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"Learn the rules, so you can break them properly."
~ Dalai Lama
Jim and I don't make a habit of deliberately breaking "rules" but sometimes there are rules and regulations (especially ones that emanate from the government) that just don't make much sense and beg to be ignored or broken.

More about the rule we may try to weasel around in a little bit . . .

Mineral Creek at the eastern edge of our campground

True to the title of this journal entry, this is a conglomeration of items ranging from life in our campground in Silverton, CO to an update on Jim's bum knee to impending disaster by fire in New Mexico.

Some of the photos are from yesterday's hike up to Clear Lake. The rest are mostly current photos of our campground.


Some are good, some not so good.

Today I took a rest day from hiking after yesterday's moderately long jaunt up to Clear Lake and back. I'm planning a longer hike with Cody tomorrow on the Ice Lake Trail. I wish Jim could go, too.

View of South Mineral Creek Road from Clear Creek Rd.

Jim and I hung out at the campground this morning. Temperatures got down into the mid-30s during the night but bright sunshine warmed Silverton to the upper 70s this afternoon. That's typical for this time of year and perfect "Dandelion Time Warp" weather for us.

It's windy today and lots of dust is flying around the campground even when no one drives by. Our truck and camper will stay pretty dirty until the "monsoons" come. This part of southwestern Colorado is very, very dry. I worry that some folks in the campground who enjoy campfires in the evening might not extinguish them properly and start a wildfire. I'm surprised the Forest Service hasn't banned open fires around here.

Jim finished his book (SEAL Team Six) so now I can start reading it. When I get hold of a good book it just consumes me and I have trouble focusing on anything else, like this journal. That's one reason I'm always behind on keeping it updated.

South Mineral Creek Road from higher up on Clear Creek Rd.

I spent most of my time on the computer this morning. That's where I found a disturbing post to the Hardrock e-list by our friend Steve Pero.

He and Deb were just up here in Silverton on Saturday and Sunday helping mark the race course. When they returned home yesterday (Sunday) they were advised that they may have to evacuate their house near Jemez Springs, NM because of a nearby wildfire.

Their vehicles are packed and ready to go at a moment's notice.

The fire started within a mile or two of their house and in just one day has grown to 44,000 acres with zero containment so far. Steve had to work in Albuquerque today but he's in frequent contact with Deb. She's working at home and keeping close watch on the smoke; she hasn't seen flames yet. That must be terribly nerve-wracking to know it's so close and wonder if they'll lose their house.

Little waterfall along Clear Creek Rd.

When Steve wrote the wind was blowing the fire to the north toward Bandelier National Monument, the Los Alamos National Lab (LANL), and the town of Los Alamos -- away from his house, fortunately. Northern New Mexico is so dry that it is literally a tinderbox.

So is adjacent southwestern Colorado, despite all the snow high in the mountains and overflowing creeks and rivers downstream.

How devastating not only for Deb and Steve, who have gone through so much to live in Jemez Springs (long story), but also for the entire area. The fire is already larger than the 43,000-acre Cerro Grande Fire, which destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses in Los Alamos in 2000. This inferno is farther from the city right now but there are plenty of rural homes in its current path.

The Lab has been shut down and city residents are being evacuated. Several of the Hardrock veterans who live in Los Alamos and/or work at LANL are reportedly on their way to Silverton earlier than they had planned. They may as well hang around here as they taper for the race.


Steve also posted photos on his Picasa site from the first two days of course marking. As I expected, the section from KT to town has a lot more snow on it than when Jim and I have been up there previously at this time of year.

View of the Ice Lake Basins from Clear Creek Road on June 26.

So does KT to Grant-Swamp Pass.

When I looked over at that area yesterday from Clear Creek Road I didn't think the runners could get up to the pass to mark it but, by gosh, several of them did! Steve even went down the other steep side and back up. He's taller than I am and in some places he was post-holing up to his thighs in snow. He reported that one runner slid down the mountainside toward Island Lake and had difficulty getting back up to the "trail."

Steve warned me about going up there alone anytime soon and predicts that section will be a nightmare for Hardrock runners traversing the lake during the second night of the race. Let's hope a bunch of snow and ice melts before then.

My plan tomorrow is to hike from the main Ice Lake trailhead up to the intersection at the mouth of the lower Ice Lake Basin. From there I have two forward choices.

The Ice Lake Trail continues to the left, undulating through the lower basin and toward the ascent to the upper basin. The unnamed trail used in the Hardrock race to access Grant-Swamp Pass goes to the right and gains elevation very fast, which means I'll run into more snow more quickly that way.. 

Snow at 12,000-13,000+ feet near Clear Lake yesterday -- and it's almost July!

If I can get up to that intersection I'll just have to assess the situation and decide how far I can keep going safely in either or both directions. Both Jim and I have been up to or near Grant-Swamp Pass a couple times before when there was still significant snow on the ground.

