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The Upper Escalante River & Lower Death Hollow

Canyons of the Escalante | Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Sunday & Monday, September 29-30, 2019

After spending Saturday hiking through Phipps Wash and Deer Canyon, we were ready to begin our overnight backpacking trip through the Escalante River Gorge on Sunday morning. The previous night we had found a campsite on Big Spencer Flats and had done our best to prepare for the high winds and storms that were forecasted overnight. It did stay pretty windy out for much of the night and there was a little on and off rain, but not enough that anything was still wet in the morning. It was still pretty windy out when we got up shortly before sunrise, but there were plenty of nice clouds in the sky and the sunrise was looking good, so we grabbed our cameras and took a few photos around camp.

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Canyons of the Escalante: Phipps Wash & Deer Canyon

Southern Utah Wanderings in a Sandstone Wilderness
Friday & Saturday, September 27-28, 2019

Back in early October of 2010, Jared and I started our annual tradition of going on a week-long trip to different parts of the Colorado Plateau together. That first trip started out along the Hole-In-The-Rock Road in the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument, so we decided to return to where it all began this year and planned to spend an entire week hiking around the Canyons of the Escalante. I was really looking forward to our trip this year since it seems like I’ve been neglecting the Escalante area for a couple of years and I felt that I was overdue to return! This year we planned to hike a few of the more popular routes in the area that we have skipped over the years and I wanted to try to stay away from the Hole-In-The-Rock Road. We were also going to try to take advantage of having both our vehicles there by doing hikes that we could shuttle ourselves.

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Towering Over Telluride: Ajax Peak

Friday – Saturday, September 13-14, 2019

This weekend Diane and I had another concert to go to on Saturday evening, so just like when I climbed Red Mountain #2 a few weeks ago, I decided to climb another easier peak in the San Juan Mountains on Saturday morning so that I could return home in the early afternoon. I’ve had Ajax Peak (12,785) near Telluride on my to-do list for a while, and that looked like it would be the perfect quick and easy mountain to summit this weekend. Ajax Peak may not be a very high peak by Colorado standards, but it is a prominent sight when you are in the town of Telluride, and I believe it is also a popular hike from town since there is a good trail all the way up to the summit. The peak sits along the ridge separating Ingram Basin from Savage Basin and is down below Telluride Peak (13,509), which I climbed at the end of last summer. Of course, I was not planning on climbing Ajax Peak from Telluride like most people do, instead I planned to drive over Black Bear Pass and spend the night in Ingram Basin where I would start my hike in the morning.

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Weminuche Wanderings: West Ute Lake Loop

Continental Divide Trail: Hunchback Pass to West Ute Lake
Labor Day Weekend | Friday – Sunday, August 30 – September 1, 2019

Since we just spent last weekend along the Continental Divide in Wyoming, I figured it would be nice to spend some time along the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado this weekend. Since Labor Day is a popular holiday in the mountains of Colorado I planned a backpacking loop into an area of the Weminuche Wilderness that I hoped would not be very busy so we could try to avoid the crowds. The plan worked out great as we only saw a couple of other people all weekend and had plenty of solitude! As for the trails we hiked, they required more bushwhacking and route-finding than I expected, so that might be another reason why we didn’t run into too many people.

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Three Out of Three: Red Mountain No. 2

National Summit Day | Final Peak on the Abrams – Anvil Ridge
Friday – Saturday, August 2-3, 2019

Over the years I’ve viewed the summit of Red Mountain No. 2 from many different vantage points; reflected in Crystal Lake from Ironton Park, along the Jeep road to Corkscrew Pass, while exploring the old mining buildings of the Red Mountain Mining District below, and from the top of many of the surrounding peaks in the area. This weekend I had a concert to go to on Saturday evening so I was looking for a peak to climb that was pretty short and close to home. Since I’d already climbed Red Mountain #1 and Red Mountain #3 I figured it was finally time to finish off the trio. Not only would this be my third and final summit of the Red Mountains, but Red Mountain #2 was also the only peak along the ridge on the east side of the Million Dollar Highway between Abrams Mountain and Anvil Mountain that I had not climbed yet, so it would be nice to finish that ridge, too. This turned out to be a fitting hike for Saturday morning since it was apparently National Summit Day, even though Red Mountain #2 is not a ranked, high or popular peak. Those are my favorite kind!

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