Looping around the ponderosas

Joan and I follow a pattern every year: We roam the red rock desert in winter and into early spring. As spring turns into summer, we go higher into the ponderosa pines. When summer comes, we head into the higher Abajos, La Sals, or the neighboring San Juan mountains of Colorado and slowly reverse our cycle.

It’s a rhythm that works well, and we never lack places to see, savor, and enjoy each change of the seasons.

Now, it’s our ponderosa season.

It also gave me a chance to revisit a loop I did almost a decade ago and one Joan never saw fully. With more knowledge of the area, I can see things I have not seen before. It also allowed more time for Joan and me to learn about the side canyons that had not occurred to me in the past.

As usual, we started with a Thursday campout. It was a way to ease into the work week, put some of the work behind us, and enjoy sleeping in a (literal) cooler place with few people around.

Our campsite photo from Joan.

Once rested and close to the trailhead, we can start our hike without a longer drive.

We saw a trail crew headed out, and that would be our last contact for a while (other than one passing couple near dusk whose dogs stuck their heads in our tent. Sigh ..)

We immediately spotted a structure I had not seen on my last visit. It was a bit too hard to reach without the ladders and possible catwalks found in the past, which also explains the little damage we could see through my camera lens.

Although this area is not as well known as Cedar Mesa or the national parks, the scenery and archeological sites make it a perfect place for backcountry hiking.

Unlike other places, this wild place lacks jeep roads comparatively speaking, so you must travel on horseback or foot to reach its heart.

We found a quiet spot near deep pools of water that formed a perfect place to call home for another evening out in the canyon.

PCO Joan.

The scenery continued to impress in the morning as we made our way down the main canyon.

We decided to take some side trips this weekend, and a hunch proved good.

We scrambled up a canyon wall and spied a cliff structure with no social trail.

The evidence of any recent visitation proved scant.

We had a quiet place to take in the canyon and felt sure we would not see anyone else for a bit.

More deep pools of water allowed us to camp in the pines and have a night of solitude.

As usual, we hiked out the following morning and saw sights that intrigued us for future trips.

As we continue to live here, it seems that every trip we can take turns into even more trips to see!

Not a terrible problem.

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