To Do in 2023

something I've had a lot of fun with is avoiding vehicle shuttles by doing "triangular" packraft trips where you hike, float, then hike back to the vehicle. a quick one that was super nice was parking in the Keg Point vicinity, down Keg Spring Canyon to the Green, a day on the Green around Bowknot bend, and then back up the Twomile canyon trail. the curvy desert rivers make these not too hard to find.
I feel like I should add -- in case anyone might do this same trip -- that upper Keg Spring C is a bushwack from hell. if I did this again I'd 100% walk the trail down Buck Canyon which hits Keg Spring below the bad part. I've never walked the Buck C trail but last time I looked it was clearly visible in Google Earth
 
I didn't list my plans, but here's what I did:
  • Doll House in March
  • Needles/Devils Kitchen in April
  • Queant Lake in early July
  • Bryce Canyon in mid July (finally did the Fairyland Loop)
  • White Clouds in late July
  • (I basically took the whole month of July off from work in 2023...it was amazing!)
 
I didn't list my plans, but here's what I did:
  • Doll House in March
  • Needles/Devils Kitchen in April
  • Queant Lake in early July
  • Bryce Canyon in mid July (finally did the Fairyland Loop)
  • White Clouds in late July
  • (I basically took the whole month of July off from work in 2023...it was amazing!)
If you're in a trip report kind of mood, I'd love one on that white clouds trip!
 
Missed NH winter climbs

March: hiked Joshua Tree and Anza Borrego. Slipped on ice on Cuyamaca Pk. Elbow still hasn't healed.

Aug-Sep: Dodged a lot of stormy weather in the Winds. Hiked about 120 miles. Completed 2 short backpacks. Failed to get to Flying Monkey or Bear Basin due mostly to weather. Good time with @Bob . 3rd backpack cut short when I separated my shoulder off-trail on a solo backpack. Did finally catch a golden trout (albeit small)!
 
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Comical how little of what we had planned actually happened.

We did spend the first part of the year traveling. But very little backpacking in the summer, mainly because by the time we got home from our travels, it was still snowy in the Sierra.

And then my daughter invited me to hike the Camino Primitivo to Santiago in Spain, so that took about three weeks---and I came home with some illness that lasted a good while. I did manage to get in almost three weeks of volunteer work in the Sierra,
 
I failed my only stated goal: to do a trip in the Bob, despite even being invited on one.

Got multiple other good ones in though. Can't complain! I need to just make my goal for next year be what I actually have planned so far. Haha. Those ones usually happen.
 
It's that time of year! Working to find calendar space for my bigger trips as I type this - though this year the international trip might limit my others somewhat.
  1. Ecuador - going to spend 6 weeks of the summer based in Quito with my wife and kids. While there I'm planning to climb Cotopaxi, Cayambe, and Chimborazo - along with hopefully a number of other, smaller goals. Lots of time early in the year to prepare for this one physically and logistically. Very excited and a bit nervous for this. (Trip Report)
  2. Southern Absarokas - planning to take a long weekend similar to my 2022 Younts trip in mid-July. Still trying to settle on a route - I normally start with a target destination and work backwards, but nothing specific is speaking to me so far. I considered switching to the Winds or Beartooths where I have a few potential "targets", but I think I've talked up the Absarokas too much so my buddies are pretty stoked for that area specifically. (Trip Report)
  3. Sierra Nevada - joining a long-time hiking partner to do some more of Roper's High Route probably (or something similar) in September. I'll probably sit back and let him plan most of this one. (Trip Report)
  4. Yellowstone NP Eastern Border - I have a fairly ambitious pair of trips here that I'd really like to squeeze in, but not sure if it is going to be feasible. Especially since my beta for a number of sections is sparse/dated at best, so I can't promise much to anyone that might accompany me. One route focuses on traverses of the Yellowstone NP eastern border and the associated high points while the other (more predictable route) would take me out to the prongs of "The Trident". If I get really lucky, maybe I can combine them. ( :( )
  5. Wind River Range - for the first year in quite a while, I didn't visit the Winds at all in 2022. Definitely not missing in 2023 - though probably just a few goal-based weekend trips, if I'm being realistic. Maybe something longer if another trip falls through. (Trip Report)
  6. Local (RMNP/Indian Peaks/etc.) - making a bit of a "resolution" to take better advantage of the easy access for long day trips and 24-hour overnights than I have in 2021/2022. My preparation for Ecuador already has me spending a lot more time in the Flatirons, which has been great. (Trip Report #1) (Trip Report #2) + dozens of trips up/down Bear Peak, South Boulder Peak, and other local trails.
Will also continue the tradition of taking each of my boys out for a short trip - did both in RMNP in 2022, but I'd really like to do the Black Hills in SD with my older son this year. And I think our family trip to Yellowstone in September will probably be a backpacking trip this year.

