UFIRST OUTDOORS

Fishing Duck Creek, Dixie National Forest, Utah, Early May 2020

We loaded up and ran for the mountains to get away from the almost triple digit heat already on the first of May, we were also hoping to catch some Rainbow Trout.
First attempting Pine Valley Reservoir, we were stopped at the locked gate and a guy in a Gov truck saying the reservoir was closed till May 21. Quickly coming up with a alternate plan, we decided to ride up to Duck Creek and see if we could find some action there.
Surprised at the amount of snow still in the area, Navajo Lake was still iced up. Pretty wild that an hour and a half down the road its already almost touching 100F!
Didn't have any luck fishing the pond so we switched to the creek. Both Jen and I caught some nice Bows walking the creek using small Rooster Tail lures. Didn't get skunked!
Beautiful area, catching a few trout made the experience that much better! We'll definitely be returning.
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Awesome little canyon with a handful of rappels. Getting to this one requires a capable 4WD vehicle since the roads can have deep sand.
We went the very last day of February and in some spots, the road still had snow but the moisture actually helped with the sand. As far as water in the canyon, there were some pools but we were able to avoid them.
From where you park, getting to the head of the canyon was a short walk and we were able to cut out and exit before hitting the river. More than likely will return and try the 'French Canyon' exit when it warms.
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Day two begins with no wind! However, wind is forecast so we head into Navajo Canyon to try for Smallies and eventually wind up trolling Jerk Baits and RatLtraps for Stripers, the latter we do well on. No luck on Smallies in Navajo.
After spending the morning catching small Stripers in Navajo, we decide to head out to Warm Creek to graph and troll for Stripers. We do well in Warm Creek also by trolling deeper diving Jerk Baits but the Stripers remain small as well. While graphing we notice that the fish aren't in large schools but are scattered about and we moved from depths of 30ft to 10ft getting strikes and catching fish all over that range.

