December 22, 2021 § Leave a comment
It rained most of the night, but when I awoke it had abated long enough for us to break camp and grab some breakfast. Though the rain had abated it wasn’t done for the day, and we’d be lucky to see the sun at all on this day. We didn’t really have all that far to go with the pass at maybe 2-2.5 and then another 1.5 down the other side. Remember from an earlier post that we were advised to take a site in the upper Chicago Basin where few, if any, of the Needleton access 14er-seekers will bother to hike up to. With a sense of urgency we broke camp while our water heated, and with no sun to dry anything, packed all our wet gear as it was. Sure it would be heavier, but we didn’t have to go far. With the main gear packed we took in our morning breakfasts and coffee drinks; we took care of our morning business and then we were off for Columbine Pass.« Read the rest of this entry »
December 15, 2021 § Leave a comment
The plans for a late Fall adventure began to take shape during the 3 day Indigenous Peoples Day weekend in October when I accepted an invitation (I invited myself) to spend some time with my longtime friends Larry and Melanie Butler at their cabin in the woods behind Woodward, Pa. As it so happened, this was also the weekend of Pennsylvania’s tremendously successful gravel bike ride UnPaved, which Larry and I planned to “Bandit Ride” a shorter segment. I brought all my Pennsylvania Lizard maps with me so we could take some time to glance at “possibilities”.« Read the rest of this entry »
December 11, 2021 § Leave a comment
If you recall, we broke two long days into three shorter days, and today was the second of those days, and this day would be nothing but regaining most, if not all of the elevation we lost yesterday. Distance-wise it was a little shorter, but terrain-wise we would hit some big gains in two sets of switchbacks, where I believe each set was 20-30 turns. The feeling was that we would find something between the second and third set where we could pitch our tents, but until we got there, we wouldn’t know. We hadn’t seen anyone we could ask.
The morning was another fine morning where the mountains to our East shielded us from direct sunlight until long after we hit the trail. Our fourth morning, and everything is very routine by now. Before I even leave my shelter, I have dressed, re-stuffed my sleeping bag, deflated the air mattress and returned it to its carry sack, deflated my pillow, and broken down and rolled up my tarp. Then it is time for hot water and a little relaxation while I watch everyone else do their thing. Of course Kevin is already up, as is Jim, and by the time I sit down, everyone is up and moving.« Read the rest of this entry »
December 9, 2021 § Leave a comment
We met a lot of people on this adventure. Way more than in past adventures excepting Banff. The least number we ever saw was in the High Uintas where we met a Ranger, and then a guide with two charges, all on horseback. After that, nothing. This day would not be a high volume people day, but the two characters we did meet (Father/Son) were a real eye opener.
Our second morning was a little different than our first. For one, we weren’t in a hurry to get over two passes as all we had on the agenda for the day was mostly all downhill, or perhaps it is better to say our net elevation gain today would be a loss. About 1000 feet (304.8 meters) loss. No need to hurry for that. We would probably be done by 1 or 2 and then have the rest of the afternoon to relax, and maybe even cleanup a little in Vallecito river/creek. Another difference was our tree cover was greater, so the view of the surrounding mountains was obscured. That wouldn’t last long once we started to hike, but until that began, we were in the shade of mountains we couldn’t really see, and it was a cool night. I had my usual 3 times up for personal business, and my usual sleep issues, but that doesn’t keep me in bed.« Read the rest of this entry »
December 7, 2021 § Leave a comment
It’s been awhile since I last climbed the Continental Divide under my own power. I crossed it as a bus passenger in June, but that doesn’t count in my book. We were in the Pacific drainage when we both started and ended this day, but we hiked in the Atlantic drainage for a short while, which meant that we had two passes ahead of us. I can’t find a name for the first pass, and maybe there is a definition of “Pass” that I am unaware of that this first “Pass” doesn’t meet, but I feel like if I cross from one side to the other, say from one valley to another, that is a pass. The second for our day would be Hunchback Pass. A real name.« Read the rest of this entry »
November 30, 2021 § 3 Comments
I was preparing a Purple Carrot dinner when the first group text came in.« Read the rest of this entry »
November 7, 2021 § Leave a comment
If you read the planning post then maybe you have been wondering 1) Did I even do this adventure?, and 2) If I did do this adventure, when the fuck was I going to get around to writing about it? Well, it wasn’t my only adventure this Summer of 2021, though as I write even that, I realize I am lying to you. While I rode Ride the Rockies, where you can read about that here, here, here, here also, and also here, and “oh look it’s here as well“, I didn’t get around to writing those adventures up until Fall 2021 had begun, which is actually after Weminuche had also completed. Not sure if I will write up the wedding of Daughter #2, but isn’t that also an adventure? So, expect to see something about that as well in the future.
