Calico Mine & Ghost Town, CA

Calico Mine & Ghost Town

Calico is a ghost town located in the Mojave Desert region of Southern California. Founded in 1881 as a silver mining town, today it is a county park. It is located in unincorporated San Bernardino County off Interstate 15, 3 miles from Barstow.

Calico Mine & Ghost Town

At its height, shortly after it was founded, Calico had a population of 1,200 people and over 500 silver mines. Besides the usual assortment of bars, brothels, gambling halls and a few churches, Calico also supported a newspaper, the Calico Print. In the mid 1890s the price of silver dropped and Calico’s silver mines were no longer economically viable. With the end of borax mining in the region in 1907 the town was completely abandoned. The last original inhabitant of Calico before it was abandoned, Mrs. Lucy Bell Lane, died in the 1960s. Her house remains as the main museum in town.
In 1951, Walter Knott, founder of Knott’s Berry Farm, purchased the town and began restoring it to its original condition referencing old photographs. In the late 1950s, a western garbed man with Custer whiskers known as Calico Fred was a local fixture.  Though five of the original town buildings exist today, many others were recreated as replicas of their originals on preexisting foundations. In 1966, Knott donated the town to San Bernardino County, and Calico became a county regional park.
Today, the park operates mine tours, gunfight stunt shows, gold panning, a restaurant, the Calico & Odessa Railroad and a number of general merchandise stores. It is open daily, and requires an entrance fee. Calico is a registered California historic monument and the “official state silver rush ghost town” of California.

The Colorado Scenic Byway (Hwy 128) , UT

The Colorado Scenic Byway (Hwy 128) , UT

Length: 44.0 mi / 70.8 km
Time to Allow:
2 hours

This spectacular route along the Colorado River gorge in Moab, UT begins at the Colorado River Bridge on the north end of Moab. For the first 13 miles (20.9 km) it parallels

the Colorado River within a narrow section of the gorge, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding red sandstone cliffs. Popular attractions along this portion of the route include viewpoints of the river, public camping areas, and Negro Bill Canyon, which contains a delightful hiking trail to Morning Glory Natural Bridge.

At 13 miles (20.9 km) the gorge widens as the highway proceeds past Castle and Professor Valleys, which have been the shooting locations for many western films including Wagon Master and Rio Grande, along with numerous television commercials. The Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission has a museum at the lodge located at Mile Marker 14. Admission is free. After 24.7 miles (39.8 km) the highway passes a viewpoint for one of the grandest views in the west, the red rock spires of the Fisher Towers set against the often snow covered peaks of the La Sal Mountains.

The Colorado Scenic Byway (Hwy 128) , UT

After leaving the valley, the road winds farther up the river gorge until arriving at the site of historic Dewey Bridge at 29.8 miles (48 km). Unfortunately Dewey Bridge was destroyed in April 2008 by a brush fire. The road then follows the northern bank of the river for a few more miles before exiting the Colorado River gorge. At this point the highway proceeds across open desert toward the ghost town of Cisco at 44 miles (70.8 km). Cisco was founded as a water refilling station for steam locomotives along the main line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. After another 5 miles (8 km) the route intersects Interstate 70.

Cottonwood Wash/ Buckhorn Wash, UT

Cottonwood Wash/ Buckhorn Wash, UT

Cottonwood Wash, is a wide-open rolling high desert, with low rocky bluffs studded with distant towering buttes. This road is well maintained and is generally a safe road to drive. The Buckhorn Wash portion of this route is especially scenic, with canyon walls rising many hundreds of feet above you, Native American rock art panels, a well-preserved dinosaur track and more! There are many side roads along this route, but the navigation of this road is easy-when in doubt, stay on the main road!

Mile 28.3 Mile 0
This is where the Cottonwood Wash Road intersects I-70 and heads north towards Buckhorn Wash.

Mile 26.2 Mile 2.1
This is a Sagebrush test area, used to study the effects of grazing by livestock. The western section of the enclosure was fenced off in 1937, while the eastern section was enclosed in 1961.

Sink Hole flat

Mile 23.3 Mile 5.0
You are at Sinkhole Flat, with the actual sinkhole surrounded by a circular log fence. The sinkhole is of little scenic value, and is included here only as a landmark.

Mile 10.8 Mile 17.5
Massive Window Blind Peak is to the east of the road, with the smaller Assembly Hall Peak to the north of Window Blind. Rising to an elevation of 7030 feet, it is the tallest free standing monolith in America, one of the largest in the world. It is called “Window Blind” because some of the rock formations near the top on Northeast side look like windows with the blinds closed. Assembly Hall was named for its resemblance to the original LDS assembly hall in Salt Lake City.

Mile 10 Mile 18.3

To the west, slender Bottleneck Peak rises to an elevation of 6401 feet.above sea level.

Mile 9.2 Mile 19.1
This is the bridge over the San Rafael River, and it is the boundary between Cottonwood Wash and Buckhorn Wash roads. Just to the south of the river is the San Rafael Recreation Area campground, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management. It offers many campsites, picnic tables, fire rings and pit toilets. There is no drinking water available. North of the river are many sandy primitive campsites under the cottonwood trees. The swinging bridge, located to the west, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938 and was the only bridge over the river until the early 1990s. Though you can no longer drive on it, it is perfectly safe to walk on.

Mile 7.4 Mile 20.9
Calf, Cow and Pine Canyons enter from the East.

Mile 5.5 Mile 22.7
One of the highlights of the entire San Rafael Swell is the mysterious Buckhorn Wash pictograph panel. There are some faint petroglyphs here, but the red pictograph figures are the stars of this site! The main panel was painted over 2,000 years ago by the Barrier Canyon culture. Learn more about the Barrier Canyon culture and how they made pictographs and petroglyphs. There is also a boulder with the names of the same CCC boys that built the swinging bridge over the San Rafael River carved into it. There is a pit toilet at this location.

