Hiking Northern Arizona 2007

Day Hikes and Such in the land of P-Pines and Red Rock
Robbers Roost, Casner Mountain, Secret Mountain-Bear Sign Loop, Reservation Rambling, Courthouse Butte & Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock Vortex, Condors of Kaibab, Cavorting Canyon de Chelly, Double-barrel Arch, South Coyote Buttes, Cobra Arch, Azut Arch, Walnut Canyon NM, Kendrick Mountain LO, Needles Nirvana, Tonto Time in the GC, Mescal Mountain Pano, Long Canyon Keyhole Arch, Turkey Creek, Wet Beaver Wilderness - Bell's Crossing & Casner Butte, Little Horse to Submarine Rock

2007

(Photos and text © copyright by Rob)
A spectacle view from Robbers Roost
A spectacle view from Robbers Roost
(Click the image to see a full-size version.)

      Colin Fletcher, in River: One Mans Journey Down the Colorado, Source to Sea, 1997, said "And now that Id slept with the river for six months I understood her better. Although it was clear, for example, that Philip Fradkin had in one sense been right when he called the Colorado A River No More, I could see that in another sense he had been wrong. The river was still there, was still alive. And what Id seen had convinced me that in the end she would reassert herself."

Jump to these reports: (click on report name to go there) Please don't miss the photos scattered in and between each report.
Robbers Roost and Casner Mountain
Secret Mountain - Bear Sign Loop
Reservation Rambling
Courtly Courthouse
The Cathedral of Nirvana Vortex
The Condors of Kaibab
Cavorting Canyon de Chelly
Double-barrel Arch and its Totem
Swirling South Coyote Buttes
Cobra Arch
Walnut Canyon
Kendrick Mountain LO
Needles 2007
Tonto Time in the GC
Mescal Mountain Pano
Long Canyon Keyhole Arch
Turkey Creek to House Mtn.
Wet Beaver Wilderness - Bell's Crossing
Wet Beaver Wilderness - Casner Butte
Little Horse to Submarine Rock

View into the Slide of Slide Rock
View into the Slide of Slide Rock
(Click the image for a full-size view)
The slopes of Casner Mtn.
The slopes of Casner Mtn.
(Click the image for a full-size view)
The slopes of Casner Mtn.
The slopes of Casner Mtn.
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Roost view #1
Roost view #1
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Roost view #2
Roost view #2
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Roost view #3
Roost view #3
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria will separate photo groups, starting with: Calm winds

And, a t-shirt statement about bushco: That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway.

      Trip 1: Robbers Roost and Casner Mountain, late January. Along the way, we paused near Slide Rock State Park. Then, we continued to Robbers Roost and Casner Mountain. Here are the directions to The Roost. I include them because the area is well known:
      This window is about 19 road miles SW of Sedona. From the intersection of Highways 89A and 179 in Sedona (commonly called the Y), drive SW on 89A for 9.5 miles, then turn right onto dirt Forest Road (FR) 525. Stay on FR 525 for about 2.8 miles, then turn left onto FR 525C. Drive FR 525C for 6.6 miles, then turn right onto FR 9530. This intersection is at approx. UTM 12S 410645E 3864199N (WGS84). Park at this junction unless you have thick sidewall tires. When we hiked to the Roost, FR 9530 was not marked. You will know you have gone 0.2 miles too far if you have descended into a drainage, and encounter the Casner Mtn. trail sign at the drainage. Start walking FR 9530 East toward the salmon-colored sandstone loaf (the Roost) about a mile away. Do not take FR 9530B, continue straight ahead. After about 1.1 miles from the junction of FR 525C and FR 9530, you are adjacent to the Roost. Look down into the drainage separating the road and the Roost for a trail (you will see a wilderness marker containing an announcement about leaving alone cultural areas). Head down this user-created trail and up the other side, where you begin contouring around the N side of the Roost. Start climbing toward the top of the Roost, breaking off to the left about a hundred feet below the summit. Contour across a slickrock slope and you will soon (200 feet) see the alcove containing the window and a refurbished ruin. This alcove is at approximately: UTM 12S 411642E 3865771N (WGS84), approx. 5100 elevation.
Click here to see The Archman's view of Robbers Roost Window.
      We also climbed the old trail, now a power line road to Casner Mountain, enjoying lovely views of the red rock and the non-phoenix non-smog lake sky (clear, blue). As noted above, the Casner Mountain trail is just beyond the turn-off to Robbers Roost. Click here to see Ben's daily scenic USA photo of Robbers Roost.

Roost view #5
Roost view #5
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Roost view #6
Roost view #6
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Roost view #7
Roost view #7
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Secret Can-Bear Sign photo1
Secret Can-Bear Sign photo1
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Wonder Manzanita 1
Wonder Manzanita 1
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Wonder Manzanita 2
Wonder Manzanita2
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Found missing

And, another buscho t-shirt: George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight.

