Needles to ourselves
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Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Needles to ourselves on 02/08/2012 09:14:38 MST Print View

For most of the year, crowds in the Utah National Parks make them fairly intolerable, especially with so many other great areas nearby. In winter, though, it's a different story.f

We decided to head over to the Needles on Saturday morning for a quick overnighter. We saw one vehicle in the park and we were the only ones so far in the month to register for a backcountry permit. We were quite surprised to find about 6" of snow from a storm the previous week that had left us dry only a couple hours away at home. There were a few footprints for the first mile or so, and after that we had first tracks the rest of the trip until getting back close to the trailhead. Shoulda brought the Rocky socks.dsd

South facing and open areas were melted, filling potholes.fds

The snow made an otherwise very easy trail almost impassable in a few spots of steep snow-covered slickrock. There was more than one time that took some serious detour searching.lskdjfsd

signs of struggle:sldkjfs

ice in Elephant Canyonalskdfjs

February light in Chesler Parksldkfj

sldkjfsd

After a mostly clear night, it was snowing when we woke up. We were a little worried that it might further complicate traction in the few dry areas, but it had stopped by the time we were on the trail. Strange knowing we were the first hikers in days in probably the most popular part of the park.lsdjf

After an enjoyable morning hiking out we headed to Moab for some more coffee and onward home, feeling quite refreshed for the week.lsdkfjs

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Needles to ourselves on 02/08/2012 13:45:45 MST Print View

Beautiful stuff.

Cheers

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Needles - winter on 02/08/2012 14:54:25 MST Print View

Nice shots during winter and a different look at the park than most get, though Canyonlands is pretty vacant into November too. Two questions: Were you able to heat snow for water and what were your temps?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Needles to ourselves on 02/08/2012 16:02:06 MST Print View

Nice looking trip, nice pics

I haven't been to Utah much, but that's what I like about the winter, for some reason most people don't do backpacking so you can go to places that are too crowded in the summer

Brendan Swihart
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: Needles - winter on 02/08/2012 16:40:27 MST Print View

HK:
We did heat snow for water (snowpeak giga ti) at night and in the morning (for convenience since there was plenty at hand). While hiking there was water in potholes and bottoms of canyons (after it melted mid-late morning). Temps were 40s during the day down to about 20 at night.

Trevor Wilson
(trevor83) - MLife

Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Re: Re: Needles - winter on 02/09/2012 04:25:38 MST Print View

Nice trip! It looks like you had a great view from your campsite. Thanks for sharing.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Needles to ourselves on 02/12/2012 18:53:23 MST Print View

After being in Arches last August with my family (yeah...not the smartest move in hindsight), it's very cool to see a blanket of snow in what was a furnace for me. I was just in Zion, and was postholing through snow on the West Rim Trail. I think the desert in winter is a wonderful place.

Thanks for sharing the photos.

Tom

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Needles to ourselves on 02/19/2012 09:37:00 MST Print View

Nicely done sir. Great pictures! I'll be hitting up the whole Elephant hill/canyon area for the first time come April.

How were you able to make out the trail once the tracks dissapeared? I've always wanted to go in the Winter in addition to my annual spring trip.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
needles on 02/19/2012 11:51:39 MST Print View

Beautiful pictures from the great trip! Thanks for sharing!