Mile 4.2 Mile 24
On the sandstone ledge, about 40 feet above the road, is the Matt Warner inscription, dated Feb 17 1920. Matt was a very colorful outlaw that operated (on occasion with Butch Cassidy) from New Mexico to Washington State for over 18 years.  During that period, he frequented Green River, operating a saloon and brothel there.

Mile 2.3 Mile 25.9
There is a cattle guard here. Just south of the cattle guard is a parking area. Park there, and notice the trail heading to the east, up a steep hill. There is a large panel of petroglyphs at the end of this short trail.

Mile 2.1 Mile 26.1
To the east of the road a short distance is an interesting petroglyph. It can be hard to spot, so look for a series of bullet holes where some fool shot his initials (TKG) onto the cliff. Look left of those for a large, light colored crack running vertically. The petroglyph is just left of the crack.

Mile 1.6 Mile 26.6
A very clear and large dinosaur track can, with a little searching, be found here. On the east side of the road is a ledge of sandstone about 10 to 15 feet above the road. There are several paths up to the ledge. Once on top of the ledge, look for a larger flat area of bare sandstone at your feet. The footprint is on this large sandstone area, although you may have to move some flat rocks to uncover it. Visit the dinosaur pages within our site to learn more about other dinosaurs in Castle Country.

Mile 1.4 Mile 26.8
A short canyon is east of the road. There is an easy hike up the canyon.

Mile 0 Mile 28.3
You are at the intersection with the Green River Cutoff Road. West will take you to Castledale and Highway 10, east will lead you to US Highway 6

Location Of The Wash

Enterprise Reservoir Campground, UT

Enterprise Reservoir Campground, UT

This part of Utah is always a diversion to take a look at through camping season. The surroundings of this campground have such a great deal of things to offer. There’s plenty of outdoors recreation available in close proximity such as swimming, hiking, and fishing, so you won’t get bored.
Enterprise Reservoir Campground gets very little rainfall; during July this area sees the most rain; June on the other hand is the driest. It’s not very good for you to spend too much time indoors; you need to get out of the house sometimes, and Enterprise
Reservoir Campground in Utah is a fine spot to go.
The Pilot Peak Trail offers hiking at its best; of course, everyone loves Beaver Dam State Park. This is beyond doubt a magnificent campground. Enterprise Reservoir Campground is right by the South Boundary Trail; Honeycomb
Rocks is a perfect place to check out while in the neighborhood.
Enterprise Reservoir Campground, UT
Be careful coming to Enterprise Reservoir Campground, you might not ever wanna go home again. Lost Creek is a splendid local stream, and if you get bored of Enterprise Reservoir Campground you could also explore close by Upper Enterprise Reservoir. There’s so much stuff to do near Enterprise Reservoir Campground, and it unquestionably is a fine campground.
Hiking is a popular thing to do around Enterprise Reservoir Campground; Hollow Trail is a good local trail; do take a look at Upper
Enterprise Dam if you’re here. Such a tremendous pick of attractions and such a great deal of things to do will absolutely have you coming back over and over.
During the long summer days highs here at Enterprise Reservoir Campground reach the 90’s; the night is rather cooler of course, generally in the 50’s. The wintertime comes with highs in the 40’s, and winter nights come with lows in the 10’s to Enterprise Reservoir Campground. Gunlock State Park is a delightful site to go if you’re at Enterprise Reservoir Campground; hiking along the White Hollow Pack Trail is delightful fun.
A lot of folks camp here during their visit to Beaver Dam State Park. There’s wonderful hiking along the Parker Canyon Trail, and nearby you locate great locations like Cave Canyon.
Enterprise Reservoir Campground, UT

This part of Utah is always a diversion to take a look at through camping season. The surroundings of this campground have such a great deal of things to offer. There’s plenty of outdoors recreation available in close proximity such as swimming, hiking, and fishing, so you won’t get bored.Enterprise Reservoir Campground gets very little rainfall; during July this area sees the most rain; June on the other hand is the driest. It’s not very good for you to spend too much time indoors; you need to get out of the house sometimes, and EnterpriseReservoir Campground in Utah is a fine spot to go.The Pilot Peak Trail offers hiking at its best; of course, everyone loves Beaver Dam State Park. This is beyond doubt a magnificent campground. Enterprise Reservoir Campground is right by the South Boundary Trail; HoneycombRocks is a perfect place to check out while in the neighborhood.Be careful coming to Enterprise Reservoir Campground, you might not ever wanna go home again. Lost Creek is a splendid local stream, and if you get bored of Enterprise Reservoir Campground you could also explore close by Upper Enterprise Reservoir. There’s so much stuff to do near Enterprise Reservoir Campground, and it unquestionably is a fine campground.Hiking is a popular thing to do around Enterprise Reservoir Campground; Hollow Trail is a good local trail; do take a look at Upper Enterprise Dam if you’re here. Such a tremendous pick of attractions and such a great deal of things to do will absolutely have you coming back over and over.During the long summer days highs here at Enterprise Reservoir Campground reach the 90’s; the night is rather cooler of course, generally in the 50’s. The wintertime comes with highs in the 40’s, and winter nights come with lows in the 10’s to Enterprise Reservoir Campground. Gunlock State Park is a delightful site to go if you’re at Enterprise Reservoir Campground; hiking along the White Hollow Pack Trail is delightful fun. There’s wonderful hiking along the Parker Canyon Trail, and nearby you locate great locations like Cave Canyon.

In late fall, water may be turned off in the campground. After the water is turned off, camping fees go down to $6 for single sites and $10 for the large picnic area.


$9 per camp site

$15 for the large day-use area (up to 50 people).

Reservations: First-come, first-serve.

