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Exploring Desert Stone: East Canyon to Harts Draw

Tracing the Historic Route of the 1859 Macomb Expedition, Part I
Friday – Sunday, November 4-6, 2022

After being sick and stuck at home over the past two weekends I was really ready to get back outdoors again this weekend! Since I haven’t done much hiking in a couple of weeks I wanted to take it easy this weekend and thought this would be a good opportunity for me to finally start on a project that I have been thinking about doing for over a decade. That project would be to follow part of the historic route of the 1859 Macomb Expedition into the Canyonlands region. Members of a small detachment from this expedition were quite possibly the first non-native Americans to view and describe what is now Canyonlands National Park and leave written and graphic records of what they saw.

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Million Dollar Highway Fall Colors

Fall Colors 2022 | Friday – Saturday, September 30 – October 1, 2022

Normally, I would have left from work on Friday afternoon and headed west into Utah to spend the entire week exploring new canyons of the Colorado Plateau, but this year there was a concert on Sunday evening that delayed the start of my trip by a couple days, so I thought I would try to get up into the high country near Silverton one last time until next summer. Unfortunately, the weather would have other plans for me this weekend and I would end up just taking some photos of the fall colors along the Million Dollar Highway on Saturday morning instead.

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Three Baldy Mountains in the West Elk Wilderness

Friday & Saturday, September 9-10, 2022

This weekend I needed to be home on Sunday to get prepared for an upcoming river trip, but I still wanted to make sure I got out into the mountains for a hike on Saturday morning. I was originally thinking about heading up into the San Juan Mountains somewhere, but the weather forecast for that part of the state wasn’t looking too good, so I had to look elsewhere for a more favorable forecast. After getting a little taste of the West Elk Wilderness on our failed backpacking trip last month, I decided to head back up into the West Elk Mountains this weekend to hike a couple ‘Baldy Mountains’ from the southern end the range. Since Diane and I had hiked though part of the very scenic Mill Creek valley last time, this time I wanted to stay high on the ridges above treeline for more expansive views of the area.

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Southern Sawatch: Antora Meadows & Windy Point

Friday, September 2, 2022

After spending the night next to the rushing waters of Willow Creek, I actually slept in past sunrise for a change since I had already climbed Parkview Mountain the evening before and had no other plans for first thing in the morning. Today I was going to be driving a couple hours to the very southern tip of the Sawatch Range where I had originally planned to spend the rest of the weekend. However, after driving south through Silverthorne, Leadville, Buena Vista and then over Poncha Pass to Bonanza, I just wasn’t feeling like I was into the trip anymore and decided I would probably be heading home later today instead.

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Rabbit Ears Range: Parkview Mountain Fire Lookout

Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Thursday, September 1, 2022

After visiting a couple Fire Lookouts in the morning, I made my way back to North Park in the afternoon via the Cache La Poudre River and Cameron Pass and then headed south over Willow Creek Pass. Just on the other side of the pass I drove up the switchbacks of an old mining road that joined up with the Continental Divide Trail on the southern flank of Parkview Mountain, which at 12,296 feet is the highest point in the Rabbit Ears Range. On top of Parkview Mountain is the final Fire Lookout that I planned to visit on this trip and it’s also the second highest lookout in the United States after the one on top of Fairview Peak in the Sawatch Range. I was originally planning to camp near the end of the road and then hike to the summit in the morning, but since there were still three hours until sunset and the weather was looking good, I decided to hike up this evening.

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