Monthly Archives: May 2010


In October of 1998 I did a Rim-to-Rim hike thru Grand Canyon with a group of friends.  It was an outstanding trip.  Easily the best trip I’ve ever done.

Since we chose to hike from the North Rim to the South Rim we met at the South Rim and took a bus to the North Rim.  It was a long bus ride.  Something on the order of 350 miles if I recall correctly.   There is a whole lot of nothing along that drive.  That’s actually ok with me,  it’s just striking how you can drive for such a distance and see nothing but the occasional Navajo home with the traditional hogan beside it.

Once we got to the North Rim we spent the night in a couple of rustic cabins on the rim and made our final preparations for the trip.

We got to the trailhead of the North Kaibab trail at around 6:00am to start the day’s hike.  Our plan was to hike in to Phantom Ranch on day one, stay down at Phantom Ranch for day two, and then hike out to the South Rim on day three.   We had accommodations in the bunkhouses at Phantom Ranch so we only had to pack our clothing, sleeping bags, and of course lots of water.

Ready to go - North Kaibab Trail

Me at the trailhead

It’s a 14.5 mile trip from the start of the North Kaibab trail to Phantom Ranch.  You descend over one mile most of which is accomplished in approximately the first third of the trip.  The picture below is me late in the afternoon hiking in The Box.  It’s a narrow section of Bright Angel Canyon.  You walk on the trail beside Bright Angel Creek.  Because the walls of the canyon are so high and steep and it was late in the afternoon when I got there it was cool and shady and a nice change from the heat of the previous hours.  When we left the North Rim it was very cool (approximately 40 degrees F) but as we descended it got warmer and warmer until once we reached Cottonwood Campground it was very hot and time to strip off layers to shorts and T-shirts.

In The Box

The total trip down took me about 12 hours.  I was in no hurry and thoroughly enjoyed the day.  My friend Tim and I agreed that we weren’t going to stop until we reached the Colorado River so we continued past Phantom Ranch down to the river.  Once we got there we dropped our packs, took off our boots, and waded in.  The water was intensely cold but refreshing after the long day of walking.  I would not have liked to go in any further than you see in the picture though as the water was so very cold that I would have likely gone into cardiac arrest.  Phantom Ranch is 87.7 river miles below Glen Canyon Dam.  The water temperature is in the low to mid 40’s (degrees F).  This is simply amazing when you consider how hot it gets in the Inner Gorge.


The next day we just relaxed and roamed about the general area of Phantom Ranch.  Here is a picture of Tim, Jeff, Tony, and I.

At Phantom Ranch

Freeze your hard drive?

Back in 2002 I lost a hard drive that contained some pictures of an Earl Scruggs concert that I attended in Eminence, Missouri, a Ralph Stanley concert in Madison, Wisconsin, and The Osborne Brothers in Woodstock, Illinois in addition to a bunch of family pictures as well.  Needless to say, stupid move not having it backed up.  The drive failed in such a way as to lead me to believe it was a mechanical failure.  I tried some recovery utilities at the time to no avail so I placed in in a desk drawer figuring that some day I would have the money to send it to a data recovery service.

Last week in a conversation with a friend about banjo playing I lamented my long lost pictures on this drive and he mentioned that someone had recently told him that some drive failure problems can be overcome by freezing the drive.  He did a little research and found that this was a fairly common recommendation so he tried it and worked for his failed drive.  As soon as I got home I dug out my long failed drive from it’s hom in my desk drawer placed in it a ziploc bag and popped it into the freezer.  I left the drive in the freezer for almost two days until I had time to test it to see if the freezing had any affect.

I pulled it out of the freezer early Saturday morning, installed it in my PC, and wonder of wonders the drive worked!  The view with File Explorer was useless but at least the OS recognized the drive.   With the use of a recovery tool, R-Studio, I was able to recover many, but not all of the files from the drive.  It took the better part of a day for the tool to locate the files in the mess that was the drive but in the end it worked.

Here are a couple of the pictures that were recovered:

Sonny Osborne and I


The Old Timey Software Boys

Unfortunately I was unable to recover the lost Earl Scruggs and Ralph Stanley pictures.  Ever since the loss of this drive I back-up everything in multiple locations.

So if you have a hard drive failure it might be worth freezing your drive.  I’m not entirely certain exactly why it worked but am very thankful that it did.