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Friday, November 15, 2019

Checkerboard Mesa Hike With Juliet and Chris

With chilly weather on the way, we put Capitol Reef in or rearview mirror...over Boulder Mountain with its see-forever views and groves of aspen still clinging to their autumnal regalia.

If you held a gun to my head and told me to name a favorite "drive," that stretch through Capitol Reef to Torrey to Escalante to Bryce would be it, in particular, between Boulder Mountain and Escalante. Man oh man the drama and variety. Few places can rile the goosebumps better than that.

After landing in Zion-land, we connected up with buddy Chris. He was saving us a boondock spot off the "Dam Road," now newly signed into fewer dispersed camping sites. But so far, people were pretty much ignoring them and camped nuts-to-butts just like always. We chose a small unsigned patch of BLM land nearer the La Verkin overlook, and, for the most part, had it all to ourselves. 

A few days later Juliet flew down from the great northwest area near Seattle, hoping to catch some sun and put in a few miles on Zion's hallowed and colorful ground. 

We chose the Checkerboard Mesa area near the East entrance to Zion as its generally less crowded. We had yet to hike that trail anyway, so we could add some new dots.      

You can see where "Checkerboard Mesa" gets its name
It was a beautiful full-sun day. A little-marked trail aimed us into a canyon where we fumbled around hit and miss, making our way toward a saddle that we assumed was the destination. Whatever. When moving through country this purdy, destinations are not all that important.

Juliet and Bobbie on a "Chat Break."

Conical sandstone mounds remind me of Dairy Queen soft serve

Our route was decorated with brilliant red maple trees

The light doesn't get any softer than this...I can feel the healing power of RED!

Our canyon offered a few choke-stones to get around. Loose sand on a sloping sandstone cliff doesn't help, but Seattle-ite Juliet was up for the challenge.

Modesty goes out the window when you're trying not to die :)

Chris shows me how it's done

This was our reward for pushing beyond a few choke-stones.

The best way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D

We worked up a pretty good appetite. Chris offered to take us all out to eat in celebration of my birthday...the last one I'm having, FYI. We suggested  our favorite place, Oscar's, in Springdale...with burgers as big as your gosh darn head and sided by more sweet potato fries than you can finish. This was our reward for pushing past a few choke-stones....

Just how does one attempt to eat a burger this big?  Very carefully!   (Sorry for the following  photo, Juliet.  :)

That's a wrap.
Peace out,
mark, bobbie, chris, and daughter juliet.


  1. You are having way too much Fun....it's getting on my nerves :)


  2. Love those colorful maples. That header shot gives me the willies but good for Juliet. I doubt I would have trusted my shoes enough to make it across that one!

  3. What a great day it was. Too bad about that being your “last” birthday celebration, but I’m glad to see you are closing in on real time with these posts. 😀 Chris

  4. Nice.
    Happy birthday for a few weeks ago.

  5. Bud, my husband, and I are really enjoying traveling with you folks, vicariously. I have written before and want to express our gratitude for the chance to follow you and your family. We have enjoyed the places that your capture on film but at almost 90 we can no longer do the trips, much less the hiking. Thank you. Susan and Bud Rich from the Texas Gulf Coast.

  6. Just when I thought you couldn't top previous purdy pixs, you do another purdy post!! and those checkerboards and twisting ice cream cones, fabulous!


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