PACIFIC CREST TRAIL Adventure

This is more of a short story from an adventure some years ago. Often found under the Title of “The Wrong Place at the Right Time”.

Within the story there are lessons to learn. The hazards of solo backpacking. Mistakes in preparation. Going pack heavy. Admitting things have gone wrong and the need too abandon original objectives.

Click this link for the full story on a “Pacific Crest Trail” adventure.

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Snow Photos from February 2019 are drifting in

Those hardy souls that made the treks in northern Arizona around February 19 through 22, 2019 braved some serious weather. Two lane roads, as well as Interstate highways, shut down due to record breaking snow fall.

Not one person recommended taking skis…..LOL!

If you have your own photo(s) to share, please follow over to the article for more info. We would love to add them to those we are receiving. Some will make it on the website!

Click this link to see the article on Winter Conditions

Hilltop Parking Trail Head – February 2019 Image Courtesy of: WISPP

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MID FEBRUARY 2019 Cold Spell

Backpacking Northern Arizona this time of year, backpackers often experience cold weather. Especially the night time temperatures.

Click here for more on COLD WEATHER BACKPACKING info.

The past few days, and it appears for the coming week or so. The Havasu Falls area may experience night time temperatures dropping into the low teens (Fahrenheit). This is unusually cold. Day time highs will struggle to make it higher than the upper thirties. (Fahrenheit).

People in Las Vegas and closer area’s are reporting lower than normal temperatures. Las Vegas is looking at temperatures in the mid twenties (Fahrenheit) at night.

While these temperatures are “business as usual” for many winter backpackers. Such conditions for someone ill prepared or inexperienced, can really present some danger.

Such conditions require quality gear, high calorie foods & snacks, and the ability to stay dry and keep warm. This includes keeping your feet, hands, face, and head warm. Day and night!

It is advised you don’t start this trek taking a light-hearted approach. Not in these conditions. If you think your gear may be inadequate. It probably will be. Make sure you know what you are getting into. Make sure you know what you are doing. What might be a minor discomfort during normal weather, may have serious consequences if you are not prepared.

Know the signs of hypothermia. Don’t be afraid to admit to yourself or to those in your group you have a problem. If someone in your group is having symptoms. You need to help them. Get them warmed up. Even drinking warmed water will help. Check on people that complain they are cold.

If for some reason you fall in the water with your clothes on, during really cold temperatures. You need to get the wet clothes off. Get dry, and warm up as soon as possible.

In a group atmosphere encourage others to be open about voicing concerns they may be getting into trouble. Then act in such a fashion everyone is OK. Remember your gear might be better than the gear your co-backpackers have. That includes clothing and footwear. Don’t judge someone else on how comfortable you may feel.

If you feel you are in a situation that could go from bad to worse. Start hiking to your vehicle. Walk at a good pace to warm up and keep warm. Walk steady and don’t stop until you have made it safely to your vehicle. You can always return and do this trip another time.

Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia

Stage 1
Mild
Awake and Shivering
Possible increased urine production and mental confusion

Stage 2
Moderate
Drowsy and not Shivering
Mental confusion, Slurred speech, loss of fine motor skills
Paradoxical undressing

Stage 3
Severe
Not shivering
Mental confusion, decreased or increased heart rate, decrease in breathing rate
Paradoxical undressing
Unconscious

Stage 4
Profound
No Vital Signs

NOTE: Paradoxical undressing: As a person becomes disoriented, confused, and combative. They may begin discarding their clothing. Further increasing body heat loss.

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ZION NATIONAL PARK closes the NARROWS access 9/25/2018 Re Opened 9/28/2018

[9/28/2018] The below info has a status change.  As of Friday September 28, 2018 the Narrows, Top Down permits are again being issued.  An agreement was reached with a landowner, to resolve the conflict.

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[9/25/2018]  Reports started flowing in 9/25/2018 that Zion National Park has suspended issuing permits to the “Narrows” area, including the popular “Top-Down” trips.

Zion Narrows

This is due to a dispute over Private Property rights.

Day hiking from the Temple of Sinawava to Big Spring is open.  Upstream travel beyond Big Spring is prohibited.

We haven’t heard what has triggered this.  It is a reminder to respect the land, and the locals at all times, no matter where you travel.  You never know what might make someone decide to no longer share.

Here is a Link to the official Zion NP website.
https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/thenarrows.htm

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Touring Grand Canyon Caverns

Wow touring the Cavern [Near Peach Springs, Arizona on Old RT 66] was a great side trip.  I am sorry we never did it sooner!

If you are intending to camp, or even considering camping, at the Grand Canyon Caverns Campgrounds, or simply passing by on old RT 66.  Be sure to allow time for the Cavern Tour!

Did you know you can have your meal down in the Cavern?  The combo meal & tour is very reasonably priced.  When we looked at the menu and the tour, as individual prices.  Having the experience in the cave, was a no brain’er!

Follow the link over to the full article.  In the article there are links to other points of interest.  Also our experience camping in the campground.  Grand Canyon Caverns Article.

