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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
Wednesday, August 21
Could Get Stinky
Skunk! No big deal, really. Skunks are a common sight in developed campgrounds. And they are not new to us on this trek. Our first encounter was at Fools Hollow Campground. Antol Maurer, the 15-year-old son of Stephen Maurer who is the man responsible for getting the American Frontiers ball rolling, bolted into the RV yelling “Help, skunk!” A beautiful skunk with a flowing white tail was investigating our campsite near Antol’s tent. I asked him what he thought the skunk was going to do to him. He responded, “Get me!”
So it goes in tonight’s camp, Pine Grove Campground, near Flagstaff, Arizona. This time, however, when all of us had been in bed for hours, a skunk made a direct assault on Julie Overbaugh.
My ears were perked for any noises because Jessica Terrell and I had done a bad-bad thing. We zip-tied Jacob MacLeod into his hammock. He was a good sport about it. When we zipped the first few ties Jacob thought we were helping him with his problem of fitting comfortably into his brand-new hammock. Before our “help” he was in a constant struggle to keep his position in his skinny $10 hammock. But, Ha!, he was our prisoner. He was being punished for simply being in the right place at the right time, and a dozen zip-ties kept him there. As I said, he was a good sport All Night Long.
Stirred awake to decipher a disturbance in the night air, I heard Julie yell-whisper to Cathie Kiffe who was bedded down nearby. Julie beckoned Cathie for help. Cathie, who just might be the last person who would know how to wrangle a wild creature such as a hungry skunk, yelled something. I rolled over and went back to sleep.
“Cathie, help!” Another hour and a skunk has yet again targeted Julie’s tent. Julie has yet again summoned Cathie to help. Julie really should consider keeping snacks out of her tent. I rolled over again, hoping the skunk would take mercy on poor Julie so I could get some sleep.
In the morning I find Julie has survived the skunk but her tent did not fare as well. It has a tear where the skunk was creating passage to the scent of something tasty. Julie really should consider keeping snacks out of her tent.

Wild creatures. We’ve seen many animals on our journey, mostly elk and deer if we don’t count birds. With that said, we have been disappointed at how few animals we’ve seen. The public land we’ve traveled has been mostly desolate and remote; perfect to find animals. Animals are experts at hiding which has not eluded our thinking. But we’d like to see more and we think that we should have seen more. Drought may have them focused around water, a dreadfully short commodity our entire route. It’s gotta be hard to endure months without water.

Skinny cows somehow survive the dry land. We see those all the time, although we hear that the herds have been significantly reduced because of the lack of water and grass. Our 30-mile four-wheel drive route today from our camp near Bargaman Park to Pine Grove Campground was through cattle country. More skinny cows. Animal bones are common, witnessed again during our brunch near a dry lake. Thirty miles on mostly good roads over dry forest made quick work of our drive.
Our early arrival in camp afforded some time to think and plan for the upcoming days. We are looking at three days of special programs and events in Flagstaff, ending on Sunday with a 40-mile four-wheel drive leg, two events and then a 40-mile ATV leg. Long day.
Team leader Bob Hammond and I decided to check out the edge of Anderson Ridge, the beginning to the following day’s 17-mile ATV leg. We had heard that the descent off the lip of Anderson’s Ridge, which is a mesa, was not a wise idea in a four-wheel drive. But we wanted to see for ourselves. We needed to consider four-wheel drives because our Honda ATVs had not yet arrived and it was uncertain whether they would arrive in time for tomorrow’s drive. We had to assess options: four-wheel drive, hiking, or mountain bikes.
The edge of the mesa was chunky but nothing compared to what we had already put our vehicles through.
Bob and I drove the entire leg, which proved to be helpful. We discovered an easy route around some private land which had been slated as a walk-around.
We discussed another idea, one that would not limit the next day to a short 17-mile four-wheel drive leg. We considered adding the first leg of Sunday’s schedule, a 40-mile four-wheel drive leg. Attaching the leg to tomorrow would leave us just two events and an ATV leg on Sunday. We ran it past the team who then concurred that it was a good idea.
Earlier on the drive, Bob said he appreciated the opportunity to drive one of the trek legs although he would not be along the next day when the drive counted toward our goal. But Bob was on it now - and grateful.
I try to imagine what it must be like for Bob. He leads this team well without much consideration for himself. He shuttles vehicles, pays bills, fixes things, manages a diverse group of people who oftentimes bombard him with a mélange of necessary and petty requests, cleans smashed blueberries from the refrigerator, and works with an ever-changing itinerary.
Furthermore, he most often does it all with good humor. I suppose he’s what one can expect from a former government man who rose to the second highest civilian position in the Marines.
I suppose he may have even enlisted if it weren’t for the push-ups.

