Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Story goes that ranchers in 1881 got lost in the deserts. Had no water. With their horses failing they spotted the limestone walls of one more canyon. This would be their last chance.

My guidebook author called this one of my favourite spots in all of New Mexico.

It has plenty of water year round. A rarity in this part of the world.

I started late in the afternoon as it was only 2.7 miles to the recommended campsites.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

The light gorgeous.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

Here’s that water that saved the ranchers.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

Obviously this canyon floods at times.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico I checked out the campsites. Too exposed. It was very, very windy.

Instead I hunkered down in this more sheltered spot.

Last Chance Canyon, New Mexico

Having forgotten my bear bag rope, I instead tossed my food bag up into a tree attached to a loose branch. Ingenious improvisation I thought … at the time.

The wind blew it down during the night. Happily my food stayed undisturbed lying on the ground.

Next morning I had the option to try to loop to famed Sitting Bull Falls.

But to save time I opted to backtrack from here, visiting  the falls via the front door.

Sitting Bull Falls, New Mexico

As you probably would guess, the Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull never visited New Mexico.

This is a great hike. Highly recommended. We’ve added it to our list of best hikes in North America.


Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend TX

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Note: We were there Jan 2017. Accessibility may change depending on what happens with Trump’s border wall promise.

Santa Elena Canyon is the single most popular spot in Big Bend National Park. Everyone stops here, even those who don’t normally hike.


The nature trail crosses Terlingua Creek, climbs several flights of ramps and stairs and then descends into the canyon along the Rio Grande. At this point the canyon walls loom over 1500 feet above the river below. …

In my haste to get over to the Canyon, I took off my shoes and waded Terlingua Creek.


That turned out to be a mistake. Everyone else found a way to cross keeping their feet dry.





Nobody regrets taking this short hike.

And I did finally get a photo of a desert cottontail. Or is it a small jack rabbit?


The best way to see the canyon is by raft or canoe. Local outfitters offer trips from one to three days in length when conditions allow, and river runners of intermediate or better skill level often go on their own. …

Visit Big Bend

Even better for me would be the difficult Mesa de Anguila hike along the canyon rim. Next time. 🙂

related – Texas GOP congressman slams Trump plan for border wall

“Building a wall is the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border,” Rep. Will Hurd (R-Tex.) said in a statement …

hiking Big Bend National Park, Texas

I’m planning to hike Big Bend for the first time. In January.


The Parks Service recommends:

• Desert Hikes
• Mountain Hikes
• River Hikes

As usual I’ll check with Rangers before deciding which hikes. Local information is critical in the desert. Backcountry Use Permits are required.

I’ll be mostly doing day hikes and one night tenting trips. Water is an issue, I understand, even in winter.

Unless you are walking the Rio Grande, of course.

Santa Elena Canyon

best day hike out of Granada, Spain

The hanging bridges of Los Cahorros Monachil.

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Millions of tourists visit Granada, Spain in any given year. Very few of those make their way to this adventure.


John Kramer for Spain Holiday:

Monachil is a tiny village situated only 8 kilometres from the centre of Granada. Despite its proximity, it remains a place that is relatively undiscovered by mass tourism. The boundaries of the province of Monachil are fairly extensive and include several peaks over 3000m, including Europe’s most southerly ski station – Pradollano, Sierra Nevada.

The impressive Los Cahorros gorge is situated 2 kilometres from the sleepy village centre. Until very recently, the gorge was only really known and appreciated in rock climbing circles, the steep limestone cliffs offering numerous routes for climbers. …

One route in particular, is exceptionally beautiful. And suitable for families. A walk alongside and through the Rio Monachil – the Monachil river.

Unbeatable views, waterfalls, plenty of rock pools for swimming, narrow caves and tunnels that you have to crawl through or hang off the rock face, walking alongside acequias that date back to Moorish times and, of course, the famous hanging bridges.

The hike takes you through some spectacular Andalucian countryside. …

read more …

I did the 15 Euro guided hike out of Oasis Hostel. Very popular with the young people.


