April 29, 2012

4/27/12 - Red Rock Canyon NCA (Revisted)

Although I went to high school in Las Vegas, I really don't care much for the place--but we keep coming back since it's on the way to or from so many other places.  (There's also a 1000 Trails park here, which really helps the budget.)  First time we were here, we went to Red Rock Canyon on a weekend, with scads of other people!  I negotiated for a return visit on a weekday. 

We stopped at the visitor center for a map.  They have a chuckwalla in a terrarium.

George's daughter suggested I stop taking so many pictures of her dad's backside as I follow him up the trail.  (How's this, Judy?  Cute, huh?)

The hike I wanted to do was Calico I.  I really like scrambling around on those red rocks.

We didn't go all the way to the top, but it's a lot cooler in January than it is the end of April.  The drive is a loop so we stopped to take pictures of wild flowers.  Click on the link below to go see more pics of Red Rock Canyon and the flowers:

April 25, 2012

4/22/12 - Zion NP - Kolob Canyons

Way up in the northwestern corner of Zion National Park is a section that doesn't get the traffic or publicity that Zion Canyon does.  The Kolob Canyons are south of Cedar City, just off I-15.  The red road up the canyon has bright yellow stripes and lots of turnouts to stop for pictures.  Good thing--I always need more photos!

The red Navajo sandstone mountains and sheer cliffs flow down into deep pocket canyons that the locals call "Kolob Fingers". 
The tilted layers of the rocks are a fold of the "Hurricane Fault".   I think it was probably more than a 6.0 earthquake though!

There are a couple of longish trails through the wilderness that we weren't up for, so we took the mile-long Timber Creek Overlook Trail that follows a ridge to a point for views of Timber Creek, Kolob Terrace and the Pine Valley mountains.   (I was told not to use pictures of George's backside, but I usually let him take point so that's what I see.  I told him if he scares up a wild animal, it'll eat him first! Winking smile ) 

For more pictures of Kolob Canyons, here's a link:    Kolob Canyons / Zion NP

April 24, 2012

4/20/12 - Silver Reef Ghost Town

Our neighbor Jay sent George an e-mail suggesting we should go visit Silver Reef Ghost Town while we were in southwestern Utah and say "Hi" to his cousin Eric, who's the director of the museum there.

Silver was discovered in the White Reef sandstone in 1866.  As the miners came to make their fortunes, a town popped up nearby.  There's not much left:  just the Wells Fargo Express Office, the rebuilt Cosmopolitan Restaurant and Rice Bank Building, plus a lot of crumbling walls and foundations.  There are some very expensive homes nearby that tend to spoil that old west flavor, but maybe the ghosts share addresses with those folks. 
The Wells Fargo Express Office has been turned into a museum, gift shop and art gallery.  There's a huge sculpture of a stagecoach done by a local artist (if you like this, I think the price is $350K!) 
There are some interesting pieces in the museum, but the best part is Eric himself.  He gives tours of the museum, and casually gears his spiel to his audience.  He goes into as much history or detail as people care to hear.  He intersperses corny jokes for the kids as well as the adults as he explains the exhibits or history of the mines and town. 

Click the link for more pictures from Silver Reef.  (My favorite thing in the museum was a pair of high-top button shoes for a baby!)  Silver Reef Ghost Town & Museum

April 18, 2012

4/16/12 - Zion NP

This was actually my 3rd time to Zion National Park.  First time I was 12.  The 2nd time was when George & I were on our honeymoon.   Now it's 22 years later.  The rocks haven't changed a lot, but the park and I certainly have.  For one thing, you can forget about driving in the park.  From April-October, Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is open to shuttle buses only

There are 9 shuttle stops.  We stopped at most of them to take pictures and go on a few trails.
At the Temple of Sinawava, we took a 2-mile stroll along  the Riverside Walk.  At the far end of Zion Canyon, it follows the Virgin River through the Zion Canyon to the Narrows.  The Narrows are closed now because of the possibility of flash floods, but I wouldn't be interested anyway.  (Are you kidding?  Me?  Wade in the river where the water is ice-water cold*, the current is fast and the rocks are slippery?  No-thank-you-very-much! )

Next trail was the short but steep Weeping Rock Trail.  It ends at a rock alcove with dripping springs  and a pretty view.
The last hike we took was from Zion Lodge on the Lower Emerald Pool Trail.  We'd done this one when we were there in June, 1990.  The waterfalls didn't look nearly as inviting as when the temps were baking over 100! 

All these trails were paved, and there were lots of people, even in April.  We saw most of the major peaks of Zion (except for Checkerboard Mesa which is near the East Entrance), but I have trouble remembering which is which--except for The Great White Throne, of course. 
*How do I know the temperature of the water? I stuck my fingers in the river. Then I poured some water from George's water bottle (which has ice in it) on my hand. Ergo, the river water is ice-cold!

More pictures here:  Zion NP 

April 15, 2012

4/9/12 - Pipe Springs NM

Driving across the Arizona Strip to our next RV park, we drove right by Pipe Spring National Monument.  I'd called the Visitor Center weeks before to ask if there was parking available for big trailers.  I was assured it was no problem.  I reassured George several times that we'd be able to park the RV!

An oasis in the desert near the Vermilion Cliffs, the monument is part of the National Park Service.  I was a little confused by the sign to the the Visitor Center--it's an unexpected joint effort between the NPS and the Kaibab Bank of Paiute Indians. 

The Paiutes lived in the area for hundreds of years.  These are examples of their dwellings, or kahns.
The museum has some cool Paiute artwork.
In 1871 Mormon pioneers built a ranch/fort, called Winsor Castle, over the springs.  We went on the tour to see how the settlers lived.
Look closely at this settee to see how it opens out to form the original Hide-a-bed!

Outside are replicas of stuff you'd find on an old ranch. I liked the Longhorn cattle. 

Check out the link for more pictures:  Pipe Springs NM

April 14, 2012

4/8/12 – Wahweap & Horseshoe Bend

The weather had been lousy for the last few days--lots of wind and even some rain--so there were a couple of "must see" places for the last day in Page. 

First we headed north back across the Glen Canyon Dam to Wahweap on Lake Powell.  If you squint, you can see the bridge across the canyon and the dam. 

Wahweap Marina is in the other direction.  It looks like a city of the biggest house boats you'll ever see!!!  And they're definitely NOT in our budget!

Next stop was back across the dam to the Horseshoe Bend outlook south of Page.  When you get to the parking lot, you'd never guess there was a river nearby--all you can see is a trail of people heading off across the desert!
It’s a ½ mile hike out to the canyon which lets you get lots of sand in your shoes.  At the start of the trail, there’s a cautionary sign that tells you there are no guardrails and the rocks aren’t stable.   (I could already tell that acrophobia might become an issue.) 

There were lots of wildflowers along the way.  In order:  Canagre Dock, Scorpionweed, Desert Dandelion.  And, no, I didn't know what they were when I took their little pictures.  Well, I did say that the yellow one looked like a dandelion--I was a bit surprised when I found out that it was!
Acrophobia--which I prefer to define as "extreme caution in high places"--works a lot like guardrails, except there’s nothing to hold on to.  I sat down, then crawled a little closer, but not as close as the woman in the 2nd picture.   It’s a long, long way down! 

George was a lot braver than I was.
AND he got better pictures!
Click on the link for more pictures of Wahweap:  Wahweap
Then click on this link for more pics of Horseshoe Bend:  Horseshoe Bend