www.RogerWendell.com
Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
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Hiking Hiking
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle.
But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin
air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle
which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green
leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes.
All is a miracle.
                            - Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

"You can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the goddamn contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbrush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark your trail, you'll see something, maybe."

"Benedicto: May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets' towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkeys howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches, where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you --- beyond that next turning of the canyon walls."

- Edward Abbey

 

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for more my page on technical climbing...

Ten Essentials Click Here for the Ten Essentials - Don't leave home without 'em!

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for some info on 14ers...

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for my camping page...
Tenderfoot Scout, Roger J. Wendell - 12-10-1968

 

Hiking Logo  
 
 
"Few people know how to take a walk.
 The qualifications... are endurance,
   plain clothes, old shoes,
 an eye for nature, good humor,
   vast curiosity, good speech,
        good silence
   and nothing too much."        

                      - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"He who is indeed of the brotherhood does not voyage in quest of the picturesque, but of certain jolly humours--of the hope and spirit with which the march begins at morning, and the peace and spiritual repletion of the evening's rest. He cannot tell whether he puts his knapsack on, or takes it off, with more delight."

- Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Steve Hoffmeyer and Roger Wendell negotiating a creek in the Holy Cross Wilderness - 08-07-2005
Photo by Vic Bradford
Despite all of the climbing, swimming, cycling, flying and driving I've done hiking probably remains the one activity that's been with me the longest throughout my life. From about ages 12 through 16 I hiked extensively through the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California - especially exploring Santa Anita Canyon, Mt. Wilson, and all the surrounding camps and trails (always stopping, of course, at Chantry Flats to load up on snacks and refreshments!). Prior to age 12 I hiked, extensively, the creek beds and streams of the Los Angeles foothills area (yes, L.A. had creek beds and streams at one time!) and the rolling fields of eastern Nebraska. From my earliest age I was out walking through Nature every chance I got (ask my mom!).

From about age 16 on I did most of my hiking all over Colorado's portion of the Rocky Mountains. This was mixed with travel and extensive hikes in Grand Canyon, Hawai'i, Mexico, Canada, Africa, Argentina, and China. I heartily endorse hiking because it's darn good for your health, has a relatively low impact on the environment, and puts your pretty darn close to nature without requiring too much expensive equipment or clothing.

Except for maybe Jean George's book My Side of the Mountain (I read it in 1969 when I was 13), I didn't do much reading about the outdoors until 1974 when I read Colin Fletcher's The Complete Walker. It isn't that I don't recommend you read and learn before getting involved outdoors it's just that I was too darn busy hiking, in my teens, to do much reading myself!

 

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Click on any "Thumbnail" image for a larger view!

Trails!

 

Miscellaneous Trails:

Ute Creek Trailhead, Lost Creek Wilderness, Colorado by Roger J. Wendell - 11-11-2011
Lost Creek Wilderness
Bobby and Doug Bloom on a Grand Canyon Trail - April, 2006
Grand Canyon
Trail to 14,229' Mount Shavano - October 29, 2005
Trail to Mt. Shavano
Trail to Grays and Torreys - 2005
Trail to Torreys
Tami Hiking to Mount Morrison - 2005
Tami on Morrison
Brian Wendell Hiking to Mt. Bierstadt - 2004
Brian to Bierstadt
Steve Farley on the trail to St Mary's Glacier, Colorado - 12-12-2009
St Mary's Glacier

I know it probably sounds goofy to read, on a hiking website, that the author loves trails - nevertheless that's how I feel! I mention my love for trails because I have so much additional experience without them. In addition to having done lots of scrambling or kicking steps and "post-holing" through snow, I've lost a trail or two and got really worried when I couldn't find 'em a day or two later!

To me, trails are lovely little routes that have taken me through all kinds of wonderful terrain with relative confidence about my whereabouts and destination. Plus, even more importantly, they are relatively low-impact in that I'm not crushing flowers or scuffing lichens in my attempt to get from point A to B. Properly maintained trails really do help the landscape by keeping us two-leggeds in a narrow little corridor so the rest of nature can flourish around us unmolested. I recommend we avoid "cross-country" travel, whenever possible, and take full advantage of literally millions of trails throughout our country and around the globe....

- Roger J. Wendell
October 30, 2005

Please stay the trail!

