A few questions

Pringles

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I retired almost two months ago, and keep wanting to go backpacking somewhere. I live by Yellowstone, and am hoping someone can give me some suggestions of places that I could backpack in the next month or two, south of here. I don’t mind backpacking down to about 25*, but don’t want to contend with snow. I’m hoping someone can suggest someplace pretty (doesn’t have to be the best camp spot in the lower 48, just pretty), and maybe 3-4 miles out, and then back. I’m hoping to take a road trip to New Mexico and Arizona, which also means I’d drive through Utah and possibly Nevada. Any suggestions? Similarly, I backpacked for 12 nights in Yellowstone this summer, most were within 3-4 miles of the trailhead. I considered posting pictures, but didn’t because they’re not the longer distances that Scatman and friends post… do you want to see short, weekend trips, too?

One of the reasons that I want to actually GO backpacking, is that while I’m at home, inside, I look online and start buying things. (My house is like a no-kill shelter for gear.) I pulled the trigger on a backpacking hammock set—the Hammock Gear Wanderlust set. It has hammock, quilts, tarp and things to make it all work without having to tie knots or choose between a whoopie or a zinger or a stinger or a gazillion other things. The only real choice is what color of a tarp and what color of a hammock. That was relatively easy. I have camped a few times with a Hennessy Hammock, but never had an underquilt and I never got the hang of using a pad to keep me warm. From reviews and reputation, I trust that with some fiddling, this will work well. I have a couple of hammock questions, though. I remember a little about tying a “tail” on the hammock suspension, so water that flows down the lines drops off the tail, rather than flows right on into the hammock. Will a shoelace work for that? Does it go just inside the tarp coverage? Do I need these for the tarp’s line, too? Where do you put your pack? In Yellowstone I worry about curious creatures like raccoons and bears. Should I hang my pack? When tenting, my pack always comes in the tent with me.

Thanks for any suggestions. Now that I have so much time and so many options, I’m rather blinded by the opportunity. Soon, I’ll start choosing and doing. :)

Pringles
 

Rockskipper

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I had to hypnotize myself to stay away from the REI site. It was hard until I discovered that all the national parks have online stores...

Come on down to Utah. It's really nice right now and with it being a La Nina year we probably won't get much snow.
 

Jackson

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do you want to see short, weekend trips, too?
Yes!

As for where to go for your winter backpacking trip, I'm not very familiar with stuff south of Utah, but if you keep an eye on the forecast, you can avoid snow for the most part in a lot of southern Utah. Can't guarantee it'll stay above 25 at night though. One I've done in the dead of winter with minimal snow was the San Rafael Gorge. I think Cane Wash is something like 4 miles in, and there's some decent camping around there. I'm not sure about hammock camping though. That may be tough to do in most places in the desert, but I also have no experience with hammocks at all, so I'm not a good source on it.
 

Pringles

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Thank you for the suggestions. I'll look at San Rafael Gorge. A quick read makes that sound nice. And, while I will be getting new stuff for hammock camping, I have loads of tents, too. Based on Rockskipper's response, I was wondering about calling Canyonlands or Arches backcountry offices. I've only driven through both of those parks. Are they higher altitude, so more prone to snow? Where I was at Canyonlands, which was the part that's on the other side of the road from Arches, it didn't seem like there were many trails. I wasn't paying any attention to overnights, there, though.

Jackson, I will happily put up some short trips in Yellowstone. Since lots of folks look at Yellowstone as a big trip destination, I feel kind of lame posting pictures from my 3 miles in trips, even though each is special.

I avoided the REI, Backcountry, Moosejaw, etc. sales. I wanted a 20* Hammock Gear quilt, so went to their site. I was trapped in the vortex of 20% off, and even more off from their kit. :)

Pringles
 

RyanP

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Murphy point in Island in the sky? It may be shorter then you want (less than 2 miles in), but you'll have it to yourself (there's only one permit issued each day for that zone). It's probably not ideal for hammocks, but most awesome places in the southwest won't be. I've never actually been to that campsite, but would like to take my family there someday.
 