      Trip 2: Secret Mountain - Bear Sign Loop, early February. Growing tired of shoveling the white North, we motored to the Sedona area to explore the Bear Sign area. We enjoyed a lovely, shirt-sleeve lunch overlooking Secret Mountain, golden rocks topped by an ebony lava flow.
      The quiet trail was bordered by magnificent Manzanitas, whose swirling forms provoked a projective test of imagination. Snow steps brought us into the refrigerator of Bear Sign Canyon, such a contrast to the sunny delight of the West-facing slopes.

Magnificent Manzanita 3
Magnificent Manzanita3
(Click the image)
Secret Mtn. - note lava flow on top
Secret Mtn.-lava flow on top
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Longing to San Francisco Peaks
Longing to the Peaks
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Impervious boundary
Impervious boundary
(Click the image)
Off to Courthouse Butte
Courthouse Butte
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Courthouse reflection
Courthouse reflection
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Minor disaster

And, another buscho t-shirt: Bush: God's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full of Crap.

      Trip 3: Reservation Rambling, mid-February. I do some (actually lots) of driving on the Hopi and Navajo Reservations. Here are two photos taken along the way. (Longing to the Peaks and Impervious Boundary.) East of Leupp there is a long stretch of straight road. One looks back at the San Francisco Peaks shining in the blue. That dome on the left is the Birdsprings Chapter House.
      At the border of the reservation one sees a cornucopia of signs, and a fence which seems to stretch across the road. It's an impervious boundary?

Courthouse view 3 - from Bell Rock
Courthouse view 3
(Click the image)
Courthouse view 4
Courthouse view 4
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Bell Rock from the South
Bell Rock
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Organized mess

And, another buscho t-shirt: Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.

      Trip 4: Courtly Courthouse, late-February. It's late February as we head for another hike in sunny Sedona. This time, it's the Courthouse Butte - Bell Rock loop. We added in the Big Park loop to get the total distance up to around 7 miles.
      This is a lovely loop right in the City of Oak Creek. The route wiggles through slickrock drainages and across wilderness boundaries, cutting down on the number of mountain bikers. Redrock vistas abound, as hinted at in the accompanying photos.
      We began by hiking around the South buttress of Courthouse Butte, then circled North into the Munds Mountain Wilderness, pausing on a redrock muffin for lunch before continuing around to the North and up the rampart of Bell Rock. This rock only looks like a bell from a viewpoint South of the rock. Back on the Bell Rock Pathway, the traffic increased exponentially, so we dodged back around the South side of Courthouse Butte and onto the Big Park loop, swirling back to the trailhead.

Click here to go to our GPS route around Courthouse Butte, to lunch at the dome, up the rampart of Bell Rock, and our loop around Big Park. It will appear as a Google map on a USGS topo background.
      Wait for the topo maps to form under the route. You can change the scale (left side of map) and relocate the center of the map (use the "hand") as you wish. Use the drop-down box in the upper right to select other maps (e.g., aerial). Enjoy.

      Why Can't We Talk about Peace in Public? War on Iraq: America's growing economic dependence on the hi-tech defense industry is creating a culture that views peace and nonviolence as seditious concepts. (by Matt Taibbi, RollingStone.com) See the article here.

      The War on Terror Is the Leading Cause of Terrorism. War on Iraq: It's official: A new report shows that the U.S. has made the world more dangerous -- not just for Americans, but for everyone. (by Kim Sengupta, Patrick Cockburn, The Independent UK) See this article here.

           Here's one of the first things we can do:

ImpeachBush.org M17 button

View of Cathedral Rock from the South
Cathedral Rock 1
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Cathedral Rock 2
Cathedral Rock 2
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Cathedral Rock 3
Cathedral Rock 3
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Hen Mallard in Oak Cr.
Hen Mallard in Oak Cr.
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Condors! Adult and immature
Condors! Adult and immature
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Condors! Condors!
Condors! Condors!
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Short distance

And, another buscho t-shirt: You Can't Be Pro-War And Pro-Life At The Same Time.

      Trip 5: The Cathedral of Nirvana Vortex, early March. Off we go on yet another red rocks hike in the warming sun. This time, it's the Templeton Trail to Cathedral Rock, up the rampart of Cathedral to the nirvana vortex. From there, we continued to Oak Creek for a second lunch while watching mallards tip-up in the silky waters. We returned via T.H. Trail and the North Bell Rock Pathway.
      Above, there are three views of Cathedral Rock and one photo of the hen mallard we saw in Oak Creek. In Cathedral view #2, one can see the vapors of vortex eminating from Cathedral Rock. The vortex epicenter is reputed to be between the fins of the right and center towers. Here's a map of our trek:

Click here to go to our GPS route to the vortex of Cathedral Rock, on to Oak Creek, and back on the T.H. Trail, an 8.5 mile jaunt. It will appear as a Google map on a USGS topo background.
      Wait for the topo maps to form under the route. You can change the scale (left side of map) and relocate the center of the map (use the "hand") as you wish. Use the drop-down box in the upper right to select other maps (e.g., aerial). Enjoy.

