Thursday, May 29, 2014

Where in the hell is "Wall Street"

The Narrows
Thousands of people come to our shop each year with the same question “Where is Wall Street?” Being the smart you know what that I am, I have proclaimed: in New York!!  This lead many tourist to believe that I did not know what I was talking about and at first I felt a little embarrassed that I did not know what they were talking about, after all I am supposed to be a professional and know everything about the park; so I asked a ranger and was given the answer in New York.

            In an effort to better accommodate people I did what every intelligent professional does.  I sought out the advice of the all-powerful Google. The first 3 results I received were about New York, A newspaper and a movie. I broadened my search and added Zion to the end of my “Wall Street” search. Voila!!!!  Now I was getting somewhere. Obviously the National Park website pops up first, but nowhere was there any info on this famous “Wall Street” section I kept hearing about.

Wiki-Pedia was my next stop.  While nothing about the famous “Wall Street” was found in wiki-pedia either, I did come across the names of 3 influential people who were involved with the finding of The Narrows. I guess I should rephrase that and say the naming of The Narrows since the Paiutes knew about the area way before the first Europeans showed up. The Paiutes had called this place Makuntuweap which translates to Straight Canyon. There is a long rich history to the canyon and I encourage you all to read about it, but in an effort to not completely bore you with details I have provided a condensed history below.

It wasn’t until 1858 that the first white man explored the area. Nephi Johnson was that luckyman. With the help of an un-named Paiute, Nephi set out to explore Makuntuweap. The Narrows was first descended and named in 1872 on horseback ,from its head waters of Navajo Lake  by geologist and explorer Grove Karl Gilbert as part of the Wheeler Survey.  That same year John Wesley Powell visited the area now known as the Narrows.

Having this new information I set out looking through the National Park archeology archives and the Zion Human History Museum webpage, still nothing to be found about “Wall Street” Then I found the answer I had been looking for, a YouTube video which was entitled Wall Street in the Narrows, after watching the video I still had no idea where “Wall street” is.

I searched through numerous blog posts about how “Wall Street” is the most fantastic section of the Narrows but none of these posts could really show an exact location in The Narrows that was designated as “Wall Street”. Then I found a map it looked similar to every other map I had seen of The Narrows, but this map had one distinct difference. The section just past Orderville Canyon had the name Wall Street. I compared all 500+ maps (ok that is a slight exaggeration), but all these others maps show The Narrows where this map proclaimed “Wall Street”.

The outcome of all this research, besides learning some fantastic history about Makuntuweap and The Narrows is:  The internet lies! It seems that one person or multiple people with too much time on their hands, much like myself today; decided to spread this name across the inter webs and single handedly tried to change the name and leave out the history of The Narrows. With such a rich history beginning more than 7,000 ago I will never comprehend why the name was changed from Makuntuweap to The Narrows. I mean doesn’t that have a nice ring to it? Come on, take a minute to let that roll of your tongue Ma-coon-ta-weep, is that not fun to say? Say it again!! Ok, enough of my non-sense

After all this research I now have a new question. Did someone think it was clever to call it this because that is where the money is made? If so than I find the term “Wall Street” is a bit of a slap in the face to tourists. Or…. did someone just absent mindedly refer to it this way in a video that went viral? I may never know the reason, but I feel more enriched and educated on the topic and if you stop by the shop you can guarantee that I will send you to New York if you are looking for Wall Street.
View from Lunch Rock

I have however decided to jump on the bandwagon and single handedly change the name of a feature in The Narrows. I lay a new claim on the 3 mile marker, which some people call Floating Rock. From here and hence forth said rock will be named: Lunch Rock, because my favorite lunch spot is on top of that rock. Please put forth an effort to spread the name through your personal blogs, make viral videos and tell all your friends of the name change and send us some pics of you and your friends taking part in the new lunch time tradition.
If any of you faithful blog followers know the answer to my wall street conundrum please share with me so I can further my Zion Knowledge.


Join me next week when I tackle “How far from Orderville is The Subway?”

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter in Zion National Park

I am still stunned by the fact that Zion National Park received 14 inches of snow in one day and at the same time I am glad to have been there to witness this event. When I first heard that a storm was coming to the park I was under the impression that the news man knew what he was talking about and the park would get 2-3 inches of snow. 
I thought this would be a great time to hike The Narrows and do a little snow photography as an advertisement for winter trips offered by Zion Outfitter. I definitely received far more than I had expected. Due to the mass amount of snow in The Narrows it was almost impossible to get a decent photograph. Camera lenses kept fogging up and mini avalanches of snow would fall and blur out imagines. Obviously thousands of snow flakes landing on the lenses did not help out the cause. Needless to say between the 4 of us on the adventure team we were able to compile a few images for your viewing pleasure.


