Driving through a bomb cyclone in full fury is not fun but it sure is lovely. Join Fluffy and me for the last leg of our epic road trip where we power through a lot of snow in Oregon, play tourist in Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, B.C. After getting a bit lost, we make it to the Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island and finally make the long journey home, stopping at some lovely hot springs and visiting the Spiral Jetty and Sun Tunnels in the Utah desert.
Join us as Fluffy Dog and I embark on an epic road trip. Part one – Solo Backpacking Paria Canyon in Arizona and Utah.
Is it really considered a “Road Trip” if the first 6 days are spent backpacking? I’m not sure, but that’s what I’m going with anyway. I worked crazy hard with lots of extra shifts all summer to get an unprecedented 30 days off of work in a row! Fluffy Dog and I decided to use those 30 days for some adventure. In part one, we head to Arizona and Utah to hike the incomparable Paria Canyon. It’s 38 miles of adventure from the White House Trailhead to Lee’s Ferry!
Stay tuned and subscribe to our YouTube channel, ’cause there’s lots more to come and I’m furiously editing the next installment right now.
Link to a video of our canyoneering adventures.
In the last few years, Marybeth and I have been learning canyoneering so we can explore more of the hidden places in Utah. Enjoy this video from our most recent trip:
Snow is still blanketing the high country in Colorado, so we packed up the Jeep for Memorial Day weekend to spend some time with friends and visit one of our favorite places, the San Rafael Swell. The Swell is a unique geologic feature rising out of the high desert near Green River, Utah. It’s full of twisty slot canyons, adventurous 4wd roads and unusual rock formations.
We picked a campsite at the head of Crack Canyon that we had scouted on previous adventures. It’s a great spot off the beaten track and only accessible if you have 4wd vehicle. The Swell receives a lot of visitors on holiday weekends so we were pretty happy to score our secluded campsite.
Visiting places like this feel like entering another world. All your cares and worries fade away the moment your feet hit that red dirt. Though we’ve visited the Swell on multiple occasions, there is always something new to explore. This time, we used our base camp in the Swell as a jumping off point to explore some of the surrounding territory.
We started out by driving down to Hanksville to the maze of canyons in the North Wash. Leprechaun Canyon provided a fun, easy hike to help us break-in our hiking legs. This is definitely an area to visit in the cooler times of the year as even in late May, the heat was oppressive. Fortunately, once you get into the canyons it’s much cooler.
On the way home, we took a side trip down a long dirt road to the Burr Point overlook. We got a good preview of what our hike the next day into Happy Canyon would entail.
Happy Canyon is in the Robber’s Roost area near Hanksville. The canyons of Robbers Roost were used by Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch gang to elude capture and it’s easy to see why. There are very few trails down into the canyon and the top part of the canyon is largely bounded by vertical walls of rock. If it weren’t for the remote location, Happy Canyon would probably be swamped with people. Lucky for us the long drive up an unmaintained 4wd road with some pretty sketchy sections and exposure to shear drop offs keeps out all but the most intrepid travelers. The hike itself is an easy (but hot) walk few miles along a canyon shelf before dropping down to the bottom of the canyon with a brief, refreshing ford of the Dirty Devil River. The heat was searing (don’t even attempt this hike in summer), there were biting flies at the river and the climb back up to the Jeep was a bit grueling, but it was worth it.
We spent our last day in nearby Moab to put the Jeep through it’s paces on the Fins ‘n’ Things 4wd trail. It was great fun testing the capabilities of the jeep, with the bonus of amazing scenery.
Too soon, it was time to go home. We’re already planning future adventures and I’m sure some will include more of the slickrock trails around Moab!