My Volunteer Vacation! Building Hiking Trail In The Colorado Rockies.

The cool, thin mountain air stabbed my lungs with each breath as I lumbered up the trail at over 10,000 feet elevation, carrying the weight of my daypack, loaded with lunch and snack provisions, water for the day plus a little extra, raingear, binoculars, plus a slew of extras for "just in case", and, I was carrying a Pulaski, with which I would work all day, building a stretch of the Colorado Trail.

The morning sun and the physical activity was beginning to warm me, and I removed layers of clothing as I, along with around 20 other volunteers, progressed from our campsite at 9,800 feet to our work site at nearly 11,000 feet. Through clearings in the trees, traversing a small meadow, the view stretched out for miles and miles, and I felt like this mountain was the very top of the world, and I was on it. "This", I said, "is a vacation!"

Being a flatlander from Oklahoma, adapting to the thin air at this altitude took some time. But I had come up to Breckenridge, Colorado two days early for my week long stint as a trail builder. I had read about the Colorado Trail, a 490 mile stretch of hiking trail which roughly follows the continental divide from Denver to Durango in southwest Colorado, and I was impressed that it was built primarily by volunteers, with the support of the U.S. Forest Service. The Colorado Trail Foundation was formed to build and maintain the trail, and it was through that organization that I signed up for a week-long "trail crew".

My fellow crew members were from all parts of the United States, along with two people from Great Britain. Each were volunteers, and each brought their own tent and sleeping bag, their own eating plates and utensils, some good hiking/work boots, plenty of sunscreen for the high altitude sun, and a good attitude. We each paid thirty-five dollars to join the Colorado Trail Foundation, and the foundation provided the food for the week, which we cooked as we each took turns doing kitchen duty. The Forest Service hauled in potable water for us.

Setting up camp on Saturday was a team effort as we dug a latrine and erected the kitchen and community tents. On Sunday we learned to use the trail building tools properly and safely. We worked on the trail Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday was a free day for hiking, fly fishing or just resting, and Saturday morning was spent tearing down camp and restoring the site as best we could to lessen the effect our presence for a week had on the environment.

All in all, we built nearly a mile of fresh trail to the exacting specifications of the Forest Service. It is proud work, something that countless hikers and backpackers will enjoy for years to come.

For more information on this volunteer service contact the Colorado Trail Foundation website.

Help fight FCS. Is a cure at hand?

Picture yourself. You are very high up in a tree top, in a wooden container with a rounded bottom, perched precariously on a slender branch. The container teeters back and forth, side to side, as the wind blows. You are so afraid, not daring to move a muscle. Suddenly, without warning, the bough breaks and you are falling and falling. You crash to the ground and the cradle lands squarely on top of you.

Terrifying isn’t it? How can you go to sleep imagining that? But that’s the story that was repeated night after night to millions of babies, including me. It was called “rock-a-bye baby” time. I called it “torture” time.

That’s why I, along with countless others, suffer from Falling Cradle Syndrome (FCS). FCS needs your help. It has been proven that the more money we have, the better we sleep at night. Please send a generous contribution now. Send your check directly to me, and you’ll know you’ve done your part in the fight against this horrible affliction. Thank you for helping fund the cure.

For more information click on

Barking Frog Music Group - How It All Began.

The Story of The Barking Frog Music Group

"The mind will play funny tricks on you. One minute you’re in a business meeting or hard at work on the job, and then, something will hit you that brings back a familiar taste, or smell, or feeling, and the next thing you know, you’re remembering those times years ago, sitting around a campfire after a big camp meal, with friends or family. I remember we’d pull up logs and sit around . . just poking the fire, swatting bugs, swapping stories and singing songs, a lot of them made up right there on the spot. We’d pass around the guitar and those that could play would. Those that couldn’t would tell a joke, or a story, or recite a poem. But we’d all join in with something, and it’d go on ‘til the moon was way overhead, and the fire had burned down to red hot coals.

There’d be plenty of laughing and kidding around … and sometimes we’d get to laughing so hard that a “different” noise would come from somewhere around the campfire ... and everyone would look around at all the other faces in the smoke to try to guess who the guilty party was. Sooner or later, it would be agreed that it must have been just a big frog . . barking at the moon.

Those “barking frogs” earned quite a reputation in our part of the country, and it was hard to have a camp-out where you wouldn’t hear at least one or two. So, it came to be generally known that anyone who would come, and maybe join in and play, or sing, say a poem or tell a joke, was automatically a member of the Barking Frog Music Group. And back then, we had meetings just as often as we could.

Now, it’s a gathering around a virtual campfire. We call it the bfmg Café, and nearly every night it’s a new group of members sitting around playing their songs, and singing, and telling stories. Maybe you’ll join in, or maybe you’ll want to just sit back and listen. Either way, we hope you’ll have so much fun you’ll come back often. Click to the bfmg Café, put a beverage in your hand, put that work day behind you, and drag up a log! You're a member of the Barking Frog Music Group!

P.S. You might want to have a souvenir of your visit to the bfmg Café, or proof that you are a proud member of the Barking Frog Music Group. You’re invited to drop by the store to look over the bfmg collection. Cool!"