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Tag: colorado plateau

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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The Chaco Phenomenon of the San Juan Basin

Tour of the Ancients: Chimney Rock National Monument, Twin Angels Pueblo & Lowry Pueblo
Thursday & Friday, May 20-21, 2021

After leaving El Malpais National Monument in the early afternoon on Thursday, we then drove north across the San Juan Basin on our way to Durango. There was a storm system moving into the area this evening and it was supposed to rain overnight and throughout the day on Friday, so we thought it would be best to get a hotel room in town tonight. On our way we made a short detour to visit the Twin Angels Pueblo, which is a Chacoan Great House located at the edge of Kutz Canyon, not far from Angel Peak. We were planning to visit Chimney Rock National Monument on Friday and had already visited the Dittert Site in the El Malpais National Conservation Area earlier in the week, so I thought it would be nice to visit yet another Chaco Outlier this week.

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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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