First fishing/camping trip of 2020 (Part 1) and we had a window of decent weather right before a front was about to move through. Taking advantage of the 'milder' weather we decided to do a two day trip and camp.
Looking for Striper action and hopefully a repeat of the December trip, we headed up lake to graph the back of canyons looking for the schools. We eventually found the school laying close to the bottom and initially we got strikes on jerk baits while trolling but that soon stopped and we moved to spooning which provided excellent results. We had to move constantly since the school would break and reform and would move from depths of 50 to 25ft.
The Striper we caught were fat and healthy and didn't seem to have the same intensity as they did on the December trip. The water was seven degrees cooler now than the previous December trip, it never got above 50F. Perhaps the fish really didn't care and were striking the spoons out of instinct and not hunger. Who knows...that's fishing for you.
Camp was cold, forecast said lows just above freezing..however it did dip below freezing though not by much. It was our first boat camping in such weather so I was a little concerned about possible freezing/damage to my lower unit but I kept the lower unit submerged and I rigged a towel over the motors piss hole to (hopefully) prevent it freezing. The sun drops quick in the canyons. Stay tuned for Part 2!
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I decided to return to Lake Powell to see if I could find the Stripers elsewhere since I had done extremely well on the two previous trips in December and early February and the possibility of getting skunked was outweighed by my curiosity.
Still being winter and plenty cold on the lake, I figured the Stripers might still be hanging in the backs of canyons but may also be on the move since I generally (in the past) start catching them on bait in the main channel by mid March. Being late February, it could go both ways.
Starting at the back of Last Chance then moving to Rock Creek and finishing in Warm Creek, I found Stripers at all locations...catching them was serious work though. The huge schools I encountered earlier in the winter were gone and now only small schools remained. The Stripers I did catch were still healthy but were smaller. Hmmmm. I caught the Stripers on two different spoons and a deep diving jerk bait.
A lot of riding, a lot of graphing, a lot of spooning and trolling produced only a few fish but the day was beautiful and I didn't get skunked and I think I learned a few things as well. I'll chalk it up as a successful trip!
Thanks for watching, Tight Lines! Stay tuned for more Lake Powell fishing!
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Day two out in the southern region of Gold Butte NM was the day to bag Bonelli Peak. Lake Mead acts as a giant moat from the south so the only way to get to this peak is the long 4WD jeep tracks coming from the north through the Gold Butte region.
My truck was making odd sounds so after moving the vehicle once to try and get closer to Bonelli I had to leave it in a wash since I didn't want to possibly damage it any further. You absolutely have to have a high clearance 4WD vehicle to access this area of Gold Butte. This put me at a long day since I had to make up distance by hoofing it.
Wash after wash, ridge after ridge...I finally made it to the ridge that would lead me to summit. Made the mistake of not bringing enough water, got dehydrated by time I made it back to truck. In full sun entire way to summit, in late January it was cooking. Something to think about. From the summit, views were incredible and worth the over four mile hike up. I'm sure there is a more direct route to summit, you just have to figure out the roads to get you to the starting point. BTW, roads in this area aren't named/numbered..they are simply labeled 'designated route'.
So, almost 10 miles truck to truck with an elevation gain of 3010ft...Bonelli is a full day. The only other peak in the area that has (so far) whipped me like Bonelli did, was Virgin Peak.
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Part 1 of a two day peak bagging and camping trip in the Gold Butte region of the Nevada desert.
First day was able to bag Mica Peak at 1500ft of elevation gain and around 3 miles truck to truck. Got closer to the peak by driving 4WD jeep tracks and also discovered an enormous bee hive in the area. Uncertain on whether the honey bees where of the africanized variety but they were fairly aggressive and even came all the way up to bother me on the peaks summit.
Continuing on after Mica Peak, I went further south trying to figure out which 4WD jeep track would get me closer to Bonelli Peak. After passing the old Gold Butte town site, the roads get bad and you definitely need high clearance 4WD.
Made camp in a small wash, surprising how fast the temps drop after sunset. Lows were in high 20s (F) for the evening. Good day for sure. However, the next day (Part 2) would certainly be a challenge getting Bonelli Peak....stay tuned..
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60 to 90 miles simply doesn't sound like much, a short ride on the asphalt. Out on the Arizona Strip, 60 to 90 miles on the dirt means you most likely are alone and unable to contact anything or anybody for help in case you get in trouble. Something to consider when heading out deep into the Arizona Strip whether you're hunting or looking to summit remote mountains or just exploring.
I love exploring the Arizona Strip from just under the North Kaibab Forest all the way west into the Nevada border. Wild, rugged, and beautiful country with a tough history.
On this trip I was intending to summit a remote mountain, Mt Dellenbaugh and I was somewhat surprised to start seeing snow within the first 20 miles on the dirt. It had been weeks since the last storm and I figured the terrain had dried enough, wrong. By the time I hit the 75 mile mark, conditions on the main road I was traveling (Dellenbaugh Road) were terrible. Even though I was in a smaller, lighter capable truck I still was getting close to sinking it in spots and also was having trouble in areas keeping the vehicle on the road.
Turning back at the 75 mile mark, I retreated some 15 miles to a dry patch I had previously scouted and there I made camp. To make things more interesting, a surprise storm blew in around 3 in the morning dumping freezing rain/snow which forced me to pack and run for fear of worsening road conditions. Never a dull moment out on the Arizona Strip!
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2020 begins with a return to this small canyon in the Virgin River Gorge for a bit of a warm up/ training day. Ghost Rider is a fun little canyon and perfect for beginners, the rappels are bolted and the highest one is eighty feet. The first rappel can actually be down climbed. The approach doesn't get any easier, you literally park at the start of the canyon and the walk back up to the top isn't too bad.
We trained on rigging releasable with Totem blocks and lowering, ascending double rope with VT Prusiks tied in Schwabisch Knots, ascending single strand with Petzl Acsension ascenders...even lock offs with leg wraps. Productive half day!
Just a reminder, we are not professionals or guides and the demonstrations you see are our own personal training.
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Bloomington Cave, multiple routes in varying degrees of difficulty...all there for the interested. This is a great spot to get your feet wet in spelunking to see if it is for you. Our particular path on this trip had us meandering on a few different routes starting from the caves North entrance. After four hours of crawling, sliding, crouching...it was time to head up and out. Not 100% sure that caving is my thing, it was still a cool adventure.
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This little peak always caught our eye driving back and forth on old highway 91 through the Beaver Dam Mountains and as the title suggests, it's right at Mile Marker 8.
Only taking a few hours, this off trail hike to summit had an elevation gain of around 1600ft and truck to truck (loop hike) was 3 1/2 miles. Nice for a morning or afternoon jaunt.
To our knowledge the peak has no name so we just settled for 'Marker 8'.
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Many times I've looked at this peak from a distance and thought, "That'll be a good one."
Truth be told, you can actually see a good route up Jackson Peak. I actually came down the good route. What I chose to go up could be described as, 'interesting.' What you can't really see is how deep the manzanita and scrub oak get that cover ALL the routes, from knee to chest deep. Maddening really. At least from the south and west facing parts of this peak, it is a total bush hog experience. Luckily I decided to bag this particular peak on a cold, windy day so I had lots of protection from the bush since I was covered up. Doing this in warm/hot weather would touch a special place of misery, not to mention the addition of bugs.
I was able to get back a little farther with a 4WD truck but my roundtrip was still at just under 5 miles. The ascent touched just over 2000ft. 1300ft of that was steep, loose and choked with vegetation. I had to (literally) crawl on all fours for upwards of 600ft due to the grade of steepness and looseness of the terrain...two steps up, slide down one. Like I said, the route I chose to go up was nothing less than a character builder.
Anyway, glad I bagged it and now I no longer have to think about it. Its neighbor to the west, Square Top Mountain, is still on the list and from what I saw will be a little less 'interesting.'
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Recovering from a bout with the Flu, I decided a nice stroll up Many Pools would be a good way to get myself back together. Zion National Park in the winter is crowd free so I had the place to myself on this day, which made the views and the charm very worthwhile.
Many Pools is a drainage and over time the running water has created a whole system of potholes and pools, add the fantastic vistas of slickrock and other natural features and you get one aesthetically pleasing hike.
What's great about Many Pools is you can take it as far as you want, a couple hours to check out the pools or all day if you want to climb up onto the East Rim.
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I let the scenery speak for itself on this one. Needing a quick Zion fix, I spent a cold morning in late January visiting this water fall. The hike is easy and family friendly, some trail and some creek walking...you could spend one hour or half a day. Enjoy!
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Canyoneering Yankee Doodle Canyon August 2019

