Friday, December 6, 2013

Turkey Weekend in the Canyon

We had a few days off last week, so we headed to the Grand Canyon. We expected snow on the rim and warmer temperatures at the bottom of the canyon. There was no snow, but we did get warmer at the bottom. Our hike included three nights in the canyon. We started hiking from Hermit's rest on the west end of the park. The trail is less visited than those near the Village and it does not have mules.

Near the top, the Hermit Trail meanders along a side canyon before opening up into the main canyon.

The lovely Santa Maria Spring reststop, about 2.5 miles into the canyon.

A view of the chocolate milk colored Colorado River.

View of the river from the Tonto Plateau. At this point, we headed east along the Tonto trail toward Monument Creek.

At our Monument Creek campsite (9 miles or so from the trailhead), Troy prepares a one-pot Thanksgiving Feast. Look closely and you'll see that we have turkey jerky and mashed potatoes. We also had dehydrated green beans, corn and dried cranberries.

Friday morning, an eerie cloud hung above making the canyon look much shorter than it is.

The "monument" for which the creek is named.

On our second day, we hiked a leisurely 1.5 miles down to Granite Rapids for our next campsite.

This would make a lovely beach for camping if it were warmer.

The sky is clearing and we had great stars at night.

The water is so dirty you can hardly tell it apart from the rocks.

Three rafts approaching the rapids.

Here's our campsite on Friday evening....

... and Saturday morning there was fog again making the canyon look really short. However, it did give the photos richer colors instead of the usual Grand Canyon washed-out coloring.

It was about 5 miles of hiking up and over to our last campsite at Hermit Creek. Unfortunately, a bold mouse snuck into our tent in the night. Even after chasing it out and cleaning everything out, I didn't get any sleep.

Since we arrived early at our Hermit Creek campsite, we had plenty of time to enjoy the refreshing deep pool of water.

Maybe it was more frigid than refreshing. Troy's calves were sore, so he is trying to ice them in the creek.

Back on the rim on Sunday afternoon after 8 miles of uphill hiking. Here's the fog that made national news. But we didn't know it at the time. Otherwise, maybe we would have taken more pictures of the ice crystals growing on trees, the lack of the view from the rim, the gray sky above us while we were in the canyon... Personally, the gray sky reminded me of an overcast Cleveland day when you feel like you just might hit your head on the ceiling of the sky if you jump too high. In the Grand Canyon, it felt that way, but we actually did hit the "ceiling" of fog, walked right through it (it was really thin) and arrived in a frigid pine forest.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall in NM

It's everybody's favorite season in New Mexico right now. The temperature is nice, the chiles are roasted and the tourists are keeping Old Town busy.

 A few weeks ago, we celebrated a milestone birthday for Hubbers by backpacking Hermit's Peak outside of Las Vegas. We took a circuitous route up El Porvenir Canyon, looped back over Hermit's Peak and came down the steep Hermit trail.

 The aspen were just beginning to think about turning yellow.

It rained lightly several times in the three days we were out there. But we still managed to get a campfire going so I could bake a birthday cake on it. We made it up and over the peak just before the storm clouds came in.

The birthday gift that I carried for two days in my backpack until I could give it to him.
It's still a bit too warm to be wearing a wool cap with ear flaps, but it should come in handy for skiing this winter. The hat pattern came from a free Ravelry download, but I made the Zia chart. See my project page for details.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Obligatory Balloon Fiesta Photos

It's been half a year since the last blog post and what has happened that finally makes me post a new blog? Balloon Fiesta. This event in my town claims to be the most photographed event in the world. I am no photographer, but I happen to have a camera, so here's some enjoyable photos from Saturday.

The Fiesta introduced a bicycle valet service last year to encourage people to ride there rather than drive. So, we were on our bikes at 5:40 am for an 8.5-mile ride to the park to arrive before sunrise. I have no pictures of that, but it explains the helmet-hair and bright yellow jacket.

Already a couple of hundred balloons in the air as the sun rises over the Sandias.

More balloons are just getting ready to rise.

The view from the field. There are something like 100,000 people and 500 balloons.

 Troy's favorite balloon: Spider Pig

Not sure if Troy is getting stepped on or getting his head licked by "Sam".

My favorite balloon this year: Sam, an upside-down elephant from Brazil.

The Shark and astronaut were new this year too.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Canyonlands, part 2

Here's Part 1 if you missed it. This is a trip we took at the beginning of April. We had just two nights of camping in the backcountry of the Needles district, but that provided enough photographic wonders for two blog posts.

Here's our Chesler Park campsite for the second night. We got there relatively early because it was not a far walk from the first campsite.

After setting up our tent, we headed out for a long walk to find Druid Arch. Troy doesn't agree with the term slick-rock because the sandstone is actually quite grippy, nonetheless this trail started out along the slick-rock that the region is famous for. Just behind Troy you can vaguely see that there is a hole in the ground, a canyon in fact. Our hike was about to take us down into such a canyon.

Here we are at the bottom of the canyon, walking up a sandy wash southward toward Druid Arch.

Eventually, we reached the headwall of this drainage and climbed up a short ladder to reach the arch. It turns out that Druid Arch is part of a fin sticking out of the headwall, so it is impossible to see until you are right next to it.

Looking back toward Elephant Canyon, you can't see the bottom of the canyon with the sandy wash that we hiked in on. You can barely see the hints of treetops poking up from the bottom of the canyon.

Did you notice the gathering clouds in the last couple of photos? If you've read this blog before, you know what happens when we go camping in the desert… that's right, SNOW! (Examples from the past: Carlsbad, Gila, Chiricahua) The final morning greeted us cold and snowy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Geek knitter

It has been a while since I posted about knitting, yet those are always my most popular posts. I had a fun, geeky knitting spree on laptop sleeves over the winter. They're fun to knit because they're just big rectangles which I treated as an empty canvas for colorwork. The three bags I made are different in the type of colorwork I did, the material (type of yarn) and even the construction of the bag. Here's an overview and comparison.

My favorite bag turned out to be this one. It is knit from a self-striping yarn (so no real colorwork there) and then felted. After felting, I needle-felted the metro logo using dyed roving. This is my favorite of the three because it turned out strong and protective for the laptop and it was the easiest to make.

This next one was made for an iPad, so it is a bit smaller and doesn't need to carry as much weight. I used a cotton/silk blend for this bag so that it would not be very stretchy. It looks really cute and the person that I gave it to says it works great. The front and back have different patterns because I've always wanted to knit an argyle pattern.

The last bag is actually the first one I started, but the last to get finished. I learned some lessons from this bag. The space invaders pattern was just too cool not to put on a laptop sleeve! Recently, a guy asked me where he could buy one for his wife… and then asked where he could get the pattern when I told him that I knit the bag. So I like the way the bag looks, but the yarn is too stretchy to carry the weight of the laptop. I had to put in a fabric liner and that took me 5 months. It still doesn't seem quite as strong or protective as the felted laptop bag. But it does look cool, I almost wish I had put space invaders on both sides of the bag instead of the flowers.

You can always get more knitting details and links to patterns or charts from my Ravelry project pages.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Canyonlands, part 1

Can you believe that this place is only about 6 hours from my house but it has taken me 10 years to visit Canyonlands? It lived up to all of my expectations. Of course, we stopped first at Newspaper Rock, which I would re-name Archival Rock because I really don't expect to see new stuff up here each day.

We had two nights in the backcountry in the Needles District and because we had to carry all of our water, that was plenty of time. Here's our first campsite in Devil's Pocket. It turns out that the devil has a bunch of tumbleweeds piling up in his pocket like pocket lint.

 The highlight of the next day was hiking the Joint Trail. Joint means a gap between rocks. This part looks amazingly like a train tunnel:
 Then it gets narrower:
 Finally, we hiked out the end of the trail, then walked back above the trail to have a look. I'm sitting on the edge of the "joint" that I had just been hiking through a few minutes earlier. Amazing how straight, narrow and flat that trail is!

 Here's a nice panoramic of the Needles, overlooking Elephant Canyon. This is a sneak peak of our next day's hike.