      Perhaps "no one among us wants to be a member of the last generation to pass on to its children the joy of playing outside in nature." But with bushco, will we see the end of nature? click here to read "Leave No Child Inside" By Richard Louv, Orion Magazine. Posted March 2, 2007

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Deafening silence

And, another buscho t-shirt: Jail to the Chief.

      Trip 6: The Condors of Kaibab, early April. Well, it's April Fools' Day, and I'm fool enough to stand in line at the GC Backcountry Office trying to get information about the upcoming trips to Clear Creek, to The Little Colorado, to South Canyon, we hope. Actually, it only felt foolish until it was my turn with the rangers. Then, it all worked out and I was late, but decided to go hike the big slot anyway.
      Condors of the Kaibab! Yahoo! As I thundered down the South Kaibab Trail, hurrying in the warming sun, I nearly ran into these Condors. About 60 of these graceful giants of the sky (with a wing span of nearly ten feet!) ply the thermals off the South Rim and adjacent areas. It's wonderful to see these nearly extinct creatures back where they live. The adult (with the red head) has wing bars and a radio transmitter. The immature (black head) had only wing bars. I tried to find a site that gives the history of these specific big buzzards,but so far I have been unsuccessful.
      On the trip across Hwy 180, I passed this sign for the Coconino NF with the San Francisco Peaks in the background. Too bad, but I could not get the nearly full moon to line up in the photo. Then, my camera battery went dead, and I called it a day.

Condor - mutual grooming
Condor - mutual grooming
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Condor - mutual grooming
Condor - mutual grooming
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Adult/immature Condors
Adult/immature Condors
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Condor display
Condor display
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Condors waiting for you
Condors waiting for you
(Click the image for a full-size view)
San Francisco Peaks
San Francisco Peaks
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Awful good

And, another buscho t-shirt: The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century.

      Trip 7: Cavorting Canyon de Chelly, early April. After a day of work on the Big Rez., I grab a sandwich and drive along the South Rim of Canyon de Chelly to the White House Overlook. Along the way, I pass the "Changing Woman Coffee" sign and wonder how early in the morning they open. A wake-up call for Dine (The People).
      What a lovely view into the canyon of salmon-colored de Chelly Sandstone. I began walking along the edge, looking for photo opportunities. The trail dips into the canyon and I follow, through a short tunnel, continuing down.
      When I see Owl Eyes Arch (my name), I am hooked and continue down the 500' or so to the canyon floor. Navajos live across the plateau and in the canyon, and the Dine who live near the trail have erected "no photos!" signs, asking visitors to not disturb their ways. Cottonwoods are flushing verdant green in the canyon. I wonder at what looks like a rincon tower of smoothed sandstone scraping the azure sky. On I wander, noticing Perching Arch (again, my name) clinging to the wall near the footbridge.
      A bit farther along this 1.5 mile (one-way) or so jaunt is White House, the white being plaster on a section of the upper residence. It's a lovely, restful place, where graceful walls arch high over the once-inhabited alcoves. Lots of people live in the canyon now, and access is restricted. Yet, the aura is one of tranquility - perhaps because the vendors and most of the visitors have gone because sunset is approaching.
      Reluctant to leave, I start back toward the rim. Noisy, intrusive Navajo youth yell from the rim at others in the canyon (they yell back and call names, and this continues for many minutes), disrupting all who attempt to walk in beauty. Sunset sets into full bloom as I pass Owl Eyes, and the Canyon de Chelly Sunset photo is taken here. Reluctantly back on the rim, I lean against the overlook rail and absorb the developing sunset over the plateaus behind Chinle. A Native dog joins me, quietly edging in parallel to me and carefully watches the progress of sandwich-eating. Displaying much better manners and more in balance with this place than the Navajo youth, who are now departing in vans with a tribal circle on the door, this stocky puppy and I share some food and the sunset.

Dine wake-up call
Dine wake-up call
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Owl Eyes Arch
Owl Eyes Arch
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Looking into Canyon de Chelly from the Owl Eyes
Canyon de Chelly from the Owl Eyes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Perching Arch in the main canyon
Perching Arch - main canyon
(Click the image for a full-size view)
White House Ruin in Canyon de Chelly
White House Ruin 1
(Click the image for a full-size view)
White House Ruin 2
White House Ruin 2
(Click the image for a full-size view)

White House Ruin 3
White House Ruin 3
(Click the image)
Canyon de Chelly sunset
Canyon de Chelly sunset
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Canyon de Chelly rim sunset
Canyon de Chelly rim sunset
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Restless sleep

And, another buscho t-shirt: America : One Nation, Under Surveillance.

