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Hiking in Zion National Park 2007 ‚Äď The Narrows

Ever since I saw the¬†“Secret’s of Zion and Bryce” on Travel Channel earlier in the year I have been wanting to hike the Narrows and Angel’s Landing.¬† My friend Nui was going to be in Salt Lake City for work and I made a trip up there to see my townhomes.¬† So we also planned to visit Zion for a few days.

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It was a 4.5 hour drive from Salt Lake City to Zion National Park.  We had reservations at the Pioneer Lodge which is located just a mere 1/2 miles from the entrance of the park.  The lodge is in a great location if you are visiting Zion and want to stay outside the park.  Staying at the Zion Lodge would have been ideal, but the had no rooms available.

In the morning we ate breakfast at the Pioneer Lodge restaurant and then caught the free Springdale shuttle bus which took us to the entrance.  From there, we paid the park entrance fee and caught the Zion shuttle which brings you deep into the park.

The Narrows

The Narrows is hike is a like none that I’ve ever been on.¬† You hike up the Virgin river in a deep canyon.¬† This hike is about 75% in water.¬† The beginning of the hike is an easy paved 1 mile trail called the Riverside Walk.¬† When you get to the end of the trail, the fun begins.¬† I highly recommend getting hiking poles and some shoes made for water.¬† If you get a nice pair of hiking poles you can travel up the canyon alot faster, which will allow you to go further in.¬† Zion adventure company¬†also rents equipment and we saw many people with their shoes and sticks.¬† If you don’t have a stick, look around, you should be able to find some walking sticks laying around at the first water crossing.

The park ranger told us that most people travel about 1 mile an hour on this hike.  It is slow going because you are stepping on wet rocks and are going against a pretty decent current.  We hiked about 2 miles in, ate lunch and then turned around and hiked back.

We did not get to Orderville Canyon, which was our goal.¬† In retrospect, we had plenty of time and could have easily made it there.¬† However, people coming back kept telling us it was still another hour or two’s hike out.¬† We were very close to reaching it.¬† Oh well, this leaves us a goal for the next time we do it.

Now, time for some pictures!

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zion narrows hike

Hiking in the narrows

Hiking in the narrows

Hiking in the narrows

Hiking in the narrows

Giving the fat squirrel a rock

Inside the Narrows

Resting at the trailhead

Inside the Narrows

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Hiking in the White Tank Mountains

I brought Neo and Maggie on a real long hiking trip in the White Tank Mountains.  The total trail distance was 8.5 miles.  It was sunny and about 70 degrees outside, we got started at 11:30am.  I bought my Camelbak full of water, I think I brought a total of 150 oz. of water, a roast beef sub, and an apple.

The trail is call the Ford Canyon trail and is marked in light blue on the map below.  The hiked began at the PARKING spot for cars and for the first 3 miles it was an easy hike.  Once we reached the Hazardous section it was slow going.  The trail had many difficult climbs that gave the dogs a challenge.

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This is the start of the hazardous section.¬† You can see that it’s all uphill and very rocky.¬† At this point Maggie was already tired.¬† We stopped and had a quick snack.

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The dam consisted of many large rock formations that were over 10 feet high and very steep.  I climbed up the rocks myself and went to put my backpack down.  When I turned around Neo had climbed it himself and Maggie was halfway up.  The picture below is what I say when I turned around.  On the other side of that rock is a 10 foot drop.

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 Here is another wall that Neo climbed.  I had to carry Maggie up most of them.  The next picture is the watering hole.  We met a bunch of campers that were fixing the trails.  Here is Neo relaxing in the watering hole.

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After the tough part, the trail was smooth and easy.  It seemed like a real long way home from the watering hole.  Maggie was walking so slow at this point.  The entire hike took us 6 hours!

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Some videos of the hike.

