Sunday, January 27, 2013

Utah Places: Revisiting Mt Nebo

Recollections of my last hike on Mt Nebo.  I followed the blue trail.

I started fairly late in the morning at the Bear Canyon trailhead.

The trip up the east shoulder of Nebo is full of delights, ranging from deciduous brush and assorted maples and cottonwoods to aspen groves, towering evergreens, and alpine meadows lush with wildflowers.

 The trail winds up the shoulder of Nebo, through the lower elevation thickets of deciduous brush, as it enters the designated Nebo Wilderness Area, with a sign marking the border...

On into higher ground, surrounded now by spruces and firs...

Just taking in the scenery looking to the east from high up on the side of Nebo...

 On the summit ridge looking south, you can tell that Nebo is more of a long, snaky ridge than a formal mountain summit.

Nebo does sport several more formal summits, but they don't rise far above the long ridge line.  I never made it to the actual tippy top of the mountain that day.

After long dallying all day in alpine meadows, enjoying fragrant wildflowers, I found myself on the summit ridge, the day spent and nearing sunset...


 It was about then that I started remembering, with some small degree of alarm, all the signs I had been seeing posted around the Bear Canyon Campground area, at the foot of the mountain.  Bear Canyon, it seems, is aptly named.  Bears do frequent the area.  I have never seen any, but apparently many other people have.

O, well.  The Forest Service has to post these warning signs to limit their own public liability.  Or so I told myself, as I prepared to venture down through the forbidding darkness.  The mountain of delights now did not seem quite so friendly.

Anyway, it seems like all of a sudden started to get amazingly dark.  I'm not sure why I was surprised - after all, it tends to get dark just about every night.  There was no moonlight.  The stars were twinkling coldly.  It also gets freezing cold as soon as the sun sets, just astoundingly fast,  at that high elevation.

 I had a small flashlight in my backpack, so I was prepared to make a dash for the trailhead in the dark.

As I was tromping down the mountainside in the dark, with my tiny, pitiful little LED flash trying to light my way over countless rocks and other hazards, I kept thinking about all the signs, warning about bears in the area.  I was certainly following the directions to make lots of noise.  My boots thundered down the trail, making noise that I'm sure could be heard from miles away.  No such thing as a surreptitious egress from the wilderness.  

The little circle of light I was casting ahead did not make much of an impression on that big, dark night.  I kept remembering all those damned signs, and thinking of how the bears would enjoy browsing on all those thickets of berry and sumac bushes I kept passing in the dark.

I would imagine around every turn that I heard something crashing through the brush, off in the distance.

Happily, the miles passed with no bears making their dread presence known.  I travelled the trail back to my car without incident, but heaving a final sigh of relief.

It was some substantial number of miles to travel back to Snail Hollow, so I was very late getting home that night.  When I finally arrived, I got several lectures about how worried they were that something might have happened to me.  I had taken only a light lunch, a little water, and very sparse gearage, so I was ill prepared to spend the night on the slopes of Nebo.  But I felt shameful about my cowardly headlong flight in the dark, down the precipitous mountainside.

I prudently restrained myself from telling anything about being frightened by bears in the night.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Utah Places: Deseret Peak

 This is Deseret Peak east face with a view of the TwinCouloirs

One rather spectacular place of unsurpassed beauty that I have neglected to mention,  but deserves pointing out,  is Deseret Peak in the Stansbury Range, way out in Tooele County. I have never made the summit trek, but it is reputed to be an easy hike, about 15 miles round trip. Lots of climbing, though.  The peak elevation is over 11,000, and the trails start climbing at about 6,000 feet.  What makes it so remarkable is the pristine alpine terrain, right in the middle of the most unlikely desert terrain. That and the fact that it is far enough off the beaten path that it is seldom visited.

 View of Deseret Peak from South Willow Lake

 Another perspective of Twin Couloirs on Deseret Peak

 Alpine meadows on the northeast of Deseret Peak

Viewed through an aspen grove

When we were phasing out my contracting work for the BLM and Forest Service, I surveyed the Mill Fork of South Willow Creek area for a weed spraying bid.  This area is like an oasis in the middle of a desert.  Difficult to imagine the towering spruces and firs, and the thick aspen groves, that cover the spreading slopes of this mountain peak.  Rushing streams flow through the narrow canyons, supporting a veritable carpet of wildflowers.

Pretty early in the spring, the Mill Fork road was closed to vehicles from the Lower Narrows area, so I hiked alongside the creek up to the end of the road.  Here, at the Loop Campground, there starts the trail that leads to the peak.   This is where I ended my journey and started back to the truck.

