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Tag: the narrows

Back to the Mojave: The Pahranagat Valley

Rock Art of the Basin and Range National Monument II
Thursday – Monday, January 15-18, 2021

Even though my heart belongs to the Colorado Plateau, I do occasionally like to get out to the Mojave Desert at least once each year, especially during the colder months at home! Back at the beginning of last year I had started making plans to return to Death Valley National Park this holiday weekend, but since COVID is hitting California hard right now and they are asking for out-of-state visitors to stay away, I honored their request and decided to visit the Pahranagat Valley in Nevada instead. I got my first taste of the Pahranagat Valley on my way home from the White Mountains in September, but it was much too hot out for me at the time, so I vowed to return in cooler temperatures. I didn’t think I would be coming back so soon, but I was looking forward to returning again so I could explore this large valley where the northern Mojave Desert and the Great Basin intersect!

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Waterpocket Fold: Lower Muley Twist Canyon

Friday – Sunday, March 27-29, 2020

This weekend Diane and I headed over to Capitol Reef National Park so we could get in one last backpacking trip before Colorado and Utah were both completely shut down and only open to local residents due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. At this point in time it was still OK to visit and camp within Wayne and Garfield Counties in Utah, plus Capitol Reef National Park was still open, so the trip was a go! We knew that this was probably going to be our last backpacking trip into Utah for a while, so we decided to visit Lower Muley Twist Canyon since it’s a canyon I’ve wanted to explore for a long time and I thought it would be a great place to practice social distancing. It turned out to be a great choice since we would only briefly see one other person the entire weekend, plus the scenery was spectacular!

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River Flowing from the Sunrise: The San Juan

Friday – Monday, May 10-13, 2019

Over the years I have floated the San Juan River between Sand Island and Mexican Hat a couple of times with a small group of friends and we almost always have had a great time on this stretch of the river. I say ‘almost always‘ because the temperature was way too hot out during our last trip in 2017 and the water was moving very fast which turned out to be a bad combination for us. We ended up cutting that trip a day short and heading home early. After taking last year off for a Labyrinth Canyon trip, we decided to get a permit for the San Juan again this year to make up for that last trip. This year I was hoping for much better weather since we were going in May again, but I was still a little worried when we drove down to Bluff on Friday afternoon through rain storms and cold temperatures even though the forecast for the rest of the weekend was looking good. I certainly had my fingers crossed and hoped that the rainbow I saw as we drove over White Mesa was a good sign! And for anyone wondering, River Flowing from the Sunrise is a translation of the Ute name for the San Juan River, and I think it’s a pretty fitting one.

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The North Rim of the Black Canyon

Saturday & Sunday, May 19-20, 2018

Since Diane and I went to a concert on Friday night and stayed out later than normal, we decided to stay closer to home this weekend and went on an easy and relaxing overnight camping trip to the North Rim of the Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park. It has been a while since the last time I visited the North Rim and figured it was time to go back, especially since Diane had never been there before. It felt a little weird staying in Colorado for the weekend since I’m used to driving into Utah this time of the year, but with rising temperatures in the desert and the snow melting in the mountains, I’ll probably be staying in Colorado more often now until the fall.

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The Upper San Juan River Canyon

Sand Island to Mexican Hat
Friday – Monday, June 16-19, 2017

Hot!!! That’s the one word I would use to describe our most recent trip down the upper San Juan River. Even though I didn’t have much time off from work this summer because of our wedding and honeymoon in March, I was able to squeeze in a short river trip on the San Juan from Sand Island to Mexican Hat. While I have floated this stretch of the river a few times before (20132014), it’s still a favorite of mine and I certainly don’t mind repeating it. In the past our group has done this trip during the month of May and both times it turned out to be colder than we had expected, so this year we decided to try going in June for warmer weather, although I was a little concerned about how bad the bugs might be at this time of the year. Who knew that we would be going on this trip during a heat wave in the southwest when we got our permit?

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