For a few years, I've been wearing Salomon XA 3D Ultra 2 trail shoes on light warm weather hikes. Their soles are sticky enough to handle the steep sandstone slickrock of Zion NP as well as the steep granite domes at Yosemite NP. Well, they were sticky enough. They're quite worn down now, to the point of being dangerous. I was tempted to get some Salewas, but then came across Oboz at a little shop in Springdale, UT. I'd read good things about the Oboz Sundog so I tried them on. Wow, those are very comfortable shoes. I would have bought them, except they had a lot of torsional flex. That's not something I like when scrambling on boulders.
The Switchback is equally comfortable, but has a stiffer sole. They didn't have a size that fit me well, so I ordered them online. I normally wear a size 10.5, but that was a snug fit with street socks, so I need a size 11 with hiking socks.
I've only worn them around the house now. I'll try them on a hike soon.
I was finally able to download the .gpx file from my Garmin Nuvi 2797. The problem was with the micro USB cable. I bought a new one and it works now. I'm lucky it's the cable and not the connector on the Garmin. That makes me happy.
Here's a few screencaps from Google Earth showing my route for my recent trip across the NW corner of Arizona.
This one shows where I turned around on the hard section of Nutter Twists Road.
And here's the Honeymoon Trail down the Hurricane Cliffs.
During my drive across NW AZ, I took a short detour to check out a trail that descends down the Hurricane Cliffs. This is a short section of the famous Mormon Honeymoon Trail located off Route 1015 at the UT-AZ border.
This trail is included in Massey's trial book (Hurricane Cliffs Trail) and has a difficulty rating of 6. That's higher than I've ever driven, so I wanted to see exactly what makes it so hard. The book says the difficulty is from an off-camber section near the top.
Here's a view of this section of road in Google Earth. The yellow circle marks where I was taking photos.
I took several photos, although the slope never seems to come across on photos.
It doesn't look too bad, but I wouldn't want to drive it. I should have used my iphone inclinometer app to measure the slope of that off-camber incline. Maybe I'll do that next time I pass that way.
About that map I included in the previous post... I wasn't planning to use that map.
Originally, I wanted to grab the .gpx file from my Garmin Nuvi and then load that into Google Earth so I could grab a screenshot of the route in GE. That failed because I was unable to mount my nuvi to my computers, so I couldn't download the .gpx file.
Then I wanted to make a map by grabbing a Google map and drawing my route using Acorn, like I normally do. That failed using several mapping websites because I ran into 2 big problems: (1) you must zoom in a lot in order to see the small roads I drove, and that would force me to grab many tiles and then create a mosaic, and (2) some of the roads I drove are not shown on all the mapping web sites.
So, I decided to simply hilite my BLM map and take a photo. These BLM maps are great. They show all the roads. This can be very helpful if I were to run into problems out there: washed out roads, bad weather, closed roads, roads too difficult for me, mechanical trouble, health problems, etc. Seeing the alternate roads gives me more options if I need to change my route due to any surprises.
I bought these at the Zion National Park visitor center a few years ago.
A few weeks ago, I drove across the NW corner of Arizona including parts of the Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument. I've done this several times and I enjoy it each time. This time I wanted to drive through a few of the short canyons deeper in the territory. I wondered if their remoteness translated into more difficult terrain. The main roads in that region are large graded roads that any car can drive.
Starting from Hurricane, UT, I headed SE along highway 59 and turned south down a series of roads that run somewhat parallel to the Hurricane Cliffs. On a previous trip I drove the dirt roads that head south along the base of those cliffs. That route had some challenging sections. The roads I drove along the top of the cliffs are very easy. The first section of my route is included in Massey's trail book "Backcountry Adventures - Utah" (The Divide Trail).
Route 1015 to the Arizona Border
I didn't see a BLM route marker until I reached the Arizona border, but I think it's all route 1015. The turnoff from highway 59 isn't marked, but it's large and you can't miss it.
I saw plenty of cattle along this section. At one point, I came upon 2 that were lying in the road and I had to wait for them to get up and move.
Route 1015 South to Navajo Trail (Route 30)
Navajo Road (route 30) West to Route 5
Route 5 North to Route 101
Route 101 SW to Route 1032
I didn't take any photos of this section. Route 101 is a large graded road. I just watched my GPS map so I wouldn't miss my turnoff.
Upper Jump Canyon (Route 1032)
This road crosses a sparse pine forest. I saw several corrals and water tanks, but only a few cattle.
St George Canyon
The road descends down this windy canyon.
Hidden Canyon aka Nutter Twists Road (Route 1003)
This was the first challenging road I encountered. I had to drive most of it with the suspension raised due to the many dry creek crossings. Each such wash crossing had its own flavor of rocks, boulders, gravel, and bedrock. Nothing difficult. Just keeps your speed down. I averaged less than 10 mph on this road.
Western End of Nutter Twists Road
It wasn't my original route, but I decided to try the last short section of Nutter Twists Road that connects with the bottom of Black Canyon. This is the hardest section that I encountered. The difficult part is near the top, about a mile from the bottom of Jump Canyon. A downhill section (travelling west) about 50 yards long with large chunks of bedrock that you must drive over. It's marked up from tires and frames and such, showing the spots most likely to hit your underside. This short section would be rated 5 on the scales used by Mitchell and Massey.
I decided that I was too tired to properly enjoy that rugged section and chose to drive up Jump Canyon instead. Translation: I chickened out. But I'm glad I did because Jump Canyon was a joy to drive.
Jump Canyon (Route 1033)
Surprisingly nice road/trail. I drove 30 mph at times. Fewer cattle here. The road appears less well worn and some of it is 2-tracks in the grass. But it's a very nice drive.
This road was easy and pleasant to drive. Not as scenic as Jump Canyon until I reached the western end when views of the distant horizon improved.
Not much to say here. Route 101 is a major route through the region and is an easy drive. Be careful to not enter the bends with too much speed because the dirt has little traction and the gods of understeer will send you off the road.
Route 242 (becomes Lime Kiln Canyon Road) to Mesquite
Another easy graded road. The final run down the hill to Mesquite is smoother than it was last time I drove it.
All in all, it was a nice alternative to the interstate. It's much more fun to take the scenic route.