Category: Touring

Seneca Lake, Island Lake & Titcomb Basin
Thursday – Monday, August 17-21, 2017

The Great American Eclipse viewed from the Wind River Range in Wyoming.

The plans for this particular trip started to come together well over a year ago when I first learned about The Great American Eclipse happening on August 21, 2017. The last total eclipse visible from the United States was before I was born, so I really wanted to make an effort to experience this one. After looking at a map of the path of totality, I saw that this one was going to be visible right over the Wind River Range in Wyoming which is only about a six hour drive from home. While I had briefly visited the Wind Rivers outside of Lander about ten years ago, I’ve wanted to go on a backpacking trip into the Bridger Wilderness for a pretty long time now and figured that this would be the perfect opportunity. Early in the planning stages I set my sights on backpacking into the Island Lake and Titcomb Basin area below Fremont Peak from the Elkhart Park Trailhead near Pinedale. I figured that this popular and beautiful area would be a good introduction to backpacking in the Wind Rivers. As the date of the eclipse got closer and more and more people learned about it from social media, I figured that this area of Wyoming was probably going to be much busier than usual, but I decided against changing our plans and was willing to make that sacrifice for this possible once-in-a-lifetime event.

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Bent Peak & Carson Peak
Saturday & Sunday, July 22-23, 2017

Low clouds cling to the hills along the Continental Divide looking toward the Rio Grande Pyramid.

Next weekend Diane and I are scheduled to climb our first 14er of the year, so this weekend we decided to head down to the Continental Divide near Lake City so we could hike a couple of 13ers to help us prepare. The weather on Saturday was predicted to be wet and stormy early but Sunday morning was looking good, so we planned to hike the 13ers early Sunday and tried to find something a little lower and in the trees for Saturday.

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Saturday & Sunday, July 8-9, 2017

Following the Rico – Silverton Trail through South Park on our way back from The Colorado Trail.

Diane and I spent the past weekend in the San Juan Mountains near Silverton getting in a little high elevation hiking. We left home early on Saturday morning and drove all the way to the end of the Bandora Mine Road in the South Fork of Mineral Creek and found a campsite shortly before arriving at the trailhead. We quickly setup camp and then started hiking up the Rico – Silverton Trail to it’s intersection with The Colorado Trail. There were a lot of wildflowers along the trail, especially in South Park along with some patches of snow over parts of The Colorado Trail, including a big drift across Rolling Mountain Pass. When we reached the high point of the trail I climbed to the summit of an unnamed 12er that offered great views of Engineer Mountain, Jura Knob and the surrounding area.

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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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