Perhaps I should add, I made this trek after I had already experienced my first stroke episode in 2009.  I was not yet so paralyzed that I could not roll along at a fair gait, with the assistance of my sturdy cane.  Since then, things have become so much worse for me, and I could never do this trek today.

I left my dad with the pickup parked back at the Lower Narrows where the road was blocked off.  He started to worry about me after I had been gone for more than two hours.  He asked some Forest Service employees that happened to be passing by if they would allow him past the barricades to start searching for me.  But just about the time he was preparing to set out, I returned to the truck, thoroughly weary from the fairly short and easy walk.

There is apparently an active rock climbing group that favors the climbing wall offering itself at the Narrows of Mill Fork.  When we visited there, I saw that the egress to climbing routes was accomplished using an old mattress, strategically placed in the middle of the stream.  Perhaps a top rope belay uses this spot to rest on while protecting ascending climbers.  Anyway, it was rather a curiosity.

Another remarkable thing that I remember was one of the signs posted alongside the county road leading into the area.   The sign proclaimed a county ordinance forbidding anyone from bringing glass containers into public lands.

County Code prohibits glass containers on lands open to the public:
Tooele County Code
Title 6 - Public Safety
Chapter 18

Miscellaneous Provisions
6-18-6. Possession or use of glass containers on lands open to public access prohibited.

I've never seen anything like this before.  Don't know what bothers folks in Tooele County about those pernicious glass containers.  I suspect some local political officer had a bad experience with a flat tire, or some such.

Anyway, to get to the Deseret Peak area, you can follow the Mormon Trail Road from Grantsville, until you reach signs directing you to South Willow Canyon.  Though a long drive from Salt Lake area, well worth the investment in travel miles.

Some nice links here and here...

Or peruse the Wiki entry.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Snail Hollow: The pervert magnet?

 Here he is, in all his glory!  This boy is NAKED as a JAY!  Must be preparing to go "skinny dipping".  The original naturist!

Are you tittilated yet?

Sorry, for those of you who were searching so hopefully, this is NOT the place to find your naked pictures to thrill over.  Go somewhere else to get your jollies, please!
Should I feel happy that the biggest draw to my blog is from people searching for my story about naked people, "boys skinny dipping" in the Hot Pots at Diamond Fork?

Since Google started offering tracking services, I can see that my blog's biggest attraction caters to pedophile pervs looking for naked pictures.

Abandon all hope.  The world is going to Hell in a Handbasket!

One thing I'd like to add to this:  Perverts, go somewhere else!  I don't want you here, and am not catering anything to your tastes.  If naked boy pictures are what you choose to love, you don't belong on MY blog!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Film scene: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Lest anyone be concerned that my taste in the arts is too refined, here is one of my favorite scenes from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Newman and Redford seem to have been made for this film.

Les Miserables: Cosette and the Stranger

On the following morning, two hours at least before day-break, Thenardier, seated beside a candle in the public room of the tavern, pen in hand, was making out the bill for the traveller with the yellow coat.
His wife, standing beside him, and half bent over him, was following him with her eyes. They exchanged not a word. On the one hand, there was profound meditation, on the other, the religious admiration with which one watches the birth and development of a marvel of the human mind. A noise was audible in the house; it was the Lark sweeping the stairs.
After the lapse of a good quarter of an hour, and some erasures, Thenardier produced the following masterpiece:—

