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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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The Green River: High Water in Labyrinth Canyon

Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom | Average CFS: 17,300
Thursday – Sunday, June 2-5, 2022

After spending a full week circling around the Colorado Plateau with Diane, then having two days at home to rest and two more days back at work, it was finally time to get back on the river! Although my friends and I had entered a couple river permit lotteries earlier in the year, none of us were successful at getting any, so instead we decided to do another float through Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom. While I typically prefer to float the Green River and Colorado River through the canyonlands region in the late summer when there are plenty of sandbars for camping on, which are some of my absolute favorite places to camp, I figured it would be interesting to see what the river was like at high water, even though I knew that it was going to be a busy place with limited campsites at this time of the year. I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to be doing much hiking and exploring on this trip, so I just planned on a relaxing float down the river with plenty of time spent in camp.

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Lava Tube Caving at El Malpais National Monument

Alternate Plans: Back on the Four Corners Circuit
Friday & Saturday, May 27-28, 2022

The first time Diane and I visited El Malpais National Monument we knew that we wanted to explore some of the lava tube caves in the park, but at that time all the roads were snow-covered and muddy and the caves were closed, so we figured we would have come back during a warmer part of the year to check them out. Of course, the next time we visited El Malpais it happened to be during the first few months of the COVID pandemic, and by then all the caves had been closed due to that, so as I started planning this alternate trip I was happy to learn that El Malpais had just recently reopened two caves, after all of them being closed for over two years, and I knew that this was finally going to be our opportunity to check them out!

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Petroglyphs of the Painted Desert

Petrified Forest National Park | Alternate Plans: Back on the Four Corners Circuit
Tuesday – Wednesday, May 24-25, 2022

After our half-day Jeep tour in Canyon del Muerto on Monday, it was time to spend a pair of days hiking in the backcountry of Petrified Forest National Park, which has quickly become one of our favorite places to explore over the past couple of years. Since the park does not open until 8:00am, we were able to sleep in a little later this morning before leaving Holbrook and driving over to the entrance. Once we arrived, the first thing we did was stop in at the temporary Painted Desert Visitor Center and grabbed a backpacking wilderness permit, since it’s a great place to spend the night. Then we headed off in search of petroglyphs for the rest of the morning and early afternoon, and we found a lot!

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Bears Ears to Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients

Alternate Plans: Back on the Four Corners Circuit | Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 6
Friday & Saturday, May 20-21, 2022

This upcoming week Diane was going to be out of school and was looking forward to getting away for her Spring Break, so for the past few months I had been planning a week-long trip for us to visit the Jemez Mountains and Bandelier National Monument near Santa Fe. Unfortunately, the large Cerro Pelado Wildfire ended up closing both Bandelier National Monument and the Santa Fe National Forest before our trip, so I was forced to come up with Alternate Plans for the week and decided to return to the Four Corners area. Hopefully we will be able to reschedule a trip to the Jemez Mountains another time in the future since we were both looking forward to it!

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