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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


Perhaps you know me. I am a latte-sippin', digicam-totin', cubicle-escapin', REI-shoppin' lover of the outdoors. I can light a campfire, I can pitch a tent, and in bear country I know better than to sleep with the Oreos next to my head.

But Daniel Boone I am not - and the older I get, the more that bothers me.

Admit it: This country was built by folks who had serious outdoor chops, and we backpacking suburbanites are ill-equipped to follow their lead. We may be environmentally conscious in ways our forebears were not, but we will never be the bare-knuckled mountain-tamers they were. Whereas they laid hands on the wilderness, we experience it as if through a veil, and with every year that goes by, the veil becomes more opaque. On weekends, as I wander the well-trod trails to which my kind are increasingly confined, I wonder whether I'm really connecting to the outdoors at all. In it, but not of it - you know the feeling?

There should be an official diagnosis for the midlife malaise of the weekend hiker. Fanny Pack Syndrome? Protein Bar Dependency? Whatever, I'm not waiting for the docs to find a cure. Recently, I decided it was time to find my own way back to the wilderness, to make a serious effort to be the kind of guy who feels at home in any forest, in any circumstance. So I enrolled in a course in basic wilderness skills at the Colorado Outdoor Adventure Guide School, where middle-of-the-road campers like me learn from superoutdoorsmen like Jeff Miner, one of the school's top instructors for the last decade. The man has traversed some of the nation's toughest backcountry terrain, guiding - and occasionally rescuing - sportsmen lucky enough to have him along. What Jeff knows, he knows from experience. But his credentials would come later. When he introduces himself as I step from my rental car, all I know is that a sandy-haired man dressed in jeans and a camouflage shirt is shaking my hand and, without saying a word, conveying the distinct impression I should just leave my laptop and iPod in the trunk.

COAGS is no namby-pamby gold-faucet operation. On a private ranch about 50 miles from Colorado Springs, the school sits on the south side of Pikes Peak, a few rustic buildings in a clearing surrounded by aspen, pine, and fir. In the center is a lodge bisected into a meeting room and dining room, plus a ramshackle add-on kitchen in which Jeff's wife, Theresa, somehow manages to crank out the kind of wonderful Western meals you haven't seen since Bonanza.

My cabin sits to one side of the lodge with a handful of others. There's no running water - a row of portable outhouses sits a few yards away, while showers are located in a building by the horse stables. But there are bunk beds, a couple of tables and chairs, and most thoughtfully, a mousetrap.



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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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