Bob's World Travels

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South Crestone Lake June 26, 2016
Unity Pond June 24, 2016
Maine June 24, 2016
Harmonica Arch May 22, 2016
Raleigh Peak April 24, 2016
Lee’s Ferry April 17, 2016
Day Three in Paria April 17, 2016
Wrather Arch April 17, 2016
In the Canyon April 17, 2016

South Crestone Lake

Yesterday, I hiked with a group to beautiful South Crestone Lake in the Sangre de Cristo wilderness area. It's been hot and the plentiful snow has melted.  Finally, we are in the high country.

Unity Pond

Unity Pond was as smooth as glass. Sitting on the Lake in the kayak, looking back at the shore, the reflection of the sky and the trees oscillated  vertically, broken into bubbles of color moving toward me.  I paddled out around some rocks extending slightly above the lake surface. Four herons stood on the rocks. As I paddled towards the far shore, I could see a solitary loon floating, dark colored with a white neck.  I considered paddling to the far shore but the kayak was flat-bottomed and slow, and as I paddled, the other shore did not seem to get closer.  Back by the rocks, an osprey flew over and the herons took flight with their folded necks. As I approached the near shore, I floated through a collection of small lily pads with just two spherical, yellow blossoms.  In the afternoon, the wind picked up and the water became dark and broken.

Maine

We had a wonderful four days on Unity Pond in Maine with Lucy and Benjamin, Sarah and John, Joni and Matt, and Tom and Joan.

Harmonica Arch

On Friday, I hiked with a group again into Lost Creek Wilderness  and to Harmonica Arch.  We made the short but rugged climb up to the rocks above the Arch. From the top there were views of Pikes Peaks and the rugged upper Lost Creek Valley.  This is a unique place.  Most natural arches in the West are sandstone arches.  This one is granite. I hiked again on Saturday; so on the two days before by 65th birthday, I hiked a total of 22 miles.

Early May in the Foothills

After three days of snow, it was a beautiful and pleasant day at the White Ranch Open Space.  It the first hike with Dixie for Moe and me.  It was an energetic day.  Dixie is obviously a hunter and had to look under every bush.  Sometimes, the melting snow dropped on us from the trees.

Raleigh Peak

Yesterday we climbed through ponderosa pine forests and the burn area of an old fire to Raleigh Peak.  We climbed off-trail and scrambled steeply over boulders to the rocky top.

Lee’s Ferry

The fourth and last day the canyon continued to widen, and we mostly hiked on the large flat benches on sandy trails. We found one large boulder covered with ancient, native pictographs. After a number, of miles, we began to come across old buildings and eventually came to the preserved buildings of an old ranch.  From there, it was a short walk to Lee's Ferry and the trailhead. Years ago, Karen and I started our two week raft trip down the Grand Canyon from Lee's Ferry. On this last day of the Paria Canyon trip, we visited nearby Navajo bridge above the beginning section of the Grand Canyon and admired a young condor sitting on the rim.  In four days, we walked 45 miles, including the side canyons, through the beautiful flow of the ever changing Paria Canyon.

Day Three in Paria

The third day was our longest hiking day.  Down the canyon, we reached the hard Chinle sandstone formation and had to navigate slanted, narrow stone benches. We came to the last reliable spring which was basically a steady drip.  We filled our containers with water which made our packs heavier. In the later afternoon, the canyon widened out significantly and we left the canyon bottom and followed a trail which climbed hundreds of feet above the creek.  For a small section, the trail traversed the steep side of a very soft formation with the trail narrowing down to the width of a boot. Finally, in the evening we climbed over a pass, and on the pass, the evening light was golden on the distant rock.s We came down to the low plain where the canyon was very wide.. Exhausted, we set up our camp by a large boulder and by the only scraggly cottonwood.

Wrather Arch

In the morning of the third day, we left our packs and hiked up Wrather Canyon. This was a small side canyon full of lush vegetation. Near the top, we climbed steeply up to admire large Wrather Arch from high on the side of the canyon.

In the Canyon

Back in Paria canyon, there was a quicksand incident. Dan found himself sinking into the wet sand and we ran over to him.  I gave him my trekking pole to help him get out.

When we arrived at our campsite, the walls were over 1,000 feet above us. We camped on a sandy bench above the creek under large cottonwood trees.

The next day, we walked nine miles down Paria Canyon, walking through the ankle-deep to knee-deep water much of the way. In the morning, the walls of the Canyon were monumentally high. In the afternoon it opened up more.  We had to walk around some large boulders that had fallen into the canyon bottom. At one point, Cheryl's leg sank all the way into quicksand and she had to be helped out. The walls were covered with natural abstract art colored with orange, white, black and mostly reds.  We followed animal tracks in the wet sand including deer, possible desert sheep, coyotes and bobcats.  We were likely seeing the tracks of mountain lions We camped on a bench with nice large cottonwood trees with very green leaves.  In front of us were very high walls fractured chaotically in every direction. The creek water was silty and known to be polluted by upstream agriculture.  So we got our water from small pools seeping up from springs in the fractured rock walls.

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