September 26, 2013

Canyon With Kids, Reprised

Canyon With Kids, Reprised

We made it out! I don’t think I’ve ever been as anxious about a backpacking trip as this one, but when my brother invited me to join him on a 2-night trip with his family to Indian Garden, there was a lot of history to live up to. I’ve long thought that 1978 hike to Grand Canyon’s Cottonwood Camp was one of the most formative backcountry experiences of my life (more…)

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July 11, 2013

The West’s Fiery Future

The West's Fiery Future

If you want a canary in the coalmine for climate change in the western U.S., try Northern Arizona’s Coconino National Forest. The forest features the world’s largest contiguous stand of Ponderosa Pines, all growing in a region whose sparse rainfall (about 22″ annually in Flagstaff) is far more typical of a high desert rather than evergreen landscape (more…)

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August 1, 2010

Skiing Meteor Crater?

Skiing Meteor Crater?

You have to feel like you’re on the right track as a parent when you visit Arizona’s Meteor Crater, and your three-year-old boy takes one look and asks if he can ski it. The answer to that question is a big, “Weather Permitting.” With the Crater’s rim around 5600′, it would definitely take an unusual series of storms to make any kind of ski descent feasible (more…)

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February 21, 2009

San Francisco Peaks – Abineau Canyon

San Francisco Peaks - Abineau Canyon

If there’s a prettier mountain in the world, I don’t want to know about it. Here’s my hometown mountain, the San Francisco Peaks (Arizona’s high point), as seen from the north. The prominent snowfield off the main summit, with its three fingers, is Abineau Canyon—certainly one of the biggest, most aesthetic backcountry ski descents in Arizona (more…)

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