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 The Trek: The Journals

•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
Thursday, September 5
Do The Wave
View
Jake hikes through the sandstone wonderland of the Wave formation in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Where's your hat, Jake?

Jake hikes through the sandstone wonderland of the Wave formation in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Where's your hat, Jake?
Courtesy Lorie McGraw

View
Jan scopes out dinosaur tracks in the Wave area of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

Jan scopes out dinosaur tracks in the Wave area of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Courtesy Jan Nesset

View
Jake hikes through a mind-blowing and jaw dropping sandstone formation

Jake hikes through a mind-blowing and jaw dropping sandstone formation
Courtesy Lorie McGraw


Our Journey has no weekends or hump days. We have nothing from which to base one day or another, except a beginning and end. We’re so far away from our July 29 beginning that the date no longer counts. Ahead is September 28, Public Lands Day, the end of our Journey. But we’re still nearly a month from then. We remain adrift in a sea of dates. Today we are scheduled to hike into “The Wave,” and none of us has any idea what that means.

We know that it is on the Colorado Plateau in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Out BLM hosts Becky Hammond and Marcy Demillion lead the way. We are again lucky. We are entering a permit area called Coyote Buttes and our permit has been arranged for us. We are lucky because just 20 people a day can enter the area. Without a permit system, said Hammond, there would be hundreds maybe a thousand people here on a holiday. The area is too fragile to accommodate that many people. A permit system had to be born.

We travel into the Coyote Buttes North Permit Area on sandy trails until we arrive at the foot of swirled sandstone formations. We are told that we have a couple of miles to hike until we arrive at “The Wave” which gets us excited because we are already thrilled by beautiful and interesting land features. The color theme is red and pink and creamy. The nature of the landscape is sandstone cliffs – some vertical and very high -- and towering mounded buttes. Where are we going?

“It’s just up there,” said Hammond. Jacob and I scramble “just up there” where a ramp of layered sandstone takes us into a place like none other I’d seen. I’d call it “The Wave” given the chance. Sweeping, flowing red-and-white swirls pattern the walls in deep rooms sculpted by winds and rains. I’m inclined to call them small canyons but that just wouldn’t be right. Go that way and the room loses half a side as it angles out and around to form a feature that resembles a swirly ice cream cone – flavors are red raspberry and vanilla. The other wall continues as is but its floor drops away.

Going back into “The Wave” and turning right the room grows shallow and the walls form a perfect halfpipe. I’m no skateboarder but I try some running halfpipe moves, with great success. Julie asks me to attempt them again for the camera. Slam! My knee, elbow and cheek are sandpapered. They will quickly heal, I hope. Fortunately, I often forget my age but my body is not so easily distracted. Jacob is smart by watching his elders and learning from them. This time he does not follow my lead.

He does, however, respond quickly to the opportunity to do as we wish until a deadline of 11:30 a.m. when we are all to meet for our hike out, along the way bypassing an area with dinosaur tracks. When climbing, Jacob is happy to follow my lead. We scramble high to the top of smooth sandstone to check out the views. We find much more. We dub the area above “The Wave” as a “Place of Places” because around each corner reveals something new and fantastic. Features that resemble big chicken heads poke above the top of the sandstone to offer us great perches for amazing views. We enter a large amphitheater with a perfect sand dune stretch through its center. Anything more is up for you to discover. We’re not telling.

If you arrive here to explore Coyote Buttes and it’s raining, consider yourself lucky. On our way to check out the dinosaur tracks, spine-shaking thunder and a downpour stopped us in our own tracks. None of us were that interested in adding lightning to our already high-voltage day. But the rain…all around us from high low points the quick and heavy rain started a dazzling array of waterfalls. Across the valley from the highest cliffs dropped beautiful white ribbons of water. One waterfall went air born and two others cascaded down the less vertical slope.

If I had a singing voice I’d have launched it here.

Dinosaurs once tracked this land. We saw the proof. Now it’s your turn.
for Thursday, September 5
North South Both




Biographical
•
Team: South
Jan Nesset
An experienced outdoorsman, Jan Nesset knows that everyone has to pitch in at camp
A native of Montana and the third of four children, Jan Nesset joins American...
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List of All Journal Entries
•
Wednesday, April 28
Jan Nesset
American Frontiers: Part II: Taking Stock
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Sunday, December 1
Jan Nesset
Canyonlands in December
   >> more...

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Thursday, November 21
Jan Nesset
Snow Raspberry Bounty
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Sunday, November 17
Jan Nesset
The Bisti Badlands
   >> more...

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Friday, November 15
Jan Nesset
Public Land Flows Through It
   >> more...

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Thursday, November 7
Jan Nesset
A Day At Earth Analytic's Home
   >> more...

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Tuesday, October 29
Jan Nesset
Slot Canyon Adventure
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Monday, October 28
Jan Nesset
Some Things Never Change
   >> more...

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Sunday, October 27
Jan Nesset
Back To The Wave
   >> more...

