Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fairplay,CO to Colorado Springs, CO.

September 24, 2014

So here we are in the middle of the woods near Fairplay, CO.  What do we do for fun before we go to "the Springs".  I know! Let's go up to the Hoosier Pass.  Surprise.  It is higher than Monarch Pass we went over yesterday. 

We also visited a reservoir near by.  It was one water source for the city of Colorado Springs 100 miles away.

Note the water level in the reservoir.

Can't say that this was the most exciting day we had, but we did see mountains with snow on them.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Montrose, CO to Fairplay, CO

September 23 2014

We finally got up in the world - 11,312 feet above sea level to be exact.  US 50 took us through Monarch Pass and across the Continental Divide. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Moab to Montrose and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

September 21 and 22, 2014

The route from Moab, UT to Montrose, CO took us through scenery like that of a national park. Stunning. The side trip to Telluride took us about an hour.  It was kind of a wasted hour (and 30 miles) but the ride through the canyon to get there was beautiful.  We ate our brown bag lunch in a county park along a river in the canyon. 

Our room at the Red Arrow Inn in Montrose was not ready for us when we arrived about two o'clock so we drove the 14 miles to the Park.  The rangers in the visitors center gave us tips on the best hikes and car trips.  Hikes took place on 9/22. 

This canyon was different from all the other ones we had seen.  Phil ranked it as one of the most impressive of them all.

That river made this big canyon wearing it away at a pace of one human hair per year.
In a contest between water and rock, water wins every time.

It's huge. 
Gunnison River in Black Canyon

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Arches National Park

September 20, 2014

Arches is beautiful but not the most scenic one we have been in.
The geology of this area is really fascinating.   We have sat in orientation films in all the parks we visited.  The one in Arches was the best one of them all.  The visitors center had a great explanation of how the entire Colorado Plateau was formed over hundreds of millions of years.

It took a 1.5 mile hike to see this arch. It is the longest one in the park.
It's over 100 yards long.

There are over 2,000 cataloged arches here.

Delicate Arch

Balanced Rock

Friday, September 19, 2014

Canyonlands NP.

September 19, 2014

Canyonlands National Park has scenery we had not seen in any of the other parks.  The area is huge.
The Green River flows into the Colorado River in the park. .  Both rivers have cut deep canyons.

We are staying in Moab, UT for the next two nights.  Going to Arches NP tomorrow.

Phil and Dirk contemplating parasailing off the cliff

Very distinct erosion.

Phil checking out an arch in Canyonlands

A trail marker (carin) made of stones.

Utah Route 12. Panguitch to Torrey. Capitol Breaks NP

September 17 and 18 , 2014

Utah 12 is called a Scenic Byway.  It lives up to its label. It spans a route of 124 miles, and travels though some of the most diverse, remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the country.  It is home to two national parks, three state parks, a national recreation area, a national monument, and a national forest.  I, Phil, discovered this road on a bike tour in 2010.  I resolved to get back to see it again.  (Another bucket list item checked off.)

We stopped at visitors centers at Red Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM Escalante, and Capitol Reef.  There were so many very scenic turn-outs, we got sick of stopping.  Lunch was at a small restaurant in Boulder, UT - again where we had stopped in 2010.  Dave Gabrielse could not stop talking about that experience for the rest of the bike trip. (Five dollars for a glass of orange juice he thought was outrageous.)

The evening visit to Capitol Reef paid off with a ranger talk about wilderness, and a star gazing experience. .  Its very dark here.

On Thursday,  Sharon, Jan. Dirk and Phil hiked 500 feet up the side of a mesa, then into a canyon.  It was a unique experience to see a canyon up close and personal. The trail started to go down hill again so we turned around. The total trip was 2.5 miles, not far, but it took us abut 3 hours.

In the car again for a ride along the scenic drive. After having already visited Mesa Verde, Cedar Breaks, Zion Canyon, and Bryce Canyon we thought we had seen all the canyon formations we there were.  Wrong.  The ones in Capitol Reef were unique and utterly stunning.  In fact we (make that Phil) enjoyed the scenic drive there more than the one in Bryce Canyon and it rivals the one in Zion. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bryce Canyon Day 2

September 16, 2014

We were told to experience a sunrise at Bryce Canyon.  Up at 5:30 AM, traveled 24 miles to Inspiration Point, watched the sun rise at 7:11

Sunrise over Bryce Canyon
Morning sun on the canyon walls.

Breakfast at the Lodge.  Then  a hike to the bottom of the Canyon among the Hoodoos.
The distance was only about two miles but what a trip.  What beauty.  Amazing rock formations. Our minds cannot fathom the millions of years God spent creating this landscape.  What goes down has to come up.  We were in deep sweat by the time we reached the top again.  It was worth it

In the car again driving the 17 mile car road with its beautiful vistas.  Want to see the next 100 pictures we all took.

Cedar Breaks and Bryce Canyon NP Day 1

September 15, 2014

Cedar Breaks National Monument.

