Thursday, April 29, 2010


I will be leading the Wounded Warriors on the 3rd Annual Soldier Ride "White House to the Lighthouse" bike ride on Saturday May 1st, and in honor of this special event, I'd like to share my first story about these brave men & women who have sacrificed so greatly on behalf of our nation.

I was standing on the south lawn of the White House, on a gloriously sunny spring day, watching President Bush shake the hands of twenty-five brave veterans on bicycles who had lost various limbs in Iraq, and I began to cry. I had been invited to be a part of an incredible program called the Wounded Warrior Project, and this gathering in our nation’s capital was the kickoff for the White House to Lighthouse Soldier Ride.

Woody Groton, the group’s Executive Director, had asked me out of the blue to put together and then lead a challenging ride around Annapolis, that would include a glimpse of the Thomas Point Lighthouse.

I met the riders and their support crew the next afternoon at Jonas Green Park, after they finished a long ride from the Inner Harbor in Baltimore to Annapolis via the B&A Trail.

My old friend Dave Dionne, who is in charge of the County trails, had led them on the ride and he looked like he had been touched by angels. He couldn’t stop smiling and kept repeating, “It was the ride of a lifetime.”

Dave introduced me to Woody, who also had that same perpetual smile on his face. Woody put this crazy dream together a few years back. The goal is to rehabilitate the wounded vets in both mind and body, to challenge them to seize their lives, to become something more than they were or thought they ever could be.

Volunteers from New York to Florida accompany the riders on their quest, with aid from sponsors like U-Haul, who provide the trucks to haul all the gear, and Trek, who provide the tricked-out bikes for each rider.

I was immediately embraced as part of the Wounded Warrior family and the next thing I knew, I was driving their giant U-Haul filled with all of the bikes and gear back to my house where it could be parked safely for the night. I hadn’t known these folks for an hour and they trusted me with everything they owned.

I had laid out a route that included virtually every major road in Annapolis: the Academy Bridge, the Naval Academy, Main Street, Rowe Boulevard, Taylor Avenue, Spa Road, Hilltop Lane, Bay Ridge Avenue, the Eastport Bridge, and Bay Ridge.

The ride included stops at the City Dock for a warm welcome from City and State officials, the Navy Stadium, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, the Chesapeake Children’s Museum, the Bay Ridge Community Pool, and then finished downtown at Armadillos.

Words seem puny when I think about our ride through Annapolis. All I seem to remember are images of great sadness, joy and triumph.

A dark-haired lady vet holding her sleek, black carbon fiber leg behind her back while sitting at a picnic table before the ride, her arms draped casually over both ends as she flirted with some of the boys.

A wounded young officer with only one leg and one arm, tenderly kissing his wife for almost a minute right before they began the grueling 25-mile ride.

Trying my best to stay out in front of three low riders without legs who raced one another the whole way, and hearing them steadily talk about training for the Olympics together.

Two soldiers who had lost both of their legs, rolling like wet labs in the cool grass under a giant oak at our lunch stop at Maryland Hall on the hottest day of the year.

The volunteers from American Legion Post 175 and Salute our Veterans passing out lunches to each of the hot and tired soldier, whispering words of encouragement as if they were their sons and daughters.

A lone veteran getting out of his car in the middle of the street to shake the hands and thank several riders when we stopped to fix a bike on Hilltop Lane.

The families who lined the route as we rode along the water at Bay Ridge, waving homemade signs and flags.

Andrew Kinnard, a graduate of the Naval Academy, who lost both his legs, happily encouraging the members of the Academy Cycling Team to be all they can be.

A soldier who had been in a coma for four months and who the doctors all thought should be dead, riding a large, red tricycle around town as Parker Jones of Capital Cycle pushed him up each hill.

And the after ride party at Armadillos where Brendan the owner not only supplied free beer, but the foxy Miller Lite girls to serve it to the thirsty and triumphant soldiers.

The Wounded Riders represent both loss and inspiration. They come from towns large & small, from luxury and poverty. They each have a story to tell. But they are not super heros. Some are bitter and some are better. They are us. When we look at them we see ourselves and wonder: Could I rise above such wounds? And so, the healing begins.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's In Your Water?

First, we start with tons and tons of Prozac, along with all of the other jim-dandy anti-depressants on the market today. Then we mix in an unhealthy dose of Ridilin, birth control pills and antibiotics. To this noxious stew, we add copious amounts of Viagra, the little purple pill, pain relievers, muscle relaxers, and laxatives. Flush this toxic mix down the toilet, along with all of the outdated prescription drugs in our bathrooms, and what do we have? Our drinking water.
That’s right. What goes into our drinking water, stays in our drinking water.

Every time we go to the bathroom, our bodies expel measurable amounts of whatever we have put into our systems that day. In fact, much of the ingredients in the pills we consume like candy are not entirely processed and are then simply pissed away. Pharmaceutical companies know this and that’s why they ramp up the dosage. They know that when we take a pill to make us better, much of the ingredients are not entirely absorbed by our internal organs, and goes right down the drain. That’s why, for instance, you get 300% of the recommended daily dosage of Riboflavin or B12 when you take your daily vitamin.

Most folks probably assume this isn’t a problem because this toxic brew is undoubtedly filtered out at the water treatment plant, right? Wrong!

There are no filters. These chemicals are not even monitored.

When you hear about how badly the Chesapeake Bay is polluted, the scientists and experts are essentially talking about two ingredients: nitrogen and phosphorous. That’s it. And at this point, the chemical cocktail coming through the pipes from every household on public water and sewer is completely off the radar screen.

What health threat, if any, might such a chemical concoction pose for humans and the rest of the animal community? No one knows. Few are even studying the problem.

It wasn’t until we started seeing mutated crabs, amphibians magically changing sex, and rockfish with weird appendages sprouting from their bodies, that the scientific world started to wonder whether there might be a connection between the unseen chemicals in our rivers, and what is looking like a planetary-wide genetic problem with many aquatic species.

Back in 2000, the United States Geological Service took water samples in 139 streams in 30 states, including Maryland, and found significant traces of at least one pharmaceutical product in over 80 percent of the water samples. Over ten percent had more than 20 contaminants.

Many of the chemicals discovered in our waterways have been studied for years and are known to be endocrine disrupters which can wreck havoc with the immune system and hormonal balance of many aquatic species.

