Ask Anne a Question!

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30 thoughts on “Ask Anne a Question!

  1. AC

    Hey Anne! Are the hikes and slot canyons in Grand Staircase accessible via Page, AZ. Or do you have to drive west, north, and back around (about 4 hours) to access them? Thanks!

  2. Hi AC! Taking US-89 and Hwy 12 is the easiest route, and the only one I know of that is paved. A few years back my GPS brought us in from Page (actually, Big Water just over the state line) via the Smoky Mountain Road, which is shorter by far, but also dirt. You can read about that here: However, instead of taking Road 300 (like in the link), we stayed right on Road 230 (see,+UT+84741/Devils+Garden+Parking+Area,+Escalante,+UT/@37.3357168,-111.7824161,10z/data=!4m14!4m13!1m5!1m1!1s0x8735189e4c768ad7:0xb7aa4b49e9e858d2!2m2!1d-111.6643335!2d37.0824856!1m5!1m1!1s0x8735c13b1f115255:0x3556c07e70f0b266!2m2!1d-111.4146886!2d37.5857093!5i1), which ended us up on the Hole in the Rock Road just south of Devil’s Garden (you’d have to drive south from Devil’s Garden on the Hole in the Rock Road to get to the Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons anyway). I’m not sure it was any faster than 89/12 (we probably spent 4-5 hours driving it) but it’s very beautiful if you have high clearance / 4×4. Our high clearance van did ok except for one wash where we had to get out, build the road, then push the van up out of the wash. So overall: if you want an adventure and have high clearance / 4×4, go for Smoky Mountain Road; otherwise, take 89/12 and zip up to Bryce Canyon on the way (it’s literally right on the way and absolutely stunning, even without walking any further than the rim!)

  3. Kay

    Are there any times you’d recommend not hiking in the North Cascades? Looking to avoid crowds and snow/ice.

  4. Hi Kay – If you want to avoid snow and ice, you’ll have to hike in August or September. For crowds, your best bet may be a weekday in September. Very popular trails like Cascade Pass and the Maple Pass Loop will probably have other visitors throughout the hikeable season. Hope that helps! ~Anne

  5. Mike

    Anne, I recently bought an expensive down sleeping bag that only has a zipper that goes about half way, if that. I’m wondering if you think it would be possible (or crazy) to try sewing on a full-length zipper. I figure this is a lot more complicated than the simple replacement because I’d have to actually cut the bag all the way down, sew it up real well so the down isn’t leaking out, and sew in the new zipper where there was none before.

  6. Hi Mike!

    If the seam doesn’t go the length of the bag, and you’ll literally be cutting the fabric, it will be an ambitious project. Decide if the bag is worth it to you to possibly make a mistake. However, if there is a seam all the way to the bottom, simply take out the seam, make sure the edges are still stitched so no feathers are leaking out, and then sew on the zipper. No seam is a different story. If I was to do it, I would carefully cut the fabric, then immediately turn under the edges and sew them closed. No more leaking feathers. Then you could install the longer zipper. Good luck!


  7. Hi Rich! I occasionally sell or license pictures (non-exclusive rights). The resolution is 180 dpi, which should be fine for posters up to 17 inches wide. Let me know if this works for you, and / or what picture(s) you are interested in.

  8. Bryan Q

    I love your list of top 6 mt. baker highway hikes, but here is my problem. I will be in Glacier from June 26-29. These dates are set, with no chance to change. I’m worried that I won’t be able to get far on mt. baker highway at that time of year, certainly not to Artist’s Point (which I’ve visited years ago and loved), which will leave me not knowing what to hike?
    Any thoughts? Suggestions for hikes that will be accessible at the end of June? Like I said, I’m going no matter what (for free) so I have to figure something out.
    Any help would be appreciated.

  9. Hi Bryan! I feel your pain! Artist Point is so long in thawing out; even in late July the trails aren’t always accessible. In June you will probably be able to drive up to the ski area at the very least; Picture Lake is there, so while it’s not much for hiking (and may still be icy), you still might be able to take pictures and see Mt. Shuksan. The Bagley Lakes Trail also leaves from near the ski area. It will probably still have some snow. If you’re lucky, the crews will have cleared the road up to the Heather Meadows Visitor Center, and you’ll be able to drive up there. Even if the gate isn’t open, you still might be able to hike up to the visitor center and access the nearby trails (which will probably be snowy). Depending on snow conditions, if the road is clear, you can probably hike up the road from wherever the road is gated – that would be quite beautiful in the snow! Excelsior Pass is another thought, though snow may still be present. Nooksack Falls will probably be open, and I doubt it will be too snowy. Horseshoe Bend is also along the Nooksack River and is called by some the “best snow-free Mount Baker hike during the spring”. Not much on views, though.

    If you don’t mind driving an hour or two to the trailhead (not optimal, but it’s there) you might be able to drive WA-20 toward North Cascades – again, they’ll be snowy, but options might include Sauk Mountain, Fourth of July Pass, Lookout Mountain, or a little further out, Sourdough Mountain. You can check with the rangers at the Ranger Station in Glacier for conditions along the Mt. Baker Highway, and contact North Cascades National Park (Facebook, call, or go to one of the visitor centers) for conditions closer to the time. The WTA site and also often have updated conditions in the comments below the trail descriptions, but again, that will be closer to the time. Hope this helps!

