A Special Waipio Backpacking Trip

Backpackers crossing from Waipio to Waimanu Valleys on the Big Island are treated to some interesting guests.

Fly fishing the Tarryall.

Our day of backpacking up the Z switchback on the Mulawai Trail as we hiked toward Waimanu had been hot at first, but a breath of fresh and cool air had hit us once we got up on top. The refreshingly pleasant conifer forest up there was a welcomed surprise, since we were on Hawaii’s Big Island, but the sleeping platform/shelter midway along the trail, completely expected. We reached the elevated platform midafternoon, and since there was plenty of daylight left and we were all physically drained after making the hot, humid climb up out of Waipio, we all found a spot and stretched out on the relatively clean plywood for a quick nap. As I drifted off, I thought contentedly of black sand beaches, Liliko’i, sea cliffs and shade and soon began dreaming. Josh and I were the oldest and the leaders of the group of 8 or so teenage boys, and that would eventually come into play. But for the moment, we all just slept.

Continue reading “A Special Waipio Backpacking Trip”

Hamburgers and Lizard Head

A group of backpackers attempts to climb Lizard Head and learns the true meaning of climbing.

Pingora, Cirque of the Towers, Wind River Range, Wyoming

Lizard Head is a big peak just to the north and east of the well-known, long and breathtakingly majestic line of mountains, ridges and spires in the Wind River Range, known as the Cirque of the Towers. On one particular trip, we backpacked with two groups of 7, via different routes both coming in from the east, into Bear Lake. The lake sits just on the east side of Lizard Head and would be the location for our backcountry base camp.  Once there, we set up two close, but separate camps between the lake and mountain with the plan to use them as a base from which to explore the area. Since it was during the Fourth of July holiday, we knew that there’d be a lot of people in the general area, but that few, if any, would venture into that, more out of the way, neck of the woods. Our plans included a non-technical ascent of Lizard Head, fishing in area streams and lakes as well as a special Fourth of July supper, which was to include freeze-dried hamburger patties- a cutting-edge item back in the 80’s. Continue reading “Hamburgers and Lizard Head”

Mountain Biking The Trail of Death

An interesting turn of events while mountain biking some Copper Canyon singletrack.

Trail of Death 1-03
The Trail of Death

Afterward, we began to call it the Trail of Death.

For the longest time, Batopilas, Mexico was connected to the small town of Cerro Colorado by just a little bit of dirt road and seven or so miles of trail, just barely wide enough for burro traffic. Then, a few years back, that same dirt road was bulldozed all the way into the little Copper Canyon town, although the last mile or so of the old trail still exists where the road took an easier route. The part of the trail that remains, is a testament to human ingenuity and persistence, and in places it literally clings to a rugged mountainside, almost 100 feet above the intermittent water and ever-present boulders of the Rio Cerro Colorado. Continue reading “Mountain Biking The Trail of Death”

The Osa Peninsula

Backpackers learn that importance of avoiding high tides because of sharks and crocodiles is real.

Back[ackers in Copper Canyon
Backpacking- Copper Canyon, Mexico
Hiking on the beach sounded fun. I pictured us walking barefoot, with small packs, palapas to one side and limbo contest after limbo contest going on to the other, a nice gentle sea breeze blowing and keeping the temperature within the perfect zone and waves crashing onto a never-ending white sand beach showering us with perpetual and refreshing breaths of ocean air as we walked into the heart of the Osa Peninsula. But that wasn’t exactly the way it was. Continue reading “The Osa Peninsula”


Resbaloso, which is a Spanish word meaning slippery in English, is “that” word and also the name given to an infamous trail descent into the town of Creel.

The Resbaloso
Riding down the Resbaloso during the La Onza bike race in Creel.

Just seeing the word, much less speaking or hearing it, causes my pucker reaction to kick into high gear. Resbaloso, which is a Spanish word meaning slippery in English, is “that” word and also the name given to an infamous trail descent into the town of Creel. Continue reading “Resbaloso”

Boquillas Canyon

Canoeing and rafting down the Rio Grande through Boquillas Canyon.

The entrance into Boquillas Canyon
OWA’s “Outpost I”, 1979 Canoeing through Boquillas Canyon on the Rio Grande. Big Bend National Park.

The third time I floated the Rio Grande through Boquillas Canyon, things went smoothly. Since that was my first time to lead an actual group into the backcountry, that seemingly simple fact, was an especially good thing. There were twelve of us on that trip, paddling two per aluminum canoe. We made the 33 mile trip down the Rio Grande River over the course of three days, with two nights spent camping along the way, had only one simple “getting knocked out of the canoe” situation and a straightforward shuttle at the end. Mostly, all we had to do was read the current, soak up sun, gaze out at the mighty Sierra del Carmen rising above us off to the southeast in Mexico and ponder the magnificence and complexities of the monstrous cliff walls which engulfed us much of the time, making us all feel mighty small. Continue reading “Boquillas Canyon”

The Ride Up from Batopilas

A race of sorts via mountain bike to the top of Batopilas Canyon in Copper Canyon, Mexico.

La Bufa Switchbacks
The road from Batopilas up to Kirare in Copper Canyon.

Part 1

I set off from Batopilas, at the bottom of Copper Canyon, intent on riding my mountain bike up the 40 or so mile ascent to the intersection with the paved highway, as fast as I could. The unofficial record for doing that was 4 hours and my goal was to beat that. Whether or not it was realistic, will forever remain to be seen. Continue reading “The Ride Up from Batopilas”