Take a look at this short video about the fellow who has been the Ostrander Lake hutkeeper for something like 35 back-country winters in Yosemite.
In the New York Times, John Wilson reviews a new Muir biography, A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir, by Donald Worster.
The nature lover and conservationist John Muir is at once famous and indistinct in the minds of most people. Doubtless there are ardent souls who could give a credible account of his life, but not many — not even among those who share the passion that led Muir in 1867, at age 29, to embark on a thousand-mile walk from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico and drove him to continue rambling hither and yon throughout his long life. Muir is revered but remote. He needs a substantial biography to bring him into focus.
It is incorrect to suggest that this is the first Muir biography, but this does sound like an interesting book for those who want to know more about Muir that that which the Muir myth tells us – and I count myself in that group.
I just saw the article on Bob Coomber at SFGate – check it out.
“Bob Coomber cannot walk, but he sure can hike.
The disabled Livermore outdoorsman is preparing for the hike of his life – an ascent of 19,000-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa or 22,841-foot Cerro Aconcagua in South America.”
In a contest between Bob and Kilimanjaro, my money is on Bob.
I never met Dean Conway nor, frankly, know of him – but the report below makes him sound like one of those interesting Yosemite characters who touched quite a few people, loved the Range of Light, and will likely be remembered. (Interesting fact from the West Coast Imaging Blog post: Conway Summit north of Lee Vining carries his family name.)
Remembering Dean Conway A part of Yosemiteís history died when Dean Conway passed away on June 6, 2008. Conway was a legendary packer who packed in to the High Sierra people from all walks of life, along with at least one future president, film crews, and celebrities.
The obit from the Fresno Bee gives a far better overview of Conwayís life, than I could do, but the one time I got to meet Conway was a memorable one. – Rich Seiling (firstname.lastname@example.org) [West Coast Imaging blog]
Follow the link to the original West Coast Imaging Blog story to hear about the author’s meeting with Conway, and then follow the link to the Fresno Bee article for further stories.
Golden Hour on Lembert Dome – Tuolumne Meadows. Yosemite National Park, California. July 21, 2007. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell.
I thought that this image of summer might be a nice end of year photograph – not only is it a nice memory of last summer, but it reminds me that the days are now getting longer and leading toward yet another summer.
“We face a true planetary emergency,” Gore said. “The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.
– Al Gore, winner of the Nobel Prize (and the 2000 presidential election vote…)
I wondered if that other big Bay Area paper from the city to the north would cover the story of 4WheelBob’s climb of White Mountain. The question has been answered:
Peak performance in wheelchair. The words echoed in his head for years: “No excuses. No excuses. No excuses.” The mantra stopped only after one of the ultimate tests for a wheelchair hiker had been achieved. The Bay Area’s Bob Coomber became the first person in a wheelchair to summit 14,246-… > By Tom Stienstra. [SFGate: Tom Stienstra]
Thanks to Tom Mangan’s participation as a member of the Bob’s support crew, the San Jose Mercury News was able to put together a nice story about 4WheelBob’s hike to the top of 14,000’+ White Mountain. Tom’s links are below:
- Mercury News profiles 4WheelBob
- Mike Cassidy talked to Bob this week and the story ended up on today’s front page.
- Tom’s sidebar. Summation: it never felt so good to be proved wrong.
An excerpt from the second link:
Coomber, 52, who lives in Livermore, is not one for the overly dramatic. As we talked in the office building where he works for Wells Fargo’s auto financing division, Coomber explained that he wasn’t out to make some profound statement about overcoming adversity.
“To me,” he said, “it’s just doing what I do.”
And that is quite a statement, in my view.
California’s great outdoors still will be around after Saturday. But I won’t. Well, not at this particular newspaper, I mean. After 22 years of pounding the outdoors beat for The Chronicle – and sometimes getting pounded by it – I’m about to fold my tent and take a hike. And yes, I do mean that literally.
For me now, as the song says, the time has come to say sayonara. Not farewell to writing on these topics about which I care so much, no sir, no way. And not farewell to many other forms of work. Only, to practicing the craft at this particular venue. I plan to devote myself to larger projects, those grand pieces of artistry I’ve always lusted after, but never found enough time to address very well – you know, novels, plays, poetry. I’ve got a satchel full of pocket notebooks dating back to the teen years, and it’s getting on toward high time to crack ’em open and energize their contents.
I’ve enjoyed subscribing to his RSS feed from SFGate and reading his articles Good luck to Paul!
You’ll have to pardon me for the string of 4WheelBob links, but a) I’ve met him, b) I’m incredibly impressed with his accomplishment, and c) I happen to know Tom Mangan, a member of his support team and outdoor blogger:
I’d been told by the team that once onto the final switchbacks it got flatter and easier. I was completely demoralized, once there, to find the opposite. The rocks filling the “road” were bigger and harder to gain traction. So much for the differences in perception of hikers and wheelchair hikers! But light was beginning to fade on the east side of the peak, and a cold rush of urgency spurred me to just look down and push forward. This was some kind of demon’s joke! It got so much more difficult and I was in so much pain that I felt like just sitting there, stopping and hoping something would change. I looked up, and the Summit Lab seemed almost within touching distance, all of a sudden! Yow! Maybe it’ll finally happen, ya think? I came up the final two turns, cursing like a drunken sailor at every rock, every slippery patch….and of course the final 20 feet were the toughest. It took all I had left to churn around the corner and suddenly be level with the Summit Lab, Summit Register…I was almost in tears. Only exhaustion kept me from completely breaking down like a kid on Christmas morning after getting his Red Ryder BB Gun. Tom, Rick and Cheryl took photos, and there was a completely unforced whoop of elation from everyone. Ten hours and 45 minutes after we’d set off, at 6:44 PM I made the summit – 14,246 feet.
This is what I recall: I got to the summit a few hours ahead and just dawdled, took a few pictures, soaked up the scenery, and looked for signs of Bob on the trail below. He was moving at a crawl, but like the seasons changing, he just kept coming. [Two-Heel Drive]
Great line, Tom! :-)
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