Directions: From Enterprise, Utah, take Utah Highway 219 west 7 miles. Turn left on Veyo Shoal Creek Road and continue 3 miles to the campground.

Amenities: Vault toilets, drinking water, garbage service.

Nearby: Lower Enterprise Reservoir, with boating and fishing opportunities.

Backcountry Equipment Checklist

Grand Canyon Backcountry Equipment Checklist

Backpacking the backcountry in Grand Canyon enjoyably and safely for longer than day or overnight hikes requires significant amounts of planning and preparation in addition to equipment, food and water. Everything you need and want along must condense and pack into three cubic feet or so of space inside your pack or strap to the exterior of it. Good organization is very important so that you can readily locate and extract needed items and then replace them to a consistent location. A place for everything and everything in its place… You should be familiar enough with the inventory and location of items in your pack that you can readily locate and identify them even in the dark.

I subpack related items in separate mesh and ripstop nylon stuff bags of varying sizes; quart and gallon size heavy duty Hefty brand ‘OneZip Slider®’ baggies, and smaller 3×4 inch ZipLoc baggies. Use of baggies within baggies has proven to provide reliable waterproofing for moisture sensitive items like film, camera equipment, dehydrated foods, lighters and so on.

Numerous essential items must be assembled and efficiently packed prior to each trip. I’ve found the only way to insure I’m not forgetting critical items or details while preparing and packing is to employ the following equipment and supplies checklist. While this list covers the fundamentals for longer hikes, each trip and hike has it’s own particular requirements depending on route, destination, duration, season, particular activities planned, and the interests and needs of the individual hiker(s). If you are less experienced and haven’t developed your own backcountry checklist yet, here’s my own with typical weights for your consideration and reference.

Expedition Pack
Dana K2 Loadmaster (Long Bed) 6100 cubic inch 3.40 kilograms
There’s just no way around it – it takes a big, heavy, robust pack to haul all the equipment, food and water required for week long treks in the Grand Canyon, especially if your route is a dry one. I like my external frame Dana K2 Loadmaster very much for extended Canyoneering. It provides a cavernous capacity; thick, comfortable hip and shoulder pads; handy external pockets and pouches; and customizable fit and shoulder/hip load distribution adjustments. I wish it was a little lighter, but on the overall I figure it’s well worth carrying an additional pound or two of pack for the capacity and comfort of a premium, heavy duty, external frame backpack and the manageability imparted to large, heavy loads. BTW, I also use this pack for shorter hikes, as it is very comfortable when loaded in the sub-40 pound range.
Cache Stuff Bag with Trash Bag Liner and Baggies
12 x 24 inch Waterproof Stuff Bag .15 kilograms
I like to do multiple hikes per visit to the Grand Canyon, ranging from day hikes to hikes of a week’s duration or more. I inevitably bring along or accumulate items that won’t be used on a particular hike, such as excess food or clothing, books, water bottles, exposed film, keys, change, postage stamps, bus tickets, and what not. Backpackers using public transportation to visit Grand Canyon (such as myself) won’t have a parked car there in which to store these things while off hiking. To keep my working load and bulk to a minimum on each hike, I temporarily cache such items in a stuff bag that I hang and conceal in a tree on the rim, and recover later upon my return. Storing moisture sensitive items in ZipLoc baggies and lining the cache bag with a plastic trash bag closed with a twist tie insures its contents will stay dry regardless of the weather.
Day Pack
‘Student Style’ with Shoulder Straps .29 kilograms
I pack a light day pack to carry water, trail mix, camera gear, maps, first aid kit and so forth when I want to drop my expedition pack with most of my gear and supplies for brief exploratory hikes for route, campsite and water finding, or to gain a vantage point for sight seeing and photography. My day pack doubles as a dirty clothes bag/pillow by night.
On My Person (Mild to Hot Weather)
One Pair Socks, Underwear, Shorts, Shirt 800-1200 grams
Hiking Boots 1400-2000 grams
Belt 155 grams
Shady Hat with Chin Strap 180 grams
Sun Glasses with Neck Band 30 grams
Billfold with Emergency Info, Credit and Business Cards, Money 100 grams
Small Swiss Army Knife 35 grams
Lighter 15 grams
Notebook with Pen 100 grams
Watch with Alarm, Night Light 30 grams
Subtotal: 3.35 kilograms
You won’t have much need or opportunity to use money below the rim unless your itinerary includes Phantom Ranch. However, the plastic and folding variety doesn’t weigh very much, and I just feel better with mine on my person rather than stashed on the rim. So I carry a light canvas/Velcro billfold which also contains my personal ID and an emergency contact and information card. Upon returning from a hike to the rim, I traditionally reward myself with an ice cream cone at the first opportunity, which is soon followed up with a hearty meal including fresh vegetables and potatoes and burnt cow. Of course that takes money, so it is convenient to have some on my person when I hike out, rather than having to travel back to a trailhead rim cache first, which might be many miles from my exit location and the nearest ice cream…
Camp and Fording Shoes
Sandals/Tennis Shoes for Fording, Wading, Camp Wear .80-1.00 kilograms
I have seen hikers fording streams and creeks in their regular hiking boots, but I think this is a very poor idea and endeavor to keep mine as dry as possible. I’ve been carrying a pair of lace-up tennis shoes for fording and wading, as I find doing so in my bare feet both painful and dangerous. The rubber soles provide some traction on slick rocks and protection from sharp travertines and gravels. Once settled for the evening I also like to remove my hiking boots to give them and my feet time to air and dry out, and switch over to fresh socks and the tennis shoes for around camp wear. You may prefer “sports sandals” for the same purposes. I’ve begun eyeing rubber soled, slip-on neoprene surfboarder’s booties to replace the tennis shoes as they are significantly lighter and should also dry faster.Some hikers actually wear and swear by sandals for hiking in Grand Canyon. I’m rather dubious regarding the safety of doing this on all but the corridor and rim trails. Those who advocate wearing sandals for primary footwear in the backcountry must be a lot better at avoiding the cacti and scrub than I am… It only takes one misplaced step, or an unexpected slip to really whack your foot on an unforgiving rock, or equally unforgiving cactus. I had a rather memorable close encounter with a whopper of a pink rattlesnake near camp in Lonetree Canyon in fading light on May 28, 2000 while I was wearing shorts and tennis shoes. The pink rattler’s camouflage is perfectly adapted to their domain and I was first alerted to his close proximity from his rattle… I think he had just ventured out to feed on rodents, lizards, frogs or other abundant small prey attracted to small pools of water in the slick rock below a seep there, something at which he was obviously successful judging by his size. He could have certainly hit me in a bad way but fortunately he didn’t strike at me, the happy outcome due more so to his discretion than mine.

