountain Gazette into a mere 60 excerpts, which was going to be 50, except that I ran out of steam during the culling process and opted to throw in the towel upon hitting a wall that could not be conscionably surmounted.

It can certainly be argued that the concept of choosing “X” number of “best” excerpts from the Gazette was flawed from the outset. Fair enough. We went back and forth for several months regarding whether this was a task we should, or were willing to, undertake. The “no, don’t do it” side based its argument on the undeniable and unavoidable subjectivity of the endeavor, a legitimate perspective if ever there was one. There is no doubt that choosing a series of “best” quotes bears a strong resemblance to scoring figure skating in the Olympics.

The “yes, of course,” side, while certainly acknowledging the subjective aspects of the operation, argued (obviously persuasively) that this would be a perfect opportunity to showcase the long-term consistent quality of the verbiage that has graced Mountain Gazette’s pages since 1972 and to tip our collective hat to those who have contributed their creativity to our humble enterprise.

Once we decided to proceed with the “Best Excerpts” plan, the next task was to enlist a few lucky souls to spearhead what turned out to be an intense multi-month effort. I opted to go with a team consisting of younger members, the idea being to incorporate the viewpoints of the next generation of Mountain Gazette readers. To that end, I employed the services of Cat Stailey, Tim Eaton and Chloe Mydlowski, all science students at Western New Mexico University in Silver City (my alma mater) and all big Gazette fans.

It was interesting to interact with 20-somethings in this context, partially because they were not infected with the nostalgia-for-the-good-ol’-days virus that, despite our best efforts, often creeps into our pages. And partially because they did not bring with them much in the way of prejudicial baggage. Though Cat, Tim and Chloe — very well-read people — were all very familiar with the more luminarious of our past contributors — the likes of Edward Abbey and Hunter S. Thompson — and though they were all familiar with our current contributors, including those who have been with us since the beginning (George Sibley, Dick Dorworth and Bob Chamberlain), that familiarity is based solely upon work that has been published in the recent past rather than 1975. Before they embarked upon this journey, Neither Cat, Tim nor Chloe had ever heard of Galen Rowell, John Jerome, William Eastlake, Barry Corbet, Lito Tejada-Flores or Ned Gillette. While that may make greybeards wince, I found it refreshing to know that this project would be defined by the work itself, rather than by the names associated with that work, which is exactly what would have happened had I recruited more aged judges.

OK, here’s how the process went: I laid copies of every issue of MG onto Cat, Tim and Chloe, who divvied them up in their own way (I have no idea who focused on which years). They then proceeded to read through every single issue of MG! (I mean, goddamn!) They pulled one excerpt that spoke to them most out of each issue, then aggregated those quotes into one Word.doc and forwarded that document, which ended up being 10,000 words long, to me. Then I and I alone made the final decisions.

I should note that this admittedly contrived process was contrived even more once I got working on it. First, I tried to spread the wealth through the various iterations, incarnations and manifestations of the Gazette. Second, I limited each writer to one quote apiece (we could very well have filled this entire section solely with excerpts from Dorworth and Sibley.) Third, though Cat, Tim and Chloe were gracious enough (or political enough) to include several excerpts from work by yours truly, I felt it would be unseemly for anything bearing my byline to make the cut, yours truly being the final arbiter and all.

I know there are going to be disagreements, both of the “I can’t believe you included such-and-such an excerpt” and “I can’t believe you didn’t included such-and-such and excerpt” varieties. Fair enough. If you’ve got any input on this, please fire it off to

And there it is. Hope you enjoy the effort Cat, Tim and Chloe put into this.


Mountain Gazette issue #4: “In a world of tension and breakdown it is necessary for there to be men who seek to integrate their inner lives by not avoiding anguish and running away from problems, but by facing them in their naked reality and in their ordinariness.”

– “Anachoresis and Aggiornamento at St. Benedict’s,” by William Rollins

6: “While downhill gear is practically a science and Nordic gear is perfectly adapted for packed-track running, mountain touring gear is in approximately the archaeological state of fishing with a club.”

— “Confessions of a Novice Tourer,” by Galen Rowell

10: “The fib stalks fishermen from waterside to campsite.”

— “Catching the Hatch,” by Cortlandt L. Freeman

11: “Dressed for the climb in Bermuda shorts, a tee shirt, gym socks and canvas shoes, with my bulging day pack riding uncomfortably on my back, I presented an authentic picture of the greenhorn adventurer.”

— “The Ascent of Aorai,” by William Grout

17: “There are only two participatory ways one can react to riding in an automobile with a man who drives the way Clark does — you can get into it with him, enjoying the thrill and adventure and admiring the driver’s skill and courage; or you can sit rigidly in terror, wishing you were anywhere else but where you are. Roughly speaking, all human existence offers the same two choices to a man once he has agreed to participate.”

— “Europe: Fourth Time Around,” by Dick Dorworth

19: “Bars, too, serve as scenes for epic gross-outs and obscene displays. These are a specialty of the British. A rule of thumb to follow is, if you can’t be spectacularly offensive, then get quietly drunk in your corner. Anything in between is bad form, and smacks of seeking attention.”

