man and dog 60 days off-trail

Ace Kvale turned 60 last fall, and to celebrate, he planned a 60-day, off-trail backpacking trip around Utah’s Canyon Country, leaving from his front door.

He had a dozen friends join him for different sections of the trip, and one friend who joined him for the whole thing: his blue heeler, 10-year-old Genghis Khan aka ‘Desert Dog’. …

Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo.

related – Desert Dawg Adventure Blawg

(via Outside)

hiking across Mojave Reserve, California

Next time I get to Vegas I plan to cross the Mojave National Reserve south to north.


I’ll start from highway 40 heading towards the Granite Mountains. Refill at Kelso Depot. Hike on to Mid Hills Campground , refilling my water bottles. And exiting at Nipton.


Surprisingly, water will not be a problem.


water sources

I won’t count on natural springs, however. Let’s leave that for the wildlife.

I’ll carry the Tom Harrison map. Wish me luck.

Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Northeastern Arizona.


Named for its large deposits of petrified wood, the fee area of the park covers about 230 square miles (600 square kilometers), encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. …

The site, the northern part of which extends into the Painted Desert, was declared a national monument in 1906 and a national park in 1962. About 800,000 people visit the park each year and take part in activities including sightseeing, photography, hiking, and backpacking. …

The park’s seven maintained hiking trails, some paved, vary in length from less than 0.5 miles (0.8 km) to nearly 3 miles (4.8 km). …

Hikers and backpackers may also visit the park’s wilderness areas. Free permits are required for overnight stays …

I enjoyed the 1 mile hike at Blue Mesa. Reviews.


Entry fee.

Epic Grand Canyon Hike

Have you been following Peter McBride & Kevin Fedarko?

Epic Grand Canyon Hike: A 650-Mile Challenge (Part 1)

Epic Grand Canyon Hike: Frozen Shoes and Low on Food (Part 2)

I liked the 3rd and final instalment best.

Click PLAY or watch Thirst and Threats in the Godscape on YouTube.

Barber Loop Trail, Mojave CA

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

I love Mojave National Preserve about an hour away from Las Vegas.

But I’d already done most of the popular hikes on previous trips.

Happily this time I discovered the Barber Loop Trail apparently the newest of the established trails.

Ideal for those sleeping at Hole-in-the-Wall Campground.


It’s a loop so you can hike in either direction.

Barber Loop Trail, CA

Best is to start off into the desert, return via the Rings Loop Trail

Barber Loop Trail, CA

I was a bit disappointed. Standard flat desert.

Barber Loop Trail, CA

I’d hoped the trail would loop up on top of Barber Mountain. It doesn’t.

Barber Loop Trail, CA

There are a few things to see in the desert, of course.

Barber Loop Trail, CA Barber Loop Trail, CA Barber Loop Trail, CA

The best part is the section you could do separately as the Rings Loop Trail.

Barber Loop Trail, CA Barber Loop Trail, CA Barber Loop Trail, CA

If you want to know more, Bird and Hike posted an excellent trip report.

hike Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

  • 3 miles return
  • 812 feet elevation gain

My old friend Francis Tally took me to one of his favourite hikes out of Usery Mountains Regional Park near his winter home in Mesa, AZ.

Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ with Francis

Huge Saguaro cactus are the highlight. And the brazen chipmunks. 🙂

Francis told me an awful story of a hiker who fell into one of the OTHER types of cactus. It took paramedics 3 hours to remove enough spines just to transport him by ambulance!

Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ with Francis

We arrived on a Sunday morning to learn that weekend mornings are a zoo on this popular trail. It was difficult to find parking .

Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ with Francis

The trail itself is not all that difficult. Many children hike it.

Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ with Francis

The Wind Cave isn’t really a “cave” but rather an indent to shelter from the wind.

Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ with Francis

Almost everyone stops here. Francis and I scrambled on to the top of the mountain.

Finding some pink ribbons we decided to follow that off-trail route.

Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ with Francis

Here we be. The sprawl of greater Phoenix at our feet.

Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ with Francis

This is a terrific area for day hikes.

Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ with Francis

Thanks Francis. … I assume the name tag on your hat is to help authorities return you to your retirement park if you get lost. 🙂

Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ with Francis

Exiting the Park Francis took me over to a nearby gun range just below the Phoenix sign. I’d never seen one before.

Wind Cave, Phoenix AZ with Francis

They are LOUD.

related – Roads Less Traveled trip report