Funhog Press Images

Photos

Below are an assortment of photos from various Funhog endeavors. I have had the good fortune to study under some A-list photographers over the years; Bill Hatcher, Dave Edwards, John Burcham, Dawn Kish. I’m not in their league, but I do get to some amazing places and occasionally snap a decent photo. Each one, hopefully, tells a story.

Adventure Photo Gallery

The Bogachiel River Valley holds a rare population of old, low-elevation Silver firs, Abies amabilis. The simplest approach route to the valley leads through the Seven Lakes Basin, pictured here, above the Sol duc River.

Snow drifts in the Sunset Crater volcanic field. I wrote an article about the natural history of this area in the May 2020 issue of Arizona Highways magazine.

My friend Bill Barron works for the Citizen’s Climate Lobby. Several times, he has run for public office as a climate candidate. His campaign tours are a little different. In this photo, Bill is en route to the summit of Kings Peak, the high point of Utah. He was running U.S. Senate in that state, so his tour went from the state high point to the state low point.

In 1875, John Muir made a trek through the Sierra Nevada to document and study the habitat of Sequoia giganteum. I retraced Muir’s route and wrote about it in Adventure Journal magazine. The above photo was taken on the last day of my journey, somewhere far up the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Tule River.

Per usual in mountaineering, our difficulties began in earnest after the summit was reached. The talus along our route proved tedious and slow. We were soon in a race with darkness.

Evening light grows as we approach a small lake above treeline. This would be our camp for the night, not a restful one. Horrendous winds blew all night. You could hear them ominously approaching for miles from the valley below. They whipped around the cirque with added intensity. A tent was flattened, another was rolled with it’s occupant inside. A phone blew into the lake. Oh, and Barron didn’t win the senate seat.

A campaign plug on the summit board

Here, Mr. Barron is at the summit of Kings Peak.

The Mariposa Grove of sequoias, pictured here, was the home of Galen Clark, who had a cabin there. Clark was a peer of Muir. Both produced impressive resumes of conservation work and badass backcountry travel.

Ski tracks in the cinder landscape northeast of Flagstaff.

The first step to climbing a sequoia tree is getting a small diameter rope over a substantial branch high in the canopy. It only took 25 shots to achieve success.

I’ve skied at the Arizona Snowbowl for over 40 years! Naturally, those decades have produced different eras; skipping school to ride the old poma-tow as a kid, milking 4 runs out of the “ski free after 3” years in college, working on ski patrol, skinning up ridge before opening in the days before snowmaking, and now—mostly using the lifts to access the backcountry.

The winter of 2022-2023 was one for the books. Over 160 inches of snow fell at the Flagstaff airport during the season. While that’s still plenty short of the record 210-inch winter of 1973, the early March snow depth of ’23 (42″ on March 2nd) was unequaled. And so, backcountry skiing opportunities abounded, like this day on the flanks of Sitgreaves Mountain.

Even the cinder hills within the San Francisco Peaks rain shadow had enough snow to ski in ’23. One of my first published articles (in Backcountry magazine, last century!) was about skiing these cinder hills—without snow. It’s more fun with a little frozen white lubricant.

Although roughly 15 percent of the world’s wild sequoias burned over the past several years, there are still 65 groves in existence. The grove holding the tree in this photo has burned extensively, but many giants remain.

After dancing between limbs that, it turned out, were attached to a fire-scarred trunk only inches thick, climber Jesse Perry secured our ropes to a more confidence-instilling limb. Up we went.

On the second day of effort, the canopy of this 200-foot tall sequoia was finally reached.

Iridescent moss along the Salmon River, Idaho

Pack Rafting the Rio Simpson on the outskirts of Coyhaique, Chile

Pack rafts are convenient boats to take traveling. Here, Lisa paddles the Rio Simpson beneath the giant lupine of southern Chile.

Snow-covered subalpine firs along the return ski trail from Montana Bowl, Revelstoke, BC

Mountain ranges are delineated by their geology. Some, like the Selkirk Range pictured here, can have many different faces. The Selkirks have their southern terminus as a rounded, wooded hill near Rathdrum, Idaho. Near Revelstoke, British Columbia, in the northern part of the range, the view is decidedly more dramatic.

From the top of the lift at Revelstoke, a simple traverse will have you in the backcountry. It’s so easy, the locals call it “Slackcountry.”

Bellingham’s Bret Simmons paddles through gorges of the upper Queets.

The rivers of the Olympic Peninsula are quintessential wilderness—pristine waterways beneath glacial mountains running through big-tree forests. I’ve paddled several of these streams, including this one, the Queets. We launched as far upstream as seemed practical, which was just below the un-runnable Service Falls gorge.

