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Bears Ears National Monument & Comb Ridge Trip Reports

Thanksgiving Weekend Below the Bears Ears

Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 8 | Thursday – Saturday, November 24-26, 2022

This year during the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend Diane was able to get away from her clinical rotations for a little while and join me on our annual trip into the Bears Ears region. Our friend Jared was also able to meet us down there, so we all went out hiking in the canyons together. Although I had originally planned to spend all four days in the area, our cat Tellico (Rico) is having some health issues and we didn’t want to leave her home for that long, ...
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Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 7

Veterans Day Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 10-13, 2022

This year for the extended Veterans Day Weekend I was feeling the pull of the ancients to return to the canyons of Cedar Mesa. Even though I seem to have been neglecting this area for a while now, I decided it was time to follow. As usual, I left from work on Thursday afternoon, drove through Moab and then headed south across Dry Valley to Monticello and Blanding. From there, I made my way west through the Comb Ridge and then up onto Cedar Mesa where I found a spot ...
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Bears Ears to Hovenweep and Canyons of the Ancients

Alternate Plans: Back on the Four Corners Circuit | Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 6
Friday & Saturday, May 20-21, 2022

This upcoming week Diane was going to be out of school and was looking forward to getting away for her Spring Break, so for the past few months I had been planning a week-long trip for us to visit the Jemez Mountains and Bandelier National Monument near Santa Fe. Unfortunately, the large Cerro Pelado Wildfire ended up closing both Bandelier National Monument and the Santa Fe National Forest before our trip, so I was forced to come up with Alternate ...
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Blue Mountain Shadows: Beef Basin to Cedar Mesa

Southern Utah Wanderings | Friday – Friday, October 1-8, 2021

This year for our annual week-long trek into Southern Utah, Jared and I started out in the Beef Basin area and then we explored our way over to Cedar Mesa. It has been a while since either of us had spent much time around Beef Basin and I was also really hoping that we would be able to spend some quality time around the Dark Canyon Plateau and Elk Ridge areas along the way. The trip started out great and we found plenty of new rock art and ruin sites, ...
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Grand Gulch: Kane Gulch to Bullet Canyon

Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 4
Wednesday – Sunday, March 31 – April 4, 2021

Last spring Jared, Dave and I had made plans and obtained a permit to backpack on the Navajo Nation for the first time, but because the pandemic shut a lot of things down at the time, we were forced to cancel those plans. Since the Navajo Nation was still closed to visitors this spring we had to find something else to do for our annual spring backpacking trip this year. After discussing a number of different options over the winter, we finally settled on backpacking the ...
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Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 3

Thursday – Sunday, March 25-28, 2021

This weekend Jerry and I were planning to go on a three-day backpacking trip in Capitol Reef National Park, but as the weekend got closer the weather forecast was not looking good. The forecast was calling for much cooler temperatures with rain and snow which would not have been good for the narrow water-filled canyon we wanted to hike, so it looked like we would be changing our plans. Instead, we decided to head further south to Comb Ridge and Cedar Mesa since we knew we would be able to work around the weather ...
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Trail of the Ancients: Our First Bikepacking Experience

In-Between Cedar Mesa & The San Juan River
Friday – Sunday, March 19-21, 2021

This bikepacking trip has been a long time coming for us. Over the past couple of years Diane and I have talked about and planned this bikepacking trip for the early spring but something has always come up or the weather didn’t cooperate with our plans. This year we were determined to finally make this trip happen, especially since we both got new mountain bikes that we like riding and Diane had biked the White Rim Trail for her birthday in October. Diane has been pretty ...
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Backbone of the Earth: Comb Ridge

New Years Weekend | Friday – Sunday, January 1-3, 2021

After spending Christmas Weekend around Moab I really didn’t have any solid plans set for the New Year holiday weekend. Diane definitely wanted us to get outside over the first weekend of the New Year since she is going to be starting Physician Assistant school on Monday and her free time will most likely be pretty limited over the next two years, so she probably won’t be able to join me on as many trips as she usually does. After following the weather forecast during the week and weighing our ...
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Hidden in the Shadows of the Bears Ears

Thanksgiving Weekend | Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 2
Thursday – Sunday, November 26-29, 2020

This year for Thanksgiving we were originally thinking about changing up our typical plans and spending the long holiday weekend in northern New Mexico instead. However, with the pandemic essentially shutting down travel into New Mexico right now we decided it would be best for us to stay in southern Utah and return to Cedar Mesa like we usually do. While we would normally get a hotel room in Blanding for this annual trip, we were not really comfortable staying at a hotel this time around, ...
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Cedar Mesa Chronicles: Chapter 1

