Suggestions for a southern/southwestern winter hike
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Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Suggestions for a southern/southwestern winter hike on 10/09/2009 13:11:21 MDT Print View

I'd like to do a hike in December, about 40 miles in length. I don't mind snow or cold temperatures, but the warmer the better-so I'm thinking somewhere in the southwest or southeast. I am aware that even the desert can get very cold. Anything near Phoenix, Tucson, or Albuquerque is a bonus since I have family in those places. Thanks for the suggestions!

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Suggestions for a southern/southwestern winter hike on 10/09/2009 13:54:23 MDT Print View

I'd pick a section of the Grand Enchantment/Arizona trail. Heck, if it's like a lot of years recently, you could hike the Sandia Crest.

Chris Benson
(roguenode) - F

Locale: Boulder
not sure if you're interested in a national park... on 10/10/2009 10:42:22 MDT Print View

but the Grand Canyon might be worth considering. I'll be there in late December doing the rim to rim to rim hike (a bit over 40mi). From what the backcountry info center range told me, traffic levels are very low that time of year and temp's should be moderate once you drop into the canyon. The lower volume of visitors also meant it was quick and easy to get our itinerary approved and get camp permits for exactly the spots and days we wanted.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
trip suggestions on 10/12/2009 19:40:11 MDT Print View

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll have to do a lot of looking... I was interested in this trip on Backpacker.com. http://bp2.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?tripId=247385

Biggest problem is that the nights at that altitude in December can average in the 10's and teens. I'm not sure I've the gear for that. My sleeping bag is a Marmot Pinnacle 15* and my girlfriends is a Montbell Spiral Down Hugger #1 also rated to 15*. We have no problem winter camping, but more in the teens, twenties, and thirties temps. Unfortunately I'm not in the position to buy a Western Mountaineering 0* bag!

The Grand Enchantment looks promising and the weather much more manageable. I'm a relative beginner to long hikes. I've been an outdoors person all my life, but this past summer was my first trip over 10 miles. I hiked the full length of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (beautiful by the way). I'm also a newbie to elevation being a lifelong resident of southern Wisconsin. So, there are just some concerns I have about the backpacker.com trip and the grand canyon trip. Maybe have to work up to them.....or in warmer months....

I'd love to hear any other insight!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Suggestions for a southern/southwestern winter hike on 10/13/2009 05:22:59 MDT Print View

Joe,
I see you're from the southwest. Should I be concerned with snakes and scorpions in the winter? Are gaiters a must, or just extra precaution? If so, do you recommend a certain type?

Jack Newton
(figster) - F

Locale: Central Arkansas
Santa Fe National Forest on 10/13/2009 06:47:54 MDT Print View

Santa Fe Nationl Forest is amazing! I have no clue how it is during the winter.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Suggestions for a southern/southwestern winter hike on 10/13/2009 07:52:22 MDT Print View

>Santa Fe National Forest is amazing! I have no clue how it is during the winter.

Snowy.

Travis, unless it's a really warm day, you won't have to worry about snakes of scorpians. And it would be rare then, they should be hibernating.

Justin McMinn
(akajut) - F

Locale: Central Oklahoma
New Mexico Suggestions on 10/13/2009 08:24:03 MDT Print View

The Pecos is a pretty high elevation, so I would keep a close eye on the snow reports for Sipapu and Santa Fe http://www.skinewmexico.com. Trampas Lakes are a great shorter trip.(See the link below for my trip). You may also want to consider Gila NF or Bandelier NM. Both are lower elevations.

The Turkey Creek hot springs(link) in the Gilas would be really nice, but you would have to cross the Gila River twice and follow the bottom of Turkey Creek for a mile or two since there isn't a trail that goes directly to it.

Here's some more trips on Everytrail (Link).

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: New Mexico Suggestions on 10/13/2009 12:28:06 MDT Print View

Yeah, after looking at what I'd be getting into during that time of year in the Pecos, I'm not experienced enough and my gear is questionable at best for those temps. But I'll have a hell of a lot of fun building up to it! Maybe a spring or fall trip....

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Suggestions for a southern/southwestern winter hike on 10/13/2009 12:29:46 MDT Print View

Thanks Joe. That'll make things easier not having to worry about any of that!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Grand Enchantment Trail, Sections 1 and 2 on 10/15/2009 20:48:53 MDT Print View

Anyone out there familiar with the weather on this part of the trail in mid December? I've looked up averages, highs, and lows for Phoenix and Superior, but its always nice to hear real people weigh in. Will a 40* bag be cutting it too close? Or should I play it safe with a 15*?