Tag Archives: Calf Creek Recreation Area
By Michael Lanza
The Grand Canyon. The Narrows in Zion National Park. Paria Canyon. The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. These are among the best backpacking trips in the Southwest—arguably in the country. But you have to plan those trips and apply for a backcountry permit months in advance. If you haven’t done that already, you’re likely out of luck for ticking off one of them this spring.
But there are gorgeous hiking and backpacking trips you can still take in the Southwest this spring, even if you’re only getting around to planning a trip right now. From Utah’s five national parks to lesser-known spots in between, like the Escalante and San Rafael Swell, here are seven of the best. Continue reading →
By Michael Lanza
Below a deep gash in a 50-foot-tall cliff of golden sandstone, shaded from the low, late-afternoon sun of early spring, I scramble up a steep slab using in-cut holds carved into the soft rock. Ten or 12 feet off the ground, I pull myself over the lip of a ledge to peer into a narrow cut in the earth, a hidden geologic oddity that lures in a certain type of hiker for one reason: because it’s barely wide enough for humans to squeeze through. And I have to smile.
I’m grinning first of all because I’ve found just what we had hoped to see. Water sometimes pools in a couple of potholes near the mouth of this slot canyon, and the air temperature today feels a little too cool to soak ourselves in cold water. Today, though, the sandy-bottomed, giant stone teacups are dry. But secondly, touching me on a more personal level, this canyon’s entrance looks much as I remember it from the first time I hiked through here, 16 years ago this month.
In less than two hours, my impression of this place will be almost completely remade. Continue reading →