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Aug 25 2022
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Holy Cross Wilderness Day 4-5, CO 
Holy Cross Wilderness Day 4-5, CO
 
Backpack avatar Aug 25 2022
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Backpack
Backpack5 Days         
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Day 4
Up and up, lake after lake in the Seven Sisters Lake Basin. Much beauty but only marmots and voles for the animal parade. Storm forms, we cross the pass just in time. Rain gear for the cold hike down to Lake Constantine. Stays a little damp.

Day 5
We hike more mostly down. See actual groups of good smelling peoples hiking in to Constantine since it's Friday. Make it back to the car. Civic logo has fallen off to the ground with all the rain that moved down the hill or it has just given up and insists on a new pronoun. While all the vehicles when we showed up at the trailhead(s) 5 days ago were Subarus and Rav4's, now, we are the only car amongst Jeeps and lifted trucks. On the way down, we got plenty of second looks and wtf mouths from trucks coming up in the water holes and muddy corners.

*Part 1 [ photoset ]
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
5 archives
Aug 22 2022
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Holy Cross Wilderness Day 1-3, CO 
Holy Cross Wilderness Day 1-3, CO
 
Backpack avatar Aug 22 2022
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Backpack164.00 Miles
Backpack164.00 Miles5 Days         
45 LBS Pack
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Part 1

3rd little exploration while in Colorado for August.
Had every camp's lake to ourselves.
*Route is drawn, not actual (battery power)

Day 1 - 45min drive up the mtn on dirt rd with deep holes and oil pan busters. Can a Honda Civic make it? Yes but you'll be mad at me if you try in yours.
Hike up Half Moon Pass then to the knee killer steps down (would hate to do this reverse).
Rain and hail. Information for old trail down to Cross Creek = bad. None exists. Off trail in the storm.
Reach creek exhausted. Crossing test keeps the short one out. Wet camp setup.

Day 2 - Let's forgo the creek cross and offtrail back into the woods away from most of the marsh. Ariel view GPS download huge help. Oddly enough someone named Andy lost his Nalgene on our offtrail path. What in the world were you doing way out here offtrail, Andy? Reach official trail and make better time and great sights with our heavier wet packs. We make it to Harvey Lake, our optimistically planned 1st night camp. Such a great place to rest up, let things dry, and get other things wet.

Day 3 - Head back to Cross Creek. Beautiful valley. Would love to poke around more of it. Skip Blodgett lake and climb out of the valley. See lone camper at Treasure Vault Lake. Up Fancy pass, down Fancy pass. See the skid sled used for mining supplies to pull up hill. Down to Fancy Lake. A group of 5 girls pull in to rest on their Missouri Lakes loop. A ccouple things ccome out to ccasually add to scenery but the preview was misleading and the movie plot sputtered out so we left the theater.
Mostly from Fancy, you are hiking an old forest rd and then the actual 4wd trail to Holy Cross "City." 2 cabins remain, a couple gated mines, and old steel monstrosities.
The last portion of trail leads us to Hunky Dorey Lake and camp. The area had previously been well used but we saw no one during our time.

Part 2 [ photoset ]
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
5 archives
Aug 17 2022
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Indian Peaks Wilderness - Part 2, CO 
Indian Peaks Wilderness - Part 2, CO
 
Backpack avatar Aug 17 2022
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Backpack
Backpack
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We were one day behind because of the storms. Indian Wilderness is one of those permit places where you have to be permitted for the specific region of it that you will be in on the date planned. Oh well. We really tried.
This part of our loop was supposed to be 2/4 of our plan. Unfortunately my sister was having so much trouble keeping a pace that things had to change more. Even after I took on a 1/3 of her pack weight, she couldn't hack it. Once we returned, we would find that she was having heart failure and her legs had become balloons (back to better currently, but still doing tests for the whys).
So we rolled into Betty and Bob Lake, met a friendly Forest Lady (the only person seen up here), and set up camp. Sister mostly fished and rested, Noel went up to Bob to paint, and I continued my offtrail route to the saddle to scope out our next night at Woodland Lake.
After talking over the troubles sister was having and all the post rain and next rain possibilities, it was clear we would not continue to Woodland and Jasper. So we cut off those two hikes and a day and headed back the way we came instead of looping.

