Up in the mountains and down in the desert

Though it’s been an overall wet and cooler year in Southeast Utah, the turning of the calendar eventually means summer arrives. And with that, the inevitable hot weather.

Joan and I hike, camp, and backpack at higher elevations.

And for us, those first forays of the summer mean the Abajos (also called “The Blues” among long-time locals) with its aspens, rounded but tundra-capped mountains, flowing streams, and higher mountains full of wildflowers.

The Spanish named the Abajos, but I can see why later Euro-American settlers called it “The Blue Mountains.”

We found a stunning campsite on the shoulder of an unnamed peak at the edge of the tundra. And the remnants of snowfields meant, based on the lack of footprints, no one else had come this way.

PCO Joan

PCO Joan

Our campsite gave us access to one of the better views we’ve seen in this range; though an unnamed peak, it is one of the higher ones in the area, including named ones.

We hiked around a bit, had dinner, and enjoyed hot drinks in the cool mountain area with plenty of daylight until sunset.

PCO Joan.

Around 8:30 or so, we reached the peak and timed it well for sunset.

We enjoyed our mountain view scape.

We returned and settled in for a peaceful night away from the heat.

The following morning we leisurely hiked out and enjoyed more wildflowers, butterflies, and the forested terrain different from our typical red rock home.

We returned to our red rock home and started our week again. But often, we get reminded of how fortunate we are to call the place home.

Early morning bike ride before the temperatures became too hot.

One of Joan’s colleagues stayed at our home the following evening. And she had never visited Arches previously.

A post-dinner sunset visit remedied that situation.

With only two hours or so, we hit the Windows section. A place that also never disappoints for sunset views.

The cooler evening weather makes this time of the desert evening the best during the summer months.

The light show made our friend’s first visit a memorable one.

Not a bad place we call home.

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Robert Ballou
Robert Ballou
9 months ago

We also enjoyed a brief stay at the Buckboard Campground near Monticello in the Abajos a couple of weeks ago. Hiked up Indian Creek from Newspaper Rock to check out the initial proposed route for the Color Country National Scenic Trail (now going up Cottondwood Creek instead). The road was closed over the pass from both ends due to snow, so we drove around to Blanding and into Jackson Reservoir. Beautiful aspens all around. Certainly a niece break from the desert heat, I’m sure.