"Stop the Nonsense"
Juan Hofdahl - Friday October 9, 2010 Kaibab Lodge- 5 guys in a room
This certainly was a memorable trip and trail.We returned home at four in the morning due to a chain of events caused by the brutally jagged Kaibab Limestone rocks that litter Forest Road 22 on the North Rim, and perhaps negligence on Juan's part. See Men Behaving Badly section. This was my third trip to this remarkable area of the Grand Canyon. It was the boys first trip and they loved it.
This memorable trail offers some of the finest scenery in the Grand Canyon. In the 10.4 miles to Upper Tapeats campsite the trail makes three excessively steep descents. Thunder Spring is the most memorable sight in the Grand Canyon. It is a virtual river that gushes out of a limestone cave. Thunder River's powerful waters travel to Tapeats Creek, where we camped. (see attached picture)
The sound of the water as it explodes into the Redwall and Muav limestones gives the river its name. Thunder River is the shortest river in the world. Over 3,000 passageways have been charted behind the waterfall. The water comes from the rain and snow that fall on the Kaibab Plateau. Falling rain dissolves carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This acid rain chemically weathers limestone or carbonate rocks when it pools on the rock and passes underground through sinks and joints into caverns. Sinks are created when the underground caverns honeycomb an area creating weak spots which then collapse. The groundwater drops to the water table or flows out in giant springs if an impermeable layer is reached.
We reached Tapeats Creek around five in the afternoon. Everyone's toes were a mess, jamming them on the way down. We enjoyed a fabulous campsite, and Dingo treated us some spirit libations from the heart of the blue agave. (see attached picture)
The next day the boys hiked to the river and took in some great views while lobo guarded the camp, rested and relaxed. The poor wolf had just completed seven days in the canyon guiding a Mountain Travel Sobek group and was in need of some space away from men that behave badly, very badly.
The following morning we started the brutal 4800' ascent at 6:30. We were out at 1:30 and immediately engaged in our cerveza ritual. All was well until.....................(see MBB)
MEN BEHAVING BADLY
-Juan and Dingo for espousing the merits of capitalism and greed during the whole trip
-Juan for "venting" and telling "interesting" stories, then not allowing Lobo to use them in the MBB.
-Juan for buying crappy freeze dried food and then trying to pawn it off on Lobo
-Juan (the most prolific farter that ever hiked the canyon) for ripping loud and ripe ones every 30 seconds for 4700"
-Lobo for being the "King" of the canyon
-Juan for greeting the group in tight black underwaer at the Tapeats campsite.
-Lobo for "pressuring?" Juan to drive
-Juan for showing up with bald tires and no jack, borrowing Zo's jack.
-Zo for forgetting a critical piece of the jack
-Juan for getting a flat tire (perhaps driving too fast) 1 1/2 miles from the trail head. (Note Juan had also gotten a flat tire on the 3 years passed Nankoweep blowout)
-Juan for getting a second flat tire on the return, seven miles from the main road.
-Jake for wanting to commit suicide and hike the eight miles to the Kaibab Lodge after the second flat and no spare. This after hikingthe 10/1/2 miles out of the canyon. He wanted to notify Gretchen (his spouse), that we were stranded and in deep shit)
-Juan for not wanting to buy a second tire after we were towed to Fredonia, and only upon the insistence of El Lobo, he finally did.
-Juan for getting a third flat tire close to Jacobs Lake.
-Juan for being hopping mad and spazzing out after the third flat. Only Lobo's calm reassurance that Juan was smart enough, good enough, and that doggon it people like him, settled Juan down.
-Group for driving back to Phoenix with no spare.
-Juan for being responsible for making Lobo and Zo miss one day in paradise (San Carlos). Zo forgave Juan, but Lobo has not.
Thank you for visiting my canyon
Other great rivers add power to you
Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat, too
Sandy, Willamette and Hood River too
So roll on, Columbia, roll on
Yakima, Snake, and the Klickitat, too
Sandy, Willamette and Hood River too
So roll on, Columbia, roll on
I just returned from beautiful Bend Oregon after a week of action. Gerry went home on Monday. I stayed for a backpack. It was a nice break from "toasty" Phoenix.
For those of you that do not know Bend, it is located at the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains with unlimited recreational opportunities. To say that Bend is an energetic city would be an understatement.
This will be a short report containing only highlights because I have to reload and do a canyon trip for18 people from the UK.
Thanks to Peggy Shea for her tremendous hospitality and to Bob Shea for putting together a great plan and schedule of activities.
-Evening cocktails/hors d'oeuvres/dinners on the Shea backyard patio; watching the Steller Jays, Hummingbirds, and even a large Owl.
This backyard is incredible!
