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Author: Randy Langstraat

Horse Ranch Park Loop

Friday – Saturday, June 15-16, 2018

This turned out to be one of those weekends where nothing seemed to work out as planned. I originally had plans of peak bagging in the Ruby Range near Crested Butte, but when I left work on Friday afternoon I already knew there was a good chance that I was probably going to get rained out by the remnants of Hurricane Bud. This tropical storm was going to be bringing some much needed moisture to the Colorado Plateau and Rocky Mountains over the weekend. The weather forecast was predicting thunderstorms, high winds, heavy rain and even possible flash flooding. Even with the chance of storms high, I decided to head that direction anyway and see if I could at least squeeze in a little hiking or photography before the weather arrived. Little did I know at the time that my biggest problem was going to be road closures and not storms!

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Highland Mary Lakes & Verde Lakes

Saturday & Sunday, June 9-10, 2018

This weekend Diane and I decided to go on a very early season backpacking trip into the high country near Silverton. During a normal year we wouldn’t even consider going on a backpacking trip into the mountains until later in June or early in July, but with the low snowpack this year we decided to give it a try much earlier to see how the conditions really were. Also, since it’s still early in the season, the monsoons haven’t started yet and we would be able to camp well above tree line without worrying about storms or lightning. Plus, with Highway 550 closed between Durango and Silverton because of the 416 Fire, we figured the mountains near Silverton wouldn’t be very busy right now and we hoped to find plenty of solitude.

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Dinosaur Memorial Weekend

Memorial Day Weekend | Thursday – Monday, May 24-28, 2018

After four years of going on our annual Maze Memorial Weekend trip we decided it was time to move that trip up into early April for cooler temperatures and less bugs, which meant that we needed to find somewhere else to explore over the Memorial Day weekend this year.  After some thought we settled on visiting Dinosaur National Monument because we hoped it would be a little cooler at this time of the year and I felt it was time to finally start getting to know this area of Utah and Colorado a little more intimately. Plus, there are a lot of places around Dinosaur that I’ve wanted to revisit and I was pretty sure that the park wouldn’t be too busy away from the main Dinosaur Bone Quarry. Little did we know that this weekend was going to be pretty warm all over the Colorado Plateau!

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The North Rim of the Black Canyon

Saturday & Sunday, May 19-20, 2018

Since Diane and I went to a concert on Friday night and stayed out later than normal, we decided to stay closer to home this weekend and went on an easy and relaxing overnight camping trip to the North Rim of the Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park. It has been a while since the last time I visited the North Rim and figured it was time to go back, especially since Diane had never been there before. It felt a little weird staying in Colorado for the weekend since I’m used to driving into Utah this time of the year, but with rising temperatures in the desert and the snow melting in the mountains, I’ll probably be staying in Colorado more often now until the fall.

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Muddy Creek Country

The Grand Gorge of Muddy Creek & Skyline Rim
Friday – Sunday, May 11-13, 2018

This weekend I left after work on Friday and headed down into Muddy Creek Country at the southern end of the San Rafael Swell. I have wanted to hike into the Grand Gorge of Muddy Creek for many years now and decided it was finally time to go do it! As I was driving west into Utah there was a pretty strong headwind which killed my fuel mileage, but since the weather forecast was predicting strong winds all weekend, I was expecting it. I just hoped that the wind gusts wouldn’t interfere with my plans too much. It’s just the typical spring weather on the Colorado Plateau! I made a quick stop in Green River to fill up my tank and then continued up onto the Swell where I planned to spend the night near the old Hidden Splendor Mine.

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