The day started out fairly mellow and most of the good shots were taken in the first hour of the trip. The more we walked into the canyon the worse the storm became and the larger the avalanches became. Once we reached Orderville we figured we better head back, every time we talked a large amount of snow would come crashing down into the canyon. I could write for hours about what an amazing experience this was, but if you have not experienced The Narrows in winter I don't think you could possibly comprehend the beauty and danger of this hike. In closing I do offer a few suggestions for anyone that may attempt a trip like this.
  • If you are not a seasoned winter hiker you may want to consider a guide. 
  • Double up on the neoprene socks, We wore two pair of 5mm any less would have been uncomfortable. 
  • TAKE A FULL BODY DRYSUIT, waders will not cut it. 
  • Dress warm, Down is your best friend
  • Bring Yaktraks or similar type of crampon.
  • Keep your head up. I mean that in a literal sense. Snow accumulation on the canyon walls can and will fall. Falling snow can carry rocks, ice or other debris from over 1,000 feet above the canyon floor.
Stay safe out there!!




 










Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Canyoneering Zion


I had the opportunity on the 13th  to go through Keyhole for my 4th time this year and Pine Creek for my second. My first time in Keyhole I drowned my camera at the first rap so there were no pictures of Keyhole or Pine Creek.

The second trip I did not turn on my Contour helmet cam. The third trip I left my Contour in the car, but on the fourth I was finally able to get some pics and footage of both canyons.
I’m pretty happy that it finally worked out cause I’m pretty sick of smelling that rotten deer at the end of Keyhole.

I met up with a friend of mine I have not seen in two years and who has not rappelled since he was in boy scouts. He told me he would be fine doing any rap under 200’ so I figured that after warming him up in Keyhole he should have no problems with Pine Creek. My other friend Nick who owns Seldom Seen Adventures in Kanab hooked up with us as well.


This is always a fun canyon and I love how quickly you can get small groups through. It’s one of those canyons you can do on your lunch break , which I have done that a couple times.  I have been watching the water drop over the past couple weeks but it is full again.
The hole when you first come out of the slot before the 1st rap was completely dry the week before, but it was completely full this trip. I knew that there would be a bit more swimming this trip. The pool at the bottom of the first rap is at least 6’ deep. It’s kind of hard to tell due to the buoyancy of my dry suit.

There is webbing at every down climb which isn’t really necessary, but for my friend, the noob it made him feel a bit more comfortable.  To make a short canyon story shorter; we swam a lot then the wind blew deer hair in our faces. We complained about the stench and moved on to Pine Creek.

Stay tuned for Pine Creek Trip Report.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Finis Mitchell


The person, place and literature that have inspired me are all interconnected. The Popo Agie wilderness, specifically the Big Sandy area has been the biggest inspiration in my life for getting outdoors.

 I fell in love with place before I even ventured into Wyoming. In 2001 I came upon a guide book by Finis Mitchell entitled “Wind Rivers Trails” It’s actually more of a back pocket nature Journal. It included Poetry, hand drawn Maps, detailed routes, supplies and stories of stocking the alpine lakes with fish brought in on horseback inside kegs. The way Finis described the area sparked a curiosity in me. I had never been in an actual wilderness area before; I was instantly drawn to the remoteness, upon completion of the book I began planning my journey.

Finis Mitchell came to the winds in 1906 with his parents he began climbing the area in 1909 (age 8), he climbed all but 20 of the 300 peaks in the Wind River Range during his life time, his last solo ascent was at age 73, he fell and was forced to hike out 18 miles with crudely built crutches he fashioned from some pine.  In 1929 he and his wife began stocking the alpine lakes with fish. They went on to open a tent camp at the Big Sandy Opening which is still in operation to this day but is now a lodge, it was the first recreation area on the Pacific side of the Wind River Range He would charge people for horse Rentals of $1.50 and would guide fishing trips. He would not charge the people for his time just the price of food and the horse rental. He was quoted as saying “What show people the wilderness that belongs to them and make them pay for it? That's selfish, selfish.”

The winds were more than I had expected, I had never felt so free in my life. I had no time schedule and my only responsibility was to enjoy nature. I drank from crystal clear rivers and sat beneath waterfalls allowing the force of the mist to penetrate my body. I watched a moose feed in the hazy morning lake and trout catch mosquitoes in mid air. I watched the same fish completely disregard everything I put on my line. I had a chance to watch elk graze without anyone wanting to kill them. I sat and pondered nature while wolves howled in the cirque.