This dog has joined the Oasis walkers every trip for 6 years!


It’s all gorgeous. But the highlight are the waterfalls.



Highly recommended for all visitors to Granada. You can do it on your own via city bus for free.

Copper Canyon Traverse, Mexico

In 2013 Justin “Trauma” Lichter and Cam “Swami” Honan completed a 381 mile (613 km) traverse of Mexico´s Copper Canyon region. A first thru hike.

Justin Lichter at the base of Basaseachi Falls
Justin Lichter at the base of Basaseachi Falls

The traverse was a combination of hiking, packrafting, swimming, bushwhacking, scrambling, crawling and weaving our way around clandestine drug fields.

Our route linked together the six major canyons (along with numerous minor ones) that constitute the Copper Canyon region. It took us from the region’s northwest corner (Basaseachi Falls) to its southeastern limits (Sinforosa Canyon). In the order in which they were traversed, the canyons were as follows:


The Hiking Life


Zebra Canyon and Tunnel Slot, Escalante

Utah Canyons STORE & COFFEE SHOP should be your first stop on arriving in Escalante, Utah.

We have fuel, custom annotated topographic maps, guidebooks and “desert tested” gear to help you fully enjoy your remote day-hike, canyoneering adventure or epic backpacking trip. …

Get local information on what hikes are best while you are there.

There are plenty of fantastic overnight and day hikes in the area.

Zebra Canyon and Tunnel Slot looks perfect to me.

… we decided to stop and check out the beautiful Zebra Canyon. The added bonus to this route was tunnel Slot, a very dark tunnel through the sandstone, filled with ice cold water. Visiting these two locations took us 3.5 hours.

We went as far as we could up Zebra first then turned around and hiked out then up the sandstone to the top of this canyon to look down it. Up top we found tons of moqui marbles in all various sizes. …

After this canyon we hiked straight towards Tunnel Slot by taking the obvious cut in the terrain connecting the two canyons. Arriving at the top of Tunnel we found that it was full of water whose depth was hard to determine and ended up being about thigh deep. Tunnel Slot is a very short oddity of a canyon due to its shape but was fun to visit. It also had the coldest water I think I’ve ever felt in my life. The short stint in the water, maybe 75 feet made my feet and legs feel like they suddenly belonged to someone else. …

trip report from 2012

2012 Escalante (65)

2012 Escalante (23)

researching Fish River Canyon, Namibia

The Fish River Canyon 5 day trek is one of the best in the world.

But it’s very difficult to get a reservation, even a year in advance. I’ve been turned down for all dates in June 2015. 😦

But I may try to show up at the trailhead anyway. Hang out. And look to substitute for a hiker missing from a booked group. (You must have a minimum of 3 people to register, in any case.)

Wish me luck.

- by  Daniel Smith
– by Daniel Smith

I’ve put up a draft information page on the Fish River Canyon trek with what I was able to find out online.

Leave a comment if you have any advice.

Caminito del Rey – opens Feb 2015

Caminito del Rey footpath, Garganta del Chorro, El Chorro, Spain

The notorious Caminito del Rey footpath, known as one of the world’s scariest hiking routes, is opening to the public again after a multi-million euro restoration.

Skirting the Garganta del Chorro gorge, the original metre-wide white-knuckle path contoured across the sheer rock-face on a ledge 100m above the ground. Initially built in 1905 and traversed by King Alfonso XIII in 1921 (hence the name ‘Path of the King’), the path had fallen into severe disrepair by the late 1990s, finally closing following the tragic deaths of five walkers.

Fifteen years later, the route is reopening, allowing access again to one of Spain’s most spectacular walking trails. No longer the preserve of professional climbers and adrenaline-seekers, the damaged path has been fixed and reinforced, while a new handrail provides further support. The views however, continue to take your breath away.

Lonely Planet – The world’s hottest new travel experiences for 2015

Click PLAY or watch a scramble on the OLD route on YouTube.