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Tag: wildlife

Desolate Divine: Back To The Needles

Friday – Monday, January 18-21, 2019

I spent a lot of time exploring the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park last year, but I guess I couldn’t stay away very long since I found myself back there again for my first camping trip of 2019 over the long holiday weekend! With the government shutdown I was not quite sure what to expect in The Needles, but since this district of Canyonlands is usually not fully staffed in the winter I was hoping it would be business-as-usual, and it pretty much was. The only difference I could tell between a normal winter weekend and during the government shutdown was that the bathrooms in the Visitor Center were closed and the current weather forecast was not posted on the door.

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Wedding Canyon Loop 2019

Rediscovering the Colorado National Monument #1
New Year’s Day | Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year! This year Diane and I woke up early on New Year’s Day and headed over to the Colorado National Monument so we could hike the Wedding Canyon Loop at sunrise like we do almost every year. We arrived shortly before sunrise and were the first vehicle at the Monument Canyon Trailhead. When we started hiking the temperature out was in the single digits and the early morning dawn light was just beginning to illuminate the landscape. There was fresh snow on the trail from a big snowstorm the previous day, but there wasn’t quite as much snow on the ground here as there was at our house. We watched the clouds change color as we made our way to the mouth of Wedding Canyon and then hiked up the canyon to Independence Monument, which is the halfway point of the loop. From there we followed the lower Monument Canyon Trail back down to the trailhead making a complete loop around The Island. As usual, it was a great way to start the new year, even though it was cold out!

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Labyrinth Canyon: Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom

Thursday – Monday, September 20-24, 2018

I was pretty excited that it was finally time to get back on the river! I had been looking forward to this trip all summer since it’s been way too long since my last river trip and I was really missing floating through desert canyons. I’ve actually wanted to float this stretch of the Green River for a while now, and I was finally able to convince a few friends to go with me this year. I did most of the planning for this trip which would take us down about 45 miles of the Green River through Labyrinth Canyon from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom. Even though it was a bad snow year in Colorado, the Wind Rivers had a pretty average snow year so the level of the Green River at 2,000cfs was pretty typical for this time of the year. There was originally supposed to be six of us in our group, but at the last minute my friend Jackson and his son had to drop out because his son got sick. This also changed our plans for the shuttle at the last minute since we wouldn’t need two vehicles at the end, so Chris ended up riding with me to Ruby Ranch after work while Steve and Nic would run the shuttle vehicle down to Mineral Bottom in the afternoon and we would all meet up in the evening.

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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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Sultan Mountain & Grand Turk

Saturday & Sunday, August 18-19, 2018

Originally, Diane and I were planning to climb Stewart Peak in the La Garita Mountains together this weekend, but she wasn’t feeling well when we got up on Saturday morning, so I changed plans and headed down toward Silverton by myself instead. When we woke up on Saturday it was actually raining pretty good in Grand Junction which is something we haven’t seen much of in quite a while! I checked the weather in the mountains and found out that it was storming there as well, but the storms were expected to wind down later in the day and Sunday was supposed to be pretty dry. Since I had to wait for the storms to die down a bit, I left home later in the morning and then made my way to Red Mountain Pass where I decided to stop and hike up into Spirit Gulch on an old mining road that is no longer open to vehicles.

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