Sunsets – A Photo Prompt

I’m not sure if I prefer sunrises or sunsets …. both can be pretty spectacular and can offer either the perfect way to start the day or the perfect way to end a day.

sunset over Lake Pleasant Arizona

Lake Pleasant, Arizona

Yeah, I’d say enjoying happy hour while watching the sun set is a pretty darn good way to end a day. Can you think of a better way?

Sunset at San Diego California

San Diego, California

Wandering Wednesday Photo Theme – Sunset

Join me for this weeks photo challenge by sharing photographs of Sunsets.

sunset at the beach

Copano Bay, Texas Gulf Coast

We’d love to see YOUR sunset photos. So let’s share and connect … join in and share a link in the comments below or link back to this blog in your own post.

Split Rock Lighthouse Lake Havasu Arizona

Split Rock Lighthouse replica – Lake Havasu, Arizona

Wandering Wednesday – Ingrid’s Inspirations

Each Wednesday I post a different photo prompt as a way for bloggers to share their love of photography and engage with other like minded bloggers. Perhaps this prompt will serve as a little inspiration to pick up the camera in search of a composition or a reason to go through your photo archives. Whether you shoot with your phone, a DSLR or something in-between, don’t be shy ūü§ó share your photos!

Upcoming prompts – the Little Things, Food, Landscapes, Garden, Birds …. get out and shoot or peruse those archives!

(affiliate links)
 Portable Camping Chair
Unbreakable Stemless Wine Glasses

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Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

After our back country excursion to Alstrom Point, I knew I had to explore more of these 4×4 dirt roads. The landscape is so perplexing and surreal that I couldn’t leave the area without delving deeper into Mother Nature’s handy work.

The land here is remote, harsh and unforgiving, and therefore I knew we shouldn’t explore without being prepared. Before embarking on our exploratory excursion into the back country, I made the short drive up to the nearby¬†visitor center located just a few miles north of the Arizona – Utah border in the small town of Big Water, Utah.

Grosvenor Arch

Grosvenor Arch – Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Big Water Visitor Center

The visitor center is a worthwhile stop and the staff are a wealth of information regarding everything Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Don’t expect to get BLM info or any other information pertaining to the area outside of Grand Staircase-Escalante. This visitor center is all about the monument.

In the courtyard before entering the building, guests are greeted by a replicated dinosaur dig along with informative educational signs. Inside the visitor center is a large topographic map of the Grand Staircase‚ÄďEscalante National Monument, as well as a fascinating dinosaur display complete with pamphlets describing the exact dinosaurs that once roamed the area.

After receiving a map and having all my questions answered regarding the condition of Cottonwood Road, I felt more comfortable about embarking on our trek through the Grand Staircase-Escalante. It also helped that fellow blogger and friend, Sue, had driven this road just a couple of weeks earlier and was able to share additional information.

The drive begins …

The following day, Al and I loaded up the Toyota Tacoma with plenty of food, water and emergency equipment. We knew we’d be traveling through some very remote territory without cell phone connection and running into another vehicle wouldn’t be a common occurrence. Thus, we’d be on our own!

The start of our excursion

From our campsite along the Arizona – Utah border, we traveled northwest via Highway 89 for about 17 miles and then turned north onto Cottonwood Road. The land starts off stark and barren and the road is easily navigated with the exception of some washboard areas.

Paria River valley – here’s some of the washboard road which had our teeth rattling

Eventually, the scenery changes and we rolled into the Paria River valley. Cottonwood trees line the river’s edge and free-ranging cattle dot the landscape.

I found the speed limit signs and the ‘reduced speed’ sign humorous.

A few miles later as the road bends away from the Paria River, the landscape gets barren once again. The road gets rougher, narrower and we spot a sign … Reduced Speed Ahead.¬†After reading that sign, the first thing out of my mouth was, “No sh*t, Sherlock!” Hmm, single lane road made for two-way traffic, a blind curve, and a rutted road … exactly how fast should I go?

Cockscomb range

As we rounded a bend, we were greeted with a perplexing range of hills called the cockscomb. Each mound seems to emulate the crest of a rooster. Therefore, we can see how this range got its name.

Cockscomb

Cockscomb range

Are we there yet?

The landscape seems to go on forever. At this point we’ve driven over twenty miles (from the time we turned off Highway 89 onto Cottonwood Road) and it has taken us somewhere between an hour and a half to two hours to travel that distance and although the land exhibits a raw beauty, I can’t help but feel somewhat disappointed with the scenery.

Finally wowed!

I’m not sure what kind of landscape I was expecting, but a few miles later when we crested a hill, my mouth dropped open. Wow!

cottonwood canyon

Cottonwood Canyon – now this is what I hoped for!

Okay! Now we’re talking drop dead gorgeous mind-boggling landscape. Of course this calls for a photo-op stop … don’tcha think!

In the above photo, at the bottom of the hill is a pull-off to the right for a trailhead called Cottonwood Wash Narrows. I could see portions of the canyon/slot from the road and was tempted to lace up the hiking shoes, but today was about the drive and I made a mental note for a future outing. Although, I think the hike would be better attempted when camping in Kodachrome State Park or any number of options near Highway 12. The drive to the trailhead would be easier and shorter from Highway 12 than driving up from Highway 89.

Crème de le crème

After lingering and savoring this unique sight, it was time to finish those last five miles to set my eyes on the real gem of our journey …. Grosvenor Arch!

It was a Sunday morning and I couldn’t believe our good fortune. We literally had the place to ourselves … that is, until it was time for us to return to the truck. I’ve wanted to see this famous arch ever since I first heard about it seven years ago.

When we visited¬†Bryce Canyon¬†in the past, I attempted to see the arch, but recent rains made the road to Grosvenor Arch impassable. This is another place you’ll want to check on road conditions at the Cannonville visitor center before embarking on the drive. From Kodachrome State Park to the arch is about a 17 mile drive on a gravel road with a small stream crossing.

A stunning state park

And speaking of Kodachrome State Park …. it was near noon by the time I was done photographing Grosvenor Arch and our bellies were growling. What better place to have lunch than at the state park!

I wish we could’ve stayed longer to explore Kodachrome State Park, but we knew we had a long and dusty drive back to camp and didn’t want the day to drag on too long. We enjoyed our lunch at the group picnic area and afterwards strolled the short nature loop taking in the magnificent scenery. This place needs to go on the list¬†of must see places. It is stunningly beautiful!

