Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Winter 2006-2007 Outings Report

The Eden Valley Refuge Cabin Outing, December 15-16, didn't have any snow this year but the fire in the cabin's stove still felt good. The trails, swinging bridge, look-out tower, and high bluffs make this area quite varied and interesting. We even gave a cabin tour to a young couple and their two children who happened by and who now may rent that cabin themselves someday.

The Winter Solstice camping on the bluff at Nelson-Dewey State Park, December 22-23, was a bit windy and cold, but two geocaches were found there, a hike to a high bluff preserve just south of Cassville was new to us, but a three part geocache search at Wyalusing ended when the second one could not be found :( . Maybe next time.

The Backbone Cabin Outing, January 19-21, faced changes but a plumber arrived to repair the burst water pipe in Cabin #9 due to the previous weekend's occupants turning OFF the heat. Ooops! Only 13 enjoyed the timely snowfall and frozen lake surface. Iowa and it was found under the snow in a remote section of the park. One fellow even joined Dick on the crevice slide. YES!!

February 3 Whitewater Canyon trek was froze out but 18 braved it on February 10 to x-country ski to the creek and old cabin or explore the Valley of 13 Caves. Jamison's hot soup & cabin helped cure the chill.

Program/Meetings: White Pine Group

These 2007 White Pine Group Program/Meetings will be held in the large basement  meeting room at US Bank, Kennedy at Wacker, by Kennedy Mall on Dubuque's West End on the fourth Tuesday of each month; beginning at 7 PM. MARK YOUR CALENDARS. :)

March 27, Tuesday: PROGRAM, 7PM
Lois Norrgard
Upper Midwest Regional Director
Alaska Coalition

"Tongass National Forest, Alaska Coalition"
The Tongass is one of the last places in the United States where we can ask the question, "What is the value of wilderness?" and still have time to answer it.

The mist-shrouded forests and clear-flowing streams of the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska make up the largest remaining temperate rainforest in the world and cover an island landscape marked by narrow inlets and glacier carved fiords. It is an incomparable wonder of nature owned by all Americans. The giant old growth trees, many over thousands of years old, are home to many rare and endangered species such as bald eagles, grizzly bears, wolves, sitka black-tailed deer, marbled murrelet, goshawk, and all five species of salmon.

But this ancient rainforest is threatened by clear-cut logging--business as usual for the Forest Service. In 2005, according to Forest Service records, we lost $48 million in taxpayer paid subsidies on road building, irresponsibly damaging a national treasure that attracts hunters, fishermen, and tourists from around the world, $1 billion since 1982. Currently, the Tongass is the only forest nationwide where commercial logging is allowed in inventoried roadless areas.

Come learn about the history, the place and its values, and the ongoing battle to fully protect this awe-inspiring forest--the crown jewel of America's national forest system. There are many opportunities to take steps to help protect this national treasure.

The Alaska Coalition is a nationwide coalition of over 1000 conservation, sporting, business, labor and religious groups working together to protect Alaska's wild public lands.

Join the Alaska Coalition Network
ph/fx: 952-881-7282

April 24, Tuesday: 7PM
US Bank, Kennedy/Wacker
PROGRAM: "Ice Climbing" by White Pine Group members Bill Jamison and Keith Boever along with Karl Steichen. Dramatic photos of frozen waterfalls and of their ice climbing adventures at Pikes Peak State Park near McGregor, IA, and the climbing equipment used will be shown.

May 22, Tuesday: 7PM
US Bank, Kennedy/Wacker
PROGRAM: "Wilderness of Zanskar" by Joe Garrity. As his February 27 program, Joe introduced us to the culture and mountains of northern India. In this program, he will take us to the high and arid lands of Zanskar, the western part of northern India's Ladakh Province. Trek with him to the high Kanji La pass connecting the city of Leh to the city of Kargil near the politically turbulent border with Pakistan.

Plan Ahead

The Autumn Turkey Dinner Fundraiser will be on November 3, 2007.

Don't say we didn't tell ya!

