Canyonlands Trip Part 1

It is officially the first day of my Canyonlands Adventure and I’m not off to the best start.  Luckily, I did get out here early enough to find a good campsite while it was still light and get my tent set up before it really started to rain.  The rain part isn’t what bothers me though.  Mostly jut the fact that I happened to hit my head 4-5 times .. can’t really remember how many since I was hitting my head…  A few times on trees and a few times on my jeep.  I don’t know what was wrong with me but I have felt a little off the past few days.  Maybe a good nights sleep will help reset myself.

I have had a couple of amazing days in Moab around Arches National park despite me feeling a little off kilter.  The first day I got here I went hiking with my Mom and her husband Richard up to Corona Arch.  Which I have to agree with my dad and think it’s a close second to the coolest arch (Delicate Arch).  Corona Arch isn’t part of Arches N.P..  Instead it sits just west of Moab and can be reached by a 3 mile round trip hike.

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After Delicate Arch we made our way East of Moab and hiked up Negro Bill canyon.  At the end of Negro Bill canyon there is a massive bridge which happens to be the 6th largest natural bridge in North America  After that we headed back into town and had pizza at Zax.  Luckily Zip got to join us on both of these hikes.  He sure had fun even though I loaded his pack with some rocks to slow him down.

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The next day after sleeping in a bit, having breakfast, dropping off Zip, and getting some new shoes for Mom, we headed out to Arches N.P. to do a guided hike of the Firey Furnace.  I’m not sure the stats on this hike.  But, I have to say if you ever make it down to Arches N.P. you really should try and get on this hike.  They only have two guided hikes and they fill up fast.  I wouldn’t recommend hiking this yourself since it’s easy to get lost.  Plus, you have to have a backcountry permit.  This is one hell of a cool hike.  You get to hike through a maze of rock fins, see several arches, go under natural bridge, crawl though the Crawl Through Arch (If you want to), and climb through some sketchy cracks.  It’s quite the fun hike and anyone can do it.  Even little kids.

So now I sit here in my tent listing to the rain fall on me and getting sleepy.

Playing in what little snow we have

The past few weeks I’ve been trying to get outside as much as I possibly can.  First I went back country snowboarding with my friends Jerimiah and Lance.  Then, I spent a few days up on the slopes at Keystone and Breckenridge.  I need to limit the trails I go on until we get some decent snow.  The last time I went up with friends to Breckenridge they took me up the T-Bar to close to the top of Peak 8 at Breckenridge.  It was a nice view up there, but, the way down sort of tore up my board 😦  I think I have at least 3-4 new scratches on the board.  I guess I should have taken the older board up instead.

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Through the week Karma, Craig, and I went to a few of the UllrFest activities Ullr is thought as the god of snow/skiing.  Tuesday they had a bonfire and then Thursday they had the ullrympics where Craig and Nate were on the team that won 3rd place.  They got some beer and some Ullr (a Nordic libation with cinnamon and peppermint schnapps).

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Then last weekend I went with my friend Dan XC Skiing for my first time.  Not only was it my first time XC Skiing, but, it was also my first time on ski’s period.  It sure was a good time though.  I have a bit of a learning curve to get over and I’m sure I’ll end up wrecking a few times more and hurting myself a bit more.  But hopefully not too much more.

Then yesterday I took Zip out snowshoeing up a canyon.  I left around 4 and didn’t end up doing the whole trail because I was running out of time.  Good thing though since I had taken a wrong turn and would have ended up in Keystone rather than the loop I was going to do.  I know where I took the wrong turn and I had made the mistake of going with the flow of traffic (more footsteps).   But now I have the Topo’s loaded on the GPS and ready to go for next time.

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Biking and Rafting in Moab

This past weekend I decided to join Doug in Moab for some mountain biking.

I went down Thursday and drove to Canyonlands N.P..  I didn’t get there till 10:30 so all the camp sites were taken up already 😦  I turned around and drove down the road a ways and found some side dirt road and ended up camping behind some tree for the night.  In the morning I woke up early and headed out to Mesa Arch to grab this shot:

Mesa Arch

After this I headed into town to the local book stores looking for some books on the trails (And a book by National Geographic Adventure)  I found both and decided to go up Amasa Back Trail.  Afterwards I met up with Doug and his friends at the Big Bend campground.  Then we decided to take a ride down the road and head up the Porcupine Trail (though we didn’t make it far .. it got too dark).

The next day we went rafting down the Colorado.  We didn’t hit many rapids since it’s late in the season.  But, we sure did have fun.  Afterwards we rode the MOAB brand trails (Bar M, Circle O, Rockin A, and Bar B) then had dinner at Eddie McStiff’s.

On Sunday we decided to take Zip out and go try riding with him.  I guess we maybe should have chose an easier trail, but he did surprisingly well.  He kept up the whole time and seemed to be having a great time.  Anyways, we decided to go on the infamous Slick Rock Trail.  Boy did it kick my ass though.  It was both strenuous and technical,  but, I sure did have a great time.  I don’t think I’ve ever sweated soo hard before.  I had salt soaked up in my shirt and helmet.

All in all a great weekend in Moab I must say.  48 miles of biking and having a great time with great people.  Can’t ask for much more 😉

Rafting With Connexion.org

A while back I got invited to go Rafting with a group of guys off of Connexion.org.  A Guy I had been chatting with (Solomon) invited me along.  So I came to Colorado a few days early so I could go to Grand Junction and do some shopping as well as spend some time in Rifle with my dad.

Friday came along and I got myself checked into the Caravan Inn which is a nice place for the price and I’d definitely stay there again.  After getting settled in I went down to the hot springs to finally meet some of these people I was going to go rafting with.  At first I thought I didn’t know anyone on the trip.  But then I found out that Bob, who I had met at a gay even in Grand Junction, and who it turns out just lives up the street from my dad, was also there.

So we played around in the hot springs pool for an hour or so then we went and grabbed some food from Juicy Lucy’s.  Great food there.  I had a delicious salmon with herbs.  After that we headed off to the Loyal Brothers martini bar.  Sad to say I had a few too many that night.  So, the next day I was pretty hung over trying to get to the rafting event.

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We went with Whitewater Rafting out of Glenwood Springs.  It’s the company Solomon is a guide for.  It’s a great company with great guides and I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to go on a day rafting trip.

38 guys ended up turning out for the event.  We split up into five rafts.  I ended up going in a raft with Solomon as our guide and Ladd, Dave, David, Reed, Christopher, Ryan, and Steve as my raft mates.

I have to say this was one of the most fun rafting trips I have been on.  The river was quite nice and had some pretty good rapids.  But the crowd is defiantly what made the trip.  I can say I’m looking forward to it again for sure.

The trip starts up above Bear Creek on I-70 East of Glenwood Springs.  Then we stop for lunch at the rafting headquarters in Glenwood.  After lunch we took the rafts and some ducky’s ( 1 and 2 man inflatable Kayaks)  At the first set of rapids with these I ended up flipping over.  I was trying to get over to one side of the river and didn’t make it there in time and also didn’t get straightened out in Time.  I forgot the easiest way is to paddle backwards if you want to get pointed in the right direction.  So when I hit the first wave it just tumbled me over.  I was able to get  back to my ducky, grab my nalgene and get back up on my boat just fine though 😀

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We took out at New Castle and headed back up to the rafting building then headed out for a brew and some wings at the Brewpub.  After that I had a fresh eclectic cuisine at the Rivera.  I ended up getting the calamari and a baby bok choy salad with duck and a miso vinaigrette dressing.  Mmmmm.

After there and some interesting confrontations with the police and two of our group members, (they were being too loud and obscene with family and children around), we headed back up to the Loyal Brothers for some more drinks.  And we had another interesting event with one of the same guys from the police incident.  He ended up attacking one of the Cougars there at the bar.  A couple of the others in our group kindly made him get up and found someone to take him back to his motel room.  A little bit after this everyone started turning in and we ended such a great trip by midnight Saturday night.

ABC and Sycamore Canyon/Taylor Cabin

So My latest adventure with the Arizona Backpackers Club (ABC) too me to Sycamore Canyon which is just west of Sedona.  It has all the beauty of Sedona without all the people/homes/roads.  Sycamore canyon has been noted as one of Arizona’s great backpacking trips.  And I would fully agree with this.

We camped at the trail head on Friday night.  Saturday morning we got up and headed down into the canyon.  The trail down in and up to the cabin is 10 miles each way with an elevation loss/gain of 1,750 ft.  We stopped at the crossing of Sycamore Creek and took a break for lunch and waited for everyone to catch up.  After this we headed the remaining miles up to Taylor Cabin.

When we pulled into Taylor cabin there was already someone there.  There was this older guy sitting there with a Dog (That obviously really didn’t like me).  The guy reminded me of what you would think of a typical hermit.  I guess this guy has been coming up to the cabin a few times a year for the past 25 years!  After talking to him a bit Lucky asked if we could look around in the cabin.  I was really cool inside and had a fireplace, stove, table, some canned goods, and other misc stuff.   The cabin was built with one side being a large boulder.  Up the side of the boulder came this crooked chimney.

After leaving the guy to himself and the barking dog we headed towards the river and set up camp under a grove of trees.  Then we gathered firewood, filtered our water, set up tents and the like.  Bonnie made our fire and had been designated the fire keeper for the night.

In the morning we woke up to quite the surprise.  The Creek that was previously dry was raging in the morning.  The water level in the pool we had filled our water up the previous day had risen at least three feet.  The heat from the day before must have melted quite a bit of snow.  We all thought we were going to have to cross the creek on the way back.  But lo and behold the creek was just as dry as the day before.  The water must have either gone underground or filled up other ponds.

After everyone had made it back to the vehicles we headed to Old Town Cottonwood for some beer and Mexican food.  I’ll find the name of the great restaurant we ate at later and post it here.

http://www.meetup.com/Arizona-Backpacking/calendar/9171439/

Sycamore Canyon

 

The ABC’s and Haunted Canyon

I joined up a group on Meetup.com for backpackers earlier this month.  ABC(Arizona Backpackers Club) had a fairly easy hike planned last weekend up in the Superstition Mountians last weekend so I jumped on the idea.   I thought it would be a great idea to try one of the easier backpacks so I could gauge myself on how I did.  So I called up my siblings and they were more than willing to borrow me the gear I needed and ship it down.  What I didn’t get from them I ended up getting from a friend of mine Mike.  He is actually a friend’s dad and he cooks us amazing dinners all the time.  He has grown to be another father type figure that is nice to have down here in Arizona.

So after i had all my basic gear I went out and did a little shopping for the odds and ends of things I would need plus my grocery list.  I wasn’t packed and ready until around 10 PM friday night.  I had to get up at 5:45 AM so I could get to the meeting point before 7.  I was actually the last person there since I had to stop for some Tums and cough drops.  After that we packed up and drove out to trailhead via a mining road.

The hike up was around 6 miles of mostly following/crossing a creek with the exception of hiking up one hillside to avoid having to swim through a slot canyon.  On the way up we passed through forests that you would not think of when you think Arizona.  Especially when you consider we were only an hour drive away from Phoenix itself.  We passed a beautiful spring and about a mile later we ended up at where we set for camp. It turns out I had the brightest tent in the group as the one I borrowed is a bright yellow.

We got to camp and had everything set up around 12:30 PM.  So we were all thinking … now what?  Some of us hike up a little ways further to Toney’s Cabin which is an old abandoned cabin that has been turned into a hiker/horseback hut.  From there we had a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and cliffs.  The light was horrible as it was noon so I knew i would be coming back there around sunset to get a decent picture.

After that Mike the leader told us about a nearby cave, “Skull Cave”.  So most the group decided to go check that out.  What a unexpected treat for me.  After scrambling up a cliff face to the entrance of the cave we were able to go back in to a decently deep cave.  Inside you had to scramble over rocks and walk through all the dried up guano.  At the end of our caving adventures there was a hole in the ground that was at least 15-20 feet deep.  It looked like at the bottom it veered off to one side and could have possibly went back quite a ways.  But, since we didn’t have the proper gear that was as far as we made it.

After we got back to camp we sat down and cooked our dinners.  Later that night while sitting by the fire telling stories a full moon came out and surprised me with a moon dog.  It was a really cool ring of color surrounding the moon.  So I set up my camera to try and get some pictures.

That night around 12:30 it started raining and basically continued to rain through the next day on our hike out.  On the way driving back out of the mine we passed a few Javelinas.  They were gone too quick and I was back seat in a truck so I wasn’t able to get any pictures of them though :(.

Despite having it rain on our parade I had an amazing time with the group and am looking forward to other adventures with them.