We have arrived at our final destination as a group of six.  Well I have to correct that.  There have been more than six.  I will let you in on a secret.  Some more of us came along by getting into a box and riding in the back seat of the Bultman's car.  They bring so much we knew that we could come along.  We have had fun with the group, and when they found out we were along, they even let one or two of us out.  The rest of us wondered what they were did when they left us because they never returned.  However, we knew they liked us because they kept coming back to get another one or two of us each day.  Now, here we are, two of us in the box.  We are excited because we hope it is our day to come out of the box, and the group is going to see some awesome things.  I can tell because Don is really hipped up about Bryce Canyon and wants to see somebody name Hoodoo.  We left Zion for a three hour ride to Bryce ,but on the way, Phil wanted to show the road that Dave Gabrielse and Pete Dykema and Gary Nederveld biked up on their cross country bike trip  in 2010.  The road got higher and higher and I thought my skin would split.  When we arrived at the top of Cedar Breaks, we saw some breath taking sights of limestone and sandstone that were eroded away by water and wind for the last 10 million years.  GOD IS CREATIVE.  The beauty of orange, yellow, red, and white painted the landscape.  We then left for Bryce and went to our motel.  PROBLEMS!  Our motel doesn't have our registration, and it is below our standards.  We quickly find another place and again thank God for his blessings.  The group wants lunch and guess what. They take one of us out and I hear a soft sound.  I see my buddy  cut into six pieces so each one could take a piece.  What a sacrifice. Now, I am by my self, but I am still with the group.  We arrived in enough time to visit the Visitor's Center and sit through the movie explaining the history of the canyon, I think some one fell asleep.  Another secret - it is not a canyon, but I will challenge you to find out why not.  The last activity for the day was a walk along the rim with one of the naturalists. We learned about how the land forms were made and who were the Hoodoo (pronounced - whoo-do).  They aren't people at all, but are names that the Paiute Indians gave to the unique geological structures. They felt the Trickster Coyote turned his friends into these forms after they turn against him.  Well, we are all back in our cars and heading to our motel.  I am even more excited because I get to come back tomorrow.  That is, unless they make sandwiches - I am a tomato.


Cedar Breaks NM, The highest point on our trip so far.

Bryce Canyon National Park.

What's Hoodoo? 

Here are Hoodoos. Ya wanna see all 100 pictures of them.
An amazing landscape

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Zion National Park Day 2

September 14, 2014

We were expecting to see a whole lot of retirees on this trip and very few families.  Wrong.  Foreign tourists are financing the operations of our National Parks. We are hard pressed to find folks on the trails whose first language is English.  Whole families are "on holiday" from their home countries.  Zion NP is packed with them.  (Keep the money coming folks.  The parks can use it.) A ranger told us 60% of visitors to National Parks come from over seas.
We were advised to get to the Park before 9:00AM to get a parking space.  We did and we did.

This was a hiking day.  We started out with a two mile walk on a paved trail.  Then we caught a shuttle to an area called Temple of Sinawava.  The one mile paved trail there follows the Virgin River in the Canyon.  When it ends, hikers can continue by wading in the river to the narrows. It was a ball.
Sharon took a spill in the river at the very end, but she found it kind of refreshing. 

The road up Zion Canyon is closed to most vehicles, but not bicycles.  Jan and I were envious when we saw how many were on the road.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Zion Day 1

September 13, 2014

Zion National Park was about 160 miles from Page, AZ.  It's claim to fame is the towering sand stone peaks rising thousands of feet above the canyon floor.  We arrived on Saturday.  So did thousands of others. There were no parking spaces anywhere.  The Bultman's car and the Quist's car got separated by about a mile.  We finally caught up to each other at the visitors center.  In  order to travel along the canyon, we needed to board a shuttle bus.  This is a great system.  It stops at various trail heads  and runs about every 15 minutes.

We took the Kayenta Trail for two miles.  It is considered a moderate trail and is paved for many sections of it.  We saw this waterfall along the way.

The trail ran under the falls.

Some interesting fruit on the cacti off the trail.
    As to towering cliffs:


Patterns in Stone.
Then back on the shuttle, in the car, and off to our Airbnb rented house in Hurricane - 20 miles away.  This is another great find.  Three bedrooms, two baths, a fully equipped kitchen.  Life is good.  So far on this trip we have gone out for evening dinner only three times in 2 weeks..  Lunches are PB&J, veggies, and fruit.  Breakfasts have always been prepared in our units also. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Antelope Canyon, Page/Lake Powell, AZ

September 12, 2014

Words cannot describe what we saw today.  We took a walk through Lower Antelope Canyon in the morning and had a boat ride into it from Lake Powell in the afternoon. Here are just three pictures out of the couple of hundred we took.  They do not do justice to the majesty of the setting. The six of us paused to sing "This Is My Fathers World".  The sound reverberated  as if we were in a cathedral. We were!

The Canyon from the water.
The water is low behind the dam. Note the high water mark on the canyon walls..