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Climbing Lee Mountain

LEE MOUNTAIN IS A NEARLY SHEER CLIFF ABOUT a mile north of our house. It’s the sort of cliff I used to imagine when I read Zane Grey’s Under the Tonto Rim. Topographic maps show that the elevation here at the house is 4300 feet, while that at the top of the ridge is 5800 feet. Lee Mountain, and the intervening land, belong to the U. S. Forest Service. A few head of cattle graze between here & there in the winter when snow covers the mountain grazing areas.

I had climbed Lee Mountain alone, about ten years ago and found an easier way up than is visible from here. If you follow the widest dry wash that winds northeastward toward the cliffs, it eventually goes up the mountain behind an outcropping of rock. While still steep, it is no longer a sheer cliff.

My friend George, about 60, who goes on mountain climbing vacations, wanted to climb Lee Mountain in preparation for a weekend climb near Phoenix. He invited Dennis, a little older, and me to go along.

We left at about 1:00 P.M., walking at a normal rate, & resting when tired in the shade of the juniper trees and heavy brush that grow along and in the wash.

I didn’t carry any water as the others did, but drank from a spring near the foot of the mountain with no ill effects.

Climbing the steep part didn’t seem much more difficult than it did ten years ago. It involved a lot of reaching up for hand holds on rocks and brush.

Where the wash started down from the top, water flow had formed a V shaped erosion in the ridge of the cliff. We climbed a bit higher up the V to the left (west) to get a better view of both the valley and the wilderness beyond. The roof of our house could be spotted among the trees below.

After resting and enjoying the view for a few minutes, George, the mountain climber, had the energy to explore further, but I was glad that it was time to start back. Going down the steep part was easy, though we occasionally loosened rocks that went rolling down a ways before stopping in brush, against a tree, or on a flatter area. We rested again at the foot of the cliff, before walking down the wash toward home.

It wasn’t a long hike, possibly four to five miles, but I was exhausted on reaching home.

Next day, when I went on my usual walk in a flatter part of that public land, my legs were in great shape, but my arms were sore from all the reaching while climbing the steep part.

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Business Meetings at Conventions

I JOINED APA and NAPA at about the same time in 1979. Since then I have attended five of APA’s wayzgooses but only two NAPA conventions. Why? Because business meetings are the central feature of NAPA conventions, and business meetings to me are boring; they were the least interesting part of my business career.

I’ve noticed that a few other NAPA members feel the same way I do, and boycott the business sessions when they do attend the conventions, spending their time setting type and printing the daily convention paper.

In APA, all the business at conventions is taken care of by the Executive Board consisting of the elected officers. Elections are conducted by mail. While it may not seem as responsive to needs for change, it works; and it leaves more time for visits to nearby members’ print shops, field trips, seminars, and other interesting activities.

Besides, when was the last time a major change was voted in at a NAPA convention? They are always voted down by the conservative majority.

Obviously, those who attend NAPA conventions like it the way it is, or they would have changed it years ago. The rest of us stay at home.

For starters, let’s try limiting the business sessions to three hours each morning leaving the afternoons free for something, anything, more interesting. With a little judicious planning by the officers and a little restraint from the members, everything necessary could be accomplished in that length of time. Perhaps in time we can wean ourselves away from business sessions almost entirely.

Feeding the Coyotes

COYOTES LIVE IN THIS AREA, as they do in many other parts of the country. I enjoy running across them occasionally on my walks, and even their cries at night and in the early morning aren’t too disturbing.

My brother-in-law is an old-time cowboy and eats meat much oftener than we do. His wife saves bones and meat scraps so I can feed the coyotes.

Beside the path, about a quarter mile into the public land, I’ve leveled a flat rock. If I put the scraps there during the day, ravens and bluejays carry them off. But if I put them out in the evening, coyotes find them during the night. I can tell that it’s the coyotes who are getting the scraps by the droppings they leave behind.

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Typeface is Palantino set with a Macintosh SE and an Apple LaserWriter IINT. Printing, if you can call it that, is done on a Xerox copy machine by Laurence Hines, Sedona, Arizona 86336.

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