Other Event Opportunities

March 9-11: "Canoecopia" Madison, Wisconsin
Sierra Magazine and National Outings are sponsors this year. Hundreds of canoes and kayaks, more than 100 presentations; more than 150 outfitters & exhibitors. Check

March 17: "Bluebird Workshop"
Swiss Valley Nature Center, 10-12

March 21: "Mississippi; Tales of the Last River Rat."
Meet storyteller Kenny Salwey. Book signing. Award-winning documentary, Davenport, IMAX. 6:30 and 7:55 PM. Film admission free; donations to benefit Nahant Marsh will be accepted.

March 22: "Keep Iowa Beautiful"
Dubuque County affiliate, Swiss Valley Nature Center, 7 PM.
Fight litter as just one example of community betterment programs for area groups to initiate.

April 6: "Owl Prowl"
Swiss Valley Nature Center, 7 PM.

April 14: "Wildflower Walk"
Swiss Valley, 1-2:30

April 22. "Earth Day Hike"
Effigy Mounds. Hosted by Cedar Prairie Group, Iowa Sierra Club.
10 AM guided bird walk; 11 AM Woodland Wildflower hike (1.5 hour). Contacts: PamWolter, Rebecca Jimenez.

White Pine 2007 Group Outings


Outing participants are expected to sign a liability waiver, a copy of which can be previewed at RSVP to Outings Chair Barb Cooey, Editor Dick Worm, or the designated Outing contact person for details and participation plans. Some Outings have several options. Explore and Enjoy... selectively! :)

March 23-25 "Whitewater Canyon Area Spring Equinox Celebration"
(Select from a variety of activities during this action-packed weekend.) Bill and Alaine Jamison live near the newly designated Whitewater Canyon Wildlife Area and another upstream stretch of Whitewater Creek that also has rugged bluffs and vistas. Activity options will explore and experience these areas:

Friday and/or Saturday evening, March 23 & 24: Backpack camp in a remote area along Whitewater Creek upstream from Whitewater Canyon Wildlife Area; or car camp at the nearby Fillmore Recreation Area, and/or use the Jamison's drive-up cabin for evening meal and alternative lodging for maximum of three people. Meet at Jamison cabin. RSVP for time and logistics to Dick Worm after March 20.

Saturday, March 24: "Hike and GPS/geocaching Demonstration", Whitewater Canyon Wildlife Area, Meet at parking lot at 10 AM. Nick Wagner will provide a few virtual and actual geocache "treasure hunts" as we hike the trail to Whitewater Creek; but some off-trail exploration will later increase the difficulty of some alternative exploration. Bring a lunch if plan to stay after 1 PM for later activity.

Saturday, March 24:  "Whitewater Creek Area Hike and Cook-Out." Meet at the Jamison cabin at 2 PM. A woodland hike (on trail with some off-trail options) to Whitewater Creek and vistas will be followed by a bring-your-own personal items to grill and potluck sharing dinner at 6 PM. RSVP: Bill Jamison and MAYBE he will grill a pork or a beef roast FOR us! :) Bring $$, too, in that case.

March 30 (Fri). or 31 (Sat) "Moon Walk"
Meet at Swiss Valley Nature Center Parking Lot, at 7 PM, Friday evening March 30 for a moonlight stroll around the Stream Bottom Loop Trail, about 4 miles. There is a Full Moon on April 2, so the waxing gibbous moon ought to be up to brighten the pathway. (But bring a headlamp or flashlight for shadowy sections!) In case of cloudy weather, alternate date is Saturday night March 31. If cloudy then, also, outing will be cancelled. Please RSVP to Carol (Butchie) Thompson to<br>double check on parking and cloudy prospects, and for cocoa logistics following the hike.

NOTE: The following three outings are canoe/kayak outings. Dick Worm has access to a canoe trailer and 8 canoes that can be made available with paddles and Personal Flotation Devices as needed. Bill Jamison may have access to some canoes. Your RSVP can include a request for a canoe reservation. FREE!