Part 1: [ photoset ]
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
Aug 15 2022
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Indian Peaks Wilderness - Part 1, CO 
Indian Peaks Wilderness - Part 1, CO
 
Backpack avatar Aug 15 2022
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Backpack
Backpack4 Days         
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Will there be parking?
We headed out from Denverish after sister's nurse night shift was over to try to secure a spot on the side of the dirt road allowed for parking, reminiscent of the Tonto, Rye era or the Fossil - rolling ice chest days. These cars would be from the people later parking their daypacks at Lost Lake but not any further.
It all starts with an old road hike, pretty much until the split for Woodland/Jasper.
After that it's a a rainy, haily trail up to King Lake, whereabouts you opt for a more tree covered camp spot a hair back down the hill near a pretty unnamed lake. Luckily this little lake is a prettier camp spot than the typical mostly rocky sided blue bowl of King. Your rain gear and tent are really getting tired after almost a full second day of rain. The girls stayed mostly in the tents and eventually I said screw it and went out hiking in the fog and showers. I was able to get around pretty easily to the upper little lakes and it was worth it all just to move around.
The next day, the sun finally came out for a bit and we celebrated with ceremonial wringing of the socks, shirts, lower sleeping bags, etc. Hairs was did, photos were taken, mooses shoo'd, and then we made a break in the break for our next area.

Part 1: [ photoset ]
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
1 archive
Apr 29 2022
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Anniversary Loopholes, UT 
Anniversary Loopholes, UT
 
Backpack avatar Apr 29 2022
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Backpack
Backpack4 Days         
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Drove in Thursday. Parked at Sooner Rocks at 3 in the morning to tent camp, but then the wind drove us back into the car for the "night's" sleep.
We got moving around 9 and drove as close to the Willow drop-in as the sandy road would allow (around 1.25mi from end)
We travelled past our Broken Bow arch camp from last year and all the way down to largest alcove before the "lake" water and setup this year's camp there. We found an lost and unopened Fireball lodged in the dirt near camp. It was a nice gift.
The next day we were able to walk past where the water started last year and where we had paddled into Bishop for our alcove camp last year. We hit water, paddled, then hit dry again. We found a lost double paddle lodged in the dirt in between. It was a nice gift.
I'd guess we boated for 6mi or so until hitting dry ground in Davis. We set up a cowboy camp past the arch in an alcove near a small fall.
The next day we hit some pretty choked up areas. Least fun of the trip.
We exited at the old cattle trail, and hiked overland for around 2.5mi dodging the sand and staying on rock.
This area looks like another planet and also like there couldn't be a canyon anywhere in front of you.
We aimed pretty good for the drop into Fiftymile. The wind shot dust devil after dust devil over the edge and down the sandy slide hill. The cow trail switchbacks were easy down but I would hate to muster all that sand in reverse.
We set up camp at around .5mi upstream in the alcove under the arch. Noel stayed back and I hiked down the canyon until hitting Powell again. The narrows near the end were fantastic and I took a lot of time shooting pics every which way. A storm threatened the sky a little so I headed back up quicker. There would be no rain though. The sunset at arch camp was great along with watching the wind effects we were tucked away from.
We began our hike out a little earlier. Enamored with our surroundings we took a wrong turn to the left in the canyon (a way that is the more traveled way in). We corrected without lament and rejoined back up to head west instead of south. A large boulder eventually blocked the slot canyon exit and we had to figure out a different way out. We aimed for the road, hit a fence-line and used that as our walkalong. It was then a 6mi walk on the winding and hilly road back to the car. We only saw one vehicle, a ranger who offered us a ride, but it felt like cheating so we took his offer of a cold gatoraide instead.
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
1 archive
Dec 29 2021
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Bluff Spring Loop & Weaver's ViewPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 29 2021
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Hiking10.80 Miles 2,138 AEG
Hiking10.80 Miles
2,138 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Started in the fog. Counterclockwise. Every creek flowing except lower Miner's Canyon. Solitude until Crystal Spring.
Recent trail maintenance appreciated, especially in burned area where route finding can be a little tougher. Start and finish lend the best views for sure.
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
2 archives
Oct 30 2021
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Workman Creek, AZ 
Workman Creek, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 30 2021
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Hiking
Hiking
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Tent camped and explored around walking the creek Friday and Saturday.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Extreme
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
Apr 09 2021
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
More Anniversary Canyons, AZ 
More Anniversary Canyons, AZ
 