Diamond Head Hiking Certificate Roger Wendell - February 2007
Hiking Certificate
Oh, and one other point about trails - be sure to stay on 'em even when they're muddy or a bit icy. Under some conditions hikers will step to the side of a trail in an effort to avoid getting mud on their boots - these kinds of actions only worsen our impact by unnecessarily widening trails. The cure is to wear good hiking shoes or boots that are resistant to mud and water. Also, gaiters are perfect in keeping snow and other stuff from falling into your boots...

 

Mesa Trail:

Each New Year's Day Larry DeSaules leads a dozen to 15 of us up the Mesa Trail from El Dorado Springs to Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado. Total one-way distance is 11 kilometres (7 miles) so we shuttle vehicles to get us from one end, to the other, usually stopping at Pasta J's or some other Boulder restaurant before heading back to the Denver area. It's always been a great way to bring in the new year!

Photo by Larry

Filming for the Travel Channel

Which way?

Don't forget to call Peggy!

Girl Power!

Maiden and the Thumb

YouTube Logo Click Here for a YouTube video of Larry's Man Bag and descritpion of a Mt. Everest climb...

 

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Cairns:

Cairn on Flat Top Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park - 2005
Cairn - Flat Top Mountain, CO
A cairn (pronounced as a single syllable!!!) is usually a pile of rocks that marks a trail or boundary. I've seen some cairns that have a stick or pole jutting out of the top to make them more visible - sometimes over 3 metres (10 feet) high. I've also seen cairns that were so small they'd fit in the palm of your hand. These tiny cairns are usually in desert areas, like Grand Canyon, where the trail or route follows a canyon contour or crosses up a series of ledges that are steep and narrow.

I think there's an unwritten "rule" that cairns should be a minimum of three pebbles, stones or rocks piled vertically when possible. This is because it's very unusual, in nature, to find three rocks just sitting on top of each other. But, like I mentioned above, huge piles of rocks serve the purpose as well. In places where the trail is really hard to follow, or it gets covered with snow, the idea is to place the cairns close enough so that the next one can be seen from the previous.

My Friend Doug Bloom and a Grand Canyon Cairn - 04-19-2006
Grand Canyon Cairn!
Another unwritten "rule" is that you should never disturb a cairn - no matter how unimportant it may appear to you somebody's life may be dependent on it! However, it is acceptable to "repair" cairns that have obviously been weathered or knocked over for some reason or another. Again, the idea is to use common sense and not create something that's misleading or dangerous.

In all, I've been saved many times by an "oh my god" cairn - that's a cairn thankfully appearing just when I thought I'd never find the route or trail again! My deepest thanks to all of you who have thoughtfully placed, cared-for and maintained cairns!!!

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, CO - 2005

 

Snow Cairn on the Mesa Trail, Boulder, Colorado - 01-01-2011
Snow Cairn?
I'm not sure if somebody put this "Snow Cairn" alongside Mesa Trail (Boulder, Colorado) for fun or not but the rule remains; "Don't disturb a cairn!"

 

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Peak One:

On June 26, 2005 CMC leader Terry Chontos
took all five of us to the top of this 12,805' peak located near
Frisco, Colorado. The steep climb took us three hours and twenty
minutes - a bit faster than most! We made the summit during a break
in the weather - enduring some light "corn snow" and rain along
certain portions of the mountain...

Flag on Peak One
Terry took this photo a week earlier on his "scouting" trip - that's Lake Dillon in the background...
Flat on Peak One
Left to Right:
George Kasynski, Chad, Terry Chontos, and "Babs"
Flat on Peak One
Me and the remains of a remote weather station...
Flat on Peak One
Left to Right:
Me, Chad, Terry and Babs at the weather station remains - George took the photo and emailed me most of these pix!

Although this particular flag is pretty beat up I went ahead and posted it
here, and on my 4th of July page anyway. I don't
know who the keeper of the flag is but I'm sure their intentions are good
despite the horrendous winds that frequent this peak daily!!

 

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Miscellaneous Hikes:

Entering North Maine Woods
North Maine Woods -
Amber, Tami and I
drove there from Denver!
Me at Hanging Lake
Me at Hanging Lake, Glenwood Canyon,
3 Weeks to-the-day after foot surgery.
2.5 Miles roundtrip, 1000+ feet gain.
Linda Enroute Hanging Lake
Coworker Linda agreed to
accompany me to Hanging Lake
on that warm Spring day in 2002...
Mount Kenya Hiking Certificate, Roger J. Wendell - 01-14-2007
My Mount Kenya hiking
certificate from a trip
to Africa in 2003...

