Thursday, September 22, 2011

GonSS And WH's Great Utah (And Colorado) Adventure

I think it takes a whole week to dig out of the "to do list" at home and at work after a week away on vacation.  I'm have managed to process some photos, but haven't visited many other blogs lately.
I'm coming!  Leave the coffee on!  Actually, I don't drink coffee.  Save me some lemonade!

Here's a little post about our adventure.
It's worth the extra efforts before and after vacation to be able to do this stuff.

First of all, I'm a geology nut.  I love rocks, seeing areas of previous volcanic activity and finding fossils.  That transfers into enjoying petroglyphs left by the American Indians and viewing the remains of their stone buildings.  I love all stone buildings.  Hmmmm.  More of a pattern there than I thought.  Someday, I hope to travel to Hawaii to see the volcanoes in action and I secretly want to feel a small earthquake.  My wonderful husband asks whenever we travel to mountain areas, "why aren't you a geologist?"  Well, my BS focused on geology in college.  Shrug.

Anyway, My WH and I headed out September 10.  We drove over 2000 miles during this trip.  I snapped a lot of photos from the passenger seat.  Cool stuff like this.

  And this.

Sunday, September 11, we arrived in Springdale, UT.  I had made reservations at a cute little motel and we planned to pack in as much of Zion National Park as possible.  

On Monday, September 12, we hiked one mile up and back through The Narrows.  Basically, you hike in the Virgin River where the canyon narrows.  Now, after a dry, hot summer, rain found us everyday of this trip.  Mostly late in the afternoon.  Since it had rained Sunday afternoon, the river was a little deeper and faster than one would have thought this time of year.  This is my WH before going into chest deep water.  58 degree Fahrenheit water.  Brrr. We had planned for this but it still makes you shiver.

After the initial deep spot, most of the water was knee deep.  With a couple of waist deep spots right after you get completely dry.  This is me with my  hair in braids.  Only on hiking trips do I morph into "hippy girlfriend" as my WH likes to point out.  He's "hikin' dude."  Yes, that water was running a little hard.  Talk about a work out.

The canyon was just amazing and worth all the effort of walking against the water to see it.

This waterfall was one of my favorite spots.

We purchased a small "sport" camera that says it is waterproof up to 10 feet deep just to be able to take photos safely during this trip.  Everything else important was left behind or put in zipper bags.  Like our lunch!

After returning to the motel that night, it rained.

On Tuesday, September 13, we first hiked to Hidden Canyon.  Some of the trail is along the edge of the uplifted rocks and there are chains to hold onto for safety.  You can't see over the edge in this photo but trust me when I say it was a long way down over that edge!

Once you actually get to Hidden Canyon, you can explore it as much as you want which requires navigating some rocks, and since it rained the night before, pools.

The view coming back down was so beautiful with the sun on the colorful rocks.  See, a long way down.

I also got several photos of this beautiful red flowering plant.

We rented bikes Tuesday afternoon and biked the road in and out of Zion National Park.  Since they run a shuttle service there is very little traffic making it a great place to bike.  We loved the shuttles.  Yes, you do have all the stops; but without all the vehicles, the canyon was quieter.  And, we met the best people on the shuttles.  We were always talking to someone about a trail or what they had seen or done.  Hikin' Dude and Hippy Girlfriend are very chatty.  As we were finishing our bike ride, it poured!  That makes two days of getting wet.  It poured so much that they had to close The Narrows to hikers for a couple of days because it flash flooded.  We did so good going in the first day of our visit.

On Wednesday, September 14, we got out early.  I just love the light on these canyon walls.

Our destination was Scout's Lookout and then up the West Rim Trail a bit.  We passed on going to Angel's Landing.  It is a thin sliver of rock you navigate with many other hikers using chains to get to a separate point that looks down into the canyon.  We got great views from the West Rim without having to concentrate on every step and hand hold.

Here's Hikin' Dude taking photos.

To get to Scout's Lookout, there is a section called Walter's Wiggles.  I don't remember how many switch backs there are total.  I couldn't get them all in the photo.

Here's the great view from Scout's Lookout.

Since we had two cameras for this trip.  There are many more photos of me on the trail than in previous years.

After returning from this hike, we took another trail to Emerald Pools.  It started raining near the end of this hike and we actually got out the ponchos to finish because it poured again.  That makes three days of being wet.

Thursday, September 15, we squeezed in a short hike along the road on our way east out of the park.  I'd bought a new hat the night before in town after seeing how well my WH's hat shed the water during the rain storm Wednesday afternoon.  No hiking sticks on this trail. This went to Canyon Overlook.

Then, we hit the road across southern Utah.  There are tons of places we want to visit there.  We're already talking about just coming back next year to see more.  This was at a high place along the highway where we met another couple vacationing with their two dogs and a group of motorcycle riders on their way to Vegas. As I said, chatty, chatty, chatty.

Love this "sculpture" along the highway.

And, the layers here are so cool.

On Friday, September 16, we took the road less traveled through Indian lands to see Hovenweep National Monument.  We were at the main site with the visitor center, but they have several sites protected to preserve structures like these.