— “Hanging Around,” by David Robert

20: “It’s hard to drag ourselves out of the tents on this dark and gloomy morning. But we do, and Glacier Bay says goodbye to us on her own terms. There is no real ending to the story here; just as there is no end to the process of waking up, or falling in love with a piece of land, or friendship. And there is no search for the end.”

— “Glacier Bay: Gray is Beautiful,” by Ned Gillette

22: “Someone learning to climb is hampered by strange mental spaces with regard to death. How much does the guy teaching him — or you, or your kids — know of the psychology of fear? Maybe he thinks you shouldn’t have any because what you’re climbing is not something to be afraid of — but that doesn’t matter to you because you’re scared shitless.”

— “Another Roadside Attraction,” by Bill Thompson

27: “I take a deep breath, then ease over the lip, trying to avoid swinging in against the rock. Then I’m free, dangling on this delicate-looking umbilical cord that ties me to the mountain. As the rope sings by I begin to spin slowly and a gradual, almost psychedelic, panorama unfolds: granite, sky, clouds, Idaho, Cascade Canyon, granite again. And then I touch ground.”

— “The Grand,” by Boyd Norton

30: “What the hell do they mean, ‘No Road’? It looks like a road to me. Anything with parallel tracks is a road, isn’t it?”

— “Desert Driving,” by Edward Abbey

32: “And the bar will be summit silent, except for a far-off piano chording in a minor key; and the man who has chopped bolts on every one of your first ascents will stomp toward the door, his crampons leaving werewolf tracks in the hard wood floor.”

— “Found by Hidden,” by Tad Hall

33: “His face shines with that great, old American territorial imperative, therein a ferociousness that one can just tell is going to take unkindly to shirtless thirty-year-old hippies standing around in the front yard.”

— “Cannon Mountain Breakdown,” by Geoffrey Childs

34: “Coming back from the bars (downhill) late at night (drunk), to your house (upstairs) becomes something of a game…. Do you take the direct route, pacing yourself up a grueling set of stairs that leads to a gentle traverse, or do you meander for an extra ten minutes, edging up by degrees?”

— “Bisbee 2: Another View,” by Steve Wishart

36: “Television is bad medicine. Making things accessible via media is a delusion very similar to the commonly accepted opinion that American agriculture is ‘productive’.”

— “A Short Talk With Gary Snyder,” Gary Snyder interviewed by Chuck Simmons

38: “No Nudes is Bad Nudes”

— “Breaking Free From the Human Potential Movement,” by Mike Moore

43: “Through this landscape we plowed like a miniature circus and freak parade, a great social event, a hippie Johnny Carson Show.”

— “River Tripping,” by Speer Morgan

45: “It’s just not right when you’re gazing up at Khumbu Icefall with old Jockey underwear packages scattered at your feet.”

— “The Last Bluet Carton,” by Nick Langton

53: “The police captain’s younger companion wore a South American imitation tweed suit, garish tie, and a blazing white shirt. To complete his natty apparel the young sleuth had a full bent briar pipe and a genuine hunting cap. One does not laugh at the secret police in Chile however; they take their business very seriously. We were sorry that we had become their business.”

— “Patagonian Journal,” by Richard Murphy

55: “Now the river spread out into a braided stream. A shaft of moonlight illuminated the canyon, revealing a maze of meandering rivulets and tiny islands. Carrying the skis in our hands, we hopped along the islands.”

— “Fireflies,” by Talbot Bielefeldt

64/65: “When day broke on our campsite, chosen after dark, we found the boojums and cactus dripping with witches hair and great orange parasitical hangings fed by the Pacific mists, as if we’d wakened into a dream by Poe.”

— “Baja,” by Bruce Berger 

70: “Someone is standing by the mouth of the Little Colorado. As I draw near, I see that it is an indian. He has painted himself black from head to toe. When we are close enough to talk, I learn that he has been waiting for some fort of sign to appear — presumably it is not me. He wishes me good luck and I paddle away.”

— “The Big Sneak,” by Fletcher Anderson

72/73: “Choosing rocks for a coffee-fire, searching flat rocks for the pot to rest on. Turning over rocks, I began to notice that under some were words. Since then, whenever my writing becomes speechless and groping, I saunter out and overturn rocks. Under some are strong words, under others are quiet and subtle words.”

— “The Pedler & the Black Pot Coffee Tree,” by Greg Harris

74: “The desert environment requires microcosmic vision, a major shift from the macrocosmic focus that suits me so well in the mountains.”

— “Six Moons: A Pacific Crest Journey,” by David Green

76/77: “I estimate the average ghost density at about 10^-4 grams per cubic centimeter. This is a conservative estimate. Ghosts cannot be made in a vacuum. This would violate the conservation of mass.”

— “Bubble & Squeak,” by Jeremy Bernstein

78: “I darted behind Robby’s antique ore truck — yanked off my Lycra, everything but helmet-socks-shoes, mounted the Trek, buckass, and pedaled furiously through the center of town…”

— “The Ride,” by Katie Lee

79: “Language can be a strange weapon. Unlike a sword or a bullet, its power is unpredictable.”

— “Politics & the “F-word,” by Hunter S. Thompson

84: “I was driving off the road right out across the desert. Woke up one morning lying in a patch of prickly pear ten miles from the dirt road. With a hangover. Realized I couldn’t be trusted with a four-wheel drive.”

