M. John Fayhee

Writer, Editor, Bullshitter, Mountain Gazette Resurrector

"When in Rome, Do as the Romanians"

Discordance »

Discordance

“What I must do is to take life on its lowest level, gather my soul together, and stand what fate sends.” — John Cowper Powys, “Maiden Castle”   Part I: Head-bangers’ ball at Appleby’s   It is a question I almost always pose to motel clerks after a long day on the road, when, because ...

Linguistic contractions

Linguistic contractions »

It was the kind of country store that used to dot America’s rural landscape back in the days before automobile mania became so epidemic that people started driving all the way to town just for a quart of milk or a pack of smokes. These dusty, musty and creaky-floored emporiums of the sometimes absurd purveyed ...
Forethought

Forethought »

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” — Arnold Palmer Among my greatest accomplishments is the fact that I never had the slightest interest in taking up golf. And it’s not as though opportunity has not knocked. I worked for a couple summers running the very modest tennis program in Grand Lake, Colorado, a mountain ...
Geomorphology

Geomorphology »

“Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” — Bible, New Testament, Galacians 6:7   The system of cairns appeared out of nowhere in the middle of nowhere, with no discernible connection to anywhere else, as though they had been planted by a disoriented Johnny Cairnseed before last autumn’s record rainfall. This did not ...
Mexico's Copper Canyon Country.

Possessed: Part 1: Paper Trails »

Last weekend, I rented the much-anticipated movie version of Jack Kerouac’s seminal “On the Road.” Though I have never been the world’s most enthusiastic Kerouac fan, and though the movie did not especially appeal to me (at least partially because it did not stand alone very well; that is to say: a viewer would already ...
Flagging

Flagging »

Eyeball a map of New Mexico’s massive Gila National Forest and, off to the southwest of the Gila’s main body, you will see a detached section of green. At the heart of this detached swath of forest lie the Burro Mountains, which consist of three side-by-side 8,000-foot summits that, in loftier realms would be considered ...
Cameroon Diary 3: Tracks in the Sand

Cameroon Diary 3: Tracks in the Sand »

One of the most-glaring seeming contradictions with regards to your average modern-American (especially of the Western U.S. variety) self-propelled outdoor recreationist is that, while we might be able to sniff the air to plus-or-minus ascertain whether precipitation is imminent, and while we may be able to, with a little luck, find our way through an ...
Douala at night

Cameroon Diary 2: Synonym City »

Since our taxi driver, Maurice, spoke nary a lick of English, and since neither my wife nor I understand any French more complicated than laissez les bon temps roulez, the look on our chauffeur’s mug was likely the response to nothing more than fundamental intra-language cross-circuiting. By utilizing a combination of hand gestures, crude drawings ...
Cameroon Diaries, Part 1: Window Seat

Cameroon Diaries, Part 1: Window Seat »

It would be both trite and stylistically derivative in the extreme to remark how airplanes have altered the landscape of travel, how the gradations of gradual orientation long ago dissipated into the ether of contrails. Travel is disorienting enough without, as but one random example, waking up in a snowstorm and sub-zero temperatures in the ...
Ruined

Ruined »

Author’s note: Several years ago, I was given an assignment by a glossy outdoor magazine to pen a story about hiking Peru’s famed Inca Trail. After I completed the hike, but before the article appeared in print, there was a bloody editorial coup d’état at the magazine and my Inca Trail piece was a casualty. ...
Older Posts »