Last Little Bit

Cora Lakes to Isberg Pass Trailhead (5 miles, +200/-1,700 feet). Today was pretty simple: a downhill hike back to the car.  But it still had its moments. Here’s a map of the whole trip:  

Isberg Pass

Switchbacks above Lyell Fork to Cora Lakes (15 miles, +1,900/-3,100 feet). We awoke to beautiful light on the Clark Range in the distance. And below we could hear the Lyell Fork rushing down to the Merced over steep, vast, and impossibly smooth granite slabs. Soon we packed up and headed into the woods.  Today we…

Lyell Fork

Lake 10217 to Lake 11311 and back then downstream to Isberg Pass Trail (10 miles, +2,300/-2,700 feet). Today we started with a day hike to explore the upper Lyell Fork.  I’ve mapped it on caltopo, along with our trip yesterday through Bench Canyon: For the most part route finding was straightforward, except the path from…

Bench Canyon

Hemlock Crossing to Lyell Fork of the Merced (10 miles, +4400/-1800 feet). I was hoping a cold morning would reduce the bug pressure, but we didn’t really have one.  The temperatures only dropped into the high 50s so the little bloodsuckers were more than happy to greet us as we exited our tents. We had…

Hemlock Crossing

Isberg Pass Trailhead to Hemlock Crossing (9 miles +2400/-1900 feet). Ever since we had to alter our Sierra High Route section hike last year, MixMaster and I have wanted to go to Bench Canyon and Lyell Fork.  It is supposed to be one of the most remote and beautiful parts of the Sierra. This summer,…

Isabelle Glacier

Isabelle Glacier Trail (11 miles, +2,500/-2,500 feet). It was great to have a zero day yesterday after our backpack around the Maroon Bells!  But since we finished a day early, we had a chance to do a day hike today.  We decided to hike up to one of Colorado’s disappearing glaciers, the beautiful Isabelle. The…

Day 3: Buckskin, ‘Bundy’, Willow, and East Snowmass Passes

West Maroon Creek to East Snowmass Trailhead (17 miles, +3,800/-6,200 feet). Okay, let me apologize right away.  There are over 90 pictures in this post!  I spent a lot of time deleting pictures, but this was one of those days where I just couldn’t kill my darlings. We awoke to crystal clear skies and a…

Day 2: Hasley, Frigid Air, and West Maroon Passes

Lake Geneva Trailhead to West Maroon Creek (18 miles, +5,800/-4,700 feet). So I guess it was a little too slopey last night.  MixMaster and I kept sliding towards the river.  I got good rest but not much sleep.  Oh well. We got an earlier start this morning and that was a good thing because we…

Day 1: Trail Rider Pass

Snowmass Creek Trailhead to Geneva Lake Trailhead (17 miles, +4,600/-3,400 feet). Time again for my annual trip with MixMaster and ChiaGlyph.  Woo hoo! So far we’ve done the Trans-Zion Trek and Paria Canyon.  This time we decided to head for Chia’s home turf, Colorado.  Chia has had his eye on the famous “Four Pass Loop”…

Day 3: The Surprisingly Beautiful Lower Paria

Bush Head Canyon to Lee’s Ferry (12 miles, +0/-400 feet). I was not looking forward to today.  I imagined that the lower Paria would be a very wide canyon with monotonous red walls far away on either side and ranch land in the middle.  I also thought we would continue to have lots of route…

Day 2: I Just Met a Gorge Named Paria

Paria Mile 10 Spring to Bush Head Canyon (16.5 miles, +0/-600 feet). In case you are wondering about the title of this blog entry, remember that “Paria” rhymes with “Maria” and think: West Side Story.  🙂 I slept SOOOO well last night.  It was about 20 degrees warmer than the night before and there was no…

Day 1: Buckskin Gulch

Wire Pass Trailhead to Paria Mile 10 Spring (18 miles, +0/-800 feet). Today was a truly extraordinary day.  Buckskin Gulch is the longest slot canyon in the world and the deepest in the US, and I suspect it also may be the most beautiful. The hike through Buckskin was surprisingly challenging.  There is no significant…