It is 57 miles down the Little Colorado from Cameron to the Confluence with the Colorado River. 57 miles of relatively unknown territory to most with the exception of those hardy few who see the unimaginable gash in the Earth's crust while driving Hwy 64 during their approach to the Grand Canyon and ask themselves, "why aren't we going down there?" Little reliable beta about the route exists, a few trips reports are found online(most of them very outdated); but a good description of the route is written in the phenomenal guidebook Grand Canyoneering by Todd Martin. He describes the canyon as "a remote backpacking/wilderness trip" and gives it four stars. No real technical aspects besides the logistics; all dealing with
The canyons continued, and oh there are so many canyons! We were excited to move onto other portions of the plateau and slowly made our way north/east, even stopping along a couple of our favorite places to get a little backpacking in. The Canyons of the Escalante, North Wash, Robbers Roost; places one could easily bypass in favor of the surrounding "Mighty 5" when in reality ALL of Southern Utah is a national park. I had little experience with most of these areas. As always it was great connecting the dots, slowly filling in the blank spaces on the map only to realize that the list of places to explore just gets bigger and bigger every time.
You think you know a place, specifically the Colorado Plateau. After spending the month of October in Southern Utah/North Arizona I can attest that I surely do not. Upon ending my season at Olympic National Park, I said my goodbyes to the clouds and waves and booked it down to the desert for some sunshine and sandstone. Our focus would be technical canyons. I had high expectations for the trip, but could not have imagined just how many secrets this special place on the planet could hold.
Look on a map of Olympic National Park and you will notice a tract of trail-less terrain running a semi-circle around the Olympus massif. The Bailey Range is one of the few strings of peaks on the Olympic Peninsula that can be traversed at or above treeline without having to drop significantly in elevation; no deep river valleys cut through the range. The traverse is a classic Olympic "high route" running through the heart of the national park and the trip I had been anticipating the most since arriving on the peninsula back in May. My days off and the weather finally aligned.
When I first learned I would be living in the PNW for the summer I knew I needed to find a way to climb a couple of the massive, majestic volcanoes that dot the landscape. These peaks can be far more serious mountaineering objectives than the scrambling I am used to coming from the Rockies; the standard routes often involving heavily glaciated terrain . Most of these routes are climbed with a roped team to mitigate the risks associated with traveling over broken up, cravassed glaciers and dealing with the intermittent weather so common here in the Cascades. Not knowing anyone with these skills, I had my sights set on some of the easier climbs such as Mt Adams, St Helens, or Mt Hood. Luckily for me though, I was also able to get up Mt. Baker after meeting some new friends.
A month gone by on the Olympic Peninsula already and it feels as though I am just getting settled in. First impressions? This place is rad. The first few weeks saw my time being split between Port Angeles and Quinault which gave me the opportunity to explore both sides of the park a bit. Port Angeles is a great little port town with a mountain scene backdrop and views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca out to Mt Baker, the North Cascades, and Vancouver Island. Hurricane Ridge road leaves right from the south side of town giving easy access to the alpine; one of the few roads in the park to do so. When in PA (as the locals say) I take full advantage. Afternoon runs up Mt. Angeles and out to Obstruction Pt have been my favorite times in the park thus far, even though they are front country trails. The hip community of PA
Cayoneering...in the rainforest. I should have known. The Columbia River Gorge boasts the most waterfalls of any area in the contiguous US. Canyons + Waterfalls = Canyoneering.
After bailing on Utah to in fear of continuing to be skunked by the weather, Joe and I had practically ditched the idea of hitting up a few canyons in preparation for our upcoming trip down The Grand this Fall. As we made our way North the coast began to grey and we were regretting not waiting out the weather in the desert. After a bit of research though, we realized there were a plethora of canyons to choose from in the Columbia River Gorge area, and the weather there was looking perfect so we
Another week on the road with Joe C prior to heading to up to the Olympic Peninsula. Our initial goal was to head back to the desert for some canyons in Zion/Escalante; but cold, wet weather crossing the Colorado Plateau wasn't what we had in mind. Instead we made a quick stop at Death Valley before cruising back out to the California coast. Even Death Valley was grey by the time we pulled into the Furnace Creek visitor center, still 90 degrees though. We left the pavement at Stovepipe Wells to spend the night up Marble Canyon. A nice set of short, narrows was up canyon a ways, but the long dirt road (Death Valley National Park has nearly
A month ago Michele and I made our way west from Colorado where I was dropping here off in SoCal to get on the PCT before heading north to WA for the summer. Although the weather didn't cooperate most of the trip, we were able to squeeze in some time in the La Ventana Wilderness before heading down the coast.
It is a miracle that this place exists. The close proximity to the Bay Area has one wondering how this slice of coast was saved from further development. Hike up into the Santa Lucia Mountains and it becomes more apparent why; this place is steep and rugged. I had been through Big Sur before, but had yet to really leave the pavement. After pouring over Leor
A kitchen in a van. I like to cook, and I was determined to have a full kitchen in the van. Everything revolved around it really; the kitchen was first and everything else was an after thought. Having a functioning kitchen will keep us from eating out so much while allowing us to be more flexible with our diet. I want the ability to make fresh coffee in the morning and bake a batch of enchiladas for dinner. To do so I needed the following: