Havasupai Falls 3 of 3
Exploring the northern end of the canyon, ascending back up Mooney Falls, Old Navajo and Little Navajo Falls
Havasupai Falls 2 of 3
Havasupai Falls, descending through cave tunnels and a quite precarious chain and ladder system to the foot of Mooney Falls, Mooney Falls and surrounding water and stuff…
Havasupai Falls 1 of 3
I’ve come to find out that if I wanted to go camping in the Grand Canyon sometime this winter, I needed to send off for a permit on my third birthday… A fella at REI recommended going through Havasupai Indian Reservation and that it was a way to avoid the Natl Park red tape and still get into the canyon so I thought WORD!
I sat on the phone for EIGHT DAYS trying to get through. I called every 5-10 mins and only got ringing… I had literally given up and on the Friday before leaving, I thought, “ok, one last attempt.” And they answered on the first ring!?! haha so suffice it to say, after that I pretty much hopped to with the gear and necessaries and bombed out there! :D
The hike in was 10 miles with an initial descent of about 2200’ in a mile and a half. But really not all that bad as far as what I had heard regarding desert hiking! Starting early in the morning is DEFINITELY the way to go. Once that mid-day sun hits you, it’s a killer…
I really cannot begin to describe how amazingly beautiful this place was. The desert entry was neat and cool and a beautiful place in all the normal wonderful ways, but coming up upon a turquoise river cascading down and down with a backdrop of bright orange canyon walls and surrounding trees in full autumn glory was almost too much to handle. I had a hard time convincing myself that this place really exists! haha
After the first failed attempt to spend the night on Rainier, it seems the weather gods were in favor! Beautiful crystal clear and sunny skies for two days! Well worth the second guessing last time… The meadows around Paradise VC were awesome as ever and my spirits were very high through the 2 mile trudge to Pebble Creek/where the snowfield started. The
hike slog up was by far the toughest 2 mile hike I have ever done! I’d never been so smoked before haha. The experience and the views were unparalleled to any other I have ever experienced. And made all the effort so well worth it! Due to late season snow and glacial melt, however, the crevasses on the glacier had opened up wider than the ladder bridges could span. The rangers instructed that a summit require an alternate route and without having a guide or any idea of said alternate route, we were contented with just making it to the camp.
The accommodations at the camp were not at all what I’d expected! The late season offered us, to our surprise/delight, an all but empty Camp Muir! We had the 50 person bunk house essentially all to ourselves!
For what took just about 6 hours to ascend, only took two to get back down haha. Glissading is the TOPS!
I can see Rainier from the driveway to the apartment complex I live in. Seeing it for the first time upon arrival in Washington and being so impressed with it, to then wanting so badly to climb up, and now after ascending to Camp Muir, it’s a crazy feeling inside. An experience I’m going to cherish for a long time.
Enchanted Valley - Olympic Natl Park
27 miles in 29 hours haha. Longest slog I’ve ever done for an overnight backpacking trip. As well, in the passed few weeks, battling a tweaked IT band! The bastard crapped out on me at about mile 8! haha >:( BUT I knew what lie ahead and dug deep to get there. And what an amazing valley it was! A flowing river cutting in between towering, nearly shear mountain walls with cascades and stunning peaks! While my body was soar and my knee was telling me where I could go F myself, this hike was TOTALLY worth it! :D
Goat Lake via Elliot Creek - Mt Baker Natl Forest
Get Outside Campaign 11, Ozette Lake to Sand Point - Olympic Natl Park
Steph’s brother came to visit all the way from Baton Rouge, LA! It was his first time anywhere other than OH and LA haha. Suffice it to say he loved WA and getting to hike and paddle and see the Pacific ocean! It was a really awesome getting to watch him experience all of those things!
Mowich Lake - Mt Rainier Natl Park
Rachel Lake via Box Canyon - Central Cascades
Narada Falls to Reflection Lake - Mt Rainier Natl Park
Hoh Rainforest - Olympic Natl Park
Elwah River - Olympic Natl Park
Flapjack Lakes Olympic Natl Park…
After getting new packrafts and spending some time on the water getting used to them this passed week, it was time to start looking for places to put the pack to the raft! haha. Now, having only just gotten to Washington, and experiencing seasonal change vs the month it is, it was tough to discern whether or not any of the mountain lakes in Olympic were even melted. To have an additional 6+ lbs hiking up (what was revealed to be steep as F) trail only to find it still frozen would have been a huge let down haha. But, in typical fashion, pleasant surprise found me. I wished so badly to have had my raft by the time Flapjack lake came into view! I’d have gladly humped that little guy up that 2425 ft climb had I known hahaha… welp, another trip on another day! :) Plus I heard from the ranger that there’s a lot of great fishing for a ”guy with one of those neat little boats” to get out and do, so I definitely wanna get in on that action ;)
Olympic Natl Park was, as always, a marvelously beautiful wonderland of temperate rainforest to hike through. And that water color never ceases to amaze me. I took more than a hundred pictures in as many steps because every one brought an ever so slight but all together different perspective/vantage point of the Skokomish river…
Till next time…
Get Outside Campaign 9 pt I…
My best bud, Brad from back home, came out to visit beautiful Colorado. He’d never been out here before and it was as always, an extra rad thing to show him the area. He’s a very enthusiastic outdoorsman, though Ohio isn’t necessarily the most epic of hiking/camping/backpacking areas to do so haha, still he takes every chance he can to Get Outside! so it was no shock and quite a great opportunity on both our part for him to be eager to do an overnighter despite the low temps! :D
I have never been winter camping, let alone in the high mountains of Rocky Mt Natl Park! It did necessitate procuring a few bits of gear, like a 0° sleeping bag and collapsible shovel, but overall I was very pleased at how prepared we already were after reading up on enjoyable winter camping :) One thing that I have come to enjoy so much and also something I was really excited to get Brad to partake in was snowshoeing! While the trails for the first 1/2 – 3/4 from Glacier Gorge to Alberta falls and just after were pretty hard packed from high traffic, we found that with 40lbs of gear on our backs, hiking without them was terribly slow going. As we reached the last leg of our trail where the snow was well over 2ft it was super fun hopping in and out of the drifts :D Despite our packs suckin the life out of us/him in the higher, thinner air which he wasn’t quite used to, he still rocked it! We mad it the 3 miles to our camp in as many hours :)
The ascent to the lake was fuggin tough! haha. Steep with deep snow we made it to the top. Watching the excitement of Brad taking in the absolutely stunning beauty of the mountains was all we needed to fuel our ascent. There was such a strong wind snappin off the surrounding ridges (18-20 mph!), I was knocked over twice! But, reaching the lake and soaking in our trophy view was priceless.
Get Outside Campaign 9 pt II…
My brother, an Airborne Infantry vet, always stressed the importance of “the priorities of work”. Basically a simple discipline to get camp set, wood gathered, gear unpacked etc, stole us away from our GORGEOUS triumphant lake view. It was this that was a childhood dream lived haha we got to build a snow fort! Digging out about 2ft for our tent and a 6ft by 5ft kitchen den to stay out of the wind, that little shovel became the MVP of the day haha. As the sun went down and we sat nippin on our hot spiced cider, snacking on cold cuts and cheese a light snow began to fall. A perfect day.
Morning came and while the gear totally earned the coin I dropped on it haha, we stirred to find the evening’s snow had freshly blanketed us in our camp. As the sun broke through the mountains up over through the pines surrounding us, we broke camp and our fingers about froze off haha :P Back on the trail we made record time heading back to the trailhead. The snow continued to fall and made the scenery already viewed the day before even more wonderful. Nature’s cool like that. I’ve been on that trail three times now, and every time it has been different and more beautiful than the last :)
In conclusion, this most recent edition of Buds vs Wild was a tremendous success and I couldn’t have been more happy dodging work on a holiday weekend than to spend it in the mountains busting my hump, fingers frozen, at times 20mph winds, falling into deep snow and having the absolute best time with my best bud :)