M. John Fayhee

Writer, Editor, Bullshitter, Mountain Gazette Resurrector

"When in Rome, Do as the Romanians"

Quickish sand »

Quickish sand

Act 1 Over the course of about a tenth of a second that was defined by high adrenaline, after having jumped off a small rock ledge while hiking down a saturated arroyo I have been visiting of late, I had this mental conversation with myself (think of Tom Hanks’ maintaining discourse with Wilson while stranded […]


Misdirection »

Note: This first appeared on the Mountain Gazette website a couple years ago. I have resurrected it because the subject of cairn-building has recently been discussed in the venerable pages of the High Country News. Off to the north of a trail I have hiked, biked, skied and snowshoed more times than I can remember […]
Cover Letters

Cover Letters »

  Maybe a decade ago, when my tenure at the magazine I had long edited was clearly headed down the shitter, I started, out of quiet desperation, regularly eyeballing a help-wanted website called journalismjobs.com. I am a creature of habit; once I start doing something, I usually continue until there is an overt reason to […]

Still »

Part One: Cosmic eddy It is a small window when time meets action in New Mexico’s Gila Country. During monsoon season, the diminutive creek next to which I am walking — a regular tromping haunt — flows high, muddy and loud. Upstream campgrounds are often closed due to flash flood concerns. Soon enough, though, as […]

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 Applebee’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 »

“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 »

“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 »

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 […]
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