Friday – Sunday, October 23-25, 2020

After spending last weekend on the White Rim in Canyonlands National Park, this weekend we headed a little further south to visit Cedar Mesa for the very first time this year. Usually by now I have spent at least a couple of weekends hiking in the canyons of Cedar Mesa, but with the COVID-19 lockdowns in the spring this was the first opportunity I have had to make it back down here this year. We got a little bit of a later start on Friday than I had planned since Diane got stuck at ...
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Thanksgiving Weekend on Cedar Mesa

Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 28 – December 1, 2019

This year for Thanksgiving Diane and I planned to spend the long holiday weekend searching for ruins and rock art on Cedar Mesa like we usually do at this time of the year. However, this year we had to deal with a winter storm that impacted the area and required us to change our plans on the fly. Although I wasn’t able to hike in the canyons I had originally planned for this trip, we managed to avoid most of the weather and find things to do throughout ...
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Cedar Mesa Memorial Weekend

Friday – Sunday, May 24-26, 2019

Years ago I used to spend my Memorial Day weekends exploring the canyons of Cedar Mesa in southeastern Utah, which was before I started going to The Maze, but then I stopped doing that when it seemed like the cedar gnats (no-see-ums) were starting to get worse during that time of the year. This year my friend Alan was going to be in the area over the holiday weekend and asked if I’d be able to join him for a couple of hikes, so I thought it would be nice to return to that ...
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River Flowing from the Sunrise: The San Juan

Friday – Monday, May 10-13, 2019

Over the years I have floated the San Juan River between Sand Island and Mexican Hat a couple of times with a small group of friends and we almost always have had a great time on this stretch of the river. I say ‘almost always‘ because the temperature was way too hot out during our last trip in 2017 and the water was moving very fast which turned out to be a bad combination for us. We ended up cutting that trip a day short and heading home early. After taking last year off ...
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Ruins Around the Bears Ears

Friday – Sunday, April 19-21, 2019

I can’t believe that it’s almost the end of April already and this is only my first trip of the year to the canyons surrounding the Bears Ears! At the very least I typically spend Presidents Day weekend exploring this area, but this year we had planned a trip around a concert in Las Vegas over that holiday weekend instead. Then I ended up concentrating on exploring more of The Needles during a few of my other weekends this year and have neglected getting down to the Bears Ears. I finally wanted to change ...
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Thanksgiving Under the Bears Ears

Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 22-25, 2018

This year Diane and I kept our annual tradition of spending the long Thanksgiving weekend searching for ruins and rock art on Cedar Mesa alive. (Not counting that one year we went to New Mexico instead, of course.) Although the mountains of Colorado got a lot of much-needed snow over the holiday weekend, the precipitation mostly missed the Four Corners region and we had very pleasant hiking weather just about every day. The higher elevations of Cedar Mesa and Elk Ridge did receive a little snow on Thursday evening, but it ...
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A Weekend in the Bears Ears

Friday – Sunday, October 26-28, 2018

This weekend I headed down to Cedar Mesa in Bears Ears National Monument after work on Friday where I met up with my friend Alan so we could go on one hike Saturday morning before he had to drive back up to Salt Lake City to catch a plane back to France. He had spent the last two weeks in the southwest and this was his last hike before heading back home. After we parted ways I spent the rest of the weekend hiking and searching for ruins and rock art on my own ...
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Grand Gulch: Bullet Canyon to The Government Trail

Grand Gulch Finale
Friday – Tuesday, April 20 – 24, 2018

Last year I had to skip my annual spring backpacking trip with Dave and Jared since I didn’t have any free time left after my wedding and Honeymoon Adventure in March. This year we decided to resume the tradition and go on a four day backpacking trip into the middle section of Grand Gulch between Bullet Canyon and the Government Trail. This is pretty much the final section of Grand Gulch (starting from under the Bears Ears near Highways 95 all the way to the San Juan River) that ...
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Bears Ears Lost

Thursday – Sunday, March 15-18, 2018

This weekend I headed down to Cedar Mesa and the Bears Ears area to meet up with my friend Alan for a weekend of hiking. I drove down a little early so I could pick up my Annual Cedar Mesa Hiking Pass from the Kane Gulch Ranger Station and then did a little hiking and exploring on my own before I met up with Alan. Sometimes you just need to get out and wander through a canyon by yourself! Last year all of the area we explored would have been located within Bears Ears ...
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Ruins of Cedar Mesa