To complicate matters, farm animals are also being loaded up with all sorts of antibiotics and growth hormones that end up going directly into the nearest body of water. Add to this mess the myriad of personal care products which we rub into our bodies – cosmetics, lotions, sunscreens, bug sprays – and you have a real recipe for disaster. We don’t even begin to know the health risk posed by this lengthy list of manmade products, and we know even less about what sorts of threats may ensue after they get mixed together in the nation’s water supply. Mix Backwoods Off with the latest cholesterol drug and what do you get? Who knows?

Isn’t it ironic that after spending so much money studying the environmental problems of the Chesapeake Bay for so long, no one has the foggiest idea what all these modern day chemical wonders are doing to the health of fish and humans? Scientists can tell us exactly how much nitrogen is flowing out of the South River, but they can’t tell us why some of the catfish in Crab Creek look like something out of a science fiction movie.

Why do we continue to ignore this health and safety issue? Why is it that the EPA does not require wastewater treatment plants to test for these pharmaceutical time bombs? And why are there no guidelines for acceptable levels of these chemicals in our drinking water?

In the end, it always comes down to money. Companies make millions of dollars off these products. Monitoring programs at every water plant and waterway would cost billions. And filters capable of removing these potentially harmful chemicals are not available at the industrial level and would cost trillions. Government simply does not have the money.

I was talking to the Susquehanna River Keeper, Michael Helfrich, the other day and he offered this ominous warning, “Right now, no one’s paying attention to this chemical contamination, but this is a problem that will not go away.”


Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Precautionary Priciple

Where We Live
As I waited for my friend Tom Horton to begin his talk at the 15th annual Water Quality Monitoring Conference, I came on a concept in the program I had never heard of before. It’s the Precautionary Principle, and I’m not surprised it was Greek to me. Because for us Americans, it’s a new way of thinking, though it’s a standard part of decision making in Europe.
Here’s the principle: When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
I’m struck by the implications past, present and future posed by this approach to modern life. What if we actually applied this common-sense principle to land-use decisions? What if developers had to prove their project won’t harm the environment, rather than the neighbors having to prove that it will? How much better off would Chesapeake Bay be today if we had weighed our actions with this principle in mind?
I remember my surprise at looking at a Geological Survey wetlands map of Calvert County dating back to the 1920s. Almost half the county was designated non-tidal wetlands. The high ground ran along Route 4 and Route 2; much of the rest had been determined by the federal government to be essentially under water.
You don’t need to be a scientist to know that building houses and businesses on land that gets regularly covered by water is a bad idea. Subsequent laws, like the Clean Water Act actually outlaw such activity. So how did it happen that much of Calvert County ended up being developed? Where was the Precautionary Principle when we needed it?
Do you think I’m nuts? Are you saying, If we hadn’t let people build on wetlands, there wouldn’t be anyone living in Calvert County?
Calvert County wouldn’t look like it does today, that’s for sure. And the thousands of acres of wetlands throughout the Chesapeake would not have been built upon either because we would have realized that building there would threaten our environmental health and wallets.
Countless examples come to mind of what happens when property rights, jobs and politics get mixed together. Invariably, the environment takes a hit.
Look at Kingsport at the edge of Annapolis. Since colonial times, here were farms overlooking creeks that flow into the South River. When Kingsport was annexed by the City of Annapolis a few years back, the developer promised the environment would be protected. The engineering plans included state-of-the-art stormwater management, tree planting and conservation easements that would offset the loss of forest and fields.
During construction of this large development, many things went wrong. Several major storms washed tons of sediment into those creeks. The city put stop-work orders on the project and heads rolled. But we will be living with that disaster for many years to come. No one will be held responsible for that mess. Life and death goes on.
Each of us can remember some development project that didn’t work out the way it was planned. And every time we get a hard rain, the stormwater flowing into the Bay is working its black magic, turning aquatic creatures on their ear, from frogs with extra limbs to fish that change sex. The red flags are everywhere.
The Precautionary Principle isn’t a totally alien concept. There are times when it is actually applied. Most recently, the feds and the Bay states decided that there was too much risk surrounding the introduction of the Asian oyster.
But here’s the thing. Often times it isn’t easy to determine the extent of the threat. These issues are complicated. The experts can’t agree.
Does the expansion of the LNG facility at Cove Point pose a clear danger? How about a third reactor at Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant? How about a million more people moving into Maryland in the next few years? Which is worse: building a bigger road like the Intercounty Connector that might hurt the environment or having thousands of people sit idling in traffic every rush hour, burning precious fossil fuels?
When Tom Horton came to the podium, he described how it’s the old timers who remember what Chesapeake Bay used to be like who tell you that environmental damage often takes a fair amount of time to manifest itself. But many of today’s scientists are young and never saw the Bay in good shape. So they don’t notice how much we have lost, and they don’t feel the urgency of the threat.
Tom ended his talk with these words: “I can’t be optimistic, but I can hope.”
I hope we can all apply a little more precaution in our daily lives, remembering that the decisions we make today will determine the health of the world we pass on to our children tomorrow.
© COPYRIGHT 2010 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Canyon Chronicles - Excerpt from Chapter 3


“I journeyd fur, I journeyed fas; I’s glad I foun’ the place at las’ ”

     – Joel Chanldler Harris, from Nights with Uncle Remus, 1883

A big blizzard hit Northern Arizona right before Thanksgiving and my job with the Forest Service was quickly over. When we couldn’t get outside to survey anymore, it was the end of the field season. So we unloaded the Chevy Blazer, put the survey equipment away, and spent one last night getting hammered at the Sultana. I puked on the way home and some chickens who had escaped from some poor beaner’s shitbox front yard had a field day pecking away at the sudden treat lining the snow-covered bushes and sidewalk. I was a mess.

When I left the Kaibab I figured that was the end of the line with the Forest Service. The pulp wood business was in the tank and Dave, my boss, told me that the Supervisor’s Office was probably going to scratch its survey crew because there weren’t going to be any new timber sales, so there was nothing to survey next year.

I didn’t know what to do.

Most of my friends were seasonal firefighters and were heading to Flagstaff. They were planning on renting a group house on North Humphreys and collecting unemployment until they went back to work in the spring. Needless to say, there weren’t any firefighting jobs to be had around Flag in the winter, so they just filled out the paper work each week, showing they had been seeking gainful employment, and then the checks rolled in like clockwork. Essentially, it was free money. Then they would get a seasonal pass to the Snow Bowl for a few hundred dollars, and spend the winter skiing and partying.

