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Category: Backpacking

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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Grand Gulch: Bullet Canyon to The Government Trail

Grand Gulch Finale
Friday – Tuesday, April 20 – 24, 2018

Last year I had to skip my annual spring backpacking trip with Dave and Jared since I didn’t have any free time left after my wedding and Honeymoon Adventure in March. This year we decided to resume the tradition and go on a four day backpacking trip into the middle section of Grand Gulch between Bullet Canyon and the Government Trail. This is pretty much the final section of Grand Gulch (starting from under the Bears Ears near Highways 95 all the way to the San Juan River) that I have not hiked yet, so I was really looking forward to checking it out. The funny thing is, this section was supposed to be my very first backpacking trip into Grand Gulch about five years ago, but I missed out on that trip because I came down with strep throat a few days before and Dave and Jared went without me. I’m glad they were willing to repeat this section of the canyon with me this year!

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Chesler Park & Elephant Canyon

Friday – Monday, March 9-12, 2018

Late last year as I was thinking about planning some of my 2018 trips that would require advance permits, I decided it was finally time to backpack into Chesler Park in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. I’ve day-hiked into Chesler Park a number of times over the years from the four-wheel drive trailhead of the Joint Trail, but this time I wanted to backpack in so I could spend more time exploring the area and hopefully photographing this beautiful area at sunrise and sunset. Of course, planning a trip this far out in advance is like playing the lottery with the weather, especially in early to mid March on the Colorado Plateau, so as the dates of the trip approached I kept a close eye on the weather and hoped for good conditions.

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Grand Canyon Polychrome Pictographs

The Panther Gallery, Shaman’s Gallery & Turret Site
Veterans Day Weekend | Thursday – Monday, November 9-13, 2017

This year for the extended Veterans Day weekend Diane and I headed down to the Arizona Strip where we met up with our friend Jerry to backpack and hike along the Esplanade in search of Grand Canyon Polychrome pictographs. By the end of the weekend we would visit The Panther Gallery, Shaman’s Gallery and Turret Site. We also made stops at Toroweap and Paiute Cave since we were in the area. The weather was pretty nice for the entire weekend with highs in the low 70’s and the lows at night in the 40’s. Unfortunately, the Esplanade was pretty dry this time around and we had to carry all the water we would need which added quite a bit of weight to our packs. I’ve wanted to see The Panther Gallery (Cat Site) for a long time and was happy to finally get a chance to see it up close and personal. Enjoy some photos from the weekend!

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The Bears Ears II

Southern Utah Wanderings | Cedar Mesa
Tuesday – Thursday, October 3-5, 2017

After spending Monday in the Abajo Mountains and the previous weekend in the northern section of The Bears Ears, it was time to head over to Cedar Mesa so we could spend then next couple of days exploring some new areas of this part of The Bears Ears searching for new ruins and rock art sites. Here are a few photos from the remainder of our trip…

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