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Category: Exploring

Sandstone & Sand Hills: The Paria Plateau

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Thursday – Sunday, January 24-27

It’s been almost a full year since the last time I was out exploring and photographing the wonderful sandstone of the Paria Plateau and I was really itching to get back out there again soon. A few months ago I secured a permit to Coyote Buttes South for this Friday and then planned to spend the rest of the weekend exploring other areas of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument outside of the Coyote Buttes permit zones. Unfortunately, after I had already picked the weekend and got the permit I found out that the annual Ouray Ice Festival was scheduled for this same weekend, so I guess I was going to miss it this year. Diane was supposed to be in Las Vegas with a friend this weekend, which is why I originally chose it, but when her plans fell through there were no longer any permits available so I would be on my own this trip.

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Desolate Divine: Back To The Needles

Friday – Monday, January 18-21, 2019

I spent a lot of time exploring the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park last year, but I guess I couldn’t stay away very long since I found myself back there again for my first camping trip of 2019 over the long holiday weekend! With the government shutdown I was not quite sure what to expect in The Needles, but since this district of Canyonlands is usually not fully staffed in the winter I was hoping it would be business-as-usual, and it pretty much was. The only difference I could tell between a normal winter weekend and during the government shutdown was that the bathrooms in the Visitor Center were closed and the current weather forecast was not posted on the door.

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Reef Madness: Cave Canyon & Arch Tower

The San Rafael Reef
Saturday, January 12, 2019

Since Diane took an extra shift at work today I decided to drive over into Utah so I could do a little hiking on the northern San Rafael Reef since I hadn’t been back out that way since last January. I just hoped I wouldn’t lose a wheel on my Jeep this time since I’d be driving down that same road again! When I woke up this morning there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground at my house, so I checked the weather forecast and it looked like the snow ended near the state line, so I continued on with my plans for the day. After leaving home I drove through some very dense fog on I-70 from Grand Junction all the way to the Westwater exit and then through more patchy fog until the Cisco exit. This slowed down the drive considerably, so it’s probably a good thing I wasn’t in a hurry to get anywhere this morning. After passing the Cisco exit it was clear blue skies as far as I could see and it would stay that way for the rest of the day.

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Westwater Mesa Loop

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Well, here it is! Our 65th and final trip report of the year and our very last hike of 2018. When we woke up on Sunday morning I had no plans scheduled for the day but I did know that I wanted to get out hiking at least one last time this year, so I looked at some maps and settled on the Westwater Mesa Loop Trail in the Utah Rims area just west of Rabbit Valley. Since it was pretty cold out this morning Diane and I waited until the the afternoon when it warmed up into the low 30’s to start our short drive to Utah and start hiking. After getting off the interstate at the Westwater exit and then following the Kokopelli Trail for a short distance we parked at the edge of Westwater Mesa and started hiking. This trail is about 7.5 miles in length and pretty much follows the rim of the mesa most of the way with views over Bitter Creek, Westwater Creek and the Colorado River. It was a nice local hike to end the year with. Here’s to a great 2019!

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Christmas In Arches 2018

Christmas Day | Tuesday, December 25, 2018

On Christmas morning Diane and I woke up early and drove over to Arches National Park so we could continue our annual tradition of hiking to Landscape Arch and making sure that it is still standing for another year! If you are interested in checking out our previous Christmas trips, you can find those here: [2017] [2016] [2015] [2014]. We arrived at the park just as the sun was coming up for the day so I stopped a few times to take photos as we drove to the trailhead in the Devils Garden.

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