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Month: March 2022

McCarty Bench: Escalante Canyon to Palmer Gulch

The Edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau: Dominguez Canyon Wilderness
Friday – Saturday, March 25-26, 2022

This weekend I needed to stay close to home since Diane and I had tickets to a pair of concerts in town, so I decided to do a little exploring in the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness at the edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau on Saturday morning. Since I wasn’t going to be travelling far, I stopped home for a little bit after work on Friday and then made my way over to Escalante Canyon to spend the night. After fording Escalante Creek I drove up the Escalante Rim Road and found a nice campsite right along the rim of the canyon. I arrived about an hour before sunset and was treated to a 360 degree view of the Grand Mesa, West Elks and Sneffels Range. Unfortunately, it is currently open burn season in the area, so there was a lot of smoke and haze in the air this evening. I took a couple of photos before sunset and then read for a while until I went to bed early.

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Lost in the Fold: Halls Creek Narrows

Canyons of the Waterpocket Fold: The Other Grand Gulch
Friday – Monday, March 18-21, 2022

This weekend I finally had the opportunity to hike into the Halls Creek Narrows which are located at the very southern tip of Capitol Reef National Park, as I continue to work my way through the many interesting Canyons of the Waterpocket Fold. This hike has been long overdue for me as I’ve tentatively planned to go here almost every year for at least the last five years, but it seems that something has always come up that made me cancel those plans- usually the weather forecast. Since Diane had a couple days off from school for a short spring break after this weekend she would also be able to join me on this three day backpacking trip. I left early from work on Friday afternoon and we made our way into Utah after Diane was finished taking her latest exam. I stopped to grab an early dinner from Stan’s in Hanksville and topped off my gas tank at $4.89 per gallon before we continued on past Trachyte Creek and Ticaboo to the Burr Trail Road where we found a great campsite overlooking Bullfrog Creek to the Henry Mountains. We set up our tent at the rim of the canyon and relaxed around camp for the remainder of the evening before going to bed early after photographing a pretty lackluster sunset.

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The Canyons of Trachyte Creek III

The North Fork of Trachyte Creek to the Witch’s Cauldron & Maidenwater Canyon
Friday – Sunday, March 11-13, 2022

For the past two years I have spent a weekend in early March exploring the Canyons of Trachyte Creek and thought it would be fun to head back down there again this weekend to make it three years in a row. The last two years I went on overnight backpacking trips into the canyon, first with Diane and then with Jackson, but this year I was on my own an decided to just do some day-hikes from the road instead. I left after work on Friday afternoon, topped off my gas tank in Hanksville at $4.69 per gallon and then made it to my campsite long Trachyte Creek shortly before sunset. I’m loving that the daylight is sticking around longer into the evening now and will be sticking around another hour longer after the Daylight Savings Time change on Saturday night. I listened to a couple podcasts and then went to bed early.

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Kept in The Loop at The Needles

Friday – Sunday, March 4-6, 2022

I ended up staying home last weekend because a winter storm had moved through the area during the week and dropped plenty of snow and also the temperature, so I was anxious to get back outside this weekend and thought this would be a good time to head back to The Needles once more before things start getting busy there for the spring season. Back in the late summer of 2020 when I floated the Colorado River through Meander Canyon we didn’t quite make it all the way to The Confluence like we had hoped to and ended up stopping shortly after entering The Loop. Since then I’ve wanted to get back and try exploring more of The Loop by foot and thought this weekend would be the perfect opportunity to give that a shot. As the weekend was approaching, I was keeping my eye on another storm system was that was going to be impacting the area and almost cancelled my plans again, but with conflicting forecasts I decided to take my chances and hoped that I would be able to hike around the weather this time. I’m glad I took the chance because the weather in The Needles was great for hiking and most of the storm system missed this area completely.

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