Backpacking the Trans-Zion Traverse Day 5: Echo Canyon to East Entrance

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Day 5: Echo Canyon to East Entrance Trailhead, 7 miles

After our long, hard day yesterday, we both sleep soundly through the night and don’t wake up until the alarm goes off. It is 5:00 am. Again. We are tired, but we are determined to get moving early. Today is supposed to be the hottest day on the trail yet, and, after being cooked crisp yesterday, we are eager to get as much distance on the trail as possible before the temperatures begin to rise. (more…)

Backpacking the Trans-Zion Traverse Day 4: West Rim to Echo Canyon

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Today is our biggest hiking day of the TZT, so we were hoping for a good night’s sleep, but, with yesterday’s long nap and a really cold night (45°F), it seems that sleep is hard to come by. I am wide awake when the alarm goes off at 5 am. We decide to break camp as quickly as possible while it’s still dark and have breakfast farther down the trail as a break. The sky is just starting to lighten when we set off at 6 am. It is our coldest morning yet so we have on our down jackets, gloves and warm hats.  (more…)

Backpacking the Trans-Zion Traverse Day 3: Wildcat Canyon to West Rim Trail

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Day 3: Wildcat Canyon to West Rim Site #8, 6 miles

It is windy all night along, and, between the roar of the wind through the trees and the sound of the pine needles dropping on our tent throughout the night, I don’t get as good a night of sleep as I had hoped for. Since we have a relatively easy day today, we all sleep in, and nobody is up and moving around camp until nearly 7 am. Team Texas treats us to some tunes as we break camp, and we are sorry we won’t be able to share a camp again with them tonight when we will be back in an individual reserved site. (more…)

Backpacking the Trans-Zion Traverse Day 2: La Verkin to Wildcat Canyon

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Day 2: La Verkin Creek, Site #11 to Wildcat Canyon, 14 miles

The alarm goes off at 5 am to wake us up for a big day on the trail. We still aren’t sure how fast we will be hiking with our full backpacks over the Zion terrain, and we have a 14+ mile day ahead of us, so we want to get an early start. We stored most of our food in a bear vault overnight, but we hung a few excess items in a nylon bag from a low branch of a tree. We discover that a mischievous mouse has chewed his way through the bag and into two plastic bags to get at our crackers. Lesson learned. We enjoy our breakfast on a large boulder overlooking the river. Life is good! (more…)

Backpacking the Trans-Zion Traverse Day 1: Lee Pass to La Verkin Creek

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Day 1: Lee Pass Trailside to La Verkin Creek, Campsite #11, 7 miles

The sound of the 5 am alarm waking us up in our tent at Ponderosa Ranch comes way too early. We try to snooze, but the excitement and anticipation for what is ahead won’t allow us to sleep, and our game of possum is over. It’s cold, so we try to pack up all we can while still staying warm and cozy in our sleeping bags. First, we let the air out of our mattresses, then put on a warm top layer. Next, we deflate and pack the pillow, and then there’s nothing left to do. We have to come out of our sweet sleeping bags. Brrr! (more…)

Shaking It Down on the Trans-Zion Traverse

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As many of you may already know, we are on a quest to hike the classic treks of the world. In recent years we have trekked Patagonia’s ‘W’ and Mt. Fitzroy, Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit, Iceland’s Laugavegur Trail, Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the Wonderland Trail around Mount Rainier, Himalayan treks in India and both Machu Picchu and the Cordilleras of Peru. This amazing hiking adventure has allowed us the opportunity to see and experience some of the most beautiful natural places in the world and has been mind-blowing to say the very least. The more we do, the more we want to see! (more…)

Trekking Peru’s Cordillera Huayhuash: Days 7-10

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Here we go! We have one final leg of the Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit to go, and it is quite possible that this incredible trek was saving the very best for last. On Day 7 we left civilization behind and headed back into the heart of the Huayhuash, traversing a grandiose valley and getting close up views of Diablo Mudo, a colorful landscape and a nighttime sky full of stars. An alpine ridgewalk to a spectacular viewpoint on Day 8 may just be one of the most magnificent miles of hiking we have ever done. Pair that with a treacherous descent down to a lovely lakefront campsite, and you’ve got one memorable day of hiking that we are not likely to forget anytime soon. Days 9 and 10 saw us trekking away from the mountains, into the desert and back to civilization. The Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit will definitely go down as one of the world’s Classic Hikes in our book. So read on to see how this wild ride in the High Andes of Peru ends! (more…)

Trekking Peru’s Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit: Days 4-6

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With three days under our belt, we started hitting our groove on Leg 2 of the Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit. By this point, we were growing a little more accustomed to the steep trails, the extreme elevations, and even the frigid nighttime temperatures that are de rigor when trekking in the Cordilleras. And the scenery? Well, if we spent a lifetime in the Cordillera, we would never get used to scenery this incredible. Each day, the stunning Peruvian landscape continued to knock our socks off as we trekked past peaceful reflecting pools, roaring rivers, gargantuan glaciers and grand valleys so vast they appeared to stretch along the horizon forever. Other notable moments on this leg of our journey included soaking in relaxing hot springs, topping the 5000 meter mark on the trail and sleeping right in the middle of a soccer field. No joke. So, lace up those hiking boots and come along for the ride on Days 4, 5 and 6 of the Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit. You won’t regret it! (more…)

Trekking Peru’s Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit: Days 1-3

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After completing the Cedros-Alpamayo Circuit in the Cordillera Blanca, we had a full rest day in Huaraz to shower, get our laundry done, repack and enjoy some celebratory beers. Mission completed, we were ready and eager to lace up our hiking boots again and see what the Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit was all about. For this trek, we were joined by our friends, Glenn and Erika, whom we met through this very blog when they were researching a trip to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro a few years back, and we were all excited to start this new adventure together. (more…)

Trekking Peru’s Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit

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Ah, Peru! It must be a blessing and a curse to have the majestic Andes running right through your country. So many great hikes to choose from, so little time! And most hikers don’t even realize all that you have to offer, making Machu Picchu their first and sometimes only trekking port of call, as we did back in 2009. But, if they take a little more time to get to know you, intrepid hikers longing for more adventure would make their next stop Huaraz, the popular center for trekking in your majestic Cordillera Range. (more…)