      Trip 8: Double-barrel Arch and its Totem, and - a visit to The Yogurt Cone, early May.
      Finally, we have found Double-barrel Arch, after much searching in the wrong area - albeit we found two surface ruins along the way. It's almost 8 miles North of hwy 89A on the road to Hwy 89 and past Wire Pass, etc., The House Rock Road, BLM 1065. Look to the East for the Totem and two arches in a dark top crop. The buttes are similar to The Wave and far less visited. Swirling Navajo Sandstone textures.
      Double-barrel Arch and The Claw were amazing. Then, we found The Yogurt Cone, a swirl of delicious sandstone just North of Double-barrel. Ahh, the things one dreams of when in a hot desert, or is that dessert?
      Now, we're at an area primitive camp, and, tragically, back in utah. Delightful geography, abysmal politics. Craig is cooking pasta with TVP and red sauce, with veggies and garlic bread w. wine, compliments of Kathleen. Yum.
      Directions to Double-barrel Arch: Drive about 8 miles North from Hwy 89A on the dirt House Rock Road (BLM Road 1065) that runs between Highway 89A and 89, along the West flank of the Vermillion Cliffs. Double-Barrel Arch can be seen off to the East a quarter mile past the West Bench Pueblo turnoff. As you drive a little further North from this turnoff, you'll notice a totem-pole spire on the South end of a slickrock island. The arch is on the island with the totem pole - you'll be able to see it about a mile from the road. Park opposite the arch - there's a wide spot off to the West side of the road. There's no real trail to the arch, just wade the sage toward it from the trailhead.
      The trailhead for Double-barrel Arch is at approximately UTM 12 S 405173E 4079246N (WGS84).
      The arch is located at: UTM 12 S 406435E 4079362N (WGS84).

Click here to go to our GPS route to Double-barrel Arch, a 2.5 mile jaunt. It will appear as a Google map on a USGS topo background.

Entering Arizona, ahh
Entering Arizona, ahh
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Double-barrel and Totem
Double-barrel and Totem
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Double-barrel Arch
Double-barrel Arch
(Click the image for a full-size view)
K and the Claw of Double-barrel Arch
K and the Claw
(Click the image for a full-size view)
The Yogurt Cone
The Yogurt Cone
(Click the image for a full-size view)
The Yogurt Cone
The Yogurt Cone
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Almost exactly

And, another buscho t-shirt: bush - intelligent design or random mutation?

      Trip 9: Swirling South Coyote Buttes, Paw Hole-less, early May.
      The sculptured scallops flute along the petrified sand dunes. Jutting edges of Jurasic cemented sand thrust rakishly from the bands of mulitcolored Navajo Sandstone. Swirls of chocolate intermix with a hint of orange and beige in the luscious cleavage of matching mammary-shaped buttes. Delightful.
      It's South Coyote Buttes, lesser known sisters of North Coyote, famous for The Wave. More private, less utahan, where population explosion reigns. A state of pro-birth, anti-life funding and politics, dictated by a the church. Sad.
      We saunter through deep, hot sand from hummock to butte to outcrop to swale to pocket to gulch, snapping photo upon photo. Deluxe.
      A cooling lunch and a nap in the deep shade of swirly walls eases the day. The 5 miles of deep sand walking and 2.5 miles of deep sand driving were well invested, although we never located the infamous Paw Hole.

Click here to go to our GPS route wandering in the South Coyote Buttes area, a 4+ mile jaunt amidst geologic wonders. It will appear as a Google map on a USGS topo background.

South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)
South Coyote Buttes
South Coyote Buttes
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Clever fool

And, another buscho t-shirt: Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too.

      Trip 10: Cobra Arch, early May.
      The serpent arcs over our lunch spot, providing shade from the roasting sun. Whew. With textured back and flatened head, the Cobra rises from the dimpled biscuit of sandstone, to strike into a muffin of rock - petrified dunes from yore.
      It was a very warm 3-miler through soft super-heated sand, paralleling Buckskin Gulch and the ramparts above. It would be a much warmer return (heat wave approaching). No one is out here but we four hikers, a host of jack rabbits, and a lone Pack Rat remodeling her veranda.
     
Click here for the best directions to get to the trailhead for Cobra Arch, and then the arch. Courtesy of Todd's Dessrt Hiking Guide.
      The trailhead for Cobra Arch is at about UTM 12 S 418147E 4100188N (WGS84).
      Cobra Arch is at approximately UTM 12 S 420320E 4097576N (WGS84).

Click here to go to our GPS route to the serpentine Cobra Arch, a 6+ mile jaunt through deep Jurasic sand. It will appear as a Google map on a USGS topo background.

Cobra Arch
Cobra Arch - front view
(Click the image)
Cobra Arch - back of the Cobra
back of the Cobra
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Cobra Arch - texture
texture of Cobra
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Claret Cup Cactus
Claret Cup Cactus
(Click the image)
Pack Rat Remodeling her veranda
Pack Rat on her veranda
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Black-tailed Jack lounging in the shade
Black-tailed Jack lounging
(Click the image for a full-size view)

      Azut Arch On the way home, we passed an arch we named "Azut Arch" because it sits near the Arizona/Utah boder. This arch is located alongside Hwy 89, just North of the Arizona/utah border. Thus, the name Azut. The arch is in utah, at milepost 9.3, just West of Bigwater. Look for a beehive-shaped sandstone outcrop on the South side of the road, about 200 feet off the road. The span is approximately 7 feet. The mileposts are measured from the Arizona/utah border West of Page, AZ, and count up along Hwy 89 to Kanab, utah. Although covered with carvings of locals and travelers expressing their bovine intellect, it remains a delightful roadside feature.