— “Adventures with Ed,” by Jack Loeffler

86: “Throughout all the adventures there were several things that never changed. The equipment was minimal, the vehicles marginal, the food adequate at best. It was always about being there … We took pride in our minimalism, and were skeptical of paddlers with the latest, greatest, coolest new gear. It was important to out-paddle these people.”

— “The Old Man and the Sea of Plastic,” Brad Dimock

88:“The rain slows. Wilson once told me there’s male rain, which is fierce and hard, and female rain, which is soft and delicate. This monsoon seems to be a he/she.”

— “Risk,” by Mary Sojourner

90: “We had made a vat of yuppie soup out of one of the hot springs by slowly boiling our naked bodies for hours at a time. Only wine, chocolate, cheese and slabs of buffalo jerky sustained us. Nothing nutritious was consumed… In the end the mineral spring congealed into a tar pit. We had to move on or die.”

— “Sticky,” by Michele Murray

91: “This is how fairy tales would go if the patriarchy hadn’t rewritten them: Eastern girl gets fed up with the city and moves west, finds the right guy(s) … pretty soon she’s skiing, climbing and biking her brains out, pretty soon she’s better than he is at most of it.”

— “Woman with a Pulse,” by Nichole Gordon

94: “The river water is vodka. It’s served in ample consecutive shots on a moving aqueous bar. She makes you punch drunk.”

— “The Supreme Source,” by Lacey Story

96: “As we descended into the barranca, we left the 21st century back on the mesa, dropping through time to the centuries before, to the Rio Verde and the Stone Age Indians who still lived there.”

— “After the War,” by Doug Peacock

100: “Here, the winds come up, fire breaks through the crust of the Earth, the sky is deaf, the river is dry, the levee is about to give out, the ground shakes … and what you want doesn’t matter at all.”

— “Craps,” by Charles Bowden

101: “The sound of the water was in constant motion, whispering, murmuring, thumping like some distant drum. The water tugged persistently at my grief, sometimes dislodging a tiny shard of sorrow and tumbling it downstream.”

— “The Heart of Winter,” by Mac Griffith

103: “Trips such as he was proposing would often include unplanned auxiliary adventures. Like running out of food and water. Maybe thirty miles of compass-heading trail-breaking through deep crud. Three days of bushwhacking up the wrong drainage. Unrunnable waterfalls. That sort of thing. The stuff that really makes you feel glad to be alive.”

— “Black Box Revisited,” by Tim Cooper

104: “How can you talk with someone without discussing jobs, families, politics or sports? Float the river — it’ll come to you.”

— “Below the Rim,” by Cal Glover

105: “The antelope squirrels, chipmunk-like rodents about as big as a Twinkie, sneaked onto the deck, stole bright blooms from the wild primrose, then scampered off with silky yellow petals between their teeth like flamenco dancers.”

— “Trout Stream Through Mars — How to Combat Impending Desertification,” by Ellen Meloy

116: “Preparing for a day hike, I stop to admire myself in the mirror. It’s hard for me to believe that I was once a shabbily dressed service electrician, untutored in the ways of mountain fashion and accessory.”

— “Hiking,” by Mike Bressler

120: “Now, if you’re steering a block of ice down a twisty mountain road with only middling success, you might think this would be a bad time to pick up hitchhikers. You’d be wrong about that. As soon as I saw two innocently beaming skiers around a bend, I knew Dan would insist. He’s big on style points, and by this time, so was I.”

— “Courageous Pulls Through,” by Kevin McCarthy

123: “I’ve discovered many delightful things after stripping down and getting into the water.”

— “The Occupation of Floating Bodies,”  by B. Frank

126: “Remember all the names of the rivers you grew up paddling, and the Indians who once lived there and named those places. Remind yourself how the names sound like falling water: Chattahoochee, Chauga, Chattooga, Amicalola, Tallulah, Watauga … ”

— “How to Rebuild a Paddle,” by David Miller

129: “Despite claims of excellence, the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t deliver to the wilderness of logic.”

— “Fever Dreams and Tall Tales,” by Fitz Cahall

133: “There is a route that is invisible. It is a trick of the eye, a smooth cliff several hundred feet tall, with a ledge tucked out of sight. The only way the route became visible was years ago when a line of bighorn sheep, desert gods, appeared walking across the face of a cliff… We followed their trail.”

— “Men Naked in the Desert, Going Nowhere Fast,” by Craig Childs

134:“No one in Steamboat is spraying shit water on the mountains, but that doesn’t mean snowboarding there is good for the environment or an act free from repercussions … But, in truth, they (mountains) are still a front line for showdowns over Who Gets To Do What With Whom.”

— “Honk if You Love Real Snow,” by Leah Rogin-Roper

140: “Nothing burns like a love letter; hearts on paper; words on skin. I imagine every one of us keeps a stack of them, up in the closet like an unfinished novel.”

— “The Lost Art of Love Letters,” by Peter Kray

142: “All this altruism is making my plans for a Mountain Porn festival seem kind of shallow and self-serving.”

— “Fresh Focus: Behind the Scenes at the Mountain Film Festivals,” by Marc Peruzzi

146: “Take meth labs for instance. John Wayne never had to deal with those, or militias or cults or even those damn cocky Boulder bicyclists. He never had to deal with the internet either, or god forbid, maintaining a blog to better communicate with his constituents. Today’s sheriffs do.”

