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West Pollock Arch & Window Rock Tower

Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness
Sunday, June 7, 2020

This weekend I was hoping to get back on the river with a couple of friends again, but it seems that Mother Nature had other plans for us. Between severe thunderstorms on Saturday and very strong winds on Sunday, we decided it was best to cancel our river plans this weekend and try again another time. On Sunday afternoon I decided it was time to get out of the house for a little while and went on a short local hike to visit West Pollock Arch in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. Even though it was windy out, the temperature had dropped significantly because of the passing storm on Saturday, making it perfect weather for hiking. Plus I figured the strong winds would help keep the gnats away that are usually prevalent at this time of the year. I left home in the middle of the afternoon and drove over Black Ridge to the Rattlesnake Arches Trailhead to start my hike. When I arrived there was only one other vehicle at the trailhead and they were just leaving. I was surprised since it was a nice day and this is usually a popular trailhead. After descending to the lower Rattlesnake Arches Trail on the bench below I headed east past Window Rock Tower to the rim of the West Fork of Pollock Canyon.

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The Colorado River: Palisade to Grand Junction

Palisade Riverbend Park to the Redlands Parkway Boat Ramp
Sunday, May 24, 2020

Even though I had decided to stay home this holiday weekend, I still managed to take a few hours off from packing up our house on Sunday morning so I get on the Colorado River with a few friends for a float through the Grand Valley. A few days prior I had coordinated this last-minute trip with Jackson and Chris at work, and then I found out on Sunday morning that my friend Steve would also be joining us also, which was a nice surprise since I hadn’t seen him in a little while. Since the river is moving fast from spring runoff this time of the year, we decided to put in at the Riverbend Park in Palisade and take out at the Redlands Parkway Boat Ramp, which is about a 17 mile stretch of the river. I haven’t done this section of the Colorado River in a long time, and actually the only time I floated this stretch was with Jackson in his inflatable kayak before I bought my own. We got an early start to try and beat the crowds that we knew would be getting on the river later in the day and we also hoped that the cooler temperature out today might help keep the crowds at bay.

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Canyons of the Black Ridge: The Pollock Windows

Between the Forks of Pollock Canyon
Thursday, April 23, 2020

If the current COVID-19 pandemic had not completely changed everyone’s lives these past few weeks, then Diane and I would have left right after work today for another three day backpacking trip into The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. But since that is obviously not happening anymore, I decided instead to head out after work on another local adventure so that I could finally visit The Windows of Pollock Canyon in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. This is another one of those hikes that has been on my to-do list for a long time, and while I have seen the Pollock Windows from below in the East Fork of Pollock Canyon before, I’ve always wanted to hike to them for a closer look. Even though the sky was pretty much overcast for much of the day in the Grand Valley, the weather forecast was calling for it to clear up a little bit in the evening, so I was hoping for a nice sunset while I was out!

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Kodels Point

McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area
Friday, April 17, 2020

This evening after work I drove up to the Visitor Center in the Colorado National Monument so I could try to hike to the top of a distinctive high point located above Kodels Canyon. I’ve looked upon this prominent sandstone outcrop many times as I have driven west on I-70 through Fruita and always wondered if it would be possible for me to climb to the top of it. This point sits on a narrow strip of land within the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area that is sandwiched between the Colorado National Monument and the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. Since this prominent butte is located right above Kodels Canyon, I have come to refer to it as Kodels Point, as it does not have an official name on any map that I have seen. Today was the day I was finally going to see if I could find a break in the cliffs and scramble to the top of the point, but to be honest, I knew that chances were going to be slim and that I would be perfectly happy just walking around the base of it and taking in the views while I was up there!

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Colorado National Monument: Bench Trail Arch

Thursday, April 9, 2020

This evening I went for a short hike into the Colorado National Monument so I could finally get a closer look at Bench Trail Arch. While I’ve hiked below this arch on the Bench Trail a number of times before, it’s always been in the middle of a longer hike through the Monument, so I’ve skipped climbing up to it to save my energy. After work I drove over to the Wildwood Trailhead and arrived just as the temperature out dropped by about ten degrees and it started to rain and get windy. I guess a good thing about the bad weather was that there were only a few other vehicles in the parking lot, which can sometimes be a busy location. I checked the radar on my weather app and saw that this storm system was going to pass through pretty quickly, so I started hiking anyway. It was a little chilly and I got soaked at first, but once the rain and wind stopped, I dried off pretty quickly and warmed up again. Of course, all the rain made it pretty humid out for the rest of the hike, which was not very comfortable.

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