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Category: Photographing

West Needle Mountains: Crater Lake

Saturday & Sunday, July 13-14, 2019

This weekend I wanted to finally get out on our first backpacking trip into the mountains for the season. I was looking for an easier overnighter that wasn’t too far from home, preferably in the San Juan Mountains, and after looking at recent satellite images to see how much snow was left in the high country I decided that we would give Crater Lake in the West Needle Mountains a try. From the recent satellite images it looked like there might still be a little snow on the ground in the area, but nothing we shouldn’t be able to get through. All of the other options I was looking at still had considerable snow on the ground and would have to wait a while longer. This six mile trail starts out in the Andrews Lake Day Use Area located just to the southwest of Molas Pass and climbs up to Crater Lake, nestled on the north side of North Twilight Peak in the Weminuche Wilderness. Last year our first backpacking trip into the mountains was also in the Weminuche Wilderness, but thankfully this time we didn’t have to inhale smoke the entire time!

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Navajo National Monument: Keet Seel & Betatakin

Thursday – Sunday, May 30 – June 2, 2019

After a quick visit to Navajo National Monument back in 2011, which was when I was on my way to visit The Wave for the very first time, I knew that I needed to come back another time so I could actually hike to the Keet Seel and Betatakin ruins. Every year since then I have thought about going back but I never got around to making the advance reservations for the Keet Seel hike which typically fills up early in the year. When I made the decision that I was going to try to obtain some hard-to-get permits earlier this year (i.e. Havasupai), the hike to Keet Seel was up near the top of my list! On the first day that reservations were being taken for Keet Seel in February I called and reserved an overnight permit for Diane and myself for the first weekend in June because it was the first Saturday of the season that you could do an overnight hike this year. Since this particular hike is only available from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which is typically the hottest part of the year on the Colorado Plateau, I hoped that the weather would cooperate with us this year and not be too warm…

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Cedar Mesa Memorial Weekend

Friday – Sunday, May 24-26, 2019

Years ago I used to spend my Memorial Day weekends exploring the canyons of Cedar Mesa in southeastern Utah, which was before I started going to The Maze, but then I stopped doing that when it seemed like the cedar gnats (no-see-ums) were starting to get worse during that time of the year. This year my friend Alan was going to be in the area over the holiday weekend and asked if I’d be able to join him for a couple of hikes, so I thought it would be nice to return to that old annual tradition and said yes! Our original plan was to explore some of the canyons up from Elk Ridge, but thanks to a late season snowstorm we decided to skip the muddy roads and changed our plans to stay lower in the canyons of Cedar Mesa instead.

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Return to Dinosaurland

Friday – Sunday, May 3-5, 2019

Since we spent the end of last week at the very southern end of the Colorado Plateau on our way to Phoenix for a concert, we decided to head north this weekend to the very northern end so we could revisit Dinosaur National Monument and the surrounding area since we had a great time there over Memorial Day weekend last year. And even though Harpers Corner Road in Colorado had just finally opened up a few days before our trip, we decided to minimize our driving and just stick to exploring the Utah side of Dinosaur this time. We left after work on Friday afternoon, stopped for a quick dinner in Fruita, and then drove north through the Book Cliffs and Cañon Pintado towards the eastern end of the Monument in Utah to find a place to camp just outside the park. We found a nice spot just after sunset, quickly setup our tent and then got into our sleeping bags so we could get an early start on Saturday morning.

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Ruins Around the Bears Ears

Friday – Sunday, April 19-21, 2019

I can’t believe that it’s almost the end of April already and this is only my first trip of the year to the canyons surrounding the Bears Ears! At the very least I typically spend Presidents Day weekend exploring this area, but this year we had planned a trip around a concert in Las Vegas over that holiday weekend instead. Then I ended up concentrating on exploring more of The Needles during a few of my other weekends this year and have neglected getting down to the Bears Ears. I finally wanted to change that this weekend, so a few weeks ago I contacted my friend Jerry to see if he was interested in joining me this weekend, and he was, so we met up Friday evening near Blanding to hike a couple of canyons together around the Bears Ears over the weekend. The weather was great and we visited a few nice sites. Enjoy these photos from our weekend!

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