Cottonwood Road

And then we were on the road again, traveling the return 47 miles back to highway 89. It was a loooong day, but a fantastic day. We encountered few other people traversing Cottonwood Road on a Sunday (April 15, 2018). Although much of the road can be driven with a 2 wheel drive car, there are portions where a higher clearance vehicle would be preferable.

Driving Cottonwood Road through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument should not be attempted if rain is in the forecast or it has rained the previous days. The road does become impassable even with a 4×4 high clearance vehicle. And do note – a GPS should not be used to help navigate your travels within the monument. You WILL be lead astray.

We are but a minuscule blip in history

Later in the year, I’ll be celebrating a mile-stone birthday, even though I don’t have birthday’s anymore ūü§ó It’s a number that has me questioning¬†where has the time gone, but in comparison to this land, I’ve been on this earth but a small faction of time …. a minuscule blip in history.

As I peruse the literature on Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, I read the monument has been quietly doing its thing for 50 million to 275 million years. Who’s the spring chicken now ūü§£

This Delaware-sized piece of land is the last part of the lower 48 United States to be surveyed and cartographed. Fossil excavations have yielded more information about changing ecosystems and the end of the dinosaur era more than any other place in the world. This remote unspoiled land is a dream for many: geologists, paleontologists, archeologists, historians, biologists, and tourists like myself.

More than rocks …

Although they are an interesting photographic subject, dead trees are an important part of the desert ecosystem. These dead trees provide nesting habitat for insects, birds, reptiles and rodents. These Junipers also help prevent erosion by holding the soil in place.

dead trees

As trees decompose, they release vital nutrients and minerals back into the soil making it possible for new growth to occur. Mother Nature is a wonder!

Grosvenor Arch

If you’re looking for solitude and quiet recreation amongst an amazing landscape, you’ll find it here in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. But come prepared – the land and weather are harsh and unforgiving, but the beauty is like none other.

The finest workers of stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time – Henry David Thoreau

(affiliate links) These essentials made us feel a little more secure exploring this remote land. Being self-sufficient while exploring the remote back country is vital considering you may not see another vehicle for hours and cell reception is rare. Note – a GPS is not to be trusted in Grand Staircase-Escalante

Viair 40047 Automatic Portable Compressor KitColeman Folding Shovel with Pick
Maxtrax
 Tow Strap
Utah Road & Recreation Atlas

Waiting for the Sun to Set

I had a fabulous week boondocking in the Kaibab National Forest. After spending four months in a RV Resort in Prescott, Arizona, it felt fantastic to get the RV rolling, and camp by ourselves in a forest of soaring pine trees. We found a lovely slice of land to call home, and it was only fifteen minutes down the road from the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

sunset at the Grand Canyon

me waiting for the sun to set at the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon camping

Our ‘home’ for the week. Aaahhh, can you smell the fresh scent of pine?

Although it did take a little effort on my part to leave the solitude of my beautiful campsite, I did venture up to the Grand Canyon a few times for photo ops. Most of the time, Al chose to stay at camp. He’s not a fan of the Grand Canyon nor of the hoards of tourists. I never mind venturing off on my own especially when hubby has a roaring campfire waiting for me upon my return.

sunset at the Grand Canyon

Lots of tourists from around the world waiting for the sun to set at the Grand Canyon – a storm is brewing

south rim of the Grand Canyon

south rim of the Grand Canyon

While I, along with hundreds of other people, waited for the sun to set at the south rim of the Grand Canyon, a storm started brewing. I could hear thunder in the distance and see an occasional flash of lightening.

south rim of the Grand Canyon

The approaching storm along with some lingering smoke haze from forest fires in the west made for a very interesting sky.

stormy sky at the Grand Canyon

stormy sky at the Grand Canyon

stormy sunset at the Grand Canyon

The sunset was definitely worth waiting around for, and the stormy sky added a touch of drama. I’m glad I pulled myself away from camp to experience the beauty of the Grand Canyon at sunset as a storm approaches. Yep, worth the wait!

sunset at Kaibab National Forest

This was the sky back at camp!

 

A Calm Morning

I had one of the most amazing mornings yesterday.  For some reason, I woke up earlier than normal. I jumped out of bed energetic, and was ready to tackle a new day.  By 6:30 a.m. I was already on my second cup of coffee.calm

Sunrise wouldn’t be for another¬†forty-five minutes and I contemplated hopping in the truck to capture a few sunrise photos along the Texas Gulf Coast.¬† The RV was dripping with dew and the windows were coated with moisture rich humidity¬†blocking any potential¬†view.¬† I needed to open the RV door to check the sky for cloud coverage.black and white photography

The past couple of weeks¬†have been¬†a total bust for sunrise photography.¬† The sky was either totally cloudless (boring)¬†or covered in a thick layer …¬†blocking any notice of a sunrise.¬† The mornings when the skies did cooperate, my body didn’t, and my sluggish exit out of bed¬†found me missing the opportunity to capture those perfect skies.foggy morning

Yesterday morning when I stuck my head out the RV door, I was greeted with nothingness.¬† I could barely make out the shape of the tree just five feet away.¬† Fog … a thick layer of fog engulfed the landscape.¬† The assault of humidity¬†had its way with my natural curly hair.¬† Nothing a baseball cap couldn’t fix.¬† The moist sea air upon my face made my skin feel ten years younger.¬† Frizzy hair and dewy skin …¬†oh well¬†ūüėŹ¬† Texas Gulf Coast

Wow …. I had to get out there, even if the lighting wasn’t good for photography.¬† The atmosphere was amazing.¬† I threw on some clothes.¬† Topped off my coffee and jumped in the truck.¬† I wasn’t sure if I’d find anything worth photographing, but I didn’t care.¬† I reveled in the quiet.¬† In the solitude.¬†¬†In the peacefulness.¬† Aaah, how wonderfully¬†calming, yet eerie and mysterious!calm

By 7:30¬†the sun had¬†been up fifteen minutes, yet I saw no signs of her presence.¬† I didn’t mind.¬† I was enjoying a glorious morning by myself.¬† And although I may have been alone, I was not alone.

I was bushwhacking strolling through damp grasses and weeds amongst a grove of oak trees that serve as the roosting grounds for Great Blue Herons and Egrets.¬† I could hear their rustling, grunts, and squawks in the trees above me.¬† When one of the birds would take flight, I could even hear their wing movement.¬† I know …. how cool was that!peace, calmAnd then there were the ducks and Coot swimming in the pond.¬† Rumor has it, there’s even an alligator that calls this place home.¬† Such company, I can do without.¬† Birds yes, gators no!