April 14 (Sat.) "Canoe/Kayak Float Trip on the North Fork of Maquoketa River from Hillside 'Ghost Town' to just North of Cascade"
Meet at 10 AM at the Hillside Launch area. Directions: 1.2 miles north of Cascade turn west onto Goose Hill Road (D-47). Go 5.5 miles and turn right (north) onto Recker Rd. Go 2.2 miles and turn right onto 333rd Ave. Go 0.7 mile and turn right onto 330th Ave. Go 0.6 mile and turn right onto 305th St. Go 1.4 mile to the Hillside "Ghost Town" launch site. (If worried, meet at 9:30 AM at the Rt. 136 and Goose Hill Rd. intersection.)  The float trip will be about 9-10 miles. Bring a lunch. At least one vehicle will be left at the Rt. 136 bridge to take drivers back to Hillside at the end of the float trip. RSVP: Bill Jamison or Dick Worm.

May 19 (Sat) "Canoe/Kayak Trip from Whitewater Bridge to Ozark Bridge on the North Fork of Maquoketa River south of Cascade"
Bill Jamison is also coordinating this 12 float mile trip. Meet by 10 AM at the Whitewater Bridge Access on County Road D-61 East out of Cascade. From Dubuque, D-61 may be reached from US 151 via County Road Y-31 South through Bernard. One or two vehicles will be left at the Ozark Access to return drivers to the Whitewater Access. Route between the Accesses follows D-61, 7th Ave./267th St. and 21st Ave.

June 2 (Sat) "Catfish Creek Clean-Up"
June 2 is kickoff for National River Clean-Up Week sponsored by American Rivers. Our Catfish Creek Clean-up is registered so receives free trash bags and coffee courtesy of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Volunteers are eligible to enter contests for prizes such as free kayaks and canoes. Our event will begin at 9 AM at the canoe launch parking area in the Mines of Spain by the Catfish Creek Bridge. Walk the shoreline as well as canoe or kayak, including some near shore of Mississippi River. Recyclables will be sorted from the trash. Have gloves, insect repellant, etc. Bring a lunch.

August 24-26 "Group Picnic/Camp-Out" at Dick and Jane Worm's Faraway Farm 8 miles south of Dubuque. This is several months away so mark your calendar and plan NOW to attend this opportunity to explore and enjoy with fellow Sierrans in a quiet and private setting. (Gate for the pond lane will open Friday at 4 PM and stay open through Sunday evening.)

Come for all or any of these options: Arrive anytime Saturday for the noon picnic, hiking, pond activities, and evening campfire. Primitive camp August 24 and/or 25. (Several tents are available for anyone wanting to try tenting.)

The Saturday noon potluck picnic at the pond shelter is the main event. Grills will be provided. Bring your own meat or morsels to grill; a salad, vegetable, or dessert to share; utensils; beverages; lawn chairs. Picnic tables are in the shelter. All other camp meals and drinking water are Bring Your Own. An outhouse is nearby.

On this 150 acre conservation easement property on bluff land overlooking the Mississippi River, the pond (with a raft, dock, canoes, a boat, and a paddleboat) offers opportunity to fish, swim, and paddle. Trails from the pond lead to the Mississippi River shore, to a Big Bluestem prairie grass site, to the river bluff, and to a high ridge. Find sink holes, fern covered rock faces, a pit mine, and river vistas. Try some GPS techniques. Stay for evening campfire and night hike on Friday and/or Saturday.

Bring insect repellent. Off-trail wanderers may encounter poison ivy and thorny brush.

Tenting options are on the pond's dam near the shelter, fire ring, an outhouse; at two mowed river bluff locations (one with a fire ring and nearby outhouse); or at other more remote spots.  Another mowed site by the remains of an old stone cabin on the high ridge is on the same level as Echo Hills Drive so can easily be hiked to from Dick and Jane's home or less easily by trail up from the pond.


by Joe Runyan

The Iditarod Trail--Where it All Happens

Many mushers opt to satisfy the rules requirement to take their mandatory eight-hour Yukon rest at Grayling. The checkers, who are traditionally residents of the community, note the time of arrival and make it a point to tell the mushers when they are allowed to leave.

