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The Sound of Silence: Dinosaur National Monument

An Autumn Return to Jones Hole, Island Park & Rainbow Park
Friday – Sunday, October 15-17, 2021

A little while back Diane found out that she was actually going to have this Friday off from school, and she immediately let me know that she really wanted to go to Dinosaur National Monument over this three-day weekend for her birthday, so I also took Friday off from work and planned the trip. She didn’t have anywhere specific in the park that she wanted to go, she was just looking forward to getting outside away from school for a bit, so she left all the details up to me. I thought she would enjoy an easy overnight backpacking trip along the trail into Jones Hole since it happens to be one of my favorite hikes in the park, so back in September I called and reserved one of the campsites at Ely Creek for Friday night. The last time I had hiked into Jones Hole was in the spring when everything was lush and green, so I was looking forward to checking it out in the fall. I figured we could then spend the rest of the weekend hiking a couple of trails that we had not been on yet and maybe revisit some rock art sites, too. We were certainly looking forward to spending a long weekend in Dinosaurland together!

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Blue Mountain Shadows: Beef Basin to Cedar Mesa

Southern Utah Wanderings | Friday – Friday, October 1-8, 2021

This year for our annual week-long trek into Southern Utah, Jared and I started out in the Beef Basin area and then we explored our way over to Cedar Mesa. It has been a while since either of us had spent much time around Beef Basin and I was also really hoping that we would be able to spend some quality time around the Dark Canyon Plateau and Elk Ridge areas along the way. The trip started out great and we found plenty of new rock art and ruin sites, but unfortunately the weather did not cooperate with us on the second half of this trip and we had to change our plans multiple times because of storms and slick muddy roads. At one point we even stopped to help winch a truck back onto the road that was sliding off. One of the unexpected benefits of the poor weather was that it chased us closer to the Abajo Mountains than we were originally planning to go, and they were in peak falls colors at the time! At the end of the week we found out that President Biden was restoring the original boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument, which was fitting since we were sitting in camp within the newly restored boundary. I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty details of this trip, so please enjoy plenty of photos from our journey below.

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Weekend Wandering Along the Waterpocket Fold

Canyons of the Waterpocket Fold | Another Birthday Weekend in Capitol Reef National Park
President’s Day Weekend | Friday – Monday, February 12-15, 2021

I guess you could say I have a love for exploring the long sandstone monoclines that are found on the Colorado Plateau. I’ve already spent some quality time along Comb Ridge and the San Rafael Reef this year, so I figured it was about time I got back to the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park. Aside from last year, I typically spend the three-day holiday weekend after my birthday in Capitol Reef, so this seemed like the perfect time to get back again this year! I left straight from work on Friday afternoon and headed west into Utah. The sunset was looking like it was going to be good shortly after I passed through Green River, so I turned off onto the Old Highway 24 between the San Rafael River and Green River to take a few photos.

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The Painted Desert: Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Wood, Potsherds & Petroglyphs
My 40th Birthday Foray into Arizona and New Mexico
Friday – Sunday, February 7-9, 2020

This year I turn 40, so I decided to take the week of my birthday off from work so I could spend it hiking and backpacking with Diane in Arizona and New Mexico where it would hopefully be a little warmer and sunnier than it has been in Grand Junction this winter. I have been planning this trip for months and was originally going to start the trip off with a tour of the rock art and ruins in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, but unfortunately those plans fell apart shortly before the trip started, so instead we ended up spending the entire first weekend of the trip exploring Petrified Forest National Park since I knew there would be plenty to do there to keep us busy.

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Return to Dinosaurland

Friday – Sunday, May 3-5, 2019

Since we spent the end of last week at the very southern end of the Colorado Plateau on our way to Phoenix for a concert, we decided to head north this weekend to the very northern end so we could revisit Dinosaur National Monument and the surrounding area since we had a great time there over Memorial Day weekend last year. And even though Harpers Corner Road in Colorado had just finally opened up a few days before our trip, we decided to minimize our driving and just stick to exploring the Utah side of Dinosaur this time. We left after work on Friday afternoon, stopped for a quick dinner in Fruita, and then drove north through the Book Cliffs and Cañon Pintado towards the eastern end of the Monument in Utah to find a place to camp just outside the park. We found a nice spot just after sunset, quickly setup our tent and then got into our sleeping bags so we could get an early start on Saturday morning.

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