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Thanksgiving Weekend on Cedar Mesa

Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 28 – December 1, 2019

This year for Thanksgiving Diane and I planned to spend the long holiday weekend searching for ruins and rock art on Cedar Mesa like we usually do at this time of the year. However, this year we had to deal with a winter storm that impacted the area and required us to change our plans on the fly. Although I wasn’t able to hike in the canyons I had originally planned for this trip, we managed to avoid most of the weather and find things to do throughout the weekend. Here are some photos from the weekend in no particular order…

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Return to Range Creek Canyon

Friday – Sunday, November 15-17, 2019

I’ve wanted to return to Range Creek ever since my first visit at the end of the season in 2013, and since Diane had never been there before we decided that it was finally time to head back this year. So back in August I secured a pair of permits for this Saturday and hoped that the weather would cooperate and not close the road into the canyon before our visit. We left after work on Friday and drove to the north entrance gate of the property in Range Creek Canyon where we set up camp so we would be able to get started hiking early in the morning. After a good night of sleep we woke up on Saturday morning to a brisk 29 degree temperature and clear blue sky above. Although it was a bit cold in the morning the temperature would warm up nicely during the day and it was very pleasant hiking weather.

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Muddy Creek Wilderness: Chimney Canyon

Veterans Day Weekend | Friday – Monday, November 8-11, 2019

While we have been spending the long Veterans Day Weekend backpacking somewhere along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon these past couple of years, this year I decided to find something a little closer to home since we just hiked down into Havasu Canyon a couple weeks ago and I didn’t really want to drive back to the Grand Canyon twice within a couple of weeks. After hiking through the Grand Gorge of Muddy Creek last year and then floating through The Chute of Muddy Creek earlier this year, I felt that it was time to get back to exploring more of the brand new Muddy Creek Wilderness area with a backpacking trip into Chimney Canyon. While I have spent a lot of time in the San Rafael Swell over the years, I realized that I have never actually gone on a backpacking trip there, so this would be my very first backpacking trip in the Swell and most likely our last backpacking trip of the year, too.

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Little Death Hollow & Wolverine Canyon

Canyons of the Escalante | Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Thursday & Friday, October 3-4, 2019

After an easier day exploring the colorful sandstone around Big Horn Canyon on Wednesday, it was time for our next overnight backpacking loop hike and this was one that I was pretty excited for since I’ve wanted to hike through Little Death Hollow for a long time! I slept in until just after sunrise on Thursday morning but I heard Jared get up before sunrise to wander around camp for a few photos. Once the sun was up we took our time taking down camp and packing our backpacks for the overnight hike. Since we weren’t sure if there was going to be water in Horse Canyon with the dry summer we’ve had, we decided it would probably be a good idea to carry all the water we would need for the loop, so I ended up taking 4 liters to be on the safe side. Then we drove the short distance over to the Little Death Hollow Trailhead and were on the trail shortly before 10:00am.

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The Boulder Mail Trail

Canyons of the Escalante | Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Old Boulder Mail Trail is a 15 mile trail that was originally established in 1902 as a mail route that linked the isolated towns of Escalante and Boulder Town and was traversed by pack mules twice-weekly to carry mail, medicine and occasional travelers. In 1911 a telephone line was strung between trees, rocks and poles along the route by the Forest Service to connect the ranger stations in both towns. The ranger in Boulder even let the townspeople tie in with their own lines. Some of the glass insulators can still be seen in the treetops along the trail today. The line was used until 1955 when a microwave system replaced it. When Utah Highway 12 was completed in 1940 the Boulder Mail Trail fell into disuse.

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