Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My Saturday Hike, a Cautionary Tale

On Saturday I hiked to the top of the highest mountain in Arizona--the 12,633' Mt. Humphreys.  It's the second time I've done the hike, the first being about 6 years and multiple hiking and backpacking trips ago.  I treated it not much different from any other hike I've done and since I hiked the Inca Trail last year didn't think of it as much of a challenge.

I'm going to be in trouble if my Mom reads this, but I've never had a hike where I was more genuinely terrified that I wouldn't make it off the mountain. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Havasupai Falls re-do: Beaver Falls and beyond

Last year I took my first trip to Havasupai Falls in northern Arizona.  It was a whirlwind 2-day, 1-night trip that included just enough time to see Supai and Mooney Falls, relax in the water, and hike out.  This year I revisited Havasupai, but extended the trip to 4-days, 3-nights, which gave plenty of time to explore further down the canyon to Beaver Falls and almost to the Colorado River.  Read all about it!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

First Course: Prescott - Barley Hound

First Course posts are my thoughts after my first time dining somewhere. While some may think it harsh to judge a restaurant  after one visit, my first impressions play a large role in determining if I will return.  Restaurants have to realize that about their customers and always bring their A game.
Verdict: might as well stop by. Patio is amazing, good beer list, and tasty cocktails make it worthwhile.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Big Guy Gear Review: Sleeping Bags

Big Guy Gear Reviews are what the sound like--gear reviews focused on the usability for big guys. If you're a proportional six-footer, congrats: you can use literally every piece of gear on the market. If you're a big guy, however, you know it's a frustrating marketplace. I'm here to help.

For reference, here are my basic dimensions: 6'5", 260 pounds, dress shirt is 17"x37".  I wear XL shirts and 38x34 pants. I'm built with more of a weak-man's barrel chest than a fat-man's beer belly. I have what Lululemon calls "hockey butt." If you're tall and not broad, or broad and not tall, these reviews will still help you find usable gear.

Being a big guy and finding a sleeping bag mix like oil and vinegar, with no option to emulsify. At this point I've tried and returned so many bags that I'm keeping my current bag out of embarrassment more than complete satisfaction (though it is pretty comfortable comparatively). 

Read through to find the winner and see recommendations and precautions along the way. And for basic tips, check out the Gearing Up article on sleeping bags. Also, thanks REI, return policy made it possible for me to get a bag I could sleep in. I honestly feel bad about the returns, but I think the goodwill earned makes up for it.

Gearing up: Sleeping Bags

There are few items more foundational to camping or backpacking than a sleeping bag. And contrary to what I expected, it's not entirely realistic to just order a bag and get something that works for you.

Sleeping bags are unlike clothing or tents or backpacks where fit mostly affects comfort; with a sleeping bag fit can easily affect function. Too big of a bag, resulting in too much dead space, can reduce the warmth of your bag. Go too far to the other extreme with too snug of a bag and you'll compress the insulation and get cold spots. Trying on sleeping bags is as close to playing Goldilocks that most people will ever get.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Havasupai Falls Adventure

This is real and it's in Arizona.  Yes.
Over Easter weekend some friends and I backpacked to Havasupai Falls on a 2 day/1 night trip.  It was an amazing trip and I highly recommend it.  In the past I felt it was a daunting excursion based on anecdotes from acquaintances who had made the trip.  Whether they had tales of woe about getting a permit, or waxed hyperbolic about the rigors of the hike, or showed their ethnocentric side about the Supai community, it just seemed like a trip that was quite an undertaking.  Well, it's not.  So, if you had the same impression as me go ahead and try again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hopping through Holbrook

Holbrook, Arizona.  "Where's that?" seems to be the most common response to hearing the name of this city.  "It's in Navajo County.". [glazed look, feigning knowledge not wanting to belie more ignorance] "You know, you pass through it on the way to the Petrified Forest if you're taking the west entrance."  "Oh, ok," says the person who stopped being interested between 'Holbrook' and 'Arizona.'

But, look, Holbrook has the only Popeye's Chicken in Navajo County, so take note.

Ok, Holbrook.  Honestly, not a place to stay the night unless you're on a long trip and this happens to be where you are at dark.  But if you find yourself passing through it's not so bad and, depending on where you're coming from in city frame-of-reference, can be a refreshing experience.