A Travellerspoint blog

USA

Arches National Park - Utah USA

Moab camping

sunny 101 °F
View Colorado and Utah 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

It was hot !
Like it only got down to 80 at night. And the clear sky allowed the sun to blaze during the day for 100+ degree days.
However that definitely added to the environment. The other worldly landscape that is Arches and Canyonlands national parks in eastern Utah (and a bit of the Colorado National Monument in western Colorado) is what I image a remote desolate trip to Mars would be like.

We took the 4Runner way off road to find a campsite by a dry river bed but with some large cottonwood trees to provide some shade and cover. Through the extended weekend, we also took the 4Runner on some rocky back roads to explore the challenging driving conditions that make the Moab area such a destination for off roading enthusiasts. Even taking "easier" paths with my limited off roading experience, we still got to experience driving on narrow ledges with hundreds of feet of drop off just past the tires, and some slick rock chunks that couldn't even be considered a road. That absolutely needed 4WD low speed and even got a tire off the ground for some 3-wheel driving.

The first day in the park was spent near the entrance. There is basically one main road in the park that goes out and comes back through the entrance. The closest hikes are for park avenue, Lasal mountain overlook, and courthouse towers view. A little further and about half way along the main park road is one of the most popular stops. It includes Balanced Rock and then two shorter hiking paths (less than a mile). One goes to Double Arch and one loops around the North and South windows arches. To complete the day, we also went to the next stop to go on a hike (about 2 miles) to see the well known and photographed Delicate Arch. After an afternoon nap in the heat, we also headed back into the park to catch the sunset from different viewpoints and behind different rock formations.

The second day was completely spent at the farthest point of the park. There you can start a long hike for the Devils Garden trail. It's about 10 miles for the full experience and provides well over a dozen arches and unique rock landscapes. Near there is where the only main campground is within the park (there are a couple back country tent sites) and that provides access to a few other small hikes to additional arches.

Overall, this is one of the most unique national parks in the world with an environment unlike anything you will normally see. Highly recommended.

Recommend:

  • Devil's Garden trail
  • Delicate Arch
  • Double Arch
  • the Windows

Trip Map

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
USA Utah album

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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 09:12 Archived in USA Tagged landscapes nature mountain utah usa nationalparks 2020 Comments (0)

Beach trip 2020 - California USA

Long Beach visit

sunny 85 °F

overview / intro

While I'm working remotely (mostly from the couch at home) and while flights are cheap (within the US), we decided to take advantage and visit some friends and family in Long Beach, California.

We were able to work from there fine during the week and then enjoy the beach at night and over the weekend. We got in some stand up paddle boarding, running, swimming, and walks around the canals of Naples Island.

Recommend:

  • restaurants on 2nd St
  • the local beaches (hidden beach if you can find it)
  • running / biking along the beach and shore

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 07:16 Archived in USA Tagged me beach california run usa 2020 murktravels Comments (0)

Memorial Day camping 2020 - Utah & Colorado USA

Ashley National Forest and Dinosaur National Monument time

sunny 50 °F
View Colorado and Utah 2020 on MurkTravels's travel map.

overview / intro

For the long Memorial weekend, we decided to get some dispersed camping in. That's where you find federal lands that you can drive over off-road paths to get to primitive camp sites that are far away from others and real close to the natural wilderness.

We headed towards the Utah and Colorado border to get away from big cities and people too. The first couple nights we stayed within the Ashley National Forest. It's in north east Utah with lots to see and do. There were dinosaur tracks, arch hikes, man made reservoir, gorge, recreation area, forest, mountains, and some great views. Also, there was time to roast some marshmallows.

Then we headed to the Colorado side of things. We went through the Dinosaur National Monument for some hiking and camping. On our way back to Denver, we swung by and drove through the Colorado National Monument too.