What a¬†wonderful morning it was, and although I didn’t¬†photograph the kind of images I originally set out to capture, I was pleased with the photographs I did make.¬† By 10:00 a.m. the fog had burned off, my stomach was growling, and it was time to return to the RV …¬†feeling refreshed, renewed, and happy.solitude

Lone Star: A History Of Texas And The Texans

 

 

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6

From Wood to Stone

“Don’t worry”, I yelled over my shoulder to Al while swiftly walking to the truck.¬† I had my camera slung around my neck, water bottle in one hand, and truck keys in the other.¬† I was on a mission that morning, and I wasn’t about to let a little weather curtail my fun.

The vast vistas allowed me to see more than 100 miles in any given direction, but with such openness comes wind.¬† Northeastern Arizona is the windiest section of the state. The relatively flat, lightly vegetated mesas, buttes, and valleys do very little to slow the movement of air.Petrified ForestIt was calm at the moment, but I kept in mind, winds in excess of 40 miles¬†per hour are common around here and gusts over 60 miles per hour aren’t unusual.¬† Hang on Toto!

Before climbing into the truck, I scanned the skies to the west.¬† The ominous line of clouds still looked pretty far away.¬† I figured,¬†I’d have at least an hour before the storm hit.¬† However, I failed to take into account the driving time needed to get from one end of the park¬†to the other.Petrified Forest National Park

The Petrified Forest National Park encompasses more than 230 square miles (600 square kilometers) with only one main road going through the center.  The 28 mile scenic drive takes visitors from the northern entrance located off Interstate 40 to the southern entrance off Highway 180.Petrified National Park

It was late August 2016.¬† We spent the night at the Crystal Forest Gift Shop¬†near the southern entrance of the park.¬† The gift shop allows free overnight camping in an area¬†off to the side. There’s even some picnic tables, but absolutely no other amenities of any kind.¬†It’s free and considering we’re self-contained and self-sufficient this location worked perfectly for my photo excursion into the national park.petrified mapSince I was starting at the south entrance, I needed to plan my stops carefully keeping the weather and my priorities in mind.¬† The day before, we had entered the national park¬†via the north entrance with the RV in tow and I was able to get a quick overview.

From the north entrance, we travel through an area called. "Painted Desert".

From the north entrance, we traveled through an area called the “Painted Desert”.

Petrified Forest National Park is very doable with any size RV.¬† Some pull-outs are a little more big RV friendly than others.¬† Regardless, to really delve into this geologically fascinating park, it’s best to explore without the RV and constraints of finding adequate parking.Petrified National ForestI hadn’t been in the truck driving more than fifteen minutes when hubby called with an urgency in his voice.¬† He¬†informed me of a severe storm heading our way.¬† A semi-tractor trailer had flipped over on Interstate 40 due to a wind gust just east of Flagstaff and those¬†high winds, hail, and torrential rain were heading our way.¬† All I managed to say to¬†hubby before the call was dropped was, “Ok”.¬† You can assume cell phone coverage to be spotty in this remote park in Arizona.Petrified Forest National ParkHurry Ingrid was at the fore front of my mind as I continued on my quest.¬† I¬†wanted to touch those fossils and even though there were plenty of petrified logs where we were camped, I wanted to see¬†a forest of them.¬† Wood turning into stone is a rarity and takes special conditions for the process to occur.¬† There’s only a few places in the world to find petrified wood and I was¬†exploring one of those places.Petrified Wood

Most of the petrified wood  around here is made up of mostly solid quartz.  The rainbow of colors is produced by impurities in the quartz.  Over 200 million years ago, logs washed into an ancient river system and were quickly and deeply buried by massive amounts of debris and sediment.  Oxygen was cut off.  Minerals absorbed into the porous wood and crystallized within the cellular structure turning wood into stone.

Crystal Forest is a popular spot to see large logs

Crystal Forest is a popular stop to see large logs

Petrified Wood

There are several areas within the national park that have a concentration of these huge petrified logs.  The petrified trees lie strewn across the hills and are broken into large segments.  The smooth ends look like they were cut with a chainsaw.

petrified broken logs can be seen strewn about the land

petrified broken logs can be seen strewn about the land

Who Cut the Wood?  During the gradual uplifting of the Colorado Plateau, starting about 60 million years ago, the still buried petrified trees were under so much stress they broke like glass rods. The crystal nature of the quartz created clean fractures, evenly spaced along the tree trunk, giving the appearance of logs cut with a chainsaw.

The national park is also home to remnants of an ancient civilization.

The national park is also home to remnants of an ancient civilization.

Although the petrified wood is the primary draw to this national park, I had one more quirky stop to make before returning to the RV.Historic Route 66

The famous old Historic Route 66 road used to go right through Petrified Forest National Park and there’s a popular landmark showcasing the location.¬† This 1932 Studebaker is a fun place for a photo-op.¬† The original telephone poles (seen to the left of the car) remain standing in the very spot they were originally installed all those years ago.

The weather may have cut my visit short, but it was just enough to pique my interest¬†in a return visit.¬† I found the fossils and the process of their creation rather fascinating, much to my surprise.¬† Just one more place going on the must return list ūüėČ

Route 66My visit was a week before my birthday and as such a little souvenir shopping was in order.¬† As much as I would’ve liked a nice chunk of petrified wood,¬†the size and weight¬†wouldn’t be conducive to life in an RV.¬† I opted for a lovely bracelet that I found at the Rainbow Visitor Center Gift Shop.

Please, please, please NEVER take rock from¬†national park¬†land.¬† Not only is it against the law, it undoubtedly would impact the abundance of fossils for all of us to enjoy today and in the future.¬† Purchasing polished petrified wood that was harvested on private land supports the park system and local economy.¬† And much of it is very inexpensive, unless you want a huge chunk, then that’ll cost.¬† The bigger the piece, the more expensive and the heavier.¬† My cute bracelet, similar to the one shown below, cost less than $25 and is a lovely daily reminder of my adventurous morning.Petrified Forest National ParkFortunately, the worst of the storm bypassed our immediate location, but we did endure some nasty gusting winds and torrential down¬†pouring rain.¬† I returned to the RV unscathed, to¬†a relieved husband, and¬†looking like a drenched puppy. The minute there was a break in the weather, we hooked up and rolled in the opposite direction from those¬†threatening clouds. ¬†Hmm, where to next?

