Fall splendor in the Abajos

As much as Joan and I enjoy our car camping trips, backpacking gives us the most satisfaction.

There’s something that speaks to us about putting what we need in our pack, hiking into the backcountry, and finding the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset, sip our hot drinks, and admire the blanket of stars above.

Our trip took us along the backside of the Blue, also called the Abajo, Mountains. Though not as lofty as the La Sals, these mountains make for a broader range with quiet nooks and crannies versus their more well-known Utah neighbors.

And the weekend we chose lent itself to seeing the colors of fall cloak these mountains with crisp air at night to bring on the season in the appropriate fashion.

Through a carpet of aspen.

Our route took us up the slopes of a favorite peak that gave us views of the canyon below and the famous Bears Ears on the horizon.

The gentle slopes of the summit lend themselves to off-trail hiking. And, at least based on the register, no one’s visited this peak in months.

We left the summit area, went down the trail, and saw many arborglyphs dating back to the 1930s.

One group of knolls near the trail seemed to have much older evidence of using this ancient path.

Possibly the base of the tower. We saw remnants of similar structures nearby.

Our chosen path continued to go near vibrant maples.

Near dusk, we found a perfect spot on a knoll, sheltered in the trees and with easy access to a wide-open area that gave us sunset views.

The following morning we made our way back to the truck but not before enjoying some last splashes of color along the way.

A simple trip with modest goals but a satisfying way to bring in the autumn.

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