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Backpacker Magazine – September 2005

What Would Davy Crockett Do?

He'd toss the titanium stove and build a big fire. Our man enrolls in a traditional guide school and learns how to survive - and think - like an American original.

by: Michael Mason


We cannot be lost.

We have ridden on horseback into the mountains only a few miles from the school. Pikes Peak, one of the continent's signature summits, looms directly ahead, and to the west we can see a distinctive, azure lake. And yet here we are - Becky, Billy, Sam, Danny, and me - on our stomachs in a meadow, drawing lines all over a map, not even remotely certain of our precise whereabouts.

"God, we suck," says Becky.

Today we are putting our new orienteering skills to the test. Now frustration is building, as are the afternoon thunderheads. Jeff lowers the binoculars he's been using to spy for elk. "Sight something closer, not the peak, not so far away," he advises. "And what's the first thing we do? We orient ourselves."

Our map, it appears, is not even positioned correctly on the ground, and we cannot decide how to triangulate our position without the peak. "Just look at where you are," says Jeff, exasperated. "You're in a saddle, near a lake, there's a butte at one end."

Sam points to the map. "The butte is here?"

"No," sighs Jeff. "That's a cliff."

Now Sam is annoyed. As the rest of us continue to take sightings, he quietly pulls a GPS out of his pocket and activates it. "Keep him busy," he whispers.

There's no need. Billy has figured out what we're doing wrong (a declination slip-up, naturally), and after some hasty recalculation, locates us on the map. We look at one another, relieved but sobered. Team COAGS was beginning to look like bear bait.

After a quick lunch, we check to see that the horses are still tethered, then strike out into the backcountry on foot. The day has turned gray and misty, and the forest we enter feels like a congregation of unhappy ghosts. Not far into the trees, we pass a collapsed mine shaft. Prospectors discovered gold in this area in 1890, and at one time 500 mines were in operation. Some 21 million ounces were extracted, an unearthly amount exceeding the yields of the California and Alaska gold rushes combined. Many men became wealthy, but many more died out here, in the wild. The very outdoor skills I am trying to learn are a legacy from them, and from hunters and loggers and legions of others who came unapologetically to exploit the land. Hikers like me could not be in the backcountry without the knowledge they accumulated.



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Anonymous
Oct 02, 2012

OUCH!! $250,000 !! Too bad Jeff Miner doesn't own anything, the Ball's will be lucky if they ever collect a dime from him. He's got a couple junker vehicles, not worth $1000 total.

Anonymous
Oct 02, 2012

m

Anonymous
Sep 23, 2012

Jeff, you can't even figure out who writes these comments about you? Past investors, do the math Jeff, as of September 21, 2012 you should have received your notification of judgement against you. Let's see, more than $250.000.00 owed to Mr and Mrs. Ball for fraud. What was it, $100.000.00 plus in civil damages and over $100.000.00 in punitive damages? Oh yeah, your innocent allright!
Surely you can't be so ignorant as to think all the persons writing their comments in this article have no knowledge of your slimy background. Oh and yes I understand you are being pursued for criminal actions also, in New Mexico and Colorado. The wheels of justice turns slow when you are a victim, but justice is finally catching up to you.
Better get busy hiring lawyers, you are going to need them. Don't worry your little brain about who writes these comments, worry about how your going to pay what you owe and how you'll do your time.


Jeff Miner
Sep 14, 2012

I would sure like it if all the people that have written on this page would reveal who they are. I and Theresa went through a Full New Mexico Trial over the purchase of Chama River Outfitters. That trial ended in the end of June 2012. As of today there still has not been a ruling in that trial. I would also like all of you to get your FACTS correct if you are going to slander me in public. I will wait your responses, and please write down your name if you are 100% sure of what you are talking about. As for the Former Investor, the fact is that Theresa and I have a court ordered Judgement in Mesa County Court that stipulates that you owe us several Thousands of dollars, and we have NEVER been paid a penny of that judgement. Now for the person that says we are Banned for LIFE in New Mexico, this is also false, my New Mexico License is fully intact and Valid. Again please know your facts. I stand here to defend my Family and Myself to this Slander and Defamation on my personal character. Please stand up and acknowledge yourself. Outfitters License in CO. is #2621 and NM is #4577 Now for the person that says don't rent or sell anything to us, reveal yourself and let Me know what you think we owe You. Thank You for your time Jeff Miner

Anonymous
Aug 29, 2012

Well it's about time that folks are catching on to these thieves !!! Yes, all of the above is correct. Horrible reputation in their community and across the country. Lie, steal, owe everone $, write bad checks. It's a wonder that Jeff isn't in jail yet..but he time is coming. ANOTHER word of caution.....NEVER rent to them !!!! not a house, a horse pasture, or even a storage unit....you won't get paid. Oh and if you sell them anything...get cash upfront.

Former investor
Aug 24, 2012

Jeff and Theresa are the biggest scammers in the outfitting, guiding, educational and equine business I have ever found. As an investor who met Jeff and Theresa, they thrive on those who need to live an exciting life and have money to invest and pray on those whom have an existing business and want to or are ready to retire. If you come in contact with these bottom feeders, run like the wind. They are predators.
They NEVER tell the truth and will someday receive their penance for their actions.
They are thieves, liars, predators and the lowest form of flesh that exist. Contact the above Cache Creek outfitters, any citizen of Collbran CO., the Colorado Outfitters Assoc., the New Mexico Outfitters Assoc., their convictions in New Mexico where they have been banned for life from hunting, guiding and outfitting.
BE AWARE!

Anonymous
Aug 22, 2012

AGREE 100% Jeff and Teresa Miner ARE complete phony LIARS. BEWARE. Jeff will lie thru his teeth and then go to church and tell more lies. And then his lovely wife Teresa will totally back up his lies.
Complete scammers who are run off of every outfit they work for.

b
Aug 22, 2012

xx

deed16
Jul 02, 2012

Agreed, they are the biggest fakes! How about Jeff being a Deadbeat father who owes over $100,000.00 in back child support and has been running and hiding for years! Check out New Mexico Court website they were being sued for Verified Complaint for Breach of Contract, Civil Fraud, Conspiracy, conversion and Tortious Damage to Reputation not to mention they were outfitting without a license! Check out the Chama Rivers website, there is a disclaimer about doing any business with Jeff Miner! Be careful doing business with him he is not trustworthy!

Deb83
Jul 02, 2012

Asher 42
Jan 03, 2012

Jeff and Theresa miner are the biggest fakes in the outfitting industry. Call cache creek outfitters in New Mexico,or the Colorado Outfitters Association...they cannot be trusted whatsoever

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