"We don't stop hiking because we grow old - we grow old because we stop hiking"
Finis Mitchell

The Hunt


The sun had begun to set, bring the hunt to an end for the night. Seyib loaded our rifles into the back seat of the Isuzu Hombre.  We would resume again in the morning, it would be our last chance to bag a buck. On the long, winding, drive home we discussed our plan of attack for the next day. We rounded a corner and saw a doe lying dead in the middle of the road. Seyib swerved to avoid the animal.

Looking out the window, I spotted a pair of fawns and began to wonder what would become of these young deer with no mother to look after them.  The image of the babies quickly left my mind as exhaustion consumed me. I managed to stay awake for the rest of the drive but, was out like a light when I finally made it to my bed.

I was awakened by honking outside my window, I had slept through my alarm and I had hunting to do. I quickly threw on clothes, grabbed some snacks and ran for the door. We spent the day hiking, in and out of gullies, through scrub oak and over mountain tops; not a buck in sight. We ended the last day of the hunt unsucsecfully, once again Seyib loaded the guns in the truck and we began our journey home.

We drove the same long, winding road as the night before. My mind began to wander. The image of the mother lying dead, while her children stood and watched, entered my thoughts. I shook the image out of my head and looked out the window.

As we approached the curve, I thought of the two fawns and wondered if they were ok.
 Off the side of the road sat a vehicle, its emergency flashers blinked impatiently. Seyib stop to make sure everyone was ok. The driver was standing in front of his vehicle, as we approached, he stated “I didn’t hit it”. “Didn’t hit what” asked Seyib, “Bambi” the man replied.

I looked down at the fawn and instantly knew that it was one of the dead doe’s children.

 In a desperate attempt to escape the deer tried to stand. Its hind legs remained on the ground; broken. The animal struggled to gain traction on the black top road. It appeared as if it was trying to ice skate for the first time. It would scramble for a couple inches than its front legs would slide out from under it. Again the man stated “I didn’t hit it”. I knew he was lying as I could see the blood and hair embedded in the grill of his vehicle.  The deer was trying its hardest to get away from the chaos, slipping, sliding and dragging its hind legs.

Seyib turned and asked “is there an animal sanctuary in town”, “Not that I know of” I replied. “We need to get this deer and ourselves off the road before we cause an accident” Seyib said

I walked over to the injured fawn and began to stroke its head, it looked up at me with its big brown eyes as if to say help. I picked up the deer and set it down in the back of the pick-up. I continued to pet it while Seyib spoke with the driver. The deer appeared calm; it was no longer trying to escape. It was as if it knew I was trying to help.

I got in the truck and opened the rear sliding window; I continued to keep the deer calm.  Seyib started making phone calls as we drove towards town. First he called the Division of Wildlife Resource but, nobody answered. He tried calling the sheriff but, nobody answered. He even tried to call a veterinarian but, nobody answered.
As we started to get closer to town he became worried that we would get in trouble for transporting wildlife. We discussed options like putting a tarp over the bed of the truck. We even thought of scenarios of what a cop would do if he saw us driving down Main Street with a deer hanging out in the truck.

Seyib told me they had a sanctuary in Ogden, which was on the way to his home. He did not think the animal would remain calm for the hour drive unless I came with him. I agreed to make the drive with him.
We pulled into the small town of Logan and noticed the sheriff’s office on our right about a block before Main Street. We decided before heading to Ogden we should stop and talk with the Sheriff, Seyib went in. I got out of the truck, went to the bed to check on the animals conditions. It appeared ok, besides the obvious broken legs. It just kept staring at me and I knew that it felt safe; I told the animal everything would be ok and we would take care of it, it seemed to understand and laid back down.

Seyib returned with two officers, the deer must have sensed something. It popped up from the bed of the truck and began trying to climb out. One of the officers panicked and went into defense mode and grabbed for his gun, he began yelling get back. I about shit my pants.  I reached for the deer and again told it everything was going to be ok. It calmed down and lay back down.

 We explained to the officers that we were going to transport the deer to Ogden and we would pay to have its legs fixed. They kind of chuckled at the thought. The older officer asked us why we didn’t just shoot the animal. Seyib said “I was not going to take the chance of getting arrested for shooting a firearm on a road and UDOT probably would have charged me to fix the hole”.