Sunchains Earthstone Collection – Petrified Wood Bracelet

When Travel Gods Smile – Part 1

I had lunch with a friend last week, and she asked me, “How¬†was¬†your summer?”¬† Without hesitation, I enthusiastically responded, “I had the best summer”.¬† Initially I was surprised by my exuberant response, but as I continued to share our summer adventures, it became clear what made the summer so ideal for me.Grand Tetons

First off, I visited some places that have been on my must see list for a super long time, and second¬†the travel Gods smiled upon us each stop along the way.¬† Quite frankly, our travels¬†couldn’t have¬†gone much¬†better.¬† Sure, we¬†were faced with¬†some unexpected situations, but with cooler heads, solutions were easily achieved.

Bumble BeeI usually don’t like winging¬†our travels¬†during the most popular travel months of the year (July and August), but circumstances had us doing just that.

The upside¬†– without the commitment of reservations, we were able to change direction and plans on a whim, which we did a lot.¬† We lucked out in so many ways. This post is about our travel route and the places we camped.¬† We snagged some fabulous campsites that helped make this summer one of our best since going full-time in the RV four years ago.¬† I’ll write up the things we did at each location in separate posts.

Jackson, Wyoming – From Ririe, Idaho, our easterly trek took us back to the¬†stunning Grand TetonGrand Teton National Park¬†in Wyoming.¬† Our first visit to this¬†beautiful National Park was in the early part of the summer, and one visit was not enough… I hungered for more!

During our¬†previous visit, we camped at the Gros Ventre Campground, and although it was very workable, I had concerns that¬†we wouldn’t find an available¬†site large enough¬†for us¬†during peak tourist season. I also wanted something with a view.

This was my home for 5 glorious days

This was our home for five glorious days. Photo taken the day we arrived. Two days later, the place was packed with fellow campers. One night we even had a tent pitched right behind our RV.

And oh my gosh, did we have a view.  After doing a little bit of research on Campendium.com, we decided to scope out the boondocking (free camping) sites in the area.  Normally, we like to explore back country gravel roads without the 5th Grand Tetonswheel in tow, but Al and I were in serious winging it mode and threw caution to the wind.

We arrived at the Teton National Forest on a Tuesday morning with no other campers in sight with the exception of one small domed tent.  Someone was doing a happy dance!

The gravel road was well maintained until we reached the designated camping area. We navigated slowly through some very deep rutted road before deciding on a little slice of land to call home.  Later that evening, we enjoyed watching the sunset as more campers arrived.Grand Teton

There continued to be a steady stream of new campers arriving well into the night. Most were tent camping¬†or sleeping in their cars. We didn’t realize how lucky we were snagging¬†that site or having the ample room to maneuver until we woke the next morning amongst a dozen new neighbors.

Many campers would move on the next morning while¬†others stayed a few days,¬†and¬†by the time¬†Friday night rolled around every square inch of available designated camping land was taken up either by tents or small RV’s. We even had a young man knock on our door and ask if he could pitch his tent right behind our RV. We didn’t¬†mind and¬†even enjoyed visiting with the him.¬† We were all there to savor the¬†majestic¬†landscape.

Each morning, I sat in bed drinking coffee while watching the sun rise. This was the view out of my bedroom window.

Each morning, I sat in a warm bed drinking coffee while watching the sun rise. This was the view out of my bedroom window.  Free camping at its finest. It was 32 degrees Fahrenheit outside in mid July!

Yep, we got lucky snagging that site¬†when we did and were able to¬†call it home for five glorious days (five day max stay is posted and enforced).¬† Had we shown up a day later, we would’ve had difficulty maneuvering and wouldn’t have found a spot big enough for us.¬† Our good fortune snagging great campsites continued throughout the rest of our travels.

During travel days, we occasionally stop at historical pull-outs. History abounds!

During travel days, we occasionally stop at historical pull-outs. History abounds!

Interesting historical site - note the animal bones bottom left.

Interesting historical site – note the animal bones bottom left. Life in the west can be rough.

Since we did have¬†a time¬†obligation¬†requiring us to be in Denver in early August, we ended up two stepping across Wyoming and Colorado….¬†¬†quick, quick, slow, slow or other times it was more like quick, slow, slow, quick ūüėČ

We did a quick overnight at the Yampa River State Park in Colorado

We did a quick overnight at the Yampa River State Park in Colorado

Craig, Colorado РReluctantly we bid farewell to the Grand Tetons, and embarked on a long seven hour travel day.  As much as we wanted to linger in Wyoming, that time commitment loomed.  We arrived at the Yampa River State Park in Colorado on a Sunday evening and had plenty of nice sites to choose from.

We originally wanted to Elkovernight at the Walmart in Craig, but there are signs all over posted ‘No overnight parking’.¬† Al even confirmed with a store manager.

This northwest part of Colorado is known for excellent Elk hunting.  We even passed a herd of Elk grazing near the side of the road.   Could be too many hunters were trying to set up camp at Walmart and thus they ended any RV overnighting. Fortunately, the Yampa River State Park had plenty of room for us.

Rifle, Colorado – The next day was a quick travel day¬†to a Colorado State Park¬†I’d been curious about for years.¬† As many times as we’ve traveled Interstate 70 through Colorado and stopped at the excellent rest area near the town of Rifle, we never¬†took the time to visit Rifle Falls State Park.¬† Now¬†was the¬†perfect opportunity to¬†check out¬†this lovely state park.

Rifle State Park - Rifle Gap Campground

Rifle State Park – Rifle Gap Campground. We’re by the water on the left.

Of course, I wanted to camp as close to the falls as possible, but wasn’t sure if that was possible.¬† There are two campgrounds at the Rifle State Park.¬† We¬†stopped Rifle Fallsat¬†the¬†main¬†park office for the Rifle Gap Campground where I was able to ask all my questions.

Turns out the Rifle Falls Campground, located further up the road, was full. Had we gone there first, we might¬†have found it somewhat challenging to turn around.¬† Although the sites do seem large enough¬†to accommodate¬†most RV’s, they do not have a convenient¬†turn around road set up.

Also, the paved road to the campground is a little narrow in spots.  Therefore, it turned out to be more ideal for me to drive just the truck to see the waterfalls.Rifle Gap Campground

We were given a very nice pull-thru campsite near the water at the Rifle Gap Campground. The camp host gave us the option of driving against the one-way so our door could face the picnic table, but due to winds we opted to park with the door to the south.  The next day I drove to the waterfalls for a little hiking and photography.  Stay tuned for photos on that hike!

