Hiking “Wishlist”- Jackson Hole, WY

This is a trip I have always wanted to go on.  I’ve had many friends go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and come back telling me how great it is.  The idea first sparked in my brain because it is a great destination for skiers/snowboarders.  I love snowboarding, there are not many feelings greater than being on top of a mountain and riding down for the next half hour.  With that said, if I were to go to Jackson Hole, obviously, I would bring my snowboard.  But, as the years have progressed, I have seen pictures of the scenery and everything in Jackson Hole and I see how truly beautiful it is.  A trip in the winter time, would mean that I would be able to ride, but not be able to really do the outdoorsy stuff I have grown to love.

The valley of Jackson Hole, provides not only hiking trails, but rivers for fishing, kayaking and rafting, as the video above shows.  I have gone white water rafting before in Aspen, CO, but I was a little too young to really appreciate the vacation my family and I took.  It was a great time, but I have always wanted to go white water rafting again, but this time in more raging waters.  The clip of the white water rafting in the video above, looked like such a great time!  There would be nothing better then to have all my buddies in the raft, taking on some intense river.

The hiking in Jackson Hole looks absolutely breathtaking.  The backdrop of the mountains, the tall grass and flowers, and the wildlife combine for beautiful scenery.  Isn’t that what you look for in hiking?  What’s a hike if it’s nothing too special to look at?  Jackson Hole is a little different then what I’ve posted here on this blog, because mainly it has been located in Arizona.  But, at times, I really do miss all the green on my hikes.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the desert, but being a Midwest kid, as weird as it sounds, I miss the grass.  It’s refreshing to lay down and look at the sky on some fresh grass.  Hopefully someday, I’ll be laying down looking up at the sky in Jackson Hole, WY.


Hiking “Wishlist”- Grand Canyon

Due to my workload this weekend (and the Bears vs. Packers game), I was unable to go on any excursion this weekend.  So, here’s the start of my “wishlist” of hikes in Arizona.  The first installment is the world reknown, Grand Canyon.  In my 22 years of life, regrettably I have never been to the Grand Canyon and I’ve been in this state for more than 4 years.  I’ve heard story after story about how amazing and eye-popping the sights at the Grand Canyon are.

This youtube video really shows the beauty of the Grand Canyon, but still, I feel like there is nothing like being there.  On my hiking “wishlist” I would love to camp at the Grand Canyon for a weekend, so I’m not just there for a couple hours, then drive back home.  I want to get the full experience of the Grand Canyon.  Camping there with all my friends and everybody would be the best camping trip in my opinion.  I want to go up there when the weather cools down a little because there is nothing worse then waking up in a tent that seems to have become an oven over night.  Well, I better get planning on the Grand Canyon camping trip!

Sabino Canyon- Seven Falls

On the way to Seven Falls (Photo Cred: Lisa Vollen)

Last school year, I traveled to the ever so popular, Sabino Canyon.  This time around, I went to the popular hike called “Seven Falls.”  I must say, this is one of the best hikes I’ve been on in Tucson!  The destination is definitely worth the hike.  The name “Seven Falls” comes from the seven waterfalls you see at the destination of the hike.  There are waterfalls that seemingly are stacked onto each other as you hike down.  The trail (at least the one I was on) gives you a nice elevated view of the waterfalls and gives you an overall sense for what your in for.

A glimpse of Seven Falls (Photo Cred: Lisa Vollen)

The hike is about 8 miles there and back, so it’s a little bit longer than the hikes I’ve been doing in recent past, but visually is probably the most appealing.  It’s not just walking on some pavement then to a trail that winds every now and again.  But, the hike brings you to some elevated ground, which gives you a different perspective to the natural environment you were in.

The Arizona Sierra Club Tucson Trail’s guide has more information about the hike here.

We made it!


Taking a breather, eating a sandwich. (Photo Cred: Lisa Vollen)

Sabino Canyon

A little taste of Sabino Canyon (Photo cred: Michael Gelb)

Recently, my travels brought me to Sabino Canyon.  Sabino Canyon is one of my favorite places near Tucson to hike in.  It’s a lot closer than the past two hiking destinations I have been (Parker Canyon Lake and Patagonia Lake).  So, if you want to hike but don’t want to drive over an hour outside of the campus area, Sabino Canyon is right up your alley (or should I say canyon, hey oh).

Sabino Canyon is a great hike and a popular hiking spot for many Tucsonans.  There is a solid paved pathway that many people walk, run and even ride bikes on.  Every time I see a person double my age, running past me I feel a little bad about myself, but hey, I’ll march to the beat of my own drum.

For those who have never ventured off into Sabino Canyon, it is absolutely beautiful.  There are many different trails you can take, that will lead you to different destinations.  In our hike, we walked up the paved pathway for about 2 miles.  

We then got off the path and went to more of an “all-terrain” hike, which is how you have to hike in my book.  My friend knew of a place where we could do some cliff jumps, so we followed her along the creek.  It was nice to go along the creek because of the long walk on the paved boring pathway.  

After sometime walking along, in and out of the creek, we arrived at the cliff spot.  I was a little hesitant at first because of the height and

Me getting some air in Sabino Canyon (Photo cred: Dana Becker)

the amount of water in the pool, but the water was deep enough for the jump.  The water felt amazing after a sweaty hike.  The cliff jumps were so much fun, I cannot wait to go back.