A call was placed to DWR and we sat outside the station anxiously waiting for permission to go to the shelter. About a half hour passed before the officer came back out to talk to us. He said that the game warden was not going to allow us to transport the animal and there was no shelter nearby to take it to. He had said that we should put it out of its misery. I rebelled, I had gained the trust of this animal, I had told it I was going to take care of it and everything would be ok. I felt like I would be betraying it if I did not resist the outcome. I was then threatened with being thrown in jail for interfering with an officer.

The pigs went to retrieve the animal from the truck and again the deer began desperately trying to escape. Again the spineless cop went for his gun, I thought to myself what a little bitch. A full grown man scared of a defenseless, injured animal. I calmed the deer, said my goodbyes and lifted it from the truck to the ground.
They asked me to carry it to a more secure location so they could execute it and I refused. I set it on the ground and got back in the truck, a few tears came to my eyes. I wiped them away before Seyib returned to the driver seat; we did not speak the rest of the way to my house. I could tell that Seyib was also troubled by the outcome of our evening.

That night I played through all the possible outcomes in my mind. Should we have shot the fawn and put it out of its misery before I befriended it. Why did we stop in the first place?  Maybe we should have bought a tarp and covered the truck bed, I’m sure we could have made it to Ogden without any problems.

I often look back and think about this experience, especially when I hear people say things like animals don’t have feeling or their just a stupid animal.  I have seen firsthand the personality of a fawn. I can attest to the fact that deer know when they are in danger. I would go as far as to say they can sense good and evil.
I tried hunting again a few years later but, my thoughts kept returning to the tragedy. I began to wonder what became of the other fawn.  Was it hiding from a hunter deep inside a thicket? Had it already met its demise?  Would it walk in front of me and if so would I shoot it?

The hunt ended with great success… for the animal community. I gave up my rifle and vowed never to hunt again.

Circle of Life.


The pitch black spider has remained still for hours, hanging upside down on a web, it appears lifeless. Most spiders spin beautiful glistening spiral webs but this web has no shape or form. This spider is a rebel refusing to follow the rules that Mother Nature has bestowed upon other arachnids. A few beetles are entangled within the web and each insect appears as if it has been sucked dry.
The insect strikes out violently from it chaotic, silken web as a wasp sneaks in a little too close. A glimpse of a red hour glass can be seen on the back of the widow. The Mud Dauber makes a second fly by.  This time the wasp gets snared in the widow’s trap. Desperately he flips and flops trying to release itself from the web. The Black Widow attacks, piercing the wasp with its fangs.  The wasp begins to break free and sinks a stinger right through the spider’s abdomen. The fight continues back and forth, the widow becomes still. The wasp has paralyzed the widow and with a firm grip carries it away.
Flying by the great sandstone spire the wasp dives into a conical shaped nest of clay just a few feet from the web. The paralyzed widow is packed into the tube which is crammed full of half a dozen spiders and a single egg. These six spiders will be a nourishing meal for the larva before winter sets in.
As the wasp begins to emerge from its hive its movements begin to slow as it stumbles and falls lifeless into the sage below.
Blue Damsel-Flies begin to swarm around the dead insect. The largest of the group swoops down and lands on the pale green plant. With elongated arms the “Dragon-Fly” begins to nibble on the helpless Mud-Dauber.