Recommend:

  • Harpers Corner in Dinosaur National Park
  • Drive through Colorado National Monument & stop at all the view points
  • Drive through Douglas Pass on highway 139
  • Red Canyon visitor center - hike and view over Green River
  • Moonshine Arch hike
  • Red Fleet State Park

Trip Map

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
USA Colorado album
USA Utah album

Moonshine Arch (Utah)
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Red Canyon & Green River (Utah)
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State Park (Utah)
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dispersed camping site - scenic, quiet, and so peaceful (Colorado)
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Dinosaur National Monument (Colorado)
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Independence Canyon (Colorado)
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Red Canyon (Colorado)
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 10:01 Archived in USA Tagged me mountains nature hiking colorado utah usa camping roadtrip nationalparks 2020 murktravels Comments (0)

Spring Hiking 2020 - Colorado USA

White Ranch, Deer Creek, and North Mesa

sunny 40 °F

overview / intro

During the spring, we decided to escape some of the lock down blues and venture into nature for some hiking.

It's a great time in the spring to have cooler temps (but you warm up when hiking) and to see some snow cover, but it's not too deep so that you can still walk through it. The skies are usually clear and bright during this time too. We saw a handful of people on each hike, but there's so much space that everyone could keep adequate distant and enjoy the nature within their own groups.

White Ranch Park:

  • in Jefferson county near Golden
  • hiked part of the Belcher, Maverick, and Longhorn trails
  • https://www.jeffco.us/1437/White-Ranch-Park/

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Deer Creek Canyon Park:

  • in Jefferson county near Ken Caryl
  • hiked Meadowlark and Plymouth Mountain trails
  • https://www.jeffco.us/1208/Deer-Creek-Canyon-Park

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North Table Mountain:

  • in Jefferson county near Golden
  • hiked the Mesa Top and Table loop trails
  • https://www.jeffco.us/1427/North-Table-Mountain-Park

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Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
USA Colorado ablum

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 19:12 Archived in USA Tagged me landscapes trees snow nature hiking colorado usa 2020 murktravels Comments (0)

2019

a year in review

all seasons in one day 77 °F
View Scandinavia 2019 & 14ers 2017+ & Japan 2019 on MurkTravels's travel map.

Looking Back

2019: It's been another fun year, what else can I say. I continue to travel the world and experience awesome unique cultures. I also travel a bit around the US for work, family, camping, or other adventures. I continue to push myself with physical and mental challenges, as well as trying new potential hobbies and building up my skills.

This year was marked by a lot of newness. I have a new lady in my life, the lovely Sharon and her 9 year old Lucien (and Felix the cat). I got to witness a cousin get married and bring in a new family member. I met my brand new niece Cara, a newborn life from Renee and Matt Klein. I took dancing lessons, handgun safety classes, passed work certification tests, and had a first sailing based vacation. There was new tattoo work, new camping and hiking adventures, new add-ons to the 4Runner, a new home, a new pet, and new entertainment. I completed my first ski trip and successfully went down a mountain (a short green run, but didn't fall on one of the attempts, so I'll consider that a victory). Also met new co-workers, friends, and neighbors. Played some new board games, card games, and Xbox games.

I look forward to more of the same in 2020. Already have a trip planned to Israel. Hoping for others to either France, Morocco, Philippines, and around the US. I hope to continue to enjoy work, family, and life in general.

Activities

Things that happened in 2019:

Big Travels

Quick Trips

Challenges

Events & other activities

  • Breckenridge retreat weekend
  • Chicago Open festival : concert of Tool, System of a Down, Prodigy, Meshuggah, Gojira, and 9 other hard rock / heavy metal bands
  • Denver concerts: Gojira, the Roots, Slipknot
  • Denver RAW artists - support Gabby
  • Denver Travel and Adventure show
  • Elitch Gardens amusement parks
  • Jury duty
  • Movie on the Rocks (Red Rocks)
  • new family: Cara and Chelsie
  • volleyball leagues
  • Ski trip to Eldora
  • Universal Studios Hollywood amusement park
  • Water World water parks
  • work certification : Agile Product Owner

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums

Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 15:28 Archived in USA Tagged hiking japan sailing sweden concert run usa rockies camping norway denmark nationalparks 14er murktravels 2019 in_review Comments (0)

2019 14ers - Blanca - Colorado USA

more hiking up tall mountains

rain 60 °F
View 14ers 2017+ on MurkTravels's travel map.

