(There is a separate Trip Report for my backpack to the bottom that trip here.)
Work in progress…
I headed out to Grand Canyon National Park in January of 2011 to camp and do an overnight backpack to the bottom of the canyon. Why January? Well, less crowded. I had overheard a Ranger telling another visitor seeking a backcountry permit on that 2007 trip that aside from New Years’ Eve and New Years’ Day, it was very unlikely they’d have a problem securing a first-come first-serve permit for Bright Angel campground (at the bottom). Hmm, I thought at the time, I’ll come back. And I did.
I believe this was my first backpacking trip ever. I’ll have to go through my notes and photos to recollect exactly what I did, and will update this post accordingly.
Pretty sure the route was Pine Spring TH up to Pine Top for first night; thence to Tejas backcountry site after exploring over to Hunter Peak, then maybe back along Tejas Trail and over to Bush Mountain, then back to Pine Top again for the last night.
Trip report written some thirty-four years after the fact, relying on photos, map notes, and memory.
Starting from Pine Spring Campground, I got up to the crest at the trail junction near Pine Top where I met Ranger Craig. Turns out he was doing a backcountry stint, and we hiked together for the next two days. He was quite the naturalist and helped me identify a lot of flora and fauna.
We stayed one night at Tejas backcountry site, then over to McKittrick Ridge for the next night. Somewhere along the McKittrick Trail we came across an angry rattlesnake.
In the morning, Craig left for elsewhere, and I returned back toward the Tejas trail.
This is a trip report copied almost verbatim from what I wrote in 2000.
I took this trip on what I figured to be the last non-busy week before Spring Break; however, it was already getting crowded in the campsites (the Basin was full). I had arrived the night before around midnight; seeing that the other campsites were full I simply napped in the cab of my truck. It was fairly chilly, probably around 35-40, so I bundled up pretty well. I did see a coyote exploring the trash cans once early in the morning.
Trail distances for Pinnacles Trail to South Rim, return
via Laguna Meadows (from Basin trailhead):
3.5 miles to Emory Peak trail
4.5 miles to Boot Canyon campsites
4.8 miles to Boot Spring
5.3 miles to Southeast Rim Trail jct.
6.3 miles to Southeast Rim Trail jct. at the South Rim
8.0 miles to Colima trail jct.
8.8 miles to Blue Cr. trail jct.
12.1 miles to Basin trailhead
A bit after sunrise I went on into the Chisos Mountains to the Basin and the ranger HQ to get a backcountry permit. The nice older couple behind the counter, apparently camp hosts, pulled out a notebook with photos of the various campsites in the backcountry to help me to determine where I would go. Seeing the full campsite status, I was more concerned with getting away from crowds than a scenic site, but finally decided on Boot Canyon #4 and SW #3 just off the South Rim.
I don’t have any notes saved from this trip. I was only nine years old. I really fell in love with Big Bend during that trip; actually, with the whole idea of deserts and mountains. I’d been to Colorado on a family trip a few years earlier and recall being amazed at the mountains and the abandoned mines we saw high up on the slopes; and the scary drives over the unpaved roads along the mountainsides. But for some reason, on our trip to Big Bend something clicked.
I know this trip was around Easter Sunday, in 1968. Looking at a calendar I see that fell on April 14 that year; I’m guessing we were there for the week prior. I don’t think we got spring break in those days, either at my elementary school or for Dad’s job at UT.
I don’t remember the long drive out there on highway 290, although I can assume I was probably getting bored. But to this day I have a vivid recollection of the drive approaching the Chisos, as we began to ascend up The Basin road, past some drums full of water for overheated radiators. I kept staring at the rugged cliffs and thinking “Wow, I wonder what it’s like up there! Wandering around up there would be the greatest thing ever!”
I really want to finish up all the hiking trails in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. I’ve never been up the Permian Geology trail to the Wilderness Ridge BC site. I’ve never been up/down the Marcus trail, nor the northwest corner of the Bush Mountain trail.
I want to do the loop of Marcus trail/Blue Ridge/Bush mountain to finish up that corner of the park. It’s the least used bit of trail in the park I believe. I actually did do the Blue Ridge section back in the 1980s; even have a backcountry permit for Blue Ridge backcountry site but I didn’t use it. I just hiked out from I think Mescalero to Blue Ridge to Bush Mountain and back to Pine Top.
I will start in Dog Canyon, thence to Marcus, and the only question is whether to do the loop clockwise or counter-clockwise.
This was a little backpacking trip in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area of Colorado. I’d already hiked much of the same area the previous year, that is the area up to and including the summit of South Arapaho Peak from the 4th of July trailhead. I would leave my truck at the 4th of July trailhead previous to my trip, then make a loop from Rainbow Lakes trailhead up to Arapaho glacier, then down to the 4th of July trailhead. Basically up one side of a mountain range and down the other. I assumed this would be rather easy since the hike looked fairly short on the map, and not too much elevation gain/loss. I planned to overnight above timberline for a change, just to do it, and hike around and photograph from the summits of Arapaho Peaks North and South.
Most of these photos were scanned years ago and are in low resolution
On Wednesday afternoon, I drove the long unpaved road to 4th of July trailhead, parked my truck, got my bike out of the back and rode it all the way back through Hessie, then to the cabin near Nederland.
The ride was a beautiful one, about five miles or so mostly down hill. At the cabin, I checked my pack and equipment. I was going relatively light this time; a small pack, and no tent. Also, I had not gotten around to purchasing the dehydrated dinner as I had intended in Austin, and then to my surprise had not been able to in Nederland, either. (Nederland has a surprisingly good backpacking store at the Ace hardware.) Long story short-ended up with a full-sized can of Chef Boy-ar-Dee Ravioli for dinner. This is not the way I do things, and I was apalled at the idea of lugging a full can of food, and the mess it would make. But it seemed the simplest at the time barring alternatives, and that was that.
So, the next morning (early) my dad gives me a ride from our cabin up to the Rainbow Lakes trailhead over on the East side of the mountains. The forest road to that campground is fairly rough, but Dad’s a trooper and doesn’t complain. I pull out my Swiss Army knife (Super Tinker model) once during the trip to point out how important it is now that I need a can opener for my yucky dinner.
Dad let me out and I hefted my pack onto my shoulders and started up the trail. It begins in a wooded area, but then rises up and out of the timberline and follows an east-west ridge which is the southern wall of the drainage below the Arapaho glacier. Everything within the drainage is technically part of the Boulder municipal water system, and numerous signs warn of dire consequences to trespassers.