Canyoneering avatar Apr 09 2021
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Canyoneering
Canyoneering
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
3 nights, slot canyons and boats. Great time.
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
Feb 01 2021
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Sterling Pass Trail #46Sedona, AZ
Sedona, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 01 2021
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Hiking3.11 Miles 1,587 AEG
Hiking3.11 Miles   3 Hrs   41 Mns   0.99 mph
1,587 ft AEG      33 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Well some people and a dog hiked this trail .75 in to about 5,500 so that helped the snow steps.
After that, it was on us to break trail on all the route squiggles. Got pretty deep, but the trail is called Sterling Pass so you just don't stop before that. It started raining a little at the pass so we didn't stick around too long.
Miss the trail and find some very deep spots :)
#shoeingsnow
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May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
2 archives
Oct 23 2020
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Reynolds Creek Trail #150Globe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 23 2020
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Hiking7.00 Miles 1,375 AEG
Hiking7.00 Miles
1,375 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Hiked off a trail a good bit and did the Knolls loop. 2 night base camp.
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
Sep 11 2020
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Companion Canyon, UT 
Companion Canyon, UT
 
Hiking avatar Sep 11 2020
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Hiking
Hiking
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We hiked a couple miles to the end of the road, then after dark came, we hiked some more. We got to watch unblinking yellow eyes follow us until around the corner.
I hiked this like last time, opting for the three night in and out. [ photoset ]
It was much muddier and a little harder to hike. But all the springs and seeps seemed to be flowing (2 sounded like wide open faucets). The side canyons had less to no water in them. Each day we added a couple side canyons to our explore (besides the main attractions).
We met a dude that hiked in backwards from the top all the way to Mineral in a day, thinking, maybe he'd go back up at some point. We hung out at our last camp, did more exploring and then took him out with us and brought him back to to his vehicle in Zion.
The baby bobcat pictured looked like he took a fall in a slot canyon? Busted eye (not scratched) and maybe a little head dentage. Not sure if he was going to make it. Too young to growl, but was able to get up and at least change positions.
Also, um a pelican surprised us too coming around a corner. We kept seeming him from time to time. Maybe my Louisiana spirit animal.
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
Aug 17 2020
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Pruned Maroon, CO 
Pruned Maroon, CO
 
Backpack avatar Aug 17 2020
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Backpack
Backpack5 Days         
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
We had an AirBNB reserved a good while back in Glenwood Springs to meet up with Colorado sister to do some Maroon looping. The whole area there caught fire and also now, sister couldn't connect via I-70.
Noel made a quick decision to get a new 1st night place to stay. Little did she know that the town of Marble is a great entrance to the Bells, adds some 4wd funning, avoids Aspen people, covid shuttles, and $30 a day in parking after paying for the bug bus.

We figured out that sis could shave a ton of time off her detoured drive by taking Independence Pass. Night nurses drive at night and in the morning at our stay in Marble, after some sister lateness, I rechecked the navigations only to find her route roads somehow no longer connected. I was bewildered until I found out that the big rigs that couldn't take the 70, were also trying but failing to shoot over the pass. It was completely closed down due to cabs and their trailers accordioning on rocky cliff sides.

She showed up just shortly after and hadn't even know about the shutdown, she had just made it through.

We started the adventure with Dana letting me drive the Lead King Loop (counterclockwise) over to the Geneva trailhead. We hiked up to the lake and had camp 1.

The next day we hiked up and over Trail Rider Pass and down to Snowmass Lake.

Seriously don't bother camping here. Somewhere along the way, we've all come to the same compartmentalized understanding that backpackers are somehow supposed to be nicer to the world than dayhikers, dayhikers better than Jeepers, Jeepers much better than non-Jeep SUV's, who are better than Razors (which are just chainsaws with strap-on, [let me finish] seats if there's enough room between all the speakers, which are probably still better than unicycle riders, etc. (This is where if I could draw, I'd draw hunters riding chainsaws through the forest shouting over to each other, "Where are all the animals at?" *optional unimpressed stepkids strapped to the back learning new swear words from the speakers just sandwiching them in.)

All that just to say that this is not the case at Snowmass. If you do camp at here, you will either have to move above ground toilet paper to setup your tent or move it where you setup your stove. (This is where if I could draw, there would be backpackers next to a Snowmass sign with an arrow to big white mountain that at first glance you can't tell is just a looming wadded up mound of white paper.)
It also kinda maybe looks like the forest service thought that just clear-cutting more trees around the lake would shy away private-squats but maybe it's just encouraging arm-linked mud-huddles.

*Bonus points to the guys drying their clothes over the No Camping Here sign at the lake outlet while directly next to it setting up their tent and fire.

Meanwhile... We were getting tired of people passes and passes with people so we went down river. Noel went to paint, Dana went to fish, and I offtrailed down to them from camp to the lower lakes. This was much more my style and probably had the most fun in the thick woods, trying to follow the outflow in and out of the gorge, down to the Snowmass Creek confluence, then out to the flats. Saw some tracks but not the bear. Dana did pretty well on the fishing and we decided this was her most fun so we cooked up her catch and changed the loop plan.