Our next stop would be Grand Junction, Colorado.¬† The James Robb State Park Fruita Section is a regular stopping point for us.¬† It’s the perfect location for me¬†to visit with my brother as well as get in some fabulous hiking.¬† Without a reservation, we knew snagging a campsite at this popular state park over¬†a weekend would be highly unlikely, but we figured a couple of weeknights shouldn’t be a problem….. wrong!

Our good fortune led to us spending five nights here.

Our good fortune Рwe were able to spend five nights here.

We were able to get a site for only one night.  Apparently there was a fundraising concert being held the following evening in the day use area, and thus the campground was all booked up, but the ranger did recommend stopping by the next morning to see if there were James Robb State Parkany cancellations.

That morning, we hooked up and were ready to roll, but before doing so I stopped in at the office, just in case.

While the gal was checking the¬†reservation book, I made polite small talk.¬† And then I heard the preverbal, “Sorry, no¬†cancellations”.¬†¬† Just as I turned slowly to exit with my¬†head hung in a dejected feel sorry for me stance, the gal said, “Wait one second”.¬† She then radioed one of the rangers, and I overheard her ask, “Did we decide to open the group campground to the general public because of the concert?”

Our awesome site backed up to the pond.

Our awesome site backed up to the pond.

As my ears perked up, I was told, “If you don’t mind not having a sewer connection, you can stay in the group campground through the weekend”.¬† YES!¬† We even got to pick out which site we wanted.¬† Sweet!¬† Turns out this was indeed a rare situation proving once again, lady luck was certainly on our side.¬† We not only had a great campsite at the James Robb State Park, we enjoyed a nice concert.

Montrose is a great place to camp to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Montrose is a great place to camp to visit Black Canyon of the Gunnison

After a wonderful six night stay in Grand Junction, it was time for us to move on down the road to Montrose, Colorado.¬† This would be a quick two-night stay so we decided to give the Elks Lodge a try.¬† We snagged the last electric site available.¬† Maybe we should’ve bought a lottery ticket (we didn’t).¬† But our luck didn’t end here……

LEGO Creator 31052 Vacation Getaways Building Kit (792 Piece)

Take a Hike in New Mexico

Some places resonate with me much more than others. I’m not always sure why or what the deciding factor might be, but when I stumble upon a unique landscape that gives me goose bumps, I know I’m some place special.

Kasha Katuwe

The blogosphere is one of my favorite venues to search and find exciting travel ideas. The moment I saw a hiking trailsphotograph of those cone-shaped tent rock formations, I knew this was a must see.

A visit was in the plans last year, but when our daughter decided to move from Denver to Phoenix, all those plans went out the window.

This year was different, and since we didn’t have any firm commitments after mid August, I knew the timing was perfect to lay eyes on this unusual landscape.

National Monuments35 miles south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is a complex and unique geological landscape called Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. This relatively new monument was designated as such in 2001.

The sculpted cliffs and peaked hoodoos were formed from volcanic eruptions that occurred more than six million years ago.

There is a somewhat uniform layering of volcanic material causing bands of white, grey, beige, and pink colored rock.¬† It’s a fascinating and perplexing sight.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Over time, wind and water sculpt these rocks creating canyons, scooping holes, and contouring hoodoos. Mother Nature’s artistic and creative hand had me awed and smiling during the entire two plus hour hike.  I found myself hiking this fun trail several times during our two-week stay in the Santa Fe area, and trust me when I say, once is not enough.  I already look forward to returning.

Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Without further adieu, let’s take a hike…..

As we approached the fee booth station, we were greeted by a ranger. There’s a $5.00 daily fee (as of Aug 2016) or free with your Annual National Park Pass (this is a Federal park after all).  From the fee station, we continued for five miles down a paved road that crosses private property owned by the Pueblo de Cochiti.  We are asked to respect the Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monumenttraditions and privacy of the local Indians and thus, no stopping along the way, no photography/video, and no drawing/painting.  Also, no commercial photography within the park is allowed without a permit.

Once we neared the trailhead, there¬†were three different gravel parking lots that can accommodate just about any size vehicle (including RV’s).¬† There’s a couple of vault toilets, but no water….. so be sure and bring plenty of drinking water.¬† You’ll need it.

Awed beyond words!

Awed beyond words!

Unlike most national parks and monuments, there are no scenic overlooks near a parking lot around here.¬† The only way to view the tent rocks and observe this stunning landscape is by foot; hiking via a dirt, sometimes sandy trail.¬† And by the way, no dogs allowed.¬† You won’t even be¬†allowed through the fee station with a dog in the vehicle.

Kasha-Katuwe

The 1.2 mile Cave Loop Trail is rated easy and partly handicap accessible.¬† There are some unique rock formations and a hand dug cave along this trail, but the real gem of the park is the Slot Canyon Trail ……¬†definitely not to be missed.

Kasha-Katuwe Cave TrailKasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

 

 

 

 

The Slot Canyon Trail is a 3 mile out and back hike with a 630 foot elevation gain and connects with the Cave Loop Trail.  We hiked the combination of both trails making for a wonderful 4.2 mile hike that, for my level of hiking ability, offered me the perfect amount of challenge and visual stimulation.

Cave Loop Trail as we hike toward the Slot Canyon trail

Cave Loop Trail as we hike toward the Slot Canyon trail

the beginning of the Slot Canyon Trail

the beginning of the Slot Canyon Trail

Although from Al’s point of view, there¬†may have¬†been¬†way too much visual stimulation(if there is such a thing)¬†which resulted in an excessive amount of photo-op stops, much to his chagrin.¬† Perhaps that’s why my subsequent hiking visits to¬†Kasha-Katuwe were tackled as a solo hiker ūüėĀ

Kasha KatuweKasha-Katuwe

The moment we connected with the Slot Canyon Trail, the cliff walls rose on both sides and I felt like I had entered a secret garden of sorts.

I believe, oh my gosh, was uttered by me around every bend.   As the canyon walls continued to narrow, we were greeted with obstacles along the trail.

Slot canyon hiking

Nothing we couldn’t handle …¬†however, those that are vertically challenged or suffer from short leg syndrome, like moi, may find themselves stretching out¬†those leg¬†muscles just a tad.

Easy peasy!

Easy peasy!

At some points the slot canyon became very narrow, so narrow that there was only room for one foot at a time.

one foot at a time!

one foot at a time!

one hiker at a time!

one hiker at a time!