 

Hiking through the Colorado National Monument

Cryptogamic, or biological soil crusts are formed by living organisms and their by-products, creating a surface crust of soil particles bound together by organic materials. These soil "crusts" are found throughout the arid regions of the American west and can be a combination of cyanobacteria (formerly known as blue-green algae), lichens, and mosses which swell when wet. Cryptogamic soils are very fragile - please do not walk on them!

Hiking through the Colorado National Monument's Liberty Cap Trail - 11-11-2009
Wildwood Drive Trailhead
Hiking through the Colorado National Monument's Liberty Cap Trail - 11-11-2009 Hiking through the Colorado National Monument's Liberty Cap Trail - 11-11-2009
Liberty Cap Prehistoric Sand Dune
Hiking through the Colorado National Monument's Liberty Cap Trail - 11-11-2009
Corkscrew trail
Hiking through the Colorado National Monument's Liberty Cap Trail - 11-11-2009
Cryptogamic Soil [see above]
Hiking through the Colorado National Monument's Liberty Cap Trail - 11-11-2009

YouTube Logo Click Here for a YouTube video of my climb up Liberty Cap in the Colorado National Monument!

 

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Did You Know?

Roger J. Wendell on Bergen Peak photographed by Tom Jagger - 12-10-2009
  • Hiking on the island of Guam is often referred to as "boonie stomping" (Source: Guam Visitors Bureau Adventure Travel Factsheet, 2006)
  • The Colorado Trail (CT) is 479 miles (770 km) long with 74,750 feet of elevation gain and loss...
  • The Appilachean Trail (AT) is 2175 miles long with 471,151 feet of elevation gain - taking approximately 5 million steps to complete the trail's entire length!
  • The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is 2,650 miles long and runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington.

 

Hiking Waypoints

Compass For personal safety, and just for the fun of it, I usually take a GPS "reading" on the top of each peak, at the trailhead, or some other interesting point or curiosity along the way. WARNING: I cannot guarantee the accuracy of these waypoints as my own GPS bounces around a lot or I simply take an incorrect reading! Please rely on a more accurate source for your Waypoints! That being said, I still enjoy "cataloging" Waypoints and I keep a bunch of other locations, from around the world, on my 12ers, 13ers, 14ers, Waypoints, and other pages...

Barr Camp (Pikes Peak) N 38° 50.868' W 105° 00.417' 10,004 feet 3,061 metres
Bergen Peak N 39° 39.968' W 105° 23.709' 9,708 feet 2,959 metres
Mt. Falcon, Jefferson County N 39° 37.782' W 105° 13.826' 7,851 feet 2,393 metres
Green Mountain (Lakewood) N 39° 42.062' W 105° 10.666' 6,943 feet 1,839 metres
Frazer Cabin - Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Colorado N 39° 50.957' W 105° 25.719' 8,686 feet 2,647 metres
Mt. Garfield - Mesa County, Colorado N 39° 07.492' W 108° 24.655' 6,637 feet 2,023 metres
Genesee Mountain - Jefferson County, Colorado N 39° 42.182' W 105° 17.612' 8,288 feet 2,526 metres
Grizzly Gulch Trailhead (the one near Handies, Redcloud and Sunshine) N 37° 56.216' W 107° 27.646' 10,411 feet 3,173 metres
Huerfano Trailhead N 37° 37.243' W 105° 28.137' 10,238 feet 3,121 metres
Kite Lake N 39° 19.715' W 106° 07.748' 12,140 feet 3,700 metres
Liberty Cap - Colorado National Monument N 39° 03.390' W 108° 40.064' 5,881 feet 1,792 metres
Margy's Hut N 39° 16.517' W 106° 42.816' 11,312 feet 3,448 metres
Meadow View trailhead at Elk Meadow Park- Jefferson County, Colorado N 39° 39.278' W 105° 21.990' 7,954 feet 2,424 metres
Green Mountain - (Hayden Green Mountain Park) Lakewood, Colorado N 39° 42.059' W 105° 10.664' 6,853 feet 2,089 metres
Mt. Morrison - Jefferson County, CO N 39° 40.154' W 105° 13.183' 7,881 feet 2,402 metres
NCAR - National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado N 39° 58.730' W 105° 16.525' 6,184 feet 1,885 metres
Ole' Barn Knowll Trailhead - Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Colorado N 39° 50.998' W 105° 26.718' 8,675 feet 2,644 metres
Payne Trailhead N 39° 24.320' W 105° 30.485' 8,134 feet 2,479 metres
Pollock Bench Trailhead - Blackridge Canyons Wilderness N 39° 09.343' W 108° 46.714' 4,521 feet 1,378 metres
North Cottonwood Trailhead (for Harvard and Columbia) N 39° 52.258' W 106° 15.961' 9,807 feet 2,989 metres
St Mary's Glacier at its terminus just above the lake N 39° 50.106' W 105° 38.775' 10,888 feet 3,318 metres
Twin Sisters - Rocky Mopuntain National Park (near Estes Park) N 40° 17.313' W 105° 31.047' 11,428 feet 3,483 metres
Unnamed 12,915 ft peak (Near Blanca Peak) N 37° 35.914' W 105° 27.732' 12,915 feet 3,936 metres
Wild Irishman Mine N 39° 33.536' W 105° 53.248' 11,771 feet 3,588 metres
Wildwood Drive Trailhead - Colorado National Monument N 39° 04.083' W 108° 39.613' 4,775 feet 1,455 metres
Wind River Range, Bonny Pass, Wyoming N 43° 09.008' W 109° 38.304' 12,868 feet 3,922 metres
Wind River Range, just above upper Titcomb Lake for the start to Bonny Pass, Wyoming N 43° 08.584' W 109° 38.492' 10,790 feet 3,289 metres
Yankee Boy Basin (Car area for access to Sneffels) N 37° 58.650' W 107° 45.423' 10,571 feet 3,222 metres

 

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Death Valley - Telescope Peak
3,366 metres (11,043 feet)
June 7, 2011

Stove Pipe Wells at Death Valley National Park by Roger J. Wendell - 06-08-2011
1. Stove Pipe Wells
Badwater Basin at Death Valley by Roger J. Wendell - 06-06-2011
2. Badwater Basin - minus 282 feet
Roger Wendell and a Joshua Tree at Death Valley - 06-08-2011
3. Me and a Joshua Tree
An old truck in Death Valley National Park by Roger J. Wendell - 06-08-2011
4. Truck
Roger Wendell at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park - 06-08-2011
5. Me at Zabriskie Point
Mahogony Flat Trailhead to Telescope Peak, Death Valley National Park by Roger J. Wendell - 06-07-2011
6. Mahogony Flat Trailhead
Jeff Wind hiking up to Telescope Peak by Roger J. Wendell - 06-07-2011
7. Jeff going up
Looking up the trail to Telescope Peak at Death Valley National Park by Roger J. Wendell - 06-07-2011
8. Looking up the trail to Telescope
Snow on Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park by Roger J. Wendell - 06-07-2011
9. Snow on Telescope Peak
Roger Wendell on top of Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park by Roger J. Wendell - 06-07-2011
10. Me on top
Roger Wendell, Jeff, Anrea, Wes, Ken, and Caroline on top of Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park by Roger J. Wendell - 06-07-2011
11. All six of us on top!
Ken heading down from Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park by Roger J. Wendell - 06-07-2011
12. Ken heading down
YouTube Logo - Small Click Here for a YouTube video through the cave to the top of Harney Peak...

 

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The Case Against Poles
(Hiking poles that is, not the people of central Europe!)

Hiking Poles Although I read and enjoyed all of Collin Fletcher's books during the late 60s and early 70s (The Complete Walker, The Man Who Walked Through Time, The Thousand-Mile Summer, etc.) I never agreed with him on the use of a walking stick (He called it a walking staff). But, to his credit (p. 37 of "Walker"), Fletcher had admitted that, "...the vast majority of walkers never even think of using a walking staff, I unhesitatingly include it among the foundations of the house that travels on my back." However, I don't think Collin Fletcher or Roger Wendell ever imagined that, two decades later, the European craze of hiking with ski poles would have caught on so soundly not only in Colorado, but around North America and the world as well!
So, here it is in late 2010 as almost everywhere I hike, backpack, or climb I see people using hiking poles. Now, of course, these poles are much more sophisticated than the simple ski poles we saw on Colorado's hiking trails in the late 80s. The modern hiking pole is sleek, light, spring-loaded, collapsible, and very expensive. Obviously I'm not going to dissuade anyone from using hiking poles. Nevertheless, let me list the reasons why I, myself, have never used them (and probably never will):
  1. Generally, but not always, the people who use poles can't keep up the pace or distance anyway - otherwise they probably wouldn't be experimenting with poles in the first place!
  2. The poles strengthen the user's arms but weaken their legs - especially their knees. Often, when users don't have access to their poles they complain about the pain, etc.
  3. The poles make too much noise. In Colorado we don't have too many "duff" covered trails like those in more wooded areas around the globe. So, on a still, quiet day in the backcountry you can usually hear a party's hiking poles clanking and scraping over the hard granite surfaces that usually line our trails.
  4. The poles, at times, poke other people by accident (at least I think those were accidents...).
  5. Poles aren't cheap - I've seen 'em for sale at over $100 - at a time when $100 could still buy 40 gallons of gasoline!
  6. Hiking poles are a packing nuisance (It was required I use a set in Africa but, back then, they didn't fit in my luggage. Thankfully the airlines lost them before we started our hike...).
  7. People can't climb or scramble with poles and always have to pass them along the trail, to other people, over the most difficult parts. On some of Colorado's more difficult 14ers it's not uncommon to find a few sets of hiking poles stashed beneath some rocks along a steep portion of the route - hopefully to be found by their owners when down-climbing...
  8. Poles are an extreme lightning hazard. But, of course, so is an ice axe or anything else that's metallic that you're not careful with...
  9. Not a big deal but poles poke a "ton" of small holes along each side of the trail. I've seen muddy trails lined with thousands of "pock marks" their entire length. Again, not sure what permanent damage this causes other than obviously widening the trail in places where it was simply okay to get your boots a little muddy!
  10. Many, many times I've seen a person's pole get stuck in some rocks or other obstacle requiring the user to, at a minimum, stop their work or even devote considerable effort to yanking the thing back out.
  11. Poles require a lot more effort to control on a glissade than an ice axe. And, I've seen people break poles on glissade many times!
Okay, I've brought my argument up in "public" and have had a few mountaineers come down on me since they're so accustomed to using hiking poles with great success. Admittedly, I'm not going to change anyone's mind, and, obviously, if you need poles for some medical reason, or at the direction of your doctor, don't give 'em up because of something you read on some goofy website (including this one!). Nevertheless, for the record, when the going gets rough I'm going to continue with my ice axe - I just never got "into" hiking poles and my knees still felt pretty darn good at age 55 when I was making this entry!
- Roger J. Wendell
December 2010, Golden, CO

 

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Links:

  1. 12ers
  2. 13ers
  3. 14ers
  4. Aconcagua (Argentina)
  5. Africa (Eastern) - Kenya, Tanzania, and my Kilimanjaro climb
  6. Africa (Southern) - Our trip through Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  7. AIARE - The American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education
  8. Alpine Resuce Team - Evergreen, Colorado
  9. AllTrails by National Geographic
  10. Amazonia and Ecuador
  11. American Avalanche Association
  12. Antarctica
  13. Appalachian Trail Conservancy
  14. Barr trail and Pikes Peak
  15. Bolivia
  16. BRCS
  17. Camping
  18. China
  19. Climbing
  20. Climbing Photos
  21. CMC
  22. Colorado Avalanche Information center
  23. Colorado Trail
  24. CORSAR - Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue Card
  25. Cycling
  26. Ecuador
  27. Exercise
  1. Gear - Stuff for the Backcountry...
  2. Grand Canyon
  3. High Altitude Medicine Guide
  4. Highpoints
  5. Hiking Trails - Summit County
  6. Japan
  7. Knots for hikers (animated by Grog)
  8. Leave No trace - Center for Outdoor Ethics
  9. Lightning Safety
  10. LOJ - Lists of John
  11. Low Impact Techniques
  12. New Zealand
  13. ORV - the Off-road Vehicle menace
  14. Peakbagger.com
  15. PCTA - Pacific Crest Trail Association
  16. Russia
  17. Sierra Club
  18. Silk Road
  19. Snow Caves
  20. Summitpost.org
  21. Survival in the backcountry
  22. Ten Essentials - Don't leave home without 'em!
  23. Tibet
  24. Trail Journals
  25. Travel and Travel Two
  26. Waypoints
  27. Wilderness Defense!

 

Warning! Climbing, mountaineering, and backcountry skiing are dangerous and can seriously injure or kill you. By further exploring this web site you acknowledge that the information presented here may be out of date or incorrect, and you agree not to hold the author responsible for any damages, injuries, or death arising from any use of this resource. Please thoroughly investigate any mountain before attempting to climb it, and do not substitute this web site for experience, training, and recognizing your limitations!

 

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