Not being a winter person, or the kind of fellow who liked to get paid for doing nothing, I headed south to stay with a lady friend who taught school in Tucson. I had saved up some cash from work and decided to hang out until the money dried up, or I found work.

In those days, Tucson was still pretty laid back. Phoenix was the big city. But Tucson was a backwater oasis in the desert surrounded by the bewitching Catalina Mountains. It’s claim to fame was the University of Arizona. Besides the school, there was wonderful Mexican cuisine, funky neighborhoods of pink and turquoise-colored houses adorned with red chiles, reggae music out the ass, and not much else. I spent a month exploring the many stoner trails in the Coronado National Forest outside town and often rode my bike into the desert or out to the Tucson Mountain Park. Mexican weed was plentiful and inexpensive and I loved to ride up the Mt. Lemmon Road, to this outstanding overlook above Willow Canyon, smoke a big spleef, and enjoy the colors. Some days I’d cruise over to the amazing library at the University and spend a leisurely day checking out the stunning coeds and reading about the history of the Southwest. Life was pretty chill and cheap. It’s amazing how far you can stretch your money, eating beans, rice, and tortillas. Beer was my largest expense.

In early spring I drove east to visit my parents back in Maryland. They, of course, thought I had lost my mind. I had no job. I had no college degree. I had no prospects for the future. And I was as happy as a clam. Clearly, I had lost my faculties

In March , I got a call from my old buddy Dave Healy, offering me a job on the North Kaibab Ranger District. The North Kaibab Forest ran from Utah to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I knew nothing about it, other than the stories I had heard from some of the people from the Supervisors Office who had been detailed there periodically during the previous field season. They described it in almost reverent terms. The trees were ginormous. The forest was covered in broad glacial meadows. There were hundreds of spectacular viewpoints overlooking the Grand Canyon. And the massive herds of deer resembled the Serengeti.

And then there were the Mormons. Most of the people working on the North Side were Mormons, living in Southern Utah. My friends said they were a little odd but basically harmless. Having never met a Mormon, and not really giving a damn about any religion either way, the presence of some religious weirdos seemed unimportant. The more, the merrier...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Canyon Chronicles - Chapter 2


"Go west, young man."

– John L.B. Soule from an editorial in the Terre Haute Express, 1851

It was 1980, Ronald Reagan had just been elected president of the United States and I was looking for a new home, as far away from Washington, D.C. as I could get.

I had ridden my bicycle from San Diego to my hometown of Annapolis, Maryland in 1978, and stopped at the Grand Canyon for two weeks of intense discovery. It was like nothing I had ever seen, another world of red rocks and fiery canyons. I hiked the Bright Angel Trail down to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the earth and spent five glorious days exploring along the Colorado River and through wondrous side canyons. When I returned to the rim, I told myself, "This is where I belong."

During my stay at Grand Canyon, I asked many locals where a guy like me could find a job. The answer was always the same. "You either work for the Park Service, the Forest Service, or the hotel industry."

The Park Service wore bus driver uniforms with big goofy green hats. I’d served in the Navy and the idea of donning another uniform was not appealing. The hospitality industry was equally unattractive because you had to interact with the public and be nice all the time. That left the Forest Service.

I had never heard of the Forest Service. But when I found out they were not required to wear a uniform and you could have a beard and long hair, I was intrigued.

I continued my bicycle odyssey and returned home in the fall. All through the winter, I learned everything I could about the Forest Service and put in an application for seasonal work on the Kaibab National Forest which borders the north and south rim of the Grand Canyon and is headquartered out of the sleepy little railroad town of Williams, Arizona, the "Gateway to the Grand Canyon".

I checked all the job description boxes: firefighter, surveyor, timber marker, recreation specialist, and wildlife management. I was ready to do anything as long as it was outside.

I had attended the Naval Academy for a year and served briefly in the Navy, and in those days the federal government awarded additional points to applicants who had served in the military during the Vietnam War. And most jobs didn’t seem to involve much education or hands-on experience. So I figured I had a better than even shot of getting hired.

In March of 1981, I received a call from a nice fellow named Dave Healy, asking me if I wanted to work on the Kaibab, starting in May, as an engineering surveyor. Without the slightest idea what the hell that meant, I said yes.

At the end of April, I loaded my possessions into my little blue Chevy LUV truck and headed west.

My first season was spent learning how to survey under the steady hand of Dave Healy. Dave was the pre-construction survey boss out of the Supervisor’s Office, and he led a motley five-man crew of outcasts that summer and fall, as we laid out the road systems for small, marginal timber sales around Bill Williams Mountain. Most of the land was scrubby pinyon-juniper sprinkled with pockets of ponderosa pine and small outfitters purchased the wood for their pulp wood business. There were no big trees to speak of, other than the occasional yellow pine or spruce. It was mostly grazing land dotted with ranches and weird little moonscape mines.

Bob patiently taught me how to operate a theodolite and take survey notes in small, yellow waterproof surveyors books and by season’s end, I was running the crew when Bob was sick or needed elsewhere.

Dave was the best boss I ever had. He had been a Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol in Vietnam. These were the craziest of the crazy. Even the Special Forces and Green Berets gave them a wide berth. Dave’s job was to parachute into North Vietnam, trying to save pilots who had been shot down. He had seen some serious action, like the time he was dropped about six klicks from Hanoi, discovered a dead pilot, and then worked his way home wrecking mayhem along the way. But after his tour, Dave returned to Williams the same quiet, even-tempered young man who had traveled across the globe to serve his country in the jungles of Southeast Asia. In the ten years I worked for Dave, he was always fair, never lost his temper, rarely talked about ‘Nam, and he taught me the secret to keeping your workers happy. It was a very valuable lesson indeed, and one that I have used my whole life.

At the beginning of each week, Dave would explain exactly how many miles of surveying we needed to get done by Friday. He knew what his bosses expected and as long as we kept them happy, life was good. If we finished our allotted tasks before Friday – as we did almost every week – then we could go exploring on the forest in our government truck.

