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Todd and I ventured into the Supes last weekend, hiking in Friday night and out Sunday morning. We arrived at the trailhead about 10:00 PM and were hoping for the nearly full moon to help us in our jaunt to Garden Valley where we would camp for the first leg of the journey, but alas it had just quit raining and the cloud cover was still quite thick. By the time we got to Garden Valley of course the moon came out. The wind was blowing quite a bit and it was quite cold so we made a small fire and stoked it for a couple hours and retired. The next morning was REAL cold so we slept in a little then Todd served up some eggs, bacon and tomatoes along with Jack Daniels Coffee (no alcohol). Then we packed it up and headed on into Boulder Canyon, up around the North end of Battelship and dropped into Lower La Barge Canyon and up towards the box. Todd pointed out some ruins and the remnants of the old cabin on the side of La Barge where the Aylers lived until the government made them leave in the late 60's. We set up camp right on the edge of the box and set out to do a little exploring. There are a lot of interesting geological formations up in the box and we took in as much as we could with the waning daylight. When we got back to camp we rounded up enough firewood for the evening and prepared dinner. We had a nice evening around the campfire, sharing stories and waitng for that first moonlight to strike the Battleship. It finally did and we stayed up a little longer. The next morning we elected not to cook breakfast but load-up on energy food and get going. We hiked up over the saddle between the box and the Battleship and then down into Boulder canyon and down Boulder Canyon to the Second Water trail completing the "lollipop".

A bunch from AZ Hikers and assorted others celebrated Todd's birthday last night at the Rock Springs Cafe. Janet and her friend Dawn came along with me. We had a good time and got back home early enough to watch the late news. I'm kind of nursing a cold so I guess that is good. Plans were to listen to a blue grass type band out there but turns out it was poker night.
PSA <.1 !!!!!!!!!!!

Photos by GTG


Photos by Desert Dog, GTG, PaintingAZ, HikingSunshine, HIG, SUZ

Up the Side of Picket Post


Ted, Tom, Todd and Jerome in the Saddle

Relaxing in the Box

I've been on a couple more outings with various hiking and backpacking friends including a trek to the summit of Picket Post. This is a particularly nice hike for me because this mountain overlooks the small town of Superior, Arizona where my mother and father met in high school. My Uncle owned the dairy there in the forties and was sherrif in the fifties. This hike was one of my dad's favorites when he was a youngster.

Also did another backpack into the Lower La Barge Box with Todd, Tom and Ted. Was quite cold the first night out (we hiked in at night once again). There was frost on our tents before we bedded down for the night. Ted's dog Jerome was the entertainment for the weekend. He is a very cool dog but not once you can pet real easy.

Picket Post

A Large AZH Group Shot by SUZ

Nice Photo by SUZ

Also did another backpack into the Lower La Barge Box with Todd, Tom and Ted. Was quite cold the first night out (we hiked in at night once again). There was frost on our tents before we bedded down for the night. Ted's dog Jerome was the entertainment for the weekend. He is a very cool dog but not once you can pet real easy.

Jerome and Ted with Ridge Line Behind Them

Happy Campers!

Our View to the North from Camp

Nice Reflection Photo by Desert Dog

Photos by IGO, ArizonaHeat, TheSuperstitions

Little Hikers

Sarah and Emma

Emily had her tonsils removed on Tuesday the 6th. Janet has worked hard on getting some medical relief for Emily for the longest time. Emily has a rare syndrome called "PFAPA" which causes her a lot of pain when she is cycling. PFAPA syndrome is a condition comprised of specific symptoms Periodic Fever, Aphthous-stomatitis, Pharyngitis, and cervical Adenopathy. This syndrome causes recurring, cyclical fevers in children, usually associated with sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. We've tried since Emily was 4 years old to find out what the heck was causing these outbreaks. You can get a general idea of what we have been going through for the last seven years at this site: Madison Foundation Five or six years ago she was diagnosed with this syndrome by a renowned immunologist here in the Phoenix area. Even with this long sought after answer to Emily's malady the pediatricians gave us little support. They didn't want Emily to have her tonsils removed. You know why? They're biased? I'm not real sure but I suspect because they want me to come in every month and even though they know her diagnosis with PFAPA they want to do a strep culture. Well, actually two strep cultures, one at the office and one at an outside lab. We know she doesn't have strep. If they are worried that she has strep then just give us the antibiotics as precaution and don't make us come into the office for an exam to the tune of $250 a month. No one gets strep every 15 days! The last 4 times I took Emily in I saw a different pediatrician or PA or nurse, some of them had to be told about her syndrome and sure enough when they read through her records there it was. Oh! What a surprise! Why am I paying you people! I don't have insurance or at least didn't have insurance for the last few years. I know one thing for sure, when you don't have insurance it is so easy to see the game doctors play with insurance. Problem is they treat Mr. No-insurance as though he was insured when it comes to billing, except I don't get a volume discount. What a scam! Janet has been there more times that you want to know about. If just one of the doctors took a little time to study up on this rare syndrome they might have some concern for Emily and our situation in getting her a realistic and proper treatment, but this endless going in every month for the same negative results and They don't really care about Emily, all they want is my money. Janet has tried on numerous occasions to tell them Emily is in need of real medical assistance not just this "come-in-go-ah-get-billed". We know what she has, "please help us" was our cry, but for years nothing changed. I intend to write a letter to the Pediatricians and the State Board of Medical Examiners. I'm really tired of being ripped by the medical profession. Janet obtained insurance from the county less than 6 weeks ago, made an appointment to see a pediatrician, saw the pediatrician and was referred to a specialist who couldn't believe after hearing our story that our pediatricians had not made an effort toward our wishes that Emily have her tonsils removed. But now the tonsils are gone and I'm willing to bet that Emily doesn't have any more bouts with PFAPA. It is bad enough that your child has to be afflicted with an illness, but doctors taking advantage of the situation makes it double trouble. My big mistake was not pulling her away from the pediatric vultures sooner.

