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Tag: haze

Exploring The Esplanade

The Hades Site | Veterans Day Weekend
Thursday – Sunday, November 8-11, 2018

Over the past couple of years I have been trying to spend a long weekend during the late fall searching for Grand Canyon Polychrome Pictographs on the Esplanade in the Grand Canyon. This year Diane and I met up with our friend Jerry and went on a three day – two night backpacking trip in search of the Hades Site. Diane and I left after work on Wednesday evening and spent the night in St. George so we could see if the ancient mug I found earlier this year was on display yet. Unfortunately, it was not on display when we stopped by the BLM Visitor Center on Thursday morning since it’s apparently in Cedar City right now for some reason, but at least we were able to sleep in later and not have to drive very far this morning.

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Mosquito Pass Peaks

Colorado Adventure 2018 | Tuesday & Wednesday, August 7-8, 2018

After climbing a pair of 14ers in the Sawatch Range on Tuesday, I headed over to Leadville for dinner and then drove up to Mosquito Pass afterwards, which at 13,185 feet is the highest drivable pass in Colorado. Since I was planning on hiking to the summit of a few 13ers from the pass on Wednesday morning, I thought it would be a good idea to drive up there this evening to see how long it would take me and also to find out what condition the road was in since it had been a few years since the last time I was here. Just like some of the other mountain roads I’ve revisited lately, this one also seems to be in much rougher shape than I remember and it was a slow drive to the top. It was very windy when I got up to the pass so I didn’t stick around too long before heading back down and finding a campsite in Evans Gulch above Mountain Lake with a nice view of Dyer Mountain. I got into my sleeping bag right after the sun set and planned to sleep in a little later on Wednesday morning.

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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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La Plata Peak

Southwest Ridge | Saturday & Sunday, August 5-6, 2017

Last fall during my drive to the trailhead for Mount Elbert (14,433), I got a nice view of La Plata Peak as I was descending Independence Pass shortly before sunset and thought to myself that I should make time to climb that peak soon. That thought has stuck around in the back of my mind for the last year and I finally decided to make it happen this weekend since I had good luck with Culebra Peak (14,047) last weekend.

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Circling The Island

New Year’s Day | Sunday, January 1, 2017
Wedding Canyon Loop 2017

On New Year’s Day Diane and I were up before sunrise to go on our first hike of 2017 in the Colorado National Monument. As usual, we returned to the Wedding Canyon Loop which makes a complete loop around The Island. We went to bed early on New Year’s Eve so we would have no problems getting up for the hike, although we were awoken by fireworks at midnight, and made it to the Monument Canyon Trailhead just before sunrise. We typically hike this loop in a counter-clockwise direction because I prefer to climb the steeper trail in Wedding Canyon and then descend the more gradual trail in Monument Canyon. There was plenty of snow and ice on the trail in Wedding Canyon, but we never had to put on our microspikes this time. As we ascended Wedding Canyon we were treated to a very nice sunrise, but as soon as we reached Independence Monument at the middle of the loop more clouds moved in and blocked the sun for the remainder of the hike back down. We completed the five mile loop in just over two hours and were off the trail before the ground could thaw out and turn into mud.

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