Tagged: wilderness

Friday – Sunday, June 2-4, 2017

Sunset over ripples in the sand at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.

This year I have been trying to cross things off my to-do list that have been on there for way too long. One of the items on my list that I have been looking at for a number of years was backpacking into The Great Sand Dunes. Earlier this year I decided that this was finally the year I was going to go for it! After some research it looked like June would be a good time to go. Even though Great Sand Dunes National Park is usually pretty busy in June since Medano Creek is typically at peak flow, I figured it wouldn’t matter much for us since we would be hiking and camping deeper in the dune field than most visitors go. Looking at my calendar, my only free weekend in June was the very first weekend (It’s going to be a busy month!), which was a little earlier than I would like to have gone, but since it was our only option that’s when we decided to go.

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Maze Memorial Weekend IV | Memorial Day Weekend
Friday – Monday, May 26-29, 2017

A beautiful sunset from the summit of Observation Rock along the edge of The Orange Cliffs.

After spending the last three Memorial Day Weekends in and around The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park, this year we decided to skip visiting The Maze proper and stayed on top of The Orange Cliffs in Robber’s Roost country. As usual, we left home after work on Friday evening and headed west into Utah. We stopped for a quick dinner and to fuel up the Jeep in Green River and then made our way to the Hans Flat Ranger Station to pickup our permit for the weekend. The wind was pretty brutal this evening and it really took a toll on my fuel mileage during the drive. There was a lot of sand blowing across the road to Hans Flat in places, but the sky and light was pretty nice during the drive. It looked like there was a good chance for one nice sunset before the clouds disappeared for the remainder of the weekend.

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

A nice view up the Gunnison River from the bottom of the Chukar Trail in the Black Canyon.

This weekend Diane and I stayed closer to home since I was hoping to raft part of the lower Gunnison River on Sunday. I guess this plan worked out well since the battery in my Jeep died on Friday and I had to wait until Saturday morning at 9:00am to pickup a new one and then install it. Because of that delay we left home later in the morning and decided to go on a short hike into the Gunnison Gorge on the Chukar Trail. The Chukar Trail is one of four main trails on the west side of the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area that you can take down to the Gunnison River. It’s also the easiest of the four, coming in at 1.1 miles in length (one way) and descending 560 feet. The only other trail I have hiked down before was the Ute Trail a couple of years ago, which is the longest and has the most elevation loss. The delay in the morning actually worked in our favor since we needed to wait a little while for the roads to dry out from the late-season winter storm that had just moved through the area the past couple of days.

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Saturday & Sunday, April 29-30, 2017

Sid and Charley at sunset near my campsite in the San Rafael Swell.

After staying up late the last four nights in a row to attend concerts and then getting up for work early the following mornings, it was finally time for me to sleep in on Saturday! I woke up around 9:00am (I really cannot recall the last time I slept in that late), packed my camping gear into the Jeep and started driving west to the San Rafael Swell where I would spend the rest of the day hiking in canyons and searching for rock art. It was very windy out all day, which is pretty typical of springtime weather on the Colorado Plateau, but a cold front had moved through the area and the temperature was pretty cool out, too. I could have done without the wind, but the temperature was perfect for hiking! Here are a few photos from the day…

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

View from the Jones Canyon Overlook trail in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness area.

With all the traveling we’ve been doing lately, we decided to stay closer to home today and went on a moderate hike in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. We hadn’t been back out this way since our overnight trip into Knowles Canyon last October so it was nice to get back. We had never been out around Jones Canyon before and thought that hiking the Jones Canyon Overlook Trail would be a nice introduction to the area since I hope to do more exploring out this way later in the year.

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