My wife Lisa and I went to the Tour de France, and the first stage we visited was here, at the Puy de Dome. I had big plans to ascend the backside of the mountain. Access, however, was restricted. So we walked several miles in 90-degree heat only to end up at the bottom of the mountain with throngs of fans who simply rode a shuttle. NBC’s Steve Porino thought that was a pretty funny story, so he interviewed us for the TV broadcast.

My wife, Lisa Gelczis, hauls water back to camp in the Colorado Rockies.

Approaching the summit of Mt. Adams before the long ski down.

Shower—Hovd, Mongolia.

Mongolia and whitewater kayaking sounds like an oxymoron, but if one is in the right place at the right time, there are indeed rivers to be run. In any case, traveling in this exotic land is true adventure.

Sometimes, you just have to dry the meat.

Mongolia is the land of herds; yaks, cows, horses, and camels.

The man behind my introduction to Mongolia kayaking is Pat Phillips. Here he sits by the smoke of a dung fire to keep the mosquitos at bay while planning his next river exploration.

Is that a bird I see INSIDE the van?

Mongolia is reminiscent of Nevada, but with bigger mountains, and a few less highways.

This golf-course green is indicative of the plentiful rain we experienced on our trip with Phillips’ Mongolia River Adventures. The timing was good for this river, the Bulgan. Water was high.

Boating in Mongolia means driving, lots of driving, through boulder fields if necessary.

Following the Mongolia River Adventures expedition, Pat Phillips and I explored other little-known rivers with our driver, Jagaa. Occasionally we had to stop and let the jeep cool down. This trip was featured in Kayak Session magazine, summer 2016.

In a land without trees, you burn what you can. These dung piles are Mongolian firewood.

Lake Louise Ski Area, in the Canadian Rockies, barely exceeds 200″ in average annual snowfall. There are just too many mountain ranges to the west, getting first dibs on Pacific storms. Still, the scenery is stunning, and the terrain expansive.

In re-tracing John Muir’s sequoia trek, I ran into many detours caused by recent or ongoing forest fires. Here, the rim of Kings Canyon is draped in eerie smoke and cloud.

Determining where Muir traveled in 1875, exactly, was an ongoing puzzle. Initially, I deduced that he descended into Kings Canyon via the Garlic Spur, which is the ridge I am walking in this photo. Later, I decided that Muir and his mule, Brownie, probably took a more circuitous route down Rogers Ridge.

I wrote about the Interior Montane Forest of North Idaho in American Forests magazine. Having spent summers in North Idaho as a kid, I have a soft spot for those deep woods.

The San Francisco Peaks, to the Navajo—Dook’o’oosliid. For English speakers, it sounds like “Doke o o sleed,” sort of. In Hopi, it’s Nuva’tukya’ovi—say Noova-tookya-ohvee. Both basically translate to “the mountain with snow on top.” Sometimes that snow is light and fluffy. More often, it’s wind-hammered, boiler-plate hard, like in this photo.

Hoh River summit-to-sea. Step one: Hike up Hoh River Trail.

Step two: Climb Mt. Olympus.

Step three: Reach summit of Mt. Olympus.

Step four: Descend from summit without hurtling to your death during the glissade.

Step five: Paddle (and sometimes walk) your boat down the Hoh River.

Step six: Arrive at Pacific Ocean.

Hiking to the put-in for the Chaica River near Puerto Mont, Chile

Dick Griffith is the father of pack rafting, having first used military rescue craft to navigate pools in the depths of Copper Canyon, in 1952. When Griffith was in Arizona to speak at the Grand Canyon River Guides’ Guide Training Seminar, I introduced him to the crowd. Lisa suggested that he might sign our pack rafts. And he did.

Chamonix ski above town

The Rio Chacabuco is a tributary of the Baker, in southern Chile. Today, the Chacabuco is the centerpiece of Patagonia National Park.

Lisa and I paddled the Chacabuco in pack rafts, portaging the class V gorges. I have no idea why Lisa’s pack is so huge. Perhaps she was carrying everything.

Portaging along the Rio Chacabuco—Aysen, Chile.

Descending back to the river following a portage on the Rio Chacabuco

There are several moderate sections of whitewater on the Chacabuco. It’s not all gnarly gorges.

Seth Ricker lands a seal launch on day one of Hellsgate—Tonto Creek, Arizona.

West Howland runs a rapid on the first descent of Spring Creek—a tributary of Tonto Creek Hellsgate.

Rainforest hiking in the upper Bogachiel—Olympic Peninsula.

River camp on the upper Bogachiel.