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The Valley of the Shadow

The Valley of the Shadow

January 16, 2013 | Doug Mielke

The sign read:

DO NOT attempt to hike from the rim to the river and back in one day, especially May to September.

But that was for normal people. The Hermit Trail spanned only nine miles from the canyon’s rim down to the Colorado River. I could jog it in an hour and a half and be back up in another three. I snorted at the sign in contempt as I checked my daypack. Even though it was mid -June and Tonto Plateau would top out at a hundred and fifteen degrees by afternoon, my quart canteen would be enough. I could always bushwhack up a slot canyon and find a spring. The main thing I didn’t want to forget was my new Yashika Electro-AX. It was the hottest new 35mm on the market and I was determined to get some stellar shots of this remote section of the canyon. I threw in a light weight sleeping bag, just in case, ignored the mandatory remote area registration station at …
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Alone Together

Alone Together

December 21, 2012 | Doug Mielke

Danny Fitzgerald was the king of our neighborhood. It wasn’t because he was an admirable person, nor was it because he was a great athlete, or one of the more popular guys at our school. He was the neighborhood king because we feared him. Danny Fitzgerald was a bully.

In hindsight, he and his two brothers were probably victims themselves. Everyone was familiar with the alcohol infused, door slamming, window shattering melees his parents got into almost every weekend… but for all of us, he was our worst nightmare.

We always kept an eye out for him with an escape route in reserve, so we could dodge his cruelty. Still, there was one place where we couldn’t avoid him, a place where we were all at his mercy… the bus stop.

Mornings were easier than afternoons. On the way to school we all kept our distance until the bus pulled up. Then we would scurry on board like frightened cockroaches in order to avoid his spitting, cuffing and kicks.

In …
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