Mt Timpanogos, Utah

Aspen Grove

Back in Utah at the Mountain Valley RV Resort in Heber City. We love to stop here on our way south as it is such a beautiful park with views of the mountains in Utah’s Wasatch Range from our site. This time we had a different agenda for stopping here as we wanted to climb Mt Timpanogos, it was listed on the top 20 hikes to make you feel like a Badass. Naturally we had to go for it!!! Mount Timpanogos also referred to as Timp, is the second highest mountain in the Wasatch Range, rising to an elevation of 11,752 ft. We left the RV Park around 8am passing the Deer Creek Reservoir with views of Mt Timpanogos in the distance. We drove to Aspen Grove to begin the 18 mile hike, out and back, to the summit. Continue reading

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Calf Creek-18

Natural beauties

Today we drove the Jeep down Scenic Byway 12 across Boulder Mountain south to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Scenic Byway 12 spans a route of 124 miles, and travels through some of the most diverse, remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the country. We arrived at the Calf Creek Falls Recreation Area before noon and hiked the 6 mile R/T trail to the base of the falls. The Calf Creek Falls is a perennial waterfall that totals 214 feet. The lower falls is a 126 foot cascade and is very popular because it can be reached by the trail. However, the upper tier is a 88 foot plunge and is not as well known as it is a 1-mile scramble past the lower falls. We did not attempt to go to the upper falls but I did take a quick dip in the pool at the base of the falls. Very refreshing after such a hot, hike to get here. After we hiked out we went into Escalante for a late lunch and we found the restaurant that Kevin and Bob came to eat at in 2012. We stopped at the Outfitters store and Bob found a new shirt to buy. Then we took a back road out of Escalante back to Torrey. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Cathedral Valley-36

Hickman Bridge

We had a beautiful scenic drive from Moab to Torrey, Utah driving through the middle of Capitol Reef National Park. Arriving at Wonderland RV Park and staying for a week. Capitol Reef is a beautiful place, dominated by red cliffs of Wingate Sandstone and white domes of Navajo Sandstone, laced with canyons and wonderful rare plants. First we visited the Visitor Center and planned our hikes for today. We drove along the Scenic Drive past the orchards and the Old Gifford House, now serving pastries and drinks, and went to the end of the pavement and drove down the Capitol Gorge road which is a spectacular scenic drive to the trailhead for the Capitol Gorge Trail. It is 5.4 miles R/T along the canyon floor, and the canyon walls are close and sheer, with steep Navajo slopes rising another thousand feet above. We took the steep trail up to the Tanks, a term used to describe a large depression that retains water. At the top of the trail we had good views looking down into Capitol Gorge, the trail ends when it drops into a sandy wash and the water-filled tanks. Continue reading

Rafting the Green River – Moab, Utah

 

Lead-Photo

Sunset from Spanish Bottom

We left Priest Gulch RV Park today and headed for Moab, Utah. We are staying at the Portal RV Park for two weeks, a beautiful park with many privately owned sites that are very spacious. Next morning we drove to Durango to pick up Jim Karlovec and Dana Longo and brought them back to Moab to get ready for our rafting trip down the Green River for 6 days, booked through Canyon Voyages Adventure Co on Main St in Moab. The Green River rafting season extends from early April to October, but the best flows often occur during late May, because of the snow melt which there is a lot of this year, and this time also guarantees a spectacular wildflower show. We are rafting the Stillwater Canyon, from Mineral Bottom to Spanish Bottom(50 miles), the calm waters are a favorite with canoes and kayaks who can enjoy the scenery, historical relics and Indian ruins while floating down the river. We are going to follow in the footsteps of John Wesley Powell who was the first to explore the Green River in 1869! Continue reading

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar-Intro

Dixie National Forest

The Zion Park Scenic Byway (SR-9), is the road in and through Zion National Park, which never closes, except when we arrived because of a huge rock landslide. RV’s and buses must only travel this road when escorts are present due to the two tunnels and six tight switchbacks. Finally the road opened and we were able to drive the scenic byway up Pine Creek Canyon and through the tunnels. After the tunnel the highway continues through impressive scenery, past the Canyon Overlook and the unique Zion landmark, Checkerboard Mesa. The 25-mile long Zion-Mount Carmel Highway was built from 1927 to 1930 to connect Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon, at a cost of $1,896,000. The tunnel by itself cost $503,000, and today they are a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks.

