Leaving Las Vegas ….

There is nothing better than escaping a trade show in Las Vegas for the backcountry and fresh air of Zion National Park. After a 3 hour drive Fuller and I arrive in Springdale, UT and stay a short distance from the park. Our first mission is to hike the Hidden Canyon Trail. We climb 850 feet and link up with a steel chain that guides us around a cliff with an insanely sharp drop off.  It is at this point that I remember that I might have a slight fear of heights.And to make things more interesting, we round a corner and see the Trail covered in ice.  Hmmm - better hold on to that chain!     I try not to look down - because damn it's a long way to the valley floor.  Get me off this … [Read more...]

Winter – Once Again – At The Grand Canyon

The Mrs. and I just returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon, and if you haven't seen it - the winter is a great time to go.  There are fewer people, there's no summer 100+ heat, and it's fairly easy to book a room at the last minute - even on a weekend. I made my first trip to the Canyon in 1996 during a three month cross-country roadtrip that put 17,000 miles on my car and had us touch all four corners of the Lower 48.  We arrived on the North Rim in mid-summer with 104 degree heat and mobs of people in every direction.  I'm embarrased to say that we didn't hike a single mile on that trip.     After that experience, I longed for cooler temps and for a backpacking trip to the bottom of the Canyon.  I … [Read more...]

Great Smoky Mountain National Park – And The Machoists Got Pelted

Since the early 90's, some old Appalachian Trail thru-hikers that I know have maintained the tradition of an annual winter hike.  As I detailed in "40 at 40", the trip is never easy and is typically booked within a few weeks of the MLK holiday.   After a four year absence, I made a guest appearance during their three-day ramble of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park this year.  It was mid-way through their hike when we met up at the Mt. Collins Shelter after the machoists had gotten pelted by hail for 30 minutes on Mt. LeConte at 6,593 feet. They then spent the rest of the day climbing to the Mt. Collins in a driving downpour. Well - some of them anyway.  Half of the crew hitched a ride with a park ranger in to town … [Read more...]