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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
9:54 PM Tue, Oct. 16th

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Ted Johnson, Courier Columnist

Stories by Ted

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Johnson: A hike to keep you busy this fall: Hesperus Mountain

Hiking Arizona

First impressions of Hesperus Mountain, Colorado, are powerful. The first thing I thought when I spotted Hesperus for the first time was that it was the most beautiful mountain I had ever seen. I will never forget its contrasting bands of color, its perfect shape, its setting with a clear blue sky, patches of snow and wildflowers.

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Johnson: New Mexico’s high point is Wheeler Peak

Hiking Arizona

This is my favorite alpine hike. First, it is an excellent training hike for more serious alpine treks such as Mt. Whitney. ...

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Johnson: Hiking Colorado’s Cross Mountain

Hiking Arizona

I feel a change in the weather coming, signaling the end of summer. However, autumn is still many weeks away, especially across the Southwest.

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Johnson: Making our way through Wheeler Peak

Hiking Arizona

I thought, “Nobody likes a quitter,” when Mark told me he was quitting. I yelled into his face, “You can do this,” knowing we only had a quarter of a mile to go to reach the summit. Sure the winds were howling and visibility was zero, but when the goin’ gets tough, the tough get going’, right? Mark was ill-equipped for the hike.

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Johnson: Exploring Weatherford Loop, be prepared

Hiking Arizona

Hiking beyond timberline involves a greater probability of exposure to high winds, heavy rain, lightning and snow any time.

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Johnson: Hiking to the Top of Yavapai County: Mt. Union, elevation 7,979 feet

HIking Arizona

It’s not that easy to hike above 7,000 feet in elevation within Yavapai County.

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Johnson: High Line Trail near Payson potential classic in Arizona

Hiking Arizona

If you were to nominate any of the many trails in Arizona as a potential classic, the High Line Trail would have to be high on the list.

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Johnson: Oak Creek Canyon’s West Fork Trail, part 2

Hiking Arizona

Back in the ‘70s we hiked through the old fruit orchard at the mouth of the Canyon and picked apples in the fall. We’ve hiked here a dozen times, mostly on day hikes. I’ve hiked through once in each direction. Each through-hike was quite different.

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Johnson: West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon, Part 1

Hiking Arizona

West Fork near Sedona is heavily managed. Due to its popularity, the Forest Service has contracted out its management to Recreation Resource Management Inc. Therefore, if you have an interagency annual pass, it is not accepted. Neither is the Red Rock Pass.

Johnson: Aravaipa Canyon a must-see destination

Column: Hiking Arizona

Aravaipa Canyon is a linear oasis on the edge of the Sonoran Desert.

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Johnson: Canyon hiking at Lynx Creek

Column: Hiking Arizona

Riparian environments are distinct from adjacent uplands.

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Johnson: Hiking the urban, wildland interface on the Iron King Trail

Column: Hiking Arizona

Two hikers expressed concern, maybe alarm, over the apparent demise of their beloved Iron King Trail. When a new housing development gets plopped down in the middle of a trail you frequently utilize, such concern is understandable. So, one damp day I decided to check it out.

Johnson: Taking a stroll through Death Valley

Column: Hiking Arizona

The Southwest has its share of strangely amazing hikes like the Wonderland of Rocks and the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert.

Johnson: Hiking the Superstition Wilderness

Column: Hiking Arizona

The best spring wildflower displays I have consistently enjoyed over the past 50 years of hiking in Arizona have been in the Superstitions.

Johnson: Hiking, rock climbing at Joshua Tree

Column: Hiking Arizona

Back in the early ‘80s I ended up here on a rock climbing trip, but never hiked here until recently. Two aspects immediately caught my attention, the unique terrain and the unique people.

Johnson: Sonoran Desert hiking, the best of Maricopa County

Column: Hiking Arizona

The most glorious display of wildflowers I have ever seen was in McDowell Mountain Park on the Scenic Trail.

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Column: ’Tis the season for desert hiking

'Hiking Arizona'

Claudia asked, “Why hike in the desert?” Like any nature lover, she associates a more positive outdoor experience with green landscapes because they foster a feeling of refreshment. Where there is greenery, there is also water: creeks, fountains, lakes, or waterfalls.

