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The Summertime Blues: Hiking the Abajo Mountains

Three Directions in the Blue Mountains | Friday – Sunday, August 5-7, 2022

This past week I had been struggling to decide where I wanted to go this weekend as I continually watched the weather forecasts for the mountains since all of them were calling for a large monsoonal surge to enter Colorado which was supposed to create a lot of rain and thunderstorms throughout the high country of the state. On Thursday I decided to look outside of Colorado to the Abajo Mountains, locally known as the Blue Mountains, which had a much milder weather outlook for the weekend, so that’s where I decided to go. As luck would have it, on Friday all the weather forecasters changed their tune about the stormy weather in Colorado for the weekend, but by then I had already set my mind on heading up into the Abajos, plus it has been a while since I did any hiking in this small laccolithic range, so now I was looking forward to getting back!

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Hagerman Pass and the Colorado Midland Railway

Wednesday – Saturday, July 27-30, 2022

This Thursday and Friday I was going to be attending the GIS Colorado Summer Meetup which was being held at Turquoise Lake near Leadville and then I planned to spend the rest of the weekend exploring the surrounding area. I was hoping to get plenty of hiking in during the evenings and over the weekend, but that didn’t end up happening and I spent most of the time meeting new people and relaxing around camp, which was a nice change of pace. Although the weather forecast had been calling for a wet and stormy couple of days at the end of the week, we didn’t see much rain at the campground, but it was still overcast and cloudy much of the time. These are some photos I took over the days I was in the area.

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A Morning in the Northern Snake Range

Saturday & Sunday, July 16-17, 2022

After hiking Telescope Peak and leaving Death Valley National Park earlier in the day, I stopped for a quick dinner in Tonopah and then continued driving east across the Great Basin of Nevada as I made my way back home. I made another quick stop for fuel and food in Ely and then continued on into the northern portion of Snake Range to find a place to spend the night at a higher elevation where it would be cooler out. After leaving the paved highway and driving across the bottom of Spring Valley, I followed the steep switchbacks of a narrow dirt road into the Humboldt National Forest in the dark and then stopped at the first decent campsite I found along the way. It was about 9:30pm when I finally stopped for the night and I was pretty tired since it had been a long day, so I quickly got into my sleeping bag and went to bed.

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Telescope Peak: Towering Above Death Valley

Highpoint of the Panamint Range & Death Valley National Park
Friday & Saturday, July 15-16, 2022

For the past couple of years I have been trying to make plans to hike Telescope Peak, the highest peak in Death Valley National Park, but so far all of those plans had fallen through for one reason or another. However, now that I was in California for the past week, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to finally make it there, although I was a little worried about hiking the peak after spending five days at sea level because it’s been a long time since I’ve been down at this low of an elevation. So, after spending way too much time around way too many people in San Diego this past week, I definitely needed to get back out on a long hike into the wilderness to decompress, so I made sure to take a detour into Death Valley National Park as I started my drive back home to Colorado!

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Griffith Peak in the Spring Mountains

Saturday & Sunday, July 9-10, 2022

After spending Saturday morning hiking in the Tushar Mountains it was time to continue on the next leg of my journey to San Diego with a hike in the Spring Mountains just west of Las Vegas. I grabbed an early dinner in town and then drove up Kyle Canyon to the small mountain town of Mount Charleston to get a feel for the area and figure out the camping situation. I checked out the trailheads in the area so I knew where I’d be going early on Sunday morning in the dark and then drove further north on the Deer Creek Highway to hopefully find some dispersed camping since all the campgrounds near the trailhead were full, which was no surprise. Luckily, the first side road I headed down appeared to be a popular dispersed camping area and I found a nice site that was unoccupied. The campsite was located at about 7,600 feet and the temperature in the shade was very comfortable. I read a book and listened to podcasts for a while and then went to bed early so I could get an extra early start on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, since the area was obviously a popular camping area, there were a lot of loud people nearby late into the night, so I’m glad I had my earplugs with me…

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