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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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Below Cathedral Butte: Upper Salt Creek Canyon

Wednesday – Sunday, April 21-25, 2021

Last spring I was looking forward to spending a few days hiking into upper Salt Creek Canyon in Canyonlands National Park with Diane so I could show her around one of my very favorite places on the Colorado Plateau for the first time. I was also hoping to squeeze in some deeper explorations into the area while we were there. Unfortunately, COVID-19 struck and would have other plans for us when Canyonlands cancelled our permit for the last weekend in April. I then managed to quickly snag another permit for later in May, but that permit was subsequently cancelled, too. I guess we would be waiting until the spring of 2021 to try again…

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Rambling Around Robbers Roost II

Friday – Sunday, April 16-18, 2021

What a crazy two weeks it’s been! At the end of last week I got sick and missed two days of work and then for the first time this year I did not get outdoors on a weekend! Then earlier this week I noticed the ball joints on the front drivers-side axle of my Jeep were dangerously loose, so I had to replace those one evening after work this week before I felt safe driving it on the highway again. Plus, I’m currently changing jobs at work, so I’ve been dealing with the details of that as well, which has kept me pretty busy. Just over a month ago my plans for hiking in the Robbers Roost area were spoiled by the weather, so this weekend I decided it was time to return and try again. I left after work on Friday and made my way over to The Roost. My original goal for Saturday was to hike into Bluejohn Canyon, but when I arrived at the trailhead shortly before sunset I found a bunch of very large groups camped there. After my loop through Grand Gulch two weeks ago I really needed to find solitude away from people this weekend, so I left and continued driving on to Hans Flats so I could explore Spur Fork on Saturday instead.

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Grand Gulch: Kane Gulch to Bullet Canyon

Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 4
Wednesday – Sunday, March 31 – April 4, 2021

Last spring Jared, Dave and I had made plans and obtained a permit to backpack on the Navajo Nation for the first time, but because the pandemic shut a lot of things down at the time, we were forced to cancel those plans. Since the Navajo Nation was still closed to visitors this spring we had to find something else to do for our annual spring backpacking trip this year. After discussing a number of different options over the winter, we finally settled on backpacking the popular loop through Grand Gulch from Kane Gulch to Bullet Canyon. Dave and I have both hiked this stretch of the canyon before, but Jared had not, and it was the last section of Grand Gulch he had not been through yet, so we wanted to make sure he got a chance to see it before it got even busier and harder to get permits. Besides, even though Diane and I had hiked this loop back in 2015, I was sure we missed quite a bit and was looking forward to getting back and spending a little more time in this section!

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Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 3

Thursday – Sunday, March 25-28, 2021

This weekend Jerry and I were planning to go on a three-day backpacking trip in Capitol Reef National Park, but as the weekend got closer the weather forecast was not looking good. The forecast was calling for much cooler temperatures with rain and snow which would not have been good for the narrow water-filled canyon we wanted to hike, so it looked like we would be changing our plans. Instead, we decided to head further south to Comb Ridge and Cedar Mesa since we knew we would be able to work around the weather there no matter what it did. I left after work on Friday afternoon and headed south to meet up with Jerry. After getting stuck in traffic for a while just before entering Moab, I drove through some pretty strong winds with snow from about Monticello to Blanding. I met Jerry at the Butler Wash Ruins just after sunset and we decided to camp along Comb Wash, just in case there was a lot of precipitation overnight and the roads got muddy. As predicted, there was more rain and snow overnight so on Friday we stuck to the lower elevations and did a little hiking on Comb Ridge. Later in the day things had started to dry out so we headed up onto Cedar Mesa for the rest of the weekend. Here are some photos from our weekend spent below the Bears Ears.

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