  Supper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     3 francs.
  Chamber  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    10   "
  Candle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     5   "
  Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     4   "
  Service  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     1   "
                     Total . . . . . .    23 francs.
Service was written servisse.
"Twenty-three francs!" cried the woman, with an enthusiasm which was mingled with some hesitation.
Like all great artists, Thenardier was dissatisfied.
"Peuh!" he exclaimed.
It was the accent of Castlereagh auditing France's bill at the Congress of Vienna.
"Monsieur Thenardier, you are right; he certainly owes that," murmured the wife, who was thinking of the doll bestowed on Cosette in the presence of her daughters. "It is just, but it is too much. He will not pay it."
Thenardier laughed coldly, as usual, and said:—
"He will pay."
This laugh was the supreme assertion of certainty and authority. That which was asserted in this manner must needs be so. His wife did not insist.
She set about arranging the table; her husband paced the room. A moment later he added:—
"I owe full fifteen hundred francs!"
He went and seated himself in the chimney-corner, meditating, with his feet among the warm ashes.
"Ah! by the way," resumed his wife, "you don't forget that I'm going to turn Cosette out of doors to-day? The monster! She breaks my heart with that doll of hers! I'd rather marry Louis XVIII. than keep her another day in the house!"
Thenardier lighted his pipe, and replied between two puffs:—
"You will hand that bill to the man."
Then he went out.
Hardly had he left the room when the traveller entered.
Thenardier instantly reappeared behind him and remained motionless in the half-open door, visible only to his wife.
The yellow man carried his bundle and his cudgel in his hand.
"Up so early?" said Madame Thenardier; "is Monsieur leaving us already?"
As she spoke thus, she was twisting the bill about in her hands with an embarrassed air, and making creases in it with her nails. Her hard face presented a shade which was not habitual with it,—timidity and scruples.
To present such a bill to a man who had so completely the air "of a poor wretch" seemed difficult to her.
The traveller appeared to be preoccupied and absent-minded. He replied:—
"Yes, Madame, I am going."
"So Monsieur has no business in Montfermeil?"
"No, I was passing through. That is all. What do I owe you, Madame," he added.
The Thenardier silently handed him the folded bill.
The man unfolded the paper and glanced at it; but his thoughts were evidently elsewhere.
"Madame," he resumed, "is business good here in Montfermeil?"
"So so, Monsieur," replied the Thenardier, stupefied at not witnessing another sort of explosion.
She continued, in a dreary and lamentable tone:—
"Oh! Monsieur, times are so hard! and then, we have so few bourgeois in the neighborhood! All the people are poor, you see. If we had not, now and then, some rich and generous travellers like Monsieur, we should not get along at all. We have so many expenses. Just see, that child is costing us our very eyes."
"What child?"
"Why, the little one, you know! Cosette—the Lark, as she is called hereabouts!"
"Ah!" said the man.
She went on:—
"How stupid these peasants are with their nicknames! She has more the air of a bat than of a lark. You see, sir, we do not ask charity, and we cannot bestow it. We earn nothing and we have to pay out a great deal. The license, the imposts, the door and window tax, the hundredths! Monsieur is aware that the government demands a terrible deal of money. And then, I have my daughters. I have no need to bring up other people's children."
The man resumed, in that voice which he strove to render indifferent, and in which there lingered a tremor:—
"What if one were to rid you of her?"
"Who? Cosette?"
The landlady's red and violent face brightened up hideously.
"Ah! sir, my dear sir, take her, keep her, lead her off, carry her away, sugar her, stuff her with truffles, drink her, eat her, and the blessings of the good holy Virgin and of all the saints of paradise be upon you!"
"Really! You will take her away?"
"I will take her away."
"Immediately. Call the child."
"Cosette!" screamed the Thenardier.
"In the meantime," pursued the man, "I will pay you what I owe you. How much is it?"
He cast a glance on the bill, and could not restrain a start of surprise:—
"Twenty-three francs!"
He looked at the landlady, and repeated:—
"Twenty-three francs?"
There was in the enunciation of these words, thus repeated, an accent between an exclamation and an interrogation point.
The Thenardier had had time to prepare herself for the shock. She replied, with assurance:—
"Good gracious, yes, sir, it is twenty-three francs."
The stranger laid five five-franc pieces on the table.
"Go and get the child," said he.
At that moment Thenardier advanced to the middle of the room, and said:—
"Monsieur owes twenty-six sous."
"Twenty-six sous!" exclaimed his wife.
"Twenty sous for the chamber," resumed Thenardier, coldly, "and six sous for his supper. As for the child, I must discuss that matter a little with the gentleman. Leave us, wife."
Madame Thenardier was dazzled as with the shock caused by unexpected lightning flashes of talent. She was conscious that a great actor was making his entrance on the stage, uttered not a word in reply, and left the room.
As soon as they were alone, Thenardier offered the traveller a chair. The traveller seated himself; Thenardier remained standing, and his face assumed a singular expression of good-fellowship and simplicity.
"Sir," said he, "what I have to say to you is this, that I adore that child."
The stranger gazed intently at him.
"What child?"
Thenardier continued:—
"How strange it is, one grows attached. What money is that? Take back your hundred-sou piece. I adore the child."
"Whom do you mean?" demanded the stranger.
"Eh! our little Cosette! Are you not intending to take her away from us? Well, I speak frankly; as true as you are an honest man, I will not consent to it. I shall miss that child. I saw her first when she was a tiny thing. It is true that she costs us money; it is true that she has her faults; it is true that we are not rich; it is true that I have paid out over four hundred francs for drugs for just one of her illnesses! But one must do something for the good God's sake. She has neither father nor mother. I have brought her up. I have bread enough for her and for myself. In truth, I think a great deal of that child. You understand, one conceives an affection for a person; I am a good sort of a beast, I am; I do not reason; I love that little girl; my wife is quick-tempèred, but she loves her also. You see, she is just the same as our own child. I want to keep her to babble about the house."
The stranger kept his eye intently fixed on Thenardier. The latter continued:—
"Excuse me, sir, but one does not give away one's child to a passer-by, like that. I am right, am I not? Still, I don't say—you are rich; you have the air of a very good man,—if it were for her happiness. But one must find out that. You understand: suppose that I were to let her go and to sacrifice myself, I should like to know what becomes of her; I should not wish to lose sight of her; I should like to know with whom she is living, so that I could go to see her from time to time; so that she may know that her good foster-father is alive, that he is watching over her. In short, there are things which are not possible. I do not even know your name. If you were to take her away, I should say: 'Well, and the Lark, what has become of her?' One must, at least, see some petty scrap of paper, some trifle in the way of a passport, you know!"
