Stevens Canyon 2009 – Planning Page

I used this page as a persistent record of communications and planning during the planning process. I include it here for historical interest and because it might be useful to others.

Lessons Learned (September 7)

  • Take guide books for the trip home, since that’s when we’re most interested in them.
  • Physically check the packs of inexperienced trip members to check for overweight and other problem conditions.
  • Give trip members, particularly inexperienced ones, much hands-on guidance during the planning process.
  • Have trip members report pack weight and available space before leaving.
  • Go easy on the beans.
  • Whoever is in the front of the group needs detailed and clear knowledge of route, plans, and stopping expectations. If these are vague, the trip leader needs to go in front.
  • 9 people is too many for such a strenuous and exploratory trip.
  • It’s important that all trip members have adequate physical preparation (training).
  • It’s important to accurately describe the difficulty and nature of the trip, even if this results in fewer participants.
  • Gorp is not a lunch.
  • Pancakes are not a good camp breakfast – they take too long (cooking takes a while, and consumption is round-robin) and are often too messy messy.
  • Insist in detailed menus/shopping lists, and check them.
  • It’s very helpful afterwards if everyone’s camera clocks are synchronized.
  • Check with everyone to see what first aid supplies they are bringing, to avoid excessive duplication (people have a tendency to bring their own drugs, etc., so the leader may not need a full supply for everyone).
  • Reid likes yellow mustard.

What You Need to Do Now (March 22)

By March 29, please:
  1. Finalize your food plans.
  2. Make sure you have all the gear you need, or have concrete plans to acquire it. Remember that we will not be making a last minute gear stop in Las Vegas unless there’s an emergency.
  3. Check the group gear list and make sure you can indeed provide your assigned items.
  4. Send Reid a status update and any questions. It’s OK if your update consists of “all’s well”. I just want to check in with everyone.

Group Gear Assignments

(Edited 4/11.)

Special assignments

  • Charles:
    • Make sure Sasquatch Group has needed kitchen gear. I can update the list below if you want me to.
    • Can you locate a grocery store (standard e.g. Albertsons) and somewhere to buy fuel on they way out of town?
  • Joel: Will you please purchase and bring one additional large fuel bottle (33oz).

Special consideration

  • Maps – I have large- and small-scale maps of the area. This is sufficient, but it might be useful to have someone volunteer to bring a second set in case we want to split up for dayhikes (e.g.). I can provide guidance if this is you.
  • Tarp – I will bring a 9x12 lightweight tarp.That’s kind of small for 9 peopls, so if someone wants to bring a second tarp, that would be welcome. It should be lightweight, not one of those blue or green beasts.
  • Food – The plan is to make just one food stop in Las Vegas, at a “normal” grocery store. Therefore, hippie or any other food not available at a standard grocery store should be brought from home.


Car shovelReid
Car waterpurchase in Las Vegas
Spare car keyscomes with rental cars
MapsReid, Ben
First aid kitReid, Charles, Andy W?
Tent(s) w/ polesReid, Joel, Andy W
Tent pegsReid, Joel, Andy W
Water carrierReid
Deck of cardsCharles (2 decks, naked dudes)
Rope and stringReid, Joel, Andy
Water filter w/ spare filterReid, Joel
Wildlife book(s)Erin
Cargo strapsCharles
  Stove(s)Reid, Joel
  Fuel bottlesReid, Joel (176oz total capacity)
  Fuelpurchase in Las Vegas
  Stove repair kitReid
  Cooking potReid, Sasquatch?
  Water boiling potReid, Sasquatch?
  SpatulaReid, Sasquatch?
  Big spoonReid, Sasquatch?
  Dish spongeReid, Sasquatch?
  Dish soapReid, Sasquatch?
  Dish towelReid, Sasquatch?
  Critter defenseReid, Charles

Food Group and Tent Assignments

Each food group has a Master Chef. This person directs the food planning and makes sure everyone in the group is going to be reasonably well fed. I have tried to balance the experience levels in each cook group and put the most experienced person in charge.

The food groups can organize the food however they like; here’s a suggestion:

  1. Each dinner, one person or couple cooks for the whole group.
  2. Lunches are the responsibility of individuals or couples.
  3. A few (2-3) breakfasts work like the dinners; the rest are individual/couple responsibility. Hot water is available at all breakfasts.

