Monday, January 15, 2018

Out to the Arch

This was a momentous day because my mom was out to help watch our kids during conferences. We also had the day off for Martin Luther King Day, so it was like a bonus day. That meant that we had a babysitter, so we took full advantage of that and went for a hike. Mom and I had just walked the Timber Creek Overlook trail out in Kolob the day before, so looking down, I thought it might be nice to see the Kolob Arch again. Jacqueline took some talking into because it was a much longer hike than she wanted to go on, but when I told her I would carry the pack the whole time, then she was in. I wanted to get an early start, but we didn't make it to the trailhead until around ten. I like this trail a lot because of the gradual nature of the elevation. It was a quiet day on the trail.
There was no snow and there seemed to be no one out there. We hiked the four miles to La Verkin Creek, then upstream toward the Arch trail. We had a good time getting some conversation in about life, kids, work, etc... We finally ran into our first hiker and he was so enthusiastic about how quiet it had been out there. We didn't run into anyone else until the Arch trail. The Kolob Arch trail was in better shape then I remember it and pretty easy to follow upstream without getting the shoes wet.
 We made it to the Arch where we sat down and had some lunch. Then turn around and hike back. We saw one more group coming out. It was a bunch of horse riders. The rest of the way we got to follow the chewed up trail, which made the hiking a little more challenging with all the sand. We had a quick stop down at the creek before heading up the hill. I really appreciated the openness with the big cliffs all around. Zyla had a great quote yesterday when  we were at Timber Creek Overlook. She said, "There's a mountain on top of that mountain."
 That was truly what Kolob looked like. The hike up was not so bad. There was the 3/4 of a mile up to campsite 3 which was just about enough uphill when we got to it. Then the meandering along Timber Creek, before the last mile out. Just before the end, you have to drop down a bunch before climbing again. We were out. Jacqueline was a little sore, but it was definitely good for her. I sure enjoyed having the day to hike with my wife again. It was a throwback to ten years earlier and a foreshadowing of what was to come in say another 10 years. Good hike and nice to get in some miles. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Unexplored Canyon

Don't tell anyone, but the East side of Zion National Park is awesome! As the country finally learns that our National Parks are getting too crowded with too many people hammering the same resources over and over again, it is nice to know that maybe the most impacted park from this visitation still has places that are left untrammeled. I drove the hour up from our home in Washington, UT to the pullout near Crazy Quilt Mesa. It was cold out as it had just rained the night before and up here it looked like it must have rained, then froze. I even slid on the road once going at about 25 miles per hour.
Needless to say it was great hiking conditions for the East side. The typically sandy sections were now completely frozen. The rock was a little more brittle, but walking on sandstone means that you take extra caution anyway. I had just been to this area a few weeks ago, so I tried a different way to get up the cliff face. This was my 3rd different way and none of them have ever been very easy. It worked out though and I was on the slick rock that flattened out and opened up. I decided to hang to the left this time to check out that area.
 There was a hoodoo or too, but mostly it just made for a bushier hike. Then I popped out on to the saddle. From the saddle, I stayed in the canyon drainage. It was easy to follow until I came to a large pour-off. I skirted this on the right and found a nice open canyon. I had been in this area 12 years ago now, so I did not remember everything perfectly, but the goal was to find the unexplored canyon again that I had found.
I wanted to see if it still looked interesting and it still looked unexplored. Coming out of the open canyon, I came upon lots of iron concretions. This section was just loaded with them. I continued going downstream until I came to a canyon with something I do not remember.
I must have saw it 12 years ago, but I did not recall it or maybe was not experienced enough to recognize it. The canyon walls were completely iron. It looked crazy. I tested it and it was super hard. Then there were these great looking stratified layers after that. I continued on and this is where the head of the canyon was. I could get down and back up, but it was wet. I did not feel like being wet considering the temperature was still not incredibly warm out.
 I instead went over the canyon and visited it from the other side. I remember water pouring out last time. This time it was a bunch of potholes. I was able to get into the canyon for a second and it looked like a narrow slot. It is worth exploring. I would like to be the first but would be open to somebody else doing it first so that I can explore it. But as of right now, it looked to me like it was unbolted and still pure. If I could name it, I would name it Concretion Canyon. From there, I had a decision. I could go 15 minutes further and get to a pour off that overlooked Parunaweap or I could head up the slick rock to check out the hoodoos.
Since I had already been to the pour off when it was raining and it was this spectacular waterfall, I choose the hoodoos.
 I had some lunch and then started to sweat as I chugged up the hill. The sun was out and it was now warm. The hoodoos were sweet! There was one that I particularly liked that looked like a flying car. It was held together by the slightest of sandstone columns. From there I continued up and up on a ridge of sandstone. This kept going until I came to a place I had to drop down and then climb back up.
I decided to go back on the west side of the little peak that divided this canyon between Nippletop and Crazy Quilt. This section was so unexplored. There were Moqui marbles everywhere and it was nice to be in a place where no foot had tread. From there I was able to get to a different saddle, but still find a way to easily pick my route out.
The east side is such simple hiking to just explore and having been there enough now, I know relatively where I am most of the time.
I continued back to the car having only to find my way through the cliff side drop right at first. I picked another different route entirely. A great weekend with so many wonderful sights. I will have to return soon.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Mount Adams