Now we were going to princess and the pea ourselves one more night at the lake, avoid the Aspen folk at Maroon/Crater Lake and avoid 3 more passes (fyi, chatter reports hard to find water near West Maroon Pass and through Frigid Air Pass) and backtrack Trail Rider, then hike down the cutoff down to North Fork and camp our last night at the same place our last night was supposed to be if we had done the full loop, at Hasley Basin junction camp.

We all enjoyed fewer ups (although the cutoff trail is more of a slide sometimes) more fish, painting, and down-creek explore time in the valley. The hike down the North Fork was great towards the end. There was lots of shade and better camp spots.

We made it back to the vehicle and finished the King loop, parted ways, and Noel and I went to stay in Rico.
My loops keep getting smaller but also getting funner.
If only there were shovel mount options on backpacks like roofracks .

*Maybe there should be a Covid observation notes added to the wildflowers and autumn on trip reports. We saw 1 group of people backpacking with masks on.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
2 archives
Apr 04 2020
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Anniversary Canyons, UT 
Anniversary Canyons, UT
 
Backpack avatar Apr 04 2020
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Backpack36.00 Miles
Backpack36.00 Miles4 Days         
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Another anniversary paired with another canyon trip. Per Noel's request we hiked in and then out. "I'd rather hike in this beauty twice than hike in desert sand."
We saw 20-25 deer that exploded the water in a narrow spot in the canyon as they turned and retreated when they saw us.
We also saw 7-9 really dark almost black deer.
Mineral was more silty than the river. It also had a dead deer in the water.
French had a dead squirrel in the water but was clear.
Poverty was clean but had a little dead lizard.
My shoes had ice on them also at camp Mineral.
Neoprene socks for the win. Noel wore her Chacos with them and I wore my trusty shoes. Also, like another person's report, I never dipped balls. Mostly up to knees.
Clouds formed in the south and over but then moved on to do their business.
Awesome place for sure.
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
4 archives
Feb 07 2020
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Desert Backpack, AZ 
Desert Backpack, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Feb 07 2020
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Backpack
Backpack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Birthday backpacking trip.
The desert is ok when there is water in it.
After driving the last stint in rough 4lo, we calculated it was faster to walk and add some mileage. Noel likes to say, "We came here to hike didn't we?"
The first part was a lot of skirting with the packs on.
When we hit my guesstimated spot, it measure up perfectly for camp. We decided to day-hike the other stuff the next day.
The pools got plenty big and we made it to a decent falls.
The ruins were a surprise both in the creek and across it when we were coming out.
Luckily the GPS had more juice or the road we looped out on may have gotten us in some trouble the times it had completely grew over (easy from the air, not so much from the ground). The sun stayed just behind some nice wispys in preparation for the rain the next day.
Good times.
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
Nov 21 2019
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Rim Trail #139 LoopGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 21 2019
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Hiking9.78 Miles 1,029 AEG
Hiking9.78 Miles
1,029 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Needed somewhere to take country brother. Thought it might end up being a rainy drive. Saw 9 turkeys (6 were gobblers) , 7 deer, coati, around 20 javalena. Bear and elk evidence but couldn't find them. Snowing was another bonus.
 Named place
 Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Workman Creek Falls
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
Aug 11 2019
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
West Weminuche Wilderness, CO 
West Weminuche Wilderness, CO
 
Backpack avatar Aug 11 2019
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
Backpack
Backpack6 Days         
 no routes
1st trip
Partners partners
bigredjeepchick
spacetimeart
My busted knee, too much downfall, and a record winter riverflow took a lot of the gumption out of this trip and turned it more relaxing.

We showed up to our first night's airbnb cabin and it was full of dogs. The host couldn't be reached by phone but a one-legged garage sale lady drove up the road to fetch her. She had forgotten what day it was and her dogs were in heat so she had to keep them inside from the chickens (surely unrelated) so she upgraded us to a big cabin (doublewide).

The plan.
It was an awesome loop- a long loop but a good one. It started breaking down shortly after it begun with Ranger Son-I-think-we're-having-a-completely-different-conversation informing me that the Flint Creek leg of my loop was extremely full of downfall. I get that packing out other people's trash, and not having the resources to maintain trails for said people makes you jaded but this guy did not start out or finish liking me at all. He also said the river I was planning on crossing on my out (was full flow) and the bridge has been out for several years.
"You're not angry about the bridge being out?!?"
"I.. do you want me to be?"
"Yeah you should. You need to write some letters. You guys may be able to make it if you link arms."