President’s Day Weekend | Saturday – Monday, February 17 – 19, 2018

This year for President’s Day Weekend Diane and I decided to head back down to Cedar Mesa for our first visit to Bears Ears National Monument of the year. We ended up spending most of the weekend exploring canyons carved into Cedar Mesa and visiting ruins that I hadn’t been to in a number of years, plus a few new ones. We also made a detour over to Montezuma Canyon on Monday morning before a strong winter storm moved into the area and chased us back home in ...
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Thanksgiving In The Bears Ears

Thanksgiving Weekend | Thursday – Sunday, November 23-26, 2017

Except for last year, it has been kind of a tradition for Diane and I to spend the long Thanksgiving Weekend exploring southern Utah around Cedar Mesa, Comb Ridge and Montezuma Canyon. This year was our first Thanksgiving in the area since it was officially designated as Bears Ears National Monument late last year. Of course, at this point it’s not certain how much longer this Monument will be around in its current form…

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The Bears Ears II

Southern Utah Wanderings | Cedar Mesa
Tuesday – Thursday, October 3-5, 2017

After spending Monday in the Abajo Mountains and the previous weekend in the northern section of The Bears Ears, it was time to head over to Cedar Mesa so we could spend then next couple of days exploring some new areas of this part of The Bears Ears searching for new ruins and rock art sites. Here are a few photos from the remainder of our trip…

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The Bears Ears

Southern Utah Wanderings | Northern Bears Ears
Friday – Sunday, September 29 – October 1, 2017

This year for my annual weeklong trip into southern Utah during the first week of October I met up with Jared and we spent most of the week exploring, hiking, four-wheeling, camping, backpacking, peak-bagging and photographing within Bears Ears National Monument. The first few days of our trip were spent in the northern part of the Bears Ears between Canyonlands National Park and Lockhart Basin. (We did a little hiking into Canyonlands, too.) We were hoping to visit a few new pictograph panels and ...
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The Upper San Juan River

Sand Island to Mexican Hat
Friday – Monday, June 16-19, 2017

Hot!!! That’s the one word I would use to describe our most recent trip down the upper San Juan River. Even though I didn’t have much time off from work this summer because of our wedding and honeymoon in March, I was able to squeeze in a short river trip on the San Juan from Sand Island to Mexican Hat. While I have floated this stretch of the river a few times before ( – ), it’s still a favorite of mine and I certainly don’t mind repeating it ...
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Cedar Mesa Ruins

Friday – Sunday, June 9-11, 2017

Typically I avoid visiting Cedar Mesa in June because of the hotter temperatures and especially because of the annoying cedar gnats (no-see-ums) that are usually prevalent at this time of the year. However, I made an exception this year since my friend Alan and his father would be visiting the area this weekend and invited me to join them. Our friend Jerry, who I met last year on a backpacking trip on the Arizona Strip was going to be there and my old friend John Mumaw, who I hadn’t seen in a few years, ...
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Bears Ears National Monument

President’s Day Weekend | Saturday – Monday, February 18-20, 2017

This holiday weekend was supposed to be our first camping trip of the year, but the wet weather forecast made me rethink those plans at the last minute. Throughout the prior week and up until Friday the forecast was calling for 90-100% chance of rain and snow on Cedar Mesa and the surrounding area for Saturday and Sunday. I was about to cancel the trip altogether and stay home, but I decided to check hotel rates in Blanding on Friday afternoon and found a King Suite at the Rodeway Inn ...
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Searching for The Ancients on Veteran's Day Weekend

Friday – Sunday, November 11-13, 2016

Typically, Diane and I like to spend the long Thanksgiving weekend exploring Cedar Mesa and other parts of southeastern Utah, but this year we have made alternate plans for the Thanksgiving weekened down in New Mexico, so that was not going to happen. We decided to make up for that annual trip by heading down that way over the Veteran’s Day weekend instead. We left home early on Friday morning and spent a few days searching for ruins and rock art in southeast Utah. The weather was great for hiking with temperatures in the ...
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Step Canyon & Pine Canyon Loop

