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Tag: alpenglow

Returning to the White Sands of the Tularosa Basin

White Sands National Park: Same White Sand, Different Name
My 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico
Valentines Day | Friday & Saturday, February 14-15, 2020

Three years ago Diane and I had visited White Sands National Monument for the first time while we were traveling through the deserts of the southwest on our Honeymoon Adventure. We really enjoyed our experience camping within the world’s largest gypsum dunefield, so when I started planning my 40th birthday trip I had considered returning for another overnight visit and added it to the possible list of places we could go. While it wasn’t high up on my list at first, as soon as I found out that White Sands National Monument officially became the 62nd designated National Park on December 20, 2019 when the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 was signed into law, I quickly moved it up on the list since I figured it was probably going to start getting even busier in the future now that it’s a full-fledged National Park!

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White Crack Trail to The Confluence

Friday – Sunday, January 31 – February 2, 2020

After I finished hiking all of the official trails within the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park late last year, it was time for me to turn my attention to other parts of the backcountry that I still wanted to explore in this amazing park. While I’ve seen the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers from both The Needles and The Maze before, I felt that it was finally time for me to see it from the Island in the Sky!

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The Needles Overlook & Slickrock Bike Trail

Saturday & Sunday, January 25-26, 2020

After spending a couple hours at the Ouray Ice Festival in the morning it was time to head west into Utah so I could get some hiking in the desert in this weekend. From Ridgway I crossed the Dallas Divide and followed the San Miguel River to Norwood, then crossed a couple large valleys and the Dolores River on my way to Dove Creek and finally stopped in Monticello for an early dinner. From there I was originally planning on heading into The Needles for the evening and was thinking about hiking the short Slickrock or Pothole Point trails to hopefully catch a nice sunset. However, as I was driving down Highway 211 I quickly decided I didn’t feel like driving all that way for a short hike and turned around at Photograph Gap. Instead, I thought it would be nice to spend the evening at the Needles Overlook in the Canyon Rims Recreation Area since it’s been a long time since I visited that viewpoint at the edge of Hatch Point. This turned out to be an excellent last minute change of plans!

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Warming Up in The Mojave

From the Muddy Mountains to the Red Mountains
Friday – Monday, January 17-20, 2020

Back a few months ago when I started thinking about where I wanted to go during this extended weekend, I figured I would probably head over to The Needles or Cedar Mesa, like I usually do. However, as the holiday weekend got closer I realized there was probably going to be too much snow on the ground for any hiking I would like to do there, plus we had been stuck under an inversion in Grand Junction with cold temperatures and gray skies for a while, so I thought it would be nice to head down to the Mojave Desert between St. George and Las Vegas so I could warm up and get my annual Mojave fix instead. Late last year I had invited my friend Jerry to join me this weekend and when I informed him about the last minute change of plans it seemed that he was looking forward to getting into some warmer weather for a few days, too.

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Island in the Sky: Syncline Loop Trail

Friday & Saturday, December 6-7, 2019

After spending two weekends hiking at the Island in the Sky last month it was time to return again so I could continue working my way through the rest of the official trails there. I had originally planned on heading back for a day trip on Sunday this weekend, but the weather wasn’t looking good that day so I changed my plans on Thursday. I left right after work on Friday, spent the night outside of Canyonlands National Park and then got an early start hiking the Syncline Loop Trail on Saturday morning. I’ve wanted to hike this trail which circumnavigates Upheaval Dome for a long time and was really looking forward to this one!

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