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End of Trails in The Needles

Big Spring Canyon – Elephant Canyon Loop
Friday – Sunday, November 30 – December 2, 2018

After looking over the official map for the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park earlier this year, I noticed that I had hiked just about every single trail on it, so I figured it would be a good goal to try and finish hiking them all this year. After hiking a few of those remaining trails earlier in the year, I only had a few segments of trails in the Big Spring Canyon area left, so Diane and I headed down to The Needles this weekend so I could finish them up in one big loop on Saturday.

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Thanksgiving Under the Bears Ears

Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 22-25, 2018

This year Diane and I kept our annual tradition of spending the long Thanksgiving weekend searching for ruins and rock art on Cedar Mesa alive. (Not counting that one year we went to New Mexico instead, of course.) Although the mountains of Colorado got a lot of much-needed snow over the holiday weekend, the precipitation mostly missed the Four Corners region and we had very pleasant hiking weather just about every day. The higher elevations of Cedar Mesa and Elk Ridge did receive a little snow on Thursday evening, but it had pretty much all melted off by Friday afternoon. As usual, we found some new sites and revisited some of our favorites, too. It wasn’t planned, but we ended up visiting three different kivas that were all pretty well-preserved and had a great weekend exploring one of my favorite areas in the southwest! Check out all the photos from our Thanksgiving adventure below!

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Horsin’ Around: The Return to Horse Canyon

Friday – Sunday, November 16-18, 2018

It’s been over six years since the last time I drove into Horse Canyon which is located in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The road washed out again shortly after that trip and I don’t think it’s been open much, if at all, since then. When I noticed at the end of October that the road was actually open again, I quickly put together a last minute weekend trip with my friends Dave and Jared since I’m not sure how long it will stay open this time! Jared came along on my last trip here but this would be Dave’s first time in Horse Canyon and he was looking forward to it. I reserved a campsite for us at Peekaboo in Salt Creek Canyon on Saturday night so we could spend two full days in the canyon and not have to deal with getting day-use permits. I left work on Friday afternoon and met up with them outside of the Park along the Lockhart Basin Road where we spent the first night since we were able to have a fire here to keep warm on the cold night. On Saturday morning we got a late start since we had to wait until the Visitor Center opened at 9:00am to get the combination to the gate which wasted a couple hours of daylight on these short days. Once we had the combination we headed through the gate and spent the rest of the weekend searching for arches, ruins and rock art. We found plenty of all of them! Enjoy these photos from our weekend trip!

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Exploring The Esplanade

The Hades Site | Veterans Day Weekend
Thursday – Sunday, November 8-11, 2018

Over the past couple of years I have been trying to spend a long weekend during the late fall searching for Grand Canyon Polychrome Pictographs on the Esplanade in the Grand Canyon. This year Diane and I met up with our friend Jerry and went on a three day – two night backpacking trip in search of the Hades Site. Diane and I left after work on Wednesday evening and spent the night in St. George so we could see if the ancient mug I found earlier this year was on display yet. Unfortunately, it was not on display when we stopped by the BLM Visitor Center on Thursday morning since it’s apparently in Cedar City right now for some reason, but at least we were able to sleep in later and not have to drive very far this morning.

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Hoodoo Trail

Sunday, November 4, 2018

For a change, Diane and I actually stayed home this weekend! It seems like it’s been a long time since I’ve done that! We went for a bike ride along the Colorado River on a new section of the Riverfront Trail on Saturday and then went on a hike on the Hoodoo Trail in the Little Book Cliffs on Sunday morning. Since rain was predicted for the early afternoon we got an early start so we would hopefully be finished with the hike by the time it arrived. I had hoped the nice clouds in the sky would stick around as we left home shortly after sunrise, but the sky quickly became completely overcast after we started hiking and stayed that way for the rest of the day. Since it was looking pretty gloomy out I didn’t end of taking very many photos, but I’ll share the ones I did take below. We did end up seeing two wild horses in the canyon, but they were too far away to get a photo of.

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