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On Wednesday morning Jared and I woke up with the sun, broke down camp and then hopped into my Jeep so we could drive a little further down the Mormon Trail to begin our hike. Today we would be hiking a loop starting in Step Canyon and following it down to the confluence with Pine Canyon which we then planned to hike up to complete the loop. Hiking down through Step Canyon was pretty easy with only a few obstacles that we had to get around, but as soon as we reached Pine Canyon we found ...
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North Fork of Mule Canyon

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I woke up on Tuesday morning to the coldest temperature on the trip so far (my Jeep said it was 34 degrees out). I woke up shortly before sunrise and decided to head down to Blanding for breakfast. I was planning on taking things pretty easy today and having more of a rest day, so I was in no hurry to get anywhere. While I was in town picking up some supplies I ran into my friend Rick, whom I hadn’t seen in a while and it was nice to catch up with him for a ...
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Sand Canyon to Cedar Mesa

Monday, October 3, 2016

Even though the weather forecast had predicted a 100% chance of rain for my current location overnight, there were only a few sprinkles that didn’t even manage to get anything wet. I didn’t have any plans for photographing the sunrise this morning, so I woke up when it started to get light out and headed into Cortez for a quick breakfast on my way to the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. I have long wanted to hike up Sand Canyon to checkout the ruins there and figured it was finally time to do so before ...
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Owl & Fish Creek Canyons

Friday – Sunday, April 29 – May 1, 2016

This weekend Diane and I had taken Friday off work so we could head down to Cedar Mesa on a three-day backpacking trip into Fish Creek Canyon and Owl Creek Canyon. We had originally planned on driving down Thursday evening after work, but with rainy weather in the forecast we decided to stay home Thursday night and left very early on Friday morning. We passed through Moab just in time to stop for breakfast at the Moab Diner and then continued on to the Kane Gulch Ranger Station to pick up ...
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Grand Gulch: Pollys Canyon to Collins Canyon

Wednesday – Saturday, April 13-16, 2016

Spending a few days backpacking in southern Utah seems to have become an annual tradition for Dave, Jared and myself. A few months ago we started planning our trip to visit another section of Grand Gulch between Pollys Canyon and Collins Canyon that we had not been through before and Dave secured the backpacking permits for our small group. Our plan for Wednesday was to drive down and meet up at a campsite along the road to the Collins Canyon Trailhead. Dave and Jared would be leaving early in the afternoon from Salt Lake ...
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Thanksgiving Weekend with The Ancients

Friday – Sunday, November 27-29, 2015

This year Diane and I spent Black Friday and rest of the Thanksgiving Weekend hiking and searching for ancient ruins and rock art in southeast Utah. Instead of camping at Natural Bridges National Monument like we did last year, this time we based out of a hotel in Blanding. I think it was a good decision since temperatures were a bit colder than I would have preferred, although we were lucky enough not to get any snow over the weekend like they did back home in Grand Junction. We ended up spending time in ...
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The Lower San Juan River

Mexican Hat to Clay Hills Crossing
Tuesday – Saturday, May 12-16, 2015

For the past two years a few friends and I have floated the upper section of the San Juan River from Sand Island to Mexican Hat during the month of May. It’s a very nice section of river, but this year we wanted to do something different, so we attempted to get a permit for the lower section of the San Juan River from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills Crossing. My friend Jackson was lucky in the permit lottery and we received our first choice of dates on ...
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Kane Gulch to Bullet Canyon

Grand Gulch Loop
Friday – Saturday, May 1-3, 2015

After spending a few days in lower Grand Gulch last week, I went back home to work for four days before driving back down to Cedar Mesa to backpack the popular Kane Gulch to Bullet Canyon loop of Grand Gulch with Diane. This would be Diane’s first multi-night backpacking trip and she was looking forward to it. We left home late on Thursday evening after Diane got out of class and reached our campsite for the night at Coyote Flat around 10:00pm. We quickly setup camp in the dark and went ...
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Lower Grand Gulch

Wednesday – Sunday, April 22-26, 2015

It seems to have become an annual spring tradition for Jared, Dave and myself to plan a backpacking trip in late April or early May to southern Utah in search of ancient ruins and rock art. This year we decided to spend three nights in lower Grand Gulch. I left from work on Wednesday afternoon and drove straight down to Cedar Mesa where I met up with Dave and Jared in our usual camp spot. We sat around the fire to catch up and tentatively worked out some plans for the next few days ...
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President’s Day Weekend on Cedar Mesa

