A Travellerspoint blog

Last day in Utah

tired and happy

overcast

This morning woke us with cleared skies - for a short time, anyway, so we saw a lovely sunrise.
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We visited the canyon for one last time, but the sun had already ducked behind the large clouds, and the paths were wet and muddy. Good thing we did the big one yesterday!

We drove 4+ hours on the-usually-excellent roads of Utah north to Salt Lake City, seeing some nice views some of the time, in between rain:(
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... arriving at the Temple Square by 12:45 for the tour. Two young ladies doing their missionary 18 months were our tour guides. Of course we were not allowed into the temple, but saw the tabernacle, where the famous choir sings, and where an 11,000+ pipe organ reigns, and the historical meeting house. The tabernacle looks like an armadillo in shape, and has amazing acoustics - evidently a bridge builder created it as a series of connected bridges. They answered questions about the buildings, history, and their beliefs.

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We decided not to go walking or birding, recovering after a very late breakfast at the hotel, where it - rained - surprise surprise.
Leaving tomorrow at 3 via BWI, of all places, and arr in Clv around 11 pm. Another long day, so we are resting in advance.

Posted by DavidJean1971 18:04 Comments (0)

Final day hiking - success!

In between the downpours....

all seasons in one day 41 °F

No rest for the weary....
We were up in Bryce Canyon for the 7:38 sunrise..
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It was beautiful, and quite full of fellow appreciators of beauty.

Then we headed back to the town of Tropic to attend a church service, where all are welcome in hiking boots. ...Only to find no one in the parking lot. Looked at the website again - they hadn't updated it, but only had Tuesday night services now.

So back to the Canyon for more hiking. We were all set to do the combo Queen's Garden/Navajo trail, about 600' elevation and 2.5 miles, when the dark sky emitted a big belch of thunder. Uh oh. We drove to the Visitor's center to watch the video and shop a bit, but it was still pouring, so back to the ranch for a nap.

By 3 it was lightening up and we finally got to do the hike - and it was fun, full of fellow travelers from all over the US and world, and not too exhausting!!
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We think that hoodoo is Thor's Hammer.

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You can see the switchbacks for the climb out of the canyon!!!
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There are ravens all over the place.

We squeezed in the drive to the end of the Bryce Canyon overlooks, including this huge natural bridge and a spire, just before the sun set.
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Posted by DavidJean1971 19:55 Comments (0)

Saturday risky adventures

the road less traveled, encore

We got an early start from our lovely little home (pictured here) ec1af9b0-d4da-11e8-9f0f-3f4f25cbe0f3.JPG
towards Capitol Reef National Park - about 2-3/4 hours, sometimes very clouded over.
Lots of lovely views.
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We stopped quickly at Hite, where one can rent boats for Lake Powell, tho the dock looked a long way from the water, maybe due to Lake Powell's shrinkage with the drought.

We think all these golden leaved trees in wet bottom valleys are aspens, but they weren't "quaking."DSC_0064.JPG

We had to choose - do the safe scenic drive in Capitol Reef OR go down a dirt road and over the scary switch backs (up, fortunately) to cut over the Burr Trail (used to move cattle from Boulder Mtn to Lake Powell for shipping down the Colorado). Of course we took the riskier bit and avoided the crowds. We passed maybe 3 cars, and were one of only 3 cars going our way.
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The unique geologic formation in this area is the "waterpocket folds" where there was a folding up of layers, which later eroded down.
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Can you see where the road's coming up?

Stopped at the petrified forest state park - that's a close up
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Then to our hotel to register and off to Bryce Canyon before the sun goes down - as it's a gloriously sunny day at last.
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And, finally, a delicious meal at the lodge in Bryce Canyon - elk chili for Jean; local black angus for David - boy was it tender!

Off to bed early, I hope, so we can either be up for the sunrise if it's sunny, or at a local church service if it's rainy. Either way we'll thank God for his creation.

Posted by DavidJean1971 19:57 Comments (0)

Friday's adventures

What a range of emotions!!

The day started well... sun on "our" mountains just north of here.

