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Tag: wilderness

Into the Dark: Canyons of the Dark Canyon Plateau

Southern Utah Wanderings | Friday – Monday, September 29 – October 2, 2023

The time had finally come to get back out into the desert on the Colorado Plateau and I was definitely ready to begin my annual trip into Southern Utah with my friend Jared. This year we decided to start out hiking and exploring a couple of canyons that cut deep into the Dark Canyon Plateau and Elk Ridge so we could continue what we had originally began during our 2021 trip around the Abajo Mountains before we were chased out of the higher country by wet and stormy weather at the time. As usual, I left from work on Friday afternoon, grabbed a quick dinner in Fruita and then drove straight through to Monticello, where I topped off my gas tank so it would last me the next couple of days in the backcountry. It had been a very windy drive, which would be just a taste of what was in store for us over the next couple of days. From Monticello I followed the Harts Draw Loop Road into Indian Creek and then headed up onto the Salt Creek Plateau where I stopped at our usual campsite in the area and waited for Jared to arrive later in the evening.

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The Rico Mountains & Lizard Head Trail

Friday – Sunday, September 22-24, 2023

Earlier this summer I had planned on spending another weekend hiking and exploring around the Rico Mountains and Lizard Head Wilderness, which are located at the western end of the San Juan Mountains. I’ve enjoyed heading down to this area over the past couple of years and was looking forward to returning again, but unfortunately on that trip I had started feeling ill and ended up coming home early on the first night. This weekend I wanted to give that trip another shot before the summer season comes to an end and I start heading back into the desert for the rest of the year, so on Friday afternoon I left from work and headed back down to the Rico Mountains.

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Rattlesnake Canyon: West Rim Arch (Finger Arch)

After Work Adventures | Tuesday, September 5, 2023

This morning as I was leaving home on my way to work I noticed that there was a coolness to the air that I haven’t felt for a couple of months down in the Grand Valley. It certainly felt like fall is finally on the way! Since the temperature stayed nice throughout the rest of the day I thought it would be a great afternoon to go for a local hike when I got out of work. I stopped home at lunch to grab my hiking gear and then left from work and headed up into the Canyons of the Black Ridge so I could hike to West Rim Arch, which is also known as Finger Arch and is located at the upper end of Rattlesnake Canyon. I’ve been meaning to get over to the base of this arch since 2020 when I was on a kick visiting other arches in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness during the pandemic lockdowns, but I never got around to it and have kept putting it off for the past few years, so I was looking forward to finally getting a closer look.

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Wind River Country and the Absaroka Range

Encircling the Wind River Range: Rock Art of the Wind River & Bighorn Basin
Tuesday – Sunday, August 15-20, 2023

After spending the past three days on the Ruby – Horsethief section of the Colorado River it was time for our biennial return to the Wind River Range in Wyoming to begin. Ever since our first trip in 2017 to see the Great American Eclipse, we’ve made it our goal to try and return every other year, which so far we have been able to keep up. Although we have typically gone on a longer backpacking trip during each visit, this year I was more interested in visiting some rock art sites near the Wind River and in the Bighorn Basin that I’ve wanted to see for a long time. So with limited time preventing a longer backpacking trip, we instead looked into going on some shorter day hikes and even branched out into visiting the nearby Absaroka Range for the first time.

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Ruby – Horsethief Canyons of the Colorado River

Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness | Average CFS: 3,390
Sunday – Tuesday, August 13-15, 2023

After having a great season on the rivers this spring, I realized that I had not been on a float trip through Ruby – Horsethief since 2016 and was long overdue for a return, so Jackson and I planned a late summer trip down this local stretch of the Colorado River for late August and were able to secure camping permits for two nights. Besides inviting a couple of close friends along, Diane was also going to be joining us on this trip with her Stand-Up Paddleboard, and she was looking forward to getting back on the river when the water was not super high, since neither of us had much fun that day! We all met up at the Loma Boat Ramp on Sunday morning and got the boats rigged while the shuttle was run and then were on the river around 10:30am. It was pretty warm out already and was going to end up being a pretty hot trip!

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