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Category: Canyoneering

Hondu Country: Upper Muddy Creek Gorge

Tomsich Butte to Poor Canyon, Road Hollow to Fix-It Pass & Slipper Arch
Friday & Saturday, May 1-2, 2020

I was originally supposed to be in the San Rafael Swell this weekend for an event that was cancelled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, but since most of Utah, including Emery County, was open to camping again I decided to still head into the Swell so I could spend Saturday hiking and exploring more of the Muddy Creek Wilderness. I’ve gone on a couple of great trips along the Muddy Creek over the past few years and have been looking forward to getting back there again. This time I planned to hike into the Upper Gorge of Muddy Creek from Tomsich Butte and then continue into Poor Canyon as far as I could go. I was hoping that Poor Canyon would share some of the same amazing features that the forks of Chimney Canyon do, and I wasn’t disappointed!

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Ribbon Canyon

Bangs Canyon Recreation Area
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

This evening after work I headed out to explore a local canyon that’s found near The Ribbon Trail in the Bangs Canyon Recreation Area, just outside of the Colorado National Monument. Earlier this year I had come across a recent canyoneering trip report for this canyon, which they called Ribbon Canyon, and I thought it looked like it would be a nice place to visit after work one day. Well, now that I have to stay closer to home, I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to check out this short canyon! Although the canyoneers who posted the original trip report had rappelled down into the canyon from above, I thought I’d hike up from the bottom to see how far I could get. It turns out that I was able to see the best parts of the canyon before I got stopped by a high dryfall. I must say, this is probably the nicest canyon that I have ever visited this close to home, and I really enjoyed my evening spent here!

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Getting Lost in the West End

Silveys Pocket to the Dolores River, Petroglyphs in Paradox & La Sal Creek
Friday – Sunday, April 3-5, 2020

With all of southern Utah essentially shut down to non-locals right now, this weekend I tried to pick one of the more remote areas in western Colorado that wasn’t too far from home to go explore. Ever since I floated through Slick Rock Canyon on the Dolores River last year I have wanted to get back to hike some of the side canyons that we were unable to visit on that trip, so I thought the Dolores River Canyon Wilderness Study Area would be the perfect place to go. I left right from work on Friday and was completely self-contained in my Jeep with food and fuel for the entire weekend so I wouldn’t have to make any stops along the way. I followed the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic Byway to Naturita and then headed over to Big Gypsum Valley where I crossed the bridge over the Dolores River beyond the boat ramp and found a place to camp along the rim of Silveys Pocket.

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Waterpocket Fold: Lower Muley Twist Canyon

Friday – Sunday, March 27-29, 2020

This weekend Diane and I headed over to Capitol Reef National Park so we could get in one last backpacking trip before Colorado and Utah were both completely shut down and only open to local residents due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. At this point in time it was still OK to visit and camp within Wayne and Garfield Counties in Utah, plus Capitol Reef National Park was still open, so the trip was a go! We knew that this was probably going to be our last backpacking trip into Utah for a while, so we decided to visit Lower Muley Twist Canyon since it’s a canyon I’ve wanted to explore for a long time and I thought it would be a great place to practice social distancing. It turned out to be a great choice since we would only briefly see one other person the entire weekend, plus the scenery was spectacular!

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The Canyons of Trachyte Creek

Trachyte Canyon to Maidenwater Canyon
Friday – Sunday, March 6-8, 2020

Since we ended up cutting our trip to the San Rafael Swell a little bit short last weekend because of snow and mud, this weekend we decided to head a little further south and lower in elevation on an overnight backpacking trip along Trachyte Creek near the foot of the Henry Mountains. A little piece of history from this area is that Trachyte Creek was named by Almon H. Thompson of the 1871-72 Powell Expedition for the light-colored igneous stones called trachyte that wash down the canyon from the Little Rockies. This is actually an area that I have not spent too much time in before, so I was looking forward to the change of scenery. Plus, it’s always nice to be out backpacking during the Daylight Savings Time change since we don’t really notice it while we are out in the backcountry where time doesn’t matter much. It always makes the adjustment easier for me.

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