I did write up the planning of this trip which you may have read here, but even as I wrote that, the planning wasn’t really complete, and there was a lot of churn right at the end, that all worked out into a tremendously good time before the adventure even began. I am going to limit this post to the focus of Day 1, and I will leave the details of the days leading to this day to another post.« Read the rest of this entry »
October 20, 2021 § 3 Comments
I am going to start this post with an out-of-timeline explanation, as the timeline in which I learned this is later than this story telling moment. It is in the best interest of the story to tell it now.
Morning, Cortez Co. It isn’t a morning unlike Monday morning. The sun rose at about the same time, and it was maybe a wee bit warmer. We were in Cortez, and as you may recall from my last post, there was a bit of a dinner issue the night before. In summary, 100+ degrees, people waiting hours to get dinner, lines slow, food delivered in short spurts with long waits in between.
I awoke like the last two mornings. About the same time, and learning my lesson from yesterday, I waited until the last minute to hydrate my breakfast granola. It turns out, that crunchier is better. I followed my procedures, and I was ready for tent breakdown the first time I stepped out of the tent. With that taken care of, I set off for coffee, and it was on this excursion that I heard the first rumblings of “an issue”. The issue was, that the caterer did not show up for breakfast, and since that was the only food source, there was no breakfast at the beginning of the longest ride of the tour. I, was okay, but really, you can complain all you want, but if you want to get to Norwood, hop on your bike and get going. Don’t sit around and think that breakfast will somehow materialize out of the ether.« Read the rest of this entry »
June 27, 2021 § 4 Comments
Before we even finished The Eagle Cap Wilderness, we had our next destination decided. It started with a discussion around one of our camp fires where Larry (and maybe Drew) brought up the subject of “Where next?” Now, they came prepared to propose the Weminuchi, but they pretended to let me think I was in control of future destinations. Like I am some kind of adventure tyrant who says “This is our plan, take it or leave it”. In fairness, that is how the 2012 Grand Canyon played out. I chose the route, the dates, and simply said “Be there or be square!”, and they all complied. On a return from Phoenix, my favorite brother-in-law, Walt, gave me a copy of Backpacker magazine which had a lengthy article on The Highline Trail that crossed the expanse of the High Uintas, and I was immediately taken with it, and that is where I picked, and that is where we went in 2014. Banff was next, as Mike B asked me if we could target that and bring him back to the mountains he visited many cycles of the sun earlier in his life. There might have been a woman involved, but I investigated, and picked a route, and that is what we did. Scott attended that trip which his partner home pregnant and a baby girl in their future, and while we were on that trip he mentioned the Wallowas, and the Eagle Cap Wilderness, and that is how 2018 came about. The idea of Oregon allowed our Oregonians (Scott, Mike S, and possibly Dan) to attend, however circumstances always get in the way, and Scott was unable to join us except on our last night in Oregon after the trip before we all flew out. Dan and Mike S camped with us before we went into the back country.« Read the rest of this entry »
April 1, 2021 § 1 Comment
The planning of this weekend has somewhat been discussed, as here for example, already, and perhaps there is some humor and purpose to scribing some of what the weekend actually entailed. There was at least one first for any of these “Weekend Warrior” type trips, and perhaps, to some degree, maybe another, though the former is much more notable, than the latter.
I call it a weekend, but really it’s a three day weekend. The average age of the crew, brought down somewhat by the recent addition of a one Dan G… (name protected to protect the innocent), hovers in the very high 50’s if not almost low 60’s, so, looking back (as I am at the moment) to all the weekends that have come before (and there were many), the trend (some would say not a great trend) has been towards less backpacking, and more hiking. That is to say, backpack in, establish a basecamp (I think one word works fine here), consume beers the rest of Friday which could (not always, but has) include a late night hike (but this weekend did not), and then a hike (sometimes challenging, sometimes not) on Saturday, leaving plenty of time to harvest more trapped CO2 in form of downed timber, followed by more beer consumption, and finally a backpack out. On occasion, there has been a late night hike as well, however, the few times that has occurred has been within the “late night hike rich” confines of Dolly Sods in West Virginia.« Read the rest of this entry »