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Category: Backpacking

Colorado National Monument Traverse II

The Monument from Top to Bottom | Black Ridge Loop
Saturday & Sunday, March 28-29, 2015

After completing a traverse across the face of the Colorado National Monument last year I decided that I wanted to put together a longer loop through the Monument to hike this year. The route I strung together begins at the Kodels Canyon trailhead outside of the Monument near Fruita and climbs up the historic Fruita Dugway trail where it connects with the Black Ridge Trail. The Black Ridge trail is the highest trail in the Colorado National Monument topping out at just over 6,700 feet. Since the trailhead is at about 4,700 feet, this route ascends over 2,000 feet of elevation gain while climbing from the lower part of the Monument to the higher part. After following the Black Ridge Trail to it’s end at the Upper Liberty Cap trailhead we would then follow the entire Liberty Cap trail back down to the Wildwood trailhead. Since this route is about 18 miles in length, I thought it would make a nice overnight backpacking trip so that we could take our time and spend a night in the Monument. I stopped by the Visitor’s Center on Friday and picked up a backcountry camping permit so that we could start the hike bright and early on Saturday morning.

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Coyote Gulch

Southern Utah Wanderings | Canyons of the Escalante
Wednesday & Thursday, October 8-9, 2014

Wednesday morning arrived with another beautiful sunrise from our campsite on Fortymile Ridge. Today we would be starting an overnight backpacking trip into Coyote Gulch. This is a popular backpacking destination in the area, and for good reason since it’s a beautiful hike. I had planned to do this hike in the middle of the week so it hopefully wouldn’t be as crowded as a weekend, and I think it ended up working well for us.

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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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