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!

20140503-101937-cowiche canyon-0012
20140503-102102-cowiche canyon-0017


20140503-114704-cowiche canyon-0020
20140503-120050-cowiche canyon-0041


20140503-115539-cowiche canyon-0032
20140503-115407-cowiche canyon-0030


20140503-115203-cowiche canyon-0028
20140503-115617-cowiche canyon-0033


20140503-115749-cowiche canyon-0039
20140503-115035-cowiche canyon-0026


20140503-102052-cowiche canyon-0015

Blankenship Meadows

July 18-20 brought our crew to a 21 mile trek from Soda Springs, up Summit Creek, across the meadows, and out Indian Creek. Brooklynn was visiting from Utah and joined the fun and the Hartman crew also joined us for the adventure.

A big thanks to Nana Penning for helping us set up the car and dropping us off at the trailhead. After realizing I left my much-loved Leki poles at the house, we began hiking up Summit Creek to Jug lake and had a great lunch by the lake. We continued on and spent the first night at Fryingpan Lake. The lake was beautiful, but the site a bit gross; because of the allowed use of stock and relative proximity, it is a garbage dump for some. Despite that, we had a great time. Just as Price was about to jump in the lake for a brisk swim, we found leeches in the lake. Between that and the fact that any exposed skin immediately led to scores of mosquito bites, no swimming was attempted.

Shortly after taking off the next morning, we came to our short section of the Pacific Crest Trail, breaking off again after a mile. Well… there was that extra half mile unplanned when we missed the turnoff. But, we thought an extra half mile in 3 days was OK; it also led to our only encounter with another hiker on the trip, a PCT section hiker travelling from Chinook to White Pass. We had lunch at the smaller of the Twin Sisters lakes. The breeze kept off some of the mosquito hordes, but the relief was short-lived. The second night was spent at a beautiful spot next to the largest of the Blankenship lakes. As it cooled down at night, the bugs were slightly bearable, and the kids spent some fun time down by the lake.

The third day brought a return of mosquitoes, with a vengeance! We could scarcely move without another bite. We hustled through some gorgeous meadows and next to Indian Creek, as it tumbles down the mountains toward Rimrock Lake. The kids crashed as soon as they got in the car. We’re ready to plan next year’s summer trip. Suggestions?

Lots of pics below, all of the photos are in the Blankenship Meadows album.

20130718-092920-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0002.jpg
20130718-111921-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0004.jpg
20130718-112106-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0006.jpg
20130718-132322-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0009.jpg
20130718-154010-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0044.jpg
20130719-060633-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0046.jpg
20130719-163603-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0061.jpg
20130719-163645-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0066.jpg
20130719-193008-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0083.jpg
20130719-193441-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0087.jpg
20130720-102907-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0112.jpg
20130720-103123-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0114.jpg
20130720-131135-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0123.jpg
20130720-134321-Blankenship Lakes Backpack-0125.jpg
Blankenship Lakes Backpack - Elevation Profile.jpg
Blankenship Lakes Backpack - Route.jpg

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.

20130628-185005-Round Mountain Lookout-0003.jpg
20130628-204726-Round Mountain Lookout-0015.jpg
20130629-075636-Round Mountain Lookout-0027.jpg
20130629-093037-Round Mountain Lookout-0034.jpg
20130629-093117-Round Mountain Lookout-0035.jpg
20130629-100642-Round Mountain Lookout-0042.jpg
20130629-101320-Round Mountain Lookout-0043.jpg
20130629-131446-Round Mountain Lookout-0047.jpg
20130629-133908-Round Mountain Lookout-0055.jpg
2013-06-28 - Round Mountain Overlook (Hike) - Overview.jpg
2013-06-28 - Round Mountain Overlook (Hike) - Elevation Profile.jpg

memorial day lives on…geocaching 2013

We have celebrated Memorial Day in Zion National Park, UT with friends since 2005. Although we no longer live near Zion, we hope to carry on the camping tradition with our children and friends…new and old…for a long time to come. This year we celebrated near Mt. Rainier. It was wet and green and completely different than what we have grown used to over the years. I missed the warmth of Zion and all of the familiar surroundings. But I also loved being “home” and showing my kids what it was like to camp near real trees. Rob and Jaime joined us, which was awesome.

Instead of hiking on Saturday, the guys took the kids geocaching. They have explored many geocaches all over Las Vegas and its surrounding desert.

