Your Very Next Step newsletter for August 2008
“Now suddenly there was nothing but a world of cloud, and we three were there alone in the middle of a great white plain with snowy hills and mountains staring at us; and it was very still; but there were whispers.”
– Black Elk
“Your Very Next Step” newsletter, published by Ned Lundquist, is a cooperative community, and everyone is invited, no…encouraged, no…urged to participate.
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*** In this issue:
*** Travel News
*** Ned and Tom travel to Wyoming and visit Grand Tetons and Yellowstone while taking part in ArrowCorps5 (Warning: convoluted notes my cause dizziness.)
*** Travel, Outdoor and Adventure Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities
…and much more…and it’s all FREE!!!
*** The JOTW Virtual Potluck Picnic (All Nedworkers Invited):
The second JOTW Summer Virtual Potluck Picnic is being held this Labor Day Weekend (that's 29-August – 1 September) at the official JOTW Potluck Picnic site at Jack Duggan's place somewhere in Oregon, down the road, by the gate, over in around back by the cabin.
We've got a virtual fire pit, a big cut-in-half 55-gal. drum barbeque grill if you need it, and we're bringing in water and ice. Let's see, what else do we need, Jack?
Oh yeah, food. Everybody's got to bring something. Whatever your specialty is. Send us a description of what you're contributing, and why you chose to share this particular dish with your fellow Ned-workers. You can also include the recipe and a photo, which we'll post in a special folder at www.nedsjotw.com.
So, start cooking while Jack is out checking the picnic place for snakes.
Send your virtual potluck contribution to Ned at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*** Ned’s travel this week:
Busy week this week, so your newsletter may not be as long and detailed as usual.
Tonight: Fly from Washington Reagan National Airport to Milwaukee, drive to Great Lakes, Illinois.
Tomorrow: Visit Navy BM “A” at TSC Great Lakes
Tomorrow night: Fly from Milwaukee to San Diego via Denver.
Wednesday: Visit LCS ASW Mission Det at Naval Station San Diego
Wednesday night: Dinner with Sonny Fox
Thursday: Attend Surface navy Association West Coast Symposium, Pier 2, Naval Station San Diego.
Thursday night: Fly from San Diego to Washington Dulles International Airport
*** Travel News:
Delta Air Lines plans to offer wireless Internet access on domestic flights, allowing passengers to work or surf online. The service is expected to be available on some planes by next month and on its entire domestic fleet by next summer. Delta is the only major carrier to commit to installing the service on all of its planes.
JetBlue will now begin charging passengers $7 for a reusable blanket and pillow set rather than handing out complimentary blankets. The sets also include a $5 coupon to Bed, Bath & Beyond. The airline's founder began thinking about charging for pillows and blankets as far back as 2006 but held off until the fuel crisis hit this year.
Oneworld partners British Airways and Iberia intend to merge.
*** From Alaska Airlines:
From Magadan, Russia, to Mazatlan Mexico, and all points between, the “Mad Dogs” helped make Alaska Airlines what it is today during their 23 years of service. As we bid farewell to the MD-80, we salute our Alaska Airlines crews and the customers who flew with us along the way
Our last two MD-80 flights take place on August 24, 2008. Flight 331 will depart San Jose at 7:50 p.m. and Flight 363 will depart Sacramento at 8:20 p.m.
*** From Business Travel News:
Rising Number Of Home-Based Agents Servicing Corporate Clients
The number of home-based agents servicing managed corporate travel programs in the United States has grown to significant portions of some travel management companies' agent populations. Investments in new telecommunications platforms, standardization of agent reservation processes and service gains during inclement weather and natural disaster have several travel management company executives embracing virtual agents as the numbers have reached critical mass in the corporate travel industry.
*** From Larry Bearfield:
Last Sunday's Boston Globe Magazine had a story about the Appalachian Mountain Club with Eric Pederson , an AMC Hut Manager. The article, about the White Mountains, is titled “A Beautiful Place to Die” – sounds like a great place to vacation.)
*** Making a mess with Estate Grown Coffee:
I made a cup of coffee in my Executive Suites hotel room in Alameda using Wolfgang Puck’s signature estate grown pod. The hotel had two cups in the coffee maker, because you can make one or two cups. I selected one. I didn’t notice that the mug was upside down, so when I came back for my first caffeine fix of the day I discovered a nice mess to clean up with tissues.