— “The Law: A Closer Look at the Men Who Wear the Badge in Colorado,” by Jay Cowan

147: “Across the ravine, coyotes cackle in the chorus of creation, and you lift your head above the fire following the smoke and aromas to see the stars in all their clarity directly on your fingertips. You say, ‘This is the life.’ And for me, right then and there, it is too good to be anything but the life. My search is over. In those moments I understand what the Lakota mean by mitakuye oyain, we are related to everything, we are all relatives.”

— “The Lost Art of Squatting,” by Peter Laws

148: “Surrender takes as much courage as trouncing, but requires more grace.”

—  “The Lost Art of Dying,” by Jenn Weede

150: “Something as simple as a new ski binding opened my eyes to wilderness, a quiet life, and kept me from marrying a Republican … ”

— “Passing Down the Telemark Boots,” by Suzanne Strazza

158: “A friend told about getting a ride home with someone who had baskets on each side of his rear wheel; the friend had a foot in each basket, standing up with his hands on the biker’s shoulders, kind of like a Roman chariot racer, which worked okay until the biker missed the driveway entrance by a couple feet and hit the curb.”

— “Mountaintownie Biking,” by George Sibley

162: “Pain is part of a universe in balance. Enjoy it up front in small doses, or defer it for convenience and experience pain accumulated with interest.”

— “Breathcicle,” by Daniel Hutchinson

171: “Guys: How may times have you been out on the trail, on your bike or hitting the links, when you’ve said to yourself, ‘WTF, I wish I’d had the foresight to wear a kilt?’”

— “Cartographic: Got Stuff?,” by Tara Flanagan

172: “He was old enough to be my Father, but his cut, posture, and handlebar moustache made him more like the unmarried, childless uncle that breezes into town to sleep on the couch and drink all your dad’s beer.”

— “Love & Loathing on the River,” by Jeff Osgood

174: “Will work for hookah.”

— “Life on the Mountain Music Road,” by Kimberly Nicoletti

178: “Again, dory cooks made Julia Childs look like a fast-food burger slinger.”

— “Dory Cooks,” by Vince Welch

180: “I was determined to ski in South America after two years of procrastination and, despite the slow progress … I was zooming in on Chile by ox cart, train, bus, car and plane at the rate of 200 miles a day.”

— “Making the Break,” by Richard Barnum-Reece

181: “Went to Albertson’s pre-trip, loaded up on EZ Cheez (re-christened ‘ain’t got shit to do with cheese’), crackers, sardines, jerky, beans-in-can, Pringles and some type of gummy substance in the shape of a foot. Backpacking food that ain’t got shit to do with freeze-drying. Also not light or remotely compact. Also damn tasty.”

— “Of Fire and Firewater: Canyoneering With a Dragon,” by Aaron Thomas Phillips

185: “We smugly think we’ve evolved into a kinder, gentler people, who treat animals in a civilized way, but really we’ve simply relegated the killing floor to some unknown place far removed from our daily lives, out of sight and out of mind, leaving the dirty work to immigrants whose names we’ll never know, and whose lives are as abstract to us as the meat that ends up on our plate.”

— “The Lost Art of Treating Animals Like Animals,” by Charles Clayton 

Now review a Mountain Gazette timeline over the last 40 years.

Letters #190

MG190 letter's

Envelope: Jeffree Peas, Colorado

We’re in the market for decorative envelopes to help beautify our Letters pages. If you’ve got an artistic envelope bent, pull out your weapons-of-choice, decorate an envelope with our snail mail address on it, mail the resultant envelope to us, and, if we print it, we’ll give you a year’s subscription to the Mountain Gazette.

PolySci at 12,000 Feet

Mr. Fayhee: My first letter to your publication. Feel ever free to edit liberally. I always manage to miss the submission deadline for poetry, for your Rivers issue and photos of The Best Dog on the Planet (who is named Dylan and is Hopi, born in Tuba City to the Rez Dog clan, for the Rescue Dog clan) for your Mountain Dogs issue. But something happened yesterday that warrants recording in some public venue, and since I’m sitting beside the Dolores River in the foothills of our beloved San Juans, and the story took place on the Continental Divide at Monarch Mountain Ski Area, your mag comes most to mind.

There was a contingent of soldiers at Monarch this week. I showed up on a Friday, day-six in a row tele-skiing five different areas in a last hurrah with my Monarch pass. The mountain was bedecked in desert-camo fatigues, which I took notice of before I’d even leashed my skis, being newly not-quite-single-it’s-complicated. The kid soldiers on the slopes had minimal cause to shave yet, which was heartbreaking. The guys in the lodge were older — thinning hair, some graying — and wore more of a “been-there, done-that” look, and I’m sure they had been, and had done.

I hadn’t talked much to anyone all week, riding chairs by myself, masticating on life and love. This day I wanted intel. I have a dear friend in the Special Forces who had been deployed to Afghanistan at the age of 50, just after 9-11. I learned from him only weeks after that invasion that not only was an attack on Iraq in the works, but that SpecOps was already there. Inconceivable — what the hell did Iraq have to do with anything? A few months ago, an Iranian handyman named Farhad was building me a new deck. His father was secret service for the Shah before the revolution, and every male in his family had been beheaded. Farhad himself had escaped as a teenager through the snowy mountains of Iran, found asylum in Japan and then America, and will soon have U.S. citizenship. He told me back in December that the reason Obama pulled the U.S. troops out of Iraq early was to have them available for the planned invasion of Iran. What? Three months ago this sounded ridiculous. Now, not so much. A lot of saber rattling lately.

