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Tag: colorado plateau

San Mateo Mountain: Mount Taylor & La Mosca

The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo | La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs
Thursday & Friday, September 2-3, 2021

After climbing Humphreys Peak on Thursday morning and then leaving Arizona, I made my way into New Mexico so I could climb the highest peak in the state to complete the Four Corners state high points. But Wheeler Peak would have to wait one more day so I could take a short detour near Grants to hike to the summit of Mount Taylor, which is the Sacred Mountain of the South to the Navajo people (Diné). I’ve actually wanted to hike Mount Taylor ever since I first laid eyes on it last year during our visit to El Malpais National Monument, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so since it was right along the way. It sure feels like I’ve been spending a lot of time in this area lately, but I’m not complaining since I’m really enjoying it! Once I made it to Grants, I stopped for a quick dinner and gas in town and then drove up onto San Mateo Mountain so I could visit the La Mosca Lookout and find a place to camp for the night.

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The Highest Peak in Arizona: Humphreys Peak

Finishing the Four Corners State High Points | The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo
Thursday, September 2, 2021

Last year I took a couple days off from work the week before Labor Day to go on a solo road trip Across the Great Basin and Back and climbed a couple of high peaks in Nevada and California along the way. This year I thought it would be fun to go on another road trip before the Labor Day weekend, but this time my goal was to finish off the high points of the Four Corner states and to begin climbing the Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo. Since I have already climbed the highest peaks in Colorado and Utah, this trip would be taking me down to Arizona and New Mexico. Although I’m not interested in climbing the highest point in every state, I do have the desire to climb the highest peaks in the states that I care about, which are primarily just the ones in the southwest. Arizona and New Mexico would be the last of the states I care about since I’ve already climbed the high points of Nevada and California. I suppose I might care about Gannett Peak in Wyoming, but since I know that mountain is out of my league it will most likely never happen. I decided to start my extended weekend road trip with Humphrey’s Peak (12,633) located just outside of Flagstaff, which is part of San Francisco Peaks and the remains of an eroded stratovolcano. Not only is it Arizona’s Highest Peak, but it’s also the Sacred Mountain of the West to the Navajo people (Diné), so I would be killing two birds with one stone on this hike.

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La Sal Mountains: Horse Mountain & Grand View

Friday & Saturday, July 9-10, 2021

This weekend I was finally going to my first concert in over a year on Saturday evening so I needed to stay close to home, but I still hoped to squeeze in a hike to the summit of a peak or two on Saturday morning. Since the Pack Creek Fire near Moab was finally contained and the La Sal Mountains were opening back up, I thought this would be a good time for me to head that direction for a quick overnight trip. When I left from work on Friday afternoon it was a blistering 106 degrees out and I would later find out that Grand Junction had set the all-time high temperature record of 107 degrees while I was driving into Utah. The thermometer on my Jeep registered 112 degrees as I passed by the Fisher Towers– it’s certainly been a hot week on the Colorado Plateau! After driving through Castle Valley to the La Sal Mountains Loop Road I followed the narrow and bumpy road up into Miners Basin and spent the rest of the evening around the small lake near the trailhead. It was still a bit warm up in Miners Basin when I arrived, but it cooled off nicely as the sun went down for the night.

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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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Bookin’ It to the Book Cliffs

Memorial Day Weekend | Friday – Monday, May 28-31, 2021

Last year Diane and I completely skipped going anywhere over the Memorial Day weekend because we didn’t want to deal with the massive COVID-crowds that were out and about at the time, but this year I wanted to get out somewhere close to home while still avoiding the crowds. After poring over maps I decided that the best place for me to go this year would be up into the Book Cliffs. Not only are the Book Cliffs close to home, but I don’t think they are a place that crowds usually flock to and I was hoping to find plenty of solitude. It’s actually been quite a while since I spent much time in the Book Cliffs so this would be a good opportunity for me to revisit some places I haven’t been to in a while and also explore some new ones! I knew it would probably be pretty warm out this weekend, so I was planning to take it easy by mostly exploring the backroads with my Jeep and only going on short hikes along the way.

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