stevens canyon exit canyon

Hayduke Desert Panoramas

My 850-mile backpacking trip this Spring took me through Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, through all these National Parks and wild lands I’d never seen before. What better way to see them for the first time than to walk through them and sleep in their dirt? I couldn’t think of one.

I took some neato panoramic photos, so maybe the next best way to look at them is to click on them, blow them up in your browser, look around, and pretend you’re there. Most these iPhone panoramas were taken in remote areas, difficult to get to by car or foot, and most of them were on detours or alternates off the main Hayduke route. Get yourself an eye full of red rock!

Arches

Canyonlands

I took a lot of detours off the route on this trip to see things, like “The Loop” of the Colorado River, where it folds on itself into a nearly closed figure 8. Unless you’re in an airplane above it you can’t see the whole thing, but from the ledge to the South, I got the idea. Mind blown — you can tell by watching this video just how excited I was!

Glen Canyon

Grand Staircase Escalante

Bryce Canyon

Although the official Hayduke route doesn’t spend much time in Bryce, I extended my stay by a few days and decided Bryce — at least Bryce Canyon proper — was one of the highest highlights of my entire trip.

Grand Staircase Escalante

Yes, again. The Hayduke goes through this massive land preserve twice.

Grand Canyon

I had a 10-day below-the-rim permit for Grand Canyon, and I savored every second down there. I think you’ll be able to tell how much I liked it from my photographs!

Arizona Strip

Zion

Angel’s Landing is not on the Hayduke Trail but I was not ready to stop hiking yet. So I continued west another 35 miles, making this stop along the way.

“Angels Landing, known earlier as the Temple of Aeolus, is a 1,488-foot (454 m) tall rock formation in Zion National Park in southern Utah. A trail, cut into solid rock in 1926, leads to the top of Angels Landing and provides a spectacular view of Zion Canyon.” ~Wikipedia

And here I start to realize the end of my hike isn’t the end of the world. Because the view west as far as I can see is magical. A lot of people get sad after finishing a long hike — it’s happened to me. But this time it was pretty clear at the end that I was the one making the magic happen, and that if I didn’t want it to end, it didn’t have to end.

For more pictures of my SW backpacking trip, head over to my Instagram account