for Wednesday, August 21
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
An experienced outdoorsman, Jan Nesset knows that everyone has to pitch in at camp
A native of Montana and the third of four children, Jan Nesset joins American...
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List of All Journal Entries
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Wednesday, April 28
Jan Nesset
American Frontiers: Part II: Taking Stock
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Sunday, December 1
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Canyonlands in December
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Thursday, November 21
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Snow Raspberry Bounty
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Sunday, November 17
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The Bisti Badlands
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Friday, November 15
Jan Nesset
Public Land Flows Through It
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Thursday, November 7
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A Day At Earth Analytic's Home
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Tuesday, October 29
Jan Nesset
Slot Canyon Adventure
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Monday, October 28
Jan Nesset
Some Things Never Change
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Sunday, October 27
Jan Nesset
Back To The Wave
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Monday, October 7
Jan Nesset
The Thing About Summits
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Saturday, September 28
Jan Nesset
A New Beginning: National Public Lands Day
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Thursday, September 26
Jan Nesset
Big Day of Sneak and Salvage
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Wednesday, September 25
Jan Nesset
History-Coated Strawberry
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Tuesday, September 24
Jan Nesset
The Last Of It
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Monday, September 23
Jan Nesset
Dinosaurlandia
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Sunday, September 22
Jan Nesset
Over The Edge
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Saturday, September 21
Jan Nesset
God Bless America
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Friday, September 20
Jan Nesset
Sometimes It's A Tough Life And We Get To Do It
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Thursday, September 19
Jan Nesset
The Niche Near You
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Wednesday, September 18
Jan Nesset
Snow Day
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Tuesday, September 17
Jan Nesset
A Capitol Reef Bull's Eye
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Monday, September 16
Jan Nesset
A Lucky Rift
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Sunday, September 15
Jan Nesset
Riding The Hog's Back
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Saturday, September 14
Jan Nesset
Oh Rhythm My Rhythm
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Friday, September 13
Jan Nesset
Precious Images
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Thursday, September 12
Jan Nesset
From the Hole to the Staircase
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Wednesday, September 11
Jan Nesset
Happy Days
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Tuesday, September 10
Jan Nesset
Do You Believe In Magic?
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Monday, September 9
Jan Nesset
The Bridge Over the River Why
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Sunday, September 8
Jan Nesset
Public Lands And…Not You?
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Saturday, September 7
Jan Nesset
That Place So Special
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Friday, September 6
Jan Nesset
Just Looking To Have Some Fun – Be Dammed!
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Thursday, September 5
Jan Nesset
Do The Wave
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Wednesday, September 4
Jan Nesset
The Condors Are Coming!
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Tuesday, September 3
Jan Nesset
Fires Are For The Birds
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Monday, September 2
Jan Nesset
Back On Top
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Sunday, September 1
Jan Nesset
Perfection
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Saturday, August 31
Jan Nesset
The Wheels Have Left The Tarmac
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Friday, August 30
Jan Nesset
Star Light
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Thursday, August 29
Jan Nesset
The Traditional Connection
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Wednesday, August 28
Jan Nesset
Onward and Upward On Mountain Bikes
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Tuesday, August 27
Jan Nesset
Checkerboard Kings and Queens
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Monday, August 26
Jan Nesset
Aldo Leopold As Ranch Manager
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Sunday, August 25
Jan Nesset
A Story In Everything
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Saturday, August 24
Jan Nesset
Fire In The Whole
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Friday, August 23
Jan Nesset
"Good Morning, Flagstaff!"
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Thursday, August 22
Jan Nesset
Hoping For The Best
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Wednesday, August 21
Jan Nesset
Could Get Stinky
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Tuesday, August 20
Jan Nesset
Wheels Asunder
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Monday, August 19
Jan Nesset
Hurt Me, Thank You!
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Sunday, August 18
Jan Nesset
Roads Aplenty and Rocks of Pleasure
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Saturday, August 17
Jan Nesset
Of Dragons and Fire
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Friday, August 16
Jan Nesset
Motorcycles and the Zen of Route Mechanics
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Thursday, August 15
Jan Nesset
Puzzled
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Wednesday, August 14
Jan Nesset
A Day Off, Sort Of
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Tuesday, August 13
Jan Nesset
A Delightful, Light Day
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Monday, August 12
Jan Nesset
Courage On Eagle Mountain
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Sunday, August 11
Jan Nesset
Farewell
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Saturday, August 10
Jan Nesset
My Aching Back In The Saddle
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Friday, August 9
Jan Nesset
Back In The Saddle
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Thursday, August 8
Jan Nesset
In The Saddle
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Wednesday, August 7
Jan Nesset
Shut My Mouth!
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Tuesday, August 6
Jan Nesset
Diversity and Song
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Monday, August 5
Jan Nesset
An Unraveling
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Sunday, August 4
Jan Nesset
A Bagged Peak
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Saturday, August 3
Jan Nesset
Lines On A Map
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Friday, August 2
Jan Nesset
GPS-Marriage Made In Heaven
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Thursday, August 1
Jan Nesset
Free Wheelin'
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Wednesday, July 31
Jan Nesset
An Excellent Start
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