-Downtown Art Walk and Shopping at Old Mill
-Moon Rise and Sunset on Pilot Butte
-Hiking to Tumulo Falls and paddling the Deschutes with Gerry
-Sunrise to Summit Race-up to the top of 9,000' Mount Bachelor-A personal best for the Mooseman!
-Lunch at Elks Lake Lodge-Black Butte Porters!
-Mountain Biking about 19 miles on the Skyliner, Phils and up and down the fun "Whoops trail" (muchos moguls)
-Smith Rock State Park
-A fabulous 26 mile backpack in the three Sisters Wilderness. (6 miles cross country up, and down some gnarly stuff)
The river flows, it flows to the sea
Wherever that river goes that's where I want to be"
Wherever that river goes that's where I want to be"
Ballad of Easy Rider
MY friend and fellow adventure guide Josh spent four fabulous days hiking, fishing and exploring various wildernesses in the White Mountains of Arizona, as well as the Blue Range Primitive area.
We were treated to several exciting wildlife sightings, including a black bear and cub, wild turkeys, deer, and a lone coyote in a brilliant meadow.
The first day we explored the Little Colorado in the pristine Mt. Baldy Wilderness. From headwaters near 12,000' this river flows through forests of Colorado blue spruce, white fir, ponderosa pine, white pine, and my favorite - quaking aspen, and cuts through hundreds of feet of volcanic rock formations. Near Sheep Crossing where the river leaves the wilderness area and flows through lush meadows many varieties of wildflowers laced the meadows.
The Black River forms a major tributary to the Salt River. The headwaters are in the White Mountains and it flows in a tortuous channel through a number of narrow gorges marked by magnificent rock formations and cliffs. It is a highly scenic and pristine river corridor.
We camped at Horse Springs next to the Black River. In the hot coals of the campfire. Josh prepared delicious meals of bratwurst/beans and 2 nights of steaks/potatoes. Lobo ate heartily. Cervezas flowed like the river.
Lobo elected to sleep in his Hennessy Hamock and each evening was an adventure in survival. Josh opted out of the hammock (borrowed from Zo) for his tent and slept safe and warm.
The "BLUE" is one of the most prized backcountry resources in the Southwest.
It remains one of Arizona's untouched and little known jewels. This is a land of rugged mountains, steep canyons, and stark ridges.
The Mexican Wolf was reintroduced here in 1997, Currently there are 10 packs and 4 single wolves roaming the Blue.
My son Jake and I used to camp frequently at KP CIenega and hike the extensive trail system here. I absolutely love wandering where my brothers and sisters live.
Josh and I enjoyed a fabulous hike in the Bear Wallow Wilderness. We were chased out by an afternoon thunder storm. This is a wet boggy place
where black bears probably wallow in mud to fend off insects. This wildland may very well harbor the largest concentration of black bears within Arizona and is truly some of the most wild terrain in our state. The wilderness contains some of the most extensive acreage of virgin ponderosa pine in the Southwest.
The centerpiece for this wilderness is the creek itself, that flows year round and provides habitat for the native Apache trout. You can follow the creek for 8 miles down to the border of the Apache reservation.
Thank God for the Wilderness Act of 1964 and the passage of the Arizona Wilderness Act of 1984,setting aside 42 new wilderness areas for protection, most on National Forest lands.
NOTE: Arizona has 92 total wilderness areas.
Men Behaving Badly
-Lobo and Josh for telling lie after lie around the campfire.
-The red neck dude (as%h#le) at Hannegan Meadows Lodge who complained to Lobo that "the wolves around here have more constitutional rights than I have"
-Josh in Bear Wallow for asking Lobo if he brought his Tennessee Toothpick, followed by "who should fight the bear?" These questions came after Lobo advised Josh "If black, fight back. If brown get down"
-Josh for suggesting that Lobo should fight the bear since Lobo already had much more life than Josh.
-Lobo for doing less than his share of camp chores.
-Lobo and Josh for not catching any fish. (Josh had one crawdad bite)
The longest journey begins with a single step...not a turn of the ignition key.
The solitary wilderness experience can be an adventure, a source of personal renewal a test of survival, or a spiritual retreat. It was all of the above for two amigos from Arizona.
During eight days of hiking and backpacking on fair to poor trails through extremely rugged terrain where visitors are few, we took on the rain, wind, thunder, lightning, hail, snow and ice fields at 10,000' and loved every minute of it.
The raw beauty was without equal to any rivals in the past.
The greatest wilderness "road trip" of modern times:
This trip was planned without flaw and precisely executed. It was synchronicity at it best.
-Chaco Culture NHP New Mexico
- Mt. Moriah Wilderness Nevada
-Wheeler Peak Wilderness-Great Basin National Park Nevada
-Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park Nevada
-Arc Dome Wilderness - Toiyabe Range Nevada
-Mount Charleston Wilderness - Springer Range-Southern Nevada
"Home means Nevada!"
