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Tag: hiking

Swansea to Cerro Gordo | Inyo West #2

I've been wanting to run the Swansea to Cerro Gordo Road - to visit the uppermost control tower of the Saline Valley Salt Tram - ever since we attempted to hike to the lowest control tower on the Saline Valley side in 2019. While the road itself has its own reputation for a few dangerous and technical sections, it was only a matter of setting aside the time - and figuring out what else to explore in the surrounding area in order to make the trip worthwhile - that'd kept me from visiting. Today though, that would all change. I'd…

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Worth More Than Gold | Inyo West #1

I've done a lot of exploring in and around Death Valley National Park, and have spent many a morning watching the sun illuminate the Inyo Mountains from the east. But, I've spent almost no time exploring the Inyo Mountains from the west - Owen's Valley - side. I'm not sure exactly why this has been the case - there's a ton to experience - but I suppose it's due to the fact that it's nestled between the dramatic Sierra Nevada and my favorite National Park. Regardless, I've wanted to drive the Swansea to Cerro Gordo Road - up past the…

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Playing it Safe | Other Side #3

Having spent a bit of time dealing with the rear e-locker, we were running about two hours "behind schedule" as we barreled west along UT-163 towards Monument Valley. In reality, I'd somehow significantly underestimated the number of miles between Comb Ridge and the Muddy Mountains where we planned to setup camp for the night, so we were running more like five hours later than planned. That meant we'd need to alter our itinerary a bit - eating dinner rather than lunch in St. George, as well as finding a nearby spot to camp so we could complete our final hike…

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Another Swing-and-a-Miss | Other Side #2

I wouldn't say the wind was calm as we went to sleep overlooking John's Hole in the San Rafael Swell, but it was definitely tapering off. By midnight, only a gentle breeze blew past our camp before cascading down into the canyon. Until 3:00am. That's when we were sent scurrying for our earplugs. It's amazing how much difference a good set of these can make, and soon we were sleeping like babies, the flapping of the roof top tent muffled as our cliff-edge-cradle was rocked by the wind until just after sunrise. Wanting to catch the canyon before too many…

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Swing-and-a-Miss | Other Side #1

As temperatures have started to rise across the west, areas that were covered in snow or otherwise too cold to wander during the winter are once again opening up. And, while I have an endless list of desert destinations to explore, it's always an exciting time to venture beyond the confines of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts that we've recently called home. And so, we're headed to Utah. There, San Rafael Swell and Cedar Mesa will be our destinations. Like the desert, an infinite number of days could be consumed savoring the sandstone formations, deep canyons, and Native American Indian…

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Cameron to Utah - The Best for Last | AZBDR Stage 6

A quick recap... We knew even before starting the AZBDR that we'd need a permit to cross the Navajo Nation, and we knew we could conveniently pick up the permit just outside of Cameron, AZ just prior to entering Navajo land. What we didn't know for sure were the hours of the permit office. Knowing that we didn't know, we'd tried calling the permit office earlier in the day - just before visiting Waputki National Monument - thinking that we could pick up our permit well before the office closed for the day. However, when no one answered the phone,…

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Young to Winona - The Mogollon Rim is Closed | AZBDR Stage 4

As our tires hit pavement in the outskirts of Young, it was time to start thinking about Stage 4. Climbing - and then traversing the Mogollon Rim - this was where satellite imagery, which I'd been watching on a daily basis for several weeks prior to our departure, suggested that 5-19" of snow still blanketed the ground. This didn't look promising. Still, my copilot - having spent the last half hour looking through the road conditions page for the Coconino National Forest - thought we stood a chance, at least in part. Though she confirmed closure of the Forest Service…

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Globe to Young - Take a Hike | AZBDR Stage 3

Globe definitely won the "best marketing" award of all the towns we passed through on this trip. It was fantastic to photograph. Rolling out of Globe early on our second day of running the Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route (BDR), we were once again on - you guessed it - pavement! This was quickly getting old - as we sped north at speeds we rarely encounter on our adventures - and by now we were pretty sure that the AZBDR wouldn't be climbing to the top of our "favorite BDR" list unless something changed dramatically, and quickly. AZ-288 (the Globe-Young Highway)…

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Mexico to Benson - Unusual Encounters | AZBDR Stage 1

Prologue Running a BDR (Backcountry Discovery Route) this year is going to be a little different for us than it has been in years past, for several reasons. First, we'll be exploring a state that - due to its distance from home, or even Las Vegas where the Tacoma is now stored - we've done very little adventuring through. This should be a great thing, as one of the "problems" with the last couple of BDRs we've explored was that we were already reasonably familiar with what we'd encounter, making the trip less exciting. Second, we'll be running the route…

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The Perfect Day for Something Stupid

I love nearly every aspect of getting out to explore. The research when I'm at home. The anticipation of what will be found along the way. The unexpected discoveries along the journey. And, of course, the excitement of finding the destinations themselves. Usually. The Back Story Even the best-laid plans - of which mine rarely qualify - run into a snag every now and then. Sometimes it takes multiple attempts to find what we are looking for - if we ever find it at all - as I learned in the case of a singular rock along the Pahranagat Trail over…

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Searching for the Scallywag | Missing Death Valley #3