20130526-135458-Geocaching-0207.jpg

They love looking for “treasure.” Adam loves using his GPS. And I love sitting in my camping recliner. So it’s win-win for EVERYONE! :)

20130526-142652-Geocaching-0210.jpg
20130526-143012-Geocaching-0219.jpg

We had several cousins join the fun. Everyone had a great time!! Despite being homesick for familiar faces in Las Vegas, I love being home.

20130526-142821-Geocaching-0213.jpg
20130526-145323-Geocaching-0220.jpg
20130526-145822-Geocaching-0230.jpg
20130526-152449-Geocaching-0239.jpg

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.

20120924-123818-Chain Lakes Loop-0021.jpg
20120924-125059-Chain Lakes Loop-0018.jpg
20120924-142121-Chain Lakes Loop-0036.jpg
20120924-145419-Chain Lakes Loop-0072.jpg
20120924-150631-Chain Lakes Loop-0043.jpg
20120925-081500-Chain Lakes Loop-0077.jpg
20120924-164440-Chain Lakes Loop-0054.jpg
20120925-074332-Chain Lakes Loop-0055.jpg
20120925-113003-Chain Lakes Loop-0103.jpg
20120925-113950-Chain Lakes Loop-0155.jpg
20120925-115540-Chain Lakes Loop-0167.jpg
20120926-104655-Chain Lakes Loop-0232.jpg
20120926-113321-Chain Lakes Loop-0137.jpg
20120926-120544-Chain Lakes Loop-0177.jpg
20120926-121914-Chain Lakes Loop-0189.jpg
20120926-130646-Chain Lakes Loop-0224.jpg
20120926-130842-Chain Lakes Loop-0232.jpg
20120926-131945-Chain Lakes Loop-0245.jpg

Geocaching – Mountain Springs Peak

After trying out a couple geocaches here in the city, we decided to try our luck on a little longer adventure. Mountain Springs Peak is a less-traveled peak in the southern part of Red Rock National Conservation Area. It does not have a maintained trail, but there are several use paths. Altogether it was about 5 miles and 1,100 feet of elevation gained to reach the peak at ~6,600 feet.

20120804-093026-Mountain Springs Peak-0013.jpg
20120804-115106-Mountain Springs Peak-0021.jpg
20120804-144217-Mountain Springs Peak-0035.jpg
20120804-180336-Mountain Springs Peak-0036.jpg

We found two caches and lots of cool logs from previous hikers. The earliest note was from 1970. A fun outing for all!

20120804-114443-Mountain Springs Peak-0020.jpg

All of the photos are in the Mountain Springs Peak photo album.

mt. stirling

20120721-133143-mt stirling-0010.jpg
20120721-123422-mt stirling-0005.jpg

Adam told me he has a new goal: summit all 50 Las Vegas area peaks with the kids. I slightly chortled and said, “Does Las Vegas even have 50 peaks worth hiking?” He says, “you get what you get, lady.” (what I always say to my kids) I’m thinking, go for it buddy…I’ll be at the spa. Although this time I somehow ended up staying home with a newborn, a two year old, and a seven year old. Hmm, no spa for me. :)

20120721-112921-mt stirling-0002.jpg
20120721-123938-mt stirling-0006.jpg

Don’t get me wrong. I love hiking. But I do not love walking-in-the-desert-through-a-wash-and-up-a-hill-to-say-I-hiked kind of hiking.  *northwest snobbery at its finest*

20120721-131340-mt stirling-0008.jpg
20120721-131347-mt stirling-0009.jpg
20120721-114859-mt stirling-0004.jpg

I’ve been dragged on worse desert excursions than these pictures portray. This doesn’t look half bad, trust me! Maybe I’ll try the next one.

arizona canyon fun

20120623-131915-Salome Jug-0495.jpg

Adam and Danny hit a canyon on the way back from scout camp in Arizona. Lucky Boys!

20120623-113705-Salome Jug-0477.jpg
20120623-114534-Salome Jug-0481.jpg

Danny had a blast getting wet!

20120623-113547-Salome Jug-0475.jpg
20120623-125331-Salome Jug-0490.jpg

Adam’s truck wouldn’t start when they exited the canyon. Luckily, there was a group a few hours behind them. The guys weren’t super pumped about spending another night in the 100 degree weather.  But seriously, what would a canyon with my husband be like without a slight mishap??