From quizzing my civilian chairmates, I quickly learned the skiing soldiers were army, made up of units from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, and were on the mountain for “winter conditions training.” I did not get into geopolitical discussions of why this was ominous until I rode up with a 65-year-old retired CSU professor who was also a Vietnam vet. I told him that he certainly had earned the right to voice whatever he thought about a potential U.S. invasion of Iran, and he chuckled a little, “yeah, I do get to have a kind of street cred on this one.” We pretty much finished each other’s sentences about why Iraq and why Iran, and the last word was habitually “oil.”

The next chair I shared with a third-year poly-sci student from Florida, out on spring break. His university-version of upcoming events was analytical, but surprisingly inevitable. At 20 or 21 years old, he’d been a kid when the towers came down, and he was not so much callous as cavalier about the need for us to invade yet another Middle-East country. He guessed that Israel would strike first and we’d have to go in to clean up the mess. But he was certain from his university-led discussions that the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan had not been learned, that the U.S. was still hopelessly naïve about what comes after the invasion, and that it was a shame what would happen to these guys in camo fatigues skiing here today.

Which brings me to an aside: desert camo fatigues in the snow? Really? Please tell me that our guys and girls in the Hindu Kush are not wearing desert camo. Reminds me of the jungle camo worn by the soldiers on the spaceship in “Aliens.” Jungle camo in outer space — really?

Eventually, I rode up with a young volunteer, in his desert camo fatigues, nary a facial hair yet sprouted. So polite, and willing enough to answer my open-ended questions. He talked about how hard it was on the lungs at 12,000 feet, coming from sea level, that he’d never seen snow in his life until yesterday, and how it was important to learn to snowshoe and set up camp in the cold. He said, “Well, we went into Iraq because we thought there were weapons of mass destruction. Turns out we were wrong, but this time we KNOW there are, so we have to go take care of them.” Lord, I wanted to hug the kid and say — no, not “thank you for your service,” but “sweetheart, please be here next year.”

A couple evenings before this, my 12-year-old god-daughter in Avon had been working on a homework assignment on the Iraq war. “We went to war with Iraq because Saddam Hussein threatened President Bush’s dad, right?” I held my tongue and my breath until her mom — a nurse in her late-50s with street cred similar to the Vietnam vet’s — answered, “We went into Iraq because of oil, Emma.”

“Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?

… Oh when will we ever learn?

Oh when will we ever learn?”

Here’s to the young soldiers whooping it up at Monarch Mountain in March 2012. I hope to God you’re back next year, and I’ll buy you a beer, if you’re old enough to drink by then.

Suzanne Motsinger
Flagstaff, Arizona

Remembering Cal Glover

Dear John Fayhee: My husband and I have been traveling to Teton Valley for the past seven years. We were drawn to the area because of my husband’s friendship with Cal Glover. They were both in high school together, specifically in the same German class —  Cal would introduce us to all his friends out west in German, quickly adding that they met way back when in Ft. Lauderdale High School, but Bob went north to Massachusetts and he jumped on his motorcycle to head West as a young man of 18 to Yellowstone. If you know Cal, you can just picture him saying this, and in the same breath asking “Where you all from?” and maybe even adding a story or two. His passing was a sad shock to us. Our visit there in February was difficult but glad to be able to see Kim Carlson, his widow, and offer our sympathy to her in person. Reading the Teton Valley newspaper, I saw your notice/website about his writings from past issues and the most recent story about his dog, Toby. I just wanted to tell you it was a fitting tribute to Cal and we so appreciated seeing his collective writing in print.

Thank you for honoring his life by his stories.

Celeste Wilcoxson

Anti-‘Arrested Development’

Sir: Had to respond to the “Arrested Development” Smoke Signals column in Gazette 186. Wow. I mean … wow. I guess nobody likes to give up their freedom unnecessarily, but really …
Let’s see: You admit to disliking law enforcement even as a kid because you engaged in “recreational windshield smashing” and they presumably stopped you. Not a single word about how the folks whose windshields you smashed felt about it. I suppose now if some young punk does some recreational windshield smashing on your personal vehicle, you wouldn’t have anything to say about it, right? Since any kind of infringement on a kid’s desire to wantonly destroy other people’s property is just, like, the man being all heavy and stuff.

But, okay, what you did as a kid was totally cool, and nobody should push you around and tell you to stop destroying other people’s things. Hmmm. But then you get your panties in a twist about living in an area with lots of drug smuggling going on, and having to be waved through checkpoints. I had to reread the piece just to be sure I understood. You object to being waved through checkpoints, or, at the absolute most, having to answer the simple question “Are you an American citizen?” This you equate with living in “police state.”

Deep breath.

Would you like to know what it’s actually like to live in a police state? The cops don’t just wave you through a checkpoint. They stop you and demand money. Or they haul you off to pokey. Then they demand money. And that’s if you’re a white American, ergo privileged. If you’re a local, it can be much worse. They are most definitely not “courteous and professional.” And Lord help you if you write a public column, or even private letter, describing them as “zygotes” or “midgets.”

