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Tag: wind

The Painted Desert: Land of Light and Shadow

Homolovi State Park & Petrified Forest National Park
Saturday – Monday, January 13-15, 2024

For about a year now, Diane and I have been making pretty solid plans to spend most of the upcoming week in Grand Canyon National Park. Since we would be passing right through the Painted Desert on our way there, we were also looking forward to spending a couple of days in the Petrified Forest along the way. We certainly could never have predicted that after our first visit to Petrified Forest National Park in 2020 we would fall in love with exploring this amazing place and have now returned each year for the past five years. With so many places still left to explore in the park, we are hoping to keep the trend going well into the future!

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Chapin Mesa at Mesa Verde National Park

Thursday & Friday, October 12-13, 2023

For the past year or so, Diane and I have been planning to spend an extended three-day weekend in southern Utah so we could watch the Annular Solar Eclipse that would be occurring on Saturday morning. A month or so back we found out that she would also have Thursday off from work, so I went ahead and grabbed two permits for the Square Tower House Tour at Mesa Verde National Park because it’s the only tour offered in the park this year that we had not been on before. Since we had such a great time exploring Wetherill Mesa last summer I thought it would be a great idea copy that trip and spend the entire day visiting sites and overlooks on Chapin Mesa this time, especially the ones I hadn’t been to before or just don’t remember all too well. In the end we would spend sunup to sunset on Chapin Mesa and have a pretty great day, even if it was a bit windy and chilly out!

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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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The High Plateaus of Utah: Proper Edge of the Sky

The Plateau Provence: Peaks & Plateaus of the Colorado Plateau
Wednesday – Friday, August 30 – September 1, 2023

The High Plateaus of Utah are a group of elevated tablelands that form the boundary between the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin in Central Utah and are what Wallace Stegner once described as “those remarkable mountains that are not mountains at all but greatly elevated rolling plains.” Although I have driven around and between the High Plateaus many times over the years, I have not spent very much time up on top of any of them and I wanted to change that this summer so I could see what they were all about. And what better way is there to get to know a new place than by driving the backroads and visiting the highpoints along the way! I figured that I would start at the northern end of the Wasatch Plateau and then work my way south, looping back around to finish up on Thousand Lake Mountain, where I could hop back on I-70 and head back home after a nice introduction to the area. That was the plan, and I thought it was a pretty good one, but as you will see, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

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