Coyote Gulch Backpacking (2018-03-26)

What originally started out as a trip with my friend Jeremy’s Boy Scout trip turned into a family outing with two dads, Jojo and Brian from the McCracken side, and Paige from the Brummett side. The five of us set out on Sunday night from Nevada, and were hit with an unexpected blizzard as we climbed the hill from St. George to Cedar City. We questioned the wisdom in the trip, but after double- and triple-checking the forecast, concluded that the trail should be cold, but free of snow. After making it into Escalante at 1:30PM, we decided that we shouldn’t go straight to the trailhead, and opted for a night in the newly opened Canyon Country Lodge after finding no other hotels open at that late (early?) hour. It was ridiculously expensive for what it was, but offered a good night’s rest. We woke the next morning to find the snow and ice had not hit Escalante, but the cold had!

We headed over to the Visitor’s Center to get our permits and found a beautiful newly-constructed building. The last time I was in Escalante was 10 years previous, so it was quite a site to see! After obtaining the requisite permit (free), we headed to the trailhead to set our shuttle. We decided on the route entering at Crack in the Wall and exiting at Red Well. This allowed for us to quickly descend and then slowly ascend over the course of several miles. Before heading to the Forty-Mile Ridge trailhead though, I saw that Dancehall Rock was less than a mile down the road from our turn off, and wanted to explore.

After checking out the historical marker and the site, we headed back to our trailhead and set off on our adventure!

We headed out across the slickrock, making good time to an overlook into the Escalante River. We went a little too far south, but corrected quickly to arrive at Crack in the Wall. This is a spot that requires a little downclimbing and some sideways shimmying. The final slot is too skinny for yours truly, and after getting stuck and unstuck, I opted for a much easier downclimb over the slot. We continued on down to Coyote Gulch, with great views of Stevens Arch. The whole route is a series of river crossings in shallow water, with steep canyon walls rising on both sides. The conditions were perfect, and the sun, breeze, and cool weather combined to make an awesome day. After about 6 miles, we called it a day, found a nice spot beside the river to stay the night, and setup camp.

The next morning dawned cold and beautiful. We packed up and headed out. Within 30 minutes, we came to Coyote Bridge, a natural bridge formed by the water working its way slowly through the rock. After a brief stop here and another to filter water, we continued on to Jacob Hamblin Arch. Jacob Hamblin was a man who figured prominently in the settlement of Southern Utah. After passing the arch, we continued slowly up the river, criss-crossing the river, enjoying the beautiful views.

Although we had originally planned to stay for a three days in the canyon, we were making good time and thought it would be easy enough to complete it in two. We continued up all the way to the confluence with Hurricane Wash. As the river continues up, the canyon walls lower and the wash widens. After a surprise short slot section, it finally opens up for good and the water dries up for the last couple miles to the car. We finished the hike with a number of short breaks that allowed tired legs to rest. We grabbed the second car and spent the night at the trailhead before leaving early the next morning. Awesome hike!

Long Time Gone! – Olympic National Park – August 2014

It’s been too long, and many things have happened. First, my old implementation of Gallery2 is no longer supported in WordPress, so I’m going to try use a new photo/media manager. If you can’t see the pics, please let me know. I’ll probably try a few until I find the right one.

We went to Kalaloch in August. We had a great time camping, visiting Ruby Beach, the Hoh rain forest, and a few other sites.The campground is very tight quarters, but a really pretty place. It was my first time there, and a revisit for the Penning crew. We hiked the Hoh River trail and explored some great places. We even saw a monster elk, munching away at grass near the trail.

Hoh Rain Forest, Ruby Beach, lots of fun!

Cowiche Canyon

Hannah’s first hike! She slept through much of it in her backpack, but loved to play with the kids at lunchtime. Found a few geocaches along the way. We love that there is water here to hike near, even in the desert. Thanks to the Hartmans, Kearns, and Hammonds for an awesome excursion!

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Round Mountain Lookout

On June 28th, I took several of the kids to the site of the former fire lookout on Round Mountain, just south of White Pass. Although the lookout is no longer there, you can get views of both Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams from the top, as well as several peaks in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. It was a simple out and back, but lots of fun. We hit patches of snow a little above 5,000′ and the kids had a blast with that. Snow in the summer, who knew?!? Another fun plus for Washington!

On the way home, we did a little exploring on Summit Creek, scouting out our next adventure.

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poulsbo, wa….the leas new home

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The start of our Memorial Weekend 2013 actually started in Poulsbo, WA. We traveled to see Rob and Jaime’s new home. They were all very gracious allowing us to inundate their home for two nights and taking us around the town. We played in their backyard, found crabs at the beach, went to the aquarium, checked out a local ice cream shop, ate pizza, walked down the pier, went on a date without the kids, and of course, Jaime and I sneaked a lunch in while the guys entertained. :) We packed in as much fun as we could before heading out for camping. We had a great time. And we hope the Leas are happy in Poulsbo for a long time to come so that we have close access to them. They are only a few hours away now. Way better than 17!!!

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Chain Lakes Loop

During our trip to Washington, I took the 3 oldest kids on a short backpacking trip I’ve been looking at for a couple years. Papa Penning, Uncle Brian, and Brooklynn came with us too. Much of the Chain Lakes Loop is in the Mt. Baker Wilderness. We spent two days camped between Hayes Lake and Arbuthnot Lake. Weather was great, and the area is beautiful, with views of both Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan along the trail.

More photos in the gallery.

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double dipping

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In February, we took a fun little excursion to Ventura, CA for a baby blessing. It was nice enough to swim that weekend. Well, at least for the kids. :) It was the Littles’ first time visiting the ocean. And Marisa and I were so excited for our kids to spend some time together. There are 11 children between the two of us now. It was awesome to watch the kids get along so well. We got to eat at Tito’s…even though a car had just backed into the restaurant…we were the last order to be taken before the Health District shut them down for the night. We also visited the Los Angeles Temple Visitor’s Center. It is recently reopened, and completely worth the trip. Very Cool!

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What’s even better is that a couple of weeks later, the Brown family came to stay a couple of days with us. Again, it was nice enough to swim! The kids had a blast. Annie still asks where Lyndie is. :) I felt so spoiled in February…twice in one month? Whoever would have thought it possible between our busy schedules.

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Marisa and I have been friends for a decade now, and I am so grateful to her for the influence and friend that she is in my life.

funday friday, 10-15-2010

METRO PIZZA

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PUMPKIN PATCH

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Family Date Night was that much more fun because of the company that joined us. We don’t see Tio Rob’s face as much lately because of his MBA program schedule so we were grateful to have a few precious moments of fun with him.

We have yet to carve our $20 pumpkin for fear it will rot before Halloween. I guess I really have learned a thing or two since moving to the desert. Although, I suppose it is finally time to break out the knives and scoopers!

to yosemite and beyond

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Need I say anything??? Totally AMAZING!

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We are so glad we took this side trip on our way home from vacation. We have wanted to visit Yosemite for years. Our day trip drive-thru confirmed that we must go back and explore this American Gem for our next family vacation! The little speck of a rock in between our heads below is Half Dome. It was much more majestic in person.

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On the way home we thought we would take the long way (not on purpose–teehee). We ended up in the middle of Nowhere Cali/Nevada. We climbed some amazing passes and found some amazing views, but we were a bit worried about our gas and bathroom needs. The roads were pretty windy for a few hours, and we were all feeling a little queezy. The craziest part of the drive was when we came to a one-lane road on the windy pass. That’s how narrow and curvy the roads were.

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Good thing I have such amiable children, and an adventurous husband. They kept my annoyance at bay. :)