Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Hiking Pole Adventure in Utah

December 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Gallery, Gear, Travel

We arrived to RAIN in Las Vegas and snow on the roads to Moab.   Even over a foot of snow and cold mornings did not stop us from enjoying the magic of the Utah National Parks.  Our first day included 2 short hikes in Arches  (Park Avenue & Delicate Arch), then we went to Canyonlands Island in the Sky.  We arrived to find NO ONE in the gray and snow-covered parking lot.  No one had hiked the Neck Springs trail * since it had snowed.  We had to find our way by locating what we thought were cairns – little snow pyramids.  We were the footprints, so the next hikers had a clue where to go :)

Western Bluebird

Western Bluebird

Snow-covered Cairn

Snow-covered Cairn

Natural Lichen Smiley-Face

Natural Lichen Smiley-Face

Island in the Sky, Canyonlands

Island in the Sky, Canyonlands

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Oak Leaves

Oak Leaves

We explored some new trails in Arches & Canyonlands as well as visited some old favorites.  Weather has always managed our Thanksgiving journey to Utah.  We had great gear and felt well-prepared as we headed out on cold mornings.  Yaktrax are like tire chains for your feet – they kept us  from slipping and sliding on icy trails.   Here’s a link to the ones we like:  Yaktrax Pro  Get one size larger than you think you’ll need.  We think the sizing is a bit off.

Yes, that is Bob walking down away from Delicate Arch.

Where's the trail?

Where’s the trail?

Made it to the top!

Made it to the top!

Yaktrax

Yaktrax

Bob learned rock climbing as a youth.  He talked, encouraged, even bullied me thru some of the most difficult terrain I’d ever been on.  Because of the wet conditions, the rocks were not as grippy.  I made it, but only with the help of my hiking buddy.  Putting poles “away” on packs:  You need a pack that can accommodate this.  Grips down, tips up.  Rubber tips affixed for safety.  We affix the poles by looping  a strap from the pack thru the pole straps and snugging them up towards the pack.  Regarding our packs – I often snug up a seminar participant’s pack.  It helps the pack be more a part of you and less floppy (which can send you off balance.)  It always feels better :)

A real trail in Needles District

A real trail in Needles District

Bob crab-walking down steep rock in Arches

Bob crab-walking down steep rock in Arches

Time to put away camera & poles so we can climb

Time to put away camera & poles so we can climb

That's an Ice Pond!

That’s an Ice Pond!

Water everywhere!  Park Avenue, Arches

Water everywhere! Park Avenue, Arches

Yes, it's a road

Yes, it’s a road

The day we wanted to go to Bryce it was 1 degree.  We managed a short loop on our last day and it was warmer and magical!  You can see (bottom middle below) the trail condition – very narrow – making pole use difficult.  We did not have our snow baskets with us :(

The Peek-a-boo loop is one of my favorites.  It’s short, but you’re in the Hoodoos.  To get to it and back, it’s about 3 miles – so a total of about 6 miles.  In these conditions, it took us 2 hours to do the 3 mile loop.  That’s SLOW!  You can see that it was starting to cloud up towards the end of our hike.  Nice way to end a week of hiking in Utah!  When we have more time for a longer loop, we like the Fairyland Trail.

Bryce Canyon (Large) 3 kings (Large) ice cream tops (Large)
Peekaboo sign and clouds (Large) Bryce Snow Trail (Large) Bryce Gear (Large)

and finally – with my obsession with trekking poles and cairns :)   I love to do a little Cairn-Topping as I hike.  Because of the storm that came thru a few days before we arrived, many of the cairns were in need of a little maintenance :)

Cairn and Poles (Large)

* Neck Springs Trail - the longest 5.8 mile hike I’ve ever done.  This glorious trail heads down into a canyon and then back up onto the mesa.  It’s one of my favorite hikes on the planet and suitable for moderate level hikers.  If you head to Moab, put it on your list.  Our favorite place to stay in Moab?  Aarchway Inn – tell Pam I sent you :)

Comments

2 Responses to “Thanksgiving Hiking Pole Adventure in Utah”
  1. Annette Paley says:

    Oh, Jayah, that must have been such a wonderful, fulfilling, exhausting adventure. The pictures are so inviting. Of course, your lifestyle is definitely not my lifestyle, but I do appreciate your enjoyment, especially with your adventure buddy. Thanks for sharing nature, the beautiful scenery, your photos.

    We’re at home now, cozily reading while here in northern Virginia the snow is covering our roads, trees, world.

    Hugs,
    Annette

  2. Tracy Thomas says:

    great pics. I dont know how to look at the pics on the right side without clicking on them individually.

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