Azut Arch
Azut Arch
(Click the image)
Azut Arch
Azut Arch
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Azut Arch
Azut Arch
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Pretty ugly

And, another buscho t-shirt: If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President.

      Trip 11: Walnut Canyon, late August.
      The Turkey Vultures wheel at the same level as pueblo ruins. We're on the last ranger hike to the off-limits sections of Walnut Canyon NM. Many of the structures were dynamited by pot hunters and other thiefs of time.
      After a series of delightful Summer adventures floating the MF Salmon, roaming the Magruder Cooridor, hiking in the Arc Dome Wilderness, exploring Navajo NM, and various hikes in the Grand Canyon (see the trip report index - below - for reports), we thought it would be time to tour closer terrain. Here are three photos from this brief adventure to Walnut Canyon NM.

Walnut Canyon
Walnut Canyon
(Click the image)
Walnut Canyon
Walnut Canyon
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Walnut Canyon
Walnut Canyon
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Somewhat unique

And, another buscho t-shirt: Impeach Cheney First!

      Trip 12: Kendrick Mountain LO, late August.
      The fog and mist roll across the ridge as thunder rumbles and distant lightning flashes through the haze. We're on our way to Kendrick Mountain Lookout and we're the only hikers around. Previously, we stopped in the old, 1912 LO, avoiding rain and eating lunch. On the way up, we encountered a colorful Horned Toad (lizard) and some rain-washed Woolly Mullen.

Click here to go to our GPS route made while hiking to Kendrick Mountain LO. It will appear on a Google map with a USGS topo background. Use the "+" sign (left of page) to change the map scale.

Kendrick Mtn. LO FS sign
Kendrick Mtn. LO FS sign
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Old LO at Kendrick Mtn.
Old LO at Kendrick Mtn.
(Click the image for a full-size view)
sign in Old FS LO
sign in Old FS LO
(Click the image for a full-size view)
K and the LO in fog
K and the LO in fog
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Woolly Mullen
Woolly Mullen
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Horned Lizard
Horned Lizard
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Cold as hell

And, another buscho t-shirt: Is It Vietnam Yet?!

      Trip 13: Needles Nirvana, 2007, early October (4 day hikes).
      Day 1: Its a long drive, a bit over 300 miles, from AZ to the Needles; and about the same from Smog Lake. We drove up, taking 6 hrs. to do so. The CG was full, so we camped near Hamburger Rock on the road to Indian Cr. Warm and still, pinks of sunset were rapidly replaced by billions and billions of stars.
      Day 2. Squaw Loop (7.5 miles; 9.5 ERM). The glow of early bloomer Cottonwoods contrasts nicely with the dark bands of Cedar Mesa SS. K and I are hiking the Squaw Canyon loop out of the CG after finding a campsite early this morning. It's a lovely hike amidst gathering temperatures - perhaps zooming to 80F today. Over the red pillar pass and down into more thickly vegetated drainages we roll. Getting tired, we slog to the end of this 7.5 mile loop (9.5 ERM). A sun shower and Craig arrives - in time for smoked Salmon with broccoli and cheese and broccoli soup. Stars galore ensue with the last glow of sunset.
      Day 3. Chesler and Elephant Canyon Loop to Joint Trail (11.5 miles; 19 ERM). We slip into the cool slot on deep purple stairs. The Joint Trail, grail of this piece of backcountry.
      Out through canyons we rolled, into Chesler, for a view of Chesler Opening Arch and the expanse of the park. Around and down into the crack. The return loop was through Elephant Canyon, replete with the steely blue of Elephant Canyon Shale. A long hike.
      After appetizers, we started a fire and enjoyed Craig's version of Moroccan Couscous with beer. Harry arrived just prior to sunset.

Click here to go to our GPS routes made while hiking four hikes in The Needles District of Canyonlands. The routes will appear on a Google map with a USGS topo background. click on each route name, and you will see where it is on the map. Use the "+" sign (left of page) to change the map scale.

      First, here's the view we enjoyed on our way into the state of industrial propagation (utah). A place wildly pro-birth but disappointingly anti-life (poor funding for education, a right to work for less state, anti-enviroment and where the anti-future legislature and the a, a the church demand over population and races toward greater climate change, etc.). To see the whole pano, click to enlarge the image to full size, then scroll left-right.
      Following the pano, is a series of images from Needles Nirvana. Enjoy.

