Other side of the La Sals

When I finished my across Utah walk three years ago, I followed a route just below the summits of the La Sal Mountains and ended my walk in the small hamlet of Gateway, CO. 
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I spent the morning walking through John Brown Canyon on the Colorado side of the border and then hitched up to Grand Junction through the geologically and visually stunning Unaweep Canyon.
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Over the past three years, I’ve also traveled through the aptly named Paradox Valley.
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But I wanted to see these areas a bit more.
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This weekend Joan and I did a sampler that took in a loop on the other side of the La Sal Mountains from us.
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We did two nights of camping interspersed with hiking in and along the Uncompahgre Plateau, Unaweep Canyon, and Paradox Valley.
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A look at the map readily shows how the rivers, canyons, trails, and jeep tracks connect to the modern towns and highways that make up our immediate area.
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Looking at the map, I plotted a future route that’s nearly all single, jeep, or ATV track to get to Grand Junction. Our current travel paths, no doubt, follow older ones.
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We saw rock images, metates, and other signs of how long people traveled these areas.
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State and county lines seem a mostly false construct compared to the land flow and how people traveled through generations ago.
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A natural break in the canyon wall by rock images, metates, and signs of ancient and modern camping. And lead to a spring. PCO Joan.

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As the days grow shorter and the weather gets colder, we find these days with many “cherry-picked” hikes a useful way to explore places near us that we have not seen before so close to our home.
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We’ve also found that using the truck for quick camps between hikes a utilitarian way of exploring the area. A way to see places not easily seen via backpacking due to private land or other issues
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A storm over the La Sals in the distance. We pulled up to our home just as it started snowing.

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And you never know what you might find…perhaps the Colorado Champion Pinon tree? 🙂

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Jamie Compos
10 months ago

holy crap that’s a pinyon pine??!