Friday, October 4, 2019

Photo Friday: Three Hikes, Three States, Three Days

Recently as part of our post-retirement adventures, we drove from California to Colorado, taking time along the way to do some hiking and camping. The result was that we did three hikes in three states in three days (I could claim a fourth back in California, but that was 3 days before we left). Just for fun, here are a few snapshots.

1. Wednesday. Wheeler Peak, Great Basin National Park, Nevada.
This was a roughly 8-mile RT, with close to 3000’ of climbing (and descending). This was not a smart move with my foot only half recovered from a very bad episode of plantar fasciitis, but I did it anyway. I never said I was smart :)
Not long after we started, we could look up to see the summit, a ridiculously long way above us. It’s hard to see but there was also a light coating of fresh snow or hail from a storm the evening before.

After a long time, the summit looked closer.

By the time we got up there, most of the snow was gone. We found a bit of it hidden here and there.

It was breezy on the summit, but the views were great. It was also nearly lunchtime, so we had a good snack before heading back down, as our lunch was actually back at the car.

2. Thursday. A pair of canyons in Utah. I’m not naming them, because they are getting too many visitors as it is, and I don’t need to add to the info out there. The hike was, again, 8 miles, but with limited climbing aside from the occasional scramble over pour-offs a few feet high. About a 5 hour drive from Wheeler Peak.
Heading into the canyon, after a half-mile approach.

One of the climb-y bits. Nothing very challenging, but it added fun and interest.

The sandstone is subject to erosion into holes and cubbies as well as waves. You can also see the layering of different types of sand here.

A third of the way through the hike we topped out the first canyon, and had a 1.5 mile walk along a jeep trail to the head of the second canyon. We had climbed enough for the breeze to be pleasant and the juniper trees to cast some shade.

Soon our second canyon began to narrow, and the wall show the evidence of the occasional flash floods that carve and smooth such slot canyons. An occasional log jammed high up reminded us why you want to know the weather all around the region before entering a canyon.

In another place, we had to duck under a jammed boulder, another bit of food for thought.

A few passages were just magical classic slot canyon.

Too soon the canyon began to widen and the cliffs grew lower, signalling the beginning of the end.

3.  Friday, Colorado National Monument. Only about 2.5 hours from the canyons, and still sharing some of the same red rock, Colorado National Monument rises right out of the city of Grand Junction. We’ve hiked down into the red rock before, so this time we decided to hike the Black Ridge trail, up in the piƱon/juniper forest. My hike, combined with a mile of nature trail, was about 4 1/4 miles--a nice rest!

Before starting the real trail, we walked a mile RT on a nature trail that came to a convincing dead-end.

Same scene looking down--into the puddle.

Starting up the trail, I could still look back on the eroded features of the Monument.

A less dramatic landscape than the canyon, but the long views of the Book Cliffs were rewarding, as was a tour of the geology--what's above the sandstone?

As a final reward for patience and return visits, the Monument finally showed us one of the bighorn sheep we knew lived there. Would have been nice to see it on the trail, not the road, but we enjoyed this all-too-unafraid ewe.

To complete the four states, here's a glimpse of my hike near Mt. Lassen on Saturday, before our departure for points east.
I hiked to Ridge Lakes. I thought it was 2 miles each way, but that turned out to be a RT distance.
So I continued on to the ridge.

Topped out closer to my 2-mile target, and was rewarded with views of both Lassen and Brokeoff. The latter is lower, but was much more interesting to look at and photograph. In the distance what looks like fog in the valley is smoke from the wildfire du jour.

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2019
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  1. Hi Rebecca - what amazing hikes - so pleased to see them. I was fascinated to read about Booker Cliffs ... and the Sequence Stratigraphy aspects. Sedimentology is such an interesting subject ... but beautiful photos ... gorgeous - cheers Hilary

    1. I love a reader who can geek out on the geology! We have some wonderful books, a series of “Roadside Geology of [name of state” that we often haul along on these trips and read from, though we forgot them this time. A lot of what I know about geology I learned from reading those and peering out the window at the stuff they are talking about.

  2. The US is an amazing country, geographically speaking. I think the west, especially, has an amazing amount of diversity in a relatively short span.

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    1. *Sorry, I misspelled but here it is again:

      I knew I recognized Utah! It's a very beautiful place for off-roading, hiking, and exploring. I miss its land. *sigh*

    2. The Colorado Plateau (Utah's canyon country) is some of my favorite earth anywhere. I gather it's where you used to be :)

  4. Those pictures are stunning! I've never been to that part of the world - beautiful!

    1. There's a sign outside Kanab, UT, that sums it up: "The Greatest Earth on Show." That town is the "gateway" to both Bryce and Zion (and the north rim of the Grand Canyon, IIRC), but I'll expand the description to cover the whole of the canyon country.


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