While unfashionably low-tech and heavy, that incident together with painfully thorn-pierced shins on more than one occasion has since had me envious of those awesome knee-high, heavy duty lace-up leather backcountry rock kickers that are often seen adorning early explorers and prospectors in historic Grand Canyon pictures.

Sleeping Bag
Goose Down Mummy with Stuff Bag 2.10 kilograms
My faithful, patched up, goose down bag is over twenty years old and it’s still serviceable in spite of lots of use and abuse and a grungy appearance. It was a sub-zero bag when it was new, but it has lost enough down and loft that I would rate it at about a 30 degree bag now (when sleeping in underwear). You need a bag or blanket on the rim, even during the summer. You don’t need a bag for warmth below rim in the backcountry during the summer, but then one can provide some additional cushion and insulation from baking hot bedrock that continues to radiate stored heat during the night. I have straps on my pack to carry my sleeping bag externally when it is displaced internally at the beginning of a long hike with food and water.
Ground Pad
Coleman 24 x 72 x .75 inch Convoluted Foam .42 kilograms
I pack a closed cell foam type for a ground pad under my sleeping bag, which I attach to the exterior of my pack with straps. The upside to this type of pad is it is relatively cheap (twenty bucks), light, and pretty much indestructible. Mine’s been punched clear through by sharp rocks and thorns and severely abraded without functional impairment. The downside is that it feels like you’re sleeping on rocks when you are – there’s only so much padding provided by three quarters of an inch of foam, which averages something more like half an inch overall with the convoluted style, especially after compressing down some with several weeks wear. I’ve actually gotten in a fair night’s sleep on this pad when it is lying over soil or sand.
Hydration and Water Containers
2-Liter Hydration Unit 150 grams
In-Line Water Filter 100 grams
Five 2-Liter Pop Bottles (Empty) 275 grams
Twelve Liters Water 12000 grams
Subtotal (Dry): .53 kilograms
Subtotal (with 12 Liters Water): 12.53 kilograms
I’ve incorporated a ‘Camelbak’ 2-liter hydration unit in my gear, which is essentially a canvas covered, collapsible plastic bag, connected to a silicon mouthpiece with a hose. The hydration unit just happens to be a perfect fit inside a long, narrow slip-in pocket on my expedition pack, the hip pads and belt of which prevent me from simultaneously carrying belt hung canteens or water bottles. I’ve come to appreciate it’s just plain nice to yourself to have water on demand a few inches from your mouth when hiking the Grand Canyon!I’ve installed a ‘Safe Water Anywhere’ water purifier inline between the hydration bag and the mouthpiece as a last line of defense, which filters fine suspended particulate matter, microorganisms and dissolved organic and inorganic contaminants, as well as removing the taste from iodine treated water. If you ever have to tank up at a soupy, dying tadpole and bug infested water pocket, you will especially appreciate a good water filter in addition to iodine. If the life sustaining water you have to drink also makes you sick, you’re going to be in big trouble in the backcountry.

I’ve been using ordinary, plastic 2-liter soft drink bottles for containment and bulk transport of water inside my pack. They are cheap and easy to come by, light (55 grams each) and amazingly tough. As soon as one begins to look crumpled or worse for the wear, I replace it for my own peace of mind, even though they have proven to be serviceable across multiple outings. A drawback to carrying a number of 2-liter bottles is they are not as efficient volumetrically as larger containers and take up more space in my pack than I’d like. I sometimes study larger containers in the gear and sporting goods stores, but have yet to find anything that likes me. One consideration regarding carrying a number of smaller bottles versus a single or smaller number of larger containers is that in the event of a catastrophic accident or container failure, you will not be hurting as bad. I may switch to the magnum sized 3-liter soft drink bottles after some further field testing.

Water is the limiting factor for the duration of hikes into dry areas, which constitute about 99.9 percent of Grand Canyon. I’ve found that twelve liters (3 gallons) of water, which weighs 12 kilograms (26.4 pounds) is my own absolute limit of what I can carry on top of a seven day pack (while negotiating relatively moderate terrain with frequent rests). When the going is steep, up or down, my limit drops to eight liters or less. Your rate of consumption will vary considerably, depending on the season and temperature. During the winter, 3 gallons could sustain you for a week inside the canyon. During the summer, you can easily consume 3 gallons in less than two days and still be on the losing side of the water in/water out equation, due to tremendous loss through perspiration when your body has to cope with ambient temperatures well over 100 degrees on top of the work heat hiking generates. During the summer it is also harder to carry water, as your metabolic efficiency is significantly reduced by heat and water/electrolyte losses, so there is somewhat of a vicious circle operating then, where the more water you carry, the faster you consume it.

The majority of the springs and seeps in the backcountry are unreliable and only flow during wet years, or seasonally go dry, flowing only during cooler months when surface evaporation is at a minimum and rainfall/snowmelt is at a maximum. A Park Service publication lists only 28 reliable perennial water sources, including the Colorado River, throughout Grand Canyon. Thus, water availability becomes a principle strategic consideration when planning backcountry hikes and is an especially critical issue during the summer.