But what is estate grown coffee?
*** I like trying new things, and going new places. But once in a while, I like the “tried and true.” How about you? Do you have any favorite haunts or repeat destinations that bring you back again and again? Share your faves with the rest of us (send to email@example.com).
*** From Carl Dombek:
Saw the question about airlines, charges, etc. To that very point, I sent this letter to the airlines whose CEOs had signed the open letter to airline customers about anti-speculation legislation as a way to curb rising fuel costs. I suspect it's a little longer than the answers you anticipated, but here it is anyway.
This responds to your “open letter to all airline customers,” urging us to support restrictions on speculation in commodity trading as a way to bring down the cost of oil.
While I don’t disagree that speculation may have increased oil prices and added to the airlines’ woes, neither do I believe the cost of fuel is the only reason airlines are suffering; your business model deserves a great deal of the blame. As a frequent airline traveler for both business and personal reasons, I believe there are two very simple things the airlines can do that will help ensure their long-term survival: stop treating passengers like cattle and stop nickel-and-diming us.
Virtually all U.S. airlines do the same thing: cram as many people as possible into the airplane – both by filling as many seats as possible and making those seats as small as possible – and charge us for everything, including “preferred” seats in coach class.
In addition to being downright uncomfortable, the lack of legroom and narrow seats increase most everyone’s tension level. At the end of a recent flight, I saw two men nearly come to blows because one had accidentally grabbed the other’s identical-looking carry-on. Such mistakes are understandable and, under most circumstances, readily forgiven but I believe the stresses of flying in such confined conditions, along with overhead bins that have become jam-packed because of the new baggage policies, contributed to their shortened tempers.
How to fix this? Put fewer seats into each plane and give us more legroom no matter where a passenger sits. Then, calculate how much it costs to operate any given flight (including a reasonable allowance for checked baggage and a little food and beverage) and divide that cost by 70 percent of the seats. Finally, charge everyone who buys at least seven days in advance the same fare, with a small premium for last-minute travelers.
Full flights should yield at least a 30 percent gross profit margin, and not being packed in like sardines with a little food and beverage in our tummies should go a long way toward making it a more pleasant travel experience, thus delivering additional value for the higher fare.
Would higher fares would drive passengers away? Some, sure. But the airlines could counter the higher fares with the facts. In 1968, a round-trip ticket from Phoenix to Chicago on American Airlines (the only airline we flew when I was a kid) was $268.50. If inflation averaged a modest three percent annually, that ticket would cost more than $875 today; at four percent inflation, it would cost $1,289. Today’s price? $449 (as quoted on www.aa.com, 7/16/08). Even with higher fares, air travel would still be a relative bargain.
Of course, company travel policies would continue to dictate that business travelers select the lowest fare. But many companies are already considering the additional charges levied for baggage, “premium” seats, and perhaps even a soda or two when calculating the “lowest” fare for their traveling employees, so the gap between Nickel-and-Dime Airlines and full-service flyers should shrink quickly.
Additionally, consider the fact that it’s almost impossible to fully open a laptop in current coach seats and difficult to be productive with your fellow passenger’s elbow in your space. This new airline could provide – and market – the opportunity to “Get more done between Dallas and Denver.”
Finally, realize that we Americans aren’t shy about digging deep and paying for a little luxury. Look at U.S. Airways and Alaska Airlines, two carriers that offer passengers the opportunity to upgrade to empty first class seats for a modest surcharge. The first class sections on their planes rarely leave with empty seats. I contend that planes with fewer, larger, and modestly more expensive seats throughout would likewise leave fully laden.
*** Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Park
Our tour guide, James, is a retired educator from Lincolnton, N.C., who summers up here in Jackson, and drives for the bus company on weekends while his wife works in the company office. They like it here in the summer because it’s much less humid. Back home, he says, “You walk out the door and it’s like throwing a bucket of water on you.”
