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Tag: wildfire

Cedar Breaks: Ashdown Gorge & Rattlesnake Creek

Ashdown Gorge Wilderness & Cedar Breaks National Monument
Friday – Sunday, June 4-6, 2021

After spending last weekend wandering around the Book Cliffs, it was time to head back into Utah for one more trip before I start spending most of my time in the mountains of Colorado. It was supposed to be another hot and windy weekend across the Colorado Plateau, so I thought this would be a good time to finally hike through Ashdown Gorge near Cedar City. This hike has been on my to-do list for over ten years now, so it was time to finally do it! Last year I had tentatively planned an overnight backpacking trip through Ashdown Gorge in the early summer with Diane and Jared, but thanks again to COVID-19, those plans were cancelled. Since Diane is now too busy with school, it would just be me and Jared going, and since the hike is not too long and mostly downhill we decided to skip the backpacking this time around and just do it as a day hike.

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West Pollock Arch & Window Rock Tower

Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness
Sunday, June 7, 2020

This weekend I was hoping to get back on the river with a couple of friends again, but it seems that Mother Nature had other plans for us. Between severe thunderstorms on Saturday and very strong winds on Sunday, we decided it was best to cancel our river plans this weekend and try again another time. On Sunday afternoon I decided it was time to get out of the house for a little while and went on a short local hike to visit West Pollock Arch in the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. Even though it was windy out, the temperature had dropped significantly because of the passing storm on Saturday, making it perfect weather for hiking. Plus I figured the strong winds would help keep the gnats away that are usually prevalent at this time of the year. I left home in the middle of the afternoon and drove over Black Ridge to the Rattlesnake Arches Trailhead to start my hike. When I arrived there was only one other vehicle at the trailhead and they were just leaving. I was surprised since it was a nice day and this is usually a popular trailhead. After descending to the lower Rattlesnake Arches Trail on the bench below I headed east past Window Rock Tower to the rim of the West Fork of Pollock Canyon.

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Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower

Overlooking the Four Corners | Sunday – Monday, July 21-22, 2019

After spending Saturday hiking to the summit of Centennial Peak and Sunday morning attempting to hike to the top of Hesperus Mountain it was time for me to head back into Mancos so I could pick up the keys to the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower where I would be spending the night. I first laid eyes on the Jersey Jim back in 2010 when I was exploring a few roads near the La Plata Mountains on my way home from a week of adventure through the mountains of Colorado. At the time I knew it was available to rent for a night or two during the summer and I thought to myself that I should plan to do that sometime. It was almost nine years later and ‘sometime’ still had not come because I kept putting off making reservations for the tower each summer until it was too late. But since I have been trying to get to some places this year that I have been putting off for far too long, spending a night at the Jersey Jim was near the top of my list and I was thankfully able to secure a reservation earlier this year, even though it was a frustrating process on the phone filled with busy signals!

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Coming In Second: Mount Massive

Friday – Saturday, July 6-7, 2018

This weekend I felt it was time for me to attempt my first 14er of the year since the snow had melted of early and the monsoon season hasn’t really picked up yet. After looking at my options I decided to go all out and try to hike to the summit of Mount Massive (14,421) on Saturday morning, which is the second highest peak in Colorado after Mount Elbert which I had already climbed two years ago. I spend Independence Day hiking in the La Sal Mountains to help prepare for the hike by getting a little acclimated to the elevation and making sure I was in good enough shape to give it a try. The hike in the La Sal Mountains went pretty well, although my legs were very sore for a few days afterwards which is very unusual for me. My legs certainly get tired after a big hike, but they’ve never been sore like this before. On Friday afternoon I considered cancelling the trip completely because the weather forecast was predicting early thunderstorms starting around 9:00am on Saturday morning, and even with a very early start I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to reach the summit and get down before they started. In the end, I decided to go anyway and see if I could squeeze the hike into the small window of good weather that was predicted. I figured that maybe I’d even be able to get some nice cloudy photos if the weather wasn’t good for hiking!

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Highland Mary Lakes & Verde Lakes

Saturday & Sunday, June 9-10, 2018

This weekend Diane and I decided to go on a very early season backpacking trip into the high country near Silverton. During a normal year we wouldn’t even consider going on a backpacking trip into the mountains until later in June or early in July, but with the low snowpack this year we decided to give it a try much earlier to see how the conditions really were. Also, since it’s still early in the season, the monsoons haven’t started yet and we would be able to camp well above tree line without worrying about storms or lightning. Plus, with Highway 550 closed between Durango and Silverton because of the 416 Fire, we figured the mountains near Silverton wouldn’t be very busy right now and we hoped to find plenty of solitude.

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