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Hiking in Sedona 2007

Instead of going to Galena this year everyone decided that it was finally time to visit Arizona. We rented the Scenic Sedona house on redsedona.com.  The house was great, it was large enough to accommodate all of us and the heated pool and spa was perfect for this time of year. It was colder than usual in Sedona for the last week of February so it took a day to get the pool heated to 74 degrees.

On Friday night, everyone arrived at the Phoenix airport. We had a late start because somebody missed their flight and had to take a later one which arrived at 10:45pm. Our little caravan of cars met up at McDonald’s in Anthem. ¬†From there it was a 1.5 hour drive up to Sedona. We arrived at the house around 1am and everyone got settled in for the night.

On Saturday we got to see just how incredible the view from our house was. It was located on Airport Hill and overlooked the town of Sedona. We had breakfast at the restaurant at the airport.

The best part was that we were able to hike the Airport Loop trail directly from the house.

We hiked the Cathedral Rock trail which was a great challenging trail. It has some nice¬†climbs and decent exposures. The picture on the left shows the “very steep slickrock” portion of the trail.

For dinner¬†we went into town and found a Mexican restaurant that could seat a party of 20! I can’t remember the name of this place. It was in the touristy part of town close by the Harley Davidson store.

On Sunday, most of the girls went to Sedona Rouge Spa. The rest of us ate lunch at the Heartline Cafe and hung out around the house. A bunch of us hiked the Broken Arrow trail in the late afternoon. Dinner was pizza from Pizza Picazzo. It must be good if a bunch of people from Chicago loved it!  On Monday we made the drive back to Phoenix. Had a huge lunch at Ono Hawaiian BBQ (that shit is good!) and hung out at my house until it was time to go to the airport.

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Devil’s Bridge Trail in Sedona

Rex and Rita came to visit in May and one hike that we did was called Devil’s Bridge Trail¬†in Sedona.¬† What’s unique about this trail is that it ends at a natural sandstone arch.¬† It’s a very easy trail to hike.¬† Once you get to the bridge, there are a few ways up to the top.¬† On the picture above the Devil’s Bridge is dead center in the trail.¬† It’s a little hard to see.

The easy way are stone steps on the right side.  The hard way is climbing up rocks on the left side.  We also tried an impossible way up the middle.

The picture below is Rex trying to climb up the impossible way up the middle

Here is a view from standing under the arch.

More pictures of the arch.

 

We had to convince Rita to stand on the arch and she wouldn’t go any further left!

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Hawaii 2006


The first 2006 update. This trip to Hawai’i was for Rex and Rita’s wedding. The wedding was on a Sunday but some of us arrived early on Tuesday. Me, my brother Kevin and Rico took a short island hop to the big island to see Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park.

April 18th

Even from Phoenix it is a 6.5 hour flight to Honolulu. Rico and I arrived in Honolulu around 12:30pm. Kevin came from Chicago on a 9.5 hour flight. We all had the same island hop flight to Hilo. Our flight was slightly delayed due to bodily fluids in the airplace aisle while we were boarding. Apparently, someone bled all over the floor badly enough that they had to stop boarding. Rico and I laughed as they sent an airport employee onto the plane with a broom and dustpan. He came out a few minutes later and returned with a mop and bucket. The island hop was a short 45 minute flight. Soon we got our rental Jeep Wrangler were on our way to Volcanoes National Park.



We stayed at the Volcano House Inn which is located inside the National Park. We had the luxurious 9×9 room with no AC and a small heater. After unpacking we immediately headed out to Crate Rim Drive to go see where the lava is flowing into the sea. It’s about a 20 mile drive and a short 1/2 mile hike to the first viewing spot. It was about 6:45pm and there were so many people that we had to park 1/2 mile away from the start of the hike! Hiking on lava at night is pretty scary since the lava is black, it’s sharp and literally rock. The trail was marked with yellow reflectors that are literally taped to the rocks. From our vantage point all we could see was smoke and an orange glow.