Bears Ears to Abajo Mountains - Elk Ridge (full-size image is 2619 pixels wide)
Bears Ears to Abajo Mountains - Elk Ridge (373k; full-size panorama is 2619 pixels wide;
Bears Ears left, Abajo Mtns right)

(Click the image for the full-size panorama)

Squaw Flat View
Squaw Flat View
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Needles Groupo
Needles Groupo
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Flower along the trail
Flower along the trail
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Hidden Hand Prints - Elephant Can.
Hidden Hand Prints - Elephant Can.
(Click the image for a full-size view)
In the Joint Trail
In the Joint Trail
(Click the image for a full-size view)
In the Joint Trail
In the Joint Trail
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Stepping out - the Joint Trail
Stepping out - the Joint Trail
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Rootage
Rootage
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Mountain View - arch
Mountain View - arch
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Fall colors
Fall colors
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Fall colors
Fall colors
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Fall colors
Fall colors
(Click the image for a full-size view)
      Trip 13 Continues: (Needles Nirvana).
      Day 4. Needles View Slot Arch. CG to junction with trail from Elephant Hill (7.5 miles; 11.5 ERM). The horizontal slot arch frames the Neapolitan spires of The Needles. We're muffin-strolling the various arms of Big Creek on our way to the junction we passed yesterday, choosing an out-and-back hike rather than a grueling lope to Druid Arch or the loop through Lost Canyon or Squaw Canyon.
      In contrast to previous days, we donned shirts for lunch and part of the hike. Returning in time for a luxurious sun shower, we watched the orange-tinged nuthatches, pygmy nuthatches, titmice, and Hairy Woodpecker ply their craft in campsite 7, a very good camp.
      Hints of rain fell weakly, and that was it. We camped in the tent because of this, but really did not need the tent after all.
      Day 5. Lost Canyon Lumberbus (6 miles; 7 ERM). Lumberbus! we cried, as the huge terrorist-supporting winnehogo lumbered around the corner, listlessly lilting outward in the turn. Lumberbus! we note, folks probably in support of pro-birth but not pro-life policies resulting in dramatic overpopulation, folks uninterested in climate change or wars for oil. We edged out of the way as the bushco vehicle lurched past, happy to get off the road and onto the trail.
      We hiked out toward Lost Canyon, over the SS divide and down the ladder, swirling through the slickrock bowl, and finally through Lost Canyon for lunch. With a palpable sadness, we returned to the TH and back to so-called civilization. As Zig has cautioned, we are not going back to reality. This (the backcountry) is reality, that other stuff is not.

Needles View through arch
Needles View through arch
(Click the image)
Rabbit Brush paintbrush
Rabbit Brush paintbrush
(Click the image for a full-size view)
six shooter view
six shooter view
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Full-time hobby

And, another buscho t-shirt: Which God Do You Kill For?

      Trip 14: Tonto Time in the GC, early November (15 miles, 29 ERM, Energy Required Miles).
      The rich reds of the Redwall Limestone glow background to the saturated yellows of late Fall Cottonwood leaves at Burro Spring. Kathleen and I are wandering on Tonto Time, across the Tonto Platform in The Grand Canyon. This section of the Tonto connects the South Kaibab and the Bright Angel Trails.
      We started in the dark, driving to the backcountry office to catch the hiker's express bus shuttle to the South Kaibab TH. It's climate change warm as we head down the poofing dust of the Kaibab, and I'm wearing wool gloves for only the first 500' or so. Soon, we head West onto the Tonto near the Tip-Off and eat a snack away from the Kaibab crowds. The platform seems suspended in space at times - surround views and surround natural quiet. Well, except for the terrorist-supporting air tours, that is.
      We contoured into Indian Gardens and plopped down with the uber-fat ground squirrels for lunch and to allow our feet to regain a semblance of their normal shape. Then, up the Bright Angel, occasionally boxed in by dude-toating mules swirling in the poofing dust.
      It has been a long venture, 15 miles, 29 ERM, Energy Required Miles, as determined by the 7,000' of elevation loss and gain. My calf muscles would be howling the next day. Whew, it really did feel like a 29 mile day. Some of the gorgeous views can be seen below, along with our route.

Click here to go to our GPS route made while enjoying Tonto Time in the GC. It will appear on a Google map with a USGS topo background. Use the "+" sign (left of page) to change the map scale.

O'Neil Butte (full-size image is 840 pixels tall)
Panorama - O'Neil Butte (145kb); full-size panorama is 840 pixels tall;
(North Rim at top)

(Click the image for the full-size panorama)

GC from S. Kaibab (full-size image is 2517 pixels wide)
Panorama - GC from S. Kaibab (217kb); full-size panorama is 2517 pixels wide;
(O'Neil Butte in lower center)

(Click the image for the full-size panorama)

Tonto morning rays
Tonto morning rays
(Click the image for a full-size view)
K and Redwall spotlight
K and Redwall spotlight
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Tonto time colors
Tonto time colors
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Tonto time colors
Tonto time colors
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Tonto fat boy
Tonto fat boy
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Oregon Grape colors
Oregon Grape colors
(Click the image for a full-size view)

Backcountry oxymoria continued: Near miss

And, another buscho t-shirt: We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language.

