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Tag: wildflowers

Navajo National Monument: Keet Seel & Betatakin

Thursday – Sunday, May 30 – June 2, 2019

After a quick visit to Navajo National Monument back in 2011, which was when I was on my way to visit The Wave for the very first time, I knew that I needed to come back another time so I could actually hike to the Keet Seel and Betatakin ruins. Every year since then I have thought about going back but I never got around to making the advance reservations for the Keet Seel hike which typically fills up early in the year. When I made the decision that I was going to try to obtain some hard-to-get permits earlier this year (i.e. Havasupai), the hike to Keet Seel was up near the top of my list! On the first day that reservations were being taken for Keet Seel in February I called and reserved an overnight permit for Diane and myself for the first weekend in June because it was the first Saturday of the season that you could do an overnight hike this year. Since this particular hike is only available from Memorial Day to Labor Day, which is typically the hottest part of the year on the Colorado Plateau, I hoped that the weather would cooperate with us this year and not be too warm…

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Cedar Mesa Memorial Weekend

Friday – Sunday, May 24-26, 2019

Years ago I used to spend my Memorial Day weekends exploring the canyons of Cedar Mesa in southeastern Utah, which was before I started going to The Maze, but then I stopped doing that when it seemed like the cedar gnats (no-see-ums) were starting to get worse during that time of the year. This year my friend Alan was going to be in the area over the holiday weekend and asked if I’d be able to join him for a couple of hikes, so I thought it would be nice to return to that old annual tradition and said yes! Our original plan was to explore some of the canyons up from Elk Ridge, but thanks to a late season snowstorm we decided to skip the muddy roads and changed our plans to stay lower in the canyons of Cedar Mesa instead.

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Big Dominguez Canyon: Cactus Park to Bridgeport

Saturday & Sunday, May 18-19, 2019

This weekend we had some stuff to get done around the house but we still wanted to try and squeeze in a backpacking trip this month, so we decided to head over to the Dominguez – Escalante National Conservation Area for a quick overnighter into Big Dominguez Canyon. While I have hiked into lower Big Dominguez Canyon many times over the years, Diane had never been in this canyon before and wanted to finally check it out. We planned to do a repeat of my very first backpacking trip by starting out in Cactus Park and hiking down the canyon to Bridgeport so it wouldn’t be just another out and back hiking trip, plus I’ve wanted to redo this trip again now that I am much more experienced. After we had returned home from this trip I learned that Saturday was Colorado Public Lands Day, which I had never heard of before, so I guess it was pretty fitting that we actually stayed on public lands in Colorado this weekend instead of heading over into Utah like we usually do at this time of the year!

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River Flowing from the Sunrise: The San Juan

Friday – Monday, May 10-13, 2019

Over the years I have floated the San Juan River between Sand Island and Mexican Hat a couple of times with a small group of friends and we almost always have had a great time on this stretch of the river. I say ‘almost always‘ because the temperature was way too hot out during our last trip in 2017 and the water was moving very fast which turned out to be a bad combination for us. We ended up cutting that trip a day short and heading home early. After taking last year off for a Labyrinth Canyon trip, we decided to get a permit for the San Juan again this year to make up for that last trip. This year I was hoping for much better weather since we were going in May again, but I was still a little worried when we drove down to Bluff on Friday afternoon through rain storms and cold temperatures even though the forecast for the rest of the weekend was looking good. I certainly had my fingers crossed and hoped that the rainbow I saw as we drove over White Mesa was a good sign! And for anyone wondering, River Flowing from the Sunrise is a translation of the Ute name for the San Juan River, and I think it’s a pretty fitting one.

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Ancient Architects of Arizona

Wednesday – Saturday, April 24-27, 2019

Earlier this year two of my favorite bands, Architects and While She Sleeps, announced a tour that started in late April and went through May. These two bands don’t tour in the US very much so I knew that I really needed to go to this one! I’m just glad the tour dates closest to home didn’t coincide with a weekend that I had already made plans for! We were unable to go to the Denver date, which was the closest one to us, so we decided to go to the Phoenix date instead and would plan a short easy trip around it. I had never been anywhere between Flagstaff and Phoenix before, so I thought it would be a good idea to play tourist for a change and visit all of the popular National Monuments as an introduction to the area. I also figured that since we were going to be seeing the Architects in concert on Saturday night, that it would be nice to visit the ruins left behind by the ancient architects of Arizona on our way there!

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