Joe's Ultralight Backpacking

Random Trip Reports

NOTE: Chronically behind. Some day I'll manage to catch up. Right about the time vast flocks of swine blot out the sun. :-) Haven't had time to properly write up any trips, so the best way to see what I've been up to is to scan the ol' Comments and Updates page.

Grand Canyon, May 2006 - Very nice Grand Canyon trip (Mary on South Kaibab there) with friends Ardith, Mary, Bob and Jeff - thanks guys! Saw a momma mountain goat with youngins along North Kaibab, and a lazy rattlesnake coming up Bright Angel Trail above Indian Garden.

Kings Canyon Loop, August 2005 - A great 112-mile loop through Kings Canyon National Park. Entered/exited via Bishop Pass and included my favorite section of the JMT (Mather and Pinchot Passes), plus Paradise Valley (gorgeous) and Granite Basin/Granite Lake. I've got to get the images converted and uploaded, hopefully soon. Did this trip solo, met some great folks along the way including Mark and Dave on their way to a few weeks along the High Sierra Route (not to be confused with the High Sierra Trail), Cedar Grove rangers Mike and Tom (thanks guys!), a 70-year-old JMT thru-hiker (not his first time either) and more. Write-up to follow whenever I manage to dig myself out of my schedule.

High Sierra Trail, July 2005 - Some photos and very rough notes of our High Sierra Trail trek. Enjoy!

Angel Basin, Superstition Wilderness, March 2005 - Our first 3-day trip with the Littlest Dude. Great year of rain for this part of the country, wildflowers all over the place. We've hit our max with our load plan - his baby carrier was stuffed to the gills and I had to put my winter mountaineering pack (Mountainsmith Spectre) into play. But we were able to fit in everything we needed. Anything longer than 4 days and we'll need to look into food resupply. I just can't bring myself to carry an 8,000ci pack. ;-)

Wet Beaver Creek, March 2004 - Another short but pleasant overnighter with the Littlest Dude. Beautiful red rock and a perennial creek, along with a nice diving spot into deep pools of water. Life is good! Still missing the longer trips, but hey this ain't so bad. :-)

Superstition Wilderness, Jan 2004 - Baby's first backpacking trip! Just getting the hang of things, so we headed into familiar terrain. Went great! A little rough with the drought and all, water sources were scarce.

South Fork Creek, Eastern AZ, Aug 2003 - Some very nice terrain along a creek, ending in Aspen trees and wide-open meadows. Pleasant escape.

Chiricahua Mountains, July 2003 - A backpacking + birding trip, saw all kinds of neat winged critters, plus three black bears. Images and more to follow soon!

Aravaipa Canyon, June 2003 - Another fun outing with Jeff and Autumn. Nothing like constant stops to soak in the river to cool off. :-) Aravaipa is a great refuge from the summer heat. Golden eagles high above if you keep your eyes open, and coati down below. Images and more to follow soon!

Blue Range Primitive Area, AZ, May 2003 - Very beautiful, one of my favorite places in the state. With the trailhead at 9,000 ft, aspens, conifers of all sorts, nice fish-filled creeks, and nicely isolated. Images and more to follow soon!

Superstition Wilderness (LaBarge Canyon), April 2003 - Very nice! Great weather and lots of critters. White-tailed deer, 3 gila monsters, a mud turtle, leopard frogs, an elf owl, the requisite diamondback rattlesnake and scorpion, birds galore.

Grand Canyon, April 2003 - A great time in the Grand Canyon with Jeff, Autumn, Rick and Marilyn. (Thanks again guys!) Hermit's Rest to the Tonto then out Bright Angel. So nice to be back in the Canyon! And I'm in debt to Jeff and Autumn for the backcountry margaritas. :-) Images and more to follow soon!

Superstition Wilderness (Reevis Ranch), March 2003 - My first time to the Ranch. Pleasant surprise once you get there! Images and more to follow soon!

Little Colorado River, November 2002 - Another wonderfully remote section near the Grand Canyon proper. The views were incredible as always, as was the play. All kinds of surprises.

High Sierras, August 2002 - Really great 7-day trip with old friends / fellow ultralight trekkers Chris and Jas. We did a section of the John Muir Trail, entering at Duck Lake Pass and coming out at Pine Creek. If only every morning commute could start like this.... Great weather, plenty of time to mess around. And as usual, ended way too fast. Next trip coming soon!

Ash Creek, May 2002 (Memorial Day Weekend) - Ash creek is nestled on the NE side of the Pinaleno mountains in SE AZ (home of the controversial Mt. Graham telescope). These "sky islands" of the Southwest are some of my favorite spots to explore. We started at around 4,000 ft and stopped above the falls around 8,200 ft. Great stuff, lots of birds (and the requisite rattlesnake). We were lucky - nearly every other forest in AZ was closed to the public due to the extreme drought and fire risks. The Pinalenos (and the entire Coronado forest) closed the day after we left. We weren't even allowed to bring in our backpacking stoves. Smoke from a raging fire at Mt. Lemmon clouded the sky, a curiously sweet but dreadful scent of burnt pine in the air. But we were alone the entire time. Not another car at the trailhead, not a single stray voice. Just a fine riparian canyon heading steeply up into the mountains. Add in the old sycamore, ash, vanilla-scented ponderosa pine, walnut, aspen, ferns.... the solitude for us was pure, glorious decadence! Oh... and then the poison ivy. Everywhere.

Aravaipa Canyon, May 2002 - Fantastic riparian habitat in eastern AZ. The steep canyon walls and gentle watercourse make for a great escape, which is why permits are required (and limited). Luckily we picked up the last two permits available! My first time backpacking while wearing Tevas (there's a lot of water travel involved). All kinds of critters (including golden eagles, migratory birds galore, two rattlesnakes and a gila monster), plenty of nice pools to soak in, big rocks to lay out on and dry off. Nothing like sitting out wet in the warm sun as the cottonwoods shimmer in a light breeze, hummingbirds buzzing about. Ahhh....

Grand Canyon, November 2001 - A wonderfully remote section that I've agreed not to reveal in order to minimize impact on the area. We covered some great terrain. A lot of scrambling, mud, light bouldering, mud, and a lot of mud. Oh yes, and mud. Total blast! Still honored to have been invited along. Bill was right - the mud was colder than the water. Yikes! Incredible scenery. Fantastic trip!

Trinity Alps, CA, August/September 2001. Partial writeup, no photos scanned yet. But as far behind as I've gotten with my writeups, anything is better than nothing!

My John Muir Trail photo album, Summer of 2000. - Stuck at the office but dreaming of the backcountry? Let me help you escape, if only for a few minutes! Around 100 images with captions, best viewed on a 1024x768 24-bit color display. The largest dimension per photo is 600 pixels - large enough for detail, small enough for those with slower Internet connections. Hope you like them! Write-up to follow sometime this decade. ;-)

John Muir Trail Thru-Hike Trip Plan for August/September 2000.

Grand Canyon (Corridor Trails), 5 days, April '99 (46+ miles). 16.25 lbs, including food but not water.

John Muir Trail section hike, September '98 (80+ miles).

Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim, May '98 (52 miles).

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