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Backpacking Technology by Backpacking Technology - 2M ago

The Camino Frances is one of dozens of traditional walking routes in Europe, and starts at St. Jean Pier de Port in France, and ends at Santiago, Spain. Our trip started when daughter Laura said she would like to go with me, and that she could do 3 weeks in June. Daughter Ciera then committed to 2 weeks in July, and I planned to commit 6 weeks. Below: Laura on the left, Ciera on the right. 

Photo by Thomas Lea of Boise.

Picking the date was the start, then we started researching out the trip, 

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Backpacking Technology by Backpacking Technology - 3M ago

The North Kaibab Trail runs between the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and the Colorado River. For us it started at the river, and we headed up some 1500' to Cottonwood Camp, as we left Bright Angel Campground at the bottom. BA campground is 100 yards from Phantom Ranch, where you can get meals by reservation, or you can get over-the-counter beer, bagels, cold pop, and snacks. Below is Bright Angel Creek, with the campground on the right, and Phantom Ranch on the left and behind the camera about 100 yards. 

The trail heads up along side the creek  in a scenic narrow gorge. The narrow canyon part of the trail is called "the box". The first stop of note is Ribbon Falls.

Shortly thereafter we came to Cottonwood Camp at about 7 miles, site of a bathroom, picnic tables, tent sites, and water that must be treated before drinking. There are ammo cans for food lock up, and a pole for hanging packs. We spent the night there, with some of us venturing into the creek for splashing around. I came out way more refreshed than I should have. I lay down and tried to put my feet up for a while. The next day we continued up the trail, headed 13.8 miles and 4300' up to the north rim.

The North Rim is higher than the South Rim, had snow on the ground, and although the park facilities were closed we did find potable water. There are tent sites, picnic tables, and ammo cans for food storage. Man was this a hard day for me. We saw Ribbon Falls at a different time of day the next day. 

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The North Kaibab Trail runs between the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and the Colorado River. For us it started at the river, and we headed up some 1500' to Cottonwood Camp, as we left Bright Angel Campground at the bottom. BA campground is 100 yards from Phantom Ranch, where you can get meals by reservation, or you can get over-the-counter beer, bagels, cold pop, and snacks. Below is Bright Angel Creek, with the campground on the right, and Phantom Ranch on the left and behind the camera about 100 yards. 

The trail heads up along side the creek  in a scenic narrow gorge. The narrow canyon part of the trail is called "the box". The first stop of note is Ribbon Falls. 

Shortly thereafter we came to Cottonwood Camp at about 7 miles, site of a bathroom, picnic tables, tent sites, and water that must be treated before drinking. There are ammo cans for food lock up, and a pole for hanging packs. We spent the night there, with some of us venturing into the creek for splashing around. I came out way more refreshed than I should have. I lay down and tried to put my feet up for a while. The next day we continued up the trail, headed 13.8 miles and 4300' up to the north rim. 

The North Rim is higher than the South Rim, had snow on the ground, and although the park facilities were closed we did find potable water. There are tent sites, picnic tables, and ammo cans for food storage. Man was this a hard day for me. 

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We did a rim-to-rim-to-rim hike in the Grand Canyon, the first part of which is the trail that goes from the South Rim (aka Disneyland) to the bottom of the canyon, at Bright Angel Campground. Our crew is shown below, a bunch of old guys, with me being the oldest. I wish I was the wisest also, but that was not to be. 

We started at a place next to the Bright Angel Lodge, and headed down the very nice trail as shown below. 

There is water partway down the trail, at Indian Gardens. There is also a campground there, and making reservations there would make a lot of sense. The patch of green in the picture below is Indian Gardens. It was truly a wonderful and cool oasis in a harsh land, about 6 miles from the top of the trail. 

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We did a spring break hike in the Needles district of Canyonlands, out of Moab Utah. The destination was Angel Arch, which is up Salt Creek.  At first we walked up the sandy creek bottom, saw some water at times, but it was not flowing. Later we'd come to appreciate ANY water. 

Our first destinatation was Peekaboo Arch, where we saw Indian art, and caught a breath. It was also the last time we saw water for a long time. 

Peekaboo Arch was at about 3 miles, but it felt like 5 miles. From there we hiked on for 6 miles, and finally camped where we thought there was water but there wasn't. We pitched tents then ranged ahead looking for water, because we were desperate. Luckily we found water about 1/4 mile away, and it was a nice close to the day. Compared to having no water, the puddle below looked pretty good. 

