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End of Trails in The Needles

Big Spring Canyon – Elephant Canyon Loop
Friday – Sunday, November 30 – December 2, 2018

After looking over the official map for the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park earlier this year, I noticed that I had hiked just about every single trail on it, so I figured it would be a good goal to try and finish hiking them all this year. After hiking a few of those remaining trails earlier in the year, I only had a few segments of trails in the Big Spring Canyon area left, so Diane and I headed down to The Needles this weekend so I could finish them up in one big loop on Saturday.

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Hoodoo Trail

Sunday, November 4, 2018

For a change, Diane and I actually stayed home this weekend! It seems like it’s been a long time since I’ve done that! We went for a bike ride along the Colorado River on a new section of the Riverfront Trail on Saturday and then went on a hike on the Hoodoo Trail in the Little Book Cliffs on Sunday morning. Since rain was predicted for the early afternoon we got an early start so we would hopefully be finished with the hike by the time it arrived. I had hoped the nice clouds in the sky would stick around as we left home shortly after sunrise, but the sky quickly became completely overcast after we started hiking and stayed that way for the rest of the day. Since it was looking pretty gloomy out I didn’t end of taking very many photos, but I’ll share the ones I did take below. We did end up seeing two wild horses in the canyon, but they were too far away to get a photo of.

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Mount Belford & Mount Oxford Loop

Colorado Adventure 2018 | Tuesday, August 7, 2018

After going to bed early on Monday evening I actually slept very well overnight and was wide awake when my alarm went off at 3:30am so I could get an alpine start this morning. I had a quick breakfast and then drove a short distance to the Missouri Gulch Trailhead and was on the trail by 4:00am by the light of my headlamp. The stars above were bright and there was a sliver of the moon just barely visible through the canopy of trees above as I climbed the trail up Missouri Gulch. It was very humid out when I first started hiking but it got progressively colder the higher I climbed. I actually ended up putting my gloves on for a while when I got above treeline before the sun came up. To be honest, when I started this hike I wasn’t very sure if I was in good enough shape to make it to both Mount Belford and Mount Oxford since it would be a long hike with a lot of elevation gain, but I at least hoped I’d make it up to Mount Belford and then would decide what to do when I got up there based on the weather and how I was feeling.

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Oh-Be-Joyful Creek to Blue Lake

Saturday & Sunday, July 14-15, 2018

So far, this seems to be the summer of hiking to places that have been on my to-do list for a very long time (Highland Mary Lakes & The Devils Causeway), so I figured it was finally time to check out Oh-Be-Joyful Creek in the Raggeds Wilderness near Crested Butte. While part of this hike is commonly done as a day trip, we decided to go for a quick and easy overnight backpacking trip up the valley so we could camp near Blue Lake, which is located in the Ruby Range on a ledge nestled below Scarp Ridge and Afley Peak. I was also hoping to climb a nearby peak in the evening or morning, depending on the weather, and maybe catch a nice sunset, too. I had viewed Blue Lake from above a few years ago when I hiked to the high point of Scarp Ridge and have wanted to get a closer look ever since.

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Burro Pass Peaks

La Sal Mountains Peak Bagging | Manns Peak, Mount Tomasaki & Haystack Mountain
Independence Day | Wednesday, July 4, 2018

This year the Fourth of July fell right in the middle of the week and since Diane had to work one holiday this year she chose this one since we wouldn’t be able to plan a big weekend trip around it. I had the day off from work, so I decided to spend the holiday continuing my quest to climb all of the main peaks in the La Sal Mountains near Moab. Not only is the mountain range pretty close to home, but I was also hoping it wouldn’t be as busy as the mountains of Colorado can be during a holiday. I actually started my quest to hike all of the major peaks in the La Sal Mountains two years ago on the Fourth of July weekend with Mount Tukuhnikivatz. Then I continued with Mount Peale (12,721) later that same year. I guess I never made it back last year, so it was definitely time to return again! This time I was planning on hiking a few of the summits in the middle portion of the range near the headwaters of Mill Creek, starting with Manns Peak (12,272) and Mount Tomasaki (12,239) and then going from there depending on how I was feeling afterwards.

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