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Category: Touring

Meander Canyon: The Colorado River in Canyonlands

Floating from the Potash Boat Ramp to The Loop | Average CFS: 2,660
Thursday – Sunday, September 17-20, 2020

On Thursday morning Diane and I woke up extra early at 3:30am and headed down to Moab where we drove through The Portal on our way to the Potash Boat Ramp and met up with our friends Jackson, Amy and Chris just after sunrise. We were going to be spending the next couple of days on a relaxing float through Meander Canyon on the calm waters of the Colorado River into the heart of Canyonlands National Park. I had such a great time in Labyrinth Canyon two years ago at this same time of the year, so I was really looking forward to another trip similar to that. Although Diane swore that she would never go on another river trip with me after our swift float through Slick Rock Canyon, I managed to talk her into giving it one more try after promising her that this would be all flat water with no rapids! Thankfully, she really enjoyed this trip and I think she will definitely be coming with me on future flat water adventures!

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White River Narrows & Mount Irish Petroglyphs

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Rock Art of the Basin and Range National Monument
Friday & Saturday, September 4-5, 2020

Once I left the White Mountains behind, it was time to visit a few rock art sites in the Basin and Range National Monument as I drove back home across the Great Basin. After stopping in Tonopah for gas and food I continued east on US Route 6 for a little while until I reached Warm Springs and then turned off onto the Extraterrestrial Highway. If you want to drive a lonely highway, then this is probably the one for you! I didn’t even have cell phone signal for almost the entire stretch! I made my way south past the Nellis Air Force Range and through through the tiny town of Rachel on my way to Crystal Springs in the Pahranagat Valley. By the time I drove up the Logan Canyon Road into the Irish Mountain Range it was already getting pretty dark out and I found a spot to spend the night just below Logan Pass. The temperature was heating up in the desert again with another heat wave spreading across the southwest, so it didn’t cool off very quickly, even at 7,000 feet at night.

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The White Mountains: White Mountain Peak

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Wednesday & Thursday, September 2-3, 2020

After hiking to the summit of Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park on Wednesday morning, I continued my ‘Loneliest Road Trip in America‘ across the Great Basin as I drove to the west end of Nevada. My next destination would be in the White Mountains located along the eastern edge of California so that I could hike to the summit of White Mountain Peak on Thursday morning, which is the third highest mountain in California at 14,252 feet. Since it doesn’t look like I am going to be climbing any 14ers in Colorado this summer, which will be the first time in over ten years for me, I figured that I could at least hike one new 14er in California this year instead! I haven’t hiked in the mountains of California since I did Mount Whitney in 2014, so I was looking forward to returning!

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Great Basin National Park: Wheeler Peak

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Tuesday & Wednesday, September 1-2, 2020

Last summer I got the idea in my head that I wanted to hike a couple of high peaks in Nevada and California over the Labor Day weekend and started putting together rough plans for a road trip that would take me Across the Great Basin and Back. Although many of my spring trips got cancelled because of COVID-19, I decided I was still going to go on this one since I would be alone and visiting more remote places during the week where I would not come into contact with a lot of other people. I mean, what better place is there to go for social distancing than by taking a road trip along one of the Loneliest Roads in America! For years I’ve wanted to visit Great Basin National Park to climb Wheeler Peak, so that’s where I decided to start this trip. Although many Nevadans consider Wheeler Peak to be the spiritual and symbolic highpoint of the state, the actual highest point in Nevada is Boundary Peak located near the western edge of the state. Whatever the status of the peak, all I knew is that I wanted to visit Great Basin National Park and hike to the summit for the view!

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The Malpais: Badlands of New Mexico

El Malpais National Monument & El Morro National Monument
My 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico
Sunday, February 16, 2020

The last day of my 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico had finally arrived and although we technically had one more day left for the trip because of Presidents Day on Monday, we decided that we would rather drive home later this evening and have Monday off to rest and get ready to go back to work on Tuesday than stick around another day. After spending the night in Los Lunas we started driving west on historic Route 66 toward Grants so we could visit The Malpais (an extensive area of rough, barren lava flows) of New Mexico for the first time. We had started this week-long adventure along the old Route 66 at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona the previous weekend, and now we would be ending it just down the road from there in New Mexico.

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