Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Running Around

March is almost upon us!

Have you applied for the Utah big game hunts yet?  If not, you have just a little over a week left to do so!  March 6th at 11PM MST is the deadline.  Also keep in mind that Colorado and Nevada application periods are fast approaching as well.

Well friends, again I've had a bit of an absence here.  Its a bit hard to apologize this time as I've spent the last 2 weeks roaming around the state ice fishing, hiking, ATV riding, and canyoneering a bit as well.  I was also able to attend a day of the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo held in Salt Lake City.  If you have never been yet you should go check it out!  I'll have to say my favorite part of it all was the wide variety of wildlife displayed through amazing taxidermy.  Several outfitters highlight the amazing trophy bucks and bulls taken by their clients over the previous year, and as well you will find a great gallery filled with not only western big game, but game from all around the world in the Expo's taxidermy competition.  It's also exciting seeing the new gear and such coming out for the new year, and meeting new people (and old friends) in such a great atmosphere.  It's also exciting to enter to win guns and hunts, even though this guy wasn't lucky enough to land a prize.

As of now I'm working on compiling photos and video to share a great slot canyon hiking trip our family went on just this last Saturday.  While this will take a bit of time, in the mean time I want to share a few photos and thoughts about the ATV ride we went on last Monday (President's Day).

Setting out of Escalante, we headed east down the "Burr Trail" road from Boulder, Utah.  It's been a few years since I've spent much time in the country there known as the Circle Cliffs.  I have fond memories of going there with my grandparents when I was a kid, exploring old uranium mines, checking out Native American sites, and just enjoying the wide variety of geology on display in this region of rough, broken country.  As a kid, we spent a lot of time rock collecting and exploring the high benches, marveling at the ancient petrified logs that scattered the area. 

Today things have changed quite a bit.  With its designation as a national monument (the Grand Staircase-Escalante NM) our rock collecting and such is no more.  However, there is still a lot of amazing country that one can travel and enjoy, and the great petrified forest down "Wolverine Wash" is still around for people to enjoy.

Our trip took us to the northern end of the Circle Cliffs, through "Lampstand", "The Flats", and onto National Forest lands at the head of "The Gulch".  The Gulch was our destination, as we have long heard about the amazing red rock lined canyon that originates at the base of the forested Boulder Mountain.  The Gulch actually cuts a good way north into the mountain, the upper reaches of the canyon filled with gambel oak, ponderosa pine, and giant douglas fir trees.  It was a somewhat tricky ride there by ATV, as I do not believe this road will exist much longer.  It is an "open" road legally, however I would imagine that lack of maintenance will mean it's own natural decommission. 

From the Gulch, we swung back east along the Circle Cliffs through the "Onion Beds", turning south again as we followed the eastern wall of the circle, along the boundary of Capitol Reef National Park.  As the weather began to cool on us we made our way through one last striking red rock canyon and back to our vehicles.  The trip back up the Burr Trail road through "Long Canyon" as sunset neared really capped the day.

I hope you enjoyed the photos of this great scenery we've shared with you today.  There are so many amazing areas like this in southern Utah, it's no wonder this will always be my home.