But with all the Scouts in town, business has been brisk, and so he succumbed to company begging and has worked every day. “This is my sixth trip this week,” he told me on our Friday excursion. James remarked about the fires in Idaho, the Gros Ventre area (where we had been), and Yellowstone. The bears have gone up to the high country, he says. So have the elk, but they’ll be back and winter in Jackson Hole and up in the Gros Ventre valley, where they are fed pelletized alfafa and hay.
Many elk winter at the very spot we camped far up the Gros Ventre River, as evidenced by the elk droppings and bleached elk bones everywhere.
By the way, Gros Ventre is pronounced by the locals as “Gro-VAHNT.” It refers to a name given by the French traders to the Atsina Indians. Actually, the Atsina call themselves A’aninin. Gros Ventre means “big belly,” so named because of the sign used to refer to the Atsina was a motion around the tummy that they interpreted, wrongly, to mean large tummy. The Atsina/A’aninin consider it derogatory. Not many of them left, and they are confined to the same reservation as the Assiniboine, their natural enemy.
About the Gros Ventre Wilderness:
The 1,100 Scouts and Adult Scouters – all members of the Order of the Arrow and referred to as Arowmen – camped on the lawn of Jackson Hole High School (“Home of the Broncs”), our base for the ArrowCorps5 Bridger-Teton effort (AC5 BT). Wyoming isn’t a big state populationwise, with just a half million people, and Jackson isn’t a real big town, although some of the world’s wealthiest people have homes here, and you can fly out of Jackson on a real airline with a real airplane. Our base camp was at 6,500 feet elevation, but our work was performed at about 8,000. The air is thinner and the sun’s rays are more intense.
We saw bison, mule deer, moose, eagles, pronghorn antelope, and prairie dogs. We heard other creatures such as wolves and coyotes, although we did not see them.
Flat Creek passes right through Jackson, and meets up with the Snake River, itself an important tributary of the Columbia River. Flat Creek is known for it’s native cutthroat trout, and Aug. 1, the day we passed by Flat Creek heading to Yellowstone, was an open fishing day. The rules are artificial bait and catch-and-release only.
To get from Jackson Hole to our remote base was about a two hour drive along the Gros Ventre River, past the Gros Ventre Slide, which created Slide Lake. This slide is the largest of its type on record in the U.S., and came down the mountain with such force it came back up the mountain on the other side. The rock created a natural dam that formed Slide Lake.
On our way to our fence project we had to cross a stretch of prairie before coming to Fish Creek, which we crossed with the assistance of a Unimog truck that rarely got out of first gear. A van helped us get up Bull Creek and pass through the Bull Creek Ranch, apparently a lodge for elk hunters in season. And, apparently it is for sale:
Then we had to cross two more creeks, which is uncomfortable in bare feet (I left my water shoes back home because “open-toed” shoes were not advised). I learned to borrow Tom’s Teva’s, and on the second day I brought my sneakers, which didn’t matter as much as my hiking boots if they got wet.
The Jackson valley, or “Hole,” was not home to any Native tribes, but Shoshone, Bannock, Crow, Blackfoot, Arapaho and Lakota all came there to hunt, gather, or seek visions.
While the famed Lewis and Clark expedition didn’t pass through Yellowstone or Jackson Hole, they weren’t far off to the north. On the return trip, John Colter decided he wanted to see more, and accepted his discharge to go along with some trappers back into the mountains. He’s said to be the first white man to see Jackson Hole.
The fire was still burning, but the road had reopened. We saw a smoking forest floor on our right and water-dropping helicopters on our left. Hot Shot crews of firefighters were standing by, but I think they were letting the fire somewhat take its course, acknowledging the benefits of fire to a lodge pole pine forest such as is found here. Lodgepole pine cones need fire to melt the wax on the seed-bearing cones. Furthermore, beetles are killing the drought-weakened mature trees, and fire would kill the beetles without killing the trees.
The American Pronghorn Antelope are remarkable in many ways. They are the fastest animal in the Western Hemisphere, and they have the longest seasonal migration (between winter and summer habitats) of any mammal in the lower-48 (caribou in Alaska have a longer trek). Wolves and coyotes are natural enemies, but development and fences are no friends to the antelope.
This article in Smithsonian shows pronghorns trying to get under a fence. Much of the fencing we removed (under Forest Service supervision) was similar to this.