April 19th

The next morning we hiked the Kilauea Iki trail. This short trail takes you along the top of the rim and down into the Kilauea Crater. It was overcast and drizzling when we started the hike at the overlook point. Most books say to hike this trail counter-clockwise, but we chose clockwise and in hindsight it seemed to be the right choice. Coming from the other side you would have to turn around and look back to see the views while in the crater. The first part of the trail was mainly rainforest along the top of the southeast rim. The trail then goes down into the crater and is marked by a well worn path that goes straight through the center. You can see the trail in the main picture above.

After the hike, we had breakfast and then headed back out to see the lava by the sea, this time in daylight.



Next it was a 2 hour drive over to Kona to do the Manta Ray night dive. I had made reservations the week prior at www.mantaraydiveshawaii.com. They said that during the past two weeks that they were getting between 15-20 manta rays each night. Manta Rays are the largest type of rays. Rays are a flatten fish that are closely related to sharks. During this night dive, divers and snorkelers each carry a flood light which attracts the plankton. The rays feed on plankton which makes them swim up towards your light and doing acrobat flips with their mouths open. Manta rays can get up to 29 feet in width and weigh several tons.

April 20th

The next day we went to the Napau Trail. Rico and I hiked to the Mauna Ulu hill lookout. After that point Kevin continued on the trail while we headed back and then went to the Hilo zoo and the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut factory. Then back to the lava flow by the ocean and afterwards we waited for Kevin at the trailhead and got in some tanning time on the road.

April 21st

We decided to take an early flight back to Oahu to meet everyone else who was arriving for the wedding. So we did a quick drive around Crate Rim Drive and took a quick run (literally) to see the Halema’uma’u Crater. Then it was a quick flight to Honolulu and up to our condo on Waikiki Beach. Unfortunately I didn’t take my camera many places during the rest of the trip.

April 22nd-25th

During the next three days we spent time on the beach, attended the wedding, went to Pearl Harbor, visited the Dole Pineapple plantation and took surfing lessons.

More Pictures

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Arizona & Vegas 2005

Wow, it has been a while since this site got updated. I didn’t go on any big trips yet and it’s June 2005. Of course, we are heading back to Crested Butte in July again! The picture above is at sunset in Sedona, AZ.

Las Vegas, Nevada

It’s March and the Illini are ranked number one in the country. They also get the number one number one seed and what better place to be than Vegas during the first round of March Madness. Driving from Phoenix to Vegas means going across Hoover Dam. I stopped and snapped a few pics while I was there.

Somewhere in between the gambling and 52 games that weekend, we actually went hiking at Red Rock State Park. (Mars Bitches)



Sedona, Arizona

Lisa came in from Denver for a weekend so we headed up to Sedona for some tourist sight seeing. We took the 2.5 hour Pink Jeep Tour which took us to the Broken Arrow Trail.. Despite the off road terrain, the ride was very smooth due to the jeep’s suspension. I think that 2.5 hours is just about right for the jeep tour. Sedona always seems to be raining in one part and sunny in the others.



After the jeep tour we took a trip to Slide Rock State Park which features a natural water slide. In the summer’s the water is packed with people. It was a little cold there, as you can see from the jackets we’re wearing. But we did see a couple people in the water.


After a quick lunch it was off to see more of Sedona…




The next day, back in Phoenix… we hiked Camelback Mountain from the east side. It’s a pretty quick hike, about 45 minutes to the top. About 5 minutes into the hike we can across a rattler. We waited a bit for it to move, but it just sat there. After a while we thought we should take a picture of it, and wouldn’t you know it, as soon as the camera came out, it moved. Maybe it was camera shy. You can only see its tail in the picture.

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Fruita and Moab 2004

March 25th

This trip was the smallest so far as it was just me and Paul going. It’s alot easier to plan with such a small group (if you can call it a group). In fact, we didn’t have any plans, we just knew we were leaving on Thursday night at around 9pm and heading to Denver. I had traded in the Forester for a 99′ 4-Runner this year.

