Favorite Trips of 2012


Aug 9, 2007
Already reminiscing about all the trips I went on in 2012. Thought I'd post mine up and hopefully others would post theirs too. First off, my top backpacking trips.

My Top 3 Backpacking Trips from 2012:

Maidenwater, Trachyte & Swett - April
Part 2: Trachyte Creek
Part 3: Swett Creek
I liked the whole trip, but Swett Creek in particular was my favorite. Not very hospitable and far from beginner-friendly but totally unforgettable.​

Imogene Lake, Sawtooths - June
By itself, this might not be a favorite, but because of how much I enjoyed the solo factor and exploring well above snow level to see the ice just start to come off the high alpine lakes, it was definitely one of my favs for 2012.​
Priord Lake, Uintas - July
Again, it was almost the circumstances of this trip that made it a fav over the pure destination. Right off the heals of failing to finish the Highline, it was perfect to get up there with an old friend and have pure solitude and relaxation at one of the prettiest lakes in The Uintas.​
Close runner-ups (so hard to decide!):
The Maze Super Loop
Wind Rivers Cook Lakes Loop

I'm going to post my favorite canyoneering trips of the year next. What are your favorites? Don't forget to link to TR's!

Awesome idea. My three:

3. Wind River Range Loop

My first visit to the much heralded mountain range. This 6 day circumnambulation of the Cirque was unforgettable.


2. Escalante Backpackaneering

This 3 day, 2 night outing had it all--backpacking, bushwacking, and canyoneering. The heaviest load I've ever carried in my entire life couldn't stop this from being one of the highlights of 2012.

And #1, of course, is the proposal pilgrimage through Alaska Basin:

1. Alaska Basin

Aww man, it's so difficult to choose my favorites. 2012 was a good year for outdoors trips for me! Here are my faves, in chronological order:

Farnsworth Canyon and Top of the Reef
This was my first camping trip after setting a goal to camp at least once each month in 2012. I found some great rock art in Farnsworth on the first day, then found some even more interesting rock art and a couple of metates on my way to the top of the San Rafael Reef the next day.



The Maze
This isn't an trip I would have considered on my own, and I'm grateful to have been invited to tag along with Richard and Kev. Truly amazing country along with some great company!



Grandaddy Basin
My second backpacking trip of the year (and only my third ever). It rained a lot, and we had some rough trails, but those often make for the best experiences.



High Spur
High Spur was my first real taste of canyoneering. I've done some easy non-technical canyons, and Three Canyon which was pretty much just a longer hike with any easy rappel thrown in. High Spur had some of everything!


Already reminiscing about all the trips I went on in 2012. Thought I'd post mine up and hopefully others would post theirs too. First off, my top backpacking trips.

I did only ONE trip summer of 2012 to Toejam Lake in the Sierra. At the trailhead, before the hike in, a llama got loose. I head locked him and managed to tear my right bicep. Hurt like a hell. I couldn't catch him, so I loaded up the other two and went in for two weeks. My son met me there for last few days, and after we hiked out the two of us managed to catch him. He had been on his own for those two weeks hassling outfitters horses, chasing dogs, and eating rich foliage. He was fat, sassy, and ready to be caught when we got out. Anybody want some llama steaks? Just kidding about the steaks. Anyway, surgery seemed more important than more packing.
I'll post pictures later when I'm home.

#1 Hall's Creek Narrows

Wow. by slc_dan, on Flickr

#2 Upper Muley Twist solo-overnighter
I can't find the pics for this. :mad:

#3 Sawtooth's with my wife and dog

The Wild Mya by slc_dan, on Flickr

honerable mentions: Willis Creek, Island in the Sky, and a few Capitol Reef trips with NateGeesaman. Also the Needles with my wife. 2012 was a great year for outdoors. I hope to make 2013 even better.
I am with Dan in voting Halls Creek Narrows as my #1

Halls Creek Life Lines by NateGeesaman, on Flickr

#2 would have to be backpacking The Maze for 5 days with someone I had not met before, good dude it turns out.

Last Light on The Chocolate Drops by NateGeesaman, on Flickr

#3 would be hiking Sheets Gulch and Upper Muley's Twist in Capitol Reef. Sheets Gulch was one of the most fun scenic hikes I have ever been on and the views of Upper Muley's Twist are really world class! I had lovely company on this trip as well.

Sheets Gulch Cathedral by NateGeesaman, on Flickr

2012 was very good to me otherwise as well. Great year to be in Utah!
Since I couldn't narrow down my trips to just a top three, here are my top canyoneering outings to go along with my other post of top backpacking trips.

Zion: Fat Man's Misery, Keyhole, Pine Creek & Mystery, Sept 2012
I've only completed 1 out of 3 trip reports from this trip, but that's not a sign of how good it was. I totally fell in love with Fat Man's Misery. It's not typically thought of as one of the epic Zion canyons, but I totally loved every step of it, even if it was like a 15 mile hike! Follow that up with a Keyhole/Pinecreek day and then a near epic in Mystery and that's a weekend I'll never forget.

Neon Canyon, Oct 2012
Neon AND a huge backpacking loop through Escalante? Enough said.

Zion: Mystery, Russell Gulch+Subway & Yankee Doodle, Oct 2012
Descending Zion canyons in the fall has to be one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. This is going to become a tradition.


I'm with you Nick, I'm reminiscing about great trips I took in 2012 and looking forward to 2013. I started a post but was having connectivity issues and now don't have the energy to repeat, so will stick with photographic highlights (ones I haven't already saturated you guys with yet!).

February 2012-went to Moab and Kanab in search of snow and found myself in the middle of one of Utah's warmest winters. Had some nice clear nights and got to practice taking night shots:

North Window at night, Arches NP by Laura Zirino, on Flickr

It finally snowed on the day I had to drive home-just my luck! When I got to Zion I hit the most incredible scene, with the sun hitting the cliffs just as the storm cleared. I only had about an hour so I snapped as many pictures as possible. Later in May I took a workshop with my hero David Muench and I showed him one of the photos I got that day. He made a few edits, and here is the result:

Zion Cliffs 2 by Laura Zirino, on Flickr

My boyfriend and I met on a backpacking trip in the Sierras 7 years ago and we celebrate every year by going on a backpacking trip. On this particular trip I rented a Canon 5DMkIII and a 24mm f1.4 lens and packed them in-about $6,000 worth of camera equipment that wasn't mine! I fought through altitude sickness that first night and made myself get up to attempt a shot of Banner Peak at night. The moon was way too full to get many stars and I made a lot of rookie mistakes, but here's what I got. The light is entirely moonlight:

Banner Peak under moonlight by Laura Zirino, on Flickr

Last trip was my recent Zion-Capitol Reef trip with my new 5dMkIII (my very own this time!) and even though it was supposed to be a bad year for fall colors, I found them in abundance. I've already posted the best shots in my trip report here, but here's a photo I initially wasn't sure about. I took Nick's suggestion to add a vignette effect, and this is what I got. Thanks Nick!

Waterfall through the maples by Laura Zirino, on Flickr

I have to say the highlight of my Zion trip was finally going into the Narrows. It's like Yosemite Valley-no matter how many pictures you see, you're blown away by its beauty. And I didn't even have good light when I was there! You can bet I'll be going back next fall. I signed up for another workshop with David Muench and this one will be in Zion in November. I got the itinerary and he's planning a day in the Narrows. Could it get any better than spending a day in the Narrows with David Muench???

The Narrows-again by Laura Zirino, on Flickr

Can't wait for 2013!
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