During these secret drives into the remotest parts of the Kaibab, I began feeling that I was on to something special. That first summer, we covered virtually every corner of the South Kaibab, and the more I saw, the more interested I became.

National forests are huge, hundreds of thousands of acres of federally owned and managed forest and grazing land, covered with miles and miles of dirt roads. The Kaibab was so big it had four distinct ranger districts: Williams, Chalender, Tusayan, and the North Kaibab. I spent that first season learning my trade and getting comfortable working on the Williams and Chalender Districts, never venturing far from Williams.

I shared a rundown house with some friends who also worked on the Kaibab seasonally. It had the feel of being back in college. We spent a lot of time at the Famous Sultana bar on Main Street and became friendly with the local cowboys and Mexicans. I had never spent any time around either culture, so it was a whole new ball game for me.

Williams also had a fairly large population of African-Americans. But these folks were not relegated to the back of the bus. They had come west right after the Civil War, as had most of the whites, so there was no racial stigma attached to being black. If a white girl came home from school with a black guy, the family welcomed him. After living in Maryland, a region considered fairly enlightened and racially tolerant, this was an eye-opening experience. Because East Coast liberals talked a good game regarding our black brothers and sisters, but when it came to dating, well now, that was another matter altogether. But in Williams, things were different. I never heard anyone call a black a nigger, and everyone got along like one big happy family.

After a few months, I learned another valuable lesson. In this world, every place has its niggers. Out West, they aren’t black, but red. And Westerners are as bigoted and mean-spirited about Indians as any Southerner about Negroes.

Williams sits about forty miles west of Flagstaff, Arizona, along old Route 66, that swinging east-west ribbon of road that played such an important role in our nation’s westward expansion. The town was named after a fur trapper who was one of the west’s legendary mountain men.

Bill Williams was born in 1787 in North Carolina. His family moved to Missouri a few years later and Bill spent his boyhood years growing up with the Osage Indians. He started trapping as a young man but his compass kept leading him west. During the War of 1812, he was a scout for the Mounted Rangers along the Mississippi River. At the end of the war he began to make a name for himself as a celebrated trapper in the days when Arizona was still known as the State of Senora. He traded pelts for barrels of whiskey and was known far and wide as a man who liked to drink and party. He eventually took up residence in Taos, New Mexico, married a Mexican woman, and fathered several children. Toward the end of his life, he helped guide the ill-fated Fremont Expedition of 1848. He was ambushed a year later in the Rocky Mountains and killed. His body was never found.

In the words of his biographer William Sherley: "Old Bill is remembered as a kind, honest, and brave man; charitable toward the less fortunate, expert in the fur-trading business. A river, and a mountain and its town have been named for him. Little is known of Old Bill and his exploits, but he served America honorably in the adventurous days of yore."

In the year I was born, in 1953, some men from Williams, Arizona started the Bill Williams Mountain Men to celebrate their frontier heritage. To this day, they dress in buckskin outfits with coonskin caps, shoot black powder rifles, and are a part of many annual parades throughout the southwest.

My Forest Service friends and I took to this Wild West fantasy life like pros. Drinking moonshine out of jugs while shooting shit in the woods, smoking herb, and acting like dangerous desperados was like a dream come true.

When we wanted to be hip, we just headed over to Flagstaff where Northern Arizona University offered culture, hot women, camping gear, good pizza, and kick-ass bars.

I spent many a weekend at the High Country Tavern and Monsoons, listening to the area’s hottest bands. Major Lingo, the Wazoo Peach Pitters, and The Shake provided the hippie counter balance we needed to stay in touch with the happening world outside the west. Dancing with the local talent to shitkicker rock music was a big part of the overall equation and made us feel like real men with our fingers on the pulse.

Some weekends, we’d head south to the Verde Valley and get crazy, camping out and running the river in canoes. Or we would mosey on over to the Beaver Creek Wilderness Area for a little peyote hiking up the Wet Beaver. Another favorite haunt was the now famous Oak Creek Canyon, where we would take over Sliderock, like gods on vacation. There were no rules. There were no cops. The only town of any size, Sedona, had yet to be discovered by the jet-set assholes and turned into the harmonic convergence capital of spiritual America. We had the whole place to ourselves and we were pretty much out of control.

After a summer of wanton abandon, I felt like I still hadn’t really scraped the surface. I was 28 years old. I was living the life of a pseudo-Mountain Man and rugged individualist. I didn’t have a care in the world. But I felt like I was missing the real show.

I remember going on a fall survey project to the Tusayan Ranger District near the end of that first field season. We had been detailed to survey a road that needed to be upgraded to handle the truck traffic for the new uranium mines popping up like noxious weeds near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We decided to camp out rather than do the monotonous 120-mile drive back and forth from Williams each day.

We had finished our survey work for the week when Dave told us that he was going to take us to a very special place known as Red Butte. Red Butte is about ten miles from the south rim of the Grand Canyon as the raven flies. It is a red rock mountain comprised of several different sandstones and capped with shiny, black volcanic basalt. It looks like an eerie, tree-covered red breast with a black nipple on top that was dropped from outer space. There are no other hills around, so it commands the landscape like a lone sentinel. The local Havasupai Indians call it Wii’i Gdwiisa, or Clenched Fist Mountain. It is a territorial boundary for the Hopi nation. The Navajos also consider it sacred. Red Butte is a place of ancient Ju-Ju.

We took a bumpy, washboard road leading toward the western base of Red Butte and stopped at the edge of a shallow rim rock canyon. We were not impressed. The air smelled of juniper and dry, musty heat.

Dave pointed to the ground and our eyes bugged out. Colorful pieces of Indian pottery were scattered across the ground like confetti: Kayenta black-on-white, Deadmans Grey, Tusayan corrugated. It was like the place where every ceramic pot went to die.

Dave led us to the edge of the canyon and pointed to the south-facing side of the arroyo. "See that ruin?"

We stared in rapt amazement at a small prehistoric rock structure nestled in the canyon wall. It looked like something from out of the Bible. Soon we were scrambling down into the canyon like excited little kids. Thirty minutes later, after climbing through tortuous rocky terrain that had looked inviting from above, but was hellish to navigate, we came to a small ruin constructed in a cave-like overhang in the porous Kaibab limestone.

"Who lived here?" we all asked in unison.

Dave bent over and picked up a Desert Side-Notched arrowhead made of green obsidian and said. "The Anasazi."


