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Tag: sunrise

West Needle Mountains: Crater Lake

Saturday & Sunday, July 13-14, 2019

This weekend I wanted to finally get out on our first backpacking trip into the mountains for the season. I was looking for an easier overnighter that wasn’t too far from home, preferably in the San Juan Mountains, and after looking at recent satellite images to see how much snow was left in the high country I decided that we would give Crater Lake in the West Needle Mountains a try. From the recent satellite images it looked like there might still be a little snow on the ground in the area, but nothing we shouldn’t be able to get through. All of the other options I was looking at still had considerable snow on the ground and would have to wait a while longer. This six mile trail starts out in the Andrews Lake Day Use Area located just to the southwest of Molas Pass and climbs up to Crater Lake, nestled on the north side of North Twilight Peak in the Weminuche Wilderness. Last year our first backpacking trip into the mountains was also in the Weminuche Wilderness, but thankfully this time we didn’t have to inhale smoke the entire time!

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North Fork of the Gunnison River

Paonia River Park to the Gunnison Forks Recreation Site
Independence Day | Thursday, July 4, 2019

This year for the Fourth of July I was looking to go on one last river trip before I started heading into the mountains for the summer season. Since I only had one day off from work for the holiday I wanted to go somewhere close to home and on a river that was still not running too high, which was hard to find this year! On Wednesday afternoon Jackson, Chris and I decided that we would give the North Fork of the Gunnison River a try from the Paonia River Park to its confluence with the Gunnison River. The North Fork of the Gunnison is formed just below the Paonia Reservoir by the confluence of of Muddy Creek (not that Muddy Creek) and Anthracite Creek, which originates in The Raggeds of the West Elk Mountains. Since we have already floated most of the Gunnison River from Pleasure Park to Whitewater, we thought it would be nice to work our way further up the North Fork and finally check it out.

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The White River: Floating through the Uinta Basin

Bonanza Bridge to the Enron Ramp | Fantasy Canyon & Goblin City
Friday – Sunday, June 28-30, 2019

For the last weekend of National Rivers Month I definitely wanted to keep the streak going and get out on the river one last time before I started heading up into the mountains. I wanted to go somewhere new that wasn’t going to be crowded and that didn’t require a permit, so after looking at my options I decided to give the White River in Utah a try. There’s not too much information out there about this stretch of river, but from what I could find it looked like this would be a nice relaxing desert trip that doesn’t see too many people. The White River is born from snowmelt in mountain headwaters of the Flat Tops in western Colorado near where we hiked Sleepy Cat Peak early last summer, and then it flows west through Meeker and Rangely before entering Utah. From the state line it continues winding its way through the gas fields of the Uinta Basin along the northern edge of the East Tavaputs Plateau and joins the Green River in the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Our journey this weekend would begin at the Bonanza Bridge and end at the Enron Boat Ramp, which is about 35 miles of the river.

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The Chute of Muddy Creek

Tomsich Butte to Hidden Splendor
Friday – Saturday, June 7-8, 2019

With the big snowpack we’ve had this year and the cooler spring temperatures that delayed the snowmelt, now that it’s finally started to warm up I decided that I would try to take advantage of the higher flows this month and get out on some sections of rivers and creeks around me that have been on my to-do list for far too long. High up on that list is The Chute of Muddy Creek in the San Rafael Swell, so for the past couple of weeks I’ve been keeping an eye on the water level hoping for an opportunity to run it on a weekend. Since it looked like it might peak this weekend, which would be perfect timing for me, I decided to give it a try on Saturday. I asked my friend Chris if he wanted to go with me and he said he was in, so we decided to leave after work on Friday so we could get on the water early on Saturday morning. Last year I was able to hike through the Grand Gorge of the Muddy Creek just downstream from Hidden Splendor, so I was looking forward to exploring more of this beautiful area- this time by boat!

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Navajo National Monument: Keet Seel & Betatakin

Thursday – Sunday, May 30 – June 2, 2019

After a quick visit to Navajo National Monument back in 2011, which was when I was on my way to visit The Wave for the very first time, I knew that I needed to come back another time so I could actually hike to the Keet Seel and Betatakin ruins. Every year since then I have thought about going back but I never got around to making the advance reservations for the Keet Seel hike which typically fills up early in the year. When I made the decision that I was going to try to obtain some hard-to-get permits earlier this year (i.e. Havasupai), the hike to Keet Seel was up near the top of my list! On the first day that reservations were being taken for Keet Seel in February I called and reserved an overnight permit for Diane and myself for the first weekend in June because it was the first Saturday of the season that you could do an overnight hike this year. Since this particular hike is only available from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which is typically the hottest part of the year on the Colorado Plateau, I hoped that the weather would cooperate with us this year and not be too warm…

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