Usually, the sled is packed and the team booted for the trail about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. One of the volunteers at the checkpoint can help the musher get his team out of its resting place and back on the road in front of the old community hall. Usually, the sled is packed and the team booted for the trail about 10 minutes ahead of schedule. One of the volunteers at the checkpoint can help the musher get his team out of its resting place and back on the road in front of the old community hall. the checker's watch to turn eight hours. No one wants to waste time unnecessarily, so the team leaves Grayling promptly.

The community hall is about 100 yards from a slip that takes the team back down on the Yukon. Going from the calm and protected village checkpoint and then dropping 30 or 40 vertical feet back onto the river is like falling into the ice cream freezers at the supermarket. It is always colder on the Yukon, for reasons we have already discussed. The smart mushers know that and dress warm before they depart.

Ben Stamm, 58, was born on December 8, 1946. He is a veteran musher who has been racing for four years, from his home in Argyle, Wisconsin. Ben is a seasonal construction worker who enjoys running his dogs around farmer's fields, down bike and snowmobile trails.

Ben notes his most significant achievement, during the 2004 race he finished in 43rd place, while learning to overcome sleep deprivation. "My goal is to run as far as I can and as fast as I can and keep my dogs happy," he said. Ben uses X-back harnesses and a Hans Gatt sled.

"My team's greatest strength is that we raised all of our dogs from puppies and our ability to communicate with them. Their greatest weakness is not having the right terrain and weather conditions for training. We don't get a lot of snow in our area," he said.

Barb Cooey, while a volunteer at Grayling, will be wearing special mittens and overboots obtained to help her stay warm.

Parks Volunteer Opportunity: Butterfly Gardener

Dates of Opportunity Availability:
Opportunity start date: April 1, 2007.
Opportunity end date:  October 15, 2007.

Hours of Service Requested:
Length of hours served at one time and hours of day are flexible according to availability.

Volunteer assistance is requested for planting and caring of an individual plot in the butterfly garden.  Plants, seeds, and tools are provided.  Some maintenance of controlling invasive species in the garden plots is necessary.  Use of loping shears, hand pruners, and Tordon RTU may be used for removing tatarian honeysuckle and common buckthorn.  Also, garlic mustard may be pulled by hand.

There are 25 garden plots open for adoption.  Opportunity is suitable for kids through adults.  Volunteer will be trained in some plant identification.  Volunteer would be benefitted by having gardening experience but it is not required.  Volunteer needs to wear suitable clothing for particular tasks such as leather gloves and long pants.

Iditarod 2007, Southern Route; Last Great Race

Last year, our White Pine Group's Outings Chair, Barb Cooey, flew to Alaska at this time of year and served as a volunteer at Iditarod Race headquarters in Anchorage answering school children's questions emailed to Zurna, the Iditarod Husky, and other duties such as packing gear boxes for checkpoint workers and learning to handle a powerful husky on a leash. She applied as a volunteer again this year and knowing that ham radio operators have agood chance of getting a position at a checkpoint out on the trail, she studied with the local ham radio club and passed the operator's test in August. And, she DID get an assignment this year for the Grayling Checkpoint on the frozen Yukon River, but will not have to do ham radio communication. She will be a regular volunteer with duties such as dragging bales of hay to be bedding for the many teams that may layover there as one of the optional locations for a required 8-hour layover for all the mushers while on the Yukon Riyer section. Volunteers will care for the dog teams while the mushers rest.

Also, last year we featured native lowan musher, Mike Jaynes, who as a rookie finished an excellent 25th; and a Wisconsin rookie musher, Glenn Lockwood, from near Madison who received the Red Lantern Award given to the last place finisher as a symbol of "stick-to-itiveness".

