Grand Canyon Hike

It has been quite a few days since i’ve been able to update this blog, primarily due to poor or absent wifi at our various campsites.  There were some very interesting ones.

After the trip I’ll be able to post many more pictures and have a chance to refine them more. I’m only giving them a quick treatment here to try to get them to your screens asap.

I’ll start with our most recent adventure.  We’re currently at the KOA in Flagstaff, but this morning we made the hike out from Indian Gardens to the top of the canyon.  Last night we hiked from Phantom Ranch to Indian Gardens where we slept on the ground and on picnic tables.  (Richard finally got to see a scorpion.  Unfortunately it was after it stung him in the middle of the night.  Painful but not serious.)  We spent three days in the canyon, fully hiking down on the first day and making the hike up in two stages.


We had the group campsite with the stone building often referred to as the “scorpion motel” although we saw no scorpions until the second night.  The problem was the ravens that caused all kinds of mischief.

When at the bottom, we also did a short hike to Phantom Canyon and a picturesque little waterfall that I’ll highlight on the follow up posts.


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The day didn’t go as planned…

…but was still pretty great.  We’d planned to spend the day at Goblin Valley State Park, visiting the main attraction in the morning and hiking a slot canyon in the afternoon.  Then we had planned to stay till dark for some star gazing as this is regarded as one of the darkest, least light polluted areas in N. America.  Unfortunately clouds moved in with a threat of rain causing the possibility of a flash flood in the slot canyon.  That’s not good.  It also kind of put an end to our plan to stay till dark.  No point hanging around if there are no stars.

So we still got to explore Goblin Valley, and the temperature was in the low 80s so it was a pleasant walk.  We pass by Goblin again in a few days so we may look at our options at that time.

Click on picture for larger version.

Yesterday was spent on a short hike to a pool, which we thought was a neat idea until we found that mosquitoes exist in the desert too, under the right conditions.  Then we drove over to Dead Horse State park where a few hikes resulted in some amazing views.


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It’s been a few hectic days of driving and hiking.  We arrived in Moab two days ago.  The campsite that we’re at didn’t have tent sites for the weekend, so we were forced to switch to other accommodation.  So the boys have a cabin for the next few days.  Rough living.

They’re currently out mountain biking in the desert.  Not my thing as I’ve had too many falls on sandstone.  Checked on them a few times when they check in for water, and we’ve been in phone communication.


Yesterday we did one of my favorite hikes.  It’s an hour and a half in to a wonderful little spring covered by an arch.  The temperature was over 100 degrees though, making even this shorter hike challenging.  Then we had a nice dinner at the Moab Diner and spent some time checking out the town.


The day before we did a pretty strenuous hike, again in 100 degree weather, up to the most well known landmark in the area.  Again, it’s about 1.5 hours each way, but with a pretty steep hill.  Good practice for the Grand Canyon.



On the way to Moab we stopped way up in the mountains at a small, rustic mining town called Silverton, where we had a big lunch in Handlebar saloon.  That was a good thing as we ended up pulling over into a primitive campground that night and almost didn’t have a source for dinner.  Finally found a market in a small town about five minutes before it was going to close.

We also stopped at a roadside stream where we did a little instruction on panning for gold.  I had a few gold pans with me so they were able to try there hand at it.  Not for very long though as we were trying not to get too far behind schedule.  That’s a skill that takes a long time.



That’s it for this report.  We have a few more days in Moab where we’ll likely be doing some more hiking and exploring back roads.


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Denver, Sand Dunes & Mesa Verde

This is our first post from the road trip, on day 5.  After our long marathon drive across the continent, we spent a day an Denver and Boulder.

Click on picture for full size version.



I’m sure many of the people from past trips will recognize the landmark in the picture above.  It is the fountain outside of our “favorite” restaurant to mark the beginning of the trip.

The next day was spent driving through the Rocky Mountains where we weren’t disappointed with some spectacular views along the road.  We hustled to get to Sand Dunes, but didn’t beat the rain.  In spite of a little dampness it still ended up being an interesting hike, and the boys ended up walking to the top of one of the highest dunes.  I’m sure they have lots of pictures that we’ll share after the conclusion of the trip.  (Greg and I didn’t go all the way up.)

We then headed for Greg’s in-laws’ home and some BBQ burgers.  Today we spent the day at Mesa Verde, the Native American cliff dwellings.  Rain came again, but cleared out before our tour.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) we’ll head up through the mountains to Silverton and Ouray, before making our way to Moab.

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Greg’s Blog

The other adult on our trip, Greg Coman, has also set up a blog for his pictures.  You can find it at:

Check it out.

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South-West Trip 2017

Just a little over a week until we depart on our road trip down to the SW US.  We’ll be visiting many of the Four Corners hot spots.  We also plan to swing by Yellowstone on the way home for the total eclipse.

Pictures and updates will appear here as frequently as we can find the necessary WiFi connections.

Check back here to see what we’ve been up to.


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Cypress Lake/Bruce Trail Camp – May 2017

Click on thumbnails for larger picture.


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Pictures from the April 2017 camp.

I’m setting up this blog for Summer Trip use.

Here are some of the pics from the last camp where we were doing jerky and soap making.



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Advanced Survival Shelter

If you have a group of people and a fair bit of time, you can move up from debris shelters to a more advanced, permanent shelter.  We spent about 8 hours constructing a 10 x 8 shelter that would easily sleep 6.  We used double, stacked debris walls and a ridge of about 6 feet.  We were very fortunate to have a lot of available resources both from a previous shelter and some trees that were recently felled.  Even though there was a huge supply of goldenrod stalks for thatching, we were really surprised at how much was needed.  We only got it half thatched, and had to resort to a tarp.

The boys ended up sleeping in ot in about 0 degree weather.  Without a little more work on the roof, it didn’t do much for keeping in heat.  We have to tweak the design a little.

Click on picture for larger version.

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Tracker Scout Skills – Camouflage

Of all the wilderness skills, the Apache Scout skills of camouflage and stealth are the most inclusive of all, integrating all other physical and awareness skills together to one purpose.  This past weekend we made a beginning in these skills.  It tends to get messy, but is always a lot of fun.

IMG_1537wwIMG_1552wwIMG_1539wwShiny hair is a no-no.

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