We arrived at the  Zion Mountain Ranch, an authentic western lodge and a unique home of a roaming herd of buffalo, around 4 o’clock, too early for dinner. We made reservations for later and continued up the highway to see spectacular fall colors and to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument, a miniature Bryce Canyon. We were amazed at the brilliant colors of the Dixie National Forest surrounding Cedar Breaks providing lush alpine meadows clustered with ponderosa pines and quaking aspens as we drove along the road. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Narrows Hike – Zion NP

Narrows

Entering Wall Street

The north fork of the Virgin River, called “The Zion Narrows” is probably one of the most legendary canyons to hike in all of Zion. This was our next hike we chose to conquer in Zion but first we had to rent water boots, neoprene socks  and a walking stick to be able to hike up the Narrows in the cold water. We did the day hike from bottom and back, 6 miles round trip.  We started early to catch the first shuttle to the Temple of Sinawava, and began the hike at the end of the Riverside Walk Trail. Hiking is done largely in the river, because the river runs canyon wall to canyon wall, with vertical sandstone cliffs on both sides, and there is no way of keeping your feet dry. Continue reading

Zion NP and Angels Landing Hike

Top-of-the-landing

Top of Angels Landing

We are staying at the Zion River Resort and Campground in Virgin, about 10 miles from the entrance to Zion NP. This is a beautiful park and we are excited to be here for two weeks while we explore the Park. First, a little history about the Park, which has become one of our favorite Parks. In 1909 President Taft named the area a National Monument, and in 1918 the National Park Service changed the Park’s name to Zion. The US Congress established the monument as a National Park on November 19, 1919, Utah’s first national park. Zion National Park encompasses some of the most scenic canyon country in the US. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Heber Valley, Utah

We left Moab to head north to Heber City, Utah, about a 4 hour drive arriving in plenty of time to enjoy the afternoon sunshine in this beautiful park, Mountain Valley RV Resort, looking across to the Wasatch Mountain Range. Heber City is a bedroom community for Orem, Provo, Park City and Salt Lake City, first settled in 1859 at an elevation of 5,595 feet. The weather was cooler and wetter than normal, however, after all the hiking and sightseeing we had been doing it was nice to get a well deserved rest in this beautiful Park. We did venture into Salt Lake City for shopping and on the way we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls in the Provo Canyon. It is a beautiful double cataract waterfall dropping 607′ into the Provo River. Continue reading

Backpacking in the Needles – Canyonlands NP

Day 1

Our backpacks are packed and ready to go, we leave at 8:30am to drive over 80 miles to The Needles District of Canyonlands NP to begin our hike for two days. We had to carry-in over 15 lbs of water because there is no water available in this area of the Park. We started at the Elephant Hill Trailhead to hike just over 3 miles to our campsite (CP1) in Chesler Park. The signature features in The Needles are the colorful sandstone spires hundreds of them poking up from the desert floor, and as we hiked along the trail these rock pinnacles heavily banded in red, white, orange and pink dominated the views in all directions. We were happy to reach the grassy meadows of Chesler Park and our campsite, CP1, after scrambling over rocks and through steep, narrow cracks between massive sandstone slabs. Continue reading

Arches National Park

Arches National Park, it has been 26 years since we visited this Park, and finally we are back exploring this amazing landscape. Only 4 miles north of Moab, containing the world’s largest concentration of natural stone arches, this 73,000 acre region has over 2000 of these “miracles of nature”. We started with a short hike to Park Avenue, massive sandstone red fins. Then on to Balanced Rock and the iconic Delicate Arch. We hiked the 1 1/2 miles to view this beautiful, perfectly shaped, Delicate Arch, at an elevation of 4829 feet it was breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Continue reading