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Category Archives: hike

It was our final day in Utah and I started with breakfast at the Eklectica Cafe and then the girls and I went to the Moab Barkery and I went to the Back of the Beyond Bookstore. No doubt there are many other highlights in Moab but we really needed to get out and walk again. At an outdoor store, Grandstaff Canyon was recommended. It was a short distance from town so there were a few cars in the parking lot but not too many. A sign at the trailhead warned of poison ivy and said the dogs might brush up against it and not be affected, however a person could get it from her dogs. Great. Well, I already knew that but hadn’t considered I’d be running into poison ivy on trails in Utah.

We went anyway and were rewarded with a delightful canyon with a clear creek running through it. Also lots of fall colors. And at the end of the canyon was Morning Glory Bridge. It was another good hike.

I can’t say enough about the wonderful desert hiking we did while we were in the Bear’s Ears region of SE Utah. And we just began to explore the area.

My friend Cindy came to visit from Grant County and she really likes to hike the Maple Pass trail so on Monday, that’s what we did. Us and over 100 other hikers. The place has become overrun with visitors. The restrooms were strewn with trash from the weekend. It was pretty appalling. I heard that someone else estimated 500 hikers on a weekend day. Egads. While this place is over-the-top beautiful, I may take it off of my list of places to hike. Cindy agreed and said she is ready to explore new trails next time.

This hike at this time of the year is nearly irresistible. How can you NOT do this? Just the drive to the trailhead is enough to make you stop and pay attention.

This hike had just about everything – stunning fall colors, lingering wildflowers, grand vistas, perfect weather, wildlife sightings. Oh my.

We got out early and made the long and arduous drive to the Freezeout trailhead in order to hike up to 8000 plus foot Tiffany Mountain. The road is rocky but passable for most cars. It just takes a while. And I took even longer because I kept stopping to look at and photograph the fall colors. Some of the aspens were a vivid orange red instead of yellow. The dogs were getting anxious since I wasn’t letting them out. At the trailhead, while I was fiddling with my gear and before the dogs were out of the car, I heard a strange bellowing sound. It was something I’d never heard before. Bigfoot? I didn’t hear any thrashing around in the brush and wasn’t sure what to make of it but I had an idea of what it was.

The dogs wore their orange vests because it is hunting season for bear and grouse and also archery deer season. I had hardly seen anyone along the way but I figured it was better to be safe. The car said it was 45 degrees in the sun and on the shaded trail I found frost. There were some migrating raptors, mostly accipitors that I identified – Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks. There were lots of Clark’s Nutcrackers gathering seeds and making raucous calls. Chickadees and kinglets and bluebirds and juncos too. I saw a pika in the rocks near the mountain top.

The larches were vivid. The golden needles against the blue sky takes my breath away. The views that unfolded as I walked above the treeline were also breathtaking. I could see the North Cascades all the way to Mount Baker. Farther south, there was Glacier Peak. And I could see the continuing smoke from the Crescent Mountain wildfire. It will burn til the snow falls.

When we were returning to the trailhead, I heard some thrashing through the brush ahead and to the right. And then a cow moose crossed the trail not 100 feet ahead of us and she was followed by a bull moose! So that was the sound I heard earlier. The bull moose was bugling! It all happened pretty fast so no photos. There are moose in various places around this region but you just don’t see them very often.

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