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Monday, October 7
Jan Nesset
The Thing About Summits
   >> more...

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Saturday, September 28
Jan Nesset
A New Beginning: National Public Lands Day
   >> more...

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Thursday, September 26
Jan Nesset
Big Day of Sneak and Salvage
   >> more...

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Wednesday, September 25
Jan Nesset
History-Coated Strawberry
   >> more...

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Tuesday, September 24
Jan Nesset
The Last Of It
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Monday, September 23
Jan Nesset
Dinosaurlandia
   >> more...

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Sunday, September 22
Jan Nesset
Over The Edge
   >> more...

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Saturday, September 21
Jan Nesset
God Bless America
   >> more...

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Friday, September 20
Jan Nesset
Sometimes It's A Tough Life And We Get To Do It
   >> more...

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Thursday, September 19
Jan Nesset
The Niche Near You
   >> more...

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Wednesday, September 18
Jan Nesset
Snow Day
   >> more...

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Tuesday, September 17
Jan Nesset
A Capitol Reef Bull's Eye
   >> more...

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Monday, September 16
Jan Nesset
A Lucky Rift
   >> more...

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Sunday, September 15
Jan Nesset
Riding The Hog's Back
   >> more...

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Saturday, September 14
Jan Nesset
Oh Rhythm My Rhythm
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Friday, September 13
Jan Nesset
Precious Images
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Thursday, September 12
Jan Nesset
From the Hole to the Staircase
   >> more...

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Wednesday, September 11
Jan Nesset
Happy Days
   >> more...

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Tuesday, September 10
Jan Nesset
Do You Believe In Magic?
   >> more...

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Monday, September 9
Jan Nesset
The Bridge Over the River Why
   >> more...

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Sunday, September 8
Jan Nesset
Public Lands And…Not You?
   >> more...

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Saturday, September 7
Jan Nesset
That Place So Special
   >> more...

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Friday, September 6
Jan Nesset
Just Looking To Have Some Fun – Be Dammed!
   >> more...

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Thursday, September 5
Jan Nesset
Do The Wave
   >> more...

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Wednesday, September 4
Jan Nesset
The Condors Are Coming!
   >> more...

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Tuesday, September 3
Jan Nesset
Fires Are For The Birds
   >> more...

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Monday, September 2
Jan Nesset
Back On Top
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Sunday, September 1
Jan Nesset
Perfection
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Saturday, August 31
Jan Nesset
The Wheels Have Left The Tarmac
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Friday, August 30
Jan Nesset
Star Light
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Thursday, August 29
Jan Nesset
The Traditional Connection
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Wednesday, August 28
Jan Nesset
Onward and Upward On Mountain Bikes
   >> more...

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Tuesday, August 27
Jan Nesset
Checkerboard Kings and Queens
   >> more...

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Monday, August 26
Jan Nesset
Aldo Leopold As Ranch Manager
   >> more...

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Sunday, August 25
Jan Nesset
A Story In Everything
   >> more...

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Saturday, August 24
Jan Nesset
Fire In The Whole
   >> more...

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Friday, August 23
Jan Nesset
"Good Morning, Flagstaff!"
   >> more...

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Thursday, August 22
Jan Nesset
Hoping For The Best
   >> more...

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Wednesday, August 21
Jan Nesset
Could Get Stinky
   >> more...

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Tuesday, August 20
Jan Nesset
Wheels Asunder
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Monday, August 19
Jan Nesset
Hurt Me, Thank You!
   >> more...

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Sunday, August 18
Jan Nesset
Roads Aplenty and Rocks of Pleasure
   >> more...

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Saturday, August 17
Jan Nesset
Of Dragons and Fire
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Friday, August 16
Jan Nesset
Motorcycles and the Zen of Route Mechanics
   >> more...

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Thursday, August 15
Jan Nesset
Puzzled
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Wednesday, August 14
Jan Nesset
A Day Off, Sort Of
   >> more...

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Tuesday, August 13
Jan Nesset
A Delightful, Light Day
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Monday, August 12
Jan Nesset
Courage On Eagle Mountain
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Sunday, August 11
Jan Nesset
Farewell
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Saturday, August 10
Jan Nesset
My Aching Back In The Saddle
   >> more...

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Friday, August 9
Jan Nesset
Back In The Saddle
   >> more...

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Thursday, August 8
Jan Nesset
In The Saddle
   >> more...

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Wednesday, August 7
Jan Nesset
Shut My Mouth!
   >> more...

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Tuesday, August 6
Jan Nesset
Diversity and Song
   >> more...

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Monday, August 5
Jan Nesset
An Unraveling
   >> more...

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Sunday, August 4
Jan Nesset
A Bagged Peak
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Saturday, August 3
Jan Nesset
Lines On A Map
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Friday, August 2
Jan Nesset
GPS-Marriage Made In Heaven
   >> more...

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Thursday, August 1
Jan Nesset
Free Wheelin'
   >> more...

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Wednesday, July 31
Jan Nesset
An Excellent Start
   >> more...








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