Archives for: August 2009


Permalink 11:45:28 pm, by John Email , 517 words, 693 views   English (US)
Categories: News

Colorado and Utah 2009 - Days 6-9

Day six was spent going from Ouray to Moab. We went over to Gateway, CO and took the John Brown Canyon trail into Utah and then picked up the Kokopelli trail through Fisher valley and then to Moab. Since we were late getting into Moab and we had to leave early the next morning for the White Rim trail, we stayed in the Rustic Inn. It was a quaint little motel, and suited our needs.

Day seven was the start of the White Rim trail. We gathered a few supplies and left Moab and headed towards Canyonlands National Park (Island in the Sky district) for our permit. We took the Long Canyon trail route to get to the visitors center. Once we had our permit, we started down the switchbacks and headed out onto the White Rim trail. For those that don't know, the White Rim trail is a 105 mile trail that goes around the Island in the Sky in Canyonlands. It is all unpaved, 4 wheel drive trail. Let me tell you, it is rough. We did so much bouncing, it may take a week or two for my organs to find there proper place within my body again. I had reserved the White Crack campground several weeks in advance. It is the most secluded of the campgrounds and is also supposed to be the most scenic. Unfortunately, the weather did n ot cooperate to provide the great sunset and sunrise we had hoped for. We did get some great scenic shots and also enjoyed the solitude. We stayed up late watching the weather and looking for stars in between the clouds. Then out of no where, a wind/sand storm blew through. It collapsed our tent, filled it with sand, and sent our table and chairs sailing. I was able to chase down the table and chairs and Lonnie and I were able to secure the tent and get most of the sand out. It was something else. We heard it coming for several minutes, but did not know what it was until it hit.What would a trip be with out some excitement?

Day seven - The next morning, we packed up and finished the White Rim. We got off of the trail approximately 4pm. We then went back down the switchbacks and headed out the Potash Trail to get back to Moab. We set up camp at the KOA in Moab and had a great dinner at the Moab Brewery.

Day eight - We got up this morning and headed to Arches National Park. We went straight to the Delicate Arch trail head to get the hike out before the heat of the day. It is a 3.2 mile roud trip hike that has a lots of hills to climb. It is worth is though for the great view of the arch. We spent almost an hour there taking pictures from various points. We spent all day in Arches and did several hikes and drove all over the park. It is a really great place to spend a day. I hope to post pictures soon.


Permalink 09:57:17 am, by John Email , 16 words, 759 views   English (US)
Categories: News

Pictures Posted

Just checking in quickly before leaving camp to let you know that new pictures are posted.


Permalink 11:08:35 pm, by John Email , 250 words, 652 views   English (US)
Categories: News

Colorado and Utah 2009 - Days 4 and 5

We left Salida and headed to Lake City first thing day 4. We had lunch at a neat little place named Poker Alice. After lunch, we headed towards Engineer Pass. So far Engineer Pass has been the most scenic thing we have done on this trip. We took a lot of pictures while up there. Our goal was to get to Ouray by night. In order to do that, we had 3 more passes to get done. Now keep in mind that we were coming down Engineer at around 3 in the afternoon. We proceeded to go through Animas Forks, California Pass, Hurricane Pass, and finally Corkscrew Pass. We were actually coming down Corkscrew at sunset and got on the highway after dark. It was all worth it for the amazing scenery. At one point while we were at the top of California Pass when out of no where clouds completely socked us in. It only lasted for like 20 minutes, but was a very neat experience.
Today, we did the infamous Black Bear pass that runs between Ouray and Telluride. That was a pretty scary pass. Everyone says the switchbacks are the worst part, but it actually is the section called "the stairs" just above the switchbacks that was the worst. We had lunch in Telluride and then headed back to Ouray over Imogene Pass. We also went up most of Yankee Boy Basin. We had great scenery again and a good time. I will post some of the pictures we took tonight.


Permalink 10:44:33 pm, by John Email , 705 words, 794 views   English (US)
Categories: News

