4 a.m. Rise and shine. No sleeping in. Jerks.
Considering I recently retired the ol’ buffalo coat header, I figured I’d share the shot in all its glory. No text, no cropping, no BS. Just a man and his 800-pound buffalo coat. I really love that coat. Even though I think I fractured a vertebra wearing it. Still a great coat, regardless.
While I doubt the city will ever use “Gateway to Awesome” as its official slogan, Flagstaff, Arizona really is a gateway to so many awesome adventures.
For starters, Flagstaff has Sedona and its vortexes to the south, the Grand Canyon to the northwest, the immense Navajo Indian reservation to the east, millions of acres of national forest surrounding town, Arizona’s highest peak in its backyard, and a rockin’ year-round outdoorsy vibe.
Oh, and it snows in Flagstaff. Sometimes by the foot. In Arizona. Weird, right? Out-of-towners never believe it, choosing instead to say things like “Snow!? Yeah right, buddy! Not with all that ridiculous Arizona heat!” Believe it, though!
Sound like your kind of town? Right on! Here are 7 ideas to keep you busy during your stay in Flag:
Rule No. 1 of a whitewater trip: rig to flip.
We sacrificed a little whiskey to the Salt River at the put-in as a show of respect. Not quite satisfied, she devoured our entire kitchen set a day later—pans, stove, fuel, cutting board, spatula, utensils, dishes, and even a fire pan my buddy was bragging about just a few hours earlier.
The last piece of equipment I remember seeing as I was floating feet first down Mescal Falls Rapid—and there were quite a few miscellaneous items in the frothy mix—was our poor, poor kitchen set, formerly rigged to my boat, now slowly sinking to the bottom of the Salt River like a dying ship lost at sea.
I reasonably expected a disappointed response to my minor mishap. But being the relatively gnarly dudes they are, my buddies actually seemed rather excited by the idea of a primitive wilderness experience.
So we lived like savages.
Forced to be creative, we cooked chicken and vegetables on tamarisk skewers one night. Then we started cooking brats and peppers over a makeshift stone grill the next night, only to get impatiently hungry and skewer every last brat in sight. We used a flat rock as a cutting board, and fashioned a spatula/serving spoon out of a piece of driftwood.
All in all, we made things work. And we had a damn good time while we were at it.
The best part? No dishes. Something to think about next time you’re cooking dinner for the family.
This is one of my many pathetic attempts at looking “tough” for the camera. As you can see, failure abounds.
To achieve a “tough” look in a photo, the subject must:
1. Be “tough” (Fail)
2. Be surrounded by “tough” scenery (Lush tropical plants, Fail)
3. Pose by a “tough” vehicle, such as a tank (Small SUV, Fail)
I’ll get ‘em next time.
About the photo:
This lil’ beast in the photo handled remarkably well over a few of Costa Rica’s “roughest roads” (a debatable observation, Lonely Planet). She might be small. She might be a manual, bare bones piece of machinery. But she packed a punch around muddy corners and up slippery inclines.
Kids like me from the country have a significant advantage when it comes to driving treacherous backcountry routes. You city slickers pay way too much attention to the threat of oncoming traffic, clinging to your side when you should utilize the entire playing field. You forget that there are no rules of the backcountry road, besides the obvious “don’t hit the other guy.”
Me? Well, I felt like I was back home driving Dukes of Hazzard style. If I had a dime for every eye roll my wife produce while I was driving this thing, I would be a very rich man.
Anybody else love driving in the country, especially in foreign lands?
Somehow my wife and I ended up on a “Funny Looking Animals & Epic Insect Migration” tour on our way home from the Central Coast yesterday.
The day started with yet another visit to the elephant seals just north of San Simeon (for more on elephant seals, and why you need to go see them, click here.)
Moving on, we traveled south to the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove, where hundreds of thousands of Monarch butterflies migrate each year. Learn more about the grove here.
Our tour concluded at OstrichLand USA in Solvang. $5 buys you entrance into OstrichLand and a bowl of food, which you hold while a dozen creepy ostriches peck violently in your personal space. Watch your fingers. Everything you ever wanted to know about OstrichLand can be found here.
Have you been on any odd, spontaneous tours lately? If so, tell me about it.
I proposed to my wife almost three years ago to the date while cross-country skiing at Badger Pass in Yosemite. During a freak blizzard. Romantic, no?
After she said “yes,” I believe she said something like “we better get the hell out of here.”
To all you married guys out there, please tell me I’m not the only knucklehead to propose in such harsh conditions. Or am I? Crap.