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Category: Highpointing

A Taste of Autumn in the West Elks

Fall Colors 2018 | Friday & Saturday, September 28-29, 2018

Aside from a quick unplanned evening on the Grand Mesa almost two weeks ago, my schedule at the end of September and early October didn’t really leave me much time for a proper Fall Colors weekend photography trip since I had a must-attend concert in Salt Lake City on Sunday evening and a river trip through Labyrinth Canyon the weekend before. Even with all the preparations for an upcoming week-long adventure into Utah I did manage to get out for a quick overnight trip to the West Elk Mountains after work on Friday. I just hoped that there was some color around for me to photograph during this narrow window of time in the mountains!

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Imogene Pass Peaks

Friday & Saturday, September 14-15, 2018

This weekend I decided to stay close to home and only go out for one night since I needed to spend some time getting prepared for an upcoming river trip that I’m leaving for in a few days. I ended up going on an quick overnighter into the San Juan Mountains between Ouray and Telluride so I could hike to the summit of a few peaks near Imogene Pass. It’s actually been a few years since the last time I drove up to Imogene Pass, so I was looking forward to checking it out again. I left after work on Friday, stopped for a quick dinner in Delta and ended up making it to the top of Imogene Pass shortly before sunset. During my drive up to the pass I did have to wait for a group of 18 Jeeps to pass me since I guess the Jeep Jamboree was going on this weekend. I would also have to wait for another large Jeep Jamboree group on my way back down on Saturday. From the pass I watched and photographed the sunset before driving back down into Imogene Basin and finding a spot to camp for the night.

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Cinnamon Pass Peaks & Anvil Mountain

Friday – Sunday, September 7-9, 2018

After visiting the High Uintas Wilderness for the first time last weekend, I figured I’d stay a little closer to home this weekend to spend some quality time back in the San Juan Mountains. The summer season in the mountains is coming to an end soon and I’ll be heading off to explore the Colorado Plateau on my weekends in just a few short weeks. Midddle to late September is actually my favorite time to hike in the mountains since they are less crowded after Labor Day, the alpine tundra is already changing color, the aspen trees usually start to change color, and there are less worries about afternoon thunderstorms since the monsoon season is coming to an end. It’s a great time of the year to get in some peak bagging! Last September I headed up to Engineer Pass for a little hiking around this time of the year, so I thought I would return to the area and hit up Cinnamon Pass this time. Although I hiked to Cinnamon Mountain from the pass a few years ago, there were still a couple of peaks nearby that I hadn’t got to yet.

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Top of Utah: Kings Peak via Henrys Fork

Labor Day Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, August 30 – September 2, 2018

Last August when Diane and I were driving home through the eastern edge of the Uinta Mountains from our first backpacking trip in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, I mentioned that we needed to go on a backpacking trip into the High Uintas Wilderness in 2018, so I put it on our calendar for Labor Day weekend when I got back home. Fast forward a few months and it was time to start figuring out more specific plans for the trip. After looking at maps and our options, I figured that we might as well go all out and hike to the summit of Kings Peak which is the highest point in Utah. There are a couple of ways to get there, but Henrys Fork looked like the easiest and most popular way to go, so we thought it would be a good introduction to hiking in the High Uintas. Since I knew this was going to be a popular spot, especially during a holiday weekend, we took off Friday from work in hopes of getting a little bit of a head start. We left right after work on Thursday and drove over Douglas Pass and through the Book Cliffs to Vernal, where we stopped for a quick dinner. We almost hit a deer as we were driving through Manila, but other than that the drive was pretty uneventful. We arrived at the Henrys Fork Trailhead in the dark around 10:00pm and found a great spot to camp nearby. We quickly setup our tent and went right to bed. The sky was very clear and the stars and milky way were bright tonight!

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Stewart Peak from the Cebolla Trail

Saturday & Sunday, August 25-26, 2018

Since our plans for last weekend changed at the last minute we decided to try and hike Stewart Peak in the La Garita Mountains again this weekend. Stewart Peak is actually the highest thirteener in the San Juan Mountains at 13,983 feet and is the second tallest thirteener in Colorado. I believe it was even mistaken as a fourteener at one point in history before a more accurate survey proved that wrong. The weather forecast for the weekend was looking wet and stormy when I checked on Saturday morning, but it also looked like a typical summer monsoon pattern and I was hoping we would have just enough time on Sunday morning to get our climb in before the storms arrived.

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