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Cross Mountain Trail to Lizard Head

Saturday & Sunday, June 12-13, 2021

After spending Saturday afternoon floating through Norwood Canyon with Jackson, I decided to head up higher into the San Juan Mountains to the headwaters of the San Miguel River so I could go on a quick hike Sunday morning before heading back home. It’s time for me to start hiking in the mountains for the summer, so I figured I better start acclimating again by spending more time at elevation now. It’s funny, I’ve spent a lot of time in the areas surrounding the San Miguel Mountains, but I don’t recall ever stepping foot inside the Lizard Head Wilderness area before, so I thought it was time that I finally did.

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Norwood Canyon of the San Miguel River

San Miguel Canyon: Beaver Creek to the Piñon Green Truss Bridge
Saturday, June 12, 2021 | Average CFS: 608

Unfortunately, this is only the first river trip of the year for me, and it feels long overdue! I was really hoping to get in a few more river trips this spring, but thanks to the dismal snowpack and poor spring runoff, things just haven’t worked out for me this year. The smaller desert rivers that I wanted to float did not have enough water and I did not win any permits from the lotteries this year, so lately I have been keeping an eye on some of the rivers in western Colorado hoping that there would be enough snowmelt to run something. This past week it was looking like the San Miguel River was going to be our best bet, and since we had a really nice time on the lower San Miguel River and Hanging Flume Canyon last year, Jackson and I thought it would be nice to check out a new section through Norwood Canyon this time. There is not a lot of info about this stretch of the San Miguel available, but we found enough bits and pieces online that helped us figure out the logistics of the trip. It was going to be another hot weekend on the Colorado Plateau, so we were looking forward to keeping cool on the San Miguel River!

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Cedar Breaks: Ashdown Gorge & Rattlesnake Creek

Ashdown Gorge Wilderness & Cedar Breaks National Monument
Friday – Sunday, June 4-6, 2021

After spending last weekend wandering around the Book Cliffs, it was time to head back into Utah for one more trip before I start spending most of my time in the mountains of Colorado. It was supposed to be another hot and windy weekend across the Colorado Plateau, so I thought this would be a good time to finally hike through Ashdown Gorge near Cedar City. This hike has been on my to-do list for over ten years now, so it was time to finally do it! Last year I had tentatively planned an overnight backpacking trip through Ashdown Gorge in the early summer with Diane and Jared, but thanks again to COVID-19, those plans were cancelled. Since Diane is now too busy with school, it would just be me and Jared going, and since the hike is not too long and mostly downhill we decided to skip the backpacking this time around and just do it as a day hike.

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Bookin’ It to the Book Cliffs

Memorial Day Weekend | Friday – Monday, May 28-31, 2021

Last year Diane and I completely skipped going anywhere over the Memorial Day weekend because we didn’t want to deal with the massive COVID-crowds that were out and about at the time, but this year I wanted to get out somewhere close to home while still avoiding the crowds. After poring over maps I decided that the best place for me to go this year would be up into the Book Cliffs. Not only are the Book Cliffs close to home, but I don’t think they are a place that crowds usually flock to and I was hoping to find plenty of solitude. It’s actually been quite a while since I spent much time in the Book Cliffs so this would be a good opportunity for me to revisit some places I haven’t been to in a while and also explore some new ones! I knew it would probably be pretty warm out this weekend, so I was planning to take it easy by mostly exploring the backroads with my Jeep and only going on short hikes along the way.

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The Chaco Phenomenon of the San Juan Basin

Tour of the Ancients: Chimney Rock National Monument, Twin Angels Pueblo & Lowry Pueblo
Thursday & Friday, May 20-21, 2021

After leaving El Malpais National Monument in the early afternoon on Thursday, we then drove north across the San Juan Basin on our way to Durango. There was a storm system moving into the area this evening and it was supposed to rain overnight and throughout the day on Friday, so we thought it would be best to get a hotel room in town tonight. On our way we made a short detour to visit the Twin Angels Pueblo, which is a Chacoan Great House located at the edge of Kutz Canyon, not far from Angel Peak. We were planning to visit Chimney Rock National Monument on Friday and had already visited the Dittert Site in the El Malpais National Conservation Area earlier in the week, so I thought it would be nice to visit yet another Chaco Outlier this week.

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