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Category: Four-Wheeling

Otho Natural Bridge & Mill Creek Canyon

Moab Winter Weekend: Arch Hunting & Ancient Petroglyphs
Saturday & Sunday, December 21-22, 2019

This weekend Diane and I headed over to Moab to search for arches and rock art, like we usually do at this time of the year. The weather can be unpredictable at the end of December, but we lucked out this weekend with comfortable hiking temperatures during the day and no snow or ice on the ground yet. I’ve wanted to visit Otho Natural Bridge for many years so I made that a priority this trip and we headed there first thing on Saturday morning. I had originally planned to hike up the North Fork of Mill Creek from the bottom to reach the arch, but we were stopped by a deep water crossing near the confluence of the two forks of Mill Creek. I had hiked this canyon before from the bottom without getting wet before, but it appears there are new beaver dams along the creek which have made that impossible now. We weren’t prepared to get wet this time in these temperatures, so we turned around and drove up into the Sand Flats Recreation Area to find another way down into the canyon instead. I’d never been up this far into this canyon before and the views and scenery were beautiful as we searched for a route into the canyon. I think I ended up liking this route into the canyon more than the one I had originally planned!

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Towering Over Telluride: Ajax Peak

Friday – Saturday, September 13-14, 2019

This weekend Diane and I had another concert to go to on Saturday evening, so just like when I climbed Red Mountain #2 a few weeks ago, I decided to climb another easier peak in the San Juan Mountains on Saturday morning so that I could return home in the early afternoon. I’ve had Ajax Peak (12,785) near Telluride on my to-do list for a while, and that looked like it would be the perfect quick and easy mountain to summit this weekend. Ajax Peak may not be a very high peak by Colorado standards, but it is a prominent sight when you are in the town of Telluride, and I believe it is also a popular hike from town since there is a good trail all the way up to the summit. The peak sits along the ridge separating Ingram Basin from Savage Basin and is down below Telluride Peak (13,509), which I climbed at the end of last summer. Of course, I was not planning on climbing Ajax Peak from Telluride like most people do, instead I planned to drive over Black Bear Pass and spend the night in Ingram Basin where I would start my hike in the morning.

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Weminuche Wanderings: West Ute Lake Loop

Continental Divide Trail: Hunchback Pass to West Ute Lake
Labor Day Weekend | Friday – Sunday, August 30 – September 1, 2019

Since we just spent last weekend along the Continental Divide in Wyoming, I figured it would be nice to spend some time along the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado this weekend. Since Labor Day is a popular holiday in the mountains of Colorado I planned a backpacking loop into an area of the Weminuche Wilderness that I hoped would not be very busy so we could try to avoid the crowds. The plan worked out great as we only saw a couple of other people all weekend and had plenty of solitude! As for the trails we hiked, they required more bushwhacking and route-finding than I expected, so that might be another reason why we didn’t run into too many people.

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Mount Columbia via Frenchman Creek

Saturday & Sunday, August 10-11, 2019

I had such a nice time in the Sawatch Range a couple of weeks ago when I climbed Mount Yale that I decided to return again this weekend with Diane so we could go on an overnight backpacking trip along Frenchman Creek and climb Mount Columbia (14,073) on Sunday morning. Since we didn’t have a long hike ahead of us, we slept in later on Saturday morning before heading out on our way to the Arkansas River Valley. We stopped at K’s in Buena Vista for lunch and then from there it was a quick drive over to the Frenchman Creek Trailhead at the boundary of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. When we arrived I was pretty surprised to find that there were no other vehicles parked there, plus we would not seen anyone else on the trail all weekend. It was a little bit strange, even for a non-standard route on a 14er, especially on a weekend on this side of the mountains, but I’m not complaining!

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Three Out of Three: Red Mountain No. 2

National Summit Day | Final Peak on the Abrams – Anvil Ridge
Friday – Saturday, August 2-3, 2019

Over the years I’ve viewed the summit of Red Mountain No. 2 from many different vantage points; reflected in Crystal Lake from Ironton Park, along the Jeep road to Corkscrew Pass, while exploring the old mining buildings of the Red Mountain Mining District below, and from the top of many of the surrounding peaks in the area. This weekend I had a concert to go to on Saturday evening so I was looking for a peak to climb that was pretty short and close to home. Since I’d already climbed Red Mountain #1 and Red Mountain #3 I figured it was finally time to finish off the trio. Not only would this be my third and final summit of the Red Mountains, but Red Mountain #2 was also the only peak along the ridge on the east side of the Million Dollar Highway between Abrams Mountain and Anvil Mountain that I had not climbed yet, so it would be nice to finish that ridge, too. This turned out to be a fitting hike for Saturday morning since it was apparently National Summit Day, even though Red Mountain #2 is not a ranked, high or popular peak. Those are my favorite kind!

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