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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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Elkhead Mountains: Hahns Peak Fire Lookout

Friday – Saturday, June 25-26, 2021

After spending a night in the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower almost two years ago, I thought it would be interesting and fun to try visiting at least one new fire lookout each summer. Last year Diane and I hiked to the Fairview Peak Fire Lookout, which is the highest fire lookout in North America, so this year I decided to check out the Hahns Peak Fire Lookout in the Elkhead Mountains north of Steamboat Springs. There is some confusion as to whether Hahns Peak belongs to the Sierra Madre or the Elkhead Mountains, but according to SummitPost and the book History of the Elkhead Mountains, Hahns Peak is the eastern-most point in the Elkhead Mountains. This is a part of Colorado I have never been to before, so I was looking forward to exploring new terrain!

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Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 3

Thursday – Sunday, March 25-28, 2021

This weekend Jerry and I were planning to go on a three-day backpacking trip in Capitol Reef National Park, but as the weekend got closer the weather forecast was not looking good. The forecast was calling for much cooler temperatures with rain and snow which would not have been good for the narrow water-filled canyon we wanted to hike, so it looked like we would be changing our plans. Instead, we decided to head further south to Comb Ridge and Cedar Mesa since we knew we would be able to work around the weather there no matter what it did. I left after work on Friday afternoon and headed south to meet up with Jerry. After getting stuck in traffic for a while just before entering Moab, I drove through some pretty strong winds with snow from about Monticello to Blanding. I met Jerry at the Butler Wash Ruins just after sunset and we decided to camp along Comb Wash, just in case there was a lot of precipitation overnight and the roads got muddy. As predicted, there was more rain and snow overnight so on Friday we stuck to the lower elevations and did a little hiking on Comb Ridge. Later in the day things had started to dry out so we headed up onto Cedar Mesa for the rest of the weekend. Here are some photos from our weekend spent below the Bears Ears.

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An Unplanned Visit to Horseshoe Canyon

Friday – Sunday, March 12-14, 2021

This weekend I thought I would stick a little bit closer to home in hopes that I would be able to explore a pair of canyons in the Robbers Roost area that I had not been in before. While I knew there was a chance I would have to change my plans because a storm system was supposed to be moving through the area overnight and into Saturday, I was hoping it would miss this area and I would be able to carry on with my plans as normal. But unfortunately the storm did not miss the Roost and the weather would have other plans for me after all! I left straight from work on Friday afternoon and drove west to Green River so I could top off my fuel tank and then make my way into the Roost to find a spot to spend the night. As I zipped by the Book Cliffs on I-70 the light and clouds were looking pretty nice, but I didn’t bother to stop for any photos this time.

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