Blanca

This peak is part of potentially 4 that one could down in southern Colorado near the Great Sand Dunes. Again, this is a hike that I needed the 4Runner. There's 7 miles of road up to a lake to where the real hiking trail begins. I drove about 4 miles of the road before it got really rough - the truck could have handled it, but my off roading experience isn't quite up for that challenge yet. We camped out overnight in a protected pull off site and starting early the next day.

Even a 6 am start was tough going to cover the 3 miles of rough rock road, and then another 4 miles up what is basically a big pile of rocks. There were definite steep drops off some cliff faces, and exposure to high winds as we climbed up a ridge to the top. One section was pretty much boulder climbing and many minutes I just laid low and hung on to whatever rocks were closest.

The goal for the day was to also do Ellingwood, which shares part of the same approach, and there's a ridge connecting the too. However, we were exhausted, it looked even tougher to climb and we couldn't find where the path split off (remember that it's a pile of rocks with a rock path going up it and piles of cairn rocks to guide your way, so it's tough to spot which are the real rocks to follow). Later, we're glad we headed down early as we got a downpour of water for the last 2 or so miles of hiking. What a fun challenging hike, one of the toughest ones I've ever done.

Relive video of the hikes

Grays & Torreys link: https://www.relive.cc/view/vr63JEV23dO
Blanca link: https://www.relive.cc/view/vRO7GpVG5KO

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
and 14ers album

One of the easier sections of the road to the trailhead. This is after we parked, and didn't see any vehicles after this point.
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Chasing the sun up the mountain
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One of the many lakes we hiked by
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Climbing up Blanca's ridge, with Ellingwood in the background
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Proof at the top
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 18:24 Archived in USA Tagged me waterfalls sunsets_and_sunrises mountains lakes trees snow nature hiking colorado lake sunrise sunsets usa rockies hike denver roadtrip 14er murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

2019 14ers - double take - Colorado USA

climbing the Gray-Torrey duo

sunny 60 °F
View 14ers 2017+ on MurkTravels's travel map.

Gray's & Torrey's

These twin peaks are a somewhat close drive from Denver, but I heard horror stories of the road leading from the highway to the trailhead. If you don't have a high clearance 4WD, then it's another 3 miles each way before and after your hike. These are a couple easier hiking options, but I didn't ever want to add 6 or more miles of gravel road walking. Now that I have the 4Runner, Chris and I decided to knock these peaks off the to do list.

A semi early departure of about 5 am got us to the road. It certainly was rough, but did see some lower cars made it up part of the way. They must have some adventurous drivers. We got near the trailhead for parking and saw quite a few people had camped there over night. Good idea for future trips. The most used path up to either peak is straight forward and has a consistent up hill grind. There's also a Kelso Ridge route option that gets more into class 3 to 4 rock climbing, but we decided to wait on that for a future trip.

The most exciting part of the trip was on the way down. We had to cross a snow field. Previously hikers had crossed and worn down a path, enough so that we could slide down part of it but on a gradual descent section on the trail. We thought that was it, but next saw some people just off the trail, sliding straight down the mountain in a valley. What I came to learn was 'glissading'. Before I knew it, Chris jumped into the snow and started sliding down too. So I followed. It was slick, steep, and scary. We slid for several hundred feet, and then dropped off a ridge and onto an even steeper part. It took a few minutes to probably drop down 700-800 feet of elevation. Quite thrilling, and only ended up with some soaked pants and jackets.

Relive video of the hike

Grays & Torreys link: https://www.relive.cc/view/vr63JEV23dO
Blanca link: https://www.relive.cc/view/vRO7GpVG5KO

Pictures

see more on Facebook Murk Travels albums
and 14ers album

the moon is still out
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the sun is on the way
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view farther into the Rockies
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celebrate
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at the top
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an easy section to walk/slide down
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the steep section we glissaded down - you can't even make out the few little specks of people at the top or the path we slid down
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Links

MurkTravels Vimeo - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Youtube - videos of my trips & entertainment
MurkTravels Facebook page - pictures, posts, and regular updates
MurkTravels Facebook photo albums
MurkTravels Instagram - my attempt at artistic travel images
MurkTravels Travel Map - all the places that I've been and the things that I've seen

Posted by MurkTravels 18:18 Archived in USA Tagged me trees snow nature hiking colorado sunrise usa hike denver challenge 14er murktravels 2019 Comments (0)

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