Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Heading to the Grand Canyon

Diane and I are about to leave for our annual trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. This trip will be short, down on Saturday and up on Sunday. As usual, the trip will be grand (pun intended). I should be able to post tonight and on Sunday and Monday, but I will be traveling and will have other priorities (like enjoying myself). Even so, I might post something on our trip, especially considering that this will be second trip in a row to Phantom Ranch where the water system is broken and, though there is drinking water, there will be no showers. More details to follow.


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  • Keith

    I also am headed to the Grand Canyon with my 2 kids. I’ll arrive Sunday evening, leave Tuesday. No roughing it for us, though. Staying in a hotel.

  • Edward

    It’s been a few decades since I hiked down to Phantom Ranch. My father made us start back up early, early in the morning, as he advised that it gets hot coming up. He was right! The stop to rest at Indian Gardens was much needed, and the water-houses along the trail were precious.

    Have a good trip.

  • Kirk

    Enjoy yourselves! Too bad you don’t have an extra day to take a hike up the North Kaibab to Ribbon Falls for a shower there.

    That’s a pretty spot, though I’ve done my Grand Canyon hiking in February or March when showers like that aren’t quite as comfortable. I’ve found that up until Spring Break starts in earnest, walk-up back country permits are readily available. (Advanced planning isn’t my strong suit.) It can be chilly on the rim that time of year, but hiking conditions down below are wonderful.

    Back in 2005 or 2006, we tried a five day rim to rim to rim, but started down only hours before a blizzard which closed the South Rim for three days. There was no snow down at the river, but our tents got a fair covering of snow up at Cottonwood Campground on the second night. We then started up well before dawn, and hoped to make it to the North Rim and back down to Cottonwood the same day, but were pushing through thigh-deep snow drifts on the trail by the time we made it to the Supai Tunnel (with 1400 vertical feet still to go to the North Rim). By then it was noon, and since we had left the tents pitched at Cottonwood and were packing light, we had to turn back around.

    I’d love to reattempt that hike someday, blizzard and all, but packing snowshoes and tent and allowing two days for Cottonwood to the North Rim and back.

  • Kirk: Sounds like you’ ve had a lot of fun in the Canyon. I also suspect that you are relatively new to Behind the Black and don’t realize that Diane and I do this every year. Been to the bottom more times now than I can count, and loved every trip. The Grand Canyon always makes me happy.

    Do a search on Behind the Black for the Grand Canyon. You’ll find some posts by me that I am sure you will find interesting.

  • wayne

    Kirk– interesting Adventures!

    Mr Z.–
    We need some weather (temperature) reports from the Canyon! (does it actually get “cold” at night, in the desert?) (I’ve never been West of the Mississippi.)
    –past week in Michigan, it’s been a literal sauna; temperatures in the mid 90’s and with 90%+ humidity.

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