I slept soundly at the head of Ashford Canyon, two days of driving and hiking finally catching up to my aging body. Knowing that I'd have another long hike - and steep climb - ahead of me for the day, I spent a few minutes around camp, soaking in the sunrise and enjoying the shade that I knew I'd long for as the day went on. With the Tacoma still cool in the shade, a little glow on the Owlsheads, just as the sun is cresting the horizon. As I was eating my breakfast, I spotted this little guy near…

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In Over My Head | Missing Death Valley #2

Making my way south from Furnace Creek, I wasn't in any rush as I putzed along Badwater Road. With tourists swinging into the other lane to pass me by, I soaked in the ever-changing western face of the Black Mountains. Is it just me, or does it look like that guy is fishing in Lake Manley? No fish out there buddy! After passing the parking lot at Badwater, traffic thinned out significantly. Sure, there was still a bit - heading to or from Sidewinder Canyon or south towards Jubilee Pass and Las Vegas - but by and large I was…

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Mountains of Blue and Lakes of Green | Missing Death Valley #1

Driving Forever I don't know how we ever did it. Or why. Time after time, for five full years, we would spend nearly 24 hours in the Tacoma, making our way south - in a single shot - to the desert. At the behest of @mrs.turbodb, and following in the footsteps of Ken @DVExile - my Death Valley archetype - I wised up at the beginning of 2023 and haven't looked back. Still, every now and then the Tacoma has to come home for one reason or another. This time, it was to do some work on my rear leaf…

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Wonderland in White | Snow in JTNP #2

Having climbed into the tent by 7:30pm, exhausted after nearly two days without sleep, we fell asleep quickly despite the tent flapping wildly in the wind, the entire thing swaying - as I imagine a train car might - with each gust. Still, with warm feet and ear plugs, everything was dandy until just after midnight when I heard the pitter-patter of rain. Or was it? Rain, it turns out, isn't so bad as long as it stops early enough in the morning that the rain fly can dry out by the time we need to put the tent away.…

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To the End of the World, and Beyond | Snow in JTNP #1

With the Pacific Northwest winter in full swing, both @mrs.turbodb and I were itching for warmer temperatures and a bit of sun as we planned our trip to the far southern reaches of California and Joshua Tree National Park. I'd visited for my first time almost exactly a year earlier, and this would be an introductory visit for my companion, one I hoped she'd enjoy given the heavy emphasis on hiking - and the nearly-complete-lack-of-driving - that I had planned. Plus, with surroundings composed of rock wonderlands and sunny skies, I was reasonably confident that we'd be pleasantly entertained. As…

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Extras Along the Way | EMHT Segment 4

I could have included this stuff in the main East Mojave Heritage Trail stories - and usually I would have - but they were already getting long. Plus, I know that most would prefer YouTube videos anyway. Not that there will be any YouTube videos here, if I just got your hopes up. Anyway, this is a mishmash story of a few things that weren't explicitly part of EMHT Segment 4, but that I experienced during that same span of time. The Copper Glint Mine As I was leaving Las Vegas - my body and the Tacoma both resupplied after…

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It's All Wilderness Now | EMHT Segment 4a Camp Clipper to Turtle Mountains

After running the first two segments of the East Mojave Heritage Trail (EMHT) with Mike and Zane last month, and then returning for the third segment with @mrs.turbodb only a week later, it was less of a question of "where" and more a question of "when" my first trip of 2024 would take place. The "where" - of course - would be the final, fourth segment of the 770-mile long route, winding my way through the Mojave Trails National Monument and the Turtle Mountain Wilderness. Segment 1: Needles to Ivanpah - 173 miles Segment 2: Ivanpah to Rocky Ridge -199…

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Seems "Safe" | EMHT Segment 3C The Bonanza King to Fenner

Just to remind everyone where we left off - we'd found the perfect camp site, with one minor caveat: it was located about 25 feet from a rather deep, Tacoma-sized, hole in the ground. With no barriers. "If you get up during the night to pee, do it on the driver side of the truck," The main shaft of the Bonanza King Framed by enormous lumber, this is one of the most impressive shafts in the preserve. It plunges down 600 straight feet, then continues as a winze for another 200 feet. When the shaft encountered a new ore body,…

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Unfinished Business | EMHT Segment 3B Granite Mountains to Providence

After cleaning up after dinner and getting the tent deployed, it was still only 6:15pm, too early - even for us - to hit the sack for the night. It was, rather, the perfect time for me to be reminded of what we had in store for the morning; the trail description I'd neglected to re-read prior to planning the trek. Whipping out what we lovingly refer to as the Mojave Preserve bible - @mrs.turbodb was happy to oblige: From its head near the highest point in the Granite Mountains to its mouth, Budweiser Canyon climbs about 2,800 feet in…

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Desert Art | EMHT Segment 3A Rocky Ridge to Granite Mountains

There was no way Mike @Digiratus, Zane @Speedytech7, and I were going to run the entirety of the East Mojave Heritage Trail when we set out to do it at the end of November. At something more than 700 miles long - not including the nearby side-adventures that I added for our enjoyment - it might seem like a Backcountry Discovery Route, but the roads are significantly slower and more technical, and the percentage of on-dirt miles is significantly larger. Frankly, these two things make it easily twice the length of a BDR, not to mention the fact that we…

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