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Moab Meanderings: Sand Flats Recreation Area

Saturday & Sunday, December 16-17, 2023

Since the winter season has arrived in Moab, I decided to return to the Sand Flats Recreation Area this weekend so I could finish hiking the popular Slickrock Bike Trail just outside of town. After watching one of the most amazing sunsets I’ve seen from the Needles Overlook in early 2020, I had hiked about half of the Slickrock Trail’s eastern side but I wasn’t able to complete the full loop that day because there was just too much snow on the steep slopes of the undulating trail that made it dangerous and hard to follow. I figured this would also be a good opportunity to just spend the entire weekend within Sand Flats so I could continue hiking some of the trails in the area that I had not been on before and spend the night in one of the camp loops. It sounded like a good enough plan to me, so I left home early on Saturday morning and made my way over to Moab.

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The Canyons of North Wash II

Butler Canyon & Marinus Canyon | Saturday & Sunday, December 2-3, 2023

This weekend I decided to make my way back down into the Canyons of North Wash so I could continue what I had started last December when I spent a weekend hiking and exploring new-to-me canyons in the area. I left from home bright and early on Saturday morning and drove west on icy roads shrouded in fog until I reached the Utah state line where conditions began to improve. After a brief stop for gas in Green River I turned south and drove across the San Rafael Desert to Hanksville and then continued on to Three Forks, where North Wash, Butler Canyon and Stair Canyon all come together. An added benefit of driving south of Hanksville on Highway 95 at sunrise is being able to watch the first light of the day strike the Henry Mountains, and they put on a great show this morning so I just had to stop for a couple photos along the way!

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Kodachrome Flat: Land of Sand Pipes & Chimneys

Veterans Day Weekend at Kodachrome Basin State Park
Thursday – Sunday, November 9-12, 2023

Kodachrome Basin State Park is a relatively small park located in Southern Utah that is nestled into the rugged canyon country between the White Cliffs and the Pink Cliffs of the Grand Staircase and is best known for the sixty-seven towering sand pipes that dominate the desert landscape. These sedimentary pipes are believed to be found nowhere else on earth and while there are several theories that have been proposed to try to explain their formation, geologists are still unsure of the exact origin of these unusual sand spires. Over the years I have driven right past the entrance to Kodachrome Basin on numerous occasions as I have driven down the Cottonwood Road while exploring the Grand – Staircase Escalate National Monument, which practically surrounds this small reserve, and in all that time I have never stopped to check it out. This holiday weekend I finally planned to change all that by spending some quality time hiking and exploring the interesting landscape of Kodachrome Flat.

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Under The Ledge: Waterhole Flat to Teapot Canyon

Friday – Sunday, November 3-5, 2023

This weekend I headed back into the country Under the Ledge for the second time this year so I could finally stay at the Teapot Rock campsite, which is located along the road to The Doll House just before it starts to get rough. Although I have tried to book this camp during previous trips into the region, it always seemed to have been unavailable and never worked out for me, but since it’s the final campsite in the Maze District that I had not stayed at yet, I figured it was worth putting together a special trip to finally make it happen this year. A couple of months ago I booked the site for two nights so I could spend an extended weekend exploring the canyons in the area and I invited my friend Jared along to join me. So now after this weekend, besides having hiked all of the trails in Canyonlands National Park, I have finally completed my goal of staying at all of the designated campsites within the Maze District and Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area!

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Beyond the Clay Hills: The Annular Solar Eclipse

Watching the Great Western Ring of Fire Eclipse from Nokai Dome
Friday – Sunday, October 13-15, 2023

After spending an amazing Thursday on Chapin Mesa in Mesa Verde National Park and then briefly stopping to visit Yucca House National Monument early on Friday morning, it was time to drive across the Great Sage Plain into Utah and then head even further west until we crossed Beyond the Clay Hills where we found a great camping spot atop Nokai Dome, which would be a perfect place to sit and watch the Great Western Ring of Fire Eclipse on Saturday morning. I had specifically chosen this remote corner of the Red Rock Plateau to view the Annular Solar Eclipse because it’s kind of out-of-the way and I hoped that we would be able to find plenty of solitude. It’s also a part of the Colorado Plateau that I really haven’t spent much time at and I’m hoping to change that and get a little more familiar with this corner of San Juan County. I really don’t think I could have picked a much better spot to watch the eclipse from since we were very close to the centerline of its path and I’m pretty sure there wasn’t anyone else around for miles. I should also mention that the views in all directions from Nokai Dome were pretty spectacular!

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