Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: Backpacking

Returning to the White Sands of the Tularosa Basin

White Sands National Park: Same White Sand, Different Name
My 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico
Valentines Day | Friday & Saturday, February 14-15, 2020

Three years ago Diane and I had visited White Sands National Monument for the first time while we were traveling through the deserts of the southwest on our Honeymoon Adventure. We really enjoyed our experience camping within the world’s largest gypsum dunefield, so when I started planning my 40th birthday trip I had considered returning for another overnight visit and added it to the possible list of places we could go. While it wasn’t high up on my list at first, as soon as I found out that White Sands National Monument officially became the 62nd designated National Park on December 20, 2019 when the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 was signed into law, I quickly moved it up on the list since I figured it was probably going to start getting even busier in the future now that it’s a full-fledged National Park!

4 Comments

Grand Canyon of the Sonoran Desert: Aravaipa Canyon

Our First Time Backpacking Among the Saguaros
My 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico
Tuesday – Wednesday, February 11-12, 2020

Today was the part of the trip that I was looking forward to the most since I first started making these plans last year. I have wanted to hike through the perennial waters of Aravaipa Canyon, sometimes referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Sonoran Desert, for a long time and this experience was one of the main reasons I had planned this birthday trip into southeast Arizona in the first place. Back in November I secured an overnight permit for my 40th birthday when they first became available for the date, and chose to start from the more popular West Trailhead since I knew we would most likely be driving Diane’s Edge for the better fuel mileage and comfort on this road trip. For those not familiar, anyone who hikes into the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness requires a permit from the BLM in order to help preserve the wilderness experience of the area. A total of 50 people are allowed per day, from which 20 may enter from the East Trailhead and 30 may enter from the West Trailhead. This can be a popular hike during the busy season, but the middle of February is probably the lowest use season because of the colder water temperatures of the creek. This sounded like the perfect time of the year for us to hike among the saguaros into Aravaipa Canyon!

3 Comments

Muddy Creek Wilderness: Chimney Canyon

Veterans Day Weekend | Friday – Monday, November 8-11, 2019

While we have been spending the long Veterans Day Weekend backpacking somewhere along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon these past couple of years, this year I decided to find something a little closer to home since we just hiked down into Havasu Canyon a couple weeks ago and I didn’t really want to drive back to the Grand Canyon twice within a couple of weeks. After hiking through the Grand Gorge of Muddy Creek last year and then floating through The Chute of Muddy Creek earlier this year, I felt that it was time to get back to exploring more of the brand new Muddy Creek Wilderness area with a backpacking trip into Chimney Canyon. While I have spent a lot of time in the San Rafael Swell over the years, I realized that I have never actually gone on a backpacking trip there, so this would be my very first backpacking trip in the Swell and most likely our last backpacking trip of the year, too.

1 Comment

Thousand Below: The Waterfalls of Havasu Canyon

Braving the Crowds and Permit Process to Finally Visit Havasupai
Wednesday – Sunday, October 23-27, 2019

I typically try to avoid crowded and very popular locations when I head out into the backcountry, but Havasu Canyon is one area that I felt I needed to make an exception for. I guess I should have tried to go over a decade ago when I first learned about this place, but who knew then how popular it was going to become thanks to Instagram and other social media platforms? This year I decided it was finally time to try to obtain permits, and although the process was very frustrating when they became available at the beginning of February, I was lucky and able to secure permits for the exact dates that I wanted at the end of October! Instead of spending our annual backpacking trip to the Grand Canyon exploring the Esplanade of the North Rim, this year we would be spending that time in Havasu Canyon.

11 Comments

Little Death Hollow & Wolverine Canyon

Canyons of the Escalante | Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Thursday & Friday, October 3-4, 2019

After an easier day exploring the colorful sandstone around Big Horn Canyon on Wednesday, it was time for our next overnight backpacking loop hike and this was one that I was pretty excited for since I’ve wanted to hike through Little Death Hollow for a long time! I slept in until just after sunrise on Thursday morning but I heard Jared get up before sunrise to wander around camp for a few photos. Once the sun was up we took our time taking down camp and packing our backpacks for the overnight hike. Since we weren’t sure if there was going to be water in Horse Canyon with the dry summer we’ve had, we decided it would probably be a good idea to carry all the water we would need for the loop, so I ended up taking 4 liters to be on the safe side. Then we drove the short distance over to the Little Death Hollow Trailhead and were on the trail shortly before 10:00am.

1 Comment