      Trip 15: Mescal Mountain and the Secret Mountain Wilderness 330 degree panorama, mid November (5 miles, 7 ERM, Energy Required Miles).

Click here to go to our GPS route made while hiking to the top of Mescal Mountain. The route will appear on a Google map with a USGS topo background. Use the "+" sign (left of page) to change the map scale.

      For the first time in many weeks, clouds bloom over the high plateaus of Northern Arizona. It's time for a pano attempt, this time from Mescal Mountain in the Secret Mountain Wilderness, alongside the more popular route up Long Canyon. I tried to keep the camera level and adjusted for polarizing effect from shot to shot.
      Left-to-right, the pano shows Bear Mountain to the Boynton Canyon spires, to Maroon Mtn. and the features near Sedona.
      Twenty-seven images later, and (back home) much fussing with attempting to align and stitch together these images, and you see the result below. Sorry - the axis was uneven from photo to photo. Perhaps my friend Steve LA Jarbidge can work some magic on these photos.
      Note that you will have to scroll left-right to see the whole image, which is 4288 pixels wide.

Panorama - from Mescal Mtn. - about 330 degrees of Secret Mountain Wilderness
 (448kb); full-size panorama is 4288 pixels wide
Panorama - from Mescal Mtn. - about 330 degrees of Secret Mountain Wilderness
(448kb); full-size panorama is 4288 pixels wide

(Click the image for the full-size panorama)

And, another buscho t-shirt: Life begins at conception and ends at birth, gw bush.

      Trip 16: Long Canyon, once again in the Secret Mountain Wilderness - Long Canyon Keyhole Arch, late November (6 miles, 9 ERM, Energy Required Miles).

Click here to go to our GPS route made while hiking up Long Canyon. The route will appear on a Google map with a USGS topo background. Use the "+" sign (left of page) to change the map scale.

      After the Mescal Mountain adventure, we wanted to see what treasures are contained in Long Canyon. This hike starts at the same trailhead as the hike up Mescal Mtn. The trail dalys along the offensive monoculture of a golf course, then lapses into a wonderful forest of smooth-skinned Arizona Cypress.
      Along the way, we see Long Canyon Keyhole Arch in a canyon red spire beneath a massive white cliff band. We'll be shipping off these photos to The Archman soon.

Long Canyon Keyhole
Long Canyon Keyhole
(Click the image)
praise the lard
praise the lard
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Long Canyon Keyhole
Long Canyon Keyhole
(Click the image for a full-size view)

And, another buscho t-shirt: 1/20/09: End of an Error.

      Trip 17: Turkey Creek to House Mountain, early December (8 miles, 12 ERM, Energy Required Miles).

Click here to go to our GPS route made while hiking Turkey Creek to House Mountain. The route is shown in magenta, and it will appear on a Google map with a USGS topo background. Use the "+" sign (left of page) to change the map scale.

      After some weekend snow flurries, we roll on down to Sedona for a warm hike. We pass the scenic Twin Pillars on our way to Turkey Creek Tank, which is full of reddish-chocolate water. Frozen mud crunches under our boots in the shady portions of the trail, yet we are wearing t-shirts as we puff up the lip of the caldera. At the lip of the broken and erroded crater, we opt to head to the top of the higher aspect of House Mountain.
      The ground is saturated enough that many of the small basalt lumps we step on sink slightly into the hillside. We enjoy a slightly hazey view of the distant San Francisco Peaks, salted with a dusting of white. They seem to float over the red rocks of the Sedona area.
      Above, there is a track and map of our hike. A few photos are included below. Enjoy.

Twin Pillars
Twin Pillars
(Click the image)
view N from House Mtn.
view N from House Mtn.
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Twin Pillars
Twin Pillars
(Click the image for a full-size view)

And, another buscho t-shirt: Let's Fix Democracy in This Country First.

      Trip 18: Wet Beaver Wilderness - to Bell's Crossing, mid-December (8 miles, 10 ERM, Energy Required Miles).

Click here to go to our GPS route made while hiking the Wet Beaver Wilderness to Bell's Crossing. The route is shown in magenta, and it will appear on a Google map with a USGS topo background. Use the "+" sign (left of page) to change the map scale.

      Escaping nearly two feet of snow in the highlands, we ease on down to Sedona for a warmish hike. Not far off I-17, we find the TH for the Wet Beaver Wilderness (love that name!).
      The trail is gradual and well-developed as we stroll near Wet Beaver Creek, which contains a surprising amount of water for this desert area. Before long, we encounter a petro boulder. Reds of Supai Sandstone are crowned by dark basalt. Occasionally, we encounter pale walkways of shale. We hike about 4 miles to Bell's Crossing, then explore awhile in the cold shadows of the crossing before climbing back into the sun, to eat lunch on the red slickrock near The Crack. A dainty diving board overlooks one of the frigid swimming holes found here.
      The trail continues from Bell's Crossing to the Mogollon Rim, over a thousand feet above. One can loop back on the Long Canyon Trail, making a foot-bruising preparatory trip for a Grand Canyon adventure. Something to do when the days grow longer and the flesh is more willing. To see this route, use the "hand" on the above map and drag the map to where you see the junction of the Bells and the Long Canyon trails, near Roundup Basin Tank. This would be a tremendously long loop.

