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two small honey-colored bark scorpions in the palm of a hand

A Walk from Hite to Ticaboo

Who even knows where Hite and Ticaboo are? You do? That’s awesome, you’re familiar with the epicenter of Utah’s slickrock coolness! Or maybe you have spent some time on a boat on Powell Lake. Boaters in southeastern Utah would be rudderly (utterly – get it?) familiar with these two tiny outposts. Not familiar? Let me show you. They’re both sorta out of the way places, and pretty much nobody walks between the two places. I thought about hitchhiking past this section, but I heard that Swett Canyon was neato, and was curious about getting a little closer to the southern foot of the Henry Mountains. I did not plan this part of my Colorado Plateau traverse beforehand; it was a… continue reading

Backpacking the Kokopelli Trail – Part 2

Return to Backpacking the Kokopelli Trail – Part 1 Day 5 – Ups and Downs April 13. Trigger warning: Skip the next two paragraphs if you hate annoying conservationist chatter… about cows. Depending on who you ask, our public lands are littered with hundreds of thousands of cattle, or free range beef just “grows on trees.” In Utah there is one cow for every four people, so you’re bound to run into them in the woods. Often ranchers take government subsidies to pay very little money to graze their stock on our public lands, which sometimes even includes National Parks! They become millionaires off our backs, then sell us a product that isn’t necessarily good for us, whether ethically or… continue reading

Old trail sign on the Kokopelli trail with sage prairie in background

Backpacking the Kokopelli Trail – Part 1

In the spring of 2019, I solo backpacked (self-supported) from Loma, Colorado to Moab, Utah on the Kokopelli Trail. Given it was a relatively high snow year and the wet weather forecast, this was sorta dumb. But I was determined to hike “the entire Colorado Plateau” after a geologist friend asked about the Hayduke. He was driving me to Vegas so I could pick up a rental car in 2016, just before the first time I hiked it. He seemed to challenge me when he said: “Why would the Hayduke not cover the entire Plateau?” I am not sure he was exactly throwing down that gauntlet, but that’s how I took it, and even after having hiked the Hayduke twice,… continue reading

Life is a Fairytale

People really die taking selfies like this. But from what I was told, this little 6-day, 140-mile jaunt from Loma, Colorado to Moab, Utah could kill me – no water, then cold and snow and ghoulies, oh my! It was a very uncomfortable hike because of foul weather causing me to shiver the nights through, and time constraints forcing me to walk big miles out the gate, but it was also one of my favorite walks. The Colorado Plateau mystifies me. Wait? What? How? Utah has such incredible hidden wonders (and disasters). This long trail took me right back to my mountain bikey roots and made me wonder – if I got back on the saddle, would I still “have… continue reading

mount morrisson sierra nevada

Dear PCT Class of 2019

I’m getting ready to go on a hike of my own, but I wanted to drop you a note to let you know it’s still snowing in the High Sierra. My 2017 blog post “Dear PCT Class of 2017” with tips about snow travel and whatnot definitely, definitely applies, since we got more snow (* see footnotes) this year than we did overwinter 2016/2017. I spent the winter shoveling, plowing, skiing, and snowshoeing in the Sierra, and I’ll tell you what: nobody who knows anything about avalanches or snow conditions (in brief, they suck) is going back there behind the Crest right now. I hope you read my 2017 letter and do all the other research and preparation you can,… continue reading

Living at Frenchies: Getting There

Between August 23 and September 6 I lived deep in the Inyo Mountains in an old mining cabin near the ghost town of Beveridge. This was an experiment in backpacking vs. thru-hiking. I’d realized that thru-hiking was a bit of a rat race, and decided to try an extreme version of backpacking. The difference? Backpackers tend to walk much shorter distances and often spend more time at camps. Backpackers had time to draw and read and sit around; thru-hikers do not. I wanted what they had. My plan was to hike in 12 miles to an extremely remote ghost town, and spend at least two weeks holed up at that cabin. I actually started my backpacking trip on the 22st,… continue reading

Hayduke Trail Maps & Resources

Maps First of all, the obvious, a disclaimer: PLEASE BE AWARE THAT ANY INFORMATION YOU MAY FIND AT LITTLE-PACKAGE.COM MAY BE INACCURATE, MISLEADING OR DANGEROUS. 1) Caltopo map of all Hayduke sections, with notes, separable and exportable: These tracks were carefully retraced and will provide decent distance and elevation profiles, in case you need that data. The track stays in wash beds and on trail/road when available. Very few short sections are actual bushwhacks where you will need advanced route-finding skills. Very much of the trail can be short-cutted using well-established desire paths (game trails, use paths, etc), but the GPS tracks I’ve made stick to washes these shortcuts typically avoid. There are several reliable water sources not mentioned elsewhere,… continue reading

shepherd pass view

Tiger’s got stripes

I want to be back there badly but it’s sorta a dumb idea still… So I purposely took less than enough gear up today so I’d be forced to turn back. Been working my ass off since Feb 24 trying to recover from the huge loss of STUFF in the Grand Canyon, plus get ready for Uncle Sam. The other day I couldn’t find my bikini and when I realized it’s also in the Colorado River I almost cried. I thought the list of things I lost was done, so that struck me. Yesterday I looked for my Western style button-down and realized…it’s in the River. Yep. Oh well. It’s still surprising though HOW MUCH Iost. I’m almost back on… continue reading

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