Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Valley By Michael Heiland

This video was done by Michael Heiland a high school filmaker here in Phoenix a couple years ago, just thought I would share his amazing work. Enjoy some of the breathtaking views Phoenix has to offer. Be sure to watch in high definition and turn up the sound!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Upcoming Reavis Ranch Backpacking Trip Gear List

The time is quickly approaching, seven more days and this heap of gear that I have been collecting over the months will finally get put to good use. Thought I would share my gear list to allow others to either offer suggestions or simply comment on the gear. In addition, I figure I would share where I purchased these items since at the time of purchase, these companies were the cheapest out there.

Storage Shed
Bedroom
On The Trail
Personal Safety
Wardrobe
Hygene:
Of course there are a bunch of other odds and ends that I will not bore you with, such as toothpaste, toilet paper, snacks, ect.

As a side note, I only recently came across campsaver.com and am thrilled that I did, I cannot recommend them enough. The customer service, pricing, product lines, ect. are amazing, so much so that I check their site first when I need something. I have even ordered comparable products when they may not of had an item in stock just so I could get it from them.

Feel free to post your comments below as well as check back often for reviews of the equipment I use.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

SxS Adventure - Chino Valley, AZ To Williams, AZ - August 2015

Trip: Chino Valley, AZ to Williams, AZ and back.
Distance Traveled: 302.1 miles


Ever since getting my first SxS back in 2008, I have wanted to load it up and just drive while camping along the way.

For the last two years we have done just that, and this time added another friend for our 06 August 2015 to 09 August 2015 trip.

Casey with his 2014 Polaris RZR 1000 4, Kevin with a rented 2015 Polaris RZR 1000 4, and me with my 2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 4 loaded, we departed Chino Valley, AZ and headed north towards Williams, AZ. In total we logged 302.1 miles with 10% of those miles on primitive dirt roads and the remaining on Forest Service Roads along with some pavement time. The roads were not too rough aside from a few pretty rocky areas. Other than a few cows, the roads were vacant to traffic, which was nice.

(Click On Photos To Enlarge)

Few Pictures From Along The Way




Crossing The Verde River



Camp


The next day (07 August 2015) we awoke early and began to break camp. After a thorough walk of camp to ensure no trash was left behind, we doused the fire pit one last time and continued on our journey. Our first stop was an old cabin, no real details to share, however, was really cool to see.

Cabin



After spending a little time at the cabin, we headed towards Sycamore Canyon. After a short drive, we arrived at what could only be considered a breathtaking view of the canyon.

Sycamore Canyon




Next stop, Sycamore Point which overlooks Sycamore Canyon. This was quite a view as well, if you ever have the chance, check it out!

Sycamore Point



From Sycamore Point, we made our way towards White Horse Lake where Kevin decided to do some fishing and I decided to test out my Katadyn Vario Water Filter, stay tuned for the review. By now it was late afternoon and we were being poured on so we decided to leave the lake and find our next home for the evening. We found a nice spot off the main road and setup camp. It didn’t take long for us to be greeted by a large herd of Elk just off in the distance. The weather that night was still very comfortable, however, we did get a nice storm...that I slept through of course.

Camp


The next morning (08 August 2015) we awoke early again, made some coffee, and laid out our plans for the day. Before leaving the area, we decided to hike down a small portion of the Sycamore Rim Trail to see the overlook. While still some great scenery, not quite as spectacular from this vantage point.

Sycamore Canyon



After spending some time checking out the canyon and taking pictures, we left to take a look at this large sinkhole, wish I could share more information about the sinkhole, however, I have none. I can tell you that it is a long way down and it would ruin your day to tumble down into it.

Sinkhole



From the sinkhole we took a short drive to check out the Sunflower Flat Wildlife Area, not a lot going on there, however, did give us a great opportunity to take some pictures and be taught a few things about photography from Kevin.

Sunflower Flat Wildlife Area


After the Sunflower Flat Wildlife Area, we packed up and started heading to JD’s House and grave site. The home is currently vacant, however, supposedly the Forest Service did use it in the past.

JD's House




JD’s Barn/Stable




JD's Grave Site




Continuing on our adventure we headed towards the Bill Williams Lookout Tower. If you are afraid of heights, this is not the trail you want to be on. Luckily I am not so I was able to really enjoy the scenery as we gained altitude. As you will see in the pictures, not only is there a lookout tower there but a ton of microwave and other towers as well.

Bill Williams Lookout Tower







After leaving the tower we decided to head to Dogtown Lake and wet some lines. With the wind picking up and the shallow depths of the water, fishing from the shore proved to be a bit tough. After catching my fair share of seaweed bass, I decided to turn my attention to the Ospreys who were having fantastic luck catching fish. After a couple hours we decided to make the trek all the way back to our original campsite on the first night which would put us into Chino Valley, AZ around noon on Sunday (09 August 2015).