Scurrying up the twigs of the sage a seven-inch-long lizard emerges, scaring off the vibrant blue insect. At first glimpse this appears to be a Western Fence Lizard. Though the scales seem considerably smaller and the dorsal scales are tan. A lite orange stripe adorns each side of the lizard’s belly. This is a tell-tell sign of the Sagebrush Lizard. A sticky little tongue emerges and races toward the dragonfly which has come back for a second feeding. The breeze from this movement sends the damsel’s flying, they do not return. The tongue flicks out again towards the wasp this time. The lizard spits, turns and scurries up the side of the Navajo Sandstone.
Deep in an underground burrow beneath the shade of juniper tree, a mother Cottontail Rabbit tends to her five young children. The babies all have pinkish skin and have yet to grow hair. This is an indication that these small pig like creatures are newborns.  They appear to be no longer than 5 inches in length. Each baby rabbit squirms and fights with its sibling as they hunger for mother’s milk. After a short feeding the mother pushes her children aside and scampers out of the hole.
The female rabbit darts over to a nearby wash and begins to dine on forbs and grasses. Beyond the cheat grass a coyote is crouched down as it silently makes it way towards the feeding rabbit. The bunny seems so caught up in eating that it is undisturbed by the approaching predator.
Suddenly the rabbit’s ears perk up; its nose begins to wiggle than it makes a break towards its hole. At the same instant that the nose wiggled the coyote leaps from behind a rock. The race begins; the rabbit makes a sharp right just before its home and breaks for shelter in the sagebrush. The coyote is right on its tail, as the rabbit is about to scurry down a hole beneath the sage, the coyote gets a firm grip on the bunnies tail. The rabbit begins to thrash around in an effort to break free. The coyote quickly turns and with a couple shakes the rabbit becomes limp.
The proud hunter returns to the den. Three pups are playing outside their home. They stock and jump at each other snarling and biting in a playful manner. Instantly they stop and run toward the fresh killed meat. The bigger coyote tosses the carrion to the ground then turns as if to return back to the hunt. The three pups rip into their afternoon snack.  A few disagreement over who gets what occur but the animals quickly devour their meal. A few chunks of meat, bone and hair remain as the pups return to play. They chase each other through the cheat grass while nipping at the air.
A group a four crows dart towards the left over meal. These scavengers also fight over who gets what, they tear at the remaining meat. Three of them play tug-a-war with one of the scraps. The Fourth bird that is slightly larger hops over and takes it away. After every bone is picked clean the crows return to the air, circling above the juniper and sage.
A couple Ground Squirrels running at full speed quickly climb the juniper. A Brush Mouse darts across the sand and disappears into the vegetation.
A faint rattle can be heard as the coyote pups discover the Great Basin Rattlesnake that is slithering across the landscape. One of the pups begins to whimper and they all run back to the safety of their den. The snake continues past the den and through the Cheat grass. The rattler stops for a few second and lashes out its tongue as if it is tasting the air.  It begins to slither across the sand and to the base of the juniper tree. It stops again to taste the air. After a brief pause it moves towards the rabbit’s burrow and drops down into the depths.

"Keep America Beautiful -- Burn a Billboard!"


A little paper I wrote on Cactus Ed for an English class.