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Column: Taking a trip to the Galiuro Wilderness

'Hiking Arizona'

What does drought sound like? “Crunch, crunch” over the pine needles hiking in Grapevine Canyon, site of the Goodwin Fire. I wanted to return “to the black” and see if any water flowed there. It’s my New Year’s tradition: hiking.

Column: Spending time at Dripping Springs, Part II

'Hiking Arizona'

Sheila asked, “Do you have any hikes for old people?” Since I am no spring chicken, I thought all the hikes in my Southwest directory on CD were for “old people.”

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Column: Hiking Dripping Springs Trail in the Grand Canyon

'Hiking Arizona'

As we reached the Rim, on our hike up Bright Angel Trail, we overheard numerous people expressing their impressions of the Grand Canyon.

Column: Hiking on trails versus cross-country

'Hiking Arizona'

I still prefer to drive with a standard transmission. Hiking on a trail is more like driving an automatic while cross-country hiking is reminiscent of driving with a stick shift, requiring greater concentration.

Column: Hiking the Grand Canyon versus Mt. Baldy

Most people hike in the Grand Canyon during the summer. That’s how I started back in May 1973.

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Column: Likeable hikes, starting with Cedar Breaks and Buckskin Gulch

'Hiking Arizona'

What’s your favorite hike,” asked the young man as we walked down the trail. This is a common approach to identifying potentially likeable hikes, yet how can my favorite hike become your favorite hike?

Column: Borderland hiking at Miller Peak

'Hiking Arizona'

Our borderlands offer some of the best hiking anywhere with rugged canyons and challenging peaks.

Column: Long distance hiking, the Black Canyon Trail

'Hiking Arizona'

In the book, “Walking Distance: Extraordinary Hikes for Ordinary People” by Robert and Martha Manning, we find a wealth of information and encouragement to “hit the trail.”

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Column: Off the beaten path, ‘see the world in a grain of sand’

'Hiking Arizona'

She asked, “How do you decide where to hike next?” As Robert Frost wrote, “The path less traveled.”

Column: Secret’s out, hiking off the beaten path in autumn

'Hiking Arizona'

Talking to a newcomer to Arizona about ideas for hiking destinations, she expressed a preference for hiking “off the beaten path.” I understand her dilemma, “Where can I hike without running into hordes of people, yet hike somewhere that’s notable?”

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Column: Urban or rural trail, take this one to the summit

'Hiking Arizona'

Confession is good for the soul. As a hiker, I try to start off on the right foot.

Column: Who’s your hiking buddy, part 2?

'Hiking Arizona'

Feedback from my last column included the question I always get from women about hiking solo: “How can I feel safe hiking solo?” My usual answer is, “Hike with a gun or a big dog.”

Column: Who’s your hiking buddy?

'Hiking Arizona'

The radio announcer said, “Wherever you are hanging out today, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., we’d love to connect with you.” Hiking is not like that. It’s a “boots on the ground” shared experience, not a virtual connection.

Column: Something to ponder as you wander

'Hiking Arizona'

Do you ponder as you wander? Or, is hiking for you nothing more than pounding ground to get from point A to point B?

Column: Summertime brings great hikes for kids

'Hiking Arizona'

My grandnephew asked if he could get a few days of relief from the heat in Phoenix by spending a few days with me, experiencing some wilderness adventure.

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Column: Time to take stock in our ability to survive

'Hiking Arizona'

Every year, it's the same. Someone finds themselves in a wilderness survival situation somewhere across the Southwest, especially in Arizona. Now that summer has arrived in all its furry, it's time to take stock of our ability to survive, if lost or injured on our next hike.

Column: For a really long hike, go in a Circle

'Hiking Arizona'

I spoke last time to the issue of hiking beyond 50, as in 50 years. Now I want to speak about hiking beyond 50, as in 50 miles.

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Column: My journey to the summit of Humphrey’s Peak

'Hiking Arizona'

Two things are certain for Arizona hikers: heat and aridity.

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Column: Hiking the Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail

'Hiking Arizona'

The Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Trail is unique in Arizona. It commemorates the nineteen men who fought to save the towns of Peeples Valley and Yarnell from a devastating wildfire at the end of June 2013.

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Column: A new column for those who love to hike

'Hiking Arizona'

Originally from Bisbee, my first serious hike was Miller Peak in 1968 with my Dad and “little” brother. We failed to reach the summit on our first attempt due to snow but returned that summer to hike through flower-filled meadows.