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Category: Backpacking

The Gulch

Southern Utah Wanderings | Canyons of the Escalante
Saturday & Sunday, October 4-5, 2014

On Saturday morning I left for my annual week-long trip into southern Utah. This year I planned to spend the whole week along the canyons of the Escalante River in the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. I met Jared, who would be joining me for the entire trip, in Boulder and we took off down the Burr Trail to the trailhead for The Gulch. Our plan was to start out with an overnight backpack trip into The Gulch so I could visit a few rock art sites that had been on my radar for a few years.

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Wetterhorn Basin

Labor Day Weekend | Saturday & Sunday, August 30 – 31, 2014

When I asked Diane what she wanted to do over Labor Day weekend she suggested that we go on another backpacking trip. I guess it’s safe to say that she enjoys backpacking since she only went on her very first trip back in June. After a little research we decided on an overnight backpacking trip into Wetterhorn Basin within the Uncompahgre Wilderness. We figured it probably wouldn’t be too busy in this area over the holiday weekend because most people climb Wetterhorn Peak from the other side.

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Mount Whitney

Top of the Contiguous USA
Friday – Tuesday, August 22-26, 2014

Mount Whitney- at 14,508 feet it is the highest mountain peak in the contiguous United States. While I have always thought about climbing to the summit of Mount Whitney at some point in my life, I really had never seriously planned a trip or time frame to do it. About two months ago my friend Geoff sent me a message and asked if I wanted to join him on a day hike of Mount Whitney. He had received a few permits in the lottery earlier in the year, but all of his hiking companions had cancelled on him. I checked my calendar and had no trips planned for that time yet, so I said yes. I figured since I had the opportunity come up that I might as well do it now, especially since I had already hiked six Colorado 14ers this year and was in pretty good shape. I was a little worried about doing the full 22 mile hike in a single day since I had never done a hike that long in one shot, especially with over 6,000 feet of elevation gain. I decided to keep an eye on the Mount Whitney permit website to see if any overnight permits opened up, and luckily a few weeks before the trip I was able to get two of them for the same time. I no longer had to worry about completing the hike in a single day and would be able to enjoy the trail more. Our plan was to backpack up to Trail Camp around 12,000 feet on Sunday and then finish the hike to the summit on Monday morning.

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Blue Lakes

Saturday & Sunday, August 2-3, 2014

This weekend Diane and I spent a nice relaxing overnight backpacking trip at the Blue Lakes in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness. I have wanted to hike up to the Blue Lakes for many years and am glad I was finally able to get up that way. The scenery was beautiful and the weather was nice all weekend, too. While it looked like we might receive some of the typical afternoon storms on Saturday, they managed to miss us and we never saw a drop of rain all weekend. There seemed to be quite a few bugs out this time of the year, especially near the large patches of wildflowers we came across, but we managed to keep the mosquitoes away with some DEET bug spray that seemed to work well. While there were a bunch of people camped on the northwest side of the lower lake when we arrived, we crossed the outlet creek and found a nice campsite on the northeast side where no one was camped. Only one other person ended up setting up camp on this side of the lake, so it was nice and quiet.

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Red Rock to Black Canyon

Backpacking Red Rock Canyon
Saturday & Sunday, June 7-8, 2014

Deep, Steep and Narrow. That’s how the National Park Service describes the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and it’s pretty accurate. The Black Canyon is comprised of some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. I’ve wanted to hike down into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison for quite a while now and thought I would try Red Rock Canyon, the easiest route, for my first time. This trail is about 3.5 miles in length and only drops 1330 feet to the river. Compared to the other routes down to the Gunnison, this one is definitely the least steep.

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