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Category: Exploring

Hermits Rest Trail to the Morrow Point Reservoir

Cimarron Point into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison | Curecanti National Recreation Area
Saturday & Sunday, June 13-14, 2020

The next couple of weeks are about to get pretty busy for us since we will be moving into a new house, but I wanted to try to get one more quick overnight backpacking trip in before that happens. Since we still had a lot to do at home, I was looking for something easier and close to home where I didn’t think we would run into many people. After looking over some maps, I thought it would be nice to camp along the shore of the Morrow Point Reservoir in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison at the bottom of the Hermits Rest Trail. I couldn’t find very much information about this hike online, so I figured it probably wouldn’t be too busy. Although I’ve driven through the Curecanti National Recreation Area many times on Highway 50 between Montrose and Gunnison, I have never really spent any time there and thought it was about time we finally did some hiking there. Plus, with the daily boat tours currently not operating because of COVID-19, I knew there wouldn’t be any motorized traffic on the reservoir either.

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West Pollock Arch & Window Rock Tower

Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness
Sunday, June 7, 2020

This weekend I was hoping to get back on the river with a couple of friends again, but it seems that Mother Nature had other plans for us. Between severe thunderstorms on Saturday and very strong winds on Sunday, we decided it was best to cancel our river plans this weekend and try again another time. On Sunday afternoon I decided it was time to get out of the house for a little while and went on a short local hike to visit West Pollock Arch in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. Even though it was windy out, the temperature had dropped significantly because of the passing storm on Saturday, making it perfect weather for hiking. Plus I figured the strong winds would help keep the gnats away that are usually prevalent at this time of the year. I left home in the middle of the afternoon and drove over Black Ridge to the Rattlesnake Arches Trailhead to start my hike. When I arrived there was only one other vehicle at the trailhead and they were just leaving. I was surprised since it was a nice day and this is usually a popular trailhead. After descending to the lower Rattlesnake Arches Trail on the bench below I headed east past Window Rock Tower to the rim of the West Fork of Pollock Canyon.

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Hanging Flume Canyon: San Miguel & Dolores Rivers

Rivers of the West End | Uravan Ballpark to the Rimrocker Trail
Saturday, May 30, 2020

I had high hopes of floating more ephemeral desert rivers this spring like I did last year, but unfortunately this year hasn’t quite panned out as well as I had hoped it would. Many of the rivers that I wanted to float this year just haven’t had enough water in them and the snowpack is almost gone in most places, so it’s not looking very good. However, while keeping an eye on the local rivers of western Colorado earlier this month, it was looking like the San Miguel River might be our best chance for a float, so I tentatively planned a trip with Jackson for the last weekend in May through Hanging Flume Canyon and hoped for the best. During the week leading up to this weekend I kept a close eye on the water levels and forecast for the San Miguel and things were looking pretty good, especially with the little heat wave that we experienced towards the end of the week, so on Friday our tentative plans turned into a definitive plan for Saturday and I was really looking forward to getting on the lower San Miguel and Dolores Rivers this year!

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Dark Canyon Wilderness: Woodenshoe Canyon

Friday – Monday, May 15-18, 2020

This weekend I was supposed to be backpacking with Diane in Canyonlands National Park, but since the park is still closed due to COVID-19 they cancelled my second permit there this spring. At this point I guess that I will just have to try again next year. While looking into alternate plans for the weekend the weather forecast was predicting much warmer temperatures across the Southwest, so I tried to find someplace that was a little higher in elevation where it might be cooler, and after weighing my options I decided it was finally time to check out Woodenshoe Canyon in the Dark Canyon Wilderness. Although I’ve driven around the edges of this wilderness area before, this is one part of the Colorado Plateau that I have ignored for far too long! With the change in plans, Diane decided that she was going to stay home this weekend so I invited my friend Jerry to join me on this four day trip. Unfortunately, this was one of those rare trips where things didn’t quite go as planned and we ended up cutting the trip short and headed home a day early.

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Canyons of the Escalante: Silver Falls Creek

Following Another Segment of the Historic Halls Road
Friday – Sunday, May 8-10, 2020

This weekend Diane and I headed into the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area so that we could continue my Canyons of the Escalante series by hiking down Silver Falls Creek to the Escalante River and back. With warmer temperatures in the desert lately, I was looking for an easy overnight backpacking trip where we could camp near water to cool off during the heat of the day. Plus, with seemingly more people out on our public lands right now, I was also looking for a more out-of-the-way location that’s not very popular where we would hopefully not run into many other people in the backcountry. Silver Falls Creek seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I had actually planned on hiking down Silver Falls Creek Canyon last October with Jared after we hiked through Little Death Hollow and Wolverine Canyon, but after that hike we decided to end our week-long trip a day early and instead went on a short hike along Pleasant Creek in Capitol Reef National Park, so I was looking forward to finally visiting this canyon. As an added bonus, this would be another segment of the historic Halls Road that we would be able to check out after hiking down Lower Muley Twist Canyon back in March.

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