Then, we packed on many miles to cross the mountains and stayed in Alamosa, CO so we could go to Great Sand Dunes National Park Saturday morning.  We will be back to this location soon.  You can go out and hike the dunes all you want.  When it rains (and yes it rained overnight), you can sled down the dunes.  We saw several kids with their snow sleds.  The dunes sit against very tall mountains.  Like 13,000 to 14,000 feet tall mountains.  There is an amazing contrast there and you can hike trails into the mountains.  We will return.

And, the rest of the story is in the last Sunday's post about arriving home.

I gave the garden a lot of love Monday afternoon.  It did pretty well without us last week since it has started cooling off.  Now, time to start bringing in plants to overwinter and preparing for the first frost which could come any day here.

I hope you enjoyed a little of our adventure.  I'll be by soon!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

GonSS And WH Are Home

It was a dark and foggy night as Gardener on Sherlock Street and Wonderful Husband made their way home Saturday.

It had been an amazing adventure.  Many miles had been driven over mountains, across deserts, through tunnels, in busy cities and to remote villages.  At the main destination, they waded in a canyon river, biked through scenic lands and hiked to overlooks with amazing views.

The journey was coming to an end as they traveled lonely highways across plains, past quiet farmsteads and through sleepy country towns.  Family, friends, work and the garden were all awaiting their return.

Coming over a rise, they saw the lights of their city.  The colors were muted through the fog.  As they pulled into the drive on Sherlock Street, Gardener's eyes scanned the plants in the mist.  All looked upright and water drops glistened with the porch light.  A quick pace through the house brought her to the patio door where she peered out and was greeted with happy containers.  The vegetables and plants in the farther reaches of the garden would wait until morning for their inspection as the hour was late and both Gardener and Wonderful were happy to soon be sleeping in their own bed for the night.

Sunday morning revealed a nice rain shower had blessed the garden overnight.  All looked well.  Gardener watered the containers on the porch and patio.  She turned on the fountain to enjoy as they unpacked suitcases, washed dishes and did laundry.  Gardener will soon harvest tomatoes and peppers which grew and matured during her absence.

Garden on Sherlock Street will need some extra attention this week.  Gardener will be by to visit your garden soon!  A future post will share more of the adventures with photos.

This post is property of

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bye Holly

This is a tag from one of the 3 holly bushes we planted in the garden almost ten years ago.
Note how tall the holly bush is suppose to get.  Eight feet tall.

One of the holly bushes died a number of years ago.
The primrose has surrounded the remaining two holly bushes.
But, I ask you, do these look eight feet tall?

I need to include the holly bushes on the list of crispy plants in the garden after this year's heat.

It is time for the holly bushes to leave.  I will let go of the dream of making Christmas decorations with them. Later this fall or early next spring, this area will be dug up and new plants will get the space.  I'm already dreaming of tall flowering plants.  Maybe some joe pye weed, bee balm or phlox.  Any suggestions? The primrose will likely still be in the area too.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Purple Pod

The flower tower was planted this spring in hopes of a beautiful display of white bacopa intertwined with purple hyacinth bean vine.  The heat did in most of the bacopa and really held the purple hyacinth bean vine back.

I disassembled the flower tower.  The one surviving bacopa is doing well by the front steps.  The purple hyacinth bean vine container was put on the back patio where it is now blooming!

The flowers smell so sweet.

There is one small pod.  Hoping for more.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Clematis Blooms

In May 2010, I planted a clematis in the garden.  It grew, but did not bloom in 2010.

In July 2011, the clematis was included in my crispy report.  It did not look good.  I started watching it extra closely; gave it more water and mulched its roots really well.

Imagine my surprise to find it is blooming!

One bloom.

Two bloom.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Coming In From The Alley

We had a mild, cloudy evening Tuesday.  I was enjoying the fountain on the patio through the open door and thought I'd share it with you.  When I went outside, I decided to show you the garden as if you were walking in from the alley.  No narration as I wanted to let you hear the fountain, the birds and the insects.  You also get to hear the train and the neighbor's dog at the end.

Monday, September 5, 2011

So Glad It's September

Even though we hit 110 degrees Fahrenheit on September 1st, that extremely hot day was followed by a few cold fronts over the weekend and we're topping out around 75 degrees Fahrenheit today, Labor Day, Monday.

The garden is happy for the cooler temperatures.  I watered everything really well Friday and am gathering seeds where ever I can.  The birds are attacking the gomphrena.  I hurried to get some seeds before the birds eat or scatter them.

The hummingbirds are making good use of the feeders.  

45 degrees last night has me planning on getting some houseplants ready to move in for the winter.  Autumn can be very up and down for temperatures.  One never knows when the first frost will hit.

The September tour photos are one post back or you can find them in the pages in the right hand column as always.  Enjoy!

Tour September 2011

Front Garden


Back Garden

Side Garden

Vegetable Garden



Friday, September 2, 2011

Tiny But Might

The plumbago grows beneath the locust tree in the back garden.

It's a ground cover which I hope will continue to cover more ground.

Even with the heat and the drought, it maintained and produced lovely little blue flowers.

In the fall, the leaves will turn a pretty burgandy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September Lilacs

One of my lilac bushes is blooming.  Not a lot.  Just a little on the fringes.

I don't know why.

They sure do smell nice.