A week before the trip, our beloved Illini actually made it to the Sweet Sixteen and was facing Duke Friday night. We thought it would be nice if we could meet up with Lisa, an Illini alum also, in Denver and watch the game. That meant driving alot faster than we had planned, so we left Chicago around 8pm on Thursday.  At around 1am, we stopped at a rest stop about an hour east of Dubuque, Iowa. There were a handful of other cars and a dozen 18-wheelers parked along the side of the rest stop road also. It was raining, but the weather was quite warm. We cracked the windows open and those little window deflectors worked perfectly to keep the rain out and let the air in.

March 26th

7am, we woke up and noticed that we were the only vehicle left from the night before. Everyone else must have got an early start. This was going to be a long driving day, so we were on our way by 7:30. After a long, uneventful drive through Iowa, Nebraska and NE Colorado, we finally arrived in Denver around 5pm. Denver rush hour was mild and we found Lisa’s apartment by 6pm. With an hour to spare, we arrived at the ESPN Zone in downtown Denver and waited for a seat in the big screen room. After watching Xavier upset Texas, our name was called and we were seated. But when Deron missed his first shot badly wide left, I knew it wasn’t going to be their game. As you all know, our beloved Illini lost to the Dukies. Disheartened, we went home and got a good night’s sleep.

March 27th

We decided to stay in Denver for the day. We took a stroll through downtown Denver and visited the Red Rocks theater, did a little hiking and took pictures. As Saturday came to a close, Paul and I were trying to decide where to go next, Fruita or Moab. We decided to try to hit Moab early before the Jeep Jamboree week arrivals started to come in. So on Sunday morning, we headed out to Moab.

March 28th

We arrived at Moab around 3:10pm. Well, not acutally Moab but at an interection of 128 and Entrada Bluffs road. This road led to an off-road trail called ‘Top of the World’. This trail is rated a 3 on most 4×4 sites, meaning that four-wheel drive and a little drive daring was required. Having never driven this before, being a single vehicle, we weren’t quite sure if the 4runner was up to the task.

The dirt road was fairly smooth and we quickly covered its 5 miles to the Top of the World sign. From there, we slowly began to drive the trail. After about 1/2 mile in, we decided to park it and continue up the trail with our bikes. We were racing with sunset, which we figured was 6:00pm. There’s nothing worse than riding downhill in twilight with no lights. So, it was 4pm and we had about 5 miles with 2500 ft of climbing. So 5 miles in 1.5 hours and half hour to ride down, no problem right? Well, doing a long steep climb against time was not the best idea as a first ride on a vacation. At 5pm, we had gone alittle over a mile, so we decided to turn around and head back to the car. We reached town around 6pm and got a room at the Aarchway Inn and then headed to Pasta Joe’s for dinner.

March 29th

8am, time to get the gear and head out to the trails. Today it was Two Tortoise (again) and Day Canyon. Last year, we tried to do this ride and ended up doing Bull Canyon, only to find the trail on the way back. This time we would ride it the correct way and then head to Day Canyon and maybe to Dry Fork depending on how we felt. After passing the Gooney bird we made a left towards the Gold Bar Rim trail and parked. We could see Two Tortoise in the distance and we headed out towards it. A minute later we found ourselves lost in a small canyon that had no exits. After searching for a possible trail we decided to head back towards the car. There we found the problem, I guess we misread the sign that pointed our way. Instead of saying “Gold Rim”, it said “dead end”. We encountered a few off-roading Jeeps and watched them attempt to climb large boulders. Two tortoise was as we remembered it from last year, alot of ledges, decently marked trail and downhill to start. Once we arrived before the Two Tortoise rock, it was uphill back to the road. Of course, we did lose the trail a few times, as usual.

After exiting the Two Tortoise trail, we headed for Day Canyon. We encountered the dreaded sand, rocky trails and sandy hills. At some point everything looked too familiar, we realized that we went the wrong way. We were in Bull Canyon again!! That’s the second time we rode this trail on accident. After finding our way back, we made it to the Day Canyon overlook and had lunch. After lunch, we had a quick ride back the way we came to our car.