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FOOD & CRITTER PROTECTION – RATSACK

A sure sign of a rookie backpacker/tent camper is leaving food or smelly things like soap products, toothpaste , etc in their tent.  Critters of all sort will destroy your gear trying to get to it.  The Havasu Falls area campground is well known for this problem.

If you made this error in bear country you most likely would have a lasting memory.  If you are in bear country your best have an approved container.  Even then you better hang it well away from your tent and sleeping area.

This includes packs and sleeping bags.  Anything left on the ground or simply hung on a tree.  Anything with a “Smell” no matter how well sealed or even unopened.  It all needs to be removed from your gear when unattended or when your are sleeping.  Then other prevent measures taken.

Although you may not be in bear country there are numerous critters that have had generations worth of training due to visitors not practicing food storage protection.  They are expert at chewing through gear.

A Ratsack or other food protection method is often a necessity.   Just a good habit to always follow.   There are a variety of critters lurking, waiting to snack on what you transport in. We have hit all seasons. From blistering summer heat, to bone chilling times of the year with snow. We have found all seasons have critters looking for easy food pickings. Namely your backpacked food.

While the squirrels are the most prevalent and most destructive.  There are also ring tailed cats (similar to a raccoon), actual raccoons, skunks, mice, rats, roaming horses, coyotes, wolves, various cat breeds, and even wild dogs.  Much depends on what region you are in and what time of year.

While all times of the year have their hazards, the warmer months see the highest activity.

You want to protect your tent, packs, and sleeping bags from damage. While in your campsite, keep all food and smelly items such as toothpaste, soap, cosmetics, lip balms, etc out of your tent, sleeping bags, and packs that are left unattended. Forget for even 5 minutes and it may be too late.

They will chew through tents (the rodents), drag your pack away (ring tails, racoons and canine breeds), and trash your tent (bears/horses). 

The first line of defense is to get your food and toiletries away from your expensive gear.

Our most successful method of prevention so far, is to purchase a Ratsack, to stash our stuff. Then use a length of 100lb test mono-filament fishing line over a high tree branch. Hoist up the sack high enough. Keep in mind some larger animals will stand on their hind legs to reach up and try to snatch goodies.

All of our items are first put in ziplock freezer bags. Even our “Pack it out Trash” is ziplock bagged and kept in your Ratsack too.

We ordered our “Ratsack”off Amazon. Only the large size was available at the time. When it arrived it looked overly large. It probably is too large for a single person. In hindsight I am glad that was the one we purchased. For two people it is very ample. We hadn’t thought through the trash issue until we were actually on the first trip with it. Then we were glad for the larger ratsack. We had plenty of room for both food and trash, times 2 people, for a 3 night backpacking trip.

Bear proof containers are another option if you have one and don’t mind the additional weight. I would opt for the Ratsack in lieu of the Bear proof container in areas that I can do that.  I have both to pick from.  Its all about weight, and the critters you might run up against.

Keeping with Leave No Trace. Whatever you bring to hang your food. Containers, string, rope, or what have you. Be sure to take it down and pack it out when you hike out. Don’t leave any of it behind for the “next person”.

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HACKBERRY GENERAL STORE ON OLD ROUTE 66 – Willem Bor

Today I stumbled into information related to the Hackberry General Store along Old Route 66, and an artist named Willem Bor. The route is often referred to as the “Mother Road”.   The artist, fascinated by the route and old structures, set off to recreate them in model form.

If you are making a road trip on Old RT 66 between Kingman, AZ and Peach Springs, AZ you will pass right by the Hackberry General Store.   Be sure to factor in some time to make a stop.

The artist info linked further in this article becomes so much more if you stop, get out, and explore the Hackberry General Store area.


Have you ever gotten to a page on the internet you have no idea how it happened? Suddenly into some obscure website that piques your interest? Subject related to something you would have never thought to go searching for it? Ah, the pleasures of modern technology. It allows you to travel the world in micro-seconds.

I have driven old sections of Route 66 over the years. I know I have been on numerous parts of it across the U.S.  Chopped up pieces.  Parts now off the beaten path of the much faster Interstate Highways.  Though at this stage most of my recollection is isolated to some Arizona sections.  Many small towns are locked in time.  Seeming to stand unchanged since the time the Interstates bypassed once vibrant travel stops.

On the the subject I really wish to share. I stumbled into a blog of an artist (Willem Bor).  His blog was created to show his craft of model making. Oddly he did not live in USA. But fell in love with the buildings along Old Route 66 during a visit. Many which are disappearing with time and decay.  Willem Bor set off to recreate them in miniature form.  In detail you may find hard to believe.

One building in particular is currently still standing and called “Hackberry’s General Store”. I have actually been there on numerous occasions, and have done my own photography.

Check out his blog link below. You can find the Hackberry General Store built in model size.  Compare it to our photos on this page.  Visit it in person should you have the opportunity.  Then you judge how cool these model buildings are. I also love the history that is provided with each piece.

Sadly, in researching and going to his Facebook page I believe he is no longer with us since January 2017? His work and website lives on, at least for now. We can only hope he is traveling along Route 66 and comparing his work.

Link to:  Route 66 Model Art – by Willem Bor

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