Cooking Utensils Bag
Replacement Lighter 15 grams
Plastic Funnel 15 grams
Unbreakable Plastic Spoon 10 grams
Unbreakable Plastic Fork 10 grams
Plastic Coffee/Tea Brewer 15 grams
Two-Cup (16 fluid ounce) Aluminum Pot/Cup 70 grams
Snow Peak GS-100 Gigapower Stove with Case 115 grams
Tinfoil (12 inch x 20 inch unfolded) 5 grams
14 Days One-A-Day and C Vitamins 25 grams
Salt & Pepper (35 mm film canister full) 40 grams
Scrub Pad (2 inch x 3 inch) 5 grams
Subtotal with Mesh Stuff Bag/Baggie: .35 kilograms
In accord with the Prime Directive Leave No Trace, it is illegal to collect fuel or build a campfire anywhere in the backcountry within Grand Canyon National Park borders. So if your idea of the quintessential wilderness experience entails hot meals and coffee, you have no choice but to pack a backpacker’s stove and fuel. Some fundamentalist backpackers eliminate the weight of a stove and cooking utensils completely and eat only cold food, which is not as unappealing as it sounds during hot weather. However, I am personally from the progressive camp that embraces technology and the general improvement of the human condition that resulted from the domestication of fire and cooked food. For me, the preparation of food marks the beginning and end of each day on the trail. It is a time for relaxation, reflection and planning, an integral part of the fundamental rhythm and ritual of my backcountry treks. And I do like my coffee.

While white gas (Coleman fuel) is commonly available and relatively inexpensive, the stoves that burn it tend to be heavy and can be notoriously cranky to operate.

Rave reviews in Backpacker Magazine convinced me to try out Snow Peak’s ultralight, blended gas (Isobutane/Propane) burning “Gigapower” stove, the stainless steel version of which weighs a scant 115 grams including its compact case. Its operation could not be simpler – you just screw the burner together with a fuel canister, which also serves as the base, unfold four wire pot support arms, open the fuel valve and ignite. No muss, no fuss, instant heat. Run full blast this stove will boil a quart of water in about 4 minutes, with a total full blast duration of about 45 minutes per GP-110 canister.

The simplicity, small size, light weight and efficiency of my Gigapower stove amazes other backpackers to whom I’ve demonstrated it, and I am a very happy camper with mine. Being a poor person, I invested in the no frills stainless steel version, the least expensive of four related models at fifty bucks. Affluent backpackers with more money to burn may prefer the titanium version that weighs an ounce less, or the piezo auto igniter option. I considered the auto igniter prior to purchasing mine, but decided against it after a company sales person told me that some Gigapower users had melted their auto igniters when using their stoves with a wind shield. It is often very windy in the Grand Canyon backcountry, and strong winds reduce the heating efficiency of camp stoves. I employ an unfolded piece of tinfoil formed in a partial cylinder around the stove to provide a wind shield when needed. I’ve read that reflected heat from the use of too-tight wind shields can cause dangerous overheating of fuel canisters, so if you deploy a wind shield like this, be sure to leave adequate air gaps and periodically check the temperature of the canister while operating the stove.

One downside to the Gigapower stove is it wouldn’t be that stable under larger pots due to it’s small footprint, but I have yet to dump a meal out of the one pint aluminum pot that I double duty for cooking meals and as a coffee cup.

Fuel Bag
Two Snow Peak GP-110 Isobutane/Propane Fuel Canisters 400 grams
Each GP-110 canister provides 110 grams of mixed gas fuel, providing 45 minutes duration at full blast. Snow Peak also makes a larger canister with double the fuel of the GP-110 (90 minute duration) which should have a little lower net weight than two GP-110s and also make a more stable base.

I don’t usually run my Gigapower stove full blast, but my daily consumption of fuel works out to about 22 grams, or about 8-10 full blast minutes. Your own consumption may vary considerably depending on the cooking time of the food you prepare.