Chaco, Durango, and Moab were great, but what really made this trip special was Nevada and its snow capped mountains that give its name. I left Nevada 20 years ago, but never really left. I am a Nevadan that still lives intensely and independently.
Twenty years later and Nevada is still a frontier. It was great to once again experience the beauty, the texture and the flavor of my state. Four years ago we did a fabulous backpack in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada and rediscovered the immense expanse and rich contrast between valley and mountain. We could not wait to return.
This trip had it all; cold mountain streams, abundant wildflowers, shady canyons, dramatic peaks, quaking aspen, ancient bristlecone pines and the smell of sage during rain. The best!
Mt. Moriah Wilderness
We met with a ranger at Great Basin NP to gather information to explore this territory in the northern Snake Range.
He recommended a hike through Horse Canyon to a plateau at 11,000' known as The Table, a unique world of subalpine vegetation lined with bristlecone and limber pine. Note: bristlecones are thought to reach an age far greater than that of any other single living organism known, up to nearly 5,000 years.
He also mentioned that it was the toughest hike that he had ever done. So, of course we had to do it, with a little trepidation.
After an interesting back road trip (see MBB) we followed a creek for a couple of flat miles before engaging in a torturous
ascent. Along the way the views of the valley were spectacular and we sighted a couple of sage grouses, mule deer, a bull snake, and a huge hawk. The wildflowers were brilliant. The trek gained 4500' in five miles before we reached the
Legendary Table, exhausted, after 3 1/2 hours of steep climbing. But it was well worth it. The views were incredible!
We made it down in just over 2 hours and celebrated in our camp by Baker Creek with cervezas and a round of target practice, shooting at our empty beer cans with my Red Ryder BB gun. (just like the one in the movie Christmas Vacation)
Great Basin NP
The next day we did some light hiking to some alpine lakes in the park and then set out for a 3600' altitude gain backpack to Johnson Lake in the rain. We camped by a creek next to an abandoned tungsten mill and Zo was able to build us a nice little fire in spite of the wet conditions. The hike was gorgeous and went well except for the relentlessly steep last mile.
Arc Dome Wilderness
We drove on the country's loneliest highway (50) to Austin Nevada and obtained a map and information from the BLM about the largest of Nevada Wildernesses that comprises the southern third of the Toiyabe Range, a rugged spine of mountains with difficult access.
This area in central Nevada has the least population per square mile of anywhere in the United States. Simply, no one lives or goes there.
We decided to hike the South/North Twin River Trails. A storm had moved in but we put on our rain gear and headed up the creek. There were many creek crossings and we were drenched early on. The scenery was awe inspiring. Canyon walls towered above and the thunder was deafening and lightning was flashing everywhere. This was pure raw nature and we relished it despite our fear.
Lorenzo told me if the hair on the back of my neck stood up to get down on my hands and knees so if struck by lightning it would pass through my body. Of course, I got paranoid and thought the hair was standing straight up but kept moving. It was great!
We celebrated with Tecates at the trailhead and didn't mind the downpour. From here we retreated to a cheap hotel in Tonopah where we dined on microwaved chili.
OK, thats it, see MBB below. Zo and I both agreed that we would return to Nevada and do the 72 mile Toiyabe Crest National Recreation Trail. It is the longest trail in Nevada and few have done it.
The acclaimed MEN BEHAVING BADLY section
-Zo for refusing to go to the world famous Ward Charcoal Ovens. Only after much coaxing did Zo finally agree to take the short side trip to such a spectacular and unique land mark. Lobo was able to convince Zo after explaining that on his death bed he would wish that he had eaten more ice cream and gone to the Ward Charcoal ovens.
-Zo for refusing to eat lunch at the bank in Ely that was offering a free fourth of July barbeque for customers that included yummy hot dogs, soda, chips, cookies, watermelon, and potater salad. Lobo was invited after making friends with the bankers and locals by introducing himself and saying "Howaya"
-Zo the off road daredevil for his demonstrations of how not to use four wheel drive on back roads and slip sliding away in the mud into a gully near Chaco and yelling "HOLD ON!" This was followed up by backing up on the back road to Mt. Moriah and almost rolling the Nissan in a gully and yelling at Lobo who was watching in terror - "GET OUT OF DA WAY!'
-Zo for yelling at poor Lobo in camp and calling the Lobo lazy when Lobo merely requested Zo fetch him a beer from the creek. Lobo had certainly done his share of camp chores and merely made the request because Zo was handy.
-Lobo for bringing his "Tennessee Toothpick" very large knife and taking a few shots at the birdies with his BB gun when Zo was not looking.
-Lobo for saying "Howaya" to everyone he saw, only because there were so few people around.
Stay Thirsty My Friends
The real, most interesting man on the planet