Food groups

  1. Your Mom: Reid, Erin (Master Chef), Katie, Ben, Andy W
  2. Sasquatch: Andy E, Joel, Sibyl, Charles (Master Chef)

Tent groups

  1. Hot Stuff: Reid, Erin; tent provided by Reid
  2. Moonshine: Katie, Ben; tent provided by Andy W
  3. Bad Dinosaur Flatulence Zone: Joel, Sibyl; tent provided by Joel
  4. Sausage Party: Andy E, Andy W, Charles; tent provided by Reid

Book Your Travel Now (Feb. 1)

It’s time to make your travel arrangements. If you’re traveling by air to Las Vegas, here’s the parameters:

  1. You must arrive Las Vegas no later than 11:00am on Wednesday, April 15.
  2. You must depart Las Vegas no earlier than 4:30pm on Saturday, April 25.
  3. For those arriving on Wednesday morning, I’d like to have people arrive on as few different flights as possible (i.e., get on Flight 197 if you can), to minimize the trip’s exposure to disruption by late flights. Similarly, please book only nonstop flights for Wednesday morning.

A couple of options for Minneapolis folks: Northwest Flight 197 arrives at 10:53am; Northwest Flight 202 departs at 4:35pm and Sun Country Flight 106 departs at 7:25pm. (There used to be a Sun Country flight on Wednesday morning too, but I don’t see it anymore.)

Please book your travel right away, unless there’s some reason not to.

In either case, I’d like an e-mail from everyone by Saturday, February 7 with your flight details or other travel arrangements, or your plan for making the arrangements if delay is appropriate for you.


Equipment checklist (PDF) and annotations.

An information sheet about backpacking in the desert. Ignore the parts leftover from my Outing Club days.

Weather range to be prepared for is 20 degrees with blowing snow to 100 degrees and sunny. Out-and-about minimum is say 40 degrees and thunderstorming.

If you can supply any of the group gear, please let me know.

What You Need To Do Now (Dec. 4)

  1. E-mail Reid to indicate your continued interest. I will bug you if I don’t hear anything by December 7.
  2. Fill out this medical form and e-mail it to Reid.
  3. Give Reid a deposit (see below) to hold your place.
  4. Tell Reid whether you want to camp or hotel for the overnights in Escalante.
    • I’ve reserved 4 beds in 2 rooms at the Circle D Motel in Escalante, Utah, for the 15th and the 24th. This reservation can be changed later if need be.


Day Date What
0 4/15 10:30am - Arrive Las Vegas, NV
11:30am - Shop for food
02:00pm - Depart Las Vegas
08:00pm - Arrive Escalante, UT
14/16Drive to trailhead (1-2 hrs) and hike in
24/17Continue hiking in; arrive base camp
34/18Day-hiking / relaxing
44/19Day-hiking / relaxing
54/20Day-hiking / relaxing
64/21Day-hiking / relaxing
74/22Day-hiking / relaxing
84/23Depart base camp; begin hiking out
94/24Hike out; drive to Escalante
10 4/25 07:30am - Depart Escalante
01:30pm - Arrive Las Vegas
04:30pm - Depart Las Vegas


  • We will rent one or more cars in Las Vegas for the drive to Escalante and the trailhead.
  • There will be no stopping in Las Vegas for outdoor gear except in case of emergency.
  • Overnights in Escalante can be camping or hoteling, at your option. Hoteling could be as cheap as $20/person/night.


I need a deposit of $100 to hold your place. (This is up from $50 in the original announcement due to the car rental as an additional group expense.)

This deposit is not refundable.

Exceptions may be made if your dropping out does not materially affect the logistics of the trip (e.g., we can find someone to take your place).

Deposits are due by December 19 unless otherwise arranged.

Original trip announcement

You are invited on a spring backpacking adventure to Stevens Canyon, Utah, in late March/early April (specific dates TBD). This remarkable part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is rugged, beautiful, rarely traveled, and (if we’re lucky) abundant with spring flowers.

For photos of nearby places, please see:

The trip will be approximately one week in length. We will hike in for two days, base camp for a few days with dayhikes (including a climb to the top of the Waterpocket Fold with its superb views), and then hike out for two days.

The trip will be moderately strenuous. No backpacking experience is required, but you need to be able to hike 6-8 hours daily for the week, (4 with a full pack). If you are concerned about your preparedness, please contact me and we’ll talk rather than just saying no.

Aerial photo with approximate route:

Trip cost will be in the $200 ballpark, including food but not travel.

Please let me know:

  1. The probability that you would like to come.
  2. If you’d like to bring a guest.
  3. Any date constraints.
  4. Any questions you might have.

Once the dates have firmed up, I will require a $50 deposit per person to hold your place.

Copyright © 1999-2013 Reid Priedhorsky. Last modified: 2009-11-01 16:52 CST. Disclaimer.