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End of Trails in The Needles

Big Spring Canyon – Elephant Canyon Loop
Friday – Sunday, November 30 – December 2, 2018

After looking over the official map for the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park earlier this year, I noticed that I had hiked just about every single trail on it, so I figured it would be a good goal to try and finish hiking them all this year. After hiking a few of those remaining trails earlier in the year, I only had a few segments of trails in the Big Spring Canyon area left, so Diane and I headed down to The Needles this weekend so I could finish them up in one big loop on Saturday.

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Searching for Starvation Pocket

Southern Utah Wanderings | Thursday, October 4, 2018

After driving into The Needles on Wednesday morning and spending the day exploring the fringes of Canyonlands National Park, it was time for us to spend our first full day hiking into Starvation Pocket. We had originally thought about doing this hike as an overnight backpack, but we were running short on time this trip and already had a different overnight trip planned, so we decided to just do this one as a long day-hike instead. In hindsight it probably would have been better to do this one as an overnighter since we found a lot of cool stuff and were unable to explore the whole area we wanted to. I guess that just means I will have to return again in the future for another hike here!

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Top of Utah: Kings Peak via Henrys Fork

Labor Day Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, August 30 – September 2, 2018

Last August when Diane and I were driving home through the eastern edge of the Uinta Mountains from our first backpacking trip in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, I mentioned that we needed to go on a backpacking trip into the High Uintas Wilderness in 2018, so I put it on our calendar for Labor Day weekend when I got back home. Fast forward a few months and it was time to start figuring out more specific plans for the trip. After looking at maps and our options, I figured that we might as well go all out and hike to the summit of Kings Peak which is the highest point in Utah. There are a couple of ways to get there, but Henrys Fork looked like the easiest and most popular way to go, so we thought it would be a good introduction to hiking in the High Uintas. Since I knew this was going to be a popular spot, especially during a holiday weekend, we took off Friday from work in hopes of getting a little bit of a head start. We left right after work on Thursday and drove over Douglas Pass and through the Book Cliffs to Vernal, where we stopped for a quick dinner. We almost hit a deer as we were driving through Manila, but other than that the drive was pretty uneventful. We arrived at the Henrys Fork Trailhead in the dark around 10:00pm and found a great spot to camp nearby. We quickly setup our tent and went right to bed. The sky was very clear and the stars and milky way were bright tonight!

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Stewart Peak from the Cebolla Trail

Saturday & Sunday, August 25-26, 2018

Since our plans for last weekend changed at the last minute we decided to try and hike Stewart Peak in the La Garita Mountains again this weekend. Stewart Peak is actually the highest thirteener in the San Juan Mountains at 13,983 feet and is the second tallest thirteener in Colorado. I believe it was even mistaken as a fourteener at one point in history before a more accurate survey proved that wrong. The weather forecast for the weekend was looking wet and stormy when I checked on Saturday morning, but it also looked like a typical summer monsoon pattern and I was hoping we would have just enough time on Sunday morning to get our climb in before the storms arrived.

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Mount Shavano & Tabeguache Peak

Colorado Adventure 2018 | Thursday & Friday, August 9-10, 2018

After spending the morning hiking around Hancock Pass, I headed down to Pitkin and then made my way over to US 50. My original plans were to head off into the San Juan Mountains for a couple of days before returning home, but I decided to stick around the Sawatch Range for one more day so I could hike to the summit of Mount Shavano and Tabeguache Peak on Friday morning before the weekend crowds arrived. Since I had been hiking in the mountains all week and I was pretty well acclimated by this point, I figured this would be a great time to climb these two fourteeners. So instead of heading south into the Cochetopa Hills, I headed east over Monarch Pass.

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