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Tag: wilderness

Canyons of the San Rafael Reef

Black Dragon Wash to Ernie Canyon
Friday – Sunday, January 29-31, 2021

Over the past couple of years I’ve spent a weekend in January exploring the canyons of the San Rafael Reef at the edge of the San Rafael Swell just west of Green River. I guess I’ve continued to do this each year because it’s an easy drive from home and it doesn’t really matter if there is snow on the ground or not. Plus, it’s just a great place to explore anytime! With this weekend being the last one in January and the weather looking good, I thought that it would be nice to keep up the tradition and headed back to the San Rafael Reef! As usual, I left right from work on Friday afternoon and drove west on I-70 until I reached the San Rafael Reef. Just before driving through Spotted Wolf Canyon on the interstate, I took a side road to the north and found a place to camp near the mouth of Black Dragon Canyon. For a brief time there was a little light snow that fell, but it didn’t stick and stopped just as quickly as it had started. As soon as the clouds dissipated the light from the Wolf Moon filled the canyon.

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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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Upper Eardley Canyon from Cliff Dweller Flat

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Since our planned trip to the Esplanade with Jerry this week had already been cancelled, Diane and I now had a free weekend to get out hiking together again. We decided to stay closer to home and check out some new canyons in the San Rafael Swell. Earlier in the year I had planned for us to hike into upper Eardley Canyon during our Leap Day weekend trip, but the roads were too wet and muddy in the area at the time, so we ended up skipping it and heading home early. I thought that would be a good place to start this weekend, so we left home Saturday morning and made our way through the San Rafael Reef to the end of Cliff Dweller Flat where we started our hike and planned to spend the night afterwards.

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Cane Wash: Locomotive Point to the San Rafael River

Friday – Saturday, November 6-7, 2020

I was originally planning to spend three days alone on Cedar Mesa this weekend, but the weather forecast had other plans for me with rain and snow predicted for much of that time. So instead of driving all the way down to Cedar Mesa and getting shut down by the weather, I planned to stay a little closer to home in the San Rafael Swell so I could try to get a hike in on Saturday morning and then head home before the storm arrived. I decided that hiking down Cane Wash to the San Rafael River sounded like a good plan because I figured that even if I didn’t beat the storm this hike and drive wouldn’t be a problem in the rain or snow.

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White River Narrows & Mount Irish Petroglyphs

Across the Great Basin and Back | The Loneliest Road (Trip) in America
Rock Art of the Basin and Range National Monument
Friday & Saturday, September 4-5, 2020

Once I left the White Mountains behind, it was time to visit a few rock art sites in the Basin and Range National Monument as I drove back home across the Great Basin. After stopping in Tonopah for gas and food I continued east on US Route 6 for a little while until I reached Warm Springs and then turned off onto the Extraterrestrial Highway. If you want to drive a lonely highway, then this is probably the one for you! I didn’t even have cell phone signal for almost the entire stretch! I made my way south past the Nellis Air Force Range and through through the tiny town of Rachel on my way to Crystal Springs in the Pahranagat Valley. By the time I drove up the Logan Canyon Road into the Irish Mountain Range it was already getting pretty dark out and I found a spot to spend the night just below Logan Pass. The temperature was heating up in the desert again with another heat wave spreading across the southwest, so it didn’t cool off very quickly, even at 7,000 feet at night.

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