Last edited:

Jackson

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Canyonlands would be good. Needles district can get icy since some of the canyons are pretty narrow and stay in the shade nearly all day with the low winter sun, but it's still great if you've got micro spikes and don't mind some ice and snow. The Island in the Sky suggestion is good. You're right that there are not a ton of trails up there though.
 

Bob

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Grand gulch, escalante,
 

scoags

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You could have good luck in New Mexico. You could look at the Sabinosa wilderness there, about an hour east of Santa Fe, newly designated. Also Bandelier National Monument has wonderful backcountry and hardly anybody uses it. Rio Grande del Norte National Monument north of Taos also has some nice trails down into the river bottom. Probably some snow and ice but also not much if the weather has been nice; look for "La Junta". In the Gila the river crossings will be cold but the weather might be pretty nice depending. Sounds like a great trip!
 

scatman

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@Pringles - I'm excited to read your reports. I enjoy your perspective on your trips, but also your evaluation of campsites, some of which I've never stayed at before. Trip length (days/months) or mileage are irrelevant to me. I enjoy it all. From long distance hikes to simple day hikes, I feel like I learn something with each report. I've always found that it's nice to hear and see different perspectives form those who take the time to write up a report, or just show images of what they have encountered along their route, trips/hikes (even if the destination is the same) from various seasons appeals to me, and using different routes to get to the same location I find interesting. So let's have one of those reports so I can see if there is something I can add to my bucket list! :thumbsup::thumbsup:
 

Pringles

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I’ll be looking into those places. And while I will have new hammock gear, I had a tent jump into my cart, too. :) It goes especially well with my Hammock Gear 0* quilt.

Thanks for the encouragement. I will try to post some of my trips. I usually do, but this summer, I didn’t. I am beginning to realize now that the problem was that I usually post during some free time between trips, and this summer, because I kept going to the park, I didn’t have any free time. I was feeling kind of pooped long about the first of September. I thought I’d been backpacking most every weekend for 6 weeks or so, and then I looked at my calendar. It had been 11 weekends in a row. I had a blast, and seem to have conquered my fear of fording streams. This year I forded the Falls River, (both ways), Crystal Creek (both ways)), the Gibbon, and a bunch more. I’ll post some trip reports.

Pringles
 

Jackson

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I am beginning to realize now that the problem was that I usually post during some free time between trips, and this summer, because I kept going to the park, I didn’t have any free time.
That's the best reason not to be writing trip reports!

That's awesome you were out for so many weekends. I'd love to be able to do that someday, living as close as I do to Yellowstone now.
 

JBPHXAZ

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I found the hardest thing about retirement and wanting to get out was finding other people to do it with. So good for you for getting out there on your own!
As far as places to go in AZ, specifically for the winter months. Sedona area, Grand Canyon, and segments of the Arizona Trail. Also I just got done doing Rainbow Bridge and would highly recommend it. Its longer than the miles you are looking for, but might be something to consider. (And technically its in Utah.)
Good luck with the travels and make the rest of us jealous with some trip reports!
 

Bob

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I found the hardest thing about retirement and wanting to get out was finding other people to do it with. So good for you for getting out there on your own!
As far as places to go in AZ, specifically for the winter months. Sedona area, Grand Canyon, and segments of the Arizona Trail. Also I just got done doing Rainbow Bridge and would highly recommend it. Its longer than the miles you are looking for, but might be something to consider. (And technically its in Utah.)
Good luck with the travels and make the rest of us jealous with some trip reports!
Yep...... same here. Retired and go any time but everyone else works......
 

Pringles

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Thank you all for the ideas of places, and encouragement.

Any hammock hangers with comments about where to put a pack, and the rain dripper things?

Thank you, again.
 

wsp_scott

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Thank you all for the ideas of places, and encouragement.

Any hammock hangers with comments about where to put a pack, and the rain dripper things?

Thank you, again.
Only once have I had water get channeled under my tarp (it was pouring all night), usually the water will get disrupted by the tarp attachment itself, but you could tie a bit of string/water line at the tarp attachment point to help prevent any channeling.

I would guess that the carabiners in that set would also be enough to keep water from the hammock, but that would be a good place to tie a string.

If it is going to rain, I put my pack under the hammock. I usually end up hanging on a slope if rain is in the forecast so no puddles form underneath.

hope that helps
 
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