Edward Paul Abbey was born on January 29, 1927, in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Contrary to popular belief he was not born in Home and did not live nor die in Oracle. “This is a fictionalized account of himself” (Cahalan xi). His family moved to Home in 1936 and lived there for 5 years (Cahalan 13). While attending Marion Center High he was published twice in the school newspaper. He wrote “an anti-Hitler editorial, ‘America and the Future’… and ‘Another Patriot’ a short story” (Cahalan 22).
During the summer before his senior year he decides to explore the American southwest. He lived the life of a hobo, hopping trains and hitchhiking. The Grand Canyon is where his love of the west began. He returned to Pennsylvania and graduated high school in 1945. H was drafted right out of high school (Cahalan 27-29). He served 2 years as a typist and a military police officer he was honorably discharged in 1947 (Cahalan 34).
Abbey wrote an essay about his time in the military entitled; My life as a P.I.G.: The True Adventures of Smokey the Cop. ( Abbey, The Serpents of Paradise153) This essay also chronicles his time as a park ranger.
After his discharge he used his stipend from the G.I. bill to attend school at Indiana State Teachers College. While at ISTC he publicly proposed destruction of draft cards. This act put him on the F.B.I. watched list where he would remain for years to come (FBI). He attended ISTC for less than a year before moving on to the University of New Mexico. Abbey received 2 degree while there, a B.A. in philosophy and English (Bishop 88). He later received a master in philosophy from UNM.
Abbey became the editor for the student newspaper, while in this position he published an article called “Some Implications of Anarchy” The cover quotation stated  "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." Obviously Ed was removed as editor and all copies of that issue were seized by the university. (Cahalan 44)
After graduation Abbey moved to Edinburgh, Scotland where he  attended the Edinburg University for a year as a Fulbright scholar. His master thesis was Anarchism and the Morality of Violence. In this thesis he posed two questions: "To what extent is the current association between anarchism and violence warranted?" and "In so far as the association is a valid one, what arguments have the anarchists presented, explicitly or implicitly, to justify the use of violence?"(Abbey).  These question helped shape the ethical foundation of Earth First!.
While studying at EU he took several trips throughout Europe. In 1952 he went to Austria, while there he attended a Conference in Defense of Children. A F.B.I. agent saw Abbey there. The agent felt this was a communist inspired meeting and reported his findings to his superiors. “The FBI began an investigation into the question of his loyalty to the United States” (Bishop 89).
Once Abbey discovered the F.B.I. was investigating him, he started toying with the agents. He began publishing letters in The Daily Lobo, a student paper, trying to get the FBI’s attention. He stated in one letter that he felt “the essential wrongness of war, and is searching for an alternative” (Bishop 93).
Fifteen other students signed Ed’s letter and announced they were starting a group “to discuss the ‘implications and possibilities of no wars’…F.B.I. agents suspected sedition” (Bishop 93). Even though several professors, students and collogues vouched for Ed’s loyalty to America the FBI kept tabs on him the majority of his life.
“A loyalty of government employee investigation was conducted while Abbey worked for the National Forest Service”(FBI) Nothing about pulling survey stakes, dismantling billboards or his overall hatred of industrial tourism was in the report.
When Abbey received a copy of the full report against him he found it amusing that they lacked any relevant information. Friends and fans wondered what would have happened if the F.B.I. had had actually read one of his books. It was obvious they had not or his file would have contained information regarding the removal of billboards and destruction of machinery.
          “Since at least as far back as the 1950 preservationists have been cutting down billboards, pulling up survey stakes, decommissioning bulldozers and committing other non-common acts of ecological sabotage” (Foreman 119). One of the few preservationist that Foreman describes was Edward  Abbey.
            Abbey recorded his first act of eco-defense in 1956 while working at Arches National Money-Mint as he called it. In his book Desert Solitaire he describes pulling survey stakes that the park service installed for the new road into the monument (67). He had moved on to larger acts of sabotage in just a short time.
            “By 1958 Edward Abbey was sawing down billboards in New Mexico” (Liddick 17). According to Doug Peacock, by the early 1970’s he and Ed were “taking out bulldozers and plotting against strip mines” (Peacock 32).
             It easy to see Abbey’s progression towards larger acts of eco-defense, this being the case I feel it is safe to assume that before the publishing of The Brave Cowboy in 1956 he had more than likely cut fences as well. My reasoning for this assumption is that Abbey did what he and his friends called “field research” for his books (Peacock 36).
        Abbey is most known for his book The Monkey Wrench Gang. This book is said to have inspired Dave Foreman to start the radical environmental group Earth First!, always spelled with an exclamation point according to Abbeys wishes. This is also the book people claim showed his environmentalism. Abbey on the other hand claimed that this was a work of fiction, a comedy with no truth to it. That is great way to cover up the truth when talking to the media.
       While some Abbey followers buy into that and claim he had nothing to do with the monkey wrenching besides writing about it. Other give actual accounts of monkey-wrenching they did while in his presence and with his help.
        I intend to show that Edward Abbey set the platform for the foundation of Earth First! I will show that Abbey was committing acts of eco-sabotage at least 30 years before writing The Monkey Wrench Gang and before Foreman proclaimed the name Earth First! (Cahalan 192).