Saturday – Monday, February 14-16, 2015

Diane and I spent Valentine’s Day and the long President’s Day weekend on Cedar Mesa for our very first camping trip of the year. We setup our base-camp at the Natural Bridges National Monument campground and enjoyed the beautiful spring-like weather all weekend. The temperature never dropped below freezing at night and was a very comfortable mid-sixties during the day. It was nice hiking weather in the middle of February and a great time to get outside to explore the Colorado Plateau! We spent the weekend revisiting a few ruins and searching remote canyons ...
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Cedar Mesa for Thanksgiving

Thursday – Sunday, November 27-30, 2014

For Thanksgiving this year, Diane and I decided to spend a nice relaxing weekend on Cedar Mesa and we really lucked out with nice weather all weekend. The high temperatures were in the upper 50’s during the day and low temperatures only dropped into the mid-30’s at night. We had camped in colder temperatures in the mountains during the summer! The campground at Natural Bridges National Monument made a perfect base-camp for us, which also happened to be free during the winter months and was a nice surprise. Diane had prepared a nice Thanksgiving ...
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San Juan Canyon

The San Juan River | Sand Island to Mexican Hat
Sunday – Wednesday, May 11-14, 2014

We didn’t have any luck in the San Juan River lottery again this year, but I managed to grab an open date on the calendar for a time my friends and I would be able to go during the month of May. Like last year, I was only able to secure a permit from Sand Island to Mexican Hat. It was probably a good thing because I really didn’t want to take too much more time off from work in May since I had ...
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Cedar Mesa & Beyond

Friday – Sunday, March 14-16, 2014

On Friday morning, Diane and I headed south towards Cedar Mesa in southern Utah to spend a long weekend hiking, camping and searching for some new rock art sites along the way. While the weather was nice during the days it was still a bit cold overnight and in the mornings, especially on Sunday morning when it dropped down to the low 20’s when we woke up around sunrise. Friday was a little breezy with nice clouds in the sky but Saturday was very windy. We got sand-blasted on Saturday pretty good while searching ...
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Bluff Balloon Festival

Saturday & Sunday, January 18-19, 2014

The Bluff Balloon Festival is an annual event that I have wanted to attend for a number of years, yet for some reason or another I have never made it down there for it. This year I finally changed that! Diane and I drove down to spend the weekend around Bluff so we could get a little hiking in and watch the balloons in the Valley of the Gods on Sunday morning. I don’t think we could have asked for a better weekend of weather in January since the temperature reached 60 degrees while ...
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Montezuma Canyon and the Doll House

Monday, October 7, 2013

After spending the last two nights up in the San Juan Mountains, it was nice to spend a warmer night camping in the desert. I decided to skip sunrise this morning and sleep in a little bit. After breakfast, Marty and I wandered to some nearby rock art sites to take a few photos.

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The San Juan River

Sand Island to Mexican Hat
Wednesday – Friday, May 8-10, 2013

I have wanted to get on the San Juan River for a while, but because of the permit system in place I have never really tried. This year I decided it was finally time to try and secure a permit for myself and a few friends from work. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get any permits from the original lottery. However, I was able to grab an opening at a later date. We had originally wanted to try and do the whole stretch of the San Juan from Sand ...
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Monument Valley

Friday – Sunday, March 29-31, 2013

I’ve driven past Monument Valley many times in the past but have never actually stopped in the park before. I decided to spend all day Saturday at the park so that I could photograph the Mitten Shadow at sunset. Since that was my main goal this trip, I’ll start this report with the photo I was after. Twice a year the West Mitten casts it’s shadow onto the East Mitten just before sunset and it’s something that I’ve wanted to try and photograph for a while. There were a lot of clouds on the ...
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Collins Canyon

Sunday, March 3, 2013

On Sunday morning I was up shortly before sunrise and quickly taking down camp so I could get an early start on the hike. I wasn’t planning on taking any photos at sunrise, but when I saw the sky start to light up I quickly grabbed my camera out of the Jeep and ran over to the nearest outcrop of sandstone above my camp. I’m glad that I did!

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Kane Gulch

Saturday, March 2, 2013

On Saturday morning I headed south for an early season hike in the Grand Gulch area. I stopped at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station as they opened for the day to pick up an annual Cedar Mesa hiking pass and then started hiking down Kane Gulch from there. There was still quite a bit of snow and ice in places, but nothing difficult. In the morning everything was frozen which made things a little easier, but on my way back in the afternoon everything had started melting and there was a lot more slippery mud on ...
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Bullet Canyon

Arizona Strip & Southern Utah Wanderings | Day 8
Saturday, October 13, 2012

It rained again on Friday night. Not near as much as the previous night, but enough to make everything wet when we took down camp in the morning. Once we got our camp packed up into the Jeep and had a little breakfast, we drove over to the Bullet Canyon trailhead so we could start our hike for the day. Our main destinations for today would be Perfect Kiva and Jailhouse Ruin, but we would explore the canyon along the way, too.

