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Category: Four-Wheeling

Under The Ledge: Waterhole Flat to Teapot Canyon

Friday – Sunday, November 3-5, 2023

This weekend I headed back into the country Under the Ledge for the second time this year so I could finally stay at the Teapot Rock campsite, which is located along the road to The Doll House just before it starts to get rough. Although I have tried to book this camp during previous trips into the region, it always seemed to have been unavailable and never worked out for me, but since it’s the final campsite in the Maze District that I had not stayed at yet, I figured it was worth putting together a special trip to finally make it happen this year. A couple of months ago I booked the site for two nights so I could spend an extended weekend exploring the canyons in the area and I invited my friend Jared along to join me. So now after this weekend, besides having hiked all of the trails in Canyonlands National Park, I have finally completed my goal of staying at all of the designated campsites within the Maze District and Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area!

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Beyond the Clay Hills: The Annular Solar Eclipse

Watching the Great Western Ring of Fire Eclipse from Nokai Dome
Friday – Sunday, October 13-15, 2023

After spending an amazing Thursday on Chapin Mesa in Mesa Verde National Park and then briefly stopping to visit Yucca House National Monument early on Friday morning, it was time to drive across the Great Sage Plain into Utah and then head even further west until we crossed Beyond the Clay Hills where we found a great camping spot atop Nokai Dome, which would be a perfect place to sit and watch the Great Western Ring of Fire Eclipse on Saturday morning. I had specifically chosen this remote corner of the Red Rock Plateau to view the Annular Solar Eclipse because it’s kind of out-of-the way and I hoped that we would be able to find plenty of solitude. It’s also a part of the Colorado Plateau that I really haven’t spent much time at and I’m hoping to change that and get a little more familiar with this corner of San Juan County. I really don’t think I could have picked a much better spot to watch the eclipse from since we were very close to the centerline of its path and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anyone else around for miles. I should also mention that the views in all directions from Nokai Dome were pretty spectacular!

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Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 9

Southern Utah Wanderings | Tuesday – Thursday, October 3-5, 2023

After spending the last couple of days exploring the canyons of the Dark Canyon Plateau, it was now time for Jared and I to spend a little time in the canyons of Cedar Mesa. After grabbing dinner and replenishing our supplies in Blanding on Monday afternoon, we returned to Comb Wash and found a nice campsite to spend the night in. Then on Tuesday morning we headed up the narrow and sandy road into Arch Canyon where we planned to stay through the following day. It’s been just about fifteen years since either of us had driven into Arch Canyon and we were looking forward to some new hikes, spending the night in the canyon, and hopefully finding some ruins that we had missed on previous visits.

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Red Table Mountain: Crooked Creek to Mount Thomas

Around the Red Table: Crooked Creek Pass & Cottonwood Pass
Friday – Sunday, September 15-17, 2023

This weekend I headed out to the very northern end of the Sawatch Range so I could drive around and explore Red Table Mountain, which is located just west of the Holy Cross Wilderness between Gypsum, Eagle and Thomasville. I left from work on Friday afternoon, stopped in Rifle for gas and a bite to eat, and then continued on through the Roaring Fork Valley to Basalt where I turned off and followed the Fryingpan River to Lime Creek. Although I had driven through a couple heavy rain storms along the way, I found the beginning of the Crooked Creek Pass Road to be in good condition when wet, but that quickly changed as I dove higher and found some very slick conditions. After sliding off the road into the ditch twice, and thankfully not off the other side of the road, I found a small level spot to pull over and spend the night at. I had had enough of the slick and slippery road and felt it was too sketchy to continue driving up to the pass or turning around and heading down, so I was hoping that the road would dry out a bit overnight.

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The High Plateaus of Utah: Proper Edge of the Sky

The Plateau Provence: Peaks & Plateaus of the Colorado Plateau
Wednesday – Friday, August 30 – September 1, 2023

The High Plateaus of Utah are a group of elevated tablelands that form the boundary between the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin in Central Utah and are what Wallace Stegner once described as “those remarkable mountains that are not mountains at all but greatly elevated rolling plains.” Although I have driven around and between the High Plateaus many times over the years, I have not spent very much time up on top of any of them and I wanted to change that this summer so I could see what they were all about. And what better way is there to get to know a new place than by driving the backroads and visiting the highpoints along the way! I figured that I would start at the northern end of the Wasatch Plateau and then work my way south, looping back around to finish up on Thousand Lake Mountain, where I could hop back on I-70 and head back home after a nice introduction to the area. That was the plan, and I thought it was a pretty good one, but as you will see, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

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