That night we were hit by fierce winds, and with mesh on 4 sides of my tent I had fine red dust everywhere. Later it started to rain, and the wind continued while it rained. My tent was anchored by big rocks, and moved a bit in the wind, but always sprang back. The creek didn't rise, and water didn't flow, but there was a bit more water in rocky pools on the next days hike to Angel Arch.  Below is Angel Arch, and below that the Eyes of Jabba, obviously. 

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Cathedral Wash is a short hike (3-4 hours) hike in a desert canyon that leads to the Colorado River. It could be hot in the summer, but in late March when we were there it was a very pleasant temperature. 

We reached Cathedral Wash from Page AZ by driving south on U.S. 89 for 41 miles, Then we turned left on U.S. 89A and continued for about 14 miles, and turned right at Lees Ferry Rd. The trailhead to Cathedral Wash was reached in about 1.5 miles. Its about a 3 mile hike. 

It seemed kind of sketchy in places, but a woman with a little dog went before us, and if she managed the downclimbs I guess I had to. 

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The following picture and text appear in the April 2018 issue Backpacker Magazine, page 74. I'll be doing autographs after the show, folks. No need to crowd. 

The Testing Life

I had a stroke in February 2017. I had secured a permit to the John Muir Trail before that, though, and used the possible trip as in incentive for rehab. I walked, adding more distance and weight, hiked around our foothills for three months, and headed off the the JMT in July. My diminished balance made crossing streams in the Sierra more difficult, but I was actually stronger than when I did it in 2016.  Bob Shaver

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My friend Marc Dilley sent me photos of his Fall hike to the Enchantments, an alpine plateau surrounded by peaks in the Stuart Range of the Cascades, near Wenatchee Washington.   He and some friends hiked in to the Enchantments as a day hike, which most sane people do as a 4 or 5 day trip. 

The Fall is when the larch trees are turning orange and dropping their needles.   Marc and I once went into here in the early spring, skied across frozen Colchuck Lake, carried our skis up the snow filled Asgard Pass, climbed the peaks around the basin, and skied down Asgard Pass, in another life when we were invinceable.  Marc is also a botanist, and has some wildflower articles on the Wenatchee Outdoors Club site.  Marc's skills as a climber and as a photographer continue to amaze me.  Marc's amazing pictures are at his site: http://marcdilley.com/

Hiking around Colchuck Lake, with Asgard Pass above. I can't believe we skied down that sucker with packs on.  Oh now I remember.  I fell a lot, and tumbled quite a bit of the way. 
 
The little pond below is Gnome Tarn, with Prussik peak on the horizon. 

These are larch trees in their pre-winter color. They drop their needles shortly after turning yellow. 

This is one of the bigger lakes of the Enchantments, called by some Rune Lake. 

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14 days worth of food (from Horseshoe Meadow to VVR in 2016, excluding beef jerky, cheese, energy bar.)

Top Row: left to right: packs of dry vegetables, John Muir Trail Bread 

Middle Row:  smoked chicken, dry fruits, freeze dry natto ( fermented soybeans, large pack), 2 packs of powdered milk

Bottom Row:   mayonnaise, packs of instant soup, freeze dry potato (large pack ), instant baked whole rice (1 kg)

 I carry 1 kg / day (2.2 lbs) food. Then I adjusted the food weight 14 kg at Lone Pine. I have a small fish scale.

 

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I used to live in Wenatchee, and from there the Stuart Range was our backyard. We went to Stuart Lake, Colchuck Lake, and the Enchantments all the time in the days before permits were required. The Enchantments are a high plateau in the Stuart Range, near Leavenworth WA. The first time I was up there I went in by way of Snow Lakes, and I swore never to do that again. It seemed like a knee killer on the way out. I think it was 20 miles out. The "secret shortcut" route in is via Colchuck Lake and Aasgard Pass, aka Colchuck Pass. First you hike in to Colchuck Lk, go around the lake counterclockwise, and go cross country up the pass.  The lake water is glacial, so it really is that color. 

Shown below is more or less the route up the pass, some 3000' of gain. I went up that pass maybe 5 times before I learned that there is a bit of trail on the left side, and is much easier than the right side where the stream is. 

Below, Tuckie on the way up Aasgard Pass. 

Ron Claghorn, almost at the top of the pass. 

You are sure to see goats up there, and they are pretty unphased by humans. 

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