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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!

24 comments:

  1. Utah is certainly the place to be if you like rocks. Hubby and I did all the big parks there several years ago. Zion and Bryce Canyon were our favorites. We spent 3 weeks--and it wasn't nearly long enough. Looks like you got a lot of hiking in. I'm envious. We did SOME trails, but not nearly enough for me--I love the photos you took. Beautiful!!

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  2. Wow! What incredible photographs of your trip! The views are spectacular. I enjoyed reading about all the interesting places you hiked.

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  3. Must of been a great trip..the west is best.

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  4. What beautiful scenery you two experienced! It's interesting to learn what other interests gardener's have. Glad your trip was a good and safe one.

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  5. Hey, Hippie Girlfriend. .looks like you and Hiking Dude had a great trip!! The hiking looks great and the views. .uncomparable! Glad you are home safe and sound!

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  6. As beautiful and grand as your pictures portray these sights, I have a feeling they can't begin to compare to actually BEING there! How amazing is God's creation!?!

    Thanks for whetting my appetite for exploration and adventure!

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  7. What an amazing vacation! I would love to see this someday. So glad you had a marvelous time.

    XO,

    Sheila

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  8. What amazing pictures you took and a fun trip it must of been a lot of fun to explore. Thank You for sharing....Julian

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  9. I tried to hike to The Narrows when we were at Zion in June, but the last part of the trail was closed because of high water. I'm glad you made it. I really enjoyed your pictures.

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  10. FANTASTIC trip! I like the braids, Hippy Girl!

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  11. What a trip! Those rock formations are truly stunning! Enjoyed going through these images that I may never see for real!

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  12. So glad you enjoyed your trip and the Narrows... Sounds like the shuttles weren't too crowded.. We hated those shuttles... But I know why they have them... IF we go back, we hope to do more hiking there also. We just tried to do too much on this trip. Zion wasn't one of our favorite places ---but your pictures are very appealing.... We just don't need to go there in the summer!!! Glad you had a great time.
    Hugs,
    Betsy
    P.S. We meet some great people when we hike and travel also...

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  13. Looks like a fantastic trip! I have been there before, but my kids have not - I think they'd really enjoy it. Thank you for transporting me to Utah for the day :) XOL

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  14. Awesome photos - looks like a great trip!

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  15. I am sad to say I haven't fully explored this area. My MIl is from that area and we just barely skimmed the surface. Such a lovely place and so full of surprised! I am glad you were safe and had fun.

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  16. What an awesome post. I am new to your blog and I AM A ROCK HOUND...I LOVE ROCKS
    I have them every where in our flowerbeds.
    We went hiking in kentucky in the Daniel Boone National Forest and we hiked on what the angel sees out the window...it had rained heavy the 2 weeks before we went and there were land slides and the humidity was 100%. We almost turned back several times and had we...we would have missed the most awesome, beautiful and grand place.
    IT is very nice to meet you.

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  17. Thank you for bringing us to your trip too! Look so much fun. It is interesting that other than gardening, we share another interest too in geology.

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  18. WOWOWOWOWOW! Beautiful hiking and talk about a work out, I am impressed! We love to hike and your vacation is making me drool. Fantastic photos!

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  19. Great shots. That looked like it was a lot of fun. I'm itching to get out of here for a few days. Next week, me and my other half are going up North to Flagstaff for several days and I can't wait!!! Road trips are the best. I love the area you hiked in...the water actually does look cold, but it looks like a great place to relax.

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  20. Beautiful places and wonderful images. It has been ages since I have been to the places you have shown and I am glad not to have missed your post. You must have have a great time.

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  21. Wow, you sure saw a lot of awesome places in one short week! I clicked on several of your photos to see them larger. Thanks for taking those of us who are afraid of heights safely with you.

    I used to love hiking on easy nature trails, but haven't for a long time.

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  22. Whata, whata, whata trip. And the cool thing about having it on your blog is you'll always have it to look back on it.

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  23. Beautiful. We are going to Zion next month. We hope to do a small hike, we're not up to the more vigorous hikes you took. We've never been out west - looking forward to seeing the scenery,

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  24. We're going to Zion next month. We've never been out west so we're excited to see the scenery. Only planning on spending part of a day at Zion - no major hikes for us.

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