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    Member Since May 2018

    Justin O'Dell

    Minnetonka, Minnesota 

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    Justin O'Dell reviewed Alkali Flat Trail

    3 months ago

    Nice if you want something more like a trail at White Sands National Monument. Exercise caution when hiking, as it is easy to lose track of the posts that mark the trail. Also be aware that the base may close the monument at any time with as little as 24 hours notice, so your plans may be cancelled the day before.

    Hiking in sand, regardless, is very difficult. I would rate the difficulty about the same as many trails I have done about twice the length. You will have to scramble up dunes and try to find the best paths between the posts, some of which were not upright when I went. The view of the unique alkali flats themselves was worth it; however, i would likely not do it again if I return to White Sands.

    Justin O'Dell completed Alkali Flat Trail

    3 months ago

    Justin O'Dell reviewed Santa Elena Canyon Trail

    4 months ago

    A wonderful trail with interesting views of the canyon and the riparian environment by the Rio Grande. It does have some elevation gain, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a very easy trail. It is not too difficult, however. Be prepared to share the trail with many other people, especially during the park’s busy times. Many people will be yelling to hear echos off the canyon walls, and parking may be difficult. Rangers will ticket, so make sure you’re parked in a good spot.

    Justin O'Dell reviewed Indian Head Trail

    4 months ago

    A nice, easy trail and an incredible place to see petroglyphs. Leave yourself plenty of time to study them. It is quite out of the way if you are staying in the park, but very close by if you are staying in Terlingua. Be aware that there is no shade for large portions of the trail, so it is best hiked early or late in the day. Around sunset or sunrise will give you the best atmosphere and lighting for petroglyph viewing.

    Getting there is rather off-putting: it requires taking a poorly-marked dirt road behind the RV park at Study Butte. Head towards the south side of Indian Head Mountain, and go towards the fence with the usual NPS signage. The difficulty getting there is the only reason this didn’t get five stars.

    Justin O'Dell completed Indian Head Trail

    4 months ago

    Justin O'Dell reviewed Fossil Bone Exhibit Trail

    4 months ago

    A short trail with a decent view of the Chihuahuan Desert and some interpretive signs about the fossil discoveries that occurred along the way. I won’t make a separate trip to walk the trail, but the Fossil Discovery Exhibit at the start is a wonderful place to learn about the Park’s prehistory. If you go to the exhibit, you can hike the trail while you are there for a bit more perspective.

    Justin O'Dell reviewed South Rim Trail - Boot Springs Trail

    4 months ago

    I did this trail as a day hike, but I would strongly recommend backpacking it unless you are in incredible shape. The views are spectacular, but the most interesting part, for me, was the remnant Ice Age Forest on the way. It is a unique environment I hadn’t seen elsewhere, with an odd mix of conifers, mosses and lichens, and overgrown desert plants. Also an excellent place for wildlife viewing. Start early in the day, and pack plenty of water; backcountry campsites are scattered along the trail. Leave yourself plenty of time at the Rim.

    Justin O'Dell reviewed Lost Mine Trail

    4 months ago

    An excellent hike to a spectacular view. It goes through a bit of remnant forest and some scrub. The elevation gain is significant and constant, however, so it is moderately strenuous. Bring good hiking boots as well, as it crosses some uneven rocky areas.

    Justin O'Dell completed Lost Mine Trail

    4 months ago

    Justin O'Dell reviewed Boland Ridge Trail

    11 months ago

    Justin O'Dell completed Boland Ridge Trail

    11 months ago

    Justin O'Dell saved Boland Ridge Trail

    11 months ago