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Island in the Sky: Syncline Loop Trail

Friday & Saturday, December 6-7, 2019

After spending two weekends hiking at the Island in the Sky last month it was time to return again so I could continue working my way through the rest of the official trails there. I had originally planned on heading back for a day trip on Sunday this weekend, but the weather wasn’t looking good that day so I changed my plans on Thursday. I left right after work on Friday, spent the night outside of Canyonlands National Park and then got an early start hiking the Syncline Loop Trail on Saturday morning. I’ve wanted to hike this trail which circumnavigates Upheaval Dome for a long time and was really looking forward to this one!

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Thanksgiving Weekend on Cedar Mesa

Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 28 – December 1, 2019

This year for Thanksgiving Diane and I planned to spend the long holiday weekend searching for ruins and rock art on Cedar Mesa like we usually do at this time of the year. However, this year we had to deal with a winter storm that impacted the area and required us to change our plans on the fly. Although I wasn’t able to hike in the canyons I had originally planned for this trip, we managed to avoid most of the weather and find things to do throughout the weekend. Here are some photos from the weekend in no particular order…

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Island in the Sky: From West to East

Wilhite Trail & Lathrop Trail
Friday – Sunday, November 22-24, 2019

I was originally supposed to go hiking with my friend Alan this weekend, but he had some issues come up on his trip and had to change plans earlier in the week, so I was on my own to find something to do. I figured this would be a good opportunity for me to return to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park so I could continue hiking more of the official trails there. I planned to leave right after work on Friday afternoon, but the sky was looking nice when I got out of work so I drove over to the base of the Book Cliffs to watch the sunset before heading out of town. When the sun was down I grabbed a quick dinner in Fruita and then made my way over to Canyonlands and found a spot to camp outside of the Park.

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Return to Range Creek Canyon

Friday – Sunday, November 15-17, 2019

I’ve wanted to return to Range Creek ever since my first visit at the end of the season in 2013, and since Diane had never been there before we decided that it was finally time to head back this year. So back in August I secured a pair of permits for this Saturday and hoped that the weather would cooperate and not close the road into the canyon before our visit. We left after work on Friday and drove to the north entrance gate of the property in Range Creek Canyon where we set up camp so we would be able to get started hiking early in the morning. After a good night of sleep we woke up on Saturday morning to a brisk 29 degree temperature and clear blue sky above. Although it was a bit cold in the morning the temperature would warm up nicely during the day and it was very pleasant hiking weather.

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Muddy Creek Wilderness: Chimney Canyon

Veterans Day Weekend | Friday – Monday, November 8-11, 2019

While we have been spending the long Veterans Day Weekend backpacking somewhere along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon these past couple of years, this year I decided to find something a little closer to home since we just hiked down into Havasu Canyon a couple weeks ago and I didn’t really want to drive back to the Grand Canyon twice within a couple of weeks. After hiking through the Grand Gorge of Muddy Creek last year and then floating through The Chute of Muddy Creek earlier this year, I felt that it was time to get back to exploring more of the brand new Muddy Creek Wilderness area with a backpacking trip into Chimney Canyon. While I have spent a lot of time in the San Rafael Swell over the years, I realized that I have never actually gone on a backpacking trip there, so this would be my very first backpacking trip in the Swell and most likely our last backpacking trip of the year, too.

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