West Trip Summary

As wrap up for the West Trip (no pictures in this one), here was our basic itinerary. This was recorded after the fact, so it doesn’t show any options or contingencies and some of the drive times are from memory or are otherwise inaccurate. The rough color coding is this: green was as planned and I wouldn’t change the plan; yellow was maybe slightly unplanned or has slight modifications to the plan; red indicates that something should have been done differently. The last few days have a good chunk of yellow because our original plan was to go around to the South rim of the Grand Canyon, which would have taken a few days longer. Since we didn’t do this, these days were kind of planned on the fly.

I think my general perception looking back is that we probably should not have tried to do mountains in conjunction with Arches, Zion and the Grand Canyon. They were simply too far away and required too different of equipment to easily mesh into the same trip. It also was a bit rushed, allowing no time for acclimation to altitude, which probably would have been nice. If going to hike mountains, I think I would try to stay in one place in Leadville for a week and just go from there. It would allow a few days for acclimation and maybe a day for rest as well as eliminating the need to pack up everything in the morning, making for earlier starts which would be necessary.

Another thought is that, as can be seen from some of the yellow, we could have scratched a couple days (probably Grand Junction, Aspen and the slot canyons), which in addition to the mountains would have had the trip down to 8 days, halving the number of vacation days needed. This is debatable, since on one hand it’s nice to conserve vacation days for kayaking and skiing, but on the other, it’s nice to maximize the fact that we had two partial travel days and the cost of flying out west.

Day Itinerary Time Notes
Monday Fly to Denver,
Get food supplies,
Drive to Rocky Mountain National Park
Daytime Drive – 0:30,
Daytime Drive – 1:30
Time to kill in Denver,
Waste less time going to REI and get to Rocky Mtn. Nat. Park earlier
Tuesday Mt. Ida,
Cascade Falls,
Drive to Leadville
Evening Drive – 2:45 Too much wind on Ida,
Wrong trailhead for falls
Wednesday Mt. Elbert,
Drive to Grand Junction
Started at 9:30 – 10:00, returned at 6:30,
Evening Drive – 3:00
Ran out of time, should have been hiking by 7:00AM
Thursday Colorado National Monument,
Drive to Moab
Evening Drive – 2:00 Drive took an extra ~40 min having to return for gas.
Colo Nat. Monument was interesting, but kind of filler – maybe skip and drive straight through to Arches
Friday Arches (early morning) Lightning, hail…,
Should have booked two nights immediately
Saturday Arches,
Drive to Zion
Evening Drive – 5:45 Google maps says that going to 15 would have reduced the drive to 5:30 (enter Springdale from the South, avoid winding roads)
Sunday Early Zion (for Narrows pass),
Get Narrows gear
Hotel was expensive, but maybe needed to get backpacking gear ready for early departure.
Monday Narrows Maybe take lighter shoes since they’re going to be packed most of the time anyway.
The Zion Adventure Co. seemed like they might have been a bit better, BUT not sure they had drypants with booties.
Tuesday Narrows,
Drive to Kenab, AZ
Evening Drive – 1:15
Wednesday Grand Canyon Day Drive – 2:00 each way Should have been to the Visitor Center near sunrise,
Should have camped at GC,
Should have been hiking earlier
Thursday Bull Valley,
Willis Creek,
Drive to Bryce
Day Drive – 1:50 (google maps) Maybe take freeway to Bryce and then looped back to the canyons.
Kind of filler, but ended up very nice.
Friday Bryce Canyon,
Drive to Grand Junction
Evening Drive – 5:20
Saturday Drive to Aspen,
Hikes,
Drive to Denver
Day Drive – 2:20,
Day Drive – 3:35
Drive from Grand Junction to Denver would have been 4:40
Aspen was kind of filler, but was nice for short hikes.
Sunday Pack,
Wildlife Refuge,
Fly home
Time to kill in Denver – REI
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About norconkm

I'm a person. I live in Grand Rapids, MI and work as an Electrical Engineer. My hobbies at the time of this writing are kayaking, skiing, archery, photography and maybe biking. As this is my personal blog, my hobbies are likely the primary topics about which you will be reading.

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