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Tag: arches

Under The Ledge: Trails in the Land of Standing Rocks

Lost In The Maze II | Wednesday – Sunday, April 6-10, 2022

I can hardly believe it’s been just over four years since my last visit to the Land of Standing Rocks in Canyonlands National Park. It feels like it was just yesterday when Diane and I were heading out to The Maze over the long Memorial Day weekend each spring, and I’ve recently had a strong desire to return. After completing all the trails in The Needles and the Island in the Sky in 2018 and 2019, The Maze is the only remaining district of Canyonlands where I have not hiked every official trail on the map, so I figured it was time to head back and continue working on completing that personal goal. That’s part of the reason I hiked down the North Trail late last year. So back in early November I got on Rec.gov and booked couple campsites in the Land of Standing Rocks, two nights at Chimney Rock and two nights at The Wall, which seemed like a good place to basecamp for the trails that I wanted to hike this time. My friend Jerry, Jared and Dave were going to be joining me on this trip, but unfortunately Jerry got sick just before the trip started and was unable to make it this time.

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The Arches of Mee Canyon II

Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness: Bulwark Arch & Arete Arch
Saturday & Sunday, April 2-3, 2022

This weekend I needed to stay close to home since I’m going to be leaving on a trip to The Maze in a couple of days, so Diane and I decided to head out on a local overnight backpacking trip into the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness to visit a couple more arches located on the benches high above Mee Canyon. We slept in a bit late on Saturday morning, had a good breakfast, and then drove up through Glade Park to the Knowles Canyon Trailhead in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. We shouldered our packs and followed the Knowles Canyon Trail for about a mile and then followed a maze of old roads to the rim of a western fork of Mee Canyon and set up camp on top of the ridge.

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McCarty Bench: Escalante Canyon to Palmer Gulch

The Edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau: Dominguez Canyon Wilderness
Friday – Saturday, March 25-26, 2022

This weekend I needed to stay close to home since Diane and I had tickets to a pair of concerts in town, so I decided to do a little exploring in the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness at the edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau on Saturday morning. Since I wasn’t going to be travelling far, I stopped home for a little bit after work on Friday and then made my way over to Escalante Canyon to spend the night. After fording Escalante Creek I drove up the Escalante Rim Road and found a nice campsite right along the rim of the canyon. I arrived about an hour before sunset and was treated to a 360 degree view of the Grand Mesa, West Elks and Sneffels Range. Unfortunately, it is currently open burn season in the area, so there was a lot of smoke and haze in the air this evening. I took a couple of photos before sunset and then read for a while until I went to bed early.

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The Canyons of Trachyte Creek III

The North Fork of Trachyte Creek to the Witch’s Cauldron & Maidenwater Canyon
Friday – Sunday, March 11-13, 2022

For the past two years I have spent a weekend in early March exploring the Canyons of Trachyte Creek and thought it would be fun to head back down there again this weekend to make it three years in a row. The last two years I went on overnight backpacking trips into the canyon, first with Diane and then with Jackson, but this year I was on my own an decided to just do some day-hikes from the road instead. I left after work on Friday afternoon, topped off my gas tank in Hanksville at $4.69 per gallon and then made it to my campsite long Trachyte Creek shortly before sunset. I’m loving that the daylight is sticking around longer into the evening now and will be sticking around another hour longer after the Daylight Savings Time change on Saturday night. I listened to a couple podcasts and then went to bed early.

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Kept in The Loop at The Needles

Friday – Sunday, March 4-6, 2022

I ended up staying home last weekend because a winter storm had moved through the area during the week and dropped plenty of snow and also the temperature, so I was anxious to get back outside this weekend and thought this would be a good time to head back to The Needles once more before things start getting busy there for the spring season. Back in the late summer of 2020 when I floated the Colorado River through Meander Canyon we didn’t quite make it all the way to The Confluence like we had hoped to and ended up stopping shortly after entering The Loop. Since then I’ve wanted to get back and try exploring more of The Loop by foot and thought this weekend would be the perfect opportunity to give that a shot. As the weekend was approaching, I was keeping my eye on another storm system was that was going to be impacting the area and almost cancelled my plans again, but with conflicting forecasts I decided to take my chances and hoped that I would be able to hike around the weather this time. I’m glad I took the chance because the weather in The Needles was great for hiking and most of the storm system missed this area completely.

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