So anyway, my painstakingly planned plan was dashed. I had saved an alternate way to do the whole thing but that would take us to Emerald Lake. While definitely being pretty, it's more traveled and you can't really camp within eyesight of either Little Emerald or the big one.

The first night we went past the Lake Creek trail a couple miles to find a quiet spot on the Pine River. Most of the hike along the river doesn't keep you very close to it. In fact the first 3mi are just hiking along barbed wire fenced off ranch land and is mundane. A lot of the later river is fast and rapidly flowing dangerously over the rocks. Our camp was at a slow bend in the river which was perfect for my sister's rod and reel. The hike in until bedtime was pretty rainy. We had just enough break to cook our meal and get a small fire going to cook her caught fish.

Day 2. We hiked back to the Lake Creek Trail and up and up and up to Little Emerald Lake. The trail is also used a good deal for horse tours so there's some poo filled hoof holes to navigate. After the Pine River junction, there's not many camp options. Once we made it to the lake, my knee was hollering and we went about finding a camp. There's plenty of signs decrying camping within a 1/4mi of the lake and there's plenty of fire rings and seats within that boundary. I admit I gray area'd a camp for that evening. We did not eat fish this night. We were all pretty tired and Noel's new thyroid regiment was keeping her slow and thinking about the rest of the trip too.

Day 3. I moved our camp in the morning to a spot just off the outlet creek. This placed us outside the lake signs and over 100ft from the creek water. While it had no lake view, it did have water access unlike the previous night's high steep camp, and also had a little rock oven built. I discussed abandoning the plan up to Rock, then to Sunlight, then back down the Vallecito to where we had parked our second vehicle and everyone was quick to be on board with it. This would be our home for a while. We all split up, Dana to fish, Noel to hike the trail to Emerald and paint, and I off trailed around little poking around, seeing what I could handle. The little oven worked great for more fish. A fawn and her momma would come through the creek next to camp in the morning and another deer would come sniff all around camp in the evening without any fear.

Day 4. More of the same. We all found plenty to do. I enjoyed the offtrail. I recommend goofing around between the two lakes. It's very lush, had the most wildflowers and mushrooms and interesting rusty finds. In the evening I used a little line kit I had brought and worked it onto my hiking pole. It worked pretty well.

Day 5. We decided to head back down the hill towards Pine again. Once we got to the confluence, we still had plenty of energy and the camps there didn't have slow river access. We thought why not go back to camp one since we knew it was a relaxing place and fishable. Plus no rain this time. Once we made it there and dropped packs, I decided to keep going and see about Falls Creek. I passed a couple of the longtime camps used by the horse guides. The river stay away for a little while again but also stays calm and winding. The valley opens up a lot and was more of what I had pictured the Pine River trail to be. I crossed the river at the falls. Did I mention the flies yet? Holy crap. Stop for more than a minute like to pull of your shoes, and you'll have 20 of them on you. Most of them are just regular garden variety and you have to accept their love, but 10% are the biting kind. the 100% deet stopped the mosquitoes in their tracks but none of the flies cared. All that beauty and the whole trip was flies. Playing cards by the water. Stopping for lunch. It was tolerably miserable if you didn't focus on it. The good part was, if you were hiking, or moving while fishing, or swimming, or night timing, they wouldn't touch you. So know that if you want to go here. Anyway, so I made it as close as I could to the falls. It was clear that they were better from a afar. I bushwacked a little up towards them but they fall from so high, there's no point IMO.

I made it back to camp super wiped out and got the girls a fire so they could cook MORE fish. We used the last of our butter and Tony's.

Day 6. We hiked out the way we came in. Those last 3 miles really are unrewarding.

We got our airbnb and found out THE place to get burgers (and breakfast) was the little general store/mexican restaurant. It's misleading I know but they have like 10 specialty burgers and they are amazing. We read all kinds of old Colorado and survivalist books at the cabin the rest of the day.

We didn't see any bear on the trip. We passed a trio of dudes all carrying 45's or maybe 10mm's and they had bells on their shoes. The neighbor's dog at the aribnb had 30 stitched from being bear swiped a couple days before.

Emerald lake and surrounding is about 85-90% dead standing trees due to the beetles. Once the trees start falling, I have no idea how they'll keep up trail maintenance there either.

More info: Emerald Lake is 248 feet deep with 280 surface acres and 12.0 miles of shoreline. The lake is the third largest natural lake in Colorado and only accessible by foot and horseback. The unique Cutthroat Rainbow Trout hybrid exists in the lake. This is one of the few self-sustaining rainbow populations found in Colorado.

