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Category: hiking

10/09/16 09:45 - ID#60687

Hiking the Red Rocks

Definitely my favorite part of Las Vegas so far. We drove out to the far west side, right up to the edge of the sprawl the park begins. The traffic was really heavy in the park loop, and there were a ton of cyclists riding around.

(e:paul) wasn't sure where he and (e:terry) had gone before. Well it wasn't in the new visitor's center area, it was at the first right turn coming in the park, in the Calico I basin. You can get right up to the red rocks with a short hike.

It really is an easy hike. Going up and down to the peaks, the climb is basically stairs - really wide and long. At the very top you keep thinking you're at the highest part, then there's another peak, and another, and another.

(e:paul) and I got up to the second highest red rock peak. It was about two peaks higher than (e:terry,55633) and him got the last time. You can see all across the mountains into the smog of Vegas from here, and there's plenty of shade to hide in on the way down.

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Category: hiking

10/09/16 09:40 - ID#60684

Bye Flagstaff

That night we had to find a hotel but they were almost all booked. Except roach motels on the outside of the town, and even they were going for $115+.

I found a hostel ran by the same company we stayed at earlier for $80, called the Grand Canyon International Hostel. It was right next to the Downtowner where (e:paul), (e:terry) and (e:jacob) used to live.

I really thought it was pretty cool. There were a ton of people staying there, including Germans. It was cheap, and also had free breakfast and coffee. (e:paul) was not happy at all, because it had shared bathrooms. Didn't you sleep in the car the last time you drove all through the southwest? ;)

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Anyway I agreed to go to Vegas the next day because he didn't want to stay there and hike the volcano.

Something about staying in Flagstaff made me feel ganz anders than ever before. It felt magical and bottom a Sedona vortex way. Maybe it's because I love (e:paul) and (e:terry)'s stories, and was always wished I was on their old adventures. Or it could be it was a cheap college town full of people close to my age. Probably the endless federal woods and things to climb around us. But I felt like we could do anything there and I wouldn't hesitate to bet it has an impact on the mindset of people who live there. Imagine crazy landscapes that run for miles with no one in them. Nothing to compare it to in Buffalo. The trip with (e:paul) was one of the best adventures I've been on and I wish (e:terry) could have been with us.

Then we headed to Las Vegas...

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Category: hiking

10/09/16 09:39 - ID#60683

Flagstaff Lava River Caves

On the way back from the Grand Canyon, we passed by the Lava River caves outside of Flagstaff. (e:terry) had taken (e:paul) there before so (e:paul) had a vague idea of where it was. But it was night and he wasn't sure about where exactly.

Basically, you turn west off of 180 about 15 miles north of Flagstaff.
We drove 4 miles down a washboarded fireroad in the dark. (e:paul) was freaking out about the car getting stuck.

I stole a map from here so you can see how to get to it.
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Once you park there's about a quarter mile hike into the forest. It seems hard to figure out where you're going in the dark but there's trail signs and an old road. Then you come across this circular stone fence that opens up into a pit.

It was no Sedona vortex but the cave was awesome. There were two parts. One (e:paul) and I went in, and you could stand most of the way. There were huge smashed boulders all over the floor. Either the tube was maintained or chunks fall off.

The weirdest part about the cave probably was the moldy food all over the ground. Since there are few animals and it's just dark and damp, all the trash left in there just molds and never completely decomposes. Including sunflower seeds, ahem (e:paul).

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It goes for a little over kilometer. When you're in the dark it's easy to hype yourself up thinking about someone coming across you the other way. Sometimes we'd turn off our flashlights and just sit. (e:paul) swears he can still see in the dark. If I lived in Flagstaff I might set myself up a hobo shelter in here and just chill in the hole all day.

On the way out of the first cave, I found a tiny tunnel you have to slither down into. I squiggled in by myself and saw how deep it goes. It opens up to a few chambers and tighter tubes you'd have to crawl in. Unfortunately they were blocked off by boulders and I need to drop 50 pounds or so to even think about squeezing in lol

I don't think I've ever seen so many stars as on the walk back to the car - and the moon was partially out.
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Category: hiking

10/09/16 09:37 - ID#60682

Grand Canyon

(e:paul) and I got to the south rim pretty late in the afternoon (almost 2). It was more packed than I've ever seen Niagara Falls So we rented bikes and zoomed west from the canyon village to Hermit's camp. It was a steep and windy road, with a 6% grades at some points. A bitch to get up but you flew on the way down.

I don't think I can do justice in pictures or words to America's crack. Even standing on the edge you have no idea how big is really is. Are you really even seeing the canyon floor from where you're standing? Are those really tiny trees or huge trees far away? It's mind boggling.