How cool is this?

How cool is this?

Fits like a glove!

Fits like a glove!

Loved it!

Awesome!

Once we exited the slot canyon, we were¬†welcomed by those tee pee shaped hoodoos …. each uniquely sculpted by the elements and each equally as impressive.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

cairns

hiking

It didn’t take long and we could feel the¬†trail climbing and instead of looking up at the amazing tent rocks, we were now looking down upon them.

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

We continued up the trail and stopped frequently to look back.

New Mexico hikingKasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

 

 

 

 

 

As we reached the top of the trail, we had¬†temporarily hiked away from the tent rocks. The trail continued out onto a narrow mesa which provided a bird’s eye view of Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.

trail - drop offs on both sides. Birds eye view in all directions. The lake in the background is where we camped to be near Kasha-Katuwe; Cochiti Lake

Trail drops off on both sides. Birds eye view in all directions. The lake in the background is where we camped to be as near as possible to Kasha-Katuwe; Cochiti Lake Campground

And of course, a few more “Oh…. my…. gosh”es were uttered as I stood on the edge gazing down.

Standing on the edge gazing in awe!

Standing on the edge gazing in awe!

Sitting on the edge as I admire the view below - hey look, there's the trail

Sitting on the edge as I admire the view below – hey look, there’s the trail

We can see hikers on the trail. Since this is a out and back hike, we'll be down there shortly!

We can see hikers on the trail. Since this is an out and back hike, we’ll be down there shortly!

Heading back down the trail.

Heading back down the trail.

Easy for someone 6'3".... entertaining watching the 5'4" short legged gal

Easy for someone 6’3″…. entertaining watching the 5’4″ short legged gal

I steady myself

I steady myself

Not an obstacle I couldn't handle on my own!

Not an obstacle I couldn’t handle on my own!

This is where being short works in my favor ;-)

This is where being short works in my favor ūüėČ

The return hike to the trailhead was every bit as amazing as it was entering.

We returned back to the trailhead via the Cave Loop Trail

We returned back to the trailhead via the Cave Loop Trail

The Pueblo de Cochiti people view Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks as a very special place and justifiably so.¬† After Al and I made this first hike, I returned three more times to tackle this perfect (in my book) hike.¬† Perfect –¬†even when considering all the obstacles one might bump into.

Oh no, someone wasn't paying attention!

Oh no, someone wasn’t paying attention! At least¬†I managed to stop the blood from¬†running down my leg.¬† I did attract a little attention from fellow hikers…. You know, those “Are you ok?” looks and comments.

One morning, I hit the trail at 8:15 and encountered only one couple on the trail for that first hour.  It was awesome having this amazing place to myself and hiking in solitude.  All of my senses were alert.

Kasha-Katuwe

The visual delight of the sun peaking from behind a rock was a reminder of a new day unfolding.   I listened to the light sound of a lizard moving, and the loud squawking of birds soaring overhead.  I breathed in the crisp clean air scented of pine.  There was the random sound of tiny rocks tumbling, acting as a reminder that this land is in a constant state of change.

Kasha-Katuwe

There was the occasional touch of admiration and respect for this special and sacred place.

sitting on the edge!

sitting on the edge!

Yes indeed, some places touch my soul more than others and Kasha-Katuwe touched mine more than I ever expected.¬† I know I’ll return!

My church!

My church!

Kasha-Katuwe

(affiliate links)

A Mirror of Reflections

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe it’s September already.¬† Our summer flew by, and although our travels didn’t exactly go as planned, we are not complaining.¬† Actually, we couldn’t have planned¬†our summer¬†any better.¬† Sometimes winging it can turn into an amazing adventure.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

The travel God’s smiled on us regularly as we changed directions on a whim. ¬†I mean literally from one second to another we were changing our minds on where we should go and pulling into campgrounds without reservations…. not ideal in the peak of tourist season. ¬†One minute we were in crisis mode pointing the RV in an easterly direction, and the next, with the crisis averted, we found ourselves turning around and¬†heading north; traveling with no¬†real rhyme or reason other than some impending obligations.

Jackson Lake, Wyoming

Jackson Lake, Wyoming

The flexibility and freedom of traveling in a RV can be liberating, exciting, stressful, wonderful, scary, perplexing, and¬†of course,¬†relaxing ……¬†it’s kind of¬†like a rollercoaster of emotions, but¬†minus the word relaxing.¬† As much as I love a good rollercoaster ride, I’ve never found one to be relaxing – exhilarating yes, relaxing no!¬† And RVing can be an exhilarating journey.

Jackson Lake, Wyoming

Jackson Lake, Wyoming

Along with seeing spectacular scenery this summer, we met some wonderful people.¬† More than once we were referred to as “seasoned”.¬† On July 1st, we entered our fourth year of full-time RV living.¬† Our one to two year intention of living in the RV full-time has since turned into year four.¬† I’m not sure when we¬†progressed from “newbie” RV’er to “seasoned” RV’er, but here we are,¬† still enjoying the journey, and¬†willing to share¬†our school of hard knocks knowledge with any “RV newbie” who asks.

Grand Junction, Colorado

Grand Junction, Colorado

I’ll admit, three years ago as a relative ‘newbie’, I would never have handled the winging it style of travel we embarked on this summer.¬† I’ve always been a planner and usually have a game plan laid out weeks in advance,¬†and most times,¬†months in advance.¬† I think, over time,¬†we’ve developed a level of RVing confidence. We¬†have confidence in¬†knowing we’ll always manage to find a place to overnight, even if it’s just a parking lot.

Loved visiting the ducks at Schbacher Landing, Grand Tetons, Wyoming

Loved visiting the ducks at Schwabacher Landing, Grand Tetons, Wyoming

There are days I do miss a home base.¬† A place to go back to and regroup, but I still haven’t found that spot I’d¬†like to call home.¬† So the search shall continue.¬† I do know it won’t be Jackson Hole, Wyoming.¬† Although¬†amazingly beautiful, and I look forward to returning, my blood is too thin to tackle that weather.¬† More than once we awoke to temperatures in the 30 degree Fahrenheit range along with a fresh dusting of snow on the peaks and this was in mid July¬†…. beautiful BUT brrrr!

I don't think I'd ever tire of this view, but I couldn't live here - too cold...brrrr!

I don’t think I’d ever tire of this view, but I couldn’t live here – too cold…brrrr!

