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Cedar Breaks: Ashdown Gorge & Rattlesnake Creek

Ashdown Gorge Wilderness & Cedar Breaks National Monument
Friday – Sunday, June 4-6, 2021

After spending last weekend wandering around the Book Cliffs, it was time to head back into Utah for one more trip before I start spending most of my time in the mountains of Colorado. It was supposed to be another hot and windy weekend across the Colorado Plateau, so I thought this would be a good time to finally hike through Ashdown Gorge near Cedar City. This hike has been on my to-do list for over ten years now, so it was time to finally do it! Last year I had tentatively planned an overnight backpacking trip through Ashdown Gorge in the early summer with Diane and Jared, but thanks again to COVID-19, those plans were cancelled. Since Diane is now too busy with school, it would just be me and Jared going, and since the hike is not too long and mostly downhill we decided to skip the backpacking this time around and just do it as a day hike.

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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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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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