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Slickhorn Perfect Kiva

Arizona Strip & Southern Utah Wanderings | Day 7
Friday, October 12, 2012

Sometime after midnight the skies finally opened up and it started raining. There was a little lightning and thunder, too. It would rain harder and softer but remained pretty constant for the rest of the night. Around the time we wanted to get up in the morning it started to rain the hardest yet, with a few close lighting strikes. We waited in our dry tents for the storm to let up so that we could finally get outside.

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Rock Art Road

Arizona Strip & Southern Utah Wanderings | Day 6
Thursday, October 11, 2012

After sleeping in a little later on Thursday morning, we had a little breakfast and hiked down the old road past the washout in search of rock art. After looking at the washout closely, I’m pretty sure I could have driven my Jeep across if I really wanted to, but we were more interested in hiking today, so that’s what we did. We managed to find plenty of petroglyphs on the scattered boulders along the way, some were better that others, but they were all fun to ...
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Alstrom Point to Johns Canyon

Arizona Strip & Southern Utah Wanderings | Day 5
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Wednesday morning, after a great night sleeping under the stars on Alstrom Point, we woke up just as dawn was starting to break. I rolled out of my sleeping bag, grabbed my camera and walked a few feet to the edge of the cliff overlooking Lake Powell. Looking towards the sky to the east I had a feeling that there was going to be a great sunrise.

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Cedar Mesa Ruins & Rock Art

Friday – Sunday, June 8-10, 2012

This weekend I met my friend Philippe and his wife on their annual trip to the Southwest from France. This year we planned a day to do a little hiking and exploring on Cedar Mesa (Last year we spent a day hiking in the San Rafael Swell). We spent Saturday hiking together and searching for a few ruins and rock art sites. That evening I ended up camping at their campsite in Natural Bridges. We also had an unexpected visitor to camp that evening when Laurent Martres and one of his friends stopped by ...
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Cedar Mesa & Bluff

Saturday & Sunday, April 21-22, 2012

I was originally supposed to go camping this weekend with Amanda, but at the last minute she was unable to go with me, so I had to figure out something else to do. I sent an email to Marty to see if he was free on the weekend for some hiking on Cedar Mesa, but I figured he already had plans and I would be on my own. To my surprise, he was free and willing to join me. At first he thought he would only be joining me on Saturday, but he ended ...
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Easter Weekend Ruins & Rock Art

Saturday & Sunday, April 7-8, 2012

I set out this weekend with one goal in mind- I was searching for a specific ruin known as the Painted Granary or Nestled Granary. I had done some research and thought I figured out which canyon it might be hidden in. The only way to know for sure was to get out there, hike around and search for it…so that’s what I did!

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A Morning on the Sandstone Spine

November Cedar Mesa & Comb Ridge Trip 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011

After spending an awesome weekend in Natural Bridges, Jackson and I spent a morning exploring Comb Ridge before heading back home. Monarchs Cave was one of the first ruins I ever visited on Comb Ridge and I was looking forward to revisiting them again on this trip, so that was our first stop.

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Veterans Day Weekend at Natural Bridges

November Cedar Mesa & Comb Ridge Trip 2011
Friday & Saturday, November 11-12, 2011

Right after an awesome three day weekend in Northern Arizona I was headed down to Cedar Mesa with my friend Jackson for another long weekend over Veterans Day weekend. Our destination and goal for this trip was to explore Natural Bridges National Monument for two days. I had been to the park once before, but at that time we only stayed up on the canyon rim and viewed the bridges from their respective overlooks. This trip we were planning on descending down into White Canyon so ...
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Back Home Through Bluff

Arizona Strip & Southern Utah Wanderings | Day 8
Saturday, October 8, 2011

Our plan for Saturday was to drive from the Snake Gulch trailhead to Bluff, Utah. We would be going through Page, AZ and making a few stops along the way. When we arrived in Bluff our plans were to search for some new rock art and then to setup camp along Comb Ridge somewhere. In the end we didn’t stick to that final plan.

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Lower Butler Wash and More...