Wet Beaver TH
Wet Beaver TH
(Click the image for a full-size view)
petro rock
petro rock
(Click the image for a full-size view)
basalt over pillows
basalt over pillows
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Bell's Crossing
Bell's Crossing
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Dainty diving - the crack
Dainty diving - The Crack
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Cliff area
Cliff area
(Click the image for a full-size view)

And, another buscho t-shirt: Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam.

      Trip 19: Wet Beaver Wilderness - to Casner Butte, mid-December (9.5 miles, 15 ERM, Energy Required Miles).

Click here to go to our GPS route made while hiking the Wet Beaver Wilderness to Casner Butte. The route will appear on a Google map with a USGS topo background. Use the "+" sign (left of page) to change the map scale.

      Yes, I'm again back in the Wet Beaver Wilderness (I really love that name!). This time I'm going to scout up toward Casner Butte. It's warm enough for a t-shirt as I switch-back gently up toward Casner from the main Bell Trail. There are old foot prints but no hikers up here today. I see what I believe are Cougar scat, all twisted and wrapped with fur, some sort of furry dinner, I surmise.
      I continue past Casner and hike farther on this, the Apache Maid Trail, toward Apache Maid Mountain. The soil on top is well-saturated, and I call off my hike not too long after passing the sign that warns "trail difficult to follow." The trail does not seem difficult to follow, but the mud turns me around after a half a mile of rambling across this open plateau.
      Back down to the saddle I slog, then I go off-route to Casner Butte, finding lots of clutching nasties (Mesquite and friends) and no real route. A storm front is blowing in and the temperature drops. Soon I am wearing wool gloves.
      On the way off the butte, I stumble almost on a piece of pottery (see photo). I wonder how it got here, with no good place to camp or live nearby. A bit farther and I see an interesting tangle of cactus skeletons (see photo). It's very gray by now, but I take a photo over cactus and into Wet Beaver.

Pot shard on Casner
Pot shard on Casner
(Click the image)
view from Casner Butte
view from Casner Butte
(Click the image for a full-size view)
cactus skeleton
cactus skeleton
(Click the image for a full-size view)

And, another buscho t-shirt: We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them.

      Trip 20: Little Horse to Chicken Point & Submarine Rock, late-December (8.5 miles, 12 ERM, Energy Required Miles).

Click here to go to our GPS route made while hiking the Little Horse Trail to Chicken Point & Submarine Rock. The route will appear on a Google map with a USGS topo background. Use the "+" sign (left of page) to change the map scale.

      We go rolling down the switchbacks into Oak Creek amidst cold temperatures, as the cold air drains off the Northern Arizona rim. On a quest for warmer hikes, we are.
      We set out on the Little Horse Trail and wander in t-shirts part of the way to Chicken Point. Ahhh. We are besieged by oddly-colored jeeps and low-flying copters - terrorist-supporting vehicles of the land and air - out to waste as much oil as possible and contribute as quickly as possible to obesity and health care costs. Certainly, we muse, the cost of the bushco illegal and immoral war has surpassed the cost of providing education and health coverage for all Americans. Yet, this, among many other sad facts, seems lost on those that call for war and an economy based on the death-based military-industrial complex rather than an economy which values life.
      Briefly escaping this onslaught, we continue to Submarine Rock, where we enjoy a delightful lunch in the low-angle Solstice sunlight. A chilling breeze disrupts our lounging, and we wander back, extending our roaming via the Llama Trail (see the gps route above).

Chicken Point
Chicken Point
(Click the image)
Submarine Rock
Submarine Rock
(Click the image for a full-size view)
Chicken Point
Chicken Point
(Click the image for a full-size view)

      Psychologist know that individuals who become obsessed with themselves, with their own concerns and problems, are following a hazardous path to neurosis and other pathologists. What is true for the individual is true for the species. As a species, we have through history tended single-mindedly to our own desires and aspirations with little concern for how our actions affect the many species that sustain us. We can see where this is headed we can see the grasslands turning to desert, the polluted waters, the fallen forests. Like a self-absorbed individual, we as a species have become dysfunctional, and we have moved toward collapse. By learning about the workings of the nonhuman world by learning what a plant really is, and what it needs to survive, and how we help or hinder it we can better understand and more wisely use the natural systems that support us, and we can build for ourselves a healthier, more enduring future. Roger DiSilvestro in The Beatles, a Yogi, and the Search for Plants, Aububon Engagement Calendar, 1995.

And - Click here to see a pdf map of the Grand Canyon (180kb).

And - Click here to see The Archman's site on Utah and area arches.
Click here to see Ben's Scenic USA - Picture of the Day.
Click here to see Steve's excellent photos - birds in flight, panoramas, etc.
Click here to see the NOAA forecast for the high country.


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