More on this amazing migration:
We saw pronghorns in the Gros Ventre valley. They have eyes on the side of their heads to keep a lookout for predators. They can be moving pretty fast when they run into a low-speed fence, and we heard wolves there at night, and in the morning. I had never heard them before. This is an example, although not from our most recent trip.
Wolves sound quite different than the coyotes we heard back at Jackson early in the morning.
We were in bear territory, but the grizzlies were up in the high country. Badger holes were everywhere in the prairie where we camped. I didn’t see any, but others did. I stepped in one badge hole, up to the middle of my thigh. There were prarie dogs, too, and we say these upstanding critters in numbers near Bull Creek Ranch (which, as I mentioned, is for sale).
Back to Yellowstone. I think James said the park was 2.2 million acres, surrounded by Grand Teton, Bridger-Teton, Gallatin, Shoshone, Targhee, and nearby caribou National Forests, for a total of 20 million acres, plus a couple of Indian Reservations.
James mentioned some of the Hollywood movies that depict the area, like Shane with Alan Ladd, and Spencer’s Mountain with Henry Fonda. Ansel Adams also shot some of his notable photographs in the Jackson Valley. There are dude ranches in the area where people spend $3,200 a week to play cowboy, James says.
One finds the white pelicans to seem out of place on the lakes here. But, there they are.
And the trumpeter swans here are the largest birds in the country.
Besides the straight pines, there are Aspens here in large numbers. These large groves are one root system, perhaps one of the largest organisms in the world. A single tree may live for 40 or 50 years, but the root system may be thousands of years old. One colony in Utah is said to be 80,000 years old.
In addition to the Aspen, we encountered low-growing bog birch, more of a shrub, actually, growing along the creeksides and in the bog areas, as well as willow (not tall weeping willows but just about tall enough to hide some large animal from being seen).
*** Travel and Outdoor Employment Opportunities:
1.) WRANGLERS (Seasonal), Lazy L&B, Dubois, WY
Responsible for the safety of guests and horses; expected to guide and teach while on the trail; take care of horses and equipment; learn and understand horse program, barn and corral operations; handle and complete other miscellaneous ranch jobs ie: children's activities, kitchen duties.
Expect excellent people and communication skills, willingness to work long hours, able to work as a team to provide a memorable guest experience.
Pay: $1000-$1300 month
BONUSES at end of season, dependent on performance
ROOM & BOARD
1072 East Fork Road, Dubois, WY 82513
2.) Wrangler, Crossed Sabres Ranch, Cody, Wyoming
3.) Forestry Technician (Supy)(Wildland Fire Operations Spec), Bureau of Land Management, Department Of The Interior, Fairbanks, AK
4.) Outdoor Recreation Planner, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, Brunswick, VT
5.) Executive Director of The Suzy Peacock Center For Outdoor Inquiry, The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT), Fort Worth, Texas
6.) Vice President of Conservation Science, NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia
7.) Regional Representative, National Wildlife Federation, Ann Arbor, Michigan
8.) Executive Director, California Native Plant Society, Sacramento, California
9.) Communications Coordinator, Trust for Nature, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Trust for Nature has protected more than 80,000 hectares of Victoria for
conservation and biodiversity management. With increasing threats from
climate change, our animals and plants need more help.
To improve our conservation impact, we're looking for an enthusiastic
professional with a track record in communications.
The Communications Coordinator will deliver our communications program
and products to engage and involve others in conservation. The
Communications Coordinator is responsible for all internal and external
communications products, media liaison and ensuring that key messages
are strong and engaging.
Working with the Partnerships Manager, the Communications Coordinator
will integrate our corporate and conservation goals into all aspects of
This full-time permanent position will be based in Melbourne. A base
salary of $50,000 will be negotiable according to skills and experience.
The position description is available at
http://www.trustfornature.org.au or contact Wendy Fernandes
For more information please call Mike Gooey, Executive Director on
Applications addressing the selection criteria should be directed to
Wendy Fernandes at firstname.lastname@example.org by COB 1 September 2008.
*** Your Very Next Step is a service of the Job of the Week Network LLC
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Edward Lundquist, ABC
Editor and Publisher
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