"Let us go into the mountains and be happy." – Serge 

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Fire Season in AZ

Published on July 15, 2011 by

With the rains we’ve had, the trails are getting grippy-fast and fun again… also, our human-caused fire season is just about over. It has been an interesting season. Over 4th of July weekend, Flagstaff had firework stands for the first time in my 11 years of residing here.
firework stand
Interestingly or ironically, this comes 1 year after the Schultz Fire just North of Flagstaff, and less than one month after the largest wildfire in Arizona state history, the Wallow Fire, burned over 500,000 acres including approximately 1/4 of the Apache 200 mountain-bike route. It may be quite sometime before that route is ride-able/enjoyable again…
Schultz fire zone – summer 2011 – one year after the fire.
Harvesting burned, but useable trees one year after the Schultz Fire.

Remember the fire started by the city of Williams, AZ 4th of July fireworks? It burned anywhere from 0.6 to 100 acres depending on which website our emotions would like to believe.

Now we can also remember the Eager grass fire sparked by their 4th of July fireworks show. This happened just a couple weeks after the largest fire in AZ history threatened to burn the town…

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Silverlight Map Application

Published on June 16, 2011 by

I am stoked to “finish” my first map application built using MS Silverlight and ESRI APIs.
silverligt map app
This application can be used to determine the possible flood hazards on parcels. The flood hazard is a result of the Schultz fire that occurred near Flagstaff, AZ last year. I’ve already started a new application, to be used for desktop reconnaissance of the Kachina Peaks back-country…

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Pulling the plug

Published on May 23, 2011 by

While reports of good May skiing are coming out of Arizona’s Kachina Peaks, I am pulling the plug on my snow season – a season that lasted from late November until mid April. Mountain biking and other projects are are now more alluring, but first I would like to indulge my memories of snow.
James thinks that my best photo of the season. Is that because it’s James and his sexy tracks?!

I had about 40 days on the snow with 90% of those being backcountry days. Not bad for a La Niña season, where El Niño is typically best. What is really impressive, to me, is that I shredded 10 days of steep backcountry powder in big avalanche terrain. Sure I had good timing, but mostly I thank mama earth for the stable snow.
image Photo by J.E.

To know if things are stable, one must poke, shovel and test the snow. It also helps to keep track of the snowpack throughout the season. This year I did both to a higher degree and for the first time in my backcountry career, I can reflect upon the season without finding any snow-stability-assessment mistakes.

I am now very close to fulfilling my dream of snowboarding or splitboarding every Major Snow Avalanche Zone of the Kachina (aka San Francisco) Peaks. One more good snow year should be enough to knock off the last 12 of the 77 avalanche zones. The dream, however, will never end – the Kachina’s have a lifetime of short, heardy lines. For instance.

My season ended on a very memorable tour up Doyle peak.
Notes from Diary:
April 10-11, 2011: Hike up above Lockett Meadow to camp stash. JE and C dog joined for dinner. Filet Mignon!!!!!!!!!!! Skin up North ridge of Doyle. West ridge might have had firmer snow better for fast skinning....
!Supper awesome pow run down the Telescope Chute!!!!!! what a great 1000 foot run. 3000 for the day. 4000 for the trip. 13+ mile total trip.
Here is the video.

Thank you to KPAC for the observations forums. Thank you to my touring friends. Bye til the snow fly’s!
Photo by James Foulks.

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Power animals are humans too

Published on May 2, 2011 by

In the summer or 1987, during my freshman orientation at Southwest Texas State, I was asked “what is your power animal?” Uhhhhh….
Hummmmm…. Uhhhh. “A vampire”, I responded, thinking I was so cool and impressive. Forgive me now for how I was then, but do remember that The Lost Boys was in vogue. After more recent thought, perhaps we do not choose our power animals, rather they find us.
Potential case-in-point. Professional trip leader, Brian Siebert‘s power animal choose him via a humorous email attachment.

Thank’s for sharing that Sieberto!

For potential case-in-point number two, please suspend any beliefs that animals and humans are fundamentally different.
My power animal/human, Bill Withers, found me via a free trial on netflex.com.

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Kachina Peaks Wilderness, Telescope Chute

Published on April 13, 2011 by

Larger size recommended.

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built by Troy