       I also intend to show that George Hayduke and other characters in his books were based more off of his own exploits than his friends. I will do this by looking at his non-fiction writings and show how they directly relate to his fictional books. I will also investigate the writings of his friends who give first-hand accounts of adventures with Ed.
Many people overlook Abbey’s environmental and anti-industrialism themes in his books all of which to varying degrees have had direct influence on his later books. In The Brave Cowboy Jack Burns cuts fence’s as he rides across the southwest (11). Seldom Seen Smith a character in The Monkey Wrench Gang also has a fascination with cutting fences (139). Smith introduces George Washington Hayduke into the act by stating “Always cut fence. That’s the law west of the hundredth meridian” (140).
Though Jack was crushed by plumbing supplies at the end of the story he was brought back from the grave by Abbey in 1971 when he removed his death in the paperback edition printed by banatine. He felt the end of Brave cowboy was too closed. This allowed Burns to return in Good News, The Monkey Wrench Gang and Hayduke lives!.
Hayduke’s first appearance was in Fire on the Mountain. He was also a character in Good News. These 2 characters played the most important roles in Abbey’s books. They were the anarchists, they were the ones that got things done.  It is widely accepted that Doug Peacock was the inspiration for George Hayduke. I believe that certain parts were Peacock other parts were Marc Gaede, but the majority was Abbey.
Marc Gaede was a co-founder of Environmental Action, a group that published the book Ecotage. This book contained stories about groups and individuals such as the Arizona Phantom, who wreaked havoc against land developers in the early 70s.
In 1970 Gaede who was fed up with the destruction of the west “spontaneously began pouring sand and sugar into fuel tanks and cutting hydraulic lines on backhoes” (Chase 40). Four years later in The Monkey Wrench Gang; Hayduke and friend would play out a similar scenario.
Both Peacock and Gaede where ex-military as was Hayduke. Both of them committed various acts of eco-defense, but their real life exploits where minimal compared to what Abbey himself carried out in the name of Hayduke.
Marc went on to start the Black Mesa Defense Fund with Jack Loeffler. Dave Foreman assisted with the project for a while before going on to start a Wild River fund.
Loeffler was introduced to Abbey in the 60’s by a mutual friend John De Puy, but they didn’t really get together until the defense fund began. “Abbey stayed behind the scenes. But he developed a knack for appearing at the moments when Jack needed him most” (Zakin 51).
According to Loeffler, he and Abbey spent a lot of time on the Black Mesa  “thinking dire thoughts; that was some of the field research that happened for the book” (Simmons)
Several scholars and Abbeys friends agree that the idea for The Monkey Wrench Gang was based off of the exploits of “several groups and individuals in the Southwest” (Foreman 119). One such group was the Eco-Raiders; during the late 60’s and early 70 this group was responsible for cutting down billboards and torching a housing complex while still under construction. One individual was the Arizona Phantom who attempted to take out a strip mine on the Black Mesa. The phantoms identity  remains unknown.
While ideas may have come from these people, I believe that the story was based off of Abbey and his friends. It is possible that Ed knew the phantoms identity or maybe it was him. It is rumored that someone from the Black Mesa Defense Fund was the crusader.
In Walking it Off Peacock talks about Ed asking him what he knew about explosive in the early 70’s (32). He than he goes on to state; “that winter we started taking out billboards and bulldozers and plotting against strip-mines...‘The monkey wrench days’ had begun” (34).
As part of the research with Peacock, Abbey had “purchased a  lot of surplus army gear” (Peacock 36). On one occasion they used a camouflage net to stretch over Peacocks truck so it was hidden from military aircraft, Doug played look out as Ed conducted research(Peacock 36).
That may have been the beginning for Peacock, but John De Pry says the origins of The Monkey Wrench Gang began in 1959.
Developers started moving into Taos, New Mexico and “the shit hit the fan”, he recalls a “company in Las Vegas, New Mexico put up six huge signs north of town, big 40, 50 foot signs” De Puy and Abbey, “decided to remove them and that was the beginning of a long story” (Stilles).
April 24, 1975 after the release of his book he “sabotaged road-building bulldozers” (Cahalan xiii). This act was an attempted to kill Goliath as he wrote about in Hayduke lives!. Hayduke sets out to disable Goliath and in the end he drive’s the machine over the edge of the canyon (287). Another scene in the book accounts for Hayduke looking for an escape and the Lone Ranger comes to save him. A law enforcement officer from Moab tells a similar tale but he claims that Abbey was Hayduke and he was the Lone Ranger (Carithers).
Due to Abbey’s challenged mechanical abilities, his attempts to hot-wire the monsters ran into one frustration after another. Finally, unable to start the engines in any of the machines, Abbey went to his old gray panel truck and hauled out his reliable standby: sugar and shellac fuel additive! But hasty, clumsy fumbling’s in the dark and carelessness mixing the shellac and sugar left a trail that would alert the machine operators the next morning that "monkeys" had indeed been playing on their equipment. (Carithers)
 The story many believe about the founding of Earth First! is that Dave Foreman, Howie Wolkes  and Mike Roselle were at a rest-stop or somewhere in the Picante Desert on their way to Albuquerque in 1980. Out of nowhere Foreman exclaims Earth First! and Roselle draws a fist in a circle. Later that night they pledged “no compromise in defense of mother earth”.
If you get on any Earth First! Website it states that “Earth First! was named in 1979 in response to a lethargic, compromising, and increasingly corporate environmental community”. So which story is correct? I sent Foreman an e-mail and his assistant assured me that Dave started it in 1980, I am still skeptical.
