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Utah 2020 Road Trip
Timestamp Free: 2021.01.26 - 23:18:42
Ranges: North America Ranges / Great Basin Ranges
  (15 days)
Participants: Lucas Earl, Joe Fiorillo, Sean Hokanson
Difficulty: 2: Mostly standard hiking with some light scrambling and some wading
A two week trip to Utah from Washington State, featuring 9 different hikes

Background

Prior to COVID, I had plans to attend a conference in Denver in the middle of April, and then drive back to Seattle the "long way" through Utah for a nice road and hiking trip. I had spent a few days in SW Utah during American Thanksgiving in 2018 with my good friend Joe, and was interested in visiting in a warmer season. The pandemic scuppered those plans at first, with the conference cancelled and most national parks and public lands in Utah closed through March and April. Fortunately, the situation had improved enough by late May we decided to go for the trip in an altered form: a loop through Utah, with Joe and Sean driving up from LA and meeting me. Because the pandemic was ongoing, we would be exclusively camping, minimizing local contact and seeking some more remote destinations, and travel in our separate vehicles for the most part. In addition, both Canyonlands and Arches NPs would still be closed when we were in the Moab area so we'd focus on other spots. Since our departure was delayed to late May, some lower elevation destinations were looking pretty hot so we incorporated some higher elevation options, especially for camping.

Day 1: Seattle to McClendon Springs, ID (Sat. May 23)

Since I was traveling alone I was able to load my Honda CR-V comfortably, and was on my way east just after 7 AM. I headed the familiar route over Snoqualmie Pass on I-90, and then high above the Yakima River on I-82 down into the agricultural expanse of the Yakima Valley. It's a bit quicker to leave the interstate at Prosser (exit 82) and cross over on WA-221 to the Columbia River at Umatilla, rather than drive by the Tri-Cities. At the top of the scarp leaving the Yakima Valley is the Horse Heaven Overlook, with a good view of the...

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