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Tag: little rockies

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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Swett Creek: The Canyons of Trachyte Creek IV

Saturday & Sunday, March 4-5, 2023

This weekend Diane and I headed down to the Trachyte Creek area just north of Mount Holmes and the Little Rockies to go on an easy overnight backpacking trip into Swett Canyon. This is now the fourth year in a row that I have explored the tributaries of Trachyte Creek in early March, and it’s an area that I have enjoyed getting to know a little more intimately over these past couple of years. Since I did not get to do as much backpacking last year as I would have liked, I am hoping to change that this year starting with this hike- and I’ve already got plans for plenty more!

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Exploring the Cane Spring Desert & Ticaboo Mesa

Hiking Smith Fork and a South Fork of Ticaboo Creek
Friday – Sunday, November 18-20, 2022

Last week I was having some rare troubles deciding where to go this weekend. I was going back and forth between heading over to the San Rafael Swell or the Labyrinth Rims, but when I couldn’t make up my mind I decided it was time to go somewhere completely new to me and see what I could find. Although I have driven through the small community of Ticaboo only a handful of times, including once earlier this year, I have never actually stopped to hike or explore this area before and thought that this would be a great place to finally check out, especially since I’ve already been exploring the canyons of Trachyte Creek on the other side of the Little Rockies these past couple of years. After work on Friday I headed west into Utah with a quick stop for gas in Hanksville and then drove through the Henry Mountains and found a campsite in the Cane Spring Desert in the dark.

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Lost in the Fold: Halls Creek Narrows

Canyons of the Waterpocket Fold: The Other Grand Gulch
Friday – Monday, March 18-21, 2022

This weekend I finally had the opportunity to hike into the Halls Creek Narrows which are located at the very southern tip of Capitol Reef National Park, as I continue to work my way through the many interesting Canyons of the Waterpocket Fold. This hike has been long overdue for me as I’ve tentatively planned to go here almost every year for at least the last five years, but it seems that something has always come up that made me cancel those plans- usually the weather forecast. Since Diane had a couple days off from school for a short spring break after this weekend she would also be able to join me on this three day backpacking trip. I left early from work on Friday afternoon and we made our way into Utah after Diane was finished taking her latest exam. I stopped to grab an early dinner from Stan’s in Hanksville and topped off my gas tank at $4.89 per gallon before we continued on past Trachyte Creek and Ticaboo to the Burr Trail Road where we found a great campsite overlooking Bullfrog Creek to the Henry Mountains. We set up our tent at the rim of the canyon and relaxed around camp for the remainder of the evening before going to bed early after photographing a pretty lackluster sunset.

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The Canyons of Trachyte Creek II

Trail Canyon to Lake Powell | Friday – Sunday, March 5-7, 2021

I’ve got a few upcoming backpacking trips planned starting in just a couple of weeks and I thought it would be a good idea to get out on my first backpacking trip of the year so I could get back into the swing of things, especially since I realized that I have not been on a backpacking trip since early October! Last March Diane and I went on an overnight backpacking trip along Trachyte Creek at this time of the year that we enjoyed, so I thought it would be nice to return there again so I could explore a few more of the side canyons in the area. Since Diane wouldn’t be able to join me this time I invited my friend Jackson along. We haven’t gone backpacking together in quite some time, so when I asked him about joining me on this trip he was definitely up for it!

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