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Photo of the Week 8/01/22

Amazing sunset with canyon view and our campsite.
Yosemite National Park

Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne Hike

The Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne was unbelievable. This was a long discussed backpacking trip for 3 friends who hadn’t really seen each other for over 20 years. None of us had visited Yosemite and we were finally able to make it happen! We got to experience many amazing waterfalls, classic Yosemite views, and saw so few other people. We almost always had this impressive trail to ourselves, and I feel lucky to have had this initial Yosemite experience.

I picked up my friends in Las Vegas and we headed to Mammoth Lakes to stay for the night. We stayed with an old friend from Crested Butte, it was great to catch up and chill in this cool place.

Sunday morning we got up early and headed into Yosemite National Park to start our adventure. We picked up our permit at the wilderness center and strolled to the YARTS bus pick up spot for the ride to the starting trailhead and camp for the night. The White Wolf Campground was nice, and wasn’t too crowded considering it’s summertime in Yosemite.

Day 1: The next morning we loaded up the packs and headed into the backcountry for a 4 day trip. The first day we descended almost 4000ft to the bottom of the canyon. While the miles of steep downhill were a bit rough on the knees, we were super stoked to have the packs on and start our hike.

Loading up at White Wolf Campground

The hike starts out in the forest as you leave the trailhead and climbs a bit to the edge of the canyon and then it’s time to descend!

Hiking through the wildflowers
Time to descend down to Pate Valley

This was the only day we experienced any smoke issues from the wildfires, fortunately it didn’t seem to effect our breathing. After a final cruise along the river we made it to Pate Valley and found a nice campsite. We had easy river access and a quick swim in the river to cool us off and rinse off the dirt was most excellent.

Smoke from the Oak Fire looking west (if you look really really hard you can see Hetch Hetchy).
Pate Valley Campsite
Day 1 Elevation

The Day 2 hike starts to follow the Tuolumne River, so we started to see small waterfalls and pools. After a bit we got to the good size climb up the Muir Gorge. We got really lucky with the weather, as we started this tough climb we got great cloud cover and little bit of rain to keep things cool. We saw 0 people all day on the trail.

Looking down canyon above Muir Gorge

That night’s campsite was almost certainly the best one I’ve ever had, with a waterfall and great swimming hole. After a quick set up in the rain and a little tent time while it down-poured, we dried out and went for a swim!

We got to relax on some big granite above camp to watch the sunset and then again to stare at the stars for a bit!

Hiking up to look at the stars
Day 2 Elevation

Day 3 was the day of so many waterfalls! There was more climbing than I thought, but it was totally worth it. Around almost every bend of the trail is a waterfall, pool or beautiful river view. We couldn’t help but stop to take so many pictures!

Hiking along the trail

Waterwheel and Le Conte Falls were huge and it was so cool to be able to walk out into the rock right next to the rushing waters! We definitely spent a good amount of time with the packs off exploring these amazing features.

Waterwheel Falls
Waterwheel Falls
Le Conte Falls
Le Conte Falls

The afternoon of day three we finally started to see a few other people as we approached Glen Aulin, it was an almost weird experience after 2 1/2 days of seeing no one. We found a nice sheltered campsite and relaxed for our last night on the trail.

Day 3 Elevation

Day 4 was a great day of hiking. The climbs weren’t as tough, both White Cascade and Tuolumne Falls were awesome (and we had a great swim).

White Cascade
Tuolumne Falls

The last few miles are a great ending, as you walk into Tuolumne Meadows with it’s iconic granite domes and peaks. We stopped by the Parson’s Memorial Lodge, talked with a couple other backpackers and headed to the Tuolumne store for some ice cream!

Day 4 Elevation

After hiking out we headed to Independence for some me food, and hit up the Onion Valley campground for the night.

After a nice night in the tents at 9,200′ we headed towards Vegas so my friends could fly out the next day. After stops at the Möbius Arch, Star Wars Canyon, and Badwater Basin we cruised to our hotel. We relaxed for a bit in our rooms, went out for an excellent dinner, played a little gambling, and then crashed out!

Möbius Arch
Badwater Basin
Top of the World, Stratosphere

Everything on the trip worked out so well, great friends, awesome scenery and hiking, and pretty much perfect weather. We only dealt with smoke from the wildfires on the first day, after that it was clear skies. I’ve never seen so many waterfalls, Yosemite is an amazing place and I feel so lucky to have such great long term friends.

Photo of the Week 7.11.22

Ready to be in the mountains!

Photo of the Week 6.20.22

Rough Trail, Red River Gorge, Kentucky

Photo of the Week 6.13.22

2 tents and some tress in the awesome mountains, pretty sure an awesome dog as well...
A fine campsite at one of the many Blue Lakes in Colorado….

Training for the Summer Adventures or How I Learned to Accept and Deal with the Heat

Pretty sure it’s my 24thish year here in Phoenix, Az. I’ve always tried to be active year round, there’s a certain time of year that requires an early morning start, but it’s never actually cold and rarely rainy enough to delay something more than a day. But it does get hot, in August when you get up at 4:30am to be on the bike at first light and walk outside and it’s in the mid-90s you might curse. If you want to recreate outside all year, you have to be out there as it gets hot, acclimating to the temps as the summer progresses, and you still need to be careful!

For me the keys to successful summer training are:

  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate – Drink lots water – kind of a no brainer but it needs to start the day before, you can’t really catch yourself up if you start with a deficit. Include Nunn Tablets or the like, you need those electrolytes.
  • Get up early – even if your conditioned for the heat, it’s best to get it done before it gets to be 112!
  • Accept that fact that some days just aren’t your days and know when to slow it down, or call it, there’s always tomorrow.
  • Do things you enjoy – there might be some suffering, it’ll be better if you really like the activity.
  • And of course accept the fact that’s going to be HOT and there will be sweating!

It’s just starting to warm up here, getting into the low 100s everyday, I’ve been getting out regularly for at least a month, and have felt good so far. I’ve getting back to a pretty good set schedule with some afternoon gym time.

  • Monday Afternoon- Swim
  • Tuesday – Rest Day
  • Wednesday – Cardio – Treadmill/Stair Stepper/ Treadmill
  • Thursday – Strength
  • Friday – Rest Day
  • Saturday – Hike or Bike
  • Sunday – Hike or Bike

For hiking fitness I’m using the hike that has gotten me up and down the Grand Canyon 4 times and to the top of Mt. Whitney. The Pyramid Hike is 4.2 miles to the top and back, you can also continue on and circumnavigate that area of South Mountain Park, going 7,8,10, or 12 miles. The first climb gains almost 1000ft of elevation and is an almost constant climb.

Pyramid Hike, South Mountain Park

Overall I think I’m on a good track. I feel like I could do the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne hike right now, and really I’m training for the September Challenge, and there’s a lot of work to do to get ready for that! The next few weeks will be critical in heat acclimation, but I know it’s always worth the early suffering!

What are your summer adventure plans?

Photo of the Week 5.23.22

Aravaipa Canyon, AZ

Photo of the Week 5/16/22

Mt Humphreys, Az

Cant wait to get back up high this summer!!

Photo of the Week 5.9.22

Sedona, AZ

Photo of the Week 5.02.22

Lee’s Ferry, Az