The moment I realized this weeks photo challenge was mirror, I knew I had to share some images from¬†our summer excursion¬†….. photographs depicting reflections.¬† I’m still struggling with my computer issues, thus my lack of blogosphere presence may continue, but now that we’ve decided to slow our travels down a tad and spend the next two months hanging in Prescott, Arizona, I’m hoping to finally upgrade this dinosaur of a laptop.

Yellowstone Bear World, Idaho

Yellowstone Bear World, Idaho

Once I bring home¬†that new laptop, I’ll¬†start writing about our interesting travel stops.¬† Not only do these photographs depict reflections, as I review them, I reflect on our memories, on our journey, on the adventure.

Grand Junction, Colorado

Grand Junction, Colorado

Slate River Road, Crested Butte, Colorado

Slate River Road, Crested Butte, Colorado

My biggest dilemma was narrowing down the photographs to just a few, which was not an easy task for me.  We managed to visit some stunningly beautiful places during the past few months.  We started in Arizona last April then ventured into Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and now, five months later, have returned to Arizona.

I was excited to see a Pelican fly by - Pelicans in Wyoming?

I was excited to see a Pelican fly by – Pelicans in Wyoming?

Lots of ducks

Lots of ducks

Mountains and Wildlife - love it!

Mountains and Wildlife – love it!

Yep, we had one heck of a rollercoaster¬†ride this¬†summer¬†….. wouldn’t change a moment….. not the highs, the lows, or the upside downs.¬† Stay tuned for all the stories!

Beauty Abounds

Beauty comes in many forms.  Sometimes beauty is in your face obvious while other times it takes a little longer to seek out.  From my first scenic overlook sighting at Bryce Canyon National Park to each subsequent visit, wow was usually the first word I uttered.  The scenery was breathtaking, stunning, mesmerizing, and obviously beautiful.

beauty abounds when we open our eyes

beauty abounds when we open our eyes

After spending an incredible week exploring Bryce Canyon Country, it was time to move on.¬† Although I must admit, I could’ve easily spent another week staring at those mind-boggling hoodoos.Bryce Canyon

Willard Bay State Park, South Campground

Willard Bay State Park, South Campground

Our journey from Panguitch, Utah took us north through Salt Lake City, Utah.  We enjoyed a quick overnight stay at Willard Bay State Park camped near the shores of the Great Salt Lake.  We thought about spending a second night which would allow us to explore the main part of the state park, but the bugs were rather bad and the next day a severe storm was heading in our direction.

Note all the bugs in this photo. Traipsing through the tall grasses for photo-ops was probably not my smartest move. I left with more bug bites than photos :-(

Note all the spots in my photo in the sky,¬†those are¬†bugs. Traipsing through the tall grasses for photo-ops was probably not my smartest move. I left with more bug bites than photographs ūüė¶

Thus, with high wind warnings in the forecast, we hightailed it out of there early the next morning before the 66 mile per hour gusts of wind arrived.¬† A little over three hours later, we were setting up camp at our summer home at the Mountain View RV Park in Arco, Idaho.¬† Al and I decided to give “Workamping” a whirl this summer which is how we ended up here.¬† Once I get a chance, I’ll do a separate post on life as a Workamper.

Craters of the Moon National Monument

Craters of the Moon National Monument

The biggest draw to this part of Idaho is Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.¬† Since arriving in Arco, Idaho, I’ve had the opportunity to visit this park a¬†few times.¬† During¬†my first visit, Al and I gathered information at the visitor center and drove the scenic loop while stopping at a few points of interest.¬† Knowing we had the entire summer to explore Craters of the Moon NM, we¬†focused on¬†a general overview.

entrance to a Lava tube

entrance to a Lava tube

On our next visit, we embarked on a hike that took me out of my comfort zone.¬† I’m not usually a fan of enclosed spaces like caves or crowded elevators.¬† So, I didn’t exactly jump at the¬† thought of hiking a Lava tube tunnel, but I am on an adventure after all,¬†and the last thing I was going to do¬†was allow a little phobia¬†to hinder my explorations.

inside Indian Tunnel - Lava tube cave

inside Indian Tunnel – Lava tube cave

On my third visit, I focused on the beauty found around this harsh landscape.¬† Just like at Bryce Canyon National Park, I uttered the word “wow” routinely, but more in a strange and curious tone as opposed to wow that’s beautiful.

Sometimes it takes looking at the smaller details to see the beauty.

Sometimes it takes looking at the smaller details to see the beauty.

When I first laid eyes on Craters of the Moon, the word beautiful was not at the forefront.¬†¬† I think my thoughts were more along the lines of¬†…. stark, harsh, unforgiving, barren, mean, bewildering, and maybe even ugly.¬† With each subsequent visit my opinion seemed to change …. intriguing, fascinating, perplexing, and¬†yes, beautiful.Craters of the MoonIn my attempt to find the beauty, I visited¬†the morning after a heavy rainstorm.¬† As I meandered along a trail, I could hear water trickling between the rocks.¬† Birds were chirping.¬† Chipmunks were running around foraging for food, and the wildflowers were springing to life.¬† There seemed to be a bevy of activity.Craters of the Moon

I found myself surrounded by a strange beauty, and couldn’t help but feel a level of respect for all things surviving in this severe landscape.

I found beauty in the strangest place.¬† I assure you, there will be more posts about Craters of the Moon.¬† Stay tuned….

finding beauty in the smaller things

finding beauty in the smaller things

Moon Idaho (Moon Handbooks)

Hoodoo You See?

When it comes to traveling, one of my greatest¬†joys is immersing myself in a new place.¬† It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a city or some remote wilderness that I’m visiting for the first time, setting off on foot allows me to discover things up close.

I see the face of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Do you?

I see the face of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. What face do you see?

Whether I’m hiking, walking, strolling, meandering, or whatever pace¬†I’m¬†keeping at¬†the moment, I¬†love allowing my legs to¬†transport me¬†to¬†exciting new¬†visual delights¬†.

hiking Red Canyon was a delight

hiking Red Canyon

Years ago, my son and I visited my¬†parents in the Chicago suburbs and took the train into the city for a day of sightseeing.¬† We walked, and walked, and walked some more…. no cab rides for us.¬† According to my dad (who knows the city of Chicago like the back of his hand), Logan and I must have¬†walked¬†at least¬†ten miles.¬† By doing so,¬†he and Bryce Canyon National ParkI¬†observed so many unique details¬†in this bustling city –¬†from architecture, to art, to the beautiful parks and shops, to the sounds and smells. It was a memorial day spent with my son along with¬†discovering the¬†city’s special character.

