Category: Backpacking

East Fork & Middle Fork of The Cimarron River
Labor Day Weekend | Saturday – Monday, September 2-4, 2017

Sunset on Uncompahgre Peak from the East Fork of the Cimarron River.

Labor Day weekend was upon us again, which meant it was time for another backpacking trip into the Uncompahgre Wilderness! This would be our fourth year in a row backpacking into the northern valleys of the wilderness area, starting with our Wetterhorn Basin (West Fork) trip back in 2014, then continuing with trips into Big Blue Creek and Fall Creek. Earlier this summer we were also able to go on a quick overnighter along the Little Cimarron River to make up for our failed loop last year. With only two remaining major valleys left, we planned to combine the East Fork and the Middle Fork of the Cimarron River into a two night trip that I’ve called The Cimarron Loop.

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Seneca Lake, Island Lake & Titcomb Basin
Thursday – Monday, August 17-21, 2017

The Great American Eclipse viewed from the Wind River Range in Wyoming.

The plans for this particular trip started to come together well over a year ago when I first learned about The Great American Eclipse happening on August 21, 2017. The last total eclipse visible from the United States was before I was born, so I really wanted to make an effort to experience this one. After looking at a map of the path of totality, I saw that this one was going to be visible right over the Wind River Range in Wyoming which is only about a six hour drive from home. While I had briefly visited the Wind Rivers outside of Lander about ten years ago, I’ve wanted to go on a backpacking trip into the Bridger Wilderness for a pretty long time now and figured that this would be the perfect opportunity. Early in the planning stages I set my sights on backpacking into the Island Lake and Titcomb Basin area below Fremont Peak from the Elkhart Park Trailhead near Pinedale. I figured that this popular and beautiful area would be a good introduction to backpacking in the Wind Rivers. As the date of the eclipse got closer and more and more people learned about it from social media, I figured that this area of Wyoming was probably going to be much busier than usual, but I decided against changing our plans and was willing to make that sacrifice for this possible once-in-a-lifetime event.

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Saturday & Sunday, July 15-16, 2017

View from our campsite along the Little Cimarron River in the Uncompahgre Wilderness.

Last Labor Day weekend, Diane and I had set off to complete a three day loop in the Uncompahgre Wilderness connecting the Fall Creek Trail and the Little Cimarron Trail. Unfortunately, stormy weather prevented us from crossing over the high ridge into the Little Cimarron River valley, so we had to cut our trip short and returned the way we had come. This weekend we decided to go on an overnight trip along the Little Cimarron River to make up for it since I’ve been itching to get back into the Uncompahgre Wilderness, which is one of my favorite, and often overlooked, wilderness areas close to home.

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Friday – Sunday, June 2-4, 2017

Sunset over ripples in the sand at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.

This year I have been trying to cross things off my to-do list that have been on there for way too long. One of the items on my list that I have been looking at for a number of years was backpacking into The Great Sand Dunes. Earlier this year I decided that this was finally the year I was going to go for it! After some research it looked like June would be a good time to go. Even though Great Sand Dunes National Park is usually pretty busy in June since Medano Creek is typically at peak flow, I figured it wouldn’t matter much for us since we would be hiking and camping deeper in the dune field than most visitors go. Looking at my calendar, my only free weekend in June was the very first weekend (It’s going to be a busy month!), which was a little earlier than I would like to have gone, but since it was our only option that’s when we decided to go.

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Saturday & Sunday, April 22-23, 2017

Ely Creek Falls just off of the Jones Hole Trail in Dinosaur National Monument.

I have wanted to hike into Jones Hole within Dinosaur National Monument for a long time but have always put it off since getting there is a little out of the way for me. I finally decided it was time to get up there and check it out, but instead of doing it as a day hike, I figured that I would do it as an easy overnight trip and camp along the Green River in Whirlpool Canyon. I really wish I hadn’t waited so long to visit Jones Hole because it was an amazing experience. This hike had it all- hiking through a beautiful lush green canyon along a clear and cold stream, Fremont pictographs, wildlife, a nice waterfall and an awesome campsite on a sandy beach under the shade of a cottonwood tree. What more could you ask for?

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