The end of last month I took Sarah and Emily along with me to the 4th anniversary shindig at Cave Creek Recreational Area. We had a blast just hanging out, eating some very delicious food, hiking, and telling lies around the campfire with great friends.


Photos by:
gtg and srlatty

Chris and I on the first set of cables
Well Emily is fully recovered and so far no bouts of PFAPA. It took her about a week to get over her whining, crying, sniveling and demanding and... I'm hoping that she is now on the road to being healthy and getting to actually make plans and have fun without the fear of PFAPA setting her back.

Hiked to the summit of Picacho Peak near Tucson last Saturday with some of the Arizona Hikers group including: Todd, Diane, George, Deanda, Carolyn, Steve, Tracee, Wally, Mckenzie, Michelle and Chris. This was Chris's first hike with the group and I'm pretty sure he had a good time. Chris is the step-son of Janet's very good friend Karen. The reason not all are picured at the summit is because some went down when the saddle was reached. Anyway after the hike we all went in to Tucson and had lunch at Paradise Bakery and the some of us ventured out to Carolyn's alternatively built house of straw. I was truly amazed with all of the work she has put into it. She is a very artistic lady. Here is a link to her website. I also intend to buy her book and read the whole story of her alternative building adventure.

Gang on the Summit of Picacho Peak

Photos by: Me, Todd Gartman
Tracy Fleming



Tom coming up from the hole

Downward Path
I have done a few hikes and have seen a few recitals since last I posted. Last night I went with Janet and my mom to see Sarah and Emily dance in their last recital of the year. My friend Maggie met us there. Maggie is a dancer that I met while hiking with my friends form Arizona Hikers dot Com. The performance was the best of the year and extra special because the eighth grade dancers presented the teacher Roni Piper with a special gift. Sarah won the "Best Dancer" award voted on by all of the dancers. After the dance we went to Dairy Queen and then Janet and I went over to my brothers house and watched the Suns beat up the San Antonio Spurs in the second game of the second round of the Western Conference Playoffs. It was an all-around excellent evening!

I've been doing some serious hiking and training for the last seven weeks. I have lost 25 lbs. and have been eating healthy. More on the eating later. several weeks ago I did a hike with the usual group of folks up to Parson Springs in Sycamore Canyon. It was a great day for a hike, partly cloudy, an occaisional sprinkle and temps in the low 70's. I really enjoyed seeing some friends that I hadn't hiked with in a while.

Parson Springs photo by Tim Davis

The following weekend I was out with my friends again, this time up to some areas on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon that I have never been to. This was a celebration of Diane's birthday arranged by Hank, who made all the plans for camping and hiking. Also at the end of this two-day time of fun and celebrating several of those along made an additional trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to stash water for an upcoming backpack into the Thunder River area - more on this later. For the Diane's birthday celebration we arrived at our first destination late Friday night and got to bed around 1:30 AM. So we only had a few hours rest for the hike the next day, which according to Hank was only a couple of miles. Maybe that is all it was, but I'm thinking it was a little more than that each way. Take a look at some of the pics. Just the shear up and down of it gave me a good workout. The trail, which we had to find toward the bottom of a drainage that we got to by following an old four wheel drive trail and then walking along a rise until it went down into the drainage. When we reached the lip of the canyon we immediately started down. The terrain got rough so we stashed our trekking poles and proceeded. The trail is "Point Huitzel" (pronounced witzel) and what a beauty it is. It over looks an area named "Aztec Amphitheater" which is appropriately named. As you can see from a few of the pics the terrain gets quite steep, until it finally just turns into a vertical drop of about 400 feet (guess) and the only way to continue is through a small opening on the edge that drops down a few feet and opens into a larger chamber in the cliff wall that has an ancient tree ladder that allows the traveler access to a lower level. We stopped there because Hank said Archeologists appreciate the non-use of ancient artifacts such as those. The climb in and out of the area near the edge was a little scary, at least for me. I don't think I've ever been on that degree of embankment on the precipice of a rather lengthy vertical drop. The limestone had plenty of grip on the shoes however and I managed just fine, although my heart was beating fast and I was shaking a bit when I got to a place where I could sit and think about what I had just done. On the way down Todd discovered a ruin just below a cliff face. Low on the cliff face was a petroglyph of a humanoid figure in an upside down configuration. Don't know if that was some kind of warning of the danger of falling or perhaps this was a ceremonial burial site. Anyway take a look at the picture of it. After the hike we drove over to the South Bass trailhead and looked around then finally to our dinner site on Huwalapi(sp) point. All I can say is it was one of the most memorable dinners I can remember. The view at sunset was just beyond words. The next day some of us headed home and Tom, Tracy, Diane and Todd headed over to the North Rim to stash some water for an upcoming Hike into the Thunder River, Surprise Valley Tapeats Creek, Deere Creek Area. I am extremely excited because I'm doing this hike as well. It is an epic, nine days backpacking in the Grand Canyon. More when I get back.

AZH Gang photo by Todd Gartman

Tony and I descending photo by Todd Gartman

Tracy and Diane photo by Todd Gartman

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