Archive for the ‘epic journeys’ Category


i heart colorado

March 21, 2010

This is what I did this weekend.  At least, the part of it when I wasn’t mostly laying low or driving friends around to tour breweries.

Rahr! Nohku Crags!

I heart Colorado, indeed.  I will post and tell you about it in more detail (with illustrations) soon.


trip report! part seven: the gila hasty wrap-up post

January 14, 2010

All right, it’s been too long since the Gila trip to continue posting about it for much longer, so here’s the hasty-wrap up where I tell you about only the most interesting things that happened on the rest of the journey.

Namely, hypothermia and being stopped by the border patrol.

So, hypothermia!   Hypothermia is bad.  It’s also something I never thought I’d have to worry about on a backcountry trip, growing up in North Carolina and all.  Turns out this is a bad assumption even for NC, because as I discovered on this trip, it doesn’t actually have to be all that cold to encounter a risk of hypothermia.

The day after our “Thanksgiving” dinner, we set off down the Middle Fork of the Gila River.  We had heard that this was the most beautiful section of our planned hike, and also the one involving the most creek crossings.

Methinks we heard correctly.

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pseudo trip report: puerto rico is warmer than colorado

January 4, 2010

Greetings folks!  I am returned from the dead, or more accurately, vacation (the actual traveling and also enjoying the laziness on either side of it), and so you get an update.

While I never really quite finished the Gila posts, due to my desire to make them crazy detailed so that they’ll turn up on future backpackers’ web searches (I always wish for the real scoop on what trails are like when I’m planning a trip, and for the most part it’s not on the web), in the interests of pretty pictures, you get a link to my Puerto Rico photo album.  Here’s a preview.

The trip involved a lot of this sort of thing.

Most of the pictures have comments, so you’ll get a little story on what the trip was like, though perhaps I’ll give you more later on, once I get over whatever cold I have come down with and get back to work and such.

Also, I apologize in advance for any ad nastiness that the link may give you.  Facebook is not always my favorite place on the web.

Also also, happy new year!  2010 already, sheesh.


trip report! part six: frozen rivers and thanksgiving stew

December 17, 2009

Woo!  Posting two of these in a row, for once.  It must be obvious that I’m supposed to be doing something else right now.

Part five left us waking up on six inches of frozen soil, eager to get the hell out.  But, we did want to hang around and explore what we thought was quite a nice site, so we decided we’d try to move our camp to the sunny side of the river.  Over there, the soil would be unfrozen, we reckoned.

So, we got layered up in everything warm we had, and started exploring, looking for an easy way across.  On the way to the river, we encountered our first challenge: our water source, a side-creek that was much easier to access from our site, had completely frozen overnight.

Not a happy discovery for any of us.

The ice at least looked pretty cool up close, though.

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trip report! part five: permafrost is way uncool

December 15, 2009

Damn, I’d really better hurry up and post the rest of our epic tale…in five days, I’m leaving for yet further travels, and will have another trip report to post.  Won’t be as long, I imagine, because (hopefully) not as much will happen.  I like some vacations to be pleasant and uneventful.

At last update, we were just about to set out on the trail after our first night camping.  The real trail, that is.

But first, some of us had to tape up our feet, as river-crossing sandals aren't the best support for the second-worst feet my old PT guy had ever seen.

What ensued was a very pleasant hike, in near-sixty degree weather, under perfectly clear skies.  The Gila West Fork canyon narrowed in around us within a mile or so, making the scenery most excellent.

Cool rocks on the canyon walls above us.

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trip report! part four: on the trail at last…or so we thought

December 6, 2009

The last installment of our story left us geared up and ready to go.  As we were heading out on the trail, we thought to check with the ranger regarding wildlife — mostly, how careful did we need to be about hanging our food out of bear reach?  Turns out the bears were already hibernating (we should have taken this as an omen), and our only real concern should be for javelina, which are apparently pretty nasty little hog-like beasties.  Didn’t get to see any, which I don’t think I’m very disappointed about.

And so, we departed down the Gila west fork trail.  Most of our hiking at first was through some pretty nice sandy floodplain, and the trail, being along the river and well-marked with cairns, was easy to follow.

As described above, wide, flat floodplain. We've already had to wade a few times, evidently.

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trip report! part three: cliff dwellers and pot hunters

December 4, 2009

The last installment of our epic tale left us at the Gila Wilderness visitor center, after a story-worthy drive down from northern Colorado.

It turns out that we had arrived in perfect time, about an hour before the only guided tour of the nearby cliff dwellings that was offered that day.  So, after grabbing some contraband snacks to eat for lunch on the trail (food isn’t allowed, as rodents are apparently one of the biggest problems at historical sites like this one) and abandoning the mutt in the thoughtfully-provided kennel at the trailhead (apologizing to the attendant in advance for the hour of whining that was sure to ensue), we set out towards the cliffs to meet the tour group.

View of the cliff dwellings on the hike up to meet the guide.

The cliff dwellings at Gila are pretty cool.  Nothing on the scale of Mesa Verde, I’m told — I’ve never been there — but definitely interesting.  Their builders certainly picked a scenic site for them, overlooking quite a nice canyon.

Cliff Dweller Canyon. Apparently they farmed the rim -- seems like a nasty commute to work if you ask me.

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