Tagged: wilderness

The Panther Gallery, Shaman’s Gallery & Turret Site
Veterans Day Weekend | Thursday – Monday, November 9-13, 2017

The Panther Gallery (Cat Site) is an impressive example of the Grand Canyon Polychrome Style.

This year for the extended Veterans Day weekend Diane and I headed down to the Arizona Strip where we met up with our friend Jerry to backpack and hike along the Esplanade in search of Grand Canyon Polychrome pictographs. By the end of the weekend we would visit The Panther Gallery, Shaman’s Gallery and Turret Site. We also made stops at Toroweap and Paiute Cave since we were in the area. The weather was pretty nice for the entire weekend with highs in the low 70’s and the lows at night in the 40’s. Unfortunately, the Esplanade was pretty dry this time around and we had to carry all the water we would need which added quite a bit of weight to our packs. I’ve wanted to see The Panther Gallery (Cat Site) for a long time and was happy to finally get a chance to see it up close and personal. Enjoy some photos from the weekend!

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Darley Mountain & Dolly Varden Mountain
Friday – Saturday, September 8-9, 2017

Hiking along the ridge to the summit of Darley Mountain in the Uncompahgre Wilderness.

This weekend I wanted to climb a peak or two in the mountains since it would probably be my last opportunity this summer before I would begin spending most of my free time back in the desert of the Colorado Plateau. However, since I’ve been doing a lot of driving lately I didn’t want to travel too far from home either. After a little thought I decided to head back down to the San Juan Mountains near Engineer Pass so I could climb Darley Mountain and Dolly Varden Mountain within the Uncompahgre Wilderness. It wasn’t too long ago that I was in the area climbing a couple other peaks and it was nice to be headed back there again.

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East Fork & Middle Fork of The Cimarron River
Labor Day Weekend | Saturday – Monday, September 2-4, 2017

Sunset on Uncompahgre Peak from the East Fork of the Cimarron River.

Labor Day weekend was upon us again, which meant it was time for another backpacking trip into the Uncompahgre Wilderness! This would be our fourth year in a row backpacking into the northern valleys of the wilderness area, starting with our Wetterhorn Basin (West Fork) trip back in 2014, then continuing with trips into Big Blue Creek and Fall Creek. Earlier this summer we were also able to go on a quick overnighter along the Little Cimarron River to make up for our failed loop last year. With only two remaining major valleys left, we planned to combine the East Fork and the Middle Fork of the Cimarron River into a two night trip that I’ve called The Cimarron Loop.

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Seneca Lake, Island Lake & Titcomb Basin
Thursday – Monday, August 17-21, 2017

The Great American Eclipse viewed from the Wind River Range in Wyoming.

The plans for this particular trip started to come together well over a year ago when I first learned about The Great American Eclipse happening on August 21, 2017. The last total eclipse visible from the United States was before I was born, so I really wanted to make an effort to experience this one. After looking at a map of the path of totality, I saw that this one was going to be visible right over the Wind River Range in Wyoming which is only about a six hour drive from home. While I had briefly visited the Wind Rivers outside of Lander about ten years ago, I’ve wanted to go on a backpacking trip into the Bridger Wilderness for a pretty long time now and figured that this would be the perfect opportunity. Early in the planning stages I set my sights on backpacking into the Island Lake and Titcomb Basin area below Fremont Peak from the Elkhart Park Trailhead near Pinedale. I figured that this popular and beautiful area would be a good introduction to backpacking in the Wind Rivers. As the date of the eclipse got closer and more and more people learned about it from social media, I figured that this area of Wyoming was probably going to be much busier than usual, but I decided against changing our plans and was willing to make that sacrifice for this possible once-in-a-lifetime event.

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Southwest Ridge | Saturday & Sunday, August 5-6, 2017

A view of Sayres Peak (13,738) at sunrise as I hiked to the summit of La Plata Peak.

Last fall during my drive to the trailhead for Mount Elbert (14,433), I got a nice view of La Plata Peak as I was descending Independence Pass shortly before sunset and thought to myself that I should make time to climb that peak soon. That thought has stuck around in the back of my mind for the last year and I finally decided to make it happen this weekend since I had good luck with Culebra Peak (14,047) last weekend.

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