Friday, November 12, 2010

West Fork of Oak Creek - Sedona

The hiking group was doing a Veteran's Day hike on West Fork Trail of Oak Creek in Sedona. I don't normally like stream crossing hikes, but I really wanted to see the fall colors, so decided to join in.
Of course, we had hardly hiked at all before we hit the first (of at least 26) stream crossings.
The canyon was beautiful though.
The morning started out very cold - with just a dusting of snow from the night before.
Since it was Veteran's Day, we each had a little flag to carry (and some of us wore red, white, and blue, too).
As usual, I was the slow one on all the streams.

Breaking for lunch at the end of the trail. To go further, you would need to wade through the water.

Help! Don't leave without me! :-)
While I absolutely hated all the stream crossings (and got a wet foot towards the end), this was a beautiful hike. Anyone with balance or who doesn't mind getting wet feet would love it.

Trail stats:

Distance Round Trip 8 miles

Trailhead Elevation 5280 feet

Elevation Gain 200 feet

Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vulture Peak near Wickenburg

I hadn't hiked Vulture Peak near Wickenburg before, so Dennis and I headed out to give it a try.

The trail started of with a gradual climb and then it got steeper.

I was still fighting my camera that was on its last leg, and didn't get any more pictures than this.

Trail Stats:

Distance Round Trip4 miles

Trailhead Elevation2480 feet

Elevation Gain1180 feet

Avg Time Round Trip2 hours

Friday, October 08, 2010

Picacho Peak State Park

My backpacking trip to Havasupai Falls got canceled due to rain and flooding, so I made the best of the weekend by heading to Picacho Peak State Park.

I was doing fine until I hit the steep part, then decided I was done and turned around.
Instead, I played with the squirrels.
And found a praying mantis. After that, I headed to Catalina State Park to hike Romero Pools, but my camera broke, so there aren't any more pictures.

Trail Stats (Hunter Trail):

Distance Round Trip 4 miles

Trailhead Elevation 1784 feet

Elevation Gain 1374 feet

Avg Time Round Trip 2 - 3 hours

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Derrick-Highline-Horton Creek Loop Trail near Payson

I decided to escape the Phoenix heat and head up to Payson with the hiking group for a day hike near Horton Creek. Instead of coming back the same way we went in, we decided to do this as a loop trail.
Here's the group all together and happy before we started.

The trail started with a steep incline - a few people were less happy and it started to spread out the group.

Enjoying the beautiful views.
Crossing Horton Creek was the one part of this trail that I didn't like. It took me forever to walk across these logs.

The rest of the trail followed the water on the way back. It was a great hike.

Trail stats:

Distance Round Trip 8 miles

Trailhead Elevation 5460 feet

Elevation Gain 1600 feet

Avg Time Round Trip 4-5 hours

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Kota Kinabalu

Borneo Adventure (August 24-September 7, 2010)

After about a day of long flights, I arrived in Kota Kinabalu, just in time to explore the night markets and have dinner. There were so many choices and the food was so cheap, that I had to try several dishes.

Yummy pickled vegetables

Puteri mandi cakes (steamed rice desserts filled with brown sugar and covered with coconut)
Spicy noodles and other assorted goodies. Total dinner bill was 5 RM ($1 USD = 3 RM)
After eating dinner, I took a walk to the ocean front, and arrived just as the sun was going down.
I was still tired from my flight, so headed back to my hotel for an early bed time and to double check my rafting plans for the next day.

Rafting (sort of) the Kiulu River

I had initially booked a rafting trip on the Padas River (class IV and V rapids). Unfortunately, the train that takes you to the set in spot broke down and the company needed to cancel the trip. They offered me a choice to get all my money back and to cancel completely, or to get half my money back and raft the Kiulu River instead.
I opted to go to the Kiulu River - even though it was family friendly with only class I and II rapids.

I decided a scenic float down the river would be more fun than hanging out in Kota Kinabalu all day.
After inflating the raft and getting a safety briefing, we were off. Because I was the tallest one on the raft, I got to sit up front.
For the most part, the water was fairly calm, with just a few little rapids. There was one exception where the raft headed straight towards a big rock on the bank. We weren't able to paddle away quick enough, the raft slid up the rock, and I flipped out of the raft and into the water. Part of me suspects that the guide did it on purpose to give me a little taste of adventure.

I had a great group for the trip. In my raft was a father and son from Taiwan and a couple from ShangHi. The other raft held 3 Chinese girls. We spent most of the time having water fights with them.

It wasn't what I originally hoped for, but nonetheless, it was a fun way to spend the day.

Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center

The Kota Kinabalu Wetlands Center is just a few km from the city. I heard good things about it, so decided to venture out to find it. After very heavy negotiations with several taxi drivers, I found one that gave me a reasonable quote for the ride out of town (and a pick up a few hours later).

It was very quiet - I think I was the only visitor the entire time I was there. This allowed me to see quite a bit of wildlife.

After exploring all the pathways, I still had about an hour before my taxi was scheduled to come pick me up. I decided to climb up in the observation tower to check out the view. I'm glad I did! Not only was there a nice view, but there was also a cool breeze - a nice change from the muggy tropical temperatures at ground level.
While hanging out in the observation tower, I heard loud scuttling noises. I looked down, and saw two huge monitor lizards wrestling with each other and then jumping into a muddy pond. The wrestled around for a while and then each went their separate ways. I had hoped to see a monitor lizard, so this really made the trip worth it!