Colorado and Utah 2009 - Days 2 and 3

We did not have any internet service until tonight so this is a double post. Days 2 and 3 were very exciting, fun, cold, and a bit scary at times. We started off day two leaving Colorado Springs and heading to the St. Elmo area. First stop was the Mount Princeton trail. This is a relatively easy trail that goes to a very high viewpoint on the side of Mount Princeton. The Forest Service has a chalet just beyond the end of the trail. It was very neat and would be an interesting place to spend the night. After that little trail ride, we went to St. Elmo and spent a few minutes looking around the General Store then proceeded on to our first planned camping area somewhere along the east side of the Tincup Pass trail. We ended of at the last camping area just before the actual pass. It was a beautiful campsite that sat just below timberline and had great views of the surrounding mountains. The site was at just over 11,500 feet in altitude. IT was a little chilly up there with the ever blowing wind. We set up the tent in a semi sheltered area. When we tried to start up the inverter to charge items, fill air mattresses etc., it popped a couple of times and blew smoke at me. It had called it quits. We also discovered that the little butane matches/fire starters that everyone has in the kitchen, do not work at 11,500 feet. My kitchen matches also acted very strange. The stuff on the end that starts the fire when you strike it, would just sizzle and then go out. We were able to use the butane fire starter in conjunction with a kitchen match to get the match to burn and light the lantern. We also discovered at this point that the meal we had planned to eat had been left in Lonnie's freezer. I had a granola bar and Lonnie had part of a sandwich he had left from lunch. The altitude was wearing on us very quickly so we turned in early. It was so cold up there that even in our zero degree rated bags we were still getting chilled. It also started raining and rained most of the night. At about 4AM, we both woke up needing to make a call of nature and when we looked outside, the clouds had cleared, and the stars filled the sky. I tried to get a few shots, but am not sure how well they turned out.
After the long night freezeing, it stopped raining long enough for us to go over Tincup pass and down to the town of Tincup. Many people call Tincup a ghost town, but every building seemed to be occupied, so I am not sure it qualifies. After we left Tincup we headed over Old Cumberland Pass. This one was really rough in sections, but rewarded us with a great drive up into the clouds about timberline. It was almost surreal. Once we got down from Cumberland Pass, we headed to the west end of the Alpine Tunnel. Look up the Alpine tunnel if you are not familiar with it. It was neat to see some of the old buildings and see the history of the tunnel. After the Alpine Tunnel we headed over to Hancock Pass. This one was a bit rough also, but not as rough as Cumberland. Once we were over the pass and on the 2 wheel drive road back towards St. Elmo, we made a quick side trip up to the Mary Murphy mine. It was in a lot rougher shape than when Kathy and I went there in 2005. We made the decision that since we were going to have to go into Salida for supplies and it was getting late, and we nearly froze parts of our anatomies off the night before, that we would spend the night in a motel in Salida. We are reviewing plans for tomorrow, we may go ahead and go to Ouray via Engineer Pass, or we may go to the Great Sand Dunes via Medano Pass. Be sure to check the photo gallery for updates and check back here as well.


Permalink 09:31:26 am, by John Email , 228 words, 759 views   English (US)
Categories: News

Colorado and Utah 2009 - Day 1

The drive up was relatively uneventful, until we got to Colorado Springs.
More on that in a minute. However, neither of us slept well while the other
was driving, so we were exhausted when we got in. Slept great last night.
The weather was so nice the people we are staying with just leave the doors
and windows open. Woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains. No
pictures to post yet.

Now to the trouble. Along the way up we noticed that the right rear brake
was chattering really bad when we would stop. It did not do it all of the
time though. Everything seemed to be fine otherwise, so we deceided to keep
moving. Lonnie also noticed that the truck was pulling right some of the
time, but we thought it was from the crown in the road. As we got into town,
we realized that the right rear brake caliper was dragging and binding. We
got to Mike and Kelly's house and proceeded to tear down right rear brake.
We found the parts we needed at a local Autozone and were able to make
repairs. We were very blessed by the Lord to be able to find the parts and
have a place to make the repairs. Please continue to pray for safe travel,
no mechanical problems, and a relaxing time for us.


Permalink 04:47:31 pm, by John Email , 123 words, 773 views   English (US)
Categories: News

Getting much closer

Currently, I anticipate a departure time of 9PM tonight. Lonnie and I packed the Jeep last night and found that we need a bigger vehicle. Somehow we managed to make it all fit, albeit with our sleeping bags, tent, folding chairs, and folding tables on the roof. I will be going to Hannah's Yellow Belt ceremony tonight and then grabbing a quick bite. We will finish the load and hit the road.

Please pray that we have no mechanical problems with the vehicle and that we remain safe during our travels. God is powerful and listens to prayers. We need lots of those. Especially tonight as we drive all night. Also, please pray for our families to be safe while we are away.


Permalink 12:27:22 pm, by John Email , 225 words, 779 views   English (US)
Categories: News

Almost Ready

T minus 35 hours until departure.
We are almost ready to leave. We are not making very many firm plans about where and when we will be. We know some places we want to go, and will just figure it out when we get there. Plans are to hit the Alpine Loop and Black Bear Pass in southwest CO. We also plan to go over Hancock, Tincup, and Cumberland passes around St. Elmo in central CO. We have a night reserved at the White Crack camp on the White Rim trail in Canyonlands. We plan to do the complete 100+ mile loop of the White Rim. Plans are to also go to Arches N.P. and the general Moab, UT area. I would really like to do the Top of the World trail northwest of Moab. 11 days and 12 nights of camping and exploring should be a much needed change of pace for us. I have several new pieces of camping equipment to try out on this trip. They are all highly recommended and so I don't anticipate any problems. We will be trying out the PETT toilet system, a shower/toilet shelter from Wally World, and a Zodi single burner hot camping shower. We will have intermittent email/web access and so I will try to post updates and a few pictures when I can. Stay tuned.


Permalink 02:52:53 pm, by John Email , 89 words, 637 views   English (US)
Categories: News

Preparing to head west

This coming Friday, the 21st of August, my good friend Lonnie and I will be leaving to spend two weeks camping, riding Jeep trails, and just having fun in Colorado and Utah. I will try to post every day or two and also upload a few pictures along the way. This trip has been a long time coming. The last time Lonnie and I went west was for a week in August of 1996. Our lives have changed a lot since then, but hopefully the lands of the west haven't.

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