The stranger, still surveying him with that gaze which penetrates, as the saying goes, to the very depths of the conscience, replied in a grave, firm voice:—
"Monsieur Thenardier, one does not require a passport to travel five leagues from Paris. If I take Cosette away, I shall take her away, and that is the end of the matter. You will not know my name, you will not know my residence, you will not know where she is; and my intention is that she shall never set eyes on you again so long as she lives. I break the thread which binds her foot, and she departs. Does that suit you? Yes or no?"
Since geniuses, like demons, recognize the presence of a superior God by certain signs, Thenardier comprehended that he had to deal with a very strong person. It was like an intuition; he comprehended it with his clear and sagacious promptitude. While drinking with the carters, smoking, and singing coarse songs on the preceding evening, he had devoted the whole of the time to observing the stranger, watching him like a cat, and studying him like a mathematician. He had watched him, both on his own account, for the pleasure of the thing, and through instinct, and had spied upon him as though he had been paid for so doing. Not a movement, not a gesture, on the part of the man in the yellow great-coat had escaped him. Even before the stranger had so clearly manifested his interest in Cosette, Thenardier had divined his purpose. He had caught the old man's deep glances returning constantly to the child. Who was this man? Why this interest? Why this hideous costume, when he had so much money in his purse? Questions which he put to himself without being able to solve them, and which irritated him. He had pondered it all night long. He could not be Cosette's father. Was he her grandfather? Then why not make himself known at once? When one has a right, one asserts it. This man evidently had no right over Cosette. What was it, then? Thenardier lost himself in conjectures. He caught glimpses of everything, but he saw nothing. Be that as it may, on entering into conversation with the man, sure that there was some secret in the case, that the latter had some interest in remaining in the shadow, he felt himself strong; when he perceived from the stranger's clear and firm retort, that this mysterious personage was mysterious in so simple a way, he became conscious that he was weak. He had expected nothing of the sort. His conjectures were put to the rout. He rallied his ideas. He weighed everything in the space of a second. Thenardier was one of those men who take in a situation at a glance. He decided that the moment had arrived for proceeding straightforward, and quickly at that. He did as great leaders do at the decisive moment, which they know that they alone recognize; he abruptly unmasked his batteries.
"Sir," said he, "I am in need of fifteen hundred francs."
The stranger took from his side pocket an old pocketbook of black leather, opened it, drew out three bank-bills, which he laid on the table. Then he placed his large thumb on the notes and said to the inn-keeper:—
"Go and fetch Cosette."
While this was taking place, what had Cosette been doing?
On waking up, Cosette had run to get her shoe. In it she had found the gold piece. It was not a Napoleon; it was one of those perfectly new twenty-franc pieces of the Restoration, on whose effigy the little Prussian queue had replaced the laurel wreath. Cosette was dazzled. Her destiny began to intoxicate her. She did not know what a gold piece was; she had never seen one; she hid it quickly in her pocket, as though she had stolen it. Still, she felt that it really was hers; she guessed whence her gift had come, but the joy which she experienced was full of fear. She was happy; above all she was stupefied. Such magnificent and beautiful things did not appear real. The doll frightened her, the gold piece frightened her. She trembled vaguely in the presence of this magnificence. The stranger alone did not frighten her. On the contrary, he reassured her. Ever since the preceding evening, amid all her amazement, even in her sleep, she had been thinking in her little childish mind of that man who seemed to be so poor and so sad, and who was so rich and so kind. Everything had changed for her since she had met that good man in the forest. Cosette, less happy than the most insignificant swallow of heaven, had never known what it was to take refuge under a mother's shadow and under a wing. For the last five years, that is to say, as far back as her memory ran, the poor child had shivered and trembled. She had always been exposed completely naked to the sharp wind of adversity; now it seemed to her she was clothed. Formerly her soul had seemed cold, now it was warm. Cosette was no longer afraid of the Thenardier. She was no longer alone; there was some one there.
She hastily set about her regular morning duties. That louis, which she had about her, in the very apron pocket whence the fifteen-sou piece had fallen on the night before, distracted her thoughts. She dared not touch it, but she spent five minutes in gazing at it, with her tongue hanging out, if the truth must be told. As she swept the staircase, she paused, remained standing there motionless, forgetful of her broom and of the entire universe, occupied in gazing at that star which was blazing at the bottom of her pocket.
It was during one of these periods of contemplation that the Thenardier joined her. She had gone in search of Cosette at her husband's orders. What was quite unprecedented, she neither struck her nor said an insulting word to her.
"Cosette," she said, almost gently, "come immediately."
An instant later Cosette entered the public room.
The stranger took up the bundle which he had brought and untied it. This bundle contained a little woollen gown, an apron, a fustian bodice, a kerchief, a petticoat, woollen stockings, shoes—a complete outfit for a girl of seven years. All was black.
"My child," said the man, "take these, and go and dress yourself quickly."
Daylight was appearing when those of the inhabitants of Montfermeil who had begun to open their doors beheld a poorly clad old man leading a little girl dressed in mourning, and carrying a pink doll in her arms, pass along the road to Paris. They were going in the direction of Livry.
It was our man and Cosette.
No one knew the man; as Cosette was no longer in rags, many did not recognize her. Cosette was going away. With whom? She did not know. Whither? She knew not. All that she understood was that she was leaving the Thenardier tavern behind her. No one had thought of bidding her farewell, nor had she thought of taking leave of any one. She was leaving that hated and hating house.
Poor, gentle creature, whose heart had been repressed up to that hour!
Cosette walked along gravely, with her large eyes wide open, and gazing at the sky. She had put her louis in the pocket of her new apron. From time to time, she bent down and glanced at it; then she looked at the good man. She felt something as though she were beside the good God.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Bella Notte

