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Tag: snow

Kept in The Loop at The Needles

Friday – Sunday, March 4-6, 2022

I ended up staying home last weekend because a winter storm had moved through the area during the week and dropped plenty of snow and also the temperature, so I was anxious to get back outside this weekend and thought this would be a good time to head back to The Needles once more before things start getting busy there for the spring season. Back in the late summer of 2020 when I floated the Colorado River through Meander Canyon we didn’t quite make it all the way to The Confluence like we had hoped to and ended up stopping shortly after entering The Loop. Since then I’ve wanted to get back and try exploring more of The Loop by foot and thought this weekend would be the perfect opportunity to give that a shot. As the weekend was approaching, I was keeping my eye on another storm system was that was going to be impacting the area and almost cancelled my plans again, but with conflicting forecasts I decided to take my chances and hoped that I would be able to hike around the weather this time. I’m glad I took the chance because the weather in The Needles was great for hiking and most of the storm system missed this area completely.

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Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain Fire Lookout

Formerly the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout | Saturday & Sunday, January 29-30, 2022

Over the past couple of years I have been trying to visit at least one new Fire Lookout each year, so I thought I would get an early start this year when I booked a night in the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout near Idaho Springs this past October. This unique structure was constructed of native granite by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1940’s and is situated on top of Squaw Mountain at about 11,500 feet. The cab measures 14 X 14 feet, is completely lined by windows on each side and is surrounded by a catwalk, which all sits on top of the one story stone base. Back in December Squaw Mountain was officially renamed to Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain (pronounced mess-taw-HAY) by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, so now the name of the lookout has also changed to match. I had actually wanted to book a night at this fire lookout for the past two years but it has been closed through the end of 2021 due to COVID, so when I noticed they had finally started accepting reservations again for 2022 I quickly booked a night over the last weekend in January!

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Bluejohn Canyon: Rambling Around Robbers Roost III

Friday & Saturday, January 21-22, 2022

After spending last weekend Around The Needles, I decided to head over to the other side of the Green River this weekend to finally explore Bluejohn Canyon, which is a slot canyon I’ve wanted to get into for years. I actually had plans to hike into Bluejohn Canyon twice last year, but the first time I got snowed out and then the second time there were just too many people camped around the trailheads, so I never made it. I figured my best time to get the canyon to myself would be in the middle of the winter, so this weekend seemed like a good opportunity to try. Of course, when it started snowing in Grand Junction on Friday morning I was a little concerned that my plans were going to be thwarted again, but after keeping an eye on the weather all day it looked like much of the snow had most likely missed the Robbers Roost area, so I decided to still give it a go.

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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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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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