Sunday, December 26, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Forward

It's common to make New Years' Resolutions. But, what do we base them on? Before we talk about what we will do, let's talk about what we did wrong, and maybe can learn from.

Top 7 Biggest Mistakes of 2010

1) Rushed through Utah's Ghost Towns in September. I could have spent three months doing this instead of just one. Most of the cost was in gas. I could have paced myself, taken more photos, explored more, and had a better Autumn than just hanging around Durango homeless waiting for winter to happen.

2) Did not personally check the Purgatory Ski Resort's website for when their hiring fair was. It was not until November 15th. If I had checked this before I got here mistake number 1 up there would not have happened. This would have gotten me better photos too, as I'd have had more time to photograph during the early morning and late evening, when the light is the best.

3) Did not personally speak over the phone with the mother of a girlfriend that said girlfriend said I could stay with for two months. The result was that the mother was unclear about the situation, and I realized the mother, and estranged father, were both potentially violent lunatics whom I have no business hanging around.

4) Paid Don Hatch River Trips $450 for their training program to "maybe" have a job there in May. Showed up and it turns out there were 6 of us applying for the same job. Got weirded out by company's irresponsible decisions to raft in the snow in light wet suits, and their willingness to take money from people they clearly were not going to hire. On the bright side, at least, I found a way to live at the Moab Hostel for free when this plan fell through, I made some great friends, managed one way or another to do all the trips on my list, and probably wound up working for some better companies.

5) Didn't pay someone to run our shuttle for us on a Desolation Canyon river trip. The resulting cluster of trying to run our own shuttle cost me more personally than just pitching in for a shuttle driver would have cost.

6) Tried to back down a dirt road at night instead of turning around in a nice turn around spot where I might have possibly bothered someone who was sleeping with my headlights and engine noise for a brief period of time. Result: backed into a wash. Cost $250 and took two tow trucks to save the vehicle, which could have been damaged a lot worse.

7) Went to an emergency room to have a strep test done when I felt sick before a river trip. Cost: $483 + $69. Doctors are thieves and hospitals are evil. I will never go to one again this side of mass trauma as long as I am physically able to resist it.

Top 10 Greatest Accomplishments of 2010

1) Visited almost all (except for three) the Ghost Towns of Utah on my list, explored them, and took photographs of them.

2) Became a whitewater captain in Utah.

3) Ran all the river sections on my list: Lower Dolores, Cataract Canyon, West Water, Gates of Lodore, Desolation Canyon

4) Got out of my rut in Denver. Converted myself to a Western Slope seasonal tourist economy existence.

5) Did "the right thing" on several occasions even when it was costly. Still waiting for the karma to come around but I have my fingers crossed.

6) Escaped homelessness and unemployment twice in one year.

7) Was able to date two very special women.

8) Lived rent free from May to December. Pay only $150 a month in rent from December on.

9) Built a 16' 4" cardboard viking ship. Won the Grand County Public Library First Annual Cardboard Boat Race and the Red Rock Regatta boat race and the Red Rock Regatta costume contest. Took the boat down the Colorado River from Rocky Rapid to Takeout Beach. Hit some rapids but saw the boat we built of out duct tape, polyurethane, and cardboard hold together.

10) Bought a cab over camper that sits on a flat bed trailer. I now have a mobile home that is a HOME that I can drag back and forth across Western Colorado to live in from winter to summer.

Top 10 Goals for 2011

1) Buy an inflatable Kayak

2) Run the entire Dolores River

3) Run the San Miguel from Telluride to the confluence with the Dolores.

3) Run the Grand Canyon

4) Work full time as a paid guide in the 2011 river season, not part time as in the last two seasons.

5) Write the best researched, best photographed book about Utah Ghost Towns

6) Build a roof over my camper so it does not leak on me

7) Work many, many shifts at the ski resort this winter so as to save $$

8) Survive

9) Produce written versions of my river talks...

10) Have more of a political impact and push others to have more of a political impact.

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