So I'm trying to put together about 20 or so miles of hiking in The Maze for the end of October. I'll be accessing the district from The Colorado Riv via packraft. If any of you guys have been there, can you throw out some recommendations of things that are MUST SEE? I'm pondering 2 vague routes:
1) deflate packraft at Water Canyon, and hike up the "route" with stupid heavy pack to the "trail" over to Shot Canyon and connect to the Harvest Scene area and southwest to Spanish Bottom to cross over into the Needles district.
2) float down to Spanish Bottom and make some sort of loop to the Maze overlook and back down. I'd love to get out to Ernie's country (and Lou Spring!!), but I'm not sure if I'd rather do that over The Maze Overlook/Harvest Scene/Chimney rock.
Now I really don't know this area very well at all, and am ever-so-slightly intimidated with cross country travel in these parts. I'm pretty darn good with map-and-compass, but in the desert I always worry about following easy to navigate canyon systems, only to get cliffed out (which is often hard to predict on the map).
How many miles could a fit sorta-UL hiker pull off in the area? I've been known to hike 30+ mi days, but assume it will be slower going out there. Sandy washes. Constantly checking maps to verify location and to find the route...etc etc. I've considered starting at Spanish Bottom only because it would allow me to stash the packraft gear in some brush to return to it later. If I was to begin in Water Canyon, I'd probably just traverse over to Spanish Botttom some how. So...that means if I ditched the packraft, I could in theory cover more ground, comfortably.
So...if you've got great cross-country routes, let me know. If you prefer Ernie's Country over the more eastern stuff ,let me know. If I'm missing something, let me know!