If any of you readers plan on hiking here in Arizona, I would recommend going early in the morning to avoid the blazing heat here in the desert.  Also, bring lots of water and even a little snack if you want.  It’s better to be over prepared than under prepared!  Now, get out there and have an adventure!

Here are some more photos from our Sabino Canyon hike.  Photo cred: Michael Gelb

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Parker Canyon Lake

Hello all,

So, this weekend I traveled to Parker Canyon Lake, just south of Tucson.  It’s about an hour and a half drive from U of A‘s campus.  The drive down is very scenic, much like the trip to Patagonia Lake.  However, this drive offered a windy backcountry drive that leads right up to the Parker Canyon Lake grounds.

The weather was quite gloomy both Sunday and Monday (today).  It even started to rain on the drive down, which was a bit discouraging.  I got there on Sunday around 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  We (my girlfriend and I) set up camp as soon as we got there.  The campsite offered a nice set up for us, it had a fire pit with a grill over it and a picnic table.  Setting up camp took little time, which was nice because daylight was dwindling.  After the camp was set up, we went down to the marina and got some camp necessities (bug spray, fire wood, s’mores stuff) at the market.  After the market stop we went on a short hike to check out what Parker Canyon Lake really had to offer.

Parker Canyon Lake is a 130 acres, which is filled with rainbow trout, bluegill, catfish, sunfish and bass.  However, still a little discouraged from my fish outing to Patagonia Lake, I elected not to fish.  Sunday’s hike was a short one, but it was nice to see the beautiful lake and scenery.  Soon after we got back to the camp, we started a fire.  But, of course, it started to rain a little so we had to head into the tent.  After the drizzle stopped, we had to start up the fire again.

We cooked up some quesadillas on the fire pit grill and some sandwiches.  After dinner, it was only necessary to make some s’mores.  Again, soon after the s’mores it started to rain again so we had to clean up the campsite and head into the tent.  It rained for the majority of the night, but it was nice because it cooled down the weather, which made it a little easier to sleep in the hot tent.

The rain stopped early the next morning, although it was still a little gloomy.  Since the day before we didn’t quite finish the hike because we lost daylight, we decided to finish the hike around the lake.  It was quite the hike, but definitely worth it.  We saw a bunch of wildlife, such as a white tailed deer, pelican, wolf spider, and numerous hawks who soared above.  Fisherman were out and about, on the shore and out in boats.  The hike was rigorous, but fun and worth the time.  After the hike, we had lunch and went down to the lake before we headed home to Tucson.  The drive home brought us some old school sing-a-long jams and more.

If you’re in southern Arizona and looking for a quiet place to hike, fish and camp, Parker Canyon Lake is definitely for you!  Now, get outside and have fun!

Patagonia Lake

Me fishing on Patagonia Lake

This past weekend I ventured off into beautiful southern Arizona and stayed at Patagonia Lake for the day.  Patagonia Lake is an Arizona State Park, near Nogales.  One thing I definitely took notice to while driving to my destination was the amount of green I saw in the mountains.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  The rolling hills and mountain tops were sprayed with greenery.  I’ve never really traveled this far south in Arizona in my stay here at the U of A.  Simply, I regret not doing this years ago!

It took about an hour to drive from my house to Patagonia Lake.  The lake covers around 265 acres, filled with bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, and rainbow trout in the winter time.  After the hour drive, I was excited to get out of the car and into the sun and water!  I decided to bring my fishing pole with me since I have heard that this is one of the better fishing spots in Arizona.  Unfortunately, I did not catch a single fish, but I blame myself (bad fisherman) more than anything.

After fishing and soaking in the sun rays, my girlfriend and I, decided to rent out a kayak at the marina.  We rented out a two-person kayak for an hour and this was definitely the highlight of the trip for me.  Once we got in the kayak, we navigated the lake in a way we couldn’t by just hiking around.  We paddled around the lake, seeing different spots and stopped off to take a closer look.  On the kayak we saw a couple pelicans, which are really incredible birds up close.  Just the immense size of the bird is breathtaking.   After paddling and paddling up and down the edges of lake, looking for wildlife, we kept hearing an animal noise that we couldn’t quite make out.  The noise lured us in like a predator luring in his prey.  We got off the kayak and began to hike towards the noise.  Finally, the trees and shrubs cleared enough to see the beast making the mystery noise.  They were cattle.  In the moment, I had no idea what I was about to encounter, but after thinking about it, the noise we kept hearing was definitely a “moo” type noise.

After kayaking, we relaxed and I fished for a little longer trying to catch something, but yet again, to no avail.  It seemed my feeble attempt at fishing brought the day to a close, as soon after fishing part II, my girlfriend and I left beautiful Patagonia Lake.  The drive home was even more awesome than the drive up because we caught one of those gorgeous Arizona sunsets I love. 

Now, go have an adventure of your own!

Discovering the Outdoors of the Border Region

Hello all,

Here we are, at the first post of my blog, titled (for now), “Discovering the Outdoors of the Border Region.” This blog will cover everything pertaining to the outdoors, camping, hiking, bicycling, climbing, etc. in the border regions here in the southwest. Looking for a new hiking trail to explore? A new mountain bike path to blaze on through? How about some new and exciting camping grounds? Look no further, this blog will explore the southwest and its natural wonders.