  10. Teresa

    Dear Anne
    first thank you for your blog, it is awesome and I am happy I found great article on how to make my own traveling pillow.
    I would like to ask, if you could also send a tutorial how to make a bigger one? Because my husband is a big man, and these sizes are usually very, very small… so this year I decided to make him his own. So how is this pillow measured by… neck? shoulders?
    It seems everywhere is DIY traveling pillows with only ONE TYPE of measurements, but noone really says where did they get these measurements…
    I hope you could help me, because your post looks like you are proffesional 🙂

    Thank youuu

  11. Hello Elena!
    I am happy that you like the post about the neck pillow! If you want to make the pillow bigger, lay the pattern on the fabric, then cut 1 inch (2-3cm) or more all around the pattern (for example, Continue with the tutorial as written. Your finished pillow will be significantly larger than the original. Hope that is helpful 🙂

  12. Hi Robert! Motorcycle permits are often under a different jurisdiction than an average driving permit. Your best bet is to call the Florida DMV and ask.

  13. Lily

    Hi Anne. My boyfriend and I visited Spray Park in 2016. He had a backcountry permit and we stayed overnight to take pictures. He recently passed away (while hiking) and I would like to get a tattoo of the coordinates of where we stayed in Spray Park. I can share a picture we took if that helps? When I Google it, I also get somewhere in China on Google Maps. I don’t want to get a tattoo in his honor and have it wrong. Do you think you could help?

  14. Hi Lily! So sorry about your boyfriend! A tattoo sounds like a great way to honor him & his memory. If Google maps is taking your coordinate to China, it sounds like Google thinks your coordinates are for North and East (as in northern hemisphere and eastern hemisphere) instead of North and West. To fix this, place a negative sign (i.e., a dash like -) in front of the second coordinate. For example, a coordinate from the middle of Spray Park should look like 46.92299, -121.82892, not 46.92299, 121.82892 (which lands me next to the Chaor River in North Korea!) Hope that helps; feel free to comment again if it doesn’t work / make sense.

  15. Olivia Berke

    Hello Anne!

    I am a student at GCSU. We are researching the Flat Tops Wilderness. Looking through your travels, I see that you visited this place a while back. We are also researching the white-nose syndrome that has affected the bats in the area. I was wondering when you visited this area, did you see the effects of the white-nose situation? Were you aware of this problem? Did it affect your visit in any way?

    Thank you,
    Olivia Berke

  16. Hello Olivia!

    I visited the Flat Tops Wilderness in August of 2012 and August of 2013. At the time, I was very aware of White Nose Syndrome, but I was unaware that it affected bats in the Flat Tops area. I don’t recall seeing any bats, and in general, it did not affect my visit. I am sorry I cannot be of more help to you, but I hope your research goes well!


  17. Catherine

    Hi Anne, thank you for your wonderful posts! I’m heading to Bisti/De-Na-Zin & Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah in May. Your post is the first I’ve seen where it looks possible to get from Chaco Canyon to the Valley of Dreams. We’ll have a 4×4 and hope to take 7950 northeast from the Chaco campground and then left on 7980, right on 57, left on 7870 and then right on a dirt road up to what looks like a holding pond and park there. Is that doable? Appreciate your help!

  18. Hello Catherine! Your route sounds exactly like what I did, only you would be coming from Chaco instead of the main highway. The road over to 7980 is less than 5 miles (maybe 4.8 miles?) from the entrance to the campground road. If you cross a wash, and then there is a group of buildings on the left (west), you know you’ve gone too far. As long as the roads are dry, you should be fine with high clearance/4×4 (I had high clearance, but not 4×4, and the high clearance was extremely helpful just after turning left onto 7980 because the center of the road is quite a bit taller than the tire tracks). 4×4 would have been nice for the road into the Valley of Dreams Area.
    BTW, if you need to do any dispursed camping in the area, I recommend the parking area for the Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness (36.139912, -107.920714 – you can put this into Google Maps and it will show you where it is). Have fun! It’s a beautiful place!

  19. Candy Crawford

    Hey Anne,

    I am planning a solo retreat near North Cascades second week of June. Would love ideas for cabin rentals that can be my “base” as I hike around there. I know weather will impact my hikes. Would love 2 different locations so I can divide up my 10 day trip. Thanks for any help and I love your website!

  20. Hello Candy! I have to admit, I’ve never stayed in a cabin near there (I usually go park my van somewhere in the nearby national forest!) I highly recommend using VRBO ( or AirBnB ( to search cabins – they both have many options for the area and each cabin and owner are rated so you know what you’re getting into. Hope that helps!

  21. Hi Nate – I don’t have any (easy) way to sort the hikes by rating at this point. I will definitely consider that as I update the site, because it’s a great idea!

  22. Hi Tom! I’m more of day hiker than a backpacker. But I’ve long dreamed of the High Divide Trail. You might be able to combine the Seven Lakes Basin portion of the hike ( with a trek up Mt. Carrie ( There are a whole network of trails up there, so with many spurs, you could probably make it 6 to 9 days, depending on how far you like to hike each day. Also, I highly recommend hiking and camping along the beach (some of it is in headland rain forest – quiet and idyllic as long as you’re not near trailheads) – for example, from Shi Shi Beach Trailhead to the Oil City Trailhead (at least 55 miles; see Do your research, though, and be ready for tides and river crossings. Hope that helps!

  23. Jenny

    Hi Anne — How is the drive to Butte Lake in Lassen Volcanic National Park? I am aware that it is an unpaved road from CA-44 to Butte Lake and I am wondering whether a basic sedan would do okay. Much thanks!

  24. Hi Jenny! A basic sedan should be fine on the road to Butte Lake. There are a few potholes, but as long as you go slow (and don’t mind a bit of dust), the road is in pretty good condition down to the campground and parking area. ~Anne

  25. Dave Johnson

    Greetings Anne,

    Is there still a ‘use trail’ from the free parking spaces North of Deception Pass Bridge down to the Lottie Point trial? (about 100 yards thru the
    woods) Im assuming that parking is
    still free in these spaces.
    Dave Johnson
    Caldwell Idaho

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