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Tag: sunrise

Sandstone & Sand Hills: The Paria Plateau

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Thursday – Sunday, January 24-27

It’s been almost a full year since the last time I was out exploring and photographing the wonderful sandstone of the Paria Plateau and I was really itching to get back out there again soon. A few months ago I secured a permit to Coyote Buttes South for this Friday and then planned to spend the rest of the weekend exploring other areas of the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument outside of the Coyote Buttes permit zones. Unfortunately, after I had already picked the weekend and got the permit I found out that the annual Ouray Ice Festival was scheduled for this same weekend, so I guess I was going to miss it this year. Diane was supposed to be in Las Vegas with a friend this weekend, which is why I originally chose it, but when her plans fell through there were no longer any permits available so I would be on my own this trip.

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Desolate Divine: Back To The Needles

Friday – Monday, January 18-21, 2019

I spent a lot of time exploring the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park last year, but I guess I couldn’t stay away very long since I found myself back there again for my first camping trip of 2019 over the long holiday weekend! With the government shutdown I was not quite sure what to expect in The Needles, but since this district of Canyonlands is usually not fully staffed in the winter I was hoping it would be business-as-usual, and it pretty much was. The only difference I could tell between a normal winter weekend and during the government shutdown was that the bathrooms in the Visitor Center were closed and the current weather forecast was not posted on the door.

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Wedding Canyon Loop 2019

Rediscovering the Colorado National Monument #1
New Year’s Day | Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year! This year Diane and I woke up early on New Year’s Day and headed over to the Colorado National Monument so we could hike the Wedding Canyon Loop at sunrise like we do almost every year. We arrived shortly before sunrise and were the first vehicle at the Monument Canyon Trailhead. When we started hiking the temperature out was in the single digits and the early morning dawn light was just beginning to illuminate the landscape. There was fresh snow on the trail from a big snowstorm the previous day, but there wasn’t quite as much snow on the ground here as there was at our house. We watched the clouds change color as we made our way to the mouth of Wedding Canyon and then hiked up the canyon to Independence Monument, which is the halfway point of the loop. From there we followed the lower Monument Canyon Trail back down to the trailhead making a complete loop around The Island. As usual, it was a great way to start the new year, even though it was cold out!

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Christmas In Arches 2018

Christmas Day | Tuesday, December 25, 2018

On Christmas morning Diane and I woke up early and drove over to Arches National Park so we could continue our annual tradition of hiking to Landscape Arch and making sure that it is still standing for another year! If you are interested in checking out our previous Christmas trips, you can find those here: [2017] [2016] [2015] [2014]. We arrived at the park just as the sun was coming up for the day so I stopped a few times to take photos as we drove to the trailhead in the Devils Garden.

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Lower Salt Wash Canyon

Friday – Saturday, December 14-15, 2018

Salt Wash begins its journey near Thompson Springs at the southern end of the Book Cliffs just east of Sego Canyon. From there it meanders generally south across Yellow Cat Flat and joins up with Lost Spring Canyon inside the boundary of Arches National Park. This desert wash eventually passes by the Wolfe Ranch near the popular trailhead for Delicate Arch as it enters Cache Valley and then carves a deep canyon through Dry Mesa just east of The Windows before finally reaching the Colorado River. I have studied this particular canyon on maps over the years and thought about hiking it a number of times before, but I always seem to find somewhere else I’m more interested in going instead. I haven’t found much information about hiking this canyon and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I guess that is what intrigued me about this location in the first place.

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