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Tag: smoke

Sangre de Cristo Mountains: Hermit Pass Peaks

Rito Alto Peak & Hermit Peak | Saturday & Sunday, September 4-5, 2021

After spending the last couple days hiking high points in Arizona and New Mexico, it was now time to start heading back home through Colorado, but of course I planned to hike at least a couple more peaks on the way back! As I followed the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north out of New Mexico and into Colorado I thought it would be a good time to hike some peaks in that range since it’s been quite a while since I’ve spent any time there. Originally, I was considering continuing my quest of the The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo by hiking Blanca Peak, but didn’t think that would be a good place to find much solitude now, especially in the middle of a holiday weekend. I think I’ll save the last two Sacred Peaks for a little road trip next summer. Instead, I decided to head up the road to Hermit Pass near Westcliffe so I could not only hike some high 13ers, but also so I could drive up to a pass that I had never been to before. The road was not difficult or dangerous, but it was very bumpy, slow and annoying. I found a place to spend the night above Horseshoe Lake and then spent the rest of the evening relaxing at camp and watching the clouds move through the sky as sunset approached.

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San Mateo Mountain: Mount Taylor & La Mosca

The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo | La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs
Thursday & Friday, September 2-3, 2021

After climbing Humphreys Peak on Thursday morning and then leaving Arizona, I made my way into New Mexico so I could climb the highest peak in the state to complete the Four Corners state high points. But Wheeler Peak would have to wait one more day so I could take a short detour near Grants to hike to the summit of Mount Taylor, which is the Sacred Mountain of the South to the Navajo people (Diné). I’ve actually wanted to hike Mount Taylor ever since I first laid eyes on it last year during our visit to El Malpais National Monument, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so since it was right along the way. It sure feels like I’ve been spending a lot of time in this area lately, but I’m not complaining since I’m really enjoying it! Once I made it to Grants, I stopped for a quick dinner and gas in town and then drove up onto San Mateo Mountain so I could visit the La Mosca Lookout and find a place to camp for the night.

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The Highest Peak in Arizona: Humphreys Peak

Finishing the Four Corners State High Points | The Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo
Thursday, September 2, 2021

Last year I took a couple days off from work the week before Labor Day to go on a solo road trip Across the Great Basin and Back and climbed a couple of high peaks in Nevada and California along the way. This year I thought it would be fun to go on another road trip before the Labor Day weekend, but this time my goal was to finish off the high points of the Four Corner states and to begin climbing the Four Sacred Mountains of the Navajo. Since I have already climbed the highest peaks in Colorado and Utah, this trip would be taking me down to Arizona and New Mexico. Although I’m not interested in climbing the highest point in every state, I do have the desire to climb the highest peaks in the states that I care about, which are primarily just the ones in the southwest. Arizona and New Mexico would be the last of the states I care about since I’ve already climbed the high points of Nevada and California. I suppose I might care about Gannett Peak in Wyoming, but since I know that mountain is out of my league it will most likely never happen. I decided to start my extended weekend road trip with Humphrey’s Peak (12,633) located just outside of Flagstaff, which is part of San Francisco Peaks and the remains of an eroded stratovolcano. Not only is it Arizona’s Highest Peak, but it’s also the Sacred Mountain of the West to the Navajo people (Diné), so I would be killing two birds with one stone on this hike.

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The Wind Rivers: Green River Lakes & Slide Lake

Headwaters of the Green River | Tuesday – Saturday, August 17-21, 2021

After Diane and I visited the Wind Rivers for the Great American Eclipse in 2017 we decided that we should try to return every other summer to visit somewhere new in the range. Two years ago we came back and hiked to the Cirque of the Towers, so this year I thought it would be a good idea to check out the area around the Green River Lakes and planned a four day backpacking trip for us. Since Canyonlands is the heart of the world to me and I have spent a lot of time exploring along the Green River on the Colorado Plateau, I though it was finally time to visit its headwaters in the Wind Rivers. Lucky for Diane, she had a week off between semesters at school at the same time we try to go in late August, so the timing worked out perfect for us!

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The Edge of the Elks: Marble In the Middle

Friday – Sunday, August 6-8, 2021

I spent most of Friday in Redstone, Colorado attending the GIS Colorado Summer Meeting at the Redstone Inn along the Crystal River, so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for me to stick around the area for the rest of the weekend. I haven’t spent any time in the Elk Mountains since our visit to the Conundrum Hot Springs last summer so I was looking forward to hiking among these rugged peaks again, even if the smoke was predicted to be bad over the weekend. When the meeting ended in the early afternoon I hopped into my Jeep and headed over to area surrounding Marble so I could try to get in a short hike before sunset.

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