I'm looking forward to playing in some snow with Cody! I wish Jim could go, too, but he has to rest his knee.


You know when a medical doctor is a real keeper? When he or she calls you with test results in the evening or on a weekend!

Our general practitioner in Roanoke is like that. After putting in long hours on weekdays he still talks  directly with his patients (as opposed to having his nurse call them) in the evening and on weekends if he doesn't have time to respond between 8-5 Monday to Friday. The first time he called me on a Sunday afternoon I was floored -- that had never happened before! Jim and I love the guy. He also promptly responds to our occasional calls or e-mails; how many doctors will let you e-mail them directly?? None of our other physicians do.

Pretty flowers along the road up to Clear Lake

It appears that Dr. Scott, the orthopedist Jim consulted in Durango last week, might be cut from the same cloth. He called at 7:30 PM to let Jim know the results of the MRI of his knee that was done on Friday afternoon.

The news was both good and bad.

The good news is that there doesn't appear to be any further tearing of the meniscus that Jim injured last November in his bike wreck. He had the meniscus trimmed during surgery.

The bad news is that the MRI shows more cartilage loss in that knee than the X-ray did. Dr. Scott recommends Jim try visco-supplementation. Orthovisc injections have been very successful for me and we're hoping Orthovisc or another brand will relieve Jim's pain, too.

Jim has an appointment on Wednesday for his first of three injections that will be given a week apart. Dr. Scott's office has been great about scheduling appointments to accommodate our travel schedule. If necessary, we'll remain nearby after the Hardrock race and adjust our plans but it looks like he'll be finished with the series of injections by the time we want to leave the area.

We don't know quite what to think until we talk with Dr. Scott further but this seems to confirm his initial assessment that Jim will need a knee replacement in the next few years. I'll keep readers updated as we learn more.


After lunch Jim and I drove into Silverton to get water and dump trash at the visitor center, get my Search & Rescue card at the outfitter's store (still $3/year or $12/five years), go to the Post Office to pick up another NetFlix movie for Jim to watch, and find a free WiFi connection where he can watch it so he doesn't use up too much capacity on our MiFi connection (we pay for 3 gigabytes/month with our plan but can purchase another gig for $10 at a time if we go over).

The creek just downstream from our campground

In the evening I walked with Cody around the campground like I usually do, just to see who's here and what the creek is doing (it's lower and not as muddy tonight). Jim went into town to watch his movie.

The campground has been rather full since yesterday. Several RVs left after the weekend and more entered today. This place has a revolving door all summer.

We have some new neighbors in the upper section of the campground.

A few campers were empty last night and today. Some folks bring their RVs here on the weekend before the 4th of July and go back home to work. They're holding a spot for the holiday weekend, which isn't really kosher. We see that every year but the rangers don't do anything about it.

We always like to talk to other Carriage owners when we see them. There are two other Carriage 5th-wheels here -- a Carri-Lite, which is an upgraded model of the Cameo, and an older model that is just marked "Carriage." We haven't seen the occupants of either unit outside since they arrived several days ago.


While I was walking around I saw two folks I know talking to the owners of a unique and handsome "toy hauler" that came in recently. The rig is so unusual that I just had to stop and ask some questions! It reminded me of the first Dynamax motorhome I saw several years ago at McDowell Mountain Park near Phoenix, only the Dynamax is more elegant.

The owners love showing it off so all three of us got the grand tour. I didn't care for the contemporary, mostly-white interior (not practical for Jim and me) but the concept is interesting.

The motorhome was custom built to the owners' specs by an Indiana RV company named Show Hauler Trucks. It is powered by a large diesel Freightliner truck.

The owners have made several trips with the rig in the three months since they bought it and they are very pleased with it so far.

The RV is a "garage" model that's capable of lifting up and carrying the couple's Jeep or Honda inside so they'll have transportation while camping. This is in lieu of towing a vehicle behind a motorhome, which is much more common.

I would think that the main disadvantage of having a garage inside is that it seriously limits the living space. On the other hand, it protects the vehicle in transit.

The garage "floor" extends out the back with a hydraulic mechanism and lowers to the ground so the couple can drive their vehicle onto it. Then it lifts up so they can drive the vehicle into the garage at the rear of the motorhome.

They usually keep the floor extended behind the RV when camping and use it like a patio; it makes for a very long unit with that thing extended!

The floor goes all the way to the ground to lift a vehicle. It folds up during transit.

A queen-sized bed is in the garage; it goes up and down, too. There is a second bed in the living area that can be made from seats if the vehicle is inside or the couple has guests.

The Show Hauler is 'way bigger and more expensive than anything Jim and I would ever want but it does offer another way of transporting a Jeep or other vehicle with an RV. Of course, just about any mid- to large-sized motorhome can tow a "toad" and most don't cost what this thing probably did.

Anyway, it was cool to see something so unique, learn more about it, and meet some interesting people. I admire ingenuity.

Continued on the next page:  keep going to find out about the rule we want to break

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil