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Tag: sunrise

Stillwater Canyon: The Green River in Canyonlands

Floating from Mineral Bottom to The Confluence | Average CFS: 2,590
Friday – Wednesday, September 16-21, 2022

The time had finally come! It was time for me to float the Green River through Stillwater Canyon in Canyonlands National Park and I couldn’t have been more excited! I’ve wanted to float this stretch of the river for many years now but have always put it off for other trips because I was a little concerned about making it to The Confluence in time for the Jetboat shuttle. Our float down Meander Canyon was actually kind of a test to see how easy it would be for us to make that kind of distance in our inflatable kayaks at this time of the year, and we ended up coming up short by about eleven miles on that trip. Still, I made it one of my goals to finally get into Stillwater Canyon this year and booked the Jetboat shuttle back in February. This time I added an extra day to the trip just to make sure we would have enough time to make it to The Confluence. As usual, my friends Jackson and Chris were supposed to join me on this trip, but unfortunately Chris had to back out the week before, so this time it would just be me and Jackson.

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Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

After spending my first night at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower I got up extra early on Wednesday morning so I could drive to the nearby Snowy Range and hike to the summit of Medicine Bow Peak, which at 12,013 feet is the highest peak in this small but spectacular subrange of the Medicine Bow Mountains. After leaving the Fire Tower, I dropped down into the Centennial Valley and then followed the Snowy Range Highway, which is also known as the Great Skyroad, up to the Lewis Lake Trailhead near Libby Flats. As I passed through the small town of Albany, I swear I saw a Ringtail Cat cross the road in front of my Jeep, but it was too dark out for me to be 100% certain. I arrived at Lewis Lake just in time to catch the pre-dawn alpenglow and then a beautiful sunrise, but as I was making my way to the shore of the lake I had to give wide berth to a couple of moose that were grazing right near the trailhead.

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Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower

Fire Lookouts Extravaganza | Tuesday – Thursday, August 30 – September 1, 2022

After hiking to the Shadow Mountain Fire Lookout in the morning, it was time for me to head further north through North Park and into the Medicine Bow Mountains of Wyoming so I could spend the next two nights at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower while exploring the surrounding area. Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying to visit more Fire Lookouts and Towers in the Rocky Mountains and have already spent a night in the Jersey Jim and Mestaa’ėhehe Mountain Lookout, so it should come as no surprise that I have been trying to reserve a night at the Spruce Mountain Fire Lookout Tower, which sits atop the 10,003 foot summit of Spruce Mountain near Laramie, Wyoming and was renovated and opened to the public for overnight rentals in 1997. Of course, getting a reservation proved to be a bit challenging, but I finally managed to grab two nights (the minimum length of stay allowed) and then began planning this Fire Lookouts Extravaganza!

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Weminuche Wanderings: Lime Mesa to Overlook Point

Mountain View Crest of the Weminuche Wilderness
Friday – Saturday, August 26-27, 2022

Since I was going to be leaving after work on Monday afternoon for a weeklong trip into northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, I wanted to be home on Sunday to make sure that I was prepped and packed for the trip, so that left me with only one day this weekend to get out hiking. My plans for last weekend had been thwarted by stormy weather in the high country, so I decided to retry part of those plans with a short hike into the Weminuche Wilderness from the end of the road on Lime Mesa between Silverton and Durango. As usual, I left right from work on Friday afternoon and headed south on the Million Dollar Highway and was able to watch the most recent storm system clearing out as I drove over Red Mountain Pass, Molas Pass and Coal Bank Pass through the heart of the San Juan Mountains. After reaching the very northern tip of the Animas River Valley I headed up the Missionary Ridge Road in search of a campsite to spend the night.

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The Summertime Blues: Hiking the Abajo Mountains

Three Directions in the Blue Mountains | Friday – Sunday, August 5-7, 2022

This past week I had been struggling to decide where I wanted to go this weekend as I continually watched the weather forecasts for the mountains since all of them were calling for a large monsoonal surge to enter Colorado which was supposed to create a lot of rain and thunderstorms throughout the high country of the state. On Thursday I decided to look outside of Colorado to the Abajo Mountains, locally known as the Blue Mountains, which had a much milder weather outlook for the weekend, so that’s where I decided to go. As luck would have it, on Friday all the weather forecasters changed their tune about the stormy weather in Colorado for the weekend, but by then I had already set my mind on heading up into the Abajos, plus it has been a while since I did any hiking in this small laccolithic range, so now I was looking forward to getting back!

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