Saturday & Sunday, April 28-29, 2012
The Original Trip Report on ADVENTR.CO
I’m proud to say that I have finally gone on my very first backpacking trip. I’ve been collecting gear for the past few months and finally scheduled a trip with my friend Jackson and his dad. Since this was my first time, I wanted to keep the trip shorter and closer to home…kind of like a trial run to see how it all went. I’m happy to report that everything went well, and I’m looking forward to my next backpacking trip in the future.
Overall, I think I made some good choices when I was selecting gear over the past few months, but I’m sure I’ll be making some changes here and there to try and get the weight down further. With my pack loaded up with camping gear, food, water and camera gear, I was carrying just under 40lbs (with my camera around my neck, the weight on my back dropped to 35lbs). I’d like to get that number closer to 30lbs in the future, but it’s probably going to take some trial and error.
Since I was looking for a destination close to home and with not too long of a hike, we settled on Big Dominguez Canyon. It’s only about 20 miles from my house and was supposed to be about 7 miles in length. I have day-hiked the canyon from Bridgeport a few times before, but never gone more than a few miles in. This time we would be starting from the Cactus Park trailhead and descending down the canyon to Bridgeport.
After dropping off a truck at Bridgeport on Saturday morning, we loaded up my Jeep and drove up to Cactus Park. We were expecting to be able to drive to the rim of Dominguez Canyon and then hike down into the canyon, but that’s not quite how it worked out. What we found was a pretty new gate across the road about two miles from the canyon. Apparently, when this area became an official wilderness back in 2009, they must have extended the boundaries or removed the cherry-stem for this road and closed it. So, right from the start our planned hike was going to be two miles longer. We got our packs on our backs and started hiking down the closed road.
An old sign indicating the way to Dominguez Canyon found along the old closed road. The Wilderness Study Area sign is a bit outdated since this area is officially a Wilderness now.
Dominguez Canyon Trail by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
Jackson and his dad are birders, so they frequently stopped to find and identify birds they heard along the way.
Bird Watching by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
When we finally reached the rim, we had a difficult time locating the trail down into the canyon. We ended up walking the rim looking for a way down the wrong way at first and then had to retrace our path and hike the other way. We did finally manage to find the steep route into the canyon, but it ended up adding a few more miles to our hike.
A great view from the rim of the canyon with Triangle Mesa and the Grand Mesa in the distance.
Big Dominguez Canyon & Triangle Mesa by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
Jackson’s dad on the rim of the canyon as we tried to figure out the way down.
On the Edge by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
Our first descent down to the next bench.
Hiking Down by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
Hiking the slickrock as we searched for a way down to the bottom of the canyon.
Slickrock Hiking by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
After a few miles of extra hiking we did finally find the steep route into Dominguez Canyon.
Into Dominguez Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr
Apparently someone didn’t like the steep and loose trail out of the canyon…
Fool Travel by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr