Let me (Tyler) start by saying this was an insane trip and Matt Bainsmith wins the prize for most adventurous-awesomest person I know.
Mexican Hat, UT
For Matt’s Bachelor party he decided he wanted to follow his newfound passion of Packrafting, which for those of you that don’t know, is backpacking with a tiny raft and then hiking half the route and rafting the other half… Sounded crazy to me too. The river of his choice to packraft was the San Juan in the South Eastern corner of Utah by a city called Mexican Hat (yes that is a real city name), this whole trip sounds made up at this point. We (Tyler, Matt, Tad, and Brian) did a hike starting around Goose Neck State Park (bottom right star is the start), down to the San Juan river, then floated the river to grand gulch, then got out and hiked out of grand gulch via Collins Springs (top star marks the end). It was a great trip, and we all had a good time, though it was up there on the difficulty scale.
The Packrafting Route
I have been failing miserably to update this lately due to an overabundance of adventurizing and funtivities, so I’m playing catch up. I (Tyler) went on a backpacking trip up in the Sawtooth’s in Idaho Sept 5th through Sept 7th with the old gang of High School buddies. Being spread out all over the West Coast, we don’t get to see each other much any more, so it was great to see everyone and a fantastic backpacking trip.
We planned to do an out and back trip in the Sawtooth National Forest, just North of Sun Valley, Idaho because we only had limited time and a few new backpackers. Tom, Shane, Austin, and I hiked to McDonald Lake the first night so that Jack and Alan could find us late that night after they got off work (in the dark, which didn’t go well – more on that later). The second day we all continued up to Farley Lake which was massive and quite the stellar camp spot. Then on the third day we headed back to the car early, the way we came, so that Shane could catch his flight out. It was a 2 mile hike to McDonald Lake, and another 2.5 miles to Farley Lake, so overall, it was a 9 mile out and back with about 1,500 ft of elevation climbing, which made it quite steep at times (as Austin found out).
Toxaway-Pettit Loop Trailmap