Bike/hiking trip cut short

11:20 a.m. on April 20, 2009 (EDT)
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The bike/hiking trip I had planned for this summer got cut short. I went down to Zion National Park and did some hiking but I got picked up on an old hiking without a permit charge from the Grand Canyon. I was arrested in Zion and put in jail in Hurricane Utah ( Purgatory Correctional Center) for 6 days then transfered to Flagstaffs Coconino Correction Facility for another 7 days before I went to court a week and a half ago at the federal courthouse here in Flagstaff. I ended up getting 3 years supervised probation, expulsion from all national parks for 3 years and time served the 13 days in jail. I also had to have a mental evaluation.

Maximum fine was 5 years probation, a $5000 fine and 6 months in jail. But I plead no contest. I hiked/camped in the Grand Canyon twice without a permit back in 2003. I was caught the second time (by volunteer rangers in the backcountry) but left without turning myself in once back on the rim.

So I am in Flagstaff now, I found a place to live on the east side and working at a place called the Downtown Diner where I last work back in the early 2000's one spring. Looks like I will be here for a while.

My plans are now to save for retirement in southern Utah.

12:30 p.m. on April 20, 2009 (EDT)
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... I also had to have a mental evaluation....

Well, Gary, since you are a backpacker and spend time in the backcountry, they "knew" you were certifiable, just like the rest of us dirtbags. After all, no sane person would go camping or travelling on a bicycle. Before retirement, I commuted to work by bike most of the time. Even here in bike-friendly SFBay Area, lots of people think bikies are off their rockers.

There was a story on the news today about the camping fees. Camping in the National Parks, Monuments, and Forests is at least $25/night and up to $40 in some places. Reservations are filling up within a day or 2 of the opening of the reservation window. The old days of just getting into the car with a bunch of friends and driving to the hills (not to mention wandering at will and freely about the continent) are long gone. You could spend $1200 a month just on the camping!

Good luck, lie low, and keep your nose clean.

10:12 p.m. on April 20, 2009 (EDT)
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Sorry to hear that, but your only banned from National Parks right?

Does your area have State Natural Areas, Heritige Preserves, Wildlife Refuges, Wilderness Areas, or anything like that you can still access?

Some of my favorite spots are in Wilderness Areas, no crowds, a lot fewer rules (not that I'm looking to break any), thing a lot of people don't get to see, and I would like to think maybe some things that have been untouched since the days the Cherokee lived here.

As Bill mentions, camping in one of my favorite national forests is 20.00 per night now. Lot's of rules too, because some folk here need to be babysitted apparently.

As far as the mental evaluation goes, I need one too, according to some of my family and friends. One of my family members tried to give me a shotgun for protection from bears, and a co-worker once asked me what I had against society. Huh?!

Best of luck to you Gary, hang in there were all pullin for ya'.

9:26 a.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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Yes, I can still hike everywhere that is not a national park. I like/prefer wilderness areas more too anyway. Like you said no crowds. There are plenty of places to see around Flagstaff outside the Grand Canyon. Theres Walnut, Sycamore and Oak Creek Canyons, Sunset and Meteor Crater, the areas around Sedona and a vast wilderness area surrounding town.

I will have plenty of wild places to keep me busy.

I had the mental evaluation and they told me there is nothing wrong with me that isn't wrong with anybody. We are all crazy to the point that society makes us that love the outdoors so much that we spend all our days off there.

My sister can't understand why I can go into the wilderness and not be afraid of the bears. She is constantly telling me to be safe and be sure to have her address in my wallet so if something happens they know what or whom to call to report the body.

I just joined a group called the Flagstaff Hikers club. The next meeting is tonight at a local cafe. Will be nice to meet some locals with hiking ideas for the area.

1:06 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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What a crazy world we live in...Time in jail for hiking a trail?

I really hope all turns out well for you Gary! When life shuts a door it usually opens another, or a couple! I also got caught in Jasper and got off with a warning. The irony is that i'm applying for a job with the Parks this summer.

