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The Sound of Silence: Dinosaur National Monument

An Autumn Return to Jones Hole, Island Park & Rainbow Park
Friday – Sunday, October 15-17, 2021

A little while back Diane found out that she was actually going to have this Friday off from school, and she immediately let me know that she really wanted to go to Dinosaur National Monument over this three-day weekend for her birthday, so I also took Friday off from work and planned the trip. She didn’t have anywhere specific in the park that she wanted to go, she was just looking forward to getting outside away from school for a bit, so she left all the details up to me. I thought she would enjoy an easy overnight backpacking trip along the trail into Jones Hole since it happens to be one of my favorite hikes in the park, so back in September I called and reserved one of the campsites at Ely Creek for Friday night. The last time I had hiked into Jones Hole was in the spring when everything was lush and green, so I was looking forward to checking it out in the fall. I figured we could then spend the rest of the weekend hiking a couple of trails that we had not been on yet and maybe revisit some rock art sites, too. We were certainly looking forward to spending a long weekend in Dinosaurland together!

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Blue Mountain Shadows: Beef Basin to Cedar Mesa

Southern Utah Wanderings | Friday – Friday, October 1-8, 2021

This year for our annual week-long trek into Southern Utah, Jared and I started out in the Beef Basin area and then we explored our way over to Cedar Mesa. It has been a while since either of us had spent much time around Beef Basin and I was also really hoping that we would be able to spend some quality time around the Dark Canyon Plateau and Elk Ridge areas along the way. The trip started out great and we found plenty of new rock art and ruin sites, but unfortunately the weather did not cooperate with us on the second half of this trip and we had to change our plans multiple times because of storms and slick muddy roads. At one point we even stopped to help winch a truck back onto the road that was sliding off. One of the unexpected benefits of the poor weather was that it chased us closer to the Abajo Mountains than we were originally planning to go, and they were in peak falls colors at the time! At the end of the week we found out that President Biden was restoring the original boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument, which was fitting since we were sitting in camp within the newly restored boundary. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty details of this trip, so please enjoy plenty of photos from our journey below.

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Highpoint of the Grand Mesa: Crater Peak

Goodenough Reservoir Peaks: Mount Darline & Mount Hatten
Friday & Saturday, September 24-25, 2021

After spending a few days on the Green River earlier in the week, I would be leaving for a full week of exploration on the Colorado Plateau this upcoming Friday, so this weekend would be my last opportunity to get into the high country for some peak-bagging to finish off the summer season. I needed this to be a quick trip near home so I could be back by Saturday afternoon to start preparing for the upcoming trip to southern Utah next week, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to hike to the highest point on the Grand Mesa. Although I have already hiked to the old fire lookout on Leon Peak (11,236), which is the highest point in Mesa County and located on the Grand Mesa, Crater Peak (11,327) in Delta County is actually the highest point on the Grand Mesa.

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ABC’s of the Green River: Red Canyon to Browns Park

Flaming Gorge Dam to the Swinging Bridge | High CFS: 1,870 – Low CFS: 1,240
Saturday – Tuesday, September 18-21, 2021

The middle and latter part of September is probably my favorite time of the year to go on a nice relaxing river trip. The heat of summer is starting to diminish, but it’s still usually warm enough to go for a swim. The rivers are lower and slower making a more enjoyable trip for those of us who aren’t really into the swift water and big rapids. The low water also means there are a lot of sandbars for camping on, which is my favorite kind of camping. The nights are beginning to to get longer and cooler and most of the bugs are usually gone! What more could you ask for? After spending a few days on the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park last September, this year Jackson, Chris and I decided to follow in the footsteps of John Wesley Powell again and check out the Green River just below the Flaming Gorge Dam from Red Canyon to Browns Park. This segment of the Green River is known as the ‘ABC’ section because it is divided into three different sections; Section A from the Flaming Gorge Dam to Little Hole is about 7 miles, Section B from Little Hole to Indian Crossing is about 8 miles, and Section C from Indian Crossing to Swinging Bridge is about 15 miles- for a total of about 30 miles. We planned to do the whole stretch.

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Southern Sawatch Saweekend

Friday – Sunday, September 10-12, 2021

This weekend was going to be the last opportunity for me to hike a 14er this summer, and since I have climbed at least one 14er each summer since 2010 I was originally planning to. However, as I started figuring out my weekend plans I just wasn’t feeling like hiking on a busy trail and was looking for a little more solitude, so I decided to skip the 14ers this year and headed to the southern Sawatch Range to hike a few peaks along the Continental Divide instead. I left from work on Friday afternoon and headed to Gunnison, taking the route through Hotchkiss and Crawford since Highway 50 is still closed until 5:30pm on weekdays and I wasn’t sure how quickly I would get to that point. I topped off my fuel tank in Gunnison and then made my way over to Pitkin and started up the road to Hancock Pass. Unfortunately, the road near the top of the pass was much rougher than I remember it being and I wasn’t comfortable driving a section of it in the dark, so I returned all the way back to Highway 50 and drove over Monarch Pass to the Middle Fork of the South Arkansas River and found a place to spend the night shortly before the end of that road. It was pretty late by the time I arrived, so I went right to bed.

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