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Tag: utah

Unknown Mountains: Return to the Henry Mountains

Laccoliths in the Desert | Friday – Saturday, June 21-22, 2024

The Henry Mountains are a laccolithic mountain range that stand high above a sea of sandstone cut by deep canyons on the Colorado Plateau and were one of the last-surveyed and last-named mountain ranges in the contiguous United States. In 1869 John Wesley Powell made note of the range during his initial voyage down the Colorado River and called them the Unknown Mountains at the time. Then in 1871 he returned to the area on his second trip down the Colorado and renamed them to the Henry Mountains after Joseph Henry, a close friend who was secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Last year I was planning to head back up into the Henry Mountains after Jared and I had spent a nice weekend there in 2022, but other trips came up and I never made it. This year I was determined to get back early in the summer to hike a couple new peaks and highpoints and chose to go this weekend. I left from work on Friday afternoon and made my way to Hanksville, and even though there were a lot of storms throughout the area this afternoon, some which caused flash flooding around Moab and the San Juan River, I managed to miss them all- aside from the wind. It seems that it’s frequently very windy out when I stop in Hanksville, and today was no exception!

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La Sal Mountains: Warner Lake to Gold Knob

Juneteenth | Tuesday – Wednesday, June 18-19, 2024

Surprisingly, it’s been almost three years since my last visit to the La Sal Mountains near Moab and I’ve definitely been overdue for a return since I still have a couple of peaks left in the range to hike. Since I had Wednesday off for Juneteenth, I left from work on Tuesday afternoon and headed up to the Warner Lake Campground so I could start getting my lungs and legs ready for the mountain hiking season with an easier hike up to the summit of Gold Knob in the morning. After arriving at the campground I went for a short loop hike nearby and then returned to watch the sunset from Warner Lake before getting to bed early.

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( ЯR ) The Rimrocker Trail: Montrose to Moab

Getting Lost in the West End: Across the Uncompahgre Plateau & La Sal Mountains
Friday – Sunday, June 7-9, 2024

After having an amazing time on the river in Cataract Canyon last weekend, I wanted to take it easy and stay a bit closer to home this weekend. With warmer temperatures in the valleys and still too much snow in the high country for me, I thought this might be a great opportunity to finally take a scenic weekend drive across the Uncompahgre Plateau and La Sal Mountains from Montrose to Moab on the Rimrocker Trail, while also taking the time to stop for a few short hikes and side trips along the way. The Rimrocker Trail was created in 2016 by linking up existing roads in this remote area of Western Colorado, many of which I have already driven over the past twenty years, especially while I was working on mapping out a 4X4 route of the Tabeguache Trail and Paradox Trail. But even though I have already driven many of these roads before, it’s been a long time and I really don’t remember very much about them, so I was looking forward to the refresher on this 160 mile route. So after spending Friday evening in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, I drove across the Uncompahgre River Valley and found a campsite near Temple Park and the beginning of the Rimrocker Trail so I could get an early start on Saturday morning.

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Big Water in Cataract Canyon: The Colorado River

Utah’s Biggest Whitewater in Canyonlands National Park | Average CFS: 31,500
Friday – Sunday, May 31 – June 2, 2024

As many of you already know, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time exploring, hiking, backpacking, Jeeping and floating the rivers within Canyonlands National Park over the years. However, Cataract Canyon has been the one section of the Colorado River in Canyonlands that has eluded me over that time. Since there’s a pretty good chance I might never have the opportunity to navigate the large rapids of Cataract Canyon on a private river trip, I figured this would probably be a good place to try out a commercial river trip for the first time and see how it goes. So late last year I booked a 3-day motorized trip with Mild To Wild Rafting and then my friend Jackson did the same for his family so we could go on the trip together. Since we would be in a large raft with an experienced guide on this trip instead of in our little inflatable kayaks, we tried to time the trip to coincide with the highest water of the year that typically happens during spring runoff in late May and early June, and I think we ended up doing a pretty good job on the timing.

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Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 12

Friday – Sunday, May 10-12 & 17-19, 2024

After leaving the UGIC Conference on Friday afternoon I was originally planning to spend the rest of the weekend exploring the nearby Book Cliffs and Tavaputs Plateau, but with all the rain and snow the area had received this week, and with even more predicted over the next couple of days, I figured that was probably not a great place to be right now. Although I did have backup plans for the San Rafael Swell in case of bad weather, after saying goodbye to Moab on Thursday I was feeling the need to get out into a landscape that I have a more personal connection with and feel at home in so I could grieve alone, so I decided to head down to Cedar Mesa, even if it meant a longer drive out of the way. Since I was leaving from Price, this meant I could avoid the traffic in Moab and drive to Cedar Mesa through Hanksville, which is a route I don’t drive very often since it usually doesn’t make much sense for me to go that way. After stopping for an early dinner in Hanksville, I followed North Wash and White Canyon to Cedar Mesa and went straight to the Todie Canyon Trailhead so I could walk the rim at sunset.

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