March 30th

We drove to Arches National Park and found out that the campground was full. So it was back to Aarchway Inn. We had to go get a campsite before we rode today. By 11am we had a site in Arches National Park, had our tent set up and ate breakfast. The trail today was Amasa Back. It was a 10 mile out and back so we figured it would be a fairly quick ride. The first drop at Amasa back is a left turn with exposure on the right. It was also rocky and sandy. After that, it was a fairly ridable, uphill climb. The Amasa back trail doesn’t really get you onto Amasa back which is a sandstone pennisula surrounded by the Colorado river on three sides. The trail takes you to the southwestern edge of it where the trail ends and becomes a large area of slickrock. We could not find any cairns to mark the way to the western edge. So we freerode and walked westward.

Eventually, when we couldn’t go west anymore, we ended up at the cliff edge and had lunch. Luckily, I had my Garmin GPS and had marked a waypoint when the singletrack ended. We used the GPS alot to find our way back to the trail and rode back to the car.

March 31st

Our plan was to head to Fruita today. Since we were at Arches National Park, we decided to go see some arches, and we saw many in our one hour short hike.

Fruita was about a 2 hour drive. Our first stop was the Colorado welcome center to find a place to stay. We camped at the Colorado River National Park. This is a fairly new park with all new amenities. It is also very close to town, in fact you could see the McDonald’s sign from the campsite. The next stop was the Over the Edge bike shop to get a map of the trails. After getting a map we decided to do the Book Cliffs area which consisted of Chutes n Ladders, Joe’s Ridge, Kessel Run and other various loops. The next day we would hit the Loma area which had Horsethief Bench, Mary’s Loop and Rustler’s.

April 1st

The Bookcliffs area is about 10 miles north of Fruita. The singletrack here is very smooth and narrow. We parked at the first parking area and rode Prime Cut Trail up to Chutes & Ladders. Prime Cut trail is a very nicely cut winding singletrack. Chutes & Ladders consisted of a climb and then downhill and a clumb and then downhill, hence its name. However, the last half of it was a steady winding singletrack through the gently rolling plains. Truly great riding, except that cows get the right of way and sometimes they don’t want to move. The last half of it was so fun, we rode Chutes & Ladders twice.

Next we rode Kessel Run up to Joe’s Ridge. Kessel Run has you weaving up and down constantly as you ride a small stream
bed. Joe’s Ridge is the ultimate top of the world experience. The trail rides the ridge line with drop-offs on both the left and right side.

The amazing thing about Fruita is that we did four trails that were all within a few miles of each other. All four trails were different and all four trails were the same in some way. Just an endless variety of trails here. Unfortunately, it was overcast this day and the smooth singletrack meant that we hardly stopped, which also meant no still camera pictures to post. The only pictures I have are from my helmet camera. Below is the top of Joe’s Ridge.

April 2nd

Our final day of riding and we were going to do the Loma area trails. The trails here consist of big loops with great views of the Colorado river. The terrain is closer to Moab, with rocks and ledges and double track. Rustler’s loop is considered a warm-up loop before going onto Mary’s Loop. Within Mary’s Loop is the entrance/exit of Horsethief Bench.

Rustler’s was truly a warm-up loop as it was a great easy ride without difficult climbs or technical portions. Mary’s Loop consisted of alot of double track in the beginning. Throughout the entire ride, the Colorado is too your left. Horsethief bench has a nasty drop in that is very technical and rocky. We did not see anyone attempt to ride this down this day. Once down onto Horsethief, we rode it clockwise and were able to stop and take pictures of the great views it had to offer.

After Horsethief, we continued and completed Mary’s Loop. Now it was time to head back to Denver.

April 3rd & 4th

In Denver, we stayed with Lisa again and somehow convinced her to see ‘Hellboy’. After a relaxing Saturday we left Denver at 9am on Sunday morning. Arriving in Chicago at 2am Monday morning. Our 2004 Fruita & Moab trip was complete.

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