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Tag: sunrise

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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The Jackson Guard Station at Silver Jack Reservoir

New Years Weekend | Saturday & Sunday, December 30-31, 2023

For the final weekend of 2023 Diane and I headed over to the northern end of the San Juan Mountains near the edge of the Uncompahgre Wilderness so we could snowshoe the road along the Cimarron River and spend a night at the Jackson Guard Station, which is located near the popular Silver Jack Reservoir. This historic cabin was originally used as a Forest Service Guard Station and housed Forest Service work crews. We left home on Saturday morning, drove south to Montrose then east over the Cerro Summit and soon arrived at the trailhead where we started hiking up the snow-covered road. Although we were planning for this to be a snowshoe trip, there really wasn’t very much snow on the ground yet and there were snowmobile tracks on the road to follow, so we ended up not needing to use our snowshoes for the hike.

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Christmas in Arches 2023

Moab Winter Weekend | Saturday – Monday, December 23-25, 2023

After spending last weekend exploring the sandstone fins on the east side of the Colorado River in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, it was time for me to head over to Arches National Park for the extended Christmas weekend. While I usually only spend Christmas Day in Arches and then bounce around the desert canyons surrounding Moab for the rest of the holiday weekend, this year I wanted to spend the entire three days within the park. Unfortunately, Diane would not be joining me this year since she was scheduled to work all weekend and on the holiday, so I would be on my own. I left home early on Saturday morning and drove straight to Arches National Park through a consistent rain the entire way with some fog in the lower lying areas.

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Moab Meanderings: Sand Flats Recreation Area

Saturday & Sunday, December 16-17, 2023

Since the winter season has arrived in Moab, I decided to return to the Sand Flats Recreation Area this weekend so I could finish hiking the popular Slickrock Bike Trail just outside of town. After watching one of the most amazing sunsets I’ve seen from the Needles Overlook in early 2020, I had hiked about half of the Slickrock Trail’s eastern side but I wasn’t able to complete the full loop that day because there was just too much snow on the steep slopes of the undulating trail that made it dangerous and hard to follow. I figured this would also be a good opportunity to just spend the entire weekend within Sand Flats so I could continue hiking some of the trails in the area that I had not been on before and spend the night in one of the camp loops. It sounded like a good enough plan to me, so I left home early on Saturday morning and made my way over to Moab.

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The Canyons of North Wash II

Butler Canyon & Marinus Canyon | Saturday & Sunday, December 2-3, 2023

This weekend I decided to make my way back down into the Canyons of North Wash so I could continue what I had started last December when I spent a weekend hiking and exploring new-to-me canyons in the area. I left from home bright and early on Saturday morning and drove west on icy roads shrouded in fog until I reached the Utah state line where conditions began to improve. After a brief stop for gas in Green River I turned south and drove across the San Rafael Desert to Hanksville and then continued on to Three Forks, where North Wash, Butler Canyon and Stair Canyon all come together. An added benefit of driving south of Hanksville on Highway 95 at sunrise is being able to watch the first light of the day strike the Henry Mountains, and they put on a great show this morning so I just had to stop for a couple photos along the way!

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