If you hike far enough, you might run into these volcanic fissures. It looks like the lava pushed out the fissures rather than flow out of the volcano cone.

June 8, 2016
by David Ryan

Wandering on an Amazing Mesa in New Mexico

As mentioned many times in this blog, a basic tenet of the Gentle Art of Wandering is that you’ll find something special every time you wander even in the most unsuspecting of places. A good example of this is a mesa in the backcountry about forty miles or so southwest of Albuquerque.

The mesa itself is generally 300 feet tall and approximately ten miles in length. Its width varies from one to three miles. From a geologic point of view, the mesa has a volcanic lava cap (basalt) with an underlying base of sedimentary rock (typically limestone). There is an extinct volcano at the south end of the mesa and much of the limestone has been transformed into travertine.

The ownership of the mesa is a checkerboard of public (Bureau of Land Management) and private ranch land. The portion of the mesa on public land is open for you to explore.

As you can see, there is nothing particularly special to notice about the mesa.

As you can see, there is nothing that immediately grabs you as particularly special when you approach the mesa from the east. You’ll have to do some exploring to discover its specialness.

Continue Reading →


May 9, 2016
by David Ryan

Baltimore Jack (1958 – 2016)

Legendary Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Jack “Baltimore Jack” Tarlin, passed away at much too young of an age last week. If you have spent any time in the past twenty years on the A.T., there is a good chance that you ran into Baltimore Jack. After thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail a record setting nine times, Jack spent his time at outfitters and hostels along the trail coaching new hikers on how to successfully complete the trail.

In 1997, Jack rescued my wife, Claudia, when she broke her leg on the Appalachian Trail several miles outside of Erwin, Tennessee. If I am not mistaken, 1997 was the year of Jack’s first completed thru-hike.

The July/August 1998 issue of “Appalachian Trailway News” carried an article I wrote about the 1997 rescue. It’s the issue with Bill Clinton and Al Gore on the cover doing trail maintenance. If you are interested in reading the article, a scan of it is posted below. I do want to point out that the article has a typo in the first sentence. (We started our hike in 1997 and not 1996.) Continue Reading →

But in one of the fields something was going on to attract the attention of White Sox manager Robin Ventura.

April 23, 2016
by David Ryan
1 Comment

Wandering Around the Ballfields of Camelback Ranch

We’re now at the end of the third week of the major league baseball season, and if you’re a baseball fan it’s not too early, if you can swing it, to think about going to a Spring Training game in Phoenix or Florida next March. If you grew up or still live in a cold climate with miserable winters, you know that Spring Training is a sign that winter will soon end. And if you’re a baseball fan you know that, when you hear the words “pitchers and catchers reporting” (to Spring Training camp), all is well.

Because I live within a day’s drive of Phoenix and am a life-long White Sox fan, I try to get to at least one or two Spring Training games every year. This year was no exception, and I made my annual pilgrimage to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona last month.

Camelback Ranch is one the ten Spring Training camps in the Phoenix area and is where both the White Sox and the Dodgers train for their upcoming season. The complex includes a main ballpark shared by the Sox and Dodgers and a set of six baseball fields and other training facilities for each team. The entire complex including the parking lots covers 141 acres and cost over $100 million dollars to build. The place is wonderful.

As you can see the complex is quite extensive.

As you can see the complex is quite extensive.

Continue Reading →