Death Valley (March 21-23, 2019)

Last weekend, I returned with my wife and young son for a family trip to Death Valley.  As part of this, we did a couple of hikes.  First, we did a family hike to Darwin Falls.  That means I will finally have an updated report on the area in the near future.  Second, my friend Tom from NPS joined up and we did a hike of Death Valley’s newest major summit – Quail BM in the Quail Mountains.  And to our surprise, it turned out to be one of the best wildflower hikes that we had ever done in Death Valley.  After hearing that it was not such a great wildflower season in Death Valley this year, we were not expecting much in that regard.  But the hiking route that we chose through the Quail Mountains just happened to have a spectacular bloom nonstop for 3 straight miles.  It was completely beautiful, stunning, and unforgettable.  You will see much more in my upcoming report on Quail BM, but for now here are 8 teaser images of one of my lifetime favorite hikes in Death Valley.

Fremont Phacelia blanketed the ground everywhere
Wildflowers everywhere as we headed into the Quail Mountains
Burro trails guided us most of the way
Hillsides covered by green, purple, and yellow colors
Beautiful wildflowers everywhere around us in the Quail Mountains
Painted Lady butterflies were enjoying the flowers also
Lupines were blooming in the canyon we passed through
Standing at the summit of Quail BM (5,103 feet)
Wild burros with Lost Lake in the background (picture also added to our Wildlife Page)

Never-Ending Ever-Changing Canyon new DV report released

For the first time since June 15, 2018, when I released my report for Wahguyhe Peak, I am releasing a brand new Death Valley hiking report.  As you may have read in my previous post, we recently carried out an incredible 3-day backpacking trip in the Owlshead Mountains.  This new report covers Day 1 of our route, featuring a visit to Never-Ending Ever-Changing Canyon.  Part 2 will be coming along soon and will cover Days 2 and 3 together.  Is anyone out there up for an epic 25 mile round-trip day hike?  Because that’s what it takes to see this amazing canyon in one day.  Of course, it’s better off done as a backpacking trip up Wingate Wash.  Which is, in my opinion, one of the best backpacking destinations in Death Valley despite there being no water available anywhere along the route.  The new report for Never-Ending Ever-Changing can be found by visiting report #179 on the Main Page.  Or you can click on the direct link below.

Never-Ending Ever-Changing Canyon new DV report

Death Valley (Feb 7-10, 2019)

Below I am sharing a few teaser images from our recent visit to Death Valley showcasing some newly-explored slot canyons in advance of the more detailed reports to come later. For Days 1-3, we backpacked (while carrying nearly 5 gallons of water each) and explored 33 miles of seldom-visited terrain in between Warm Springs Rd and Owlshead Mountains Rd.  We did this by hiking up Wingate Wash, turning off to the south and exploring four small canyons, crossing over the range and reaching the summit of Owlhead BM, and then concluding by hiking across the entire length of Lost Lake to our second vehicle. Along the way, we explored Never-Ending Ever-Changing Canyon, Wingate Slot 4, White Ring Hill Canyon, and Owlhead BM Slot Canyon. On Day 4, we did a natural bridge check in Eureka Valley which turned out to be a massive fallen boulder (collapsed canyon wall) across the wash and then we explored a place I’m calling Symmetry Canyon. It was freezing cold, windy nonstop, challenging with so much weight, but worth all the effort to see such beautiful rarely-explored places in the park. And this was my friend Jordan’s first-ever lifetime backpacking trip. The upcoming reports will detail our 3-day backpacking trip in two parts: Never-Ending Ever-Changing Canyon and Owlhead BM will be the titles.

The lower portion of Never-Ending Ever-Changing Canyon in the Owlsheads.
Never-Ending Ever-Changing Canyon has a spectacular array of colors on display.
Never-Ending Ever-Changing Canyon upper left fork narrows.
Tom and Jordan in the NEEC Canyon upper right fork narrows. A massive cave overhang.
Wingate Slot 4 had this neat wedged boulder in the conglomerate rock narrows.
Incredible slot canyon narrows in a canyon below the summit of Owlhead BM.
Not a natural bridge in Eureka Valley but still a really neat collapsed portion of canyon wall forming a false bridge.
Symmetry Canyon mid-canyon area in Eureka Valley.
Towering walls near the upper end of Symmetry Canyon in Eureka Valley.

Kuannit, Disko Island (Greenland) report released

Today I am releasing my second of three reports from Greenland.  This new report features Disko Island, particularly the interesting area of Kuannit that is found there.  I’m sure that everyone who is interested in geology will enjoy checking it out.  Greenland was such an incredible place with great diversity in landscapes.  As a side note, I was hoping to return to the Arctic this summer to visit Svalbard and then in the summer of 2020 backpack the 62-mile one-way route of Akshayuk Pass on Baffin Island in Canada.  However, due to circumstances, I’m going to just focus on achieving the Baffin Island backpack next summer to see Mount Thor and Mount Asgard.  Also, for those wondering about Death Valley, I have not yet been able to return there this hiking season.  I am hoping to do so soon, as I have a number of hikes fully planned out and ready to go.  To check out our second Greenland report, check out report #13 on the Introduction Page under the Europe and Greenland heading.  Or you can click on the link below.

Kuannit, Disko Island (Greenland) hiking report

Kuannit on Disko Island has many waterfalls which plunge into the sea

Rano Kau Trail (Easter Island) hiking report released

Before I publish my other two Greenland hiking reports, I needed to go back and finish up my three Easter Island reports from our Jan 2018 trip.  Here is the first of the three overdue reports.  You might recall that I earlier published a report for the Maunga Terevaka Trail (highest point on Easter Island) about 8 months ago.  This next report covers the Rano Kau Trail, which we did as a family hike while on Easter Island.  I’ve also included some bonus photos taken of the motus adjacent Orongo and also some pretty sunsets that we enjoyed at Tahai.  To see the new report, check out report #19 under the South Pacific section on the Introduction Page.  Or you can click on the link below.

Rano Kau Trail (Easter Island) new hiking report

Stefan enjoying his hike above Rano Kau Crater

Greenland 2018 Video

No current updates as to when I will be returning to Death Valley this hiking season.  But hopefully soon.  In the meantime, here is a video I put together while visiting Greenland over the summer.  Hiking and backpacking Greenland was truly my biggest lifetime adventure yet.