It's been awhile since we made a run through Yankee Doodle and it was a bit of a surprise to find the canyon totally dry except for a small amount of water in the pothole. We decided to practice down climbing instead of rappelling. Yankee Doodle is a great little canyon to work on skills and it is also fun to combo up with one of the other canyons in the area.
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So there is the standard way to get to the Vortex....and then there is the scrambling way. We opted for the scrambling. The rock formations in this part of the Sand Cove area are fantastic and reminded us of being in Zion National Park. The 'Vortex' itself is a pretty cool feature, awesome terrain!
We came back the standard way making a great little hiking/scrambling loop. Might want to avoid this area during summer, gets pretty toasty on the slickrock.
WARNING: You are responsible for your own safety.
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Oh, the snake at the end is a Ground snake, apparently it is 'mildly' venomous.

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Got a quick Sand Hollow trip in after getting my boat back from being serviced. Shortly after I made the first few casts I realized I had forgotten my batteries for the camera. I was able to get into some action from both Largemouth Bass and Bluegill so the action is definitely on at the Hollow. I used only two lures for the bass and texas rigged both of them, live nightcrawler for the bluegill. Thanks for watching, tight lines!
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After getting skunked previously at this reservoir, I had to return to try and redeem myself. Scoring a nice bass at a weed line not very far from shore gave me some sweet redemption! Surprisingly, it was a 1/16 yellow rooster tail that did the trick! Thanks for watching and don't forget to subscribe!

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Win some, lose some. This is why it's called fishing. On a whim I decided to check out the Sand Cove Reservoirs for some bass fishing and I got skunked. Cold, rainy weather may have played a part or I had the wrong rigs for the reservoirs, who knows.
Regardless, the trip bore fruit. There will be a return video, I must redeem myself...when the weather gets better. Thanks for watching, tight lines! Don't forget to subscribe!

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The Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX Boot is just what I needed in between a robust boot and an approach shoe.
My first experience with these boots/shoes was a positive one, straight out the box and into an overnight backpacking trip. Comfortable, light, no blisters....don't really have anything negative to say about these boots. I intend to do a follow up review to see how long these boots hold up and what they look like after some hard use. I bet I can thrash them out in less than a year...we shall see.
Here is the video link where I use them on the backpacking trip:
https://youtu.be/tBWhCAJML74

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This interesting rope bag caught my eye the other day while I was in the gear shop, naturally I had to give it a go and purchased it for $65. Made in the USA (Arizona), the ON Rope Bag (Descent Size) looks pretty cool and I'm looking forward to giving it a hard time in this years wet and dry canyons. I'll post a follow up review down the road to see how well the bag has held up.
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Our first trip of 2019 to Lake Powell hit the ridiculous level in regards to the action, just epic. We did well on Smallies in Rock Creek and the following day we absolutely slayed the Stripers from Navajo Canyon to Buoy 3.
Going to be an interesting year on the lake, the water level is low so we shall see how the fishing proceeds as the spawn begins. As usual, can't wait to get back!
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After a little over a year of use I had to go and get a second pair of the La Sportiva TX3 approach shoes. The first pair still has some life in them but now I can show just how durable the shoe is comparing the new shoe to the heavily used shoe. I am extremely happy with these shoes, they have been a joy in use while canyoneering and hiking. Totally worth the $130 price tag in my opinion. Thanks for watching and don't forget to subscribe!

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Short review and demonstration of these crampons made by Grivel. Being in the market for some crampons for moderate mountaineering and general use, I landed on these and couldn't be happier. Very easy to adjust and attach to boots and the antibott worked very well to stop snow from accumulating on the crampon.
I used these crampons to summit Virgin Peak, check out that video to see them in action.
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Short and sweet this peak is, guestimating around 1000ft of elevation gain with some steep and loose sections. Just off Old Highway 91 in southwestern Utah, accessing this part of the Beaver Dam Mountains couldn't be easier.
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Created 3 years, 3 months ago.

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Category Education