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Tag: blue mountains

Below the Bears Ears: Thanksgiving Weekend 2023

Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 10 | Thursday – Sunday, November 23-26, 2023

This year for the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend I returned Below the Bears Ears to the canyons of Cedar Mesa like I typically do at this time of the year, so I could explore some new places and maybe revisit some old ones along the way. When I left home early on Thursday morning the weather forecast was not looking that great for Friday into Saturday with our first real winter storm on the way, but I wasn’t too concerned about it since I had plenty of backup hikes in mind that I could go on regardless of what the weather had in store. That turned out to be a good thing since the higher elevations of Cedar Mesas did end up getting some snow and I had to alter my original plans a bit so I could hike into canyons at lower elevations. While Diane would usually join me on this annual trip, this year she was scheduled to work part of the weekend and was unfortunately unable to come with, so I would be flying solo this time.

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The Rim Trails at Dead Horse Point State Park

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Although I originally had a different and more local trip planned for this weekend, which I’ll hopefully be able to get back to in early December, the weather forecast made me reconsider those plans on Friday since it was predicted to start raining on Saturday afternoon and continue all through Sunday. With a partly cloudy sky in the forecast for Saturday morning I decided to get up early and head on over to Dead Horse Point State Park where I would hopefully be able to catch a nice sunrise from the main overlook and then could spend the rest of the morning hiking the remainder of the trails in the park that I had not been on before, which consisted of a loop of the East Rim Trail and the West Rim Trail along with a couple of shorter spur trails leading to overlooks along the way. A few years back Diane and I had spent a nice weekend mountain biking all of the Intrepid Trails in the park and I’ve been meaning to get back to finish up the hiking trails, so I’ve been looking forward to a return visit.

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Exploring Desert Stone: Harts Draw to Indian Creek

Tracing the Historic Route of the 1859 Macomb Expedition, Part II
Friday – Sunday, October 27-29, 2023

It’s now been almost an entire year since I started my quest to follow and explore the historic route of the 1859 Macomb Expedition, also known as the San Juan Exploring Expedition, which contained a small detachment of men who were quite possibly the first non-native Americans to view and describe what is now Canyonlands National Park. During that trip I followed the Old Spanish Trail across Dry Valley from Cañon Pintado (East Canyon) to Casa Colorado and then steadily climbed up Hatch Point until I was at the edge of the rim overlooking Cañon Colorado (Harts Draw) and the greater Canyonlands region. That point was roughly in the same area where Captain Macomb and his men would have had their first view of the region that would later become known as The Needles and where they would most likely have begun their descent to the canyons below in search of The Confluence of the Green and Grand Rivers. This weekend I set out to continue following their historic route as it descended from the rim of Hatch Point into Harts Draw and then I would continue downstream into Labyrinth Cañon (Indian Creek Canyon). Although I had hoped to follow the route segments in order, except that I had planned to start hiking from the bottom of Harts Draw up to the rim since I thought route-finding would be easier in that direction, but stormy weather on Saturday altered my plans a bit and I ended up hiking the segments out of order.

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Hovenweep’s Centennial and the Great Sage Plain

Hovenweep National Monument & Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
Saturday – Monday, October 21-23, 2023

It feels like it’s been quite a while since the last time I visited and spent some quality time in Hovenweep National Monument and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument and I’ve been really meaning to get back down to that area for the past couple of years, but it just hadn’t seemed to happen yet as I keep putting it off for other trips. However, this year I made it a priority to get back with Diane so we could celebrate Hovenweep’s Centennial year since it was proclaimed a unit of the National Park System on March 2, 1923 by President Warren G. Harding. I also figured that this would be a great opportunity for Diane to visit the units of the park she had not been to before and I would be able to hike the few remaining trails in Hovenweep that I had not been on before and could finally cross this park off my ‘completed trails’ list. So early on Saturday morning Diane and I loaded up the Jeep and headed south along the Colorado – Utah state line to spend an extended three-day weekend exploring Hovenweep and other canyons of the Great Sage Plain!

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Into the Dark: Canyons of the Dark Canyon Plateau

Southern Utah Wanderings | Friday – Monday, September 29 – October 2, 2023

The time had finally come to get back out into the desert on the Colorado Plateau and I was definitely ready to begin my annual trip into Southern Utah with my friend Jared. This year we decided to start out hiking and exploring a couple of canyons that cut deep into the Dark Canyon Plateau and Elk Ridge so we could continue what we had originally began during our 2021 trip around the Abajo Mountains before we were chased out of the higher country by wet and stormy weather at the time. As usual, I left from work on Friday afternoon, grabbed a quick dinner in Fruita and then drove straight through to Monticello, where I topped off my gas tank so it would last me the next couple of days in the backcountry. It had been a very windy drive, which would be just a taste of what was in store for us over the next couple of days. From Monticello I followed the Harts Draw Loop Road into Indian Creek and then headed up onto the Salt Creek Plateau where I stopped at our usual campsite in the area and waited for Jared to arrive later in the evening.

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