Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dirt Roads

Today we, Renee, Niah, nephew Jackson, and myself, set out to hike the Willis Creek Narrows in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). To get there we decided to take the road less traveled by AKA a long dirt road. I sometimes like to mix it up and take these roads even though they add time. This one may have been a mistake as it was somewhat anticlimatic, but after what turned into a three hour drive we arrived at the trailhead. To our dismay it began to rain and the hike being a slot canyon, was cancelled. Fortunately for we adventurers Utah is blessed with amazing outdoor places and after a quick glance at our map we decided Kodachrome Basin State Park would be a worthwhile alternative.

Kodachrome apparently was named by a group of photographers for National Geographic Magazine who named the region after their film. It is an amazing place and worth the visit, even worth making it a destination in itself. Really there is not anything comparable that I can think of. It has monoliths similar to those at Monument Valley, or the Valley of the Gods, but on a smaller scale in addition the park has hoodoo's, sandstone formations and even a photogenic arch. The hikes we did, weather was still a threat, were short and the informative trail guides made the hike interesting even for young Jackson. Renee thought it interesting as Juniper tree's grow for some unexplained reason they twist as they grow.

After Kodachrome we headed for home. As we drove and passed through parts of Bryce Canyon National Park we noticed a pullout parking lot with a trailhead for Mossy Cave. The hike was magnificent. The hoodoos reminicent those found Bryce Canyon. Renee said several times that they were so bright it actually hurt her eyes to look at them. Jackson enjoyed the hike as well, especially due to him playing in the river and throwing rocks into it. The hike ended with scenic waterfall and a cave that has icicles until early July (alas we were there too late).

Even though the day started rough (Jackson repeatedly said he knew he should have stayed home after it started to rain) it ended up being one of the most enjoyable days of the summer for
our little group!

I convinced poor Jackson to become a tree hugger

Notice the Arch

Renee thought it looked as if someone melted all the faces in Mount Rushmore together (below).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009



After nearly a one month hiatus from the amazing outdoor scene of Southern Utah, I was finally able to return to the wilderness. I decided to repeat, well repeat the same concept, of last Julys camping trip but rather than Great Basin National Park we drove to the closer Beaver Canyon/Tushar Mountain Range. The camping was awesome we basically had a campground to ourselves. Nobody within sight, right next to a lake. I sat gazing at the lake while I read The Monkey-Wrench Gang. What a perfect moment!

The highlight of the trip though was to summit the 6th highest peak(I stand corrected it is not near the 6th highest in Utah whoops good thing I have such informed commentators!) in Utah, Delano Peak. I read a review that said it was an easy hike, one of the easiest peaks in the Tushar Range. With that thought I convinced Renee that we could haul up Niah, and Rachel and Cody could haul up Emma. I did not think they would make it up all the way and they didnt, thankfully as it was a much harder hike than I had anticipated. Niah and Renee made it to above 11,000 ft. After Renee turned around Cody and I slowly continued to the top.

I summitted first, (summit sounds much cooler than saying it was a long up hill hike), signed the log book, and took some pictures. Then I sat for a couple minutes and just took it all in. Summitting peaks is an amazing experience. Its hard to breath, your legs are burning and your body tells you to stop, and give up, but upon summit everything is worthwhile and one of the greatest feelings of satisfaction I have experienced. Truly it is a mind over body moment!

Cody, a couple minutes later, also made it to the top, but at this point with a slight sprinkle and strong wind gusts we did not have much time to enjoy the peak. Instead we descended several hundred feet. At the peak Cody saw the herd of mountain goats that live on the mountain and we decided to try to get a closer view. This was after Cody decided to be possibly the first person to make a snow angel at over 12,000 feet. We snuck to within about 30 yards of the mountain goats before the discovered us and began to move away.

Once I read an article about survival tips and it mentioned that hikers who summit are more likely to die on the descent rather than the summit. Often people set a goal to make it to the peak so when after the have achieved the goal the let their guard down. Even with this knowledge, Cody and I had a difficult time getting off the mountain! We were mentally tired, and physically exhausted and because of this fell times, fortunately like I said this was not a technical climb just a steep hike and so we made it back with minor bruises, blisters and cuts!

Niah and myself just before her and Renee turned around

Flora and Fauna


Normally every posting on my blog is dedicated to an inspiring place in or around Southern Utah. This posting will be the exception to my rule. For the very limited amount of people who glance at this blog know, I was soon to be a daddy and on May 27th, this happened and my daughter Niah M Anderson (yes the letter M and it doesnt stand for anything) was born. I will admit I was a little bit nervous as to how her birth would change my life. Maybe I was a bit selfish but I had a good life. Renee and I traveled around the Western Hemisphere, we slept in when we wanted, went to sleep when we wanted, etc, but it was worth giving up parts of my former life to experience the joys of raising the most beautiful girl in the world!!!