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Tag: kokoduke

lake powell invasive mussel shells

New West vs. Old West

I’ve been struggling with thoughts about conservationism, conservationism against the prevailing tide, and my tiny place in the thick of things, as well as a sore knee, since I got back from walking Utah in early June. Some reading, and going through my photos, is helping me finally collect my thoughts. I can’t remember where I was when a friend forwarded me a link from the Canyon County Zephyr, but I was definitely in Utah. I was probably in the backcountry still somehow indulging in LTE “connectivity,” but unable to read much because I was busy walking. But with a few clicks and paragraph licks, I distinctly gleaned a sense of being the outsider where I was. I looked up… continue reading

view of sagebrush forest and a deep canyon in the distance

Tuckup Canyon Head Flora and Fauna

I topped out at Kanab Point, a very quiet and lonely place. I did consider introducing myself to the people truck-camped there, but got a definite vibe that it wasn’t the right time. It’s weird to have feelings like that, but I always listen to my gut. Probably a great idea when one is that remote, and without any rescue beacon. But it was good to know someone was there in case my tonsil decided to explode. And as I went through those thoughts in my head, the truck fired up and drove off, without so much as a backward glance. People can be so weird in the desert. I know if I had flagged them down they probably would… continue reading

Looking down on the Esplanade, trying to remember to look at my footing, not the scenery! What a gorgeous morning!

When I Almost Killed George Steck

TL;DR Lucky for him, George Steck is already dead. I was just very mad at him for a couple days for suggesting anyone hike this section of the Esplanade in the Grand Canyon. In hindsight I myself wonder what I was doing trudging through sometimes hip deep snow drifts in a blizzard to Monument Point. But nevermind that, it’s another story. This story starts at the Bill Hall Monument Point trailhead, where I began by borrowing a few small bottles of water from the back of a pickup truck loaded with several dozen gallons. Gee I wondered, what was that person told? Obviously not the weather forecast! What’s wonderful about snow and rain in the Grand Canyon is it means… continue reading

Cabin 140 on the North Rim

Hello from cabin 140 on the North Rim! I’m sleeping on the floor next to a heater that came on sometime in the night when the generator was at last repaired, and have been sizzling all night. The six other people in the cabin are snoozing away; they were up late drinking and celebrating their Rim to Rim hike, which somehow ended just before the snow hit. They had foresight to send a stranger ahead with a credit card to reserve this cabin and good doing. It was chaos bordering on riot yesterday evening in the main Lodge, with folks having pushed in despite the weather only to find no respite from the cold: 29° outside and no electricity in… continue reading

double rainbow

Do As I Say

I had LTE. @vanillabazan (who picked me up hitching outside Kanab in 2016) DM’d to ask me if I was in Last Chance Bay. I replied “I’m just rounding the corner into it!” As I rowed in, I was struck by some headwinds. I decided to pull ashore for a break & to make plans. Each crossing on the Lake was an endeavor against wind, choppy water, zippy boats, and my nerves. Drowning would be easy. I was so nervous. I chewed gum to relax. I chewed it until it was hard. I lay down behind a rock to dodge the sun, and stared at the dead mussels still glued to it, and the red rock’s white calcium coat. A… continue reading

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

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