This year we will follow the progress of native lowan and former Iowa University wrestler, rookie musher Matt Anderson, now living in Pinedale, WY; and Ben Stamm from Argyle, Wl, only about 50 miles from Dubuque. Ben was the first musher from Wisconsin to finish the Iditarod and has done so twice. Barb flew for Anchorage from Chicago on March 4, and after a couple of days of orientation there she will be flown to Grayling to prepare the area for the arrival of the mushers and to assist them when they do arrive. The official start of the race from Willow was also on the afternoon of March 4.

Some websites offer all sorts of information about the race and racers: and provide free coverage of race progress and other details and special interest reports. Checking the weather forecast for Grayling for Wednesday, March 7, the expected high temperature was 5 below with the nighttime low was expected to reach 30 below. It was to warm upon Friday to 10 above and only 15 below.

The following are some examples of details provided on the websites:

There are 27 checkpoints on this year's route, including the finish In Nome. Among the bigger checkpoints is Unalakleet (population 714). Some checkpoints are put in only for the race. Rohn and Iditarod, for instance, have no permanent residents. Most of stops, however, are in villages that usually have a small store, phone service and limited lodging.

Ophir to Iditarod: 90 miles
Iditarod to Shageluk: 65 miles
Shageluk to Anvik: 25 miles
Anvik to Grayling: 18 miles
Grayling to Eagle Island: 60 miles
Eagle Island to Kaltag: 70miles
Kaltag to Unalakleet: 90 miles

Southern Route
The approximate distance for the 2007 trail is 1112 miles, although it is always "officially" referred to as 1049 miles in honor of Alaska, being the 49th state to enter into the Union. The exact distance varies each year, due to variations caused by seasonal conditions.

2007 GROUP EXCOM, January 2007

Charlie Winterwood, Group Chair
Dick Worm, Newsletter/Membership
Bill Jamison
Becky Reisch
Joe Garrity

Appointed Positions
Group Outings, Barb Cooey
Treasurer, Mike Muir
Secretary/Turkey Dinner Fundraiser, Jane Worm
Conservation, Gretel Winterwood
Publicity, Carol Thompson
Webmaster, Todd Michaels

ELECTIONS: The Sierra Club is unique among major national environmental organizations in its emphasis on democratic election of leaders. Voting, even at the national level, has dropped to less than 10% of those receiving ballots. We should do better. VOTE in March for the National Board.

2007 Group EXCOM Election Results

Elected to the 2007 EXCOM in December:

Charlie Winterwood, Bill Jamison, & Dick Worm.
THANKS to candidates Jim Fahrion & Jane Worm.

Local Folks Backpack Trip(s), 2007

Dick Worm is offering to organize one or two Local Folks 7-day  backpack trips this coming summer. The approximate time frames and trip options include:

July 6-16 South San Juan Wilderness, Colorado
Hi-lites of this loop include 11,463 ft. Blue Lake on the continental divide; backpacking to 12.000 ft. Glacier Lake; an easy climb of 13,172 foot Conejos Peak; camel rock above Twin Lakes; and a Creede, CO. Repertory Theater performance. Dick has done this route several times. It is a comfortable, but high elevation trip south of Alamosa, Colorado.

Either August 31-Sept 10 or Sept. 7-17 are alternative dates for one of two possible trip options:

(1) A "Squaretop Loop" in Wyoming's Wind River Mountains' Bridger Wilderness begins and ends at Green River Lakes. Included are several scenic lakes, Porcupine Pass, spectacular vistas of Gannett and other continental divide peaks, and a 3000 foot climb of 11,695 foot Squaretop Mountain, one of the most photographed mountains in the Range, with the option to stop at Granite Lake or climb Granite Peak along the way. Dick has done this loop once and has passed by Squaretop twice, successfully climbing it once.

(2) Montana's Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness offers a continental divide straddling loop that Dick has mapped out but not yet tried. Hi-lites are three short days including a climb option of 10,460 ft. Warren Peak; a long day followed by a lay-over for an optional climb of 10,793 ft. West Goat Peak, highest in this wilderness; and crossings of the divide on the Continental Divide Trail at around 9000 feet.