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Category: Exploring

Rivers of Ancient Fires: The Malpais

Tuesday – Thursday, May 18-20, 2021

After spending two nice days in Arizona exploring Petrified Forest National Park, it was time to move on to New Mexico so we could spend a couple of days along the Continental Divide at the southeast margin of the Colorado Plateau in El Malpais National Monument and the El Malpais National Conservation Area. Last winter we spent a short day in this area but were unable to do much because the roads were snow-covered and muddy from a recent winter storm, so we had vowed to come back as soon as we could in warmer weather. We had hoped to do a little caving on our next visit, but because the caves are all currently closed due to COVID-19, we had to stay above ground this trip. Of course, there were plenty of other hiking opportunities to keep us busy and that just means we now have another excuse to come back when the caves are open again!

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Petroglyphs of the Petrified Forest

A Return to Petrified Forest National Park
Sunday & Monday, May 16-17, 2021

After an amazing Saturday checking out the ruins and rock art of the Ute Mountain Tribal Park we were now planning on spending the next two days digging deeper into the backcountry of Petrified Forest National Park. We had such a great time exploring the Petrified Forest last February that we couldn’t wait to get back for some more! Of course, we would have preferred to come back earlier in the year when it’s a bit cooler out and less crowded, but this would probably be our only opportunity this year, so we jumped at it. Since the park does not open until 8:00am we had time for breakfast in Holbrook before heading to the southern entrance of the park and arrived just a few minutes before they opened for the day.

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Ute Mountain Tribal Park: The Other Mesa Verde

Friday & Saturday, May 14-15, 2021

After being constantly busy with school since January, Diane finally had a week off between semesters for a Spring Break and she was looking forward to getting away, so I planned a trip that would take us mostly to northern Arizona and New Mexico for the upcoming week. On our way down through the Four Corners area we would be spending our first day checking out the ruins and rock art at the Ute Mountain Tribal Park. The Tribal Park is found along the Mancos River and shares a boundary with Mesa Verde National Park. Thankfully that’s all it shares, since it doesn’t have the crowds, reconstructed ruins or the sterilized feeling of the popular National Park. A Ute guide is required to visit this park, so a few weeks before the trip I arranged for a private guide and a night in the campground along the Mancos River. Like many of the other trips I have done this spring, this was another one we had originally planned for last year, but which also got cancelled because of COVID-19.

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Devil’s Thumb & The Awesome ‘Dobie Badlands

Adobe Badlands Wilderness Study Area & Roubideau Creek
Friday & Saturday, May 7-8, 2021

Next week Diane actually has a full week off from school between semesters and we are planning on spending that time in northern Arizona and New Mexico so she can get away from studying for a little bit. Since I still have a lot to do around the house to prepare for that trip I didn’t want to stray too far away from home this weekend, so I decided I would just head out for a quick and easy overnight trip to explore the Adobe Badlands and Roubideau Creek near Delta. I left straight from work on Friday, grabbed a quick dinner in Delta and then drove over to the edge of the Adobe Badlands Wilderness Study Area just north of town so I could hike up to the Devil’s Thumb this evening. I notice the Devil’s Thumb every time I drive through Delta and always think to myself that I should make the time to visit it, so this hike has been long overdue. It was about 90 degrees and very windy out when I started hiking, so it was a bit warm but at least the wind made it feel a little cooler and also kept any bugs away!

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Dinosaurland: Ruple Point to the Yampa Bench

Friday – Sunday, April 30 – May 2, 2021

After spending last weekend backpacking in Salt Creek Canyon I was looking to take it a little easier this weekend, especially since that trip didn’t start out so great. I wasn’t quite sure where I wanted to go, but I did know that I was done with driving through Moab this season and didn’t want to deal with that traffic again for a while. Late in the week I made a last minute decision to head north to Dinosaur National Monument and planned to spend my time in the eastern portion of the park, which is mostly in Colorado. I figured this part of the park away from the Dinosaur Quarry probably wouldn’t be very crowded and it would be a good opportunity for me to spend some time hiking the remaining trails in the park that I have not been on before. Hopefully I will be able to complete them all in the near future like I did in The Needles and the Island in the Sky. It’s been a little while since I last visited Dinosaurland, especially on the Colorado side, so I was looking forward to getting back again!

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