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Secrets of Canyonlands

Friday – Sunday, March 22-24, 2019

This past week was an unusual one for me since I spent most of it in Rifle, Colorado attending a training class so I could get a Remote Pilot Certification (FAA Small UAS Rule, Part 107) for work. The funny thing is that I have never touched a drone in my life, and as of Friday morning I am now an FAA certified Drone Pilot! After taking the required test at the Grand Junction Airport on Friday morning and then having lunch with Diane afterwards, I drove into Utah through scattered storms to Moab before continuing on to The Needles for the second weekend in a row. On Sunday morning I was going to be meeting up with my friend Clyde so we could go on a hike together, but until then I was going to be spending Friday evening and all day Saturday revisiting a few rock art sites and searching for new ruins and rock art panels on my own. I would find a couple of secrets along the way…

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Lost Canyon Loop

Thursday – Sunday, March 14-17, 2019

Last March Diane and I had such a nice time backpacking through Chesler Park and Elephant Canyon in Canyonlands National Park on our first backpacking trip of the season, that we decided to head back to The Needles for another early season backpacking trip this year, too! I think this might become one of our new annual traditions, at least for a couple of years! The Needles is a great place to get back into backpacking mode after taking a few months off, so at the end of last year I reserved a couple of campsites during the first full weekend that the park was back open and operational again in the middle of March for our trip. This year we decided to hike a loop through Lost Canyon and Big Spring Canyon because it had been almost seven years since the last time I hiked through Lost Canyon and I wanted to get back to explore it more thoroughly.

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Desolate Divine: Back To The Needles

Friday – Monday, January 18-21, 2019

I spent a lot of time exploring the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park last year, but I guess I couldn’t stay away very long since I found myself back there again for my first camping trip of 2019 over the long holiday weekend! With the government shutdown I was not quite sure what to expect in The Needles, but since this district of Canyonlands is usually not fully staffed in the winter I was hoping it would be business-as-usual, and it pretty much was. The only difference I could tell between a normal winter weekend and during the government shutdown was that the bathrooms in the Visitor Center were closed and the current weather forecast was not posted on the door.

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Behind The Rocks

Christmas Weekend | Saturday & Sunday, December 22-23, 2018

After going on a day hike into the backcountry of Arches National Park last Saturday by myself, Diane and I planned a last minute trip to spend this weekend together around Moab. We drove over to Moab on Saturday morning and then went out arch-hunting, hiking, four-wheeling and just generally exploring the Behind The Rocks area west of Spanish Valley for the entire weekend. On Saturday I wanted to revisit a few nice arches that I had not seen since I drove through Pritchett Canyon way back in 2006, plus I wanted to find a few new ones. On Sunday we hiked up Pritchett Canyon from the bottom so we could visit Halls Bridge Arch since we were not able to get down to it from above the day before. The weather on Saturday was very nice with clear blue skies, plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the lower 50’s, while Sunday morning was mostly overcast during most of our hike and a bit colder, too.

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Thanksgiving Under the Bears Ears

Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 22-25, 2018

This year Diane and I kept our annual tradition of spending the long Thanksgiving weekend searching for ruins and rock art on Cedar Mesa alive. (Not counting that one year we went to New Mexico instead, of course.) Although the mountains of Colorado got a lot of much-needed snow over the holiday weekend, the precipitation mostly missed the Four Corners region and we had very pleasant hiking weather just about every day. The higher elevations of Cedar Mesa and Elk Ridge did receive a little snow on Thursday evening, but it had pretty much all melted off by Friday afternoon. As usual, we found some new sites and revisited some of our favorites, too. It wasn’t planned, but we ended up visiting three different kivas that were all pretty well-preserved and had a great weekend exploring one of my favorite areas in the southwest! Check out all the photos from our Thanksgiving adventure below!

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