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Month: January 2021

Canyons of the San Rafael Reef

Black Dragon Wash to Ernie Canyon
Friday – Sunday, January 29-31, 2021

Over the past couple of years I’ve spent a weekend in January exploring the canyons of the San Rafael Reef at the edge of the San Rafael Swell just west of Green River. I guess I’ve continued to do this each year because it’s an easy drive from home and it doesn’t really matter if there is snow on the ground or not. Plus, it’s just a great place to explore anytime! With this weekend being the last one in January and the weather looking good, I thought that it would be nice to keep up the tradition and headed back to the San Rafael Reef! As usual, I left right from work on Friday afternoon and drove west on I-70 until I reached the San Rafael Reef. Just before driving through Spotted Wolf Canyon on the interstate, I took a side road to the north and found a place to camp near the mouth of Black Dragon Canyon. For a brief time there was a little light snow that fell, but it didn’t stick and stopped just as quickly as it had started. As soon as the clouds dissipated the light from the Wolf Moon filled the canyon.

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Around The Block: Red Benches to The Cove

The Chinese Trail, Mille Crag Bend and West Fork of Rock Canyon
Friday – Sunday, January 22-24, 2021

Late Friday evening a winter storm was forecast to move across the Colorado Plateau and into the mountains of Colorado that was supposed to stick around until Tuesday and bring much-needed moisture to the area. Leading up to the weekend I kept a close eye on the weather forecast and it seemed like the area around Hite would be the best location to get in some hiking during the days while avoiding precipitation. Heading that direction this weekend sounded like a great idea to me since there are plenty of places around the Dirty Devil Country that I’ve wanted to explore and camping in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area near Hite would allow me to visit a few of those places surrounding The Block.

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Back to the Mojave: The Pahranagat Valley

Rock Art of the Basin and Range National Monument II
Thursday – Monday, January 15-18, 2021

Even though my heart belongs to the Colorado Plateau, I do occasionally like to get out to the Mojave Desert at least once each year, especially during the colder months at home! Back at the beginning of last year I had started making plans to return to Death Valley National Park this holiday weekend, but since COVID is hitting California hard right now and they are asking for out-of-state visitors to stay away, I honored their request and decided to visit the Pahranagat Valley in Nevada instead. I got my first taste of the Pahranagat Valley on my way home from the White Mountains in September, but it was much too hot out for me at the time, so I vowed to return in cooler temperatures. I didn’t think I would be coming back so soon, but I was looking forward to returning again so I could explore this large valley where the northern Mojave Desert and the Great Basin intersect!

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Drifting Around Indian Creek Country

Friday – Sunday, January 8-10, 2021

After spending the first long weekend of 2021 along Comb Ridge with Diane, I was on my own this weekend since Diane has now started PA school and just had LASIK surgery on Thursday, and needed to rest her eyes for a few days. As many of you are probably aware of by now, the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park is one of my absolute favorite places to explore, so earlier in the week when I was deciding which area to go to on my first camping trip of the year, it was an easy decision for me to head that direction. This time I decided to mostly stay out of the heart of the The Needles and planned to spend more time along Indian Creek just outside of the park. I left after work on Friday, topped off my fuel tank in Moab and then finished the drive down along Indian Creek to a familiar campsite I have spent many nights at before. I then spent the rest of the weekend drifting through Indian Creek Country from South Six-Shooter Peak to Davis Canyon with a couple scattered petroglyph panels along the way.

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Backbone of the Earth: Comb Ridge

New Years Weekend | Friday – Sunday, January 1-3, 2021

After spending Christmas Weekend around Moab I really didn’t have any solid plans set for the New Year holiday weekend. Diane definitely wanted us to get outside over the first weekend of the New Year since she is going to be starting Physician Assistant school on Monday and her free time will most likely be pretty limited over the next two years, so she probably won’t be able to join me on as many trips as she usually does. After following the weather forecast during the week and weighing our options we made a last-minute decision to spend the long holiday weekend hiking and exploring Comb Ridge in southern Utah for our first trip of 2021. Although we had made it to Cedar Mesa a couple of times last year, we never spent any time on The Comb, so we were looking forward to getting back there. As a matter of fact, I think it’s been quite a while since I dedicated a whole trip just to exploring Comb Ridge, so we were long overdue! Enjoy my photos from the weekend and my first Trip Report of 2021!

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