From Disney's Lady and the Tramp, a charming love serenade, under the stars, at Tony's Restaurant.

In commemoration of the return of my son Joey Solo Thomas, from far away lands. I am so happy to learn that he has come home safe.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Things left undone...

This photo is from our back yard in Alabama, 1991.

I suppose there will always be an empty spot in my heart, one that was originally intended to receive things my family was supposed to fill.  I will never know what might have been.

It is difficult to imagine anything more painful to endure.

I have been through all kinds of pain in recent years.  A heart attack is nothing compared to the years of heartache and regret.  The most painful physical suffering seems little enough to compare.  Yet I cannot spare myself this feeling.  Apparently it is necessary to remind me that there are things left yet undone.

I only hope I am worthy enough to do the job, in the time that is left me.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Reunion

Well, I guess since Sarah went first, then I get to go second. That has been my lot in life so far- why change now? Going second is often the only option for the second child, especially in age related matters, like going to school or going on a LDS mission. It's really not that bad of a deal, since parents get the chance to learn from all the mistakes they made with the first child!

So, many people looking at this blog, are now wondering who I am. My name is Rob Thomas, the second oldest son of the blog owner, Jim Cobabe. My dad asked me to start posting a short while ago and here I am. At this point, I don't know how much or how often that I will post, but just like any journey, be it short or lengthy, it all begins with the first step.

My current journey with my dad started in Nov. 2007. We had not seen each other since Sept. 1998! The reunion came about in surprising fashion. One day, out of the clear blue, a thought came to my mind- call your dad on the phone! Now that posed several difficult questions:

1. What is my dad's phone number?

2.Where does he currently live?

3. Will he even want to talk to me?

The first two questions were easy enough to answer, all I had to do was Google it. As for the final question, there was only one way to know, call him and find out! Now, that sounds pretty easy, and from a physical and technological standpoint, it is. However, from a psychological viewpoint, it's something else entirely. After a few weeks of consideration and not be able to dismiss the thought of calling, it came time for a leap of faith.

On a side note, I only discussed this idea with my lovely wife, Stacy. She is a wonderful woman, and we have been married for a little over 2 years. She was quite surprised when I told her what I had been thinking about, and admittedly curious about "the other side" of the family. She offered her full support either way, but insisted that the choice was mine and mine alone to make. After all, he was my father, not hers and the impression to call him had come only to me.

Ultimately, the choice to call was made, and the rest is history. I will continue to rely the experience in detail on later posts, that is if anyone wants to hear it! Well, I have work early tomorrow, so that's it for today.

Next instalment:  Reunion Part 2