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Tag: mud

The Painted Desert: Land of Light and Shadow

Homolovi State Park & Petrified Forest National Park
Saturday – Monday, January 13-15, 2024

For about a year now, Diane and I have been making pretty solid plans to spend most of the upcoming week in Grand Canyon National Park. Since we would be passing right through the Painted Desert on our way there, we were also looking forward to spending a couple of days in the Petrified Forest along the way. We certainly could never have predicted that after our first visit to Petrified Forest National Park in 2020 we would fall in love with exploring this amazing place and have now returned each year for the past five years. With so many places still left to explore in the park, we are hoping to keep the trend going well into the future!

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Lower Palisade Plunge & Palisade Rim Trails

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Well, you could say that 2024 has not started off on the right foot for me! On New Year’s Day I was planning on hiking in the Colorado National Monument to start off the new year right, but when I went to leave early in the morning my Jeep wouldn’t start. I was pretty positive that it wasn’t the battery and could hear that the engine was making a loud knocking sound as it was trying to turn over, so my heart sank as I realized there was most likely something wrong internally to the engine. So much for my first hike of the year! Later in the day when it warmed up a bit outside I made sure the battery was good and that there wasn’t something simple wrong, and then I had my Jeep towed over to the dealership so it could be looked at. Luckily, my Jeep is still just barely covered under the Powertrain Warranty. Anyway, since my Jeep is still waiting to be diagnosed I was stuck at home this weekend, but was able to borrow Diane’s car on Saturday morning so I could at least go on a local hike. I was hoping to get in a hike with some elevation gain as training for a longer upcoming hike later this month, so I decided to give the lower Palisade Plunge Trail a try. The last time I had hiked the nearby Palisade Rim Trail the Plunge Trail didn’t even exist, so this would be all new terrain for me.

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Below the Bears Ears: Thanksgiving Weekend 2023

Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 10 | Thursday – Sunday, November 23-26, 2023

This year for the extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend I returned Below the Bears Ears to the canyons of Cedar Mesa like I typically do at this time of the year, so I could explore some new places and maybe revisit some old ones along the way. When I left home early on Thursday morning the weather forecast was not looking that great for Friday into Saturday with our first real winter storm on the way, but I wasn’t too concerned about it since I had plenty of backup hikes in mind that I could go on regardless of what the weather had in store. That turned out to be a good thing since the higher elevations of Cedar Mesas did end up getting some snow and I had to alter my original plans a bit so I could hike into canyons at lower elevations. While Diane would usually join me on this annual trip, this year she was scheduled to work part of the weekend and was unfortunately unable to come with, so I would be flying solo this time.

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Red Table Mountain: Crooked Creek to Mount Thomas

Around the Red Table: Crooked Creek Pass & Cottonwood Pass
Friday – Sunday, September 15-17, 2023

This weekend I headed out to the very northern end of the Sawatch Range so I could drive around and explore Red Table Mountain, which is located just west of the Holy Cross Wilderness between Gypsum, Eagle and Thomasville. I left from work on Friday afternoon, stopped in Rifle for gas and a bite to eat, and then continued on through the Roaring Fork Valley to Basalt where I turned off and followed the Fryingpan River to Lime Creek. Although I had driven through a couple heavy rain storms along the way, I found the beginning of the Crooked Creek Pass Road to be in good condition when wet, but that quickly changed as I dove higher and found some very slick conditions. After sliding off the road into the ditch twice, and thankfully not off the other side of the road, I found a small level spot to pull over and spend the night at. I had had enough of the slick and slippery road and felt it was too sketchy to continue driving up to the pass or turning around and heading down, so I was hoping that the road would dry out a bit overnight.

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Dirty Devil River: Lower Sand Slide to Angel Cove

Dirty Devil Daily | Buck Canyon, Pasture Canyon & Beaver Canyon
Friday – Sunday, April 14-16, 2023 | Average CFS: 210

This weekend I had been hoping to go on a short packrafting loop with Jared on a stretch of the Dirty Devil River so I could get a little taste and feel for that particular river before committing to a longer trip in the future, but during the preceding week I was getting a little disappointed to see the water levels drop below 100cfs, which was my absolute minimum level for attempting this trip. On Thursday afternoon when the water levels still had not come up, I figured that the packrafting trip was not going to happen this weekend and we started making alternate plans for an overnight backpacking trip into another canyon of the Escalante River. To my surprise, later on Thursday evening the Dirty Devil jumped up to over 200cfs, so we put those backpacking plans on hold and kept an eye on the water levels all day Friday hoping they would hold. When I left work on Friday afternoon the level was still staying up, so Jared and I planned to meet at a campsite near Hanksville and we would make a final decision on Saturday morning dependent upon what the river did overnight. We brought our backpacking gear along with us just in case we had to change plans again.

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