Backpacking posts, page 6 of 8.

Rainy Supe Loop: Final Haul up the Coffee Flat

Where the trail meets the wash

A warm breakfast can do wonders. After yesterday's all-day rain, missed dinner, rough night of sleep, and frosty pre-dawn start this morning, I had been feeling pretty beaten up when I finally reached JF Ranch. I was also on mile thirty or so for the weekend, with thousands of feet climbed under a…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted January 11, 2016
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Rainy Supe Loop: Cold Drop to JF Ranch

Hints of the too-distant sunrise

Ice cracked and shattered off my tent's rainfly in large, unreal chunks. If I had any question on how cold it was this morning before getting out of my comfortable sleeping bag the ice chunks gave me a clear image. This wasn't a bit of sparkly frost or some clothes that were left out and stiffened…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted January 7, 2016
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Rainy Supe Loop: Wet Slog up the JF Trail

Dark, cloudy skies over the JF Trail

Rain drummed hard on my poncho as I slogged south on the JF Trail in the heart of Superstition Wilderness. I was so sick of being damp and cold. Six hours of rain with only two brief, twenty-minute pauses had sucked away most of my motivation for this trip. I kept my head low, glancing around…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted January 5, 2016
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Rainy Supe Loop: Crossing Peter's Mesa

Dark blue-grey clouds over Bluff Spring Mountain

The day had such a promising start. There was some spitting rain over the night, just enough to lull me into some of the best sleep I've ever gotten while backpacking. I woke up before dawn and had my gear packed without waking up the two men I had shared a campfire and stories with last night. The…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted January 3, 2016
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Rainy Supe Loop: Fremont Saddle to Marsh Valley

Cloudy grey skies over Peralta Trailhead

With the cooler temperatures of the Arizona winter something unexpected happened - backpacking in the Superstition Wilderness suddenly sounded appealing. And I'm not talking about the eastern end, the green hills around Reavis Ranch and Campaign. The western and central Superstitions, the desert…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted December 30, 2015
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Mound Mountain - Highpoint of the Superstitions

Orion's Belt under a bright moon

Frost sparkled evilly on the tent's rainfly under the dim light of my headlamp. Against my will my teeth began to chatter ferociously and I shuffled in place in a vain attempt to warm up. It was terribly cold this morning in the eastern Superstitions, much colder than either Chris or I expected, and…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted November 22, 2015
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Some Isle Royale Hiking Routes

Along the Tobin Harbor Trail

There are a lot of hiking options on Isle Royale that are more reasonable than my ambitious perimeter loop. Most people would rather have short days and time to relax at camp, with the additional bonus that this could lead to repeat visits in the future. This was apparent by the discussions I had…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted October 20, 2015
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Lessons Learned from Isle Royale

Planning for the Isle Royale solo adventure stretched out months before I stepped onto the Queen at Copper Harbor. There were itineraries to sync up, pieces of gear to purchase, calories to count, and more than a few tests of physical readiness. Even after all this preparation the island would teach…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted October 13, 2015
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Isle Royale, Day 9: Thunderstorms over Rock Harbor

Dim light over the trail

Several thunderstorms had passed over Moskey Basin during the night. These were the real thing: bright flashes of lightning ruining the darkness, bursts of thunder rolling over forested hills and water, and heavy rain dumping down on the shelters roof above me. Yet now everything was quiet. For the…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted October 6, 2015
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Isle Royale, Day 8: 24 Miles to Moskey Basin

Cool morning light over Lake Siskiwit

Soft pinks and purples swirled above the chilled fog on Lake Siskiwit. Shivering through my sweaty shirt I continued to pump water from the swampy inlet on the western shoreline. It was early, still thirty minutes before the sunrise, and I had made darn good time this morning. Close to four miles…

  • Category Hiking
  • Posted September 30, 2015
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