Thursday, March 2, 2017

Up in the air again

Well, I got a very brief message from my hiking companion—he's going on a canoe trip to Algonquin Provincial Park for about 4 days or so in May, and he invited me along (along with a couple other people, and his son.)  I probably won't be able to go, although there's an outside chance that I will.

Anyway—I didn't get to talk to him long, so I'll have to follow up in the next few days.  Does this replace the trip he was going to take with me, or is it just another opportunity that came up that he's looking to take advantage of?

If he's out for the September trip, then most likely that's not the trip I'll take after all, and I'll do something else in August again, like I originally planned.  And... it means that my itinerary is wide open again.  I can literally go hike anywhere within reach.

I'm not completely certain that I want to do grizzly country solo—although plenty of people have successfully done so.  I'm certainly much more comfortable going back to the Uintas, and each trip makes me long for parts that I didn't see.  After seeing this guy's hike of much of the Uinta Highline Trail, I'm feeling more tempted than normal to further explore more parts of my old stomping grounds, and I do feel very comfortable in the Uintas in particular—they're pretty safe, but also pretty empty, which makes them highly attractive.  There's very little that you can do other than be stupid that will put you at risk, the wildlife is interesting without being really dangerous, navigation is easy, etc.  And there's plenty of opportunity for some pretty good solitude.  Every time I go, I feel drawn to return, which tends to start to overcome my equal desire to explore thoroughly new places (new to me, anyway.)

As an aside, I'm quite envious of people like him who live right there in the Wasatch Front.  While there are plenty of reasons why I like where I live currently, I like where I used to live in Texas, and I probably wouldn't like living in Utah—the state that threatened to go to back-stabbing traitor, warmonger, and all-around idiot Evan McMullin because people in Utah are too eager to virtue-signal their supposed piety and purity rather than vote for the guy who said some mean things that one time, no matter how much he was right (plus, last time I was in Utah, I went to Bridal Veil Falls on the 4th of July and it looked like Ground Zero for a genuine Mexican Invasionary force.  And as the descendants of a bunch of New England Puritans, for the most part, I find the culture in Utah to be way too casually, community-level totalitarian for my taste.  As the descendant myself of mostly Borderer and Scots-Irish Anglo-Scottish individualists on my father's side, which is where my own personality and culture come from pretty exclusively, I tend to clash with people from Utah at church as it is already, and would likely do so much more frequently if I lived there (even though on my mother's side, I'm descended from northeastern English who've been rural Utah farmers for some time.)  That said, man—if I lived there, I'd get out camping, hiking, and exploring at least once or twice a month.  I'm honestly simply not that excited about exploring the forests and farms of Michigan and Ohio, so getting outside means very little to me here.

So... what does all this mean?  Am I tearing up my backpacking plan for the year to start over from scratch... again?  Maybe.  I'll have to see.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Colorado instead of Wyoming

Well, my hiking partner won't be able to go in August.  After a few moments of thought, I made another proposal to him: how about going in September?  And if we go in mid to late September, how about going somewhere where the fall colors will be a part of the experience?  For this, I'm thinking of course of the Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop.

It's a little on the short side; probably three nights, although I know of plenty of people who have done it in less (I probably won't.)

But I'd like to add a smaller overnighter as an add-on while in the area.  So, I resurrected my old "Two Colorado Trips in one" map, and added two more potential hikes to it.  What I'm really thinking of most are the Four Pass Loop plus the Castles Route, in the nearby West Elks Wilderness.  The Blue Lakes I like, but I think it's both far enough away and big enough of a hike (including lots of elevation gain) so I'll probably do it as part of a different trip with something else in Colorado.  I also added the Holy Cross hike, but it has some of the same problems as Blue Lakes, so the Castles Route; an out and back, is the best one to add to the Four pass loop.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Possible 2017 alternates

While I am still planning on my 2017 Shortened Wind Rivers route (as documented in my last post, and this Caltopo) I've got a plan B and a plan C, depending on how things work out.  What this means is:

  • I've got a potential hiking partner; a friend here locally who's originally from out west himself, and who also likes backpacking a lot.  He's in a lot better shape than me, so if he comes along, he'll probably motivate me to push a little harder and not fall through on plans if I get tired or bored.  And I'm less likely to get bored at least with a friend along. 
  • But... his schedule is pretty iffy.  He's got a lot going on this summer (in fairness, so do I) and our schedules may not align.  We've talked about hiking together before (in the Sawtooths of Idaho, to be specific) and it didn't work out then either.  If I'm alone, I might be more likely to default to the Uintas again, because it's easy and there aren't nearly the wildlife issues that Wyoming has.
  • Even if he does come, I think he'll say that he thinks Utah is easier logistically than Wyoming.  In fact, he has said it exactly; and not just logistically, in every way it'd be easier.  If that's the case, I'll revive my older Uinta "epic loop" plan; shortened just a bit to make it fit in the time that I have to hike in.

  • The plan C is that I actually defer until September to go hiking, and that I go do Colorado's Maroon Bells 4-Pass Loop while the aspens are golden.  This is another great one to do solo, if I end up being solo, because of both wildlife issues and because of nearness to base-camps to launch from, as well as the not insubstantial fact that it's several hours closer to me than Utah or Wyoming would be either one.