1n the early 70’s Doug Peacock and Abbey where out doing field research for a book Abbey was writing. The books theme was “No compromise in defense of the wilderness” (Peacock 38).  If this information is accurate than Abbey came up with Earth Firsts! theme at least 7 years before Foreman claims he started the group. Is it possible that Abbey was the first person to say Earth First!. That information may be buried somewhere in the Abbey archives at University of Arizona.
Even though Abbey and Forman shared several friends they never met until March 21, 1981 at the Round River Rendezvous held outside the Glen Canyon Dam. While Abbey was advocating sabotage and displaying his hatred for the dam from the bed of his pick-up truck; a few Earth First!ers snuck off to the dam. They draped a 100 foot piece of black plastic over the dam to simulate a crack (Cahalan193).
While writing The Monkey Wrench Gang Abbey and Ken Sleight, better known as Seldom Seen Smith, go to the Glen Canyon dam. Sleight kneels down and prays that God will send a bolt of lightning to crack the dam in. This act was one of the many that ended up in the book.
Abbey always had a hatred for this dam which was apparent in almost every book he wrote. In Down the River he talks about someone floating down The Green with a “Rucksack full of dynamite” (188).   Lyman Hagen once asked Abbey how he felt about the dam his answer was ”My First reaction is to unzip my fly and piss on it….I think it was a terrible, tragic, mistake, damming the Glen Canyon” (29).
Abbey never claimed to be a member of Earth First! but he  was a “financial angel” for the group (Zakin 201). Abbey sold several of his books through the group and donated every penny of the profits to them, he referred to this as his “tithe” (Postcards 180-181).
It seems that after the group formed Abbey stayed away from monkey wrenching for the most part. He was not getting his hands dirty, but he funded several trips that Foreman and friends made. During this time he wrote a forward for Foreman’s Book Eco Defense: A Field Guide to Monkey Wrenching.
This book gave detailed instructions on how to spike trees, edit billboards and sabotage machinery. In Abbeys Forward! He states “I can think of nothing I could add nor of anything I would subtract; he says exactly what needs to be said, no more no less. I am happy to endorse the publication on Eco Defense” (Foreman 5).
Several interviews with Abbey took place during the first few years of Earth First!. Everyone wanted to know how Ed felt about the newly formed group and if he supported sabotage. In an interview at Pack Creek Ranch he was asked if he was still cutting down billboards he replied with “That gets harder to do these days because more and more of them are on steel beams. I resent that bitterly. I’m much more interested in the idea of ‘editing’ billboards” (Hafen).
During the first 10 years he was a defender and a promoter of the group. He became furious when  a writer Alston Chase published an article in Outside Magazine referring to Earth First! as terrorists. Abbey responded and asked Alston to apologize to both EF! and the readers of Outside for insulting their intelligence (Abbey, Postcards from Ed 224).
A friend of Abbeys, Dave Petersen, asked Abbey why he supported Earth First so faithfully. Abbey replied “It’s because I see Earth First! as precisely the sort of spontaneous, anarchacic, extemporaneous uprising I most desire” (Abbey,Postcards from Ed 174).
On March 4, 1989 Abbey made his last public appearance at an Earth First! Rendezvous. He read to the crowd from a section of his soon to released book Hayduke Lives!. A week later he died (Peacock 49). Earth First! lasted only 10 years in its original form. A similar group exists today, but Foreman was not willing to support the new group as they did not support Abbey and  it had become too far out there for his redneck tastes.
According to Abbeys wishes he was transported to an undisclosed location in the back of a pick-up and buried. After his death more information came to light about his affiliation with the group and his involvement in sabotage. Peacock suggests in Walking it Off that Abbey had inspired him and friends to commit sabotage. He believes that when Abbey died “the real Hayduke was buried” (49).
It is easy to speculate that Abbey contributed his fair share of monkey wrenching, but there are a few who know the truth and the evidence of his involvement is out there. The main barriers to the full story are those who do not wish to be implicated for felonious behavior.
Foreman was arrested shortly after Abbey’s death, he served a few months in jail before leaving Earth First! He has written several book including Confessions of an Eco-Warrior but gives minimal details into his activities with Ed.  He does state that Ed was not a “True Believer” (174). He felt that  Ed’s writing spurred the environmental movement, but Ed did not truly contribute to the cause.
I disagree with Foreman’s statement. There is a proven record that starts back in the 50’s, but ends with the formation of Earth First!  Abbey “pulled sensors out of the ground with a winch” (Loeffler 126). He ran “nightly attacks on route 66” (Loeffler 38) and at one point tried to acquire a bazooka (Loeffler 105).
I speculate that with the formation of the group and eco-raiders being arrested Ed quit his “night job”(Cahalan 99). He may have understood that monkey wrenching had become high profile and the law would catch up with him eventually.
There are only two  the possibilities in my eyes; Abbey was getting older and had a few
close calls with the law. He found that he could get more accomplished by writing books, defending the defenders and financing their operations inadvertently. By doing this he became the mastermind and inspired hundreds of activists to do what he could not have done alone.
The other possibility is that Abbey his friends and every person who wrote about him is a liar and the legend of Abbey was fabricated to sell books.




















 Work Cited
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