Saturday, January 21, 2016

An ice climber in a snowstorm at the Ouray Ice Festival.

This weekend it was once again time for the annual Ouray Ice Festival. This is one of the few times of the year that I actually go out with the intention of photographing people at an event. Unfortunately, Diane woke up with a very bad cold this morning and decided to stay home, so I went by myself this year.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Two beautifully preserved dinosaur tracks found at the Dinosaur Stomping Ground.

I guess I’m not having much luck in Utah this year since both day trips I’ve been on so far have been shrouded in fog. When I checked the weather forecast for this weekend, it seemed that Sunday was going to be the nicer of two days, so I planned to stay home on Saturday and then go hiking on Sunday. It actually turned out that Saturday was the better of the two days since Sunday was foggy and cooler with some light rain and snow. It was pretty much opposite of what was predicted. We left home later than usual on Sunday morning since the fog and chance of rain was supposed to dissipate by 11:00am. However, the fog and low clouds were still around at the end of our hike later in the afternoon.

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Monday, January 2, 2017

The Champagne Geyser erupts at the old Chaffin Ranch near the San Rafael River.

Since I stayed close to home the past two days, I decided that wanted to venture over the state line into Utah today, but I still didn’t want to travel too far. It’s a pretty short and easy drive from Grand Junction to Green River, so I thought I’d head south from there on the Green River Road to revisit some sites I haven’t been to in many years and also try to stop at a few new ones. I contacted Marty on Saturday evening to see if he was free, and then we made plans to meet in Green River at 7:30 this morning. As I was getting close to Green River on I-70 I could see that the Gunnison Valley was filled with a thick fog and I thought that this might make things interesting for us. After meeting up with Marty and topping off my fuel tank we headed south into the fog on the Green River Road.

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New Year’s Day | Sunday, January 1, 2017
Wedding Canyon Loop 2017

The first sunrise on the Colorado National Monument in 2017 from the Wedding Canyon Trail.

On New Year’s Day Diane and I were up before sunrise to go on our first hike of 2017 in the Colorado National Monument. As usual, we returned to the Wedding Canyon Loop which makes a complete loop around The Island. We went to bed early on New Year’s Eve so we would have no problems getting up for the hike, although we were awoken by fireworks at midnight, and made it to the Monument Canyon Trailhead just before sunrise. We typically hike this loop in a counter-clockwise direction because I prefer to climb the steeper trail in Wedding Canyon and then descend the more gradual trail in Monument Canyon. There was plenty of snow and ice on the trail in Wedding Canyon, but we never had to put on our microspikes this time. As we ascended Wedding Canyon we were treated to a very nice sunrise, but as soon as we reached Independence Monument at the middle of the loop more clouds moved in and blocked the sun for the remainder of the hike back down. We completed the five mile loop in just over two hours and were off the trail before the ground could thaw out and turn into mud.

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New Year’s Eve | Saturday, December 31, 2016

Underneath Liberty Bell Arch in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area.

Diane and I headed out to the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area early this morning for our final hike of 2016. We started our hike from the Rattlesnake Canyon Trailhead near Fruita and hiked up to the top of the Pollock Bench before dropping down a steep trail into Upper Pollock Canyon so we could visit Liberty Bell Arch (Pollock Arch). After checking out the arch from a few different vantage points we decided to continue down Pollock Canyon instead of returning the way had come to create a ten mile loop. While I had hiked all of this route on different trips before, it was all new for Diane.

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