I might agree with the all-cops-are-pigs line if you could describe behavior like, oh, a dirty cop who breaks taillights like some redneck Southern sheriff from the ’50s. Then you might have a point in your screed. But as you say repeatedly in your column, the police you by your own admission were “messing with” were nothing if not courteous.
When folks treat you respectfully it behooves you to return the favor. If you want to carry a chip the size of Texas on your shoulder, well, that’s your right. But while you do it, you ought to be da** glad you’re living in America and not an actual police state. I thought the Mountain Gazette was a fun, funky, independent paper. This one column just made me a future non-reader.

Lawrence Pearlman

Pro-‘Arrested Development’ #1

Hi John ! Recently I spent 10 days in beautiful Southern Colo. Stayed a few days in Durango, a few in Pagosa Spgs. Ski’d both & totally enjoyed myself & the wonderful San Juan Mtns! I happened to pick up a copy of Mountain Gazette #186 and enjoyed several interesting & well written articles. My favorite was your piece: Smoke Signals — “Arrested Development.”

I can’t tell you how very similar we are in our feelings regarding law enforcement and especially the Border Patrol. I won’t go in to all the details, but needless to say, you and I share a lot of common feelings and have had many very similar experiences. Interestingly, pretty much all of my friends feel the same.

I have lived in southern AZ (Tucson) for 40 years, and in the last few years, the Border (where I used to trek and explore backcountry and camp a lot!) has been ruined by BP! There are so many things wrong with this. Your article covered nearly all issues, very well. Additionally, I will add that gun trafficking into Mexico has been enabled by “border police.” (I forget the name of the incident, but it was in the news). Also, the most horrendous murdering along the border was actually done by that deranged Minuteman (Anglo) crew that broke in and killed that family down in Arivaca.

I am much more nervous & afraid of meeting BP than I am the occasional “illegal(s)” along trails or backcountry roads.

Thank you for your writing and your work putting out a top-notch publication.

Peter Ianchiou

Pro-‘Arrested Development’ #2

Dear Mr. Fayhee: Like many of your other works, “Arrested Development” packs a punch with refreshing lack of inhibition, factual accuracy and entertaining prose. While I largely agree with your portrayal of modern law enforcement, I submit that the problem is much worse in scope and severity than unpleasant traffic stops and intrusive questioning by “pimply faced” tweenie cops near the Mexican border.

From forest rangers issuing parking tickets at trailheads to TSA strip searches at the airport, the number and variety of uniform-wearing, gun-toting agents of the law is at an all-time high. In spite of state and federal budget crises, there’s seemingly no lack of money to wage war, abroad or domestically. But our military-like buildup is not limited to our Southern border. For example, that notorious hotbed of crime and illegal immigration, Fargo, North Dakota, recently acquired bomb-detection robots, digital combat communications equipment, Kevlar helmets and a $265,643 armored truck with a rotating turret. Google it if you dare. At roughly 100,000 Fargoan souls, that’s $2.65 for every man, woman and child spent on one police truck. Sure, it comes with a gun turret, but, aside from Fourth of July parades, what the hell are they going to do with it in Fargo? This isolated example is representative of a nationwide trend. If this stuff can happen in Fargo, well, so go Billings, Boise and Bend.

Though I might sleep easier knowing that the streets of Fargo are safe from wayward Canucks, I’m deeply concerned about America’s troop withdrawal from two wars. While the thousands of returning combat soldiers have honorably served our country, they are going to be largely unemployed and possessing of a skill set centering around warfare. Because we’ve been an occupying force in Iraq and Afghanistan the past 20 years, today’s soldier is also highly trained in traditional police functions including detective work, interrogation techniques, crowd control and arrests. Thus, since 9/11, cops have been trained & armed like soldiers and soldiers like cops, and it’s a safe bet that many returning vets will seek a career in law enforcement.

As for the mushrooming police population, consider it a federal jobs program like the CCC of the 1930s, but with PTSD thrown in. I say this with no disrespect, but out of common sense and legitimate concern. I’m sure that some of these men and women will make fine police officers. Many, however, will have not only discharged their weapon in the line of duty, but taken human life in combat. On the other hand, very few cops ever discharge their guns directly at another human being while on the job, let alone actually shoot and kill one. The prospect of a new generation of hardened combat vets filling our swelling police ranks should concern us all.

On a more mundane level, the very nature of police work has changed radically in the past 20 years, and for the worse. Increasingly detached from the people they supposedly protect, cops no longer help old ladies navigate crosswalks, drive Otis to the Mayberry jail to sleep off another bender or even perform basic crime-solving. Such fuzzy-bear love is a waste of good money. Police cruisers are now profit centers on wheels whose captains are expected to meet predetermined quotas of money that is poured back into the system in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Though your editorial is limited to encounters with cops, most people who don’t work in or around the legal system typically don’t appreciate the fact that cops are but robotic minions to the Darth Vader of law enforcement, prosecutors. These hyper-religious, politically motivated, self-righteous, suit-wearing, briefcase-toting demigods, who are promoted on the basis of successful and high-profile convictions regardless of truth or justice, have been given god-like power by the United States Supreme Court in the form of “prosecutorial immunity” for all deeds and misdeeds committed in the course and scope of employment. Completely immune from their often-miscreant behavior, prosecutors answer to absolutely no man and certainly not the people they purportedly serve.

