Sweetheart of the Himalaya

By Jack Olson

In 1977 we began our Nepal trek, and for the first few days we were in the foothills, maybe the 5,000-foot range. Since we were the only trekkers, we created quite a stir. We would almost always camp near a village. Children would come rushing out screaming “Mithai” (candy). That might not be welcome these days, but our trek organizer recommended that we carry some candy. It was hard candy, not Milky Ways. 

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Member Bill Fields Announces New Book

Freelance photographer William Fields, from Hermann, Missouri, has published a new book, The Four Directions, A Southwestern Journey. Offered as a small, signed and numbered limited-edition, it contains images from the Four Corners states: Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. Bill tells us that he shoots in infrared and processes in sepia and black and white, to highlight the stark beauty of the southwestern landscape and its people.

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A Comparison of Crafts

Virginia Parker Staat

Rocky Mountain Outdoor Writers and Photographers. How did these two separate crafts ever come together? A quick check with long-time members Don and Barb Laine and Jack Olson led me to discover that when RMOWP began in 1973, most members were writing and using their own photos to accompany their stories. They considered themselves outdoor communicators rather than purveyors of a specific craft.

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Survival Myths and Misconceptions

By Peter Kummerfeldt

Much of the information available to people who want to learn more about survival and surviving is based on material that is outdated. Unfortunately, early outdoor writers created a problem for those of us interested in learning how to survive a wilderness emergency. Many of their techniques and procedures that were once state-of-the-art are no longer valid, yet they are still commonly published in books and magazine articles. 

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Bargaining in Nepal ~ 1977

Text & by photos Jack Olson

Before I went to Nepal I’d never bargained for anything in my life. See the price and either pay it or walk away. I mean, easy, isn’t it? Then, Nepal changed everything.

Hindu symbols carved into wood
Wooden block of hand-carved Hindu symbols

We’d only been out a day or two on our trek, still in the foothills. We made camp and were just sitting around when a boy, maybe eight years old, wandered in and displayed this wooden block with Hindu symbols and said 12 rupee. I didn’t know how to respond but was still thinking dollars. I said 8. He said 11, I said 8. He looked about to cry. One of our party said, “Jack, you’re supposed to go up.” We finally settled on 10. Even then my troubles weren’t over. I pulled out a 10 rupee note and he shook his head. Paper money had recently been introduced and people in the back country didn’t trust it. They wanted coins. Fortunately, I had ten metal rupees.

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Sensory Perception

Text & photo by Virginia Parker Staat

Writing is like painting with words, the paper is the canvas, the pen is the brush, the words are the colors and the verbs, nouns and adjectives are the blending of the hues that add depth to the picture you are creating.  ~  Reed Abbitt Moore

baobab tree
The magnificent and wondrous baobab, or tree of life.

On our recent visit to the Kimberly region of Australia, we discovered the baobab. These trees are truly magnificent with their massive, bottle-shape trunks, spreading crowns, and finger-like branches. They only reside in the drier regions of Africa, Madagascar, and northern Australia. Known as trees of life, a single baobab can hold 120,000 liters of water in the fibrous pith of its trunk and branches. In times of drought, Bushmen poke holes in its trunk to draw out the water while animals chew on the baobab branches, using them like straws to drink. 

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The Unwelcome Guest

Text & photo by Maryann Gaug

young gopher snake invades van camper
A young gopher snake invaded my van camper!

Arriving at Wheeler Peak campground in Great Basin National Park, I found the perfect campsite for Rover, my camper van, for 4 nights. I leveled Rover, got settled, and paid the campground fee. Then I opened the door to the bathroom and there was the snake. ACK!! A SNAKE!! ACK!! A small one, about 2 feet long, yellowish with a black pattern, with oblong head – at least it wasn’t a pit viper (venomous). Maybe a small bull snake or large garter snake. It wriggled on the floor trying to crawl up the wall. Heck, I was at 9,880 feet! I had no idea of how it got in the bathroom. I was so shaken that I didn’t even take a picture. I decided to find someone to help me (I figured I needed at least 4 hands and 2 heads). 

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Member Ken Papaleo Dies

Ken Papleo giving a presentation during RMOWP’s conference in Ouray, CO. © Diane McKinley

Award-winning photojournalist Ken Papaleo of Evergreen, Colorado, died last month of cancer at the age of 73. A member of RMOWP since 2009, Papaleo was a photographer for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver for 28 years, helping the newspaper win two Pulitzer prizes for photojournalism.

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