"The Ancient Ones."

"You mean the Navajos?"

Dave laughed. "Before them."

"The Hopis?"

"Before them too. Some Anasazi family built this house shortly after the time of Christ. But others who came later built large pueblos up there on the rim. Pothunters have trashed all of those structures, looking for pots and artifacts. All that’s left are the pottery shards you saw scattered on the ground. But, hell, there were once more Indians living just around Red Butte than live today around the whole Tusayan Ranger District and the Grand Canyon National Park and village."

We were speechless.

I felt like an internal light had suddenly gone on. THIS was what had been missing. The essence. The real deal. The questions without answers. The past that was prologue.

I was totally hooked. I instantly knew that I had to figure out a way to go much, much deeper into the west. I had to escape into the unknown.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Anasazi Strip - Chapter 1 - Part 4

At five minutes to twelve, the Cactus Rose Band was rocking-- time for Charlie and the killer to commence their dance of death. The killer had staked out the stool at the far end of the bar, next to the bathroom door. It was just a matter of time before Charlie came to water, and when he did, the killer would be waiting for him. If the gents' room was empty, the murder the murder was a go; otherwise, the killer would have to wait to get the man alone. The art of ambush was nothing new to the killer. He had mastered its unpredictable nuances while serving in the Special Forces in Vietnam. He knew that the key to a successful kill always came down to being in the right place at the right time with an unobstructed line of fire, a clear avenue of escape, and the patience to sit still and wait. The hunted did all the rest of the work.

Charlie stumbled drunkenly toward the bathroom and the killer felt a rush of adrenalin. This was it. The lavatory was empty.

Charlie bumped into the bathroom doorway, looking down to unzip his jeans. He had to piss so bad, he could almost taste it. He quickly opened the flimsy door decorated with charcoal drawings of cowboys and Indians and hurried toward the porcelain urinal.

The killer descended on the unsuspecting Indian like an eagle dropping down on an rodent. Charlie had no chance to cry out in surprise or pain. The killer wrapped his right arm around his victim's neck, chin resting firmly in the crook of the big man's elbow; he grabbed the top of the Indian's head with his left hand and pulled down and to the left with a precision born out of experience. Charlie's neck cracked like a creaky old chair giving way under too much weight. He died without having seen his murderer.

The killer lifted the lifeless Indian in a fireman's carry to a toilet stall. He kicked open the door, dumped the floppy body on the commode, and locked the door behind him. He propped Charlie's legs on top of the toilet paper dispenser, so no one could tell there was more than one person in the stall. He took a deep breath, blood racing through his veins. He had won again. The whole thing couldn't have taken more than ten seconds. He reminded himself not to touch anything; there must be no tell-tale fingerprints.

His victim lay atop the dirty toilet like a bag of bones. Blood trickled from his mouth and his brown eyes looked toward heaven for an answer to his sudden death. The killer pulled a small switchblade from the pocket of his jeans. He flicked the knife open and grabbed a large hank of Charlie's shiny black hair. The clump of hair he removed from Charlie's still warm head was not meant to be a trophy of victory; it was the lasting essence of a man. The killer tenderly pocketed the Indian's hair, slid under the stall, and stood with a smile. He gave the bathroom a final inspection. All was in order.

The killer calmly walked to the front door and stepped out into the cool, crisp Arizona night. He glanced at his watch. It was midnight: less than five minutes. So short a time for such a dangerous act of courage. A life had been taken, the earthly balance suddenly disrupted. But the killer knew the Ritual. He would restore the harmony. He had unlocked the spirit world more times than he cared to remember, but he also knew that it didn't matter how often he opened that door. What mattered was that the Ritual was performed correctly. Do it right and the Gods were always happy. And when the gods were happy, so was the judge.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Anasazi Strip - Chapter 1 - Part 3

By nine o'clock, the bar vibrated with an energy of its own making. Less than a mile from the border of Utah, a dry state, the Buckskin was the only bar within a hundred miles. As the bartender promised, the place was jammed to the rafters with Mormons out on the prowl.

By now, the killer was sharing his booth with some local boys who worked for the lumber mill run by Kaibab Industries. The three babbled about tits and asses while they pounded beers and sang along with the music. The killer smiled and nodded, his eyes never straying too far from the door.

The little cow bell attached to the front door announced Charlie "Bird Singing" Tizno, the Indian weaving unsteadily into the bar.

The killer eyed his prey with an analytical curiosity. He noticed, for instance, a bulge in Charlie's pants pocket that was probably his truck keys. Charlie had come in alone, which meant he had driven himself to the bar; there would be no friends to deal with. The man wasn't armed. And he was already half-lit. The killer smiled as he took a swig on the fresh beer that his newfound friends had just ordered for him. Things were definitely looking up.

During the Cactus Rose Band's first set, the killer danced with a tired young divorcee who was a secretary at the lumber mill. The killer enjoyed getting out on the dance floor; it had been a long time since he had last gone dancing, too damn long. But he never lost sight of Charlie, who was draped over the bar in a heated conversation with some fellow Paiutes.

When the band took their break, the killer thanked his dance partner and headed for the bar to get a cold beer. Everybody else on the dance floor had the same idea; even the longest bar in Arizona was not long enough to handle all the parched dancers who stood three deep. A place at the bar right next to Charlie and his Indian pals opened up and the killer sat down with a smile, waiting patiently for the bartender to come around. He had plenty of time to kill.

Charlie was making a loud speech about money. He had just bought a round of drinks for his buddies. Shot glasses of whiskey and Miller Lites were aligned in front of each Indian. He spoke in the short, guttural cadence of the Paiute, and the alcohol made it sound like gibberish to the killer. All he could make out was that Charlie-boy had his hooks into some scheme that was going to make him lots of money so he could buy all the white man's toys.

"Sony T.V," spit the drunken Indian. "Chevy Blazer. I buy 'em all. You know?" He convulsed with laughter and coughing.

The other Indians nodded with indifference as they chased their whiskey with beers, like men accustomed to losing on a daily basis. Sure, they knew all right.

Charlie drained his shot glass and clicked his tongue three times like a mockingbird. He swigged his beer and coughed raggedly. The killer thought the man was going to vomit or die of a heart attack.

"Those old 'Sazi pots and baskets will help me die a rich man," Charlie bragged between nasty fits of coughing.