The methods by which prosecutors do evil include the obfuscation,
distortion and, if all else fails, complete fabrication of the facts, suppression of evidence, lying, engaging in nefarious legal tactics, advancing absurd interpretations of the law and basically doing most anything to obtain a conviction upon which their financial, social and political lives depend. To make matters worse, the vast majority of prosecutors are non-elected, government employees, no different than a city building inspector, but with the power to destroy another’s life. Prosecutors’ actions are all too often motivated by their religious beliefs, personal agendas and the delusional belief that they have the omniscience of god. But absolute power combined with absolute immunity will corrupt any human.

Unfortunately, your statement that we are declining into a “police state” is a fait accompli. Good luck to us all.

Brad Purdy,
Boise, ID

Letters #188

MG 188 Letter

Envelope: Katie Oslapas
We’re in the market for decorative envelopes to help beautify our Letters pages. If you’ve got an artistic envelope bent, pull out your weapons-of-choice, decorate an envelope with our snail mail address on it, mail the resultant envelope to us, and, if we print it, we’ll give you a year’s subscription to the Mountain Gazette.

Colorado songs #1

Hi John: As a music teacher of 30 years with a specialty in folk music, I enjoyed reading your article about Colorado songs (“Colorado Songs,” Smoke Signals, MG #185). I have an addition for you and a clarification.

First: “Cripple Creek” is a folk song with many verses that celebrates the lifestyle of the miners in Cripple Creek:

“Goin’ up to Cripple creek. Goin’  in a whirl.

Goin’ up to Cripple Creek to see my girl. (Who really would have been in the red-light district of Old Colorado City.)

Goin’ up to Cripple Creek. Goin’ on a run.

Goin’ up to Cripple Creek to have a little fun.”

If you google Cripple Creek and John Lomax collection of American folk songs, you can find more verses.

Second: It is my understanding the “Colorado Trail” is about an old wagon trail they came through Colorado. The trail was not as popular as the Santa Fe Trail or the Oregon Trail, but the song was supposed to be a cattle lullaby sung by cowboys. When I grew up in the ’50s, our family had a wonderful record of “The Songs of the West,” by the Norman Luboff Choir, which had a gorgeous arrangement of “Colorado Trail.” The trail was definitely created long before the footpath that crosses our state nowadays.

So that’s my contribution to your song collection. Blasts from the way-back past. I have been frustrated that there are not many folk songs mentioning our state. I think many of the pioneers were passing through here to the west coast, or else they had hypothermia and altitude sickness and died before they could write any songs!

Good luck with your collection,
Ginger Littleton
Colorado Springs

Colorado songs #2

John: Great Smoke Signals. The only two songs  I can think of that you missed, probably because they don’t actually include “Colorado,” is the song “Denver” on Willie Nelson’s “Redheaded Stranger” album and “Wolf Creek Pass,” by CW McCall (I think — I loved truck songs as a kid and still do).

As far as greater Rocky Mountain regional tunes naming specific places, these come to mind:

• “Let Me Die in My Footsteps,” by Bob Dylan (“Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho”).

• “Taos,” by Waylon Jennings.

• “Santa Fe,” by Bob Dylan.

• “Billy,” by Dylan (“The businessmen from Taos want you to go down … ”).

• “Big City,” by Merle Haggard (“Somewhere in the middle of Montana …”).

• If Cheyenne counts, then there are two: “Jack Straw,” by the Grateful Dead and “Grievous Angel,” by G. Parsons.

Songs that mention the Great Divide or Rocky Mountains or something along those lines:

• “Blue Canadian Rockies,” by the Byrds.

• “Night Rider’s Lament,” by Jerry Jeff.

• “Great Divide,” by Neil Young.

As it happens, I was just listening to “Spike Driver’s Blues” (this version an oldie by Mississippi John Hurt) and it says this:

“It’s a long way from east Colorado, honey, to my home.”

Also, for generic Rocky Mountain songs, there’s “Rocky Mountain Music,” by Eddie Rabbit.

As I peruse my music (all on the computer these days, I’m sad to say), I see a billion-and-one songs about the South, the prairie and California, but so very few about the Rockies. Seems like there must be some mining-era songs out there somewhere on some Smithsonian folk collection or something.

Chaz Clayton,

Colorado songs #3

John: I enjoyed your recent column on Colorado songs. A particular favorite of mine, especially when driving home on Highway 9 at night with a full moon illuminating the Gore Range, is “Colorado,” by Grizzly Bear.

Josh Woody

Colorado Songs #4

John: The Band … “Up on Cripple Creek.” Well, it’s a maybe, at least to the extent that I could not find a reference that was definitive. It could be Cripple Creek, Virginia.

Very good writing … I enjoyed it very much.

Bob Schafish
Lakewood, CO

Editor’s note” The Band’s “Up on Cripple Creek” is definitely about Cripple Creek, VA.

Colorado Songs #5

John: Off the top of my head, you forgot:

• Danny Holien, “Colorado.”

• Rusty Weir, “Coast of Colorado.”

• Michael Stanley, “Denver Rain.”