Memorial Day Weekend
Sunday, May 29, 2011

After a very windy night, I was up early and on my way south down the Comb Wash Road. I crossed through the Comb on US 163 and drove to the trailhead for Lower Butler Wash. I descended down the old wagon road on foot and made my way towards the San Juan River through the thick vegetation. Once I neared the river, I started to come across some rock art.

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Fish Creek Canyon and More...

Memorial Day Weekend
Saturday, May 28, 2011

Amanda and I have a little tradition of heading down to Comb Ridge and Cedar Mesa for the Memorial Day weekend. In the past she has had no trouble getting the weekend off from work, but unfortunately she was unable to get it off again this year. I had invited a friend or two to join me, but neither of them were able to make it down this weekend. That meant I would be heading down by myself.

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Long Fingers Canyon

The Maze and the Mesa | Day 9
Sunday, April 17, 2011

The last day of our 9 day trip had finally arrived and I was looking forward to getting home and taking a real shower. We wanted to make this a shorter day so that we wouldn’t be getting home too late. We broke down camp, had a quick breakfast and then we crossed over Comb Ridge and headed south along Butler Wash. Then we hiked into Long Fingers Canyon and explored all of the alcoves, ruins and rock art that we could find. It was a nice and ...
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Mule Canyon

The Maze and the Mesa | Day 8
Saturday, April 16, 2011

On Saturday we woke up again to yet another cold morning, but thankfully not quite as cold as the previous day. Originally we were planning on staying in our current campsite for the last night, but at the last minute we changed our plans and decided to move to Comb Wash for the last night. We packed up camp and headed over to Comb Wash and then setup camp again. Once camp was set, we headed over to Mule Canyon and were hoping to take a nice leisurely ...
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Big Man Panel & Lower Comb Wash

The Maze and the Mesa | Day 7
Friday, April 15, 2011

When we woke up on Friday morning it was about 26 degrees out…the coldest morning so far on the trip! We had another quick breakfast and then took off for the Government Trailhead. Soon we were hiking across Pollys Pasture until we reached the Government Trail that drops down into Grand Gulch.

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Moon House Ruins & Upper Johns Canyon

The Maze and the Mesa | Day 6
Thursday, April 14, 2011

After another very windy and cold night, Jared and I had some breakfast and headed over to the Kane Gulch Ranger station again. We wanted to make this an easy day since we had done a lot of hiking all week, so we decided to go check out the Moon House Ruins. We had attempted this hike a few years ago (before the permit system was started) but we were unable to find the way down and across McLoyd Canyon to the ruins, so we wanted to finally ...
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Sheiks Canyon & The Green Mask

The Maze and the Mesa | Day 5
Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We were up before sunrise on Wednesday for a quick breakfast so that we could squeeze in a quick hike down into Sheiks Canyon before Dave would have to head back home. First up in Sheiks Canyon was the Yellow House Ruin. The roof beams over part of this ruin still have the yucca lashings with knots tied to the roof beams. It’s a pretty amazing site.

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November Ruins & Rock Art | Sunday

November Cedar Mesa & Comb Ridge Trip 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010

On Sunday morning we slept in a little later than the previous day. The weather reports had indicated that there would be snow overnight so we were expecting to wake up and find the ground covered, but when I looked out the window there was none. Still, the weather wasn’t the greatest; it was windy and raining off and on. Despite the weather we loaded up the Jeep and headed towards Comb Ridge.

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November Ruins & Rock Art | Saturday

November Cedar Mesa & Comb Ridge Trip 2010
Friday & Saturday, November 19-20, 2010

This last weekend was our annual November trip to the Cedar Mesa / Comb Ridge area. We set out to check out some new ruins and rock art during the weekend and we were not disappointed. On Friday we both got out of work early and headed south to Blanding. On our way we made a quick stop at the Dewey petroglyph panel for a few quick photos before it got dark.

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Along Comb Ridge | Monday

Memorial Day | Monday, May 31, 2010

On Memorial Day we packed up camp and headed a short ways down Comb Wash to check out some ruins in Lower Mule Canyon.

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Along Comb Ridge | Sunday

Memorial Day Weekend | Sunday, May 30, 2010

After a good night’s sleep, we headed out early on Sunday morning to hike to the Lewis Lodge ruins. While we made it down the first ledge, we were unable to make it down to the ruins because of the very narrow and steep trail with an 800 foot drop-off on one side. The exposure was just too much for us. We did manage to get some photos of the ruins from the opposite side of the canyon, though.

