It’s All About the Layers

The “wake up knock” comes on the Phantom Ranch women’s dorm door at 5:00am.   I’ve signed up for the 5:30am early breakfast in order to get on the trail as early as possible.   The sun doesn’t rise until 7:15, so this will mean hiking for about an hour in the dark, but I figure it’s better to put in the dark time at the bottom of the canyon rather than risk having to hike in the dark at the top where it’s covered in snow and ice. Continue reading

The Ranch to Ribbon Falls

I make it to Phantom Ranch’s Canteen in plenty of time to down a couple of beers before they close at 4:00pm to prepare for the evening meals. But first, Kate, the bartender/hostess/receptionist/wait staff tells me to go to the dorm first to secure my spot.  “Pick any available bed that has a towel folded on it.”  It’s late in the afternoon, so I am thinking I’ll be lucky if I can secure a lower bunk.  Continue reading

Rim to River

It’s eight degrees when I wake up in the Backcountry Information Office parking lot on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Even Siri says “brrrr!”img_0419

There are three Hiker’s Express shuttles that go directly from the Backcountry Information Office to the South Kaibab Trail at 7:00am, 8:00am, and 9:00am.   I figure I will shoot for the middle shuttle, and that will still allow me one other chance if I miss it.   Halfway through my morning routine, I vacillate between slowing down for the 9am or speeding up for the 8am.  I am having a tough time cramming all my belongings for a two night stay into little more than a day pack, so I think maybe delaying another hour later won’t hurt. But then I remember the magnitude of the hike and shortness of the Continue reading

Lees Ferry, Lake Havasu Latkes, and Leaning Toward the Ledge

Once back from my white knuckle drive from White Pocket, the rains roll in right on cue, just as forecasted.   I am feeling a great deal of gratitude for making it back safely without getting stuck.    Rain on the 10 mile sandy stretch could possibly help pack down the loose sand, but the rest of the road is likely to be a muddy mess. Continue reading

Going It Alone

I write a lot about the physical aspect of going it alone on this blog, but rarely delve into the emotional aspect.  People often recoil at the notion that I am traveling/hiking/biking/kayaking/RVing alone.  I recently had a man stop me on the trail just to ask if I was hiking alone.  He remarked that he was seeing more and more solo women on the trail, and did I think it was because of “the book?”   I replied perhaps, but I have been hiking solo 20 years before Cheryl Strayed wrote the “Wild.”  In fact, traveling alone is Continue reading

Seeing Zion in a Different Light

I only planned to stop in Zion for a few days, just long enough to say a quick “hello” to my friends and revisit a few of my favorite places.  I came with my usual “list:” Ride my bike to the end of the road, stopping for soft serve ice cream at Zion Lodge.  See a couple of movies.  Spend time with my favorite cottonwoods along the Virgin River as they turn from green to gold.  And hike at least one trail I’ve never hiked before.    But once I arrived, so did Indian Summer.  Continue reading

Geezers in Great Basin National Park

I recently hit that major milestone all RVers look forward to, the National Parks Senior Pass.  Or as I hoped it was really called, “The Golden Age Passport.”   I’d much rather view life from the “golden age” than that of a “Senior.”   I came to hike over 6 miles at 10,000 ft elevation, which doesn’t make me feel much like a senior, but if that’s what they want to call free admission for life and 50% off of all campsites, Continue reading

Down Lake, Stehekin to Chelan

There are many overnight options in Stehekin ranging from the luxurious cabins at the Silver Bay Inn, to “glamping” in tented camps at the Stehekin Ranch 20 minutes away from the boat launch.  There are also a few privately-owned “log cabin” options which include a van as transportation, but these were all way beyond my budget constraints.  The National Park Lodge seemed to be the “Goldilocks” of accommodations, offering Continue reading

Up Lake to Stehekin

I feel like I have started every blog post since early summer with “Back when I was here in 2014….”   This will be the last time I do this, as every stop from this point forward will be forging new territory.  But as I was saying….“Back when I was here in 2014,” I planned to explore the southern approach into the North Cascades National Park.    While touring the Newhalem Visitor Center, I learned of a town on the southern edge of the park, Stehekin, only accessible by hiking, float plane, or boat ride 50 miles up Lake Chelan. Continue reading

Over the Rainbow on Maple Pass

My last “real hike” (defined in this case by wearing a pair of hiking boots) was July 25th.  It was on that 5 mile loop that I stepped on a large volcanic rock and rolled my foot backwards, thereby injuring my fascia and aggravating a chronic case of plantar fasciitis.   It would be until mid-September before I could walk more than a mile or two without severe pain.  While in Port Townsend, I was finally able to complete Continue reading