One of the Paiutes, an older man in his sixties with leathery skin, shook his head sadly. "Not good. You mess with the dead, and the dead will make you one of their own. You know you shouldn't steal that shit, Charlie. It ain't yours to take. They weren't our people. The Anasazi, they have magic bigger than ours or the white man's. The white man uses you as a shield to protect him from the power of the Ancient Ones. He's a fool, and you're a bigger fool. And in return, the white man throws you some money, like a bone, and tells you he'll make you rich someday. That's a lie, Charlie, a white man's crazy lie. And when the dead come lookin' for what you've taken from them, you'll wish you were dead, old friend, deader than dog shit."

The old Indian suddenly turned into the face of the white man to his left. Their eyes locked for a few brief seconds, and the Indian felt the chill of the hunting wind. He nodded and the killer nodded back. It was a simple exchange, but it was enough to give the old Indian nightmares for weeks.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Canyon Chronicles - Chapter 1

                                            CHAPTER 1

"The wonders of the Grand Canyon can not adequately be represented in symbols of speech, not by speech itself. The resources of graphic art are taxed beyond their powers in attempting to portray its features. Language and illustration combined must fail."
                           – John Wesley Powell, 1909

I came west in March of ‘83 to hang out with some friends for an extended stay at the bottom of the Grand Canyon at a lovely oasis known as Phantom Ranch. Phantom would eventually become my home away from home.

Phantom Ranch is the only place in the park along the Colorado River where you can find any services. It’s essentially a dude ranch and hiker pit stop that sits on the north side of the Colorado where Bright Angel Creek empties into the big river. They also sell lemonade, candy bars, film and a small assortment of toiletries.

I am sure you’ve seen the pictures of smiling families on mules, riding through the Grand Canyon. Most of these lazy bastards are heading to Phantom Ranch. They are led by wranglers down the 7-mile-long South Kaibab Trail and arrive in the early afternoon, looking and walking around like someone who has a very large and crooked stick embedded up their ass. These are the dudes, and they stay at the ranch overnight, getting up early the next morning and riding back out to the rim. It’s the 48-hour Sphincter Express through the Grand Canyon and is very popular with young and old alike. I have never done it personally, but it sure looks fun and exciting, especially when the wind gets blowing off Cedar Ridge or Panorama Point. When you combine the painful monotony of being bounced around for six or seven hours while staring at the shit-stained ass of the mule in front of you, with the heart-stopping terror of hanging off the very edge of a thousand foot drop on the back of an animal that seems to be sleep-walking, you really do have all the ingredients for the adventure of a lifetime.

Phantom Ranch has a rich and storied history. The Desert Culture occupied Grand Canyon nearly 4,000 years ago and their delicate split-twig figurines have been found in various locations along the Colorado River. Starting in 800 AD, Anasazi Indians moved in and archaeologists have uncovered a kiva and several pit-houses on a ridge above the boat beach at Phantom, dating back to 1050. The Hopi and Pai Indians followed the Anasazi. They utilized the rich natural resources of the Canyon, and the Havasupai and Hualapai still call it home. John Wesley Powell, the famous explorer, came next, camping at the Bright Angel confluence on his perilous journey down the Colorado in 1869. In fact, he named the creek Bright Angel because it was so pretty, and in contrast to the Dirty Devil River they had named above Glen Canyon. The Grand Canyon Transportation Company got the tourist ball rolling when they built a trail from Phantom to the North Rim in 1900. And in 1922, the Fred Harvey Company hired celebrated architect Mary Jane Colter to design a permanent lodge to serve tourists at Phantom Ranch. All of the construction materials had to be hauled in by mule and the obstacles encountered during the building of the ranch would ultimately lead to what is referred to today as National Park Service Rustic, a distinct architectural style which utilizes native stone and rough-cut logs built without the help of machinery. During the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps upgraded the lodge and the trails and the place remains pretty much the same to this day. In addition to the lodge where breakfast and lunch is served daily, there are about ten small rental cabins of varying size, an employee bunkhouse, laundry room shed, a corral, two small dormitories for backpackers, and a water plant. The Park Service also maintains a presence there, a bit closer to the river, where they have three Colter-designed houses for their employees who monitor activities within the canyon and provide medical service. The Bright Angel Campground is where most people stay, and both the campground and the lodge are usually booked a year in advance.

Since the days of Fred Harvey, the ranch has always been staffed for the most part by pretty, sharp-witted ladies who like to please. Who could argue with such a pleasant business model?

In order to get to Phantom Ranch, you can walk, take a mule, or come by boat.

There are no roads anywhere at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and all of the supplies, including the mail, are delivered by mule

Phantom sits at an elevation of 2,550 feet, more than a mile beneath the North Rim, which hovers in the clouds about 14 miles away and can only be reached via a twisting and insanely steep trail. Phantom has the weather of Phoenix, and it can be snowing on the rim and be 70 degrees at Phantom, making it a great place to escape winter.

And that’s exactly what I was doing, getting away from the cold by staying with my friends who lived and worked at the bottom of the earth.

I had a very cool arrangement with the manager, a short blonde-haired firecracker named Sasha Jones. Sasha let me stay up in the loft at the employee bunkhouse for free, and eat with the staff, and in return, I did odd jobs, like chopping firewood and building a swimming hole.

Phantom Ranch is like a blast furnace in the summer. The temperatures exceed 100 degrees every day. And while there is a fast-moving creek flowing right by the ranch, it tended to be pretty shallow and there was nowhere deep enough to swim.

So, in 1983, I started what would turn out to be a Phantom tradition. I would come down to the ranch each spring and build the employees a place to swim, for which they were eternally grateful and allowed me to stay as long as I liked. I always built the revetment in the same spot about a hundred yards upstream of the ranch in a narrow place where the Zoroaster granite of the canyon made a great wall from which to anchor my dam. Then I’d use a pry bar to jimmy large river stones into position across the creek. Once dammed, the creek would slowly back up – not entirely, of course, but enough to create more depth. Then we would start piling smaller river stones atop one another to make the pool deeper. The finished product was a circular-shaped, five-foot-deep swimming-hole the size of a small swimming pool. I could always count on help from some of the guys who worked down at the ranch – Steve Young, Andy Hood, and "blind boy" Keith Green were always happy to pitch in – and the whole process took about three days. If we were lucky, no one would have to be choppered out to the rim for treatment of a broken arm or leg. Moving huge boulders and wet rocks where there’s a slippery bottom and a swift current can be tricky and dangerous. By the time I finished my appointed task, the skin on my bruised-black fingertips was scraped thin and I was bent over because my back had gone on strike.