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Along Comb Ridge | Saturday

Memorial Day Weekend | Saturday, May 29, 2010

On Saturday morning we headed out on our annual Memorial Day weekend trip to the Comb Ridge and Cedar Mesa area in Southeastern Utah. As usual, we would be meeting up with our friend Jared for the weekend and heading out to find some ruins.

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Hole-in-the-Rock Adventure | Day 1

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Late last year I finally decided to put together a trip that has been on my to-do list for way too long. I needed to finish driving the Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition (San Juan Mission) Route by driving the Hole-in-the-Rock Trail. I had driven pretty much all of the other sections of the route that are drivable except for this one. This was planned as a three day trip so that we could take our time and also get in some hiking along the trail. My adventure started on Thursday, which was the day before we were supposed ...
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Cedar Mesa | Seven Towers

Sunday, November 22, 2009

After making our way back to the highway from Arch Canyon Rim we crossed and headed back to Mule Canyon….this time on the other side of the highway. After a short half mile drive down a 4×4 road and a quick 100 yard hike down a rocky wash, we reached the Seven Towers (also known as the Cave Towers and Mule Canyon Towers).

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Cedar Mesa | Arch Canyon Rim

Sunday, November 22, 2009

After hiking back to the Jeep from the House on Fire ruins, we continued on down the dirt road we had parked on which headed across Texas Flat and then followed near the rim of Arch Canyon. I ended up taking a spur that led us to a pretty cool overlook of Arch Canyon. The overlook was located just above where the 4×4 trail in the canyon ends near Cathedral Arch.

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Cedar Mesa | House on Fire

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday morning we left Blanding and headed towards Cedar Mesa again. Our destination this morning was South Mule Canyon where we looked forward to hiking to the famous House on Fire ruins. We were hoping to be there at a good time of the day for lighting, and I think we nailed the timing pretty good. We spent about an hour exploring the ruins and taking some photos. Here’s a few of the photos…

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South Comb Wash | River House Ruins

Saturday, November 21, 2009

After our fun hike to The Citadel, Amanda and I headed back out Cigarette Springs Road, took a left on UT 261 and made our way down the Moki Dugway. We made a quick stop at Goosenecks State Park since we were in the area.

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Cedar Mesa | The Citadel

Saturday, November 21, 2009

This past weekend Amanda and I headed south for our annual November Cedar Mesa weekend trip. We left right after work on Friday and made our way to Blanding where we had some hotel reservations for the weekend (we’re not into cold weather camping).

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Four Corners Memorial Weekend: Sunday

Sunday, May 24, 2009

On Sunday we woke up early again and headed South along Comb Ridge until we reached Snow Flat Road, which would take us up onto Cedar Mesa.

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Four Corners Memorial Weekend: Saturday

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday morning we woke up extra early and headed for one of our favorite campsites in Comb Wash. As we were driving through Monticello, I noticed a Cherokee in my rearview mirror that sort of looked familiar. By the time we reached Blanding that Cherokee had caught up with me and it was in fact someone I knew…..Jared. We both pulled off at the local Shell for some gas and talked about our current plans for the weekend. We had spent the last Memorial Day weekend exploring the Comb Ridge area, and it looked like we ...
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Thanksgiving on Comb Ridge | Sunday

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Still sore from the previous day’s hiking, we decided to run a local trail in the Jeep before heading home. Back in May we had run Arch Canyon for the first time, however it was cloudy and rainy much of the day. I wanted to head back with my new DSLR and a blue sky (though, we could have used some nice puffy white clouds). Amanda hasn’t driven my Jeep much in the past, but she wanted to drive this trail to the end. She was a bit nervous at first but was much more comfortable ...
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Thanksgiving on Comb Ridge | Saturday

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The original goal for this trip was to spend most of the weekend hiking to Anasazi ruins on Comb Ridge. However, after hiking a few miles we realized we were a little more out of shape than we had thought 😉 So we didn’t exactly spend the whole weekend hiking. Luckily we had the Jeep with us so we could still do some exploring.

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A Weekend Exploring Cedar Mesa

Saturday & Sunday, May 24-25, 2008

Unfortunately since Amanda has to work on the holiday, we only had a normal weekend to go exploring, but we managed to make the most of it. After heading out after work and driving straight through to Blanding, where we filled up with gas, we made it to Comb Wash campground and managed to setup camp right before it started raining. We knew there might be a chance of rain, but it actually ended up raining all night….and pretty hard, too.

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