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Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 1

Friday – Sunday, October 23-25, 2020

After spending last weekend on the White Rim in Canyonlands National Park, this weekend we headed a little further south to visit Cedar Mesa for the very first time this year. Usually by now I have spent at least a couple of weekends hiking in the canyons of Cedar Mesa, but with the COVID-19 lockdowns in the spring this was the first opportunity I have had to make it back down here this year. We got a little bit of a later start on Friday than I had planned since Diane got stuck at work, but we left as soon as she got home.

I decided to completely avoid driving through Moab this time since traffic from the overwhelming crowds and road construction have been crazy the past few weeks, so instead we headed through Gateway and Dove Creek to Monticello. Although the length of this route is not much longer as far as distance is concerned and it probably didn’t save us any time, at least we weren’t stuck sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for an hour or more! Unfortunately, as I drove across the mesa between Slick Rock Hill and Dove Creek in the darkness of the night, I hit my very first deer ever. It was standing in the middle of the road as I came over a hill, so I slammed on my brakes and swerved to avoid it, but it eventually took off right in front of me and my Jeep clipped it’s back leg with the corner of the bumper. I stopped and looked around and didn’t see the deer anywhere, but I’m sure it was injured. The steel bumper on my Jeep showed no damage, but the deer knocked my fender flare loose and the side marker light was missing.

After a longer than anticipated drive, we finally arrived at our campsite just before midnight. We quickly got our tent set up and went right to bed since it had been a long night! Below are some photos from our weekend.

Diamond Door Ruin


Wash Walking

Polly Mesa Camp

Little Ruin

Morning Ruin

Slickhorn 2

Hoodoo & Clouds

Diamond Door Alcove

Down The Wash

Left Side


Fading White Birds

Little Ruin Wide

As we were leaving Cedar Mesa on Sunday afternoon we could tell that we had gotten out of the canyons at just the right time because the winter storm that was predicted for the evening was fast approaching. By the time we reached Monticello it had started to rain and the wind was very strong. I decided to head home through western Colorado the same way we had come, but later realized that maybe going back through Moab might have been a better idea since the drive home sucked in this weather.

The rain turned into a heavy snow as we drove through the Dolores River Canyon and made the rest of the drive very slow and stressful. The road was getting slick and I could barely see anything with the wind blowing the heavy snow into the light from my headlights. Finding out that my windshield wiper blades were pretty bad didn’t help, either! The snow was coming down so fast that by the time we finally reached Highway 50 in Whitewater, we found that the State Patrol had closed the road between Whitewater and Delta. Apparently roads all over Colorado were a mess and closed this evening! We made it home much later than I had hoped and got right to bed since I was tired from the second long drive of the weekend!

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  1. Dianne
    Dianne December 11, 2020

    Wish I had been there. I miss not going out once a year.
    Beautiful photo with the puffy clouds.
    I of course like all the others. Good for you that you
    got to hike out there and got home safely with the impending weather
    on the drive.

  2. Daniel Reynolds
    Daniel Reynolds December 12, 2020

    Remember we all appreciate what you do and sharing with the rest of us

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