The back pain actually led me one year to build a small pool on the downstream side of the dam, thus taking advantage of the substantial flow that was still blasting through the blockade. You could sit in a little rock bowl and the current hit you like the massage jets on one of those high-priced Jacuzzis. It did a real number on your tired bones after a long hike.

Once the revetment was complete it had two user groups. First of all, there were the party people, who consisted of employees who were off work and their friends – people like me. The second group consisted of employees who were just taking a break from work and trying to cool down before resuming their chores. Clothes were optional and most people went naked. The main reason for this was to keep the tourons away. The revetment was shielded from the North Kaibab Trail by lots of thick vegetation, but a fairly obvious track led from the main trail to the water and if you happened to be wandering around the ranch, be you backpacker following the creek, or a paying guest out exploring, you might happen to stumble onto our little piece of paradise. Upon this discovery, most folks thought they would just come on down and join the fun. We couldn’t really say to them that this was our private swimming hole – even though that’s what each of us thought. And when we saw a touron standing there, eying the water with greedy eyes, we wanted to just yell, "Get lost!"

It was a dilemma that was eventually solved by pure accident. One day, I came down to the revetment with two of the old hands at the ranch, Myla and Donna-Donna. We had our lawn chairs and reading materials, and some beers to put in a bag and hang in the cool water. But when we arrived at the pool, there was a family frolicking about like they had discovered the place themselves. I was so mad I could spit. And then I had an idea. I took off my swimming trunks and shirt and stood as naked as a jaybird. The girls laughed and followed my lead. Five minutes later, the invaders were gone. We had stumbled on a valuable lesson: Americans, Asians, Brits, Aussies and Latinos, as a general rule, have been raised to be ashamed of their bodies and feel very uncomfortable around people who aren’t wearing clothes. I think there is also a sexual component to this curious dynamic. People associate nudity with sex. And so, by shear chance, we came up with a way to keep the trespassers at bay. This trick, however, did not work with Europeans. They love to get naked, almost anywhere and at any time. But then, they tended to be a lot more fun and attractive, so we didn’t mind them as much.

I had been staying at Phantom for about a week and I was hauling large pieces of cottonwood tree that had fallen the previous summer. It was tough, slow work. I would put the large rounds in a wheelbarrow and then push them up the sandy trail to the back of the bunkhouse where I’d split them before stacking the firewood inside the fenced patio.

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood. The ranch was booked, but the dude train wouldn’t arrive for several more hours. The float trips hadn’t started in earnest yet, so there was no river scum to deal with. That was the moniker we affectionately used to describe the river runners who would sometimes, during the heart of the summer season, descend upon the ranch like a boisterous mob in packs of fifty or more and disrupt the peace. The only other people hanging about that lazy spring morning were the occasional backpacker. And they were always quiet and kept to themselves.

I dropped my wood at the bunkhouse and headed for the lodge to grab a beer. I walked through the back door and into the large walk-in cooler where the beer was stored. I grabbed a six-pack and went up front to pay at the register.

Wanda was the cook for the day and she was putting together the ingredients for tonight’s steak dinner. "It’s been a crazy day today. Did you hear about all the fun and excitement? The Park Service is freakin’ out."

I had missed breakfast and been hauling and splitting firewood all morning. I hadn’t talked to anyone. "Haven’t heard a thing. What’s up?"

Wanda dried her hands on her apron. "Well, Bobby Swayne, the wrangler, was bringing the supplies down this morning and he was having trouble with one of the mules while they were coming through the red and whites. So, he did what his peanut-sized cowboy brain instructed him to do, and started beating the shit out of the mule with his hat. The mule got spooked and bolted right off the edge. Almost dragged the whole string with him. Bobby had to cut the lead rope so he wouldn’t lose them all."

I didn’t care for wranglers or mules. But I wasn’t totally insensitive. "Please tell me the mule that fell wasn’t carrying the beer."

Wanda snapped me with a dishrag and laughed. "You are a heartless bastard."

"No, I just have my priorities straight," I answered. "So, did the mule die?"

"Of course it died. It fell about 500-feet straight down and bounced off the bottom of the Redwall. It’s in bloody pieces. And now the Parkies have to go down and move it so it won’t freak out the tourons."

"They get to have all the fun," I replied with a wink.

"Would you like a sandwich?" asked Wanda.

"I’d love one. I’ve been splitting firewood all morning and I’m done for the day. I think I’m going to spend the afternoon over at Roy’s Beach."

"Sounds sweet," said Wanda as she began putting together a box lunch for me to take along.

Roy’s Beach was an isolated spot upriver of the black bridge and a good place to get away from everyone and lounge naked in the warm sun like a lazy lizard.

There are two, long suspension bridges spanning the Colorado River at Phantom. The silver and black bridges are the only man-made crossings of the big river between Marble Canyon and Hoover Dam. They hang about 400-feet-long and sway in the wind about 60-feet above the chilly Colorado.

As I walked up the river trail I noticed several fishermen, wearing waders and fly-fishing in the eddy line along the north bank. One of them snagged a large rainbow and held it carefully above the water as he brought it back to shore.

Grand Canyon features some of the finest trout fishing in America. But it is tough to get to the big buggers. You need a boat, and then your access is severely limited to the Marble Canyon area far up-river, because of the large rapids that would flip a small fishing boat. Your only other option is to hike down one of the Grand Canyon trails to the bottom. That involves getting a backcountry permit and schlepping all your camping gear on your back, all so you can catch a fish. Needless to say, when you saw someone fishing at Phantom Ranch, you knew they were very dedicated fishermen indeed.

I came to the black bridge and was getting ready to climb over the rock wall that marked the edge of the trail when a streak of silver shot by, almost at eye level, and I damn near shit. It was a F-16A Fighting Falcon jet aircraft flying under the silver bridge. It was like watching a missile go by, the sound trailing afterward like a roaring echo. In a second, it was gone, and I stood there overlooking the churning green Colorado River, wondering what sort of lunatic would pilot a supersonic fighter plane at Mach 1, through the Grand Canyon.