Fishing is prohibited in the inlet of Big Emerald Lake and the inlet stream (Lake Creek) for 1/2 mile above Big Emerald Lake from Jan. 1 through July 15. Fishing in Little Emerald and Big Emerald Lake is restricted to the use of artificial flies or artificial lures only. Bait fishing is prohibited. The bag, possession, and size limit for trout is 2 fish, 14 inches or less in length.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
3 archives
Jul 12 2019
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 Guides 2
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 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Gifford Pinchot Waterfalling III, WA 
Gifford Pinchot Waterfalling III, WA
 
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skatchkinsTriplogs 229
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Day 3

Now that the weekend was upon us, there were more signs of people in the forest. We took at that as our cue to move on and we headed over to the Quartz Trail. The campgrounds and parking areas were filling up but not too long we were again away from all of that nonsense. This trail was a good test for the knee and I learned long uphill steps were good and that downhills were what they were. The trail definitely put you into some beautiful old growth forest; it also kept you way up high off the creek.

We made our way down to Straight Creek to find campers, then headed up to Straight's three part falls and ate lunch on a log over a beautiful swimming hole. Then we got our feet in the water and headed up Quartz to the upper falls. I had originally planned to continue the Quartz trail to Snagtooth creek to find its upper falls. But I took into account that those falls required a heavy bushwacking and while the drop is reported to be impressive, the summer flow is not, plus we were right next to three waterfalls that would look great in the evening lighting compared to the current bright sun, also my knee loved soaking in the Quartz holes. Additionally, we have a small tent and there was a beautiful spot next to the falls just big enough to fit it so, we set up camp and relaxed about.

Washington people seem to not like to get their feetsies wet, as no one ever ventured from the confluence camp/trail upstream to explore or even see the upper falls. This made for some great solitude and no tan lines.

Once the sun settled down a bit, I revisited Straight Creek falls and wound up finding a way down to Lower Quartz Falls. At 30' tall, the narrow double falls really weren't worth the work required to get down to. There is a nice swim hole there though, but anyone near camp that peers down will see you.

Day 4
We decided to nip the rest of Quartz in the bud and head over to another area of interest with the thought that we could probably find a spot near to camp or just head down the Speed Trail to the dispersed river camps.

This was the leg of the trip required the most planning. According to the book and various internettings, two large falls exist that used to have pretty easy access to until the forest service not only decommissioned some roads, but straight up tore them up for nature to reclaim. While here in AZ I'd hear a lot of, "Great, more hiking! Less access!" my intel gave the opposite impression: "Unfortunately despite being one of the most noteworthy waterfalls in the Gifford Pinchot region of Washington, the National Forest Service has not yet seen it fit to construct a trail to the falls." and "the powers that be didn't take the opportunity to make a trail... A secret waterfall without a fan base has little political power when it comes time to shut down access." etc.

So anyway, we drove over to the end of a road that used to continue on. Surprisingly after passing so many full campgrounds and RV's struggling to find space, no one was camped along this rental capable gravel road along the creek. The road end had perfect creek access and a fire ring so we set up our tent and ate lunch. Then we began our offtrail to McClellan Falls downstream. There is some flagging if you look close but also, there's a lot of downfall and while sometimes you can see a faint beatdown path, a lot of times you can't. The path of least resistance sometimes keeps those flags out of sight so it's not easy by any means.

We found the top of the falls and then a goodish way down to the bottom. The devil's club wasn't bad until you get up in the spray zone so we hung out for a little bit taking photos. We started hiking back to camp and Noel returned to the tent to nap while I checked out Upper Curly Falls and did the swim, soak, and air dry. We cooked supper a little earlier this time and played cards next to the fire.

Day 5
The next day we set out to tackle our biggest hurdle. From camp, we crossed the creek and started our journey on the first decommissioned road. Imagine a faint path between young growth trees while the old grown streams by on both sides. I was nice and cleared out all the morning dew with my body and the spiderwebs with my face just for Noel. Before hitting the next defunct road, we set off into the forest to shave a little time off the oxbow on the trail map. It's about 3mi hiking on upturned asphalt between young saplings and it's pretty difficult to get lost.

