Category: Hiking

Friday – Sunday, June 9-11, 2017

The Temple of Cedar Mesa hidden in Bears Ears National Monument.

Typically I avoid visiting Cedar Mesa in June because of the hotter temperatures and especially because of the annoying cedar gnats (no-see-ums) that are usually prevalent at this time of the year. However, I made an exception this year since my friend Alan and his father would be visiting the area this weekend and invited me to join them. Our friend Jerry, who I met last year on a backpacking trip on the Arizona Strip was going to be there and my old friend John Mumaw, who I hadn’t seen in a few years, was also going to be stopping by.

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Friday – Sunday, June 2-4, 2017

Sunset over ripples in the sand at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.

This year I have been trying to cross things off my to-do list that have been on there for way too long. One of the items on my list that I have been looking at for a number of years was backpacking into The Great Sand Dunes. Earlier this year I decided that this was finally the year I was going to go for it! After some research it looked like June would be a good time to go. Even though Great Sand Dunes National Park is usually pretty busy in June since Medano Creek is typically at peak flow, I figured it wouldn’t matter much for us since we would be hiking and camping deeper in the dune field than most visitors go. Looking at my calendar, my only free weekend in June was the very first weekend (It’s going to be a busy month!), which was a little earlier than I would like to have gone, but since it was our only option that’s when we decided to go.

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Maze Memorial Weekend IV | Memorial Day Weekend
Friday – Monday, May 26-29, 2017

A beautiful sunset from the summit of Observation Rock along the edge of The Orange Cliffs.

After spending the last three Memorial Day Weekends in and around The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park, this year we decided to skip visiting The Maze proper and stayed on top of The Orange Cliffs in Robber’s Roost country. As usual, we left home after work on Friday evening and headed west into Utah. We stopped for a quick dinner and to fuel up the Jeep in Green River and then made our way to the Hans Flat Ranger Station to pickup our permit for the weekend. The wind was pretty brutal this evening and it really took a toll on my fuel mileage during the drive. There was a lot of sand blowing across the road to Hans Flat in places, but the sky and light was pretty nice during the drive. It looked like there was a good chance for one nice sunset before the clouds disappeared for the remainder of the weekend.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

A little afterglow on the sandstone at dusk in the Colorado National Monument.

I’ve been wanting to photograph sunset from Gold Star Canyon in the Colorado National Monument for a while now, but every time I think about heading up that way it seems the sky doesn’t want to cooperate with me. Late this evening the sky was looking good for the possibility of a nice sunset, so I headed over to the White Rocks Trailhead and hiked up into Gold Star Canyon. Unfortunately, as I was hiking into the canyon more clouds started to build over the valley and my hopes for a nice sunset never really materialized. While I was waiting around I found out that the biting gnats are now out for the season and they were pretty annoying. I stuck around until about 30 minutes after the sun had set hoping for some color, but it never really happened aside from a little afterglow. I guess I will have to try again another time.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

A nice view up the Gunnison River from the bottom of the Chukar Trail in the Black Canyon.

This weekend Diane and I stayed closer to home since I was hoping to raft part of the lower Gunnison River on Sunday. I guess this plan worked out well since the battery in my Jeep died on Friday and I had to wait until Saturday morning at 9:00am to pickup a new one and then install it. Because of that delay we left home later in the morning and decided to go on a short hike into the Gunnison Gorge on the Chukar Trail. The Chukar Trail is one of four main trails on the west side of the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area that you can take down to the Gunnison River. It’s also the easiest of the four, coming in at 1.1 miles in length (one way) and descending 560 feet. The only other trail I have hiked down before was the Ute Trail a couple of years ago, which is the longest and has the most elevation loss. The delay in the morning actually worked in our favor since we needed to wait a little while for the roads to dry out from the late-season winter storm that had just moved through the area the past couple of days.

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