I recently returned from an awesome 15 day trip out West with my wonderful girlfriend Ashley. We really enjoying getting out into the hills, canyons, mountains, etc.. Experiencing God's Creation is something special. It is really good on the soul. We hope you enjoy the report.
Dates: 11-26 MAY 2018
Locations: Utah & Colorado
Activity: Hiking, Camping, Site Seeing
Ashley and I try to get out West at least once a year. This year we decided to go to two of our favorite states. We visited so many amazing places. Pictures and descriptions below:
Location: Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park
Temperature: Low to Mid 70's (Ferenheit)
Description: This arch is one of the most beautiful and picturesque that I have ever seen. DO NOT WALK ON THE ARCH!
Pro Tip: Make sure to visit Canyonlands in early May and make reservations as soon as you can for campsites. It is also a good idea to have a high clearance vehicle with 4WD in order to get to backcountry primitive campsites.
Recommended Gear: Kit Bag, Connor Pocket or Tara, H20, multi- tool, sunglasses, hat, boots, paracord, first aid kit, Compass, Headlamp
Location: Dead Horse Point, Utah
Temperature: Mid 70's
Description: We went to this point at sunset on a recommendation from Evan Hill (thank you SO much!). Because of the time of year it was not packed, great temperatures, and I had some amazing company.
Pro Tip: Get to Dead Horse Point early and find a good spot on the rim to have dinner or lunch. Make sure to go in May before all the crowds get there... and you HAVE to go for the sunset. It is a site to see!
Recommended Gear: Kit Bag, Connor Pocket or Tara, H20, multi- tool, sunglasses, hat, boots, paracord, first aid kit, headlamp
Location: Mount Cutler and Mount Muscoco
Temperature: Mid 70's to Low 80's
Description: Two smaller mountains that we climbed near Colorado Springs and Fort Carson. Total distance was around 6 to 7 Miles. We did this climb with 2 little kids as well. Make sure to start early and bring lots of water. There was a decent amount of sun exposure. I am not sure of the exact elevation gain but it was at least a few thousand feet. FREEDOM ON!
Pro Tip: The earlier you start in the day, the less people will be there. This is not an "easy" hike so not too many people should be making the trek all the way to the top. Even so, the parking lot directly by the trailhead will probably be full unless you get there EARLY. Bring plenty of water as always and bring a snack to enjoy with loved ones at one of the many scenic views on the way to the top.
Recommended Gear: Kit Bag, Connor Pocket, Tara, or Umlnidi (seen in photos with pals pocket and kit bag... and small child lol) H20, multi- tool, sunglasses, hat, boots, paracord, first aid kit, mountain serape, headlamp, snacks, trekking poles
Location: Colorado National Monument
Temperature: High 70's to Mid 80's
Description: We were going to backpack here but we decided not too after not finding really any prime spots for tents along the route that we picked out with the help of a Park Ranger. Maybe next time! Even so we had a great time. Lots of cool lizards and sometimes you might see some big horned sheep in the region (sadly we did not).
Pro Tip: If you have a significant other and are physically fit enough to do it.... you HAVE to set your camera to timer and catch them for the classic photo (reference picture above)!
Recommended Gear: Kit Bag, Connor Pocket, Tara, Umlnidi, or Ute depending on the hike (seen in photos with kit bag and m2016 buttpack) H20, multi- tool, sunglasses, hat, boots, paracord, first aid kit, mountain serape, headlamp, snacks, sleeping pad, seek outside tipi, trekking poles, cook kit, rations, extra socks, compass, map
Location: Scenic Route, on way to Moab, Utah
Temperature: High 70's to Mid 80's
Description: We got off of the main drag and took a half hour longer route towards Moab. I forget the designation for the road so if someone could shed some light on this I would appreciate.
Pro Tip: I am not sure what highway this is but it is much better than just taking 70 West. If you are visiting Moab you have to take this scenic route along the Colorado River into Moab (I think its 191 if someone knows for sure comment below!).
Recommended Gear: As much HPG as you can fit in the car.... and water... don't forget the water
Location: Manti- La Sal National Forest, Utah
Temperature: Mid 60's to Low 70's
Description: We drove up the forest road to Oowah Lake... we did a lot of ooooing and aaahhhing while we took in the sites! We also camped on some BLM land near Moab (Seek Outside Tipi pictured above as well as prairie belt).
Pro Tip: While you are hiking along the trail near Oowah Lake and are looking for Clark Lake, keep your eyes peeled for the trail. We missed it and apparently walked right past it. This is also a great trail for Mountain Biking.
Recommended Gear: Kit Bag, Tara, or Connor Pocket (seen in photos) H20, multi- tool, sunglasses, hat, boots, paracord, first aid kit, mountain serape, headlamp, snacks, trekking poles
Location: Mount Sherman, Colorado
Temperature: Cold, probably in the 30's with wind chill
Description: 14,035 Feet above sea level; this mountain was a round trip of about 5.5 to 6 miles with a few thousand feet of elevation (I know, specific right?) The road was passable with zero snow at this time of year, even with a 2WD passenger car. Note that the amount of snow Colorado had this year was much less than usual (2018). The snow pack right now is about where it should be in July on a typical year according to my sources. We still needed some traction assistance via micro spikes crossing a large snow field. The view was something special looking west into the rest of the Rockies. This was the last thing we did before we headed home for Ohio.
Pro Tip: START EARLY (not really a pro tip but you get the picture)!!!
Recommended Gear: Kit Bag, Connor Pocket or umlindi, H20, multi- tool, sunglasses, hat, boots, paracord, first aid kit, mountain serape, headlamp, snacks, trekking poles, extra socks, compass, map, micro spikes, wind jacket, winter gloves, neck gator, cold weather hat
Location: Hidden Valley Trail, Moab, Utah
Temperature: Mid 80's to Low 90's
Description: This was probably one of my two favorite hikes that we did during our 15 day trip (If I had to pick two it would be this one and Mount Sherman). It was 5 Minutes outside the main drag of town but there was only like 4 other people that we saw the whole time. It was amazing. Less than 5 miles round trip I believe.
Pro Tip: Use lots of sunscreen, wear a wide brimmed hat, and bring LOTS of water.... hydrate or die!
Recommended Gear: Kit Bag, Tara, or Connor Pocket (seen in photos), H20, multi- tool, sunglasses, hat, boots, paracord, first aid kit, mountain serape, headlamp, snacks, trekking poles
Location: Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Temperature: Mid 80's
Description: This National Park has not been updated sinse the 70's but it is truly an awesome park! The artifacts and the dwellings of so many ancient peoples is something amazing to see. The Hill brothers would know so much more about this than I so I will not even attempt to explain the history behind this region in Colorado. Maybe they can chime in after reading my post lol.
Pro Tip: Get here earlier in the day, have a full tank of gas (its a bit of a drive to the actual sites from the entrance of the park), and bring lots of water with you.
Recommended Gear: Kit Bag, Connor Pocket or Tara, H20, multi- tool, sunglasses, hat, boots, first aid kit, headlamp
We loved both Utah and Colorado. We found that Utah is great in May but the Rockies are a bit cool with some snow still. It truly is a shame that May is not a perfect month for both Colorado and Utah. We hiked so many amazing canyon, mountain, and desert trails. If anyone has any questions about our trip or need help with recommendations on places to go (We went to Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Grand Junction, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. We also went to Moab, Utah).