25 August 2013

Rainy day. Fat bike. Not another soul.

Rainy day. Fat bike. Not another soul.

Forked trail. Fat bike. Not another soul.

Mushroom patch. Fat bike. Not another soul.

Brown bracken. Fat bike. Not another soul.

Long puddle. Fat bike. Not another soul.

Wild flowers. Fat bike. Not another soul.

Tall grass. Fat bike. Not another soul.

15 August 2013

Archival Footage: June was getting old

When I was young I wrote bad poems.  I did not intend for them to be bad.  I had hoped for them to be good. 

They were not.  

But they are not too-terribly-bad either, I suppose, considering the shallow depth of the well from which they were drawn at the time.

I stumbled on a few of them recently, in an tattered manila file tucked away in the back of a closet.

These are some of the sad, angsty lines I wrote between 1986 and 1991 or so.  When I was in my 20s...

Payson, Springtime, 1976

Heaven's not filled
with Earth's departed souls
now is it.
The faucet's trough-plink
old hand's country signal's bad
flipping static.
Stockyard's smell
all rotten bales.
It's not in pictures
horse's self-defecation drying
cracked open like this.

There's a horsepath near a Payson ranch
rutted rental-inches into the planet
showing papersack gravel laid open
beneath grass-woven soil.

None talk much
less run until they have sight of it
tail-to-nose waiting
sniffing clover and wild flowers
or walking in sleep toward it
transfixed on this appointed path
the yearling's new faces
the ancients' breathing sensing
again able to move limbs quickly
smoothly to the gate.

The yellow line of teeth
the bridled lips pulled back

Fly Lady Bug

Sitting watching clouds fly past the moon

It must be hoards
just swarms of bugs
that are disappointed by this moon
and all moons.

To spend your days
flying gyres upward toward
the sky
only to have the light taken away each night
by a paleness only the clouds can see
sharply enough to fly past.

That's why you seek out
the light below where I am perched
ape-like on my balcony wall
to loop and dive and crash
around this sodium-vapor sun.

If I open the door
you'll follow me inside
to the bedroom
and loop and dive and crash
around my lamplight.
I'll find you there when I retire
lying dead on my sheets.
Empty shells with little wings.

I'll come inside and join you soon
someday later tonight
and we'll lie together
and you'll hold me
and I'll think: this is what I came here for.

For now I'm just going to sit
and watch the moon in the clouds
bugs crashing against the sun
and think of some old friends
I haven't thought of in years.

Reasons. And other functions.

I've been listening to my own voice
echo down stairwells
for so long

now let me rock
with my feet up on the bed
and crack nuts in my hand
while I listen to your voice

as you sit
knelt at the foot of the bed
late at night near me

I watch your eyes
in this blue darkness and see them
as grey areas with fire behind them
like eclipsing moons

Your lashes make shadows on the floor.
They reach down beneath the floorboards
and under the window's sill
and pick dandelions outside

You talk about me how
I'm the kind of man who
gets paid
for doing what he loves most:

taking things apart.
And about Jack Nicholson
and how you know why he went to the Cuckoo's Nest

And about Sartre
and Python. Laura Petrie
Hitchcock's body
How growie things reproduce themselves
almost without gratification
and without
and almost always without

'Til it makes you look
like those are nearly tears
between your lashes
reflecting the night's brightness

When I know it's just sleep
or the lack of it there

But you make me wonder
as I listen to your exposition;

Will you understand me
when I lay down beside you
and whisper my love?

June was getting old
he said
looking softly down his arm to the floor
speaking slowly purposefully
that there is this thing, yes
reading the same books
looking out through twinned eyes
at this too-obvious-letters-written-man
who rode to forget
then forgot to ride
slept no further or sooner than
whenever you're ready to leave
spake ice-cream talk to you
before you ever heard it
sent love letters within himself
and imagined your tears dried by them
and you never knew
who talks mainly for joy
the who-you-are of it all
then for intimacy
finally for solace
who still waits 'til hope subsides
paces and yearns to prove indispensable
like drinking water for kisses
iodine tablets to remove
the browns and greys
who hunts for words
and becomes galvanized into this being
who never quite gets every dream to fall in place
in the great-green-dream-hopper
but instead yields bitterness
bile in the throat
kinked like a hose
spitting out the small hole's path
of least resistance

04 August 2013

Weatherford Road

Yesterday, I rode my fat bike up the old Weatherford Road.
The Weatherford Road, which begins just above and a little to the west of the Schultz Creek trailhead, and the Weatherford Trail, which begins up higher on the Pass near Schultz Tank, aren't really the same thing, although eventually they do rejoin one another, at the Wilderness boundary above Schultz Pass.
The old Weatherford Road used to be our primary bike-access from town to the trails above Schultz Pass.  But we hardly ever ride it anymore, probably because most of those trails don't really exist anymore.  Trails like Secret and East Orion were obliterated by the Forest Service years ago in an effort to protect spotted owl habitat.

Today, a couple newer trails, such as Newham (not to be confused with Oldham), Upper Dogfood (a wildcat trail), and The Spotted Owl (which is sometimes mistakenly called Secret or Orion Spring) cross the Weatherford Road above the Pass.  But only one classic trail, The Overlook, still remains accessible from the Weatherford Road, up high in the aspens, somewhat hidden beneath a few rotten logs, right where it always has been.

Much All of the road is now closed to motorized vehicles, so it feels forgotten and remote and, year after year, the trees encroach on it more and more.
When it was proposed as a tourist attraction back in about 1915 by local hotel owner, John Weatherford, he assured the Forest Service that the grade would not exceed seven percent, but here and in several other places it approaches ten percent.
It's pretty obvious that the Forest Service has not put any resources into maintaining the road for some time, even sections like this one near Newham, which technically remains open to motorized vehicles.  Every summer the rains dig the channels a little bit deeper.
The road, called The San Francisco Mountain Boulevard, was originally planned to be operated as a toll road aimed as an attraction at the burgeoning Grand Canyon tourist trade at the turn of the last century.  It cost over $100,000 in 1900s-dollars to construct and it was finally completed to the saddle between Agassiz and Humphreys Peaks in the mid-1920s.
The old toll-house is still standing and appears to have been carefully restored.

Weatherford and his fellow speculators never recouped their investment.  But the road, such as it is, remains to this day, but, since 1980, only horses and hikers have been permitted above the Wilderness boundary.
It must have been quite a  thrill to drive to over 11,000 feet on the San Franciso Peaks, and not altogether without risk, either.  Last time I hiked it above the Wilderness boundary, several years ago, there were still a few old abandoned vehicles wedged into the trees off the downhill side of the road.

In the late 30s, due to a lack of maintenance, the Forest Service canceled Weatherford's special-use permit, closing the Scenic Mountain Boulevard to motorized vehicles forever.

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey