Thursday, December 29, 2016

My 7 Favorite Adventures from 2016!

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My 7 Favorite Adventures from 2016!
2016 is almost gone, and this time of year I always think back on all the positives in my life and how lucky I am to be able to travel locally. Each year I make a list of places/hikes I want to see, and check them off as I go. 2016 was no different - from the red desert of Southern Utah, to the blue paradise water of Havasupai, 2016 left me smiling more every day. 

Every year for the past 3 or 4 years, I have also kept track of my hiking stats, using an Excel spreadsheet. I keep track of the date, what trail I hiked/backpacked, distance, elevation gain, time spent hiking, and lastly rating my hikes on a scale from 1 to 5 (5 being the best). Yes, there are tons of Apps out there that do the same thing, but I really like using Excel. I guess I'm a little old-school ;) I still use Gaia GPS all the time to get my stats, but then I transfer them to Excel. I just find it easier to tally everything up, and I don't have to worry about the program crashing, losing my phone, or worse, my phone's memory somehow getting erased.

Here are my trail stats for 2016!

Hikes completed: 118
Total Distance hiked/backpacked: 676 miles 
(that's almost a 1/3 of the PCT!)
Total time (in hours) spent hiking: 424 hours 
(that's equivalent to hiking for 17.5 days straight!)
Total elevation gain: 158,372
Peaks: My initial goal was 19 summits, I ended up completing 41!

These stats do NOT consider all the countless "dog walks" Charlie and I have done around the neighborhood. I bet if I added those in I would get an extra 50 miles or so in.

Here are my Top 7 Adventures from 2016!
My 7 Favorite Adventures from 2016! Hiking the Wildcat Trail at Monument Valley
#7 Monument Valley & The Wildcat Trail
With over 17 million acres, the Navajo Nation encompasses the entire NE quarter of Arizona, as well as New Mexico and Utah. This area includes pristine wilderness, majestic canyons, high mountain meadows, desert, flat lands, and deep blue skies. It is perhaps the most definitive images of the American West. The isolated red Mittens (buttes that resemble mittens) have been photographed and filmed over decades; many movies have been filmed in and near this area.
My 7 Favorite Adventures from 2016! Hiking Mt. Peale and Mt. Tukuhnikivatz
#6 Hiking Mt. Peale and Mt. Tukuhnikivatz 
Mt. Peale (12,721 ft) and Mt. Tukuhnikivatz (12, 482 ft) are two prominent peaks in the LaSal Mountains right outside of Moab, UT. Mt. Peale is the highest point in the range, and 2nd tallest mountain in Utah; Mt. Tukuhnikivatz (pronounced tuk-oon-ik-ah-vatz) is the peak you mainly see from the valley floor from Moab, and is a mountain well known in Edward Abbey's, Desert SolitaireIf you have ever lived in Utah, have passed through, or want to have some sense of what Moab and Arches National Park was like back in the day, reading Desert Solitaire is a must.
My 7 Favorite Adventures from 2016! Backpacking the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park
Backpacking the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park had been one of my long-time backpacking goals. I had been to GCNP about 6 years about, but wasn't able to hike below the rim since I had a dog with me (dogs aren't allowed below the rim). Yes, I could visit the overlooks, but I couldn't get a feel for how deep, wide, gorgeous, and massive the Grand Canyon really was. I knew I had to get back. 

My 7 Favorite Adventures from 2016! Backpacking Coyote Gulch
Coyote Gulch in Southern Utah is one of many quintessential red rock canyons of the Escalante River drainage. Containing several natural arches, natural bridges, petroglyphs, cascades, waterfalls, and pure beauty, Coyote Gulch is one of the most scenic canyons in Utah. Coyote Gulch could be hiked in one day, but why rush? With all that the canyon has to offer, plan on spending at least one night minimum backpacking. Two nights will really allow you to take in the massive canyon walls, sparkling stream, and breathtaking scenery.

My 7 Favorite Adventures from 2016! Hiking Utah's 8 Ultra Prominence Peaks
Hiking Utah's Ultra Prominence Peaks is not for the average hiker - many of these peaks require hiking off trail, very early morning starts (sometimes 3am), route finding, long days, crossing exposed ridge lines, extremely steep and rugged terrain, and sometimes a river crossing. In addition to these "fun" circumstances, I've also dealt with bad sun burns, running out of food, running out of water, reading the map wrong, forgetting socks, starting out too late in the day, ending after dark, getting annoyed by people I'm hiking with, and as the movies say, have experienced blood, sweat, and tears. So why do I keep doing it? What is the draw for people to complete Ultra Prominent Peaks? 
My 7 Favorite Adventures from 2016! Backpacking the Cirque of the Towers in The Wind Rivers
Backpacking the Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range of Wyoming should be on every backpackers "to do" list. The rugged terrain offers massive mountains with spire towers, clear glacial lakes, high alpine grassland & wildflowers, and world class hiking, backpacking, and climbing. The Cirque of the Towers is truly a pristine and special place. 

My 7 Favorite Adventures from 2016! Hiking to Havasu Falls
Hiking to Havasu Falls is not your typical day hike - it requires a 10 mile trek through the desert, a large canyon, and finally through the small village of Supai, AZ. The people of Supai are apart of the Havasupai tribe, which is an American Indian tribe that has lived in this area of the canyon for the past 800 years. Havasu means "blue-green water", and pai means "people". Havasu Falls is one of the most well-known waterfalls in the world due to its paradise-like location. Learn how to get a permit here.



Add these places to your Pinterest boards!
My 7 Favorite Adventures from 2016!

2 comments:

  1. Great post! Fun to go down memory lane to see all of your American West adventures! That's a lot of miles. Way to go !

    --Katie @ Katie Wanders
    www.KatieWanders.com

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  2. Great list! I wonder how 2017 will turn out.

    ReplyDelete