But the some of the best mountain songs don’t mention a place name:

• The Monroe Doctrine, “Time and a River Flowing” — one of the proto- new-grass bands.

• Frummox, “High Country Caravan/Song for Stephen Stills” (Steve Fromhotlz and Dan McCrimmon).

• The Dirt Band, “Rippin’ Waters.”

I’m sure there are many more in the gray matter, those floated to the top.

Dave Linden

Colorado Songs #6

Dear MJ: While it does not have the word “Colorado” in it, one song is a huge memory …

November 1982, a newly single mother, embarking on a new adventure … driving my Olds Delta 88 with my toddler daughter and all my worldly possessions over Berthoud Pass in a driving blizzard …  thinking I was absolutely crazy!!! … song comes on the radio … Bob Seeger’s “Get Out of Denver.” “Baby go go.”  Thirty years later, 10 in Grand County, 10 in Summit county and now a grateful resident of the Roaring Fork Valley … best decision I ever made …  I still hear that song any time I head west.

Long-time reader … actually made your acquaintance many years ago in Summit.

Thanks for all you do.
Marti Adolph

Colorado Songs #7

Mr. Fayhee: Thanks for another great Smoke Signals article. I’d like to add the song “Denver” from the classic album “Red Headed Stranger,” by Willie Nelson to your list of Colorado songs.

R. J. Vik

Colorado Songs #8

John: Smoke Signals has again exceeded my expectations. “Colorado Songs” also depleted my monthly budget for new song downloads. My feedback is to laud, not be critical with “how could he not include (such and such) or at least something by (fill in the blank).” A heartfelt thanks for sharing the songs of Colorado from your research. I volunteer as a DJ for Radio Free Minturn, a non-profit community radio station broadcasting throughout the Vail Valley. I research and compile songs with similar themes for my shows. One of my shows five years ago was themed Colorado. Though, at that point I did not easily find songs that were the right genre fit.

Your article revealed songs that I believed to be long forgotten. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils … wow … a true blast! And, surely, their song, “If You Want To Get To Heaven,” was referring to Colorado since “you got to raise a little hell!” Other songs from my past include The Marshall Tucker Band’s “A New Life,” depicting a man being shot in Denver and landing in jail there. Even though Charlie Daniels sang a lot about Tennessee and Texas, whenever I hear “Saddle Tramp” or “Long Haired Country Boy,” Colorado is where I am in my mind through those songs.

The Colorado River deserved mention in songs by Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the McKay Brothers. My mind takes me to the Colorado River when I hear Colorado’s own Leftover Salmon playing “Rivers Rising” or The Colorado Playboys’ “River Song.” No mention of Colorado is needed, because my heart is always on that river. Then check out a soulful song by Railroad Earth, called … “Colorado.”

Thank you for citing Chevy Chase’s “Colorado” from the 1973 National Lampoon’s “Lemmings.” Welcome to a place where matter doesn’t when listening to Red Sovine’s “Colorado Kool-Aid.” And, as you get “Across The Rocky Mountains,” by Bruce Hornsby & Ricky Skaggs, you reach “The King of Colorado,” by The Band of Heathens. And, I did not know that Firefall was founded by Rick Roberts from The Flying Burrito Brothers … both these groups recorded “Colorado.” Emmylou Harris was not the only one singing about leaving Colorado in “Boulder to Birmingham.” The Hillbilly Hellcats are “Leavin’ Colorado” and The Woodys are going from “Telluride To Tennessee,” as well.

Thank you for re-introducing me to the music of Judy Collins. “The Blizzard” is destined to be included in an upcoming playlist for the air. Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle spawned a life long friendship to produce two “Colorado” songs and naming of a son, Justin Townes Earle, after a dear friend. Not only does Bowling For Soup “Surf Colorado,” but Robert Burkhardt is “Surfin’ Colorado.”

I respectfully disagree that “Rocky Mountain Way,” by Joe Walsh “makes no sense at all.” It makes very good sense to me because “the Rocky Mountain way is better than the way we had.” Was the late, great Dan Fogelberg singing about the tree or the city in his song, “Aspen/These Days,” from his “Captured Angel” album? I heard it in 1974 in a barracks in Okinawa, Japan. Again, who would have thought that this Tennessee boy would know the difference by moving to the Rocky Mountain? I have a song in my heart and my heart is in Colorado. By the way, I miss Dan … cancer sucks.

Music bonds us to one another and kudos to you for a departure from your ab-normal Smoke Signals. I hope to hear of your future music discoveries from throughout our mountains.

Ya’llternative music, brother. Thank you, man!

Tuned In,
Brad Austin
Radio Free Minturn DJ

Colorado Songs #11

Master Fayhee: A listener called me during my radio show last week to mention your article on Colorado songs and suggest the challenge of adding to your list.

I have done so and will be playing a set on air tomorrow, should you care to listen.

I humbly will only make three additions, two of note.

Thanks for inspiring a quest.

Here is the playlist for that segment:

1.  “Colorado”/Rebecca Zapen/Nest

2. “Colorado Girl”/Steve Earl /Townes

3. “My Secret Place”/Joni Mitchell & Peter Gabriel/Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm

4. “Me & That Train”/Patty Larkin/not sure of the CD … just downloaded it.

Lynette O’Kane, Assistant Music Director
KDNK radio
Carbondale, CO

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