CategoryUncategorized Archives - The Northrups

Hiking – Journey or Destination

September 14th, 2017

Hiking is good for the mind and soul and takes you to awesome places. It has given me great experiences and has enabled me to take some amazing images. If I had hiked as if on a mission just to arrive at a destination I would have missed out on lots of photographic opportunities. Hiking for the joy of the journey leaves me at the back of the pack.

This has made me wonder about the motivation of hikers as they charge past me hiking at a speed of well over 3.5 miles an hour. That’s fast and doesn’t leave any time to take pictures. Ok, so you are getting a workout. You can go the gym and do that. Or just find a path somewhere and walk as fast as possible.

My suggestion is to set a slower pace and stop to enjoy your surroundings. First, you’re going to see more of what the hike offers and avoid getting burned out. You go further and see more. Another real benefit is that a more measured pace allows you to be surer of your footing and avoid accidental falls.

By embarking on a journey rather than a race, you will more likely know where you are going and avoid turns that could get you lost. A longer hike gives you more time on the trail and greater enjoyment. Besides, what’s the hurry. You’ll see more wildlife and have more opportunities to enjoy the trail or take photographs.

The trails where I most often see destination type hiking are usually very clearly defined. However, many of the locations where we hike require that you pay attention and utilize of skilled route finding. Even on defined trails, I still observe hikers blowing past turns and ending up some where they didn’t plan on and wonder how they got there.

A journey utilizing a measured pace allows you to check your compass, map, or GPS. I will continue to pursue the journey in the pursuit of great adventures and photographs plus more time to enjoy the scenery and the hike. Here’s to more enjoyable hikes and journeys!

The Sundance Trail

August 10th, 2017

The journey to Dark Canyon and the Sundance Trail was an experience that we’ll not soon forget. Just the drive was an adventure. Located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation, Dark Canyon plunges 1,600 feet from the canyon rim to the canyon floor. The Sundance Trail is a cairned slick rock trail that provides wonderful views of the canyon below and the surrounding area that you never forget.

To reach the trail head requires a 12-mile drive on dirt roads without clear marking to let you know if you are on the right road. The drive to the trail provided a contrasting view of the sandstone desert and the snow capped Manti La Sal mountains in the background.

The Sundance Trail leads to where you drop into the cavern of Dark Canyon. It is an easy straight forward hike with lots to see over the 2.2 miles it takes to reach the canyon rim. The surface is mostly slick rock and not much elevation gain and loss. We encountered interesting rock formations in addition to the ruggedness of Dark Canyon.

Looking down into the abyss of Dark Canyon was amazing. We didn’t have time to explore the canyon as we arrived in late afternoon after driving from Montrose. Since I have video plus some still images, I think you will get a pretty good grasp of the hike.


Returning to Highway 95 proved to be another story. The road marker we needed to make it out had been knocked down by the grader and not replaced. This resulted in a missed turn and a lengthy back track making it a long trip.

The Sundance Trail is adjacent to Natural Bridges National Monument and its amazing bridge structures. The White River runs through the region and offers numerous slot canyon to explore. We need to go back for more exploration and adventure.

Enjoy the video of our adventure.


Why Trekking Poles?

July 2nd, 2017

Hiking or trekking poles accompany us on every hike. Why do we use them and how do they help? Here are some thoughts and tips that answer these questions.

Most people think of safety as the reason for trekking poles. While this is one reason, you might be surprised to find out that they help improve your posture and the efficiency of your movement. Walking in an upright position helps maximize your breathing by increasing the amount of oxygen that gets to your lungs. Trekking poles help you to achieve an upright walking position.

Your hiking efficiency will be increased by 10 percent, especially when going up or down hill. They also tend to remove between 3 to 5 percent of the impact from every pole plant. Since you are less likely to lose your balance, you reduce knee strain and injuries when walking on uneven terrain. They become your extra set of legs on tough terrain.

Maintaining balance is one of the advantages of trekking poles because it gives you four points of contact instead of just two. They are invaluable as aids on slick surfaces, rough terrain, or crossing streams. In addition, the use of poles results in less strain on the lower back and knees.