Enjoy Flaggstaff, 3 years is fast gone.

1:50 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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a co-worker once asked me what I had against society.

That one made me laugh! I'm not sure what the right comeback is, but I bet there are some good ones.

As to Gary and his original post, good luck to you and I hope everything works out for the best.

2:52 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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What a crazy world we live in...Time in jail for hiking a trail?

I really hope all turns out well for you Gary! When life shuts a door it usually opens another, or a couple! I also got caught in Jasper and got off with a warning. The irony is that i'm applying for a job with the Parks this summer.

Enjoy Flaggstaff, 3 years is fast gone.

Holy crap. I'm with Franc. No wonder our jail system is full. What a bunch of garbage. I've never even heard of needing a permit to hike, but I guess that's why I just stay in the midwest.

6:28 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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The Grand Canyon is one of a few national parks that charges more than a permit fee, they also charge $5 per day hiking. Which for me when I work and average of 4 months a year is steep to pay and extra $150 a month just for camping fees. $150 a month is my usual food budget. I can go 8 months for $1200. I usually take Greyhound to get from one place to another like Jackson Hole to Flagstaff for about $60 on the 14 day advance notice ticket. So I would usually spend about $1500 for a 8 month hiking adventure.

I like to stay out of the crowded areas and just go into the woods around me where ever I am. So I guess that will be around Flagstaff for a few years.

6:38 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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east said

I've never even heard of needing a permit to hike,

Boy, you've led a sheltered life! There are many areas where a permit or several permits are required - wilderness permit for many Wliderness Areas (the legally designated ones), fire permits (for building a campfire while camping, sometimes restricted to a stove), climbing permits (for hiking or climbing up many mountains), rafting/kayaking/canoeing permits on many rivers (including a certain one where an infamous movie was made, as well as running the Grand Canyon and some other "Wild and Scenic Rivers"), and many more. I have encountered them in almost all parts of the country. Many countries require them as well, though there are places like Scandinavia, where a law referred to as "All Men's Right" allows camping almost anywhere, including private property.

Gary's sister told him -

... to be safe and be sure to have her address in my wallet so if something happens they know what or whom to call to report the body.

Yeah, sure, and what if the bear chews up your wallet or loses it in a stream? "Sorry, Sis, we caught this bear trying to use your brother's ATM card, but we haven't been able to find him to return it. We've been having problems with these mugger bears lately."

11:12 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
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Yeah and those darn bears mug shots all look alike.

6:18 a.m. on May 3, 2009 (EDT)
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I once arrived at Wilson's Promontory National Park south of Melbourne, Australia, in late afternoon. Went into the HQ to check in for my 3 day hike, and when the ranger asked me when I wanted to leave, I said "Right now."

"But--but-- you can't hike at night!"

"Why not?"

Fortunately the ranger had no answer and there were no regs against it, so I set out. Half-plus moon high in the sky, plenty of natural light for the four- hour hike to a beach campsite, cooking, and setting up a tent.

I know national park staff often have to deal with a lot of clueless people, and I guess that's partly where that comes from, but it's an example of a kind of rigid regulation-mindedness that leads to these kind of showdowns.

Glad to hear you're free to roam again, Gary.

11:40 a.m. on May 3, 2009 (EDT)
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Free to raom outside all national parks, but maybe its for the better. I used to want to disappear into the Grand Canyon. I even planned it with placing food caches in the backcountry at different spots with a total of 6 months worth of caches. They are still hidden in there and under shady spots or buried. But you know the park service considers anything left in the canyon longer than 6 months litter. So after I was ticketed in 2003 and tld not to return to the park, I gace directions for the park service or anyone else to find them. I don't know if anyone used them or not or if the park service picked them up. Now after 6 years even I don't remember where they all are, about 12 of them, everywhere from Salt Canyon near the Little Colorado to the South Bass, and everywhere in between, like Clear Creek and up Phantom Creek.

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