Hermit's Camp at the end was originally a resort. Apparently in the 1910's the Grand Canyon was a bougie train trip, where you were sherpaed down into tents with telephones and carpets on the canyon floor.

Also crawling around the whole park are elk which apparently are not native. Everywhere the park warns you to stay away from the males which want to mate. Almost none of the tourists listen.

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Category: hiking

10/09/16 09:30 - ID#60680

Red Mountain

To be written about

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Category: hiking

10/09/16 09:22 - ID#60678

Vortices, Brins Mesa and Devils Bridge

The second day in Sedona, (e:paul) and I went to see the famous Sedona vortex. Somehow Sedona is famous with the new agey crystal people for being a spot with many mystical vortexes. Our motel clerk even gave us a map and told us where they'll all be.

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It seems like rich Californians definitely outweigh crystal hippies now (or maybe the hippies just have money now). But (e:paul) and I went to a famous vortex site by the airport. It really seemed like an easy hike to me but maybe I'm secretly allergic to vortices

After that we went up a road right in the town to a place called Jordan Pass. It takes you to a trailhead for Brin's Mesa.

The trail starts off in the desert and takes you about 500 feet to a grassy mesa. All along the way (e:paul) and I ate prickly pears. You probably shouldn't since it robs the desert life of nutrients but it they were way sweeter and juicier than anything Basra ate. I hope he gets fresh ones, wherever he is (e:joe,60672)

The mesa descended into a pine forest with a dry creek/wash. You go all the way out to an ATV road, ~3 miles away.

At the ATV road we went a mile south and ended up at Devil's Bridge. The hike is steep but easy up to this stone bridge, jutting out over a valley. It looks way scarier than you'd thing. (e:paul) freaked out a little but it was always at least 5 ft wide always.

We didn't have very much water for an 11 mile hike but we did have coconut water and a few Modellos. So those tided us on the walk back. I don't think we saw anyone else on either direction of the Brin's mesa trail, outside of the first half milk.

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Category: hiking

10/08/16 10:23 - ID#60677

Oak Canyon

The same day we hiked the west fork of Oak Canyon. After the desert heat I thought I'd want to swim but it was a cool forest with a freezing creek. I loved it.

I can't believe how big some of the smashed rocks are at the bottom. The rock slides here have to be like meteors hitting the earth.

(e:paul) and I thought the sheer cliffs on the side looked like a desktop background while the sun went down.

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Category: hiking

10/08/16 09:17 - ID#60676

Bell Rock in Sedona

Was the first hike (e:paul) and I did in Sedona. It was the first real rock climbing I've done besides something like little rock city.

The sun was super intense on the way up. The rock is rough sandstone so shoes stick to the side and you can walk right up to the rocks that jut out in the middle.

Once we got up there I slipped a little and my stomach dropped. I freaked out, (e:paul) had to coax me to keep going around the rock. I really thought I was going to fall off and die.

Eventually we made it all the way to the highway side of the rock, and tried to climb to the top via a canyon. We kept getting stoned by ledges that were way taller than us.

Luckily this native Sedona guy, his GF and sister came walking by and offered to show us the way up.

It was a lot easier, besides the cactus I got stuck in my hand. We made it all the way to the top, where (e:paul) and (e:terry) had made it last time (e:paul,45458). There's a book you can sign, and we took pictures while the couple did weird yoga moves standing on each other. They almost fell off once, no fucking way would I descend if that actually happened.

The view was incomprehensible. We were so high up, it's hard to believe we actually climbed up all that sandstone.

After being the at the top coming down was nothing. Even when the climber had us hugging the wall on a 4 inch ledge. If the sister could do it while talking on the phone, we could do it with both hands.

After we got down (e:paul) and I went out to lunch at a cheap tamale place called Sedona Tamaliza. I never had a tamale before but it was basically Mexican spiced polenta in a corn husk. For only $5 you got a super spicy vegan spinach and mushroom tamale. (e:terry) would have loved them.

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Category: hiking

10/08/16 09:00 - ID#60674

drive to sedona

To be written about

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Category: hiking

10/08/16 08:59 - ID#60673

Papago Park

Before we dropped (e:terry) off to go home, we went for one real hike up Papago Park, in the middle of Scottsdale near the airport. It juts up in the middle of the flat sprawl, with a zoo and golf course nearby.

It's pretty easy to get up and has a 360 view of endless Phoenix.

Afterwards we ate Filiberto's and dropped (e:terry) off for his flight home. I really missed him, and wished he could have come along ;(

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mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

mike said to grandma
I'm so glad you made it safely!...

joe said to grandma
OMG welcome!...

joe said to mike
New years resolution to top (e:strip)?...