If one of my longer trips falls apart, I'd really like to get out in the Beartooths or "the Bob" as well. If not, I think I'll need to prioritize these for 2024. (Trip Report #1) (Trip Report #2)

Long-Term Planning:
Already have plans to return to the Brooks Range in 2024 and tentatively hoping to climb Denali in 2025.

Last year's goals overall turned out great. Conditions pushed me out of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, but that meant I got to meet up with some BCP folks in Yellowstone instead.
A few things dropped/changed and a few additions/surprises (trip report links above) - plus a number of undocumented, personal trips and a bit more time on skis (including this Trip Report), but all-in-all just a fantastic year. Lots of progress towards future goals, as well - but that's for a different thread.

And a big thank you to @Nick and everyone on BackcountryPost - for many years BCP has been a great informational resource for me, but in the last couple years I've had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know a number of members here and - without exception - each has been a wonderful experience.
 
Thorofare in August. That's the only thing planned right now.

Major goal is to get back to hiking at least 1 day a week. COVID scrambled up things and I got out of the habit. The last couple months have shown me that my overall happiness is higher when I get more outdoor time.


I don't think I will make it to the High Sierra this year, but maybe.

Lot's of little trips planned for the southeast
Hopefully a bikepacking trip of some sort.

Made it to the Thorofare (trip report coming)

Totally failed at the once a week hiking and this feels like it has been a grumpy year, need to do better next year.

Attempted an "easy" bikepacking trip in WV that ended up not being easy because of a major lack of saddle time leading into the trip.

A good 5 night trip in the smokies and an awesome trip to Thorofare, other than those a pretty meh year.

Time to start thinking about 2024 :)
 
Made it to the Thorofare (trip report coming)

Totally failed at the once a week hiking and this feels like it has been a grumpy year, need to do better next year.

Attempted an "easy" bikepacking trip in WV that ended up not being easy because of a major lack of saddle time leading into the trip.

A good 5 night trip in the smokies and an awesome trip to Thorofare, other than those a pretty meh year.

Time to start thinking about 2024 :)
Better get that trip report out...... BEFORE you have to plan on the 2024 epic
 
My goals simply did not happen this year... plans falling apart or just not happening was a general theme for me though. I did take a couple trips west that turned out nice, but it was another year without a backpacking trip unfortunately.
 
I'm happy to say we've had great adventures this year. Perhaps because this is 60 for both of us and we know our backcountry clock is ticking, we're packing in as many trips as possible. Our trips have ended up happening pretty much as planned; because we live too far away to drive out West, we have to book flights and arrange time off of work far in advance. 2023 included:

-Yellowstone yurt camp and Tetons skiing - February
-Needles (Salt Creek plus) backpacking - April
-Sleeping Bear Dunes (Michigan) - July
-Winds (Southern - Big Sandy/Baptiste/Spearpoint/South Fork Lakes/Lizard Head/Cirque) backpacking - August
-Grand Canyon (North Rim - Deer Creek/Tapeats/Thunder River) - October

So many beautiful places to explore!!!
 
Now it has been a wonderful year with being retired and continuing to just hike, bike, and bird with living on my mountain bike. This past year it was north in the spring and summer with south in the fall and winter. Did not make it to either the Thorofare or Alaska but still it was a wonderful year. Some of the things that had thought about did not happen, but still a wonderful year being out and wandering about.

This year it was here in the desert southwest hanging out near Organ Pipe Cactus NM in the winter till late February which was wonderful! Then in late February went to a Primitive Skills Gathering called Wintercount, held out here in the desert in late February. Remember it snowed on us during the gathering being held out in the Sonoran Desert in SW AZ. Then afterwards went north back to St. George and the Zion NP area in the spring till May. So just love Zion. From there biked back up to Jackson and Jackson Hole in Wyoming where I biked and hiked with hanging out till October. It was Great being back home in JH and Wyoming. This was except for a trip to the Washington Coast in late July till the end of August. Got a ride with my bike out to the coast with a person off of Craigslist and back via Amtrak. It was Great! I biked and wandered all along the Washington Coast from the San Juan Islands to Sequim out to Forks, La Push, and Neah Bay down to Ilwaco at the mouth of the Columbia River. Again it was just wonderful wonderful being out there along the coast. Then afterwards back to Jackson Hole till into October. Nice fall in JH this year. Left JH on October 9th and arrived back here in the Sonoran Desert near Organ Pipe Cactus NM, Southern AZ in mid November. Have just hung out here since enjoying life since and will probably be around here till next early spring when time to go north again. All pretty much hiking, biking, and birding! All in all a Great Year with being out, camping out, and enjoying life about every single day with just living in the now. Still so much to see and experience in life. Now soon another year with more to see and experience to come.

Blessing to all!
 
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