Dogtown Lake




The next morning (09 August 2015) was the same as the others, break camp and get packed, unfortunately, this morning would be the last time as it was time to head home.

Overall it was a fantastic trip, thank you to my buddy Casey for leading and thanks to Kevin for joining us! Till next year!

Feel free to post your comments below.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

SxS Adventure - Chino Valley, AZ To Williams, AZ Apr 2013

Trip: Chino Valley, AZ to Williams, AZ and back.
Distance: 231.5 miles


Ever since getting my first SxS back in 2008, I have wanted to load it up and just drive while camping along the way.

The time finally came, and from 18 April 2013 to 21 April 2013 a friend and myself did just that.

With his 2008 Kawasaki Teryx and my 2013 Polaris RZR XP 900 4 loaded, we departed Chino Valley, AZ and headed north towards Williams, AZ. In total we logged 231.5 miles with 10% of those miles on primitive dirt roads and the remaining on Forest Service Roads. The roads were not too rough aside from a few pretty rocky areas. Other than a few cows, the roads were vacant to traffic, which was nice.

(Click On Photos To Enlarge)

Crossing The Verde River


Parked Along The Banks Of The Verde River


Camp


Our campsite that night (18 April 2013) was at the edge of a meadow, and was a perfect spot to watch the elk at the opposite tree line. That weather that night was cool, in the low 20’s and once away from the fire, it was obvious.

The next day (19 April 2013) we awoke early and began to break camp. After a thorough walk of camp to ensure no trash was left behind, we doused the fire pit one last time and continued on our journey. Our first stop was the Round Mountain Fire Tower, fortunately it was open so we were able to go to the top and get some pictures.

Round Mountain Fire Tower


Parked At The Base Of The Round Mountain Fire Tower


San Francisco Peaks


Another View From The Round Mountain Fire Tower


After spending a little time taking in the scenery from the Round Mountain Fire Tower, we headed towards JD Tank (Lake) After a short drive, we arrived at JD Tank (Lake). Other than several Canadian Geese, there was not much going on down there.

JD Tank (Lake)


Canadian Geese






Next stop, Sycamore Point which overlooks Sycamore Canyon. This was quite a view, if you ever have the chance, check it out!

Sycamore Canyon







From Sycamore Point, we made our way to Paradise Forks. Climbers frequent this area which is supposedly pretty well known in the climbers community.

Climber Information


You Think?



The Canyon








After hiking around and spending time talking to some Climbers from Flagstaff, we headed out and decided it was time to do some fishing. We made our way towards Dogtown Lake and wet some lines. With the wind picking up and the shallow depths of the water, fishing from the shore proved to be a bit tough. After catching my fair share of seaweed bass, lol I decided to turn my attention to the Ospreys who were having fantastic luck catching fish.

Ospreys





By now it was late afternoon and we decided to leave the lake and find our next home for the evening. We found a nice spot off the main road and setup camp. It didn’t take long for us to be greeted by a bunch of cows, however, they did not mind us being there and continued on their way. The weather that night was again cool, a little warmer than the previous night, but still in the 20’s.

The next morning (20 April 2013) we awoke early again, made some coffee, and laid out our plans for the day. Originally we had planned on staying the night there again as we would have to loop back through the area, however, decided to break camp and continue on as we wanted to have time to stop at JD’s House and Gravesite. As you likely will remember, we stopped at his Tank (Lake) the previous day, it was surprising how far his house was from the Tank (Lake) maybe it was his excuse to get out of the house for a while, lol. Before going to JD’s House and Gravesite, we headed to Stone Dam Lake to try our luck at fishing again, and once again, I caught my daily limit of seaweed bass.

Old Route 66


Stone Dam Lake








After a few hours at Stone Dam Lake, we packed up and started heading to JD’s House and gravesite. We parked and hiked back to where the house is located. The home is currently vacant, however, supposedly the Forest Service did use it in the past.

JD's House








JD’s Barn/Stable



After a short hike from the house, we found JD’s Gravesite.

JD's Gravesite




It was starting to get late, so we started to head back. We decided to make the trek all the way back to our original campsite on the first night which would put us into Chino Valley, AZ around noon on Sunday (21 April 2013) Once to camp, I did not waste any time checking to see if the elk were at the treeline again and sure enough they were. I grabbed my camera and proceeded to hike across the meadow to see if I could get some pictures. There was a small wash I figured would be perfect for me to get in and start shooting, however, by the time I got to it, they were gone. Likely didn’t help that the wind was blowing at my back and they likely smelled me before I even started walking out. I made my way back to camp, setup my tent, and we proceeded to prepare dinner. The night was clear and cool just as the other nights, however, sitting around a camp fire and looking at the stars can quickly make you forget about it.

The next morning (21 April 2013) was the same as the others, break camp and get packed, unfortunately, this morning would be the last time as it was time to head home.

Some Various Shots Along The Way Home





Overall it was a fantastic trip, thank you to my buddy Casey for joining me on this adventure!

Feel free to post your comments below.