My week spent in Bryce Canyon Country was equally memorable and just like that day in Chicago, I knew I had to get out on foot to immerse myself in this mesmerizing landscape.

Each overlook is breathtaking!

Each overlook is breathtaking!

I started off my Bryce Canyon National Park visit by stopping at every single overlook and getting a feel for the lay of the land.

I see you!

This hoodoo sees you!

Seeing Mother Nature’s work of art from the rim of the canyon is breathtaking, but hiking in the depths of her creation left me awe-struck and speechless.¬† Around every corner was another perplexing sculpture.¬† So many of the rocks¬†seem to have¬†faces and personalities.¬†¬† Then there are rocks that resemble people, things, or even a queen – Queen Victoria to be exact.Bryce Canyon

And now we know why the trail is called the Queen’s Garden Trail.¬† It took me a moment to grasp the resemblance, and of course, the aid of¬†a sign was helpful.

Can you spot the Queen?

Can you spot the Queen?  Can you also see the hiking trail? Yep, I was down in there!

The Queen’s Garden trail¬†is a fantastic hike that put me¬†in the center of some of the most bizarre and interesting¬†terrain¬†that I’ve ever seen.¬† It’s obvious why it’s the parks most popular trail.¬† We saw hikers of all ages and ability on the trail, although I will say the 600 foot elevation climb back out of the canyon¬†seemed to¬†be a challenge for some, especially for those not¬†accustomed to the 8,000 plus foot altitude.¬† Note the pointy hoodoo in the photos below.¬† The trailhead is high above that hoodoo.

We had to climb out of the valley above the pointy hoodoo

We had to climb out of the valley above the pointy hoodoo seen on the left.

Bryce Canyon

Al and I enjoyed this hike so much so that we actually hiked it twice.¬†¬†On our first day,¬†we started the hike at the¬†Navajo Loop trailhead which will eventually meet up with the Queens Garden trail.¬† The term “loop” is a bit of a misnomer because the return part of the Navajo trail loop has been damaged and eroded to the point it had to be closed off for safety reasons.¬†Thus, no hiking loop at the time¬†of this writing.Bryce Canyon

This¬†land¬†never rests¬†due to weather and erosion.¬†¬† These statuesque limestone rock formations called hoodoos are caused by the extreme weather changes… from snow and ice melt, to soaring heat.¬† The constant contraction and expansion¬†causes cracks, collapses, and further sculpting. You won’t find any rock climbers around here¬†considering the rock is soft, unstable, and ever-changing.¬† Because of this instability, its vital hikers stay on the trails and wear proper footwear for traction.

Evidence of instability are easily seen. I wonder how deep that crack is?

Evidence of instability are easily seen. I wonder how deep that crack is?

Starting off at Sunset Point, we headed down the Navajo trail into the canyon floor via a series of switchbacks, and found ourselves hiking in a pine forest.  The crisp fresh air scented with pine made for a very pleasurable hike.

hiking with pines

hiking with pines

 

Hikers will find several tunnels along the trail

Hikers will find several tunnels along the trail

Once we veered onto the Queens Garden trail, we exited the pine forest and the terrain became more stark and barren, but those hoodoos were up close and personal.

The next day, Al and I hiked the trail in reverse; starting at the Queens Garden trailhead and exiting at the Navajo trailhead.¬† Is one way better than the other?¬† No!¬† Regardless of the starting and ending point, the scenery is out of this world and¬†I¬†can’t recommend this hike enough.¬† The first day it took us a little over two hours to complete¬†the hike because someone kept stopping to take photos ūüėȬ† The second go around took us less than two hours to hike, even though an equal amount of photos were taken!

hikers can be seen on the Queens Garden Trail

hikers can be seen on the Queens Garden Trail

BUT, if you’d like to start out with a couple of super easy hikes¬†that are still¬†beautiful, but won’t have the elevation change……

hoodoo you see?

hoodoo you see?

On highway 12 just east of highway 89 is the Red Canyon Visitor Center.¬†¬† There’s a series of short trails that interconnect allowing one to hike the short interpretative trail only or add a little more distance by continuing onto the Pink Ledges trail and/or the Birds Eye trail.

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

The scenery here is beautiful and worth the stop.¬† Since we were camped just a few miles down the road, I found myself meandering around here a couple of times.¬† It’s amazing the new sights I saw¬†each time I¬†hiked the same trail.¬† The more I looked at the rocks, the more faces¬†I saw.

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

 

Red Canyon

Red Canyon

Continuing east on Highway 12 past the turn off to Bryce Canyon National Park are more hiking trails.¬† Year’s ago (I’m talking more than twenty plus), Al and I traveled Highway 12¬†through this¬†part of Utah.¬† It’s a stretch of road I’ve longed to revisit, but alas the weather this day would not¬†cooperate.

Mossy Cave and Waterfall trail

Mossy Cave and Waterfall trail

I stopped in at the great visitor center in the town of Cannonville and picked up some local information then returned to the truck in a steady stream of rain.  Feeling somewhat disappointed, I decided to head home.  My exploration of Highway 12 will need to wait for another visit.

Highway 12

Highway 12

Mossy Cave and Waterfall Trail

Mossy Cave and Waterfall Trail

However, on my way home, the weather cleared just long enough for me to take a quick one mile (out and back) hike.  Any disappointment I may have felt was quickly lifted after a brisk walk in this beautiful setting.  The Mossy Cave Waterfall Trail was definitely a worthwhile hike in between rain clouds.Bryce Canyon

So that about wraps up my fabulous week spent in Bryce Canyon Country.¬† Oh, we can’t forget the beautiful faces of wildlife……

Pronghorn aka antelope

Pronghorn aka antelope

Chipmunk

Bryce CanyonFYI… the trails around here can get slick, gooey, and dangerous.¬† Proper hiking shoes are a must.¬† The weather can fluctuate to extremes and change rapidly.¬† A 40 degree (Fahrenheit) change throughout the day is not unusual.¬† Dressing in layers is a good idea.¬†¬†Bring plenty of water and expect high winds.¬† Being prepared, allowed us to have a fantastic and memorable visit.

Fairyland trail will need to wait for my next visit!

Fairyland trail will need to wait for my next visit –¬†a more challenging trail that I can’t wait to tackle!

The many faces of Bryce Canyon

The many faces of Bryce Canyon

I’ll be back!¬†