An early start south to Goose Neck State Park - the photos didn't come out too well because of the severe shadowing - lovely sun at last, you see. Walked a labyrinth - making it into a prayer walk. Saw the giant chasm from every angle. This is where the San Juan River turns and turns.

Then we realized that we had to take the Moki Dugway road up the steep climb if we were to do Natural Bridge today rather than visiting the 4 corners site (sorry, Megan, but it's just a tourist trap).
That was a scary drive but wide enough for both directions, and if cars pulling campers are allowed, David guessed we could do it too.
At the top was lovely view. Met very nice young Parisian with not a trace of French accent, who squeezed down a narrow slot to get good photos, and then offered us a fresh cup of coffee - no French press, I asked?

Off to Natural Bridge National Monument - 3 of the largest of 5 in the world. We hiked down the first - 500' drop in elevation using metal stairs, slick rock ledges, carved steps, and three WOODEN LADDERS. What am I thinking!? Took about 1:40 round trip to do that 1.5 mile hike and all photos.
Continued the 9 mile driving loop, observing the second bridge from a distance and then hiking down to the youngest, thinnest one. Much easier but by then I was huffing and puffing.

David really wanted to drive up onto Bears Ears monument so we did that around 4:30, except that the climb up was scarier than the Moki Dugway had been - narrower road, and at the top the hard packed earth road was mushy and I was really afraid we'd ooze off the road into the muddy ditch and be stuck. There was even snow up there. So we carefully turned around and went down again, passing a woman on a fat-tire bike w84571700-d412-11e8-b0a0-bd7c87eb75bf.JPG8e5bf090-d412-11e8-b0a0-bd7c87eb75bf.JPG98dd9b40-d412-11e8-b0a0-bd7c87eb75bf.JPGa383e4f0-d412-11e8-b0a0-bd7c87eb75bf.JPGDSC_0058.JPGDSC_0061.JPGDSC_0040.JPGDSC_0044.JPGDSC_0049.JPGDSC_0082.JPGDSC_0096.JPGDSC_0113.JPGDSC_0131.JPGDSC_0139.JPGho actually had enough energy to smile and wave!! We got back to Blanding around 6 to stop at the one and only grocery store and buy ready-made chicken.

Then the adventure gets funny - pulling into the AirBnB, we spy our hostess walking down the street with her toothbrush. Why, we inquire?
Well, the septic system failed (please don't blame us!!) and we could no longer stay there.
So we packed up quickly and were escorted just 2 blocks to another place, and this one was not just a lovely apartment but an entire house! We could accommodate another couple and 2 kids? Know anybody like that?
Two homemade cookies awaited us, and we reckoned we deserved them, along with our fresh coffee out of the Keurig.
All the beds seem like memory foam ones too :)
AND a bath - my knees thank God for his amazing provision.

Posted by DavidJean1971 19:25 Comments (0)

Thursday in the hills

still more rain?

Well, yesterday the pedometer registered 15,000 steps, today only 7000, but we got some hiking in.

First photo - the view of the Island in the Sky, the northern portion of Canyonlands, which was STILL in the clouds by 11 am. (We had been delayed trying to get the fuse to the cig lighter fixed so we could use our GPS and/or recharge phones, to no avail.) Those 2 mesas are called the Monitor and the Merrimac after the 2 ironclad warships of the US Civil War.

After driving up there, we cut our losses and left, heading south to the Needles section of Canyonlands Natl Park. After getting gas for about $3.27/gal. - of course you Californians or Brits don't think that's high anyway.

It was raining off and on still, but we did a few short hikes and saw some arches right from the road. The BEST thing was seeing how the rain turned - within a minute - a small waterfall of maybe 4' across, into a raging torrent about 20' across. Scary. We also spied a ruby crowned kinglet :)

Most of these photos are just of beautiful things, or dramatic skies, ending with mountains near Blanding, where we stay for 2 nights, covered in snow. The last ones show how wonderful our little AirBnB is - NOT that shed, David!!!

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Posted by DavidJean1971 20:35 Comments (0)

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