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Tag: la sal mountains

Island in the Sky: From West to East

Wilhite Trail & Lathrop Trail
Friday – Sunday, November 22-24, 2019

I was originally supposed to go hiking with my friend Alan this weekend, but he had some issues come up on his trip and had to change plans earlier in the week, so I was on my own to find something to do. I figured this would be a good opportunity for me to return to the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park so I could continue hiking more of the official trails there. I planned to leave right after work on Friday afternoon, but the sky was looking nice when I got out of work so I drove over to the base of the Book Cliffs to watch the sunset before heading out of town. When the sun was down I grabbed a quick dinner in Fruita and then made my way over to Canyonlands and found a spot to camp outside of the Park.

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Over the Edge: Island in the Sky

Grand View Point Trails: Murphy Trail Loop, Murphy Point & Gooseberry Trail
Saturday & Sunday, November 2-3, 2019

After finishing up hiking all of the official trails in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park last year I figured that it was time for me to get started working on my remaining trails on the Island in the Sky. While I have already hiked most of the official trails on the top of the mesa, I had not hiked any that descended down to the White Rim, so I wanted to change that this weekend. I figured a good starting point would be to hike a couple of the shorter trails that start from Grand View Point, including the Murphy Trail, Murphy Point Trail and Gooseberry Trail. It’s kind of funny, although the Island in the Sky is the closest district of Canyonlands to me, it’s also the one that I’ve spent the least amount of time in. I think I’m going to make it my goal to finish hiking my remaining trails in this district of Canyonlands within the next year. Let’s see how many I can squeeze in over the winter!

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Riding Along the Rim of the Grand Mesa

Flowing Park to Point Peninsula
Sunday, August 4, 2019

After spending Saturday morning hiking to the summit of Red Mountain #2 and then going to a concert in the evening, we slept in a little later on Sunday morning before heading out for the day. It has been a while since we have gone on a mountain bike ride, so we decided to head up onto the Grand Mesa for a few hours with our bikes. After looking at a map we decided to give the Flowing Park Trail a try since it looked like there wouldn’t be too much elevation gain and that it would follow along the rim of the Grand Mesa for a while offering us distant views of the surrounding landscape. While I had hoped to ride the full loop when we started, we ended up turning around when we reached Point Peninsula and returning the way we had come. Even though we didn’t ride the entire loop, I do believe this was still our longest mountain bike ride ever, so there’s that. During the last few miles of the ride back to the trailhead we got caught in a storm and were soaked by the time we arrived back at my Jeep. It was a good time!

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The Highest Point in Grand County: Mount Waas

La Sal Mountains Peak Bagging | Pilot Mountain, Green Mountain & Mineral Mountain
Friday – Saturday, July 5-6, 2019

After spending the last month on the river it was finally time for me to start getting back into the mountains again! Like last year around this same time, I decided that this would be a good weekend to continue my peak-bagging pursuit in the La Sal Mountains near Moab. Since I’d already climbed the San Juan County High Point a couple years ago, I thought it was about time that I finally got to the summit of the Grand County High Point. Originally, Diane was supposed to come with me on this trip and we were going to spend the full weekend in the area, but at the last minute she decided to take a shift at work on Saturday, so I ended up going by myself. I’m not going to lie, I was very worried about this hike. Since I’ve been on the river every weekend for the last month I felt that I was quite a bit out of shape since I haven’t been hiking much lately. It feels like I haven’t put on my hiking boots in forever; not to mention that I haven’t been up in the high country since late September of last year! I was really concerned that I wasn’t going to make it to the summit this time, but still, I knew that I needed to try…

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River of Sorrows: The Dolores River

Slick Rock Canyon | Big Gypsum Valley to Bedrock
Friday – Saturday, June 14-15, 2019

Early Spanish explorers called it El Rio de Nuestra Señora de Dolores, or the River of Our Lady of Sorrows translated into English. Today it’s known as the Dolores River, which begins as snowmelt high up in the San Juan Mountains near Bolam Pass and empties into the Colorado River in Utah after traveling through the canyon country of western Colorado. For a long time I have wanted to float the Dolores River through Slick Rock Canyon, which begins at Big Gypsum Valley and ends at Paradox Valley, but since the water of the river is usually siphoned off at the McPhee Reservoir upstream there is typically only a very short window of time to actually do it, if there is any opportunity at all! So far I had never been able to make the timing work for a trip, however, with the high snowpack in the San Juan Mountains this year it looked like I was finally going to be able to get my chance!

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