East of Canyonlands

This past weekend, we went on a backpacking loop that started in Canyonlands Needle District, took in the lightly used Indian Creek Wilderness Study Area, and made our way back to our car. A satisfying jaunt of a little over thirty miles featuring scrambling, off-trail navigation, lush streams full of recent Spring rains and snow, and even inadvertently hiking a chunk of the Hayduke Trail and seeing HDT thru-hikers on this increasingly popular route.

Joan and I eagerly look forward to our weekends together. We live in one of the most striking places in the US, if the not world, with enough outdoor jaunts to keep us from being bored. And though the national parks are busy, there are always places off the beaten path for us to see, explore, and savor.

Someone once told me that there is no backpacking to be enjoyed in the Moab area except for Needles.

This person must not know how to read a map as we’ve had no shortage of hikes and backpacks both in the desert and in the nearby La Sal mountains.

Places where, except for more Haydukers, most people don’t seem to explore. Places that make for a memorable trip by any standard.

Places where we make camps to see the desert glow and watch the last bit of sun before the night sky covers us above.

As close to a couples selfie as Joan and I will ever get! PCO Joan.

Places where we can go into the canyons and above the rim. And see yet more places we want to explore in the future.

Our trip soon ended. As all trips do. We followed still scenic jeep roads.

We made our way to the Needles Outpost with a bit of cross-country and an even more obscure jeep track. Time for some ice cream and fizzy sugar water. And then a quick paved walk brought us back to the car.

Every weekend brings us new delights to explore. I don’t know what where will be this weekend. I do know it will be somewhere memorable and full of joy.

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