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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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The Edge of The Needles

Southern Utah Wanderings | Wednesday, October 3, 2018

All the rain we had received the previous day made me a little bit nervous about trying to drive into Beef Basin, which was our original plan for today. I’ve driven that road in the rain before and it was a slippery mess. I didn’t want to have to do that again! So instead of heading into Beef Basin we decided to see if we could get a last-minute campsite in The Needles and drive over Elephant Hill instead. Since the Visitor’s Center didn’t open until 9:00am we slept in later than normal and took our time taking down camp. We arrived at the Visitor’s Center about ten minutes before they opened and there were already a bunch of people waiting to get in. When the doors opened we were the first ones in the Backcounty Office and found that one of the Bobby Jo campsites and the Horsehoof campsite were still open, which is the area we wanted to be in. I had never stayed at any of these sites before, so we decided to give Horsehoof a try for the next two nights. It turned out to be an excellent decision since I think Horsehoof is now one of my favorite campsites in all of Canyonlands National Park! Thankfully we got into the Backcountry Office for our permit when we did, because as we left there was a long line out the door!

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Labyrinth Canyon: Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom

Thursday – Monday, September 20-24, 2018

I was pretty excited that it was finally time to get back on the river! I had been looking forward to this trip all summer since it’s been way too long since my last river trip and I was really missing floating through desert canyons. I’ve actually wanted to float this stretch of the Green River for a while now, and I was finally able to convince a few friends to go with me this year. I did most of the planning for this trip which would take us down about 45 miles of the Green River through Labyrinth Canyon from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom. Even though it was a bad snow year in Colorado, the Wind Rivers had a pretty average snow year so the level of the Green River at 2,000cfs was pretty typical for this time of the year. There was originally supposed to be six of us in our group, but at the last minute my friend Jackson and his son had to drop out because his son got sick. This also changed our plans for the shuttle at the last minute since we wouldn’t need two vehicles at the end, so Chris ended up riding with me to Ruby Ranch after work while Steve and Nic would run the shuttle vehicle down to Mineral Bottom in the afternoon and we would all meet up in the evening.

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Oh-Be-Joyful Creek to Blue Lake

Saturday & Sunday, July 14-15, 2018

So far, this seems to be the summer of hiking to places that have been on my to-do list for a very long time (Highland Mary Lakes & The Devils Causeway), so I figured it was finally time to check out Oh-Be-Joyful Creek in the Raggeds Wilderness near Crested Butte. While part of this hike is commonly done as a day trip, we decided to go for a quick and easy overnight backpacking trip up the valley so we could camp near Blue Lake, which is located in the Ruby Range on a ledge nestled below Scarp Ridge and Afley Peak. I was also hoping to climb a nearby peak in the evening or morning, depending on the weather, and maybe catch a nice sunset, too. I had viewed Blue Lake from above a few years ago when I hiked to the high point of Scarp Ridge and have wanted to get a closer look ever since.

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Burro Pass Peaks

La Sal Mountains Peak Bagging | Manns Peak, Mount Tomasaki & Haystack Mountain
Independence Day | Wednesday, July 4, 2018

This year the Fourth of July fell right in the middle of the week and since Diane had to work one holiday this year she chose this one since we wouldn’t be able to plan a big weekend trip around it. I had the day off from work, so I decided to spend the holiday continuing my quest to climb all of the main peaks in the La Sal Mountains near Moab. Not only is the mountain range pretty close to home, but I was also hoping it wouldn’t be as busy as the mountains of Colorado can be during a holiday. I actually started my quest to hike all of the major peaks in the La Sal Mountains two years ago on the Fourth of July weekend with Mount Tukuhnikivatz. Then I continued with Mount Peale (12,721) later that same year. I guess I never made it back last year, so it was definitely time to return again! This time I was planning on hiking a few of the summits in the middle portion of the range near the headwaters of Mill Creek, starting with Manns Peak (12,272) and Mount Tomasaki (12,239) and then going from there depending on how I was feeling afterwards.

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