Here is a link to the Meetup for this trip:

ABC – Haunted Canyon on Meetup.com

Caving adventures with Grandma

I know I have taken a hiatus from posting about my adventures.  But after this last time I decided I should get back to posting them.  This starts off by my latest adventure that involved my grandma.  She came down to Arizona to visit her brother and sister and suggested we take the weekend and drive over to Carlsbad Caverns.  It was a bit more of a drive than I expected but it was well worth it.

Here are some of the pictures I took from inside the cave.  I’ll also post some links.

Carlsbad Caverns

We also signed up for a guided tour and I would definitely recommend this (Plus there are cute rangers that go with you)

Kings Palace

View Carlsbad Caverns

Trip down the Slot Canyons in Zions N.P.

I had a friend ask me last wednsday if I was interested in going to Zions NP and go down a couple slot canyons.  After clearing it with my Boss I Said sure and started getting ready for a good adventure.  It seems all my best adventures are last minute ones.
We got down to Hurricane, UT later in the evening and had some dinner and watched the Travel channel.  In the morning after we got some coffee we set out for the park.  We went and got our back country permits required to hike down the canyons.
The First slot and also the shorter one we parked the vehicle and walked up the road about a block.  Then we hiked up a short hike until we reached a gully.  At the bottom of the gully was the start of our slot canyon.  We had to rappel down into the entrance and landed right in a pool of water.  Despite the 108 degree tempatures above, the pool was actually really quite cold and I was freezing my balls off in no time.  It was a blast hiking down this slot canyon.  At the end was a couple of pools and some of them had some frogs in them.
The second hike we started out on the East end of the long tunnel that goes through Zions park and ended up on the other end at the bottom of the mountian.  We unloaded our gear then brian drove down to the other end and parked the truck and hitched a ride back in.  Just as the one before we started rapelling right off the bat.  This second was a much more technical slot where you often time had to use your body as a wedge to keep from falling too far.  It had numerous rappels and a couple swims across even colder pools then the shorter canyon.  Al of this made it more fun and was also worrth the veiws that I saw.  I am no good at writing and describing the places I go so hopefully the pictures will be enough to entice you.  I know that both of these slots got me hooked and I can’t wait until I get another chance to go down a different one or even those ones agian.  I had a great time and made a good friend on the trip.

 

River Trip

I finally got the oportunity to go down the Gates of Lodore with my company last weekend.  I went out there thursday night and went to dinner with them for a pre-rafting trip dinner.  The next morning we met down to Hatch River Expeditions and loaded up our gear then headed out for the Gates.  It was about a 3 hour drive to the destination I think ( I put on my headphones and slept when some of the members of the group started making gay comments).  Once we got there they asked if anyone wanted to take a ducky out instead of sitting in the raft (They are inflatiable kyaks).  I volunteered and we set off.  On the first rapid the other guy that was in a ducky flipped it and had to swim for a bit to get back in it.  Over the whole trip I managed to stay in my ducky and I was using it about 3/4 of the trip total (I fell in love with it)
In the ducky’s it seemed to amplify all the waves by at least 5 times.  Small rapids seemed larger and the big ones were one hell of a blast.  I ended up staying completely soked at least half the trip.  It was also a good time to have some quiet time to myself and enjoy the scenery since I didn’t have to listen to the gay comments or politics.  Neither of those should be brought on a river trip if you ask me.  I wasn’t the only one offended by them.  But anyways I was having a great time.
The first couple of days were overcast and partly rainy.  Perfect weather for rafting seeing how I didn’t get toasted while out there.
The Food was great and the entertainment from the guides was awsome.  The River trip lasted 3 days and two nights.  The Second night things got a little Crazy as Marshall (one of the guides) brought out his costume bag.  They told us we all had to dress up before we could eat.  Some of the guys went straight for the dresses such as Lutinenant Workman from the Air Force.  It made it for a good and interesitng night.  Anyways,  I had a great time but it took alot out of me.  I am still exhausted and sore from it all.  I may post some more about it or edit this post once my brain starts working agian.  But in the mean time I will leave you with some of the photos from the trip.

Hiking with Lambda

I went hiking on Saturday with the Lambda hiking group.  They have a website at: http://www.gayhike.org/
It was a great hike and I enjoyed the company.  I brought my camera equipment but didn’t really get any good pictures do to the harsh daylight.  I guess I will post the one picture that was alright.  I don’t really like it but maybe someone will