Lotions Baggie
30 SPF Sunscreen 100 grams
Bug Repellent 60 grams
Cut Off Tooth Brush 10 grams
Toothpaste (‘Travel’ Size) 25 grams
Subtotal with Baggie: .20 kilograms
Medical/Emergency Baggie
Plastic Whistle 5 grams
Small Roll Gauze 10 grams
Several Small/Medium Gauze Pads 5 grams
Small Roll Adhesive Tape 15 grams
2 inch x 3 inch Moleskin 15 grams
Five Blister Bandages 15 grams
Four Regular Band-Aids 5 grams
Four Packages 1-Gram Dose Triple Antibiotic Salve 7 grams
30 Aspirins 15 grams
Metal Tweezers 10 grams
Subtotal with Baggie: .11 kilograms
Utility Baggie
Iodine/Neutralizer Water Purification Tablets in Pill Case/Baggies 25 grams
Duct Tape 1.5 x 18 inches 5 grams
25 feet 5mm Cord 40 grams
Several Twist Ties
Replacement/Extra Baggies 30 grams
Subtotal with Baggies: .11 kilograms
Navigation Baggie
Compass 25 grams
Garmin eTrex GPS Unit 155 grams
Topologic, Geologic and Formation Maps 305 grams
Replacement Pen and Pencil 20 grams
Replacement Lighter 25 grams
Compact Flashlight (2-AA Cell Size) 90 grams
Two Replacement AA Size Batteries for GPS/Flashlight 45 grams
Backcountry Permit(s) 5 grams
Subtotal with Baggies: .70 kilograms
Book Baggie
Geology of the Grand Canyon in 8.5 x 13 inch Bubble Wrap Envelope .89 kilograms
Camera/Optics Bag
Nikon 2000 Body with 35-75mm f3.5 Zoom Lens, Filter, Caps,
Lens Protector, Strap
1135 grams
80-200mm f4.5 Zoom Lens, Filter, Caps, Lens Protector 610 grams
Backpacker’s Tripod 115 grams
Macro Lens Set (Filter Style) and Case 95 grams
Several Paper Towels and Dust-Free Lens Cloth 20 grams
Twelve 36-exposure Rolls Kodachrome 35mm Film/Canisters 360 grams
Four Replacement AAA Alkaline Camera Batteries (One Set) 45 grams
Tasco 10 x 25 Compact Binoculars with Soft Case 300 grams
10X, 21mm Triplet Hand Loupe 40 grams
Subtotal with Stuff Bag and Baggies: 2.82 kilograms
‘Bag’ Baggie
Emergency Poncho 55 grams
Two ‘Lawn Size’ Trash Bags 100 grams
Toilet Paper/Used Paper Baggie 30 grams
Subtotal with Baggie: .19 kilograms
Warm Weather Clothing Bag
‘Night’ Clothes (Swim Trunks and Tank Top) 290 grams
Clothing – Two Days Worth
(2 pairs hiking socks, 1 pair each underwear, shorts, shirt)
800-1200 grams
16 x 16 inch Towel/Rag 85 grams
Subtotal with Stuff Bags for 7 Days: 3.70 kilograms
Food Bag
Food – Rations per Day
50 grams Jerky
150 grams Trail Mix
150 grams Noodles or Rice with Dehydrated Vegetables
100 grams Oatmeal with Dehydrated Fruit
30 grams Powdered Milk
15 grams Brown Sugar
150 grams Powdered Gatorade
20 grams Coarse Ground French Roast Coffee (Makes 5 Strong Cups)
20 grams Gravy Mix
200 grams Fresh Fruit (Orange, Apple, Mango)
885 grams
Subtotal with Stuff Bag and Baggies for 7 Days: 6.30 kilograms
Total Dry (Without Water) 7 Day Pack Weight: 23.53 kilograms (51.77 pounds)
Total 7 Day Pack Weight with 12 Liters Water: 35.53 kilograms (78.17 pounds)
Weight of Worn Clothes/Boots/Pocketed Equipment: 3.35 kilograms (7.37 pounds)
Seasonal and Optional Equipment
Solo Tent, Poles, Stakes, Rain Fly, Ground Sheet 1.60-2.00 kilograms
Fishing Gear 1.00 kilograms
Down Vest or Parka kilograms
Gloves kilograms
Hiking Staff or Pole(s) kilograms
Gators kilograms
Crampons kilograms
Climbing Rope kilograms

The Ten Essentials for Backcountry Survival

In editing the above and putting together your own checklist, be sure you do not neglect these ten essentials for backcountry survival, regardless of your plans. You should always carry the following with you, even when venturing into the backcountry for ‘just a day hike’:

  1. Extra Water and Food – Yes, it’s a dry heat… No water, you die! An often published general rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day. Folks, that’s for mild weather and conditions – you’ll have to consume 3 or more times that amount to prevent dehydration and combat heat exhaustion if exerting yourself in the summer heat, which can exceed 120 degrees in the shade on the Esplanade, Tonto Platform and within the Inner Gorge. No food = No fuel = No fun! Hiking the Grand Canyon backcountry is not the time to diet or loose weight… Indulge your body and appetite with double your normal intake of carbohydrates, sugars and water, and be sure you eat and drink periodically whether you feel hungry and thirsty or not.
  2. Trail and Topographic Map(s) – Without maps of the area in which you’re hiking, and knowledge of how to use them, your hike may turn into something less than enjoyable, especially if you are venturing onto and navigating the more remote, unmaintained trails or routes in the Grand Canyon backcountry. The trail maps published by the National Park Service, Grand Canyon Association and others are no substitute for 7.5 minute United States Geological Survey topos, which are essential for safe hiking on all but the Park Service maintained, heavily traveled corridor and rim trails.
  3. Compass/GPS Receiver – Used with knowhow, a GPS receiver makes navigating with those topographic maps ten times as effective. But do not neglect to pack a compass even if you are a competent GPS user! Your GPS could conk out, its batteries could become exhausted, or you may find yourself in such rugged terrain (typically, a deep canyon or wash) that your GPS may not ‘see’ enough sky (satellites) to function. Sometimes simpler is better… BTW, if your compass skills are a little rusty, or you’ve never learned how to triangulate position using a compass and topo map, waiting until you are lost in the Grand Canyon backcountry to figure it out will no doubt add to the intensity of the situation and provide for a better story later, assuming there is one.
  4. Flashlight with Spare Batteries – Besides just being very handy around camp for scaring off mountain lions, bears and giant ground sloths after dark, 😉 you may need a flashlight to hike during the night under emergency conditions to reach help for a fallen comrade, or to move your camp to higher ground if it rains. Flashlights also make good emergency signals at night.
  5. Emergency Whistle – This safety item is particularly important if you hike alone and/or venture off the beaten trail. A whistle carries further than your voice and can still be used after you’ve shouted yourself hoarse.
  6. Sunglasses – Your eyes can burn easily, and you won’t know it’s happened until the damage has already been done. A tough pair of polarized sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection is mandatory canyoneering attire, with a retainer string or band that helps prevent their loss and facilitates you in conveniently hanging them from your neck when not in use. I guarantee you will not be a happy camper if you lose or break your sunglasses during an extended hike!
  7. Protective Clothing and Hat – Depending on the season and weather, protective clothing may include rain gear, a wool shirt, sweater or parka, gloves, and perhaps a Mylar space blanket. In a pinch, a lawn size trash bag can be employed as an emergency rain poncho/pack cover. If your feet perspire anything like mine, a fresh change of socks is always appreciated. A shady hat is mandatory canyoneering attire! You will encounter high, gusty winds on the rims, outcrops and in side canyons that can easily and suddenly strip your hat from your head and blow it into an inaccessible abyss, so be sure your hat incorporates a secure chin strap. I guarantee you will not be a happy camper if you lose your hat in the Grand Canyon during an extended hike!
  8. Waterproof Matches/Windproof Lighter/Emergency Fuel – Keep them in a waterproof container. Candles, fuel tabs or another long-burning fire starter is essential when trying to start a fire with damp kindling. While it is illegal to build camp or cooking fires anywhere in the Grand Canyon backcountry, in an emergency you may need to start a fire to signal for help, or for heat if you’re caught in life threatening hypothermic conditions.
  9. Pocket Knife – This is an essential tool! You won’t be skinning any elk or bear, so a small Swiss Army Knife is all you’ll really need.
  10. Personal First Aid Kit and Emergency Info – Your first aid kit need not be elaborate but should at least contain Band-Aids, rolled gauze and pads, adhesive tape, antibiotic ointment, tweezers (for removing thorns and splinters), moleskin or blister bandages, and aspirin. You might also want to include an elastic bandage to wrap a stressed knee or sprained ankle, and of course any prescription medications you may require. In the event of an accident or medical emergency you may not be conscious if and when found, so it is also a good idea to carry emergency contact and medical information on your person on a card, including your blood type and any known allergies to medications or complicating existing medical conditions.
Published in: on April 9, 2010 at 1:32 AM  Comments Off on Backcountry Equipment Checklist  
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The stages of frostbite consists of several phases. In the first phase of frostbite, the skin temperature begins to drop, and blood flow to the surface of the skin dramatically decreases. As the cooling process begins, the body initiates the Hunting response, a 5-10 minute cycle where the blood vessels dilate, and then contract, which is the body’s attempt to re-warm. Hunting response is more frequently seen in populations native to cold environments such as Eskimo’s, where the response is far stronger. The medical term used for the Hunting response is cold-induced vaso-dilation. The first phase is defined as a pre-freeze phase.
The second phase is considered a freeze-thaw phase. It is between the freeze-thaw phase and the vascular stasis or third phase that we see intracellular fluid shifting across cell membranes. Theoretically it is thought that this is the phase where actual ice crystal formation occurs.
The next phase, the late ischemic phase, is the most severe. During this phase, the skin becomes necrotic and gangrenous. There can actually be bone involvement during this phase.
It is important to note phases can, and often do, overlap.
Frostbite symptoms
Frostbite can be classified in different degrees or stages, much like burns. 1st degree frostbite shows partial skin redness (erythema), swelling, usually no blisters. Symptoms include burning or throbbing pain. Stinging is sometimes reported by some patients. 2nd degree is redness. Sometimes vesicles and blisters are seen. These blisters can form a blackened area on the skin. Numbness is a symptom often seen. 3rd degree burns are much deeper, where there is full-thickness freezing of the skin, with hemorrhagic blisters. There can be some skin death. Symptoms include feeling of no sensation, burning, throbbing and aching (please see frostbite picture on Survive Outdoors, emergency photo section, for 3rd degree frostbite).
4th degree frostbite is the most severe state. It is usually full-thickness, involving muscle, tendons and bones. There is minimal swelling. At this point, these look very mummified. Pain at the joints is a possible symptom. This system of classification has received widespread use, especially by emergency rooms.
Frostbite Treatment –Outdoor Treatment for Frostbite
Outdoor treatment is relatively simple. All wet clothing should be removed, replaced by dry clothing, if available. Wrapping the areas in sterile gauze, if available, would be highly beneficial. However if not available, wrapping in any dry material is advised. Elevate the frostbitten area. Rapid re-warming has proven to be the most important treatment modality. However, there is some controversy surrounding the re-warming process. Some individuals believe that re-warming should occur only after being transported out to an ED (emergency department). Others suggest that rapid re-warming should occur in the field, running the risk of possibly refreezing the affected body part.  If an affected individual is 4-5 days from being transported out, this author believes waiting until arrival in the ED before re-warming is the safest and best option.
Other outdoor treatment should be placing cotton or cut up pieces of clothing between the toes or fingers. DO NOT DEBRIDE BLISTERS, as you will increase risk of infection.
When considering re-warming in the outdoors, many individuals think of warming water over a fire and using a thermometer to gauge the temperature. Of course this is rather ridiculous, as most individuals do not carry a thermometer with them in the outdoors. Subsequently, a nice rule of thumb is as follows: Water should be warmed to approximately 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the water that should be used to rapidly re-warm. This temperature is about that of a hot tub. After warming the water, if you place your hand in the water and immediately have to take it out, it is clearly above 104 degrees. At 104 degrees, one can leave their hand in the water for an extended period of time without feeling pain.
You can treat with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen, which also helps with anti-prostaglandin formation.
Published in: on March 16, 2010 at 4:38 AM  Comments Off on Frostbite  
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Bodie Ghost Town State Historic Park, CA

Bodie State Historic Park, CA Map
More than 170 buildings are protected in a state of “arrested decay” on more than 1,000 remote acres, administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Seasons / Hours
Bodie State Historic Park is open year round. It opens at 8am everyday but closing time changes seasonally (mid summer closing is at 7pm, mid-winter at 4pm).
Winter Visits
Bodie is open all year. However, because of the high elevation (8375 feet), it is accessible only by over-snow equipment during the winter months.
Many four wheel drive vehicles get stuck each year in powdery snow that is deeper than it first appears. Spring thaws bring mud, and wheeled vehicles are not advised. TOWING FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE. Snowmobiles must stay on designated roads within the park.
Winter weather is often unpredictable. Sub-zero temperatures, strong winds and white-out conditions are not uncommon. Call 760-647-6445 for current conditions
Rates & Fees
$5.00 per person – $3.00 per child (No Credit Cards) – pets must be leashed.
There are no services, camping, lodging, food vending or stores. There is one bathroom one museum open during the summer where books on Bodie and a few other items are available for sale. Restrooms (flush toilets) are located at the parking lot.
Bodie Ghost Town State Historic Park, CA
At an elevation of 8,400 feet, it’s hot during the summer, and potentially very cold during the winter. The weather can be changeable and layered clothing is recommended.
Location – Directions
The park is northeast of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road, seven miles south of Bridgeport.
Latitude/Longitude: 38.2122 / -119.0111

