Viewing posts about Arizona.

Descent from Tortilla Peak

Last look back at the peak

Coming down the north side of Tortilla Peak was a hundred times easier than my climb up. A few simple hops over jagged rocks and then a long, clear chunk of bedrock sloped gently away. Man, this approach would have been a breeze. I looked back a few times at the peak, now bright under a rising…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted January 27, 2017
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What Kind of Hiker Am I?

Even after living in and exploring the wilderness of Arizona for two years I still consider myself a Michigan hiker. It's only fair, in some ways: my hunger for the outdoors started in the Upper Peninsula and I spent seven years up there hunting waterfalls and old growth and forgotten places. Two…

  • Category Personal
  • Posted October 24, 2016
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Club Cabin of the Mazatzals

Walkway under the Horseshoe Dam spillway

The Mazatzals. For the last year I've wanted to venture into this wilderness, to take a break from the Superstitions and try out some new (and potentially more temperate) hikes, and never got around to it. Now it was time. I had a challenging weekend planned out that would start at Horseshoe Dam and…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted March 30, 2016
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A Missed Loop at Usury Park

Distant city lights under a dark sky

The old car pulled up behind me, lights flaring as they crossed me, and then the driver killed the engine next to my Jeep. I wasn't sure what to do. There was a low chance that they were also here to hike, that I'd have an early morning hiking partner to converse with for a short time, but I doubted…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted August 25, 2015
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The Cabins of Cabin Loop

Two cabins at Buck Springs

It was mid-June of this year when I went for a short backpacking adventure up on the Mogollon Rim. The weekend was fun and I learned a lot about my gear and limitations, useful information for my upcoming week on Isle Royale. When I told my brother-in-law Chris about hiking the cabin loop he was…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted August 19, 2015
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Amethyst Peak

Four Peaks in the distance

Driving to Four Peaks is a dreadful ordeal. There are only two options: El Oso from the east and FR 143 from the west. El Oso is shorter and is in better shape, though to use it you'll need to loop all the way over to Tonto Basin, an annoying seventy miles outside of Mesa. 143 is a much tougher…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted August 14, 2015
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Cabin Loop: Up the Mogollon Rim

Looking up at the rim

The warm smell of pine rushed around me and filled my mind with dizzying nostalgia. It smelled of home, of the rich forests in the Upper Peninsula, and for a brief moment I was back on the Yellow Dog Plains. Then I was back in reality, back in Arizona, and I reached into the jeep to pull out my…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted July 21, 2015
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Birthday Trip to Sedona

Rugged hills and mountains beyond tame parking

Between work and kids and moving to Arizona it had been a long time since Katie escaped somewhere on our own. Well, it had been a full year. Last year she took me on a birthday trip to the Dells for a full weekend of sight-seeing and adventure golf. Of course we had been worrying about Noah for much…

  • Category Personal
  • Posted July 11, 2015
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Grand Canyon: South Kaibab to Bright Angel

Dramatic night sky over Grand Canyon

A cold morning wind rushed up from below and cut deep into my layers of clothes. Cold was weird to experience in Arizona during the month of May. Up here near Flagstaff the nightly temperatures still dipped down to forty, though, enough to justify my shivering. I tried to take a few decent photos of…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted June 1, 2015
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Desert Hiking Goals for 2015

Usually around this time I have a full list of hikes to tackle for the year, an ambitious list of mountain peaks and waterfalls and other remote areas. A list focused on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, that is. It has been hard to get as excited for Arizona hikes. I've mentioned several times that…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted January 28, 2015
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