The challenge is where to turn off into the thick forest and head towards the creek gorge. Notes say things like, just past the country stockpile, head into the woods and bushwack for about .3 miles then drop in. The forest is so thick now you can't see the stockpile but I had it marked on the GPS. I had also seen what looked like an old logging road on Google Earth that from the ground, you could kind of tell used to be there at some point. We hiked that until it ran out and then frustratingly busted brush in the right direction as best we could. There are flags all over in this area from other explorers trying not to get lost and from the logging companies so it's a very misleading adventure. We finally made it to the edge and saw the slippery slope and logs. I'm so glad I didn't save this for the last day. The down was tough.

Once we saw the waterfall we realized we didn't need to or want to get close. It was spraying up pretty far downstream. We slid down a diagonal mossy log a couple stories off the ground, then I walked an perpendicular log to a perch to shoot from. Just after getting a couple shots and already wanting to get to safer ground, bees. At first thought, I churned up a wasp nest with my tripod. My second thought: my fight/flight is going to be the death of me as I spin and swat precariously while balanced on this slippery ass high wad of pick-up-sticks. I managed to hand off my tripodded camera to Noel and then get back over to the bigger log. I saw the swarm was just 5 big curious bumblebees but we had definitely had our fill. I should mention that Rush Creek is really a river. It may be hard to tell from the photo but that water is uncrossable it was fast and deep. Also, the devil's club was bad down here and it took a lot of beating back to get down. It was stupid not to at least leave a note on the car for this hike as to where we'd be.

Once we dug ourselves the 800' back up to the rim, we set about finding a bushwack out. This was the first offtrail waterfall of the trip where we actually encountered people. As I heard them busting (not path of least resistance, straight line busting [which may be better]) I made some noise for them to hear too. They were astounded to see anyone here, especially from AZ and dude was ecstatically proud to know other people were checking out WA's OT waterfalls.

Anyway, we figured out a way back to the "road" then made it safely back to the car and packed up camp. The plan was to spend the last night on the Lewis and I could try to reach Falls Cave by uphiking Big Creek. We drove over towards the Speed Trail drop in, and then we were finally honest with ourselves and each other that we could be done. Our new forest friend had confided with me on how hard the Cave Falls hike could be (full of the club) and really we were just physically and more mentally drained. Once we were on the same page, we decided to check out Big Creek falls (decommissioned/de-signed trail with only 2.5 minutes from the car) nearby then head back into town and figure out some quaint lodging.
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[ checklist ]  Camp-fire
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
4 archives
Jul 11 2019
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Gifford Pinchot Waterfalling II, WA 
Gifford Pinchot Waterfalling II, WA
 
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skatchkinsTriplogs 229
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Last leg of base camp 1.

The sun came out. Bad for photog'ing, good for swimming. Well, we came to see waterfalls so let's go find them anyway.
First offtrail drop in - Steamboat Falls. A lot of the instructions for this forest's waterfalls are park around MP Xx (most of the MP's are gone or unreadable), head into the woods until you hear the falls, then head down below that sound. Sometimes there's a pink flag here and there, but the loggers also use flags. Sometimes there are faint paths intermixed with misleading game trails. Sometimes there is spikey devil's club to wade through (After AZ catclaw though, I was pretty unimpressed with the club until the crazy Rush Creek hike).

We made it downstream of the roar, then worked our way back up in the cold Lewis River (not too far from it's Mount Adam's glacier beginning). The sun was bright so we just hung out for a while exploring and stuff.

We scouted one more waterfall down the road then decided to head back to camp to wait until the sun was lower to return and also hit the other falls we had scheduled. I goofed around the Twin Falls then hung the hammock and chilled.

Later we resumed our exploration and checked out Pin Creek. After very carefully peering over the edge, I realized today was not the day to find a way to the bottom of the Upper Falls so we went to Upper upper (Pin head) and then back down to Lower (relatively easy OT hikes).

We were excited to go back to the falls on Big Spring Creek now that the lighting was great. Such an easy right off the road spot that just looks wonderful. With little defused daylight provided this day and #bodyissues, I opted out of a longer off trail falls search I had mapped out.

Last night at this camp.
 Named place
 Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Big Spring Creek  Pin Creek
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
Jul 10 2019
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Gifford Pinchot Waterfalling I, WA 
Gifford Pinchot Waterfalling I, WA
 
Hiking avatar Jul 10 2019
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
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This was our second trip up around the Gorge mostly armed with Scott Cook's book "Curious Gorge." We bought it in the library a while back, ignoring all the full color glossy books, in favor of the unique layout (and campy descriptions) with an "Obscurometer" for each location. There are plenty of off the grid locations that go into detail on things like free entry points, take the secret trail just past the curved tree, and even where safe nakes can take place. We started with the book, then utilized the amazing waterfallsnorthwest.com site, then researched further until I could no more.