Using trekking poles helps you establish a pace when hiking. The rhythm of using the poles in coordination with your stride helps your entire body to achieve a set pace. Getting into a set pace enables your breathing to become steadier and controlled. This improves your  hiking efficiency and allows you to hike longer distances.

Based on published studies, trekking poles significantly increases the amount of oxygen consumed and the number of calories burned. In addition, the poles are an efficient and healthy way to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are engaged every time you lift and pole plant in the front and bring them back to the front.

For someone like me who has knee issues, using trekking poles helps to relieve stress on both my legs and knees. This has been especially noticeable when going down step down grades. Poles have rubber tips which can be placed on the metal tips and really helps when hiking on slick rock. I carry these rubber tips in my back pack just in case.

There are a variety of pole types made of different shaft material, various lock devices for adjusting length, and handle configurations. Pricing can range from $30 a pair to over $100. Trekking poles are a real bargain when considering the cost compared to the benefits gained by using them.

The Shrader Old Growth Trail

June 24th, 2017

When you’re near the Oregon coast you think of hiking near the ocean. Our daughter in law came up with another option. Let’s explore the old growth forest that has evolved over hundreds of years with an easy one-mile stroll through a forest of giant trees.

Underneath the covering of big fir and cedar trees was a treasure trove of plants, insects, and decayed logs that were left behind because they lacked commercial value. In addition, there are dead trees that are called snags. These snags provide shelter and food for over 65 species of birds and 30 species of animals.

Walking the trail, we saw beams of light shining through openings in the forest created by fires and wind storms. Plus, there was moss covering the trees reminding us of the cool, moist conditions that exist in coastal old-growth forests.



This was a great trail for our 3-year-old granddaughter. She literally pranced down the path and through the forest. She made sure that I noticed the blacken tree trunk that was evidence of the fires that swept through the forest over 100 years ago.









The stream running along and underneath the bridges on the trail provides moisture for plants and aquatic life. The stream was shaded by the forest keeping water temperatures cool. It was neat seeing the brook tumble over fallen tree trunks creating scenic water falls.

Our granddaugther delighted in finding pine cones and acorns scattered along the forest trail. Many of these old growth trails have become lost over the years. Hiking this trail was a pleasant break from waking the beach and hearing the crashing of waves.

One thing for sure was the forest trees are tall and massive. The fir trees in the forest can measure over 10 feet in diameter and rise to over 200 feet in height. The trees helped to put everything mother nature created into prospective.

The hike wasn’t long, but it didn’t need to be. The setting and surroundings created an experience that will not be quickly forgotten.

Big Dominquez Canyon

May 22nd, 2017

Our hiking club hikes on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Well, guess what, we had three inches of snow on Wednesday. You could call it spring time in the Rockies. That took care of the mid-week hike and forced us to think about where to go on Saturday where we could avoid snow and mud. We decided on Big Dominguez Canyon for our celebration of the first-ever Public Lands Day in Colorado.

Big Dominquez is part of the Dominquez-Escalante National Conservation area that is part of the Uncompahre Plateau which is an area that holds geological and paleontological treasures covering 600 million years and contains numerous cultural and historic sites reaching back over 10,000 years.

The boring part of the hike requires a jaunt of about a mile along the Gunnison River and then becomes more exciting when you cross the bridge over the river. The next 2.5 miles takes you through rugged canyon landscape craved from sandstone canyon walls. You boarder along Little and Big Dominquez creeks on a trail that sparkles from the mica deposits that are present in the area. The view of green cottonwood trees to the south toward Little Dominquez was stunning.

Our route was up Big Dominquez Canyon to the petroglyph panel which is about 3.5 miles from the parking lot trail head. Here is an image of the site and one of the images carved into the rock. This was our lunch and resting stop before heading back to the trail head.

It was a perfect day for a hike and Public Lands Day.

It brought out the people including a BLM representative who was on the trail to welcome us.

A great day and a great trail.