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Tag: wildlife

Grand Canyon of the Sonoran Desert: Aravaipa Canyon

Our First Time Backpacking Among the Saguaros
My 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico
Tuesday – Wednesday, February 11-12, 2020

Today was the part of the trip that I was looking forward to the most since I first started making these plans last year. I have wanted to hike through the perennial waters of Aravaipa Canyon, sometimes referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Sonoran Desert, for a long time and this experience was one of the main reasons I had planned this birthday trip into southeast Arizona in the first place. Back in November I secured an overnight permit for my 40th birthday when they first became available for the date, and chose to start from the more popular West Trailhead since I knew we would most likely be driving Diane’s Edge for the better fuel mileage and comfort on this road trip. For those not familiar, anyone who hikes into the Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness requires a permit from the BLM in order to help preserve the wilderness experience of the area. A total of 50 people are allowed per day, from which 20 may enter from the East Trailhead and 30 may enter from the West Trailhead. This can be a popular hike during the busy season, but the middle of February is probably the lowest use season because of the colder water temperatures of the creek. This sounded like the perfect time of the year for us to hike among the saguaros into Aravaipa Canyon!

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White Crack Trail to The Confluence

Friday – Sunday, January 31 – February 2, 2020

After I finished hiking all of the official trails within the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park late last year, it was time for me to turn my attention to other parts of the backcountry that I still wanted to explore in this amazing park. While I’ve seen the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers from both The Needles and The Maze before, I felt that it was finally time for me to see it from the Island in the Sky!

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Ringing In A New Decade: Wedding Canyon Loop

First Day Hikes: Colorado National Monument
Wednesday, January 1, 2020

As per our annual New Years Day tradition, Diane and I went to bed well before midnight on New Years Eve so we could get up early for our first hike of 2020 on the Wedding Canyon Loop in the Colorado National Monument. We arrived at the trailhead shortly before sunrise but the sky was pretty much overcast and we would not see any sunlight during our entire hike. When I checked the weather forecast the night before there was a winter storm that was supposed to move into the area later in the day, but it apparently got here early since it started to snow on us just as soon as we entered the mouth of Wedding Canyon and it continued to snow throughout the rest of our hike. We didn’t mind though, since it was fun to hike through the falling snow and I really liked the way the fresh snow clung to the sandstone boulders and canyon walls. It’s always nice to see a familiar landscape in different conditions. We didn’t run into anyone else on the trail until we were on our way back down Monument Canyon where we passed about a half-dozen hikers coming up the canyon. Hiking this loop trail is always a great way to start a new year no matter what the weather does!

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Destined To Fail: A Failed Attempt at Longs Peak

Friday – Monday, September 6-9, 2019

I took a day off from work to climb Longs Peak, but all I climbed this weekend was Cupid (13,117). Earlier this year when I was making plans that required permits in advance, climbing Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park with an overnight stay in the Boulderfield was near the top of my list. While I know that many people climb Longs Peak in a long day, that is not the experience I was looking for and I was looking forward to spending a night in the Boulderfield before the climb. I was able to secure a permit back in March for this Sunday night and had hoped that this popular route wouldn’t be too crowded on a Monday in early September after Labor Day. Since I was unsure about my climbing ability and the exposure along this route, I invited my friend Jackson and his fiance Amy along to join me on this trip because I know that Jackson likes to climb and scramble. Unfortunately, this would not end up being my year to climb Longs Peak. Not only were we unable to make it to the Boulderfield on Sunday because of the weather, but even if we had made it up there I know that I would not have been able to climb the Keyhole Route on Monday morning since there was snow overnight and the route was covered in ice. I guess winter in the high country has arrived! Maybe I’ll give it another shot next summer…

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Weminuche Wanderings: West Ute Lake Loop

Continental Divide Trail: Hunchback Pass to West Ute Lake
Labor Day Weekend | Friday – Sunday, August 30 – September 1, 2019

Since we just spent last weekend along the Continental Divide in Wyoming, I figured it would be nice to spend some time along the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado this weekend. Since Labor Day is a popular holiday in the mountains of Colorado I planned a backpacking loop into an area of the Weminuche Wilderness that I hoped would not be very busy so we could try to avoid the crowds. The plan worked out great as we only saw a couple of other people all weekend and had plenty of solitude! As for the trails we hiked, they required more bushwhacking and route-finding than I expected, so that might be another reason why we didn’t run into too many people.

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