People and organizations like this amaze me because of the freeness of location help. Most people won't or can't do all the work of the offtrail bread crumb stuff anyway, but it's still a different experience than other "clubs" (I'm looking at you cavers, offroaders, and even urban explorers) where everything has to be hidden, unshared, unnamed, leave the pink ribbon at home and stay on the trails attitude. I'm a member of most of those groups so I get some of the reasons, I just really find the offtrail waterfall people so refreshing and so darn likable. Anyway, here's part one of the trip.

We flew into Eugene (Allegiant) and drove up to a cheap Airbnb tiny house in the old growth woods. Frogs singing all night, moss on the shingles, the whole tiny thing. We finished the drive to the Gorge and into Washington the next morning. Against all that I'm about, we headed to a campground- But one that is listed as defunct, free, unsigned and abandoned by the forest service. There was a sign back up at the entrance but everything else checked out. We got a small spot down the hill and on the water across from Twin Falls. This was a base camp so it was good that it was easy to access and just a couple 100yds from the vehicle. There is a harder to get to camp across the creek if you cross the fallen tree, but again, I was going for easy base with waterfall view. We set up camp then headed back to the rental- which even though we paid for subcompact, got a big ol' Impala.

Given that it was awesomely overcast this day, We decided to do the bigger falls today and do the smaller ones around camp ones the next day. So the roads up in the Gifford are pretty bad- even the paved ones. We took one route (32) and even though I'm fine with mudding a white Chevy, it got to where the possibility of turtling it between two mudpuddles was getting to be too high, so I had to turn around. Back at the main road to try a little reach around, we found that the good double-lined, yellow-filled, paved road (88) on the map was washed totally out. Well all right.

I do love my maps. Map told me there was another 'nother way around (8810/8860). We reached it, found some gravel, dips and hills, and kept moving until we connected back up with the other end of paved washout road. At the big tire in the middle of the road that marked the junction, we continued on to another paved road (8851). And the vegetation did groweth over- We're slapping both mirrors now. And the road did slide awayeth- I got out 3 times to plan the rental's diagonal descent over the uneven cracks. It made it without grind or gas stomp. And we finally made it to the start of destination 1 - Little Niagara Falls.

This was an overly hard day. First we downclimbed to find we had over shot the falls. Then we started over and downclimbed to find we had under shot the falls. This was awesome because we got to find bonus falls. This was bad because the fertile Earth opened up and swallowed my leg causing my other leg to go awry and finish tearing my meniscus, and getting a good stigmata hand stab in the process. Well all right, add a thing to the list. I do the weird bendy thing to clear most of the cartilage from the joint and we continue on. We shoot the lower 2 falls, then make our own path up them and over to the real show stopper.

Little Niagara is a girthy falls. 85' tall but a max width of 150'. Lots of spray. Huge downed tree logs help show the scale.

After heading back to the car I sadly abandoned the idea of hitting the 227' falls down the washed out street until I come back with some 4wd and clearance. Note: There is a great truck camp between the bridge and LN Falls.

We passed back the way we came, stopping at Langfield Falls (low flow during the summer, easy signed trail down, walk-in camp available near parking).

The sun had come out but was starting to go down so I hiked over to Little Goose Creek Falls to shoot it (unsigned, footpath, offtrail to bottom).

We then did the full return to camp and got dinner and the fire going.
We saw no one that day aside from the handful at the campground.
 Culture
 Culture [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Camp-fire
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
May 24 2019
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 Guides 2
 Routes 23
 Photos 3,400
 Triplogs 229

44 male
 Joined Dec 22 2007
 Mesa, AZ
Turkey and Salome Club, AZ 
Turkey and Salome Club, AZ
 
Backpack avatar May 24 2019
skatchkinsTriplogs 229
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This trip was technically a Plan B too. I've never heard so many first-world-problemmers complain this past couple of weeks that the weather was messing up their vacation because it was still too nice at home thus too cold where they wanted to go.
We were headed out around the same area no matter, but with Young predicting snow flurries the day before, I did opt us out of water hiking only time. Noel had requested solitude but with water and trees which is no easy task on Memorial weekend. tHANKs to a couple people for LETTYng us in on this rugged area.
No traffic (or tow trucks) at all on the way home Sunday late afternoon.
Only brought back a little bit of poison ivy so far.
 Culture
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[ checklist ]  Camp-fire  Campsite
 Named place
 Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Indian Camp Canyon  J R Canyon
_____________________
May he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
May he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
Armchair Crisis Design
1 archive
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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