And then I remembered a story I had heard from a Phantom old timer, named Roy Sharky, about a secret club of Air Force pilots who would get a special patch to wear if they navigated the entire 400-miles of the Inner Gorge in the Grand Canyon and flew under both of the suspension bridges at Phantom Ranch. I had scoffed at the idea when I first heard the tale, figuring it was more myth than reality, but I had just seen it with my very own eyes and was still pinching myself when I returned to the ranch later that day.

I ran into the head ranger, Mike Stone, at the bunkhouse that night and I told him about the jet. He asked me if I had gotten the number off the plane. Because if I had, then the Park Service could lodge a formal complaint with the Air Force and the pilot would be punished.

"That’s like telling someone to get the number off a goddamn bullet," I chuckled. "That thing was there and gone so fast I didn’t have time to even blink."

Mike nodded his head thoughtfully. "It takes balls as big as church bells to fly the Inner Gorge. Can you imagine if you hit a wall?"

Sasha was knitting a wool cap by the fire. "Hey. Maybe that could be a new tourist attraction. Fighter planes could fly the Inner Gorge and people could pay to ride along."

" Please don’t give them any ideas," replied Mike. "We already have more than enough helicopters and planes flying around the rim to make it dangerous as shit. Between the tourist operations with their helicopters and piper cubs, and the commercial jetliners, it’s a formula for disaster."

Over the years, there been several high profile crashes at Grand Canyon. The most famous happened in 1956, when United Airlines Flight 718, a Douglas DC-7 Mainliner, and TWA Flight 2, a Lockheed Constellation named Star of the Seine, collided over the canyon. The TWA plane landed upside down at the base of Temple Butte, disintegrating upon impact. The Mainliner hit Chuar Butte and exploded into flames. A mass funeral was held on the South Rim a few days later for the victims of Flight 2 and the unidentifiable remains of the 29 passengers on the United Flight were later consolidated into four coffins and buried at the Grand Canyon cemetery. The wreckage was never removed and remains there to this day.

During the ensuing years, there would be other, less spectacular, collisions involving helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Everyone loved to fly over the Grand Canyon.

Eventually, the whole issue would come to a head and after years of studies and angry public meetings, the Park Service and the Federal Aviation Administration would reluctantly put a ceiling over the canyon at 3,000 feet and require all aircraft to stay above that elevation. Interestingly enough, safety did not precipitate this rule change, but rather the outcry from river runners and hikers who complained that the constant buzzing of aircraft greatly diminished the Grand Canyon experience.

A few weeks after I had hiked out of Phantom, I was staying with friends in Flag. My buddy Lou and I decided to attend one of those initial Park Service meetings in Tusayan about the proposed changes to canyon over flights. And on our way home that night, after listening to the air tour operators whine for hours about any further restrictions to their lucrative business, we were drinking some Micky’s big mouths. It was late and there was no traffic on the road. We came to a brand new lighted billboard that had been erected by Grand Canyon Airlines. It featured a golden eagle soaring over the Canyon, with the headline "Fly The Grand Canyon".

"I have an idea," said Lou as he pulled The Shark over onto the shoulder of the road.

He got out and began rummaging around in the trunk, returning with a half-filled gallon of red paint. "I was using this to paint the shed. It’ll work perfect."

We filled four of the empty beer bottles with red paint and then rammed some toilet paper into the tops so the containers were capped. Then we climbed out of the car. The road was dark. No vehicles were coming in either direction. We ran giggling like little kids through the juniper-dotted desert. When we got to the billboard, we both threw our bottles at the eagle. Red paint splattered across the billboard, completely wiping out the advertisement and making a mess of the whole sign. We scampered back to the car, making sure to brush away our tracks with a tree branch, and then squealed wheels into the night.

The following day, Lou and I got a good laugh when we noticed a front-page story in the local paper about vandals damaging the fancy new billboard. There were no suspects.

This would be my first act of eco-terrorism, but definitely not my last. You see, mine was a journey that had been several years in the making.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Anasazi Strip - Chapter 1 - Part 2

"You folks have a band in here on Fridays?" asked the Killer.

"You betcha." She pushed her long dark hair behind her ears. "Tonight's the Cactus Rose Band and there's a three dollar cover."

"They any good?"

"If you like Country Western, they're okay."

"I like to dance." He winked, the dark mirrors of his eyes shining.

"Well then, Mister, you sure as hell came to the right place. They'll be packed tighter'n a goddamn cattle drive out there on that dance floor, from the time the band cranks it up, until we close it all down about two."

The barmaid avoided locking eyes with the curious stranger who simultaneously attracted and frightened her. She reached over and emptied an already empty ashtray. She knew what was coming next.

"Sounds like fun," he said. "Who knows? Maybe you and I could try our luck at a little country swing later on? How's that sound to you?"

The barmaid considered the proposition and then focused again on the man's dark, cut-glass eyes – eyes that seemed to see right through a person. This guy was trouble any way you sliced it – better to just walk away.

"Hey, it's Friday night, and anything can happen," she laughed as she headed for the other end of the bar to wait on the thirsty pool players.

The killer laughed out loud in agreement. "Ain't it the truth, my dear, ain't it the truth?"

He swiveled around on his stool and scoped-out the front of the bar. There was an unoccupied booth by the oak door. Picking up his beer the big man slid onto the green, vinyl-covered cushion, his back against the wall, a stuffed buffalo's head above his own. He now had an unobstructed view of the only entrance into the bar and could blend in with the scenery. This could be a long wait.

The killer was carrying a color photograph of the man he was looking for in his denim jacket, but knew it by heart. The picture showed a Paiute Indian in his late forties grinning a nearly toothless smile from the driver’s side of a bright, new, yellow Chevy Blazer truck. The killer had heard that the man in the photo always hung out at the Buckskin on Friday nights; if true, this was going to be that poor Indian's last big night on the town.

The Indian, Charlie Tizno, was guilty of having a big mouth, normally not a capital crime, but in the line of work he had recently been engaged, relic hunting, such a careless attribute could attract the attention of the law. Of late, Paiute Charlie had been getting loaded and shooting off his mouth around town about some of the illegal digs he had been a part of, becoming a liability to his employer. The killer had been sent by the Judge to make sure that this careless Indian ceased to be a problem.