It had been years since I had been up Mt. Adams. I climbed it when I was 12 years old, so 1993. Then in college, Larson and I tried it on October 1st and ran into whiteout conditions, then lost he lost his keys and we had to call for a ride back to Seattle. I was hoping that this trip would go a little smoother. It was a big group going. My dad had planned this trip with Mario who was a kid of one of his good friends that was now a teenager about 16. He also planned to bring along his cousin Roxanne and her two kids Andy and Hayes.
Roxanne had climbed it with me and my dad in 1993. This time her plan was to just hang out with Andy while we went up with Hayes who was also a teenager about Mario's age. I drove up from Oregon and they were driving down from Washington. It was about equidistant for us. I picked a route that took me through the Cascades of Oregon right by the base of Mt. Hood. Years ago driving through Mt. Hood, I thought it was a creepy forest then and doing it once more I agreed. It was an interesting route because the GPS took me on some dirt roads for about 12 miles too.
It wasn't too bad, though and I arrived across the bridge from Hood River about ten minutes before them. I took Hayes in my car and then we went up the road. We drove to Trout Lake, where we had to get a permit. They were doing some road construction which made it hard to find the office. We finally retraced our steps and found it. The permit process was not quick, but it was fairly easy. Then we went up the road getting lost again before turning around and finding the right road.
 From there, it was a dirt road up some steep mountain roads. The road was not horrible, but it wasn't great either. Eventually we made it to the trailhead which was just packed with cars. We loaded up quickly and my dad was gone before everyone was even ready. The goal was to camp somewhere below the snow line. There were lots of people coming off the dry dusty trail as we hauled our heavy bags and switchbacked up.
I was wearing my heavy duty mountaineering boots and they were pretty hot on this dry trail. We all kind of hiked at different speeds for a while with the youngest ones really taking the lead. When we were nearing our camp area we all got back together again. We decided to camp right below the snow line. We found a nice spot and it was surprising that no one else had taken it. There was a place for a few tents. We threw them down, had some dinner, and hung out for the evening making preparations for the morning.
We were going to have an early morning as we planned to wake up at 4:30 am. I argued for later, but since my dad was 66, he won out on this one. He wanted to make sure that he was going to make it up and that the snow conditions stayed good. If it started to melt too much, then it would be much more challenging. We all retired pretty early, but I had a tough time sleeping do to some snoring. I decided instead to grab my pad and sleeping bag and go away to sleep. I had to get quite a ways from camp before the snoring stopped.
I was quickly able to fall asleep once I was away. I found a way to still wake up early. We ate some food, then hit the trail. We immediately made a bad choice in our route due to the dark and found ourselves climbing a really steep snowfield to get back on route. Once we were, we hung together for a time before we turned into two groups. Hayes and I were out in front and Mario and Dad stayed back. The going was relatively easy because we all had crampons except Hayes who wore some yaktraks. They worked well as the snow was hard packed. I forgot just how steep places are. First you go past the lunch counter where most people sleep, then you hit the steep slopes to climb up to Piker's Peak.
I was enjoying the view as Mount St. Helens was right there the whole time seeming so small compared to the heights that we were climbing. The last little bit of snow before Piker's Peak is by far the steepest. Hayes and I popped out there and it was not even 9:00 AM yet. All that was left was to cross the snowfield and up the last chute. We were able to do this without any difficulty. At 9:30AM, we made the summit. Hayes was pretty proud and I was excited to be there. There was a lookout built into the snow that provided some shelter. I enjoyed the view with Mt. Rainier sticking out as the next volcano over and we could see Hood, Jefferson, and I could even make out the Three Sisters. We hung out here for a while before Mario and Dad showed up. We went down a little before them, but kind of took our time.
The first chute was hopefully going to be good for glissading but it was sort of fast and steep at the same time. We didn't do a very good job of it. We headed over to Piker's Peak where there were people with carpets and plastic bags getting ready for the descent. We waited here because the snow just still seemed too hard for me. We had some food and water and soon Mario and Dad caught up. I was a little nervous about the snow, so I went down the rocks for a way. They tried it out and soon they were flying by me.
 I traversed over and the descent commenced. This was a lot of fun. It was a rather controlled descent, but quick. We covered what took hours to climb up in the morning in only minutes. Dad gave us the lecture about being cool while glissading on your feet, so I made sure to point out how uncool he was very time he slid down on his butt. Lots of fun, but eventually, we ran out of steep enough snow and it was trudging into camp. Roxanne and Andy met us and we packed up our stuff. We were debating about whether to stay another night or find another place to camp. We decided to pack up and go. Just as we were leaving camp, Dad slipped and got a pretty decent cut that we had to stop to let him clean up. Roxanne, who is an ER nurse said that he had to go in and get that cleaned up. I think he eventually did.
The rest of the way it was hiking out. I was tired. I was also having issues with my boots as they were a little small and each step was getting kind of painful. We made it to the cars, back down the steep road, and drove out to Hood River. We were able to get some dinner there at Pita Pit and we spent the evening camping by the Columbia River. I was exhausted and happy just to have a place to sleep. That night I retired early and got as much rest as I could. The next day I bid the group adieu but a few days later, Jacqueline and I did get the chance to stay at Roxanne's house after a Jackson Browne concert. Great trip. Everyone did awesome including the old man and the teenagers. Quite a lot of fun.