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Tag: wildlife

The Summertime Blues: Hiking the Abajo Mountains

Three Directions in the Blue Mountains | Friday – Sunday, August 5-7, 2022

This past week I had been struggling to decide where I wanted to go this weekend as I continually watched the weather forecasts for the mountains since all of them were calling for a large monsoonal surge to enter Colorado which was supposed to create a lot of rain and thunderstorms throughout the high country of the state. On Thursday I decided to look outside of Colorado to the Abajo Mountains, locally known as the Blue Mountains, which had a much milder weather outlook for the weekend, so that’s where I decided to go. As luck would have it, on Friday all the weather forecasters changed their tune about the stormy weather in Colorado for the weekend, but by then I had already set my mind on heading up into the Abajos, plus it has been a while since I did any hiking in this small laccolithic range, so now I was looking forward to getting back!

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The Rico Mountains & Lizard Head Wilderness

Independence Day Weekend | Friday – Sunday, July 1-3, 2022

This year for the extended Fourth of July holiday weekend I decided to head back to the same area I did last year and returned to the Rico Mountains so I could hike to a couple more twelve-thousand foot peaks along the Calico Trail. I left from work on Friday afternoon and made my way south to the San Juan Mountains via the Dallas Divide and Lizard Head Pass. I drove through a bit of rain on and off from Ridgeway until I reached Lizard Head Pass, where I found the mountain-tops hidden in the clouds. After following the headwaters of the Dolores River for a bit, I turned off onto the Taylor Creek Road and drove up onto Taylor Mesa in search of campsite for the night. I found a pretty nice campsite on the ridge between Stoner Creek and Priest Gulch with a great view of the nearby Rico Mountains and the distant La Plata Mountains, but the mosquitoes were pretty terrible! After a colorful sunset I went to bed early so I could get an early start on Saturday morning.

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The Green River: High Water in Labyrinth Canyon

Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom | Average CFS: 17,300
Thursday – Sunday, June 2-5, 2022

After spending a full week circling around the Colorado Plateau with Diane, then having two days at home to rest and two more days back at work, it was finally time to get back on the river! Although my friends and I had entered a couple river permit lotteries earlier in the year, none of us were successful at getting any, so instead we decided to do another float through Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River from Ruby Ranch to Mineral Bottom. While I typically prefer to float the Green River and Colorado River through the canyonlands region in the late summer when there are plenty of sandbars for camping on, which are some of my absolute favorite places to camp, I figured it would be interesting to see what the river was like at high water, even though I knew that it was going to be a busy place with limited campsites at this time of the year. I knew from the start that I wasn’t going to be doing much hiking and exploring on this trip, so I just planned on a relaxing float down the river with plenty of time spent in camp.

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The White Rim to Monument Basin

Friday – Sunday, February 4-6, 2022

For the past two years I have spent the first weekend in February exploring the White Rim in Canyonlands National Park. You can find those two Trip Reports here: White Crack Trail to The Confluence & Airport Tower to Monument Basin. I’ve had good weather and great views on each of those trips so I decided to do it one more time this year and grabbed a camping permit for Gooseberry and Airport back in November before the prices of backcountry permits were raised, so this was going to be my last trip at the old price. I’ve spent a lot of time exploring from the White Rim Trail over the years and am actually running out of places I want to check out, but one place I’ve really wanted to hike down to for a long time is Monument Basin, so I figured this trip would be the perfect opportunity to finally give it a try. I knew Jared would be very interested in this hike, so I made sure to invite him along, too.

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Thanksgiving in the Land of Enchantment

Defensive Sites of Dinétah, Black Friday in Chaco Canyon II & Images of Dinétah
Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 25-28, 2021

It feels like I’ve already spent a lot of time in the Land of Enchantment this year with visits to El Malpais National Monument, Mount Taylor and Wheeler Peak– so this seemed like the perfect year to skip our annual Thanksgiving visit to Cedar Mesa and head back to northwestern New Mexico instead. We actually did the same thing five years ago, so this wouldn’t be our first time spending Thanksgiving in La Tierra Del Encanto. We had originally planned to head to New Mexico last year for Thanksgiving, but the COVID restrictions at the time made us change our plans, so we were really looking forward to finally getting back this year! We left home early on Thursday morning and drove over Red Mountain Pass through the San Juan Mountains to Bloomfield, where we would be spending a couple of nights while we explored Dinétah and Chaco Culture National Historical Park for the next couple of days.

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