From U.S. 395 seven miles south of Bridgeport, take State Route 270. Go east 10 miles to the end of the pavement and continue 3 miles on an unsurfaced road to Bodie. The last 3 miles can at times be rough. Reduced speeds are necessary. Call the park if there are any questions about road conditions.
The town of Bodie rose to prominence with the decline of mining along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. Prospectors crossing the eastern slope in 1859 to search for gold, discovered what was to be the Comstock Lode at Virginia City and started a wild rush to the surrounding high desert country.
By 1879, Bodie boasted a population of about 10,000 and was second to none for wickedness, badmen, and “the worst climate out of doors.” One little girl, whose family was taking her to the remote and infamous town, wrote in her diary: “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.” This phrase came to be known throughout the west.
Killings occurred with monotonous regularity here in Bodie, sometimes becoming almost daily events. The fire bell, which tolled the ages of the deceased when they were buried, rang often and long. Robberies, stage holdups and street fights provided variety, and the town’s 65 saloons offered many opportunities for relaxation after hard days of work in the mines. The Reverend F.M. Warrington saw it in 1881 as “a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion.”
Nearly everyone has heard about the infamous “Badman from Bodie.” Some historians say that he was a real person by the name of Tom Adams. Others say his name was Washoe Pete. It seems more likely, however, that he was a composite. Bad men, like bad whiskey and bad climate, were endemic to the area.
Whatever the case, the streets are quiet now. Bodie still has its wicked climate, but with the possible exception of an occasional ghostly visitor, its badmen are all in their graves. Only about five percent of the buildings it contained during its 1880 heyday still remain. Today, it stands just as time, fire and the elements have left it — a genuine California gold-mining ghost town. Designated a state historic park in 1962, it is now maintained in a state of “arrested decay.”
Bodie was named after Waterman S. Body (also known as William S. Bodey), who discovered gold here in 1859. The change in spelling of the town’s name has often been attributed to an illiterate sign painter, but it was really a deliberate change by the citizenry to ensure proper pronunciation.
You can see the Standard Mine and Mill on the west slope of Bodie Bluff. Because the old mill buildings and surrounding area are extremely unsafe, they are closed to the public. The mine was known as the Bunker Hill Mine when it was registered in July 1861. It passed through several hands before being sold for $67,500 to four partners, who changed the name and incorporated as the Standard Company in April 1877.
The Standard Mine yielded nearly $15 million over 25 years, and its success caused the 1878 rush to Bodie. In only a year, the population rose from about 20 to an estimated 10,000 miners, gamblers and other entrepreneurs. The Mill was destroyed by fire in 1898, but was rebuilt the following year. While the boom lasted, some 30 companies produced $400,000 in bullion per month for an overall total estimated at $90 to $100 million.
Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 2:23 PM  Comments Off on Bodie Ghost Town State Historic Park, CA  
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Spare Batteries in a Pinch

Opened Battery

So you are out in the backcountry camping and your surrounded a severe storm and grab the radio to obtain a current forecast your batteries go dead, well if you were prepared as you should be you are carrying spares and it’s of no consequence.  Although let’s say you did not maybe you have a spare lantern battery did you know that you can get 32 AA Batteries from a Single 6 Volt Battery at a cost of $5.00 for a pack of 4 you have just saved yourself $36.00 and provided yourself a way to power your FM radio which could save your life.
Note : have only tried this on enigizer batteries and do not recommend regularly cracking open your  batteries (ware gloves and other protective eyeware before attempting.
Split the batteries  at the label/housing, 6 volts separated at the housing and the top of the battery . I have used a small screwdriver and peeled away the housing revealing a piece of paper.
What’s inside??
6-volt battery into 32 AA Batteries
12-volt battery into eight button cells
9-volt battery into six AAAs
Published in: on February 25, 2010 at 7:23 PM  Comments Off on Spare Batteries in a Pinch  
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Valley of Fire -The Cabins, NV

The Cabins

The historic stone cabins built with native sandstone by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930’s as a shelter for passing travelers.

Park Brochure

The Cabins

The Cabins – Anasazi Petroglyph’s

The Cabins - Anasazi Petroglyph's

The petroglyph’s depicted here can be located upon the rock wall directly behind the cabins, once entering the park the directions to these formations are provided within the park informational pamphlet provided at the entrance gate.

Elephant Rock & Poodle Rock, Valley of Fire Nevada

Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire, NV

During the last Ice Age, which ended 10,000 years ago, this area was much cooler and wetter, providing habitat for many animals that are now extinct, including saber-tooth cats, giant ground sloths, prehistoric horses and camels, and giant mammoths. The only relic of that time are the massive rock formations that are scattered throughout the park two notable formations are Elephant Rock  and Poodle Rock is a testament to the many varied stone shapes at Valley of Fire, thanks to the wonders of geology and the erosive power of weather.

Park Brochure

Poodle Rock, Valley of Fire, NV

Once entering the park the directions to these formations are provided within the park informational pamphlet provided at the entrance gate.

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 2:51 PM  Comments Off on Elephant Rock & Poodle Rock, Valley of Fire Nevada  
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