Member Trip Report

MEETINGS & ACTIVITIES    trip menu    search   calendar


The 2003 Gourmet Backpack
The Ransom of Red chief, the Terror of the Plains

July 18-20, 2003

Author: Steve Hayes

This was my first trip with the Mountaineers, Steve Hays, member since 2003. This trip could have been a major train wreck had I traveled with a crew of lesser character. Statistically, you couldn't assemble a better bunch and still adhere to randomness (this sentence is for Elizabeth, our tip leader). I can imagine the collective thoughts of this band. "Who is this guy, and where did he get all of this vintage gear?" (Editor's note - and how is he ever going to haul it in and out?!?)

Here's my pack. "Have you measured it?" No sir "You really should have measured it." I didn't know....... measure?? "How much does it weigh?" I don't know. "Can you carry it?" I ain't afraid to try "here's a walking pole " "Be careful Steve, it's pretty steep, are you balanced?" I'm OK, but If I get more than fifteen degrees out of level, then that's the direction I'm going.

The start of the trip was exciting, carrying your weight both literally and figuratively, cool. The middle was treacherous and Jan and others helped me numerous times. I may have used one or two of my guides as backstops, that gravity up there sure is fierce. I learned about balancing the pack in the finest of fashions, the hard way. The good part is: I learned a lesson, the first of many, and I will never forget the first lesson, I promise Jan, I'll weigh the pack. The meal was more than you can imagine, a vast number of French cheeses, salmon, egg plant, soups, the French soup was almost like a hot liquor as you sipped it from a tin can/packers cup. Wines, wow. We took turns helping each other in pronunciation, I guess none of the Mountaineers drank too much, they could all speak French until midnight. I think that's challenging, don't you? Peter set the record with packing in three bottles and should receive extra points for showing up at just the right moment. Food. smoked game hens, Elizabeth stuffed us with a French peasant's stew that was so good, you could start a fast food chain with it. Chocolate cake, truffles and Cognac topped off the meal. I had brought asparagus and Cosima helped me out with it, well, actually if Cosima hadn't taken over, the job never would have been done.

Leslie and, surprisingly, Chris were playing French songs on an accordion in the background , hell, a Frenchman from Paris would have paid serious money to be there, talk about ambiance. I was wandering around, catching bits and pieces of climbing stories. Did you know that Chris has climbed Mt. Denali?

Me. How high is it? Chris. "above eight thousand meters" me. (dumb look)

Chris. "it's one of the tall ones" me. oh. OK

Back to the meal. I won first place, mostly because I had purchased a black tie and I'm too cheap to spend thirteen bucks on something and not use it (Editor's note - also because Steve brought the most succulent smoked Cornish game hens and heated them in an ingeniously devised cardboard box oven). To get the tie, I went into the only store in Clovis that I thought might have one. Me. I need a black tie Sales women. "what kind of shirt are you going to wear this tie with?" Me. Mam, forget about the shirt her. "But sir! the shirt and tie must match, we have black ties with colored accents, European black ties...... me. OK, It's a North Face shirt her. (dumb look)

Her. "What's that?" Me. Mam, I told you to forget about the shirt, I need the tie for a camping trip. (Now, I didn't catch her, but I'm sure that she was looking around and thinking about ways to run from the room.) Me." I'm going on a backpack with the Los Alamos Mountaineers and I need a black tie." (I should have quit while I was ahead.) The location for the gourmet feast was along a river with multiple hot springs. Some of the hot springs along the river (there's tons) were too hot for me, and you would feel around for a pool that was just right. Sort of like Goldilocks. I stuck one of my heels in a small jet stream and it was a water rodeo for a second or two, talk about hot! For you fly fisherman, let it be known that Bill caught 50 trout the first day. I know that some of you are dreaming of a sweet place like this, simply gorgeous. The only way to find the location is pack in with us next year and have a fine meal with some hearty and true companions.

We hope ya'll join us next year, if you win, you get my black tie, signifying that you are the Gourmet Supreme. This award will become a club tradition, being passed from generation to generation until someone says. " Who in the heck was Bill Priedhorsky?"

See: The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry

ps. "OK, somebody needs to check on Steve, any takers?.........OK, we'll draw straws" Shelly, I'm sorry you lost, but I appreciate your kindness. I made it. Thanks All!

Send your trip reports, comments, updates, and suggestions about this site to
Jan Studebaker

Website Design by Jemez Web Factory