Grand Teton NP Backpacking Trip

d1-death-canyon-2We went into Jackson Hole to get backcountry permits for our backpacking trip into Grand Teton National Park. We had to go to the Jenny Lake Visitor Center in Moose, WY, just outside of Jackson. The Ranger was very helpful and suggested some great trips for us to go on, but we could not go above 9,500 ft because of the deep snow on the trail. Therefore, we could not do a loop, so we decided to go into Death Canyon for 2 nights and come back to our car and drive to the trailhead for Leigh Lake and Paintbrush Canyon and go in for 2 more nights. What a great idea because we only have to carry enough food for 2 days and leave the other 2 days of food in the car when we get back there. The weather looks great for the total 5 days that we will be out. Armed with 2 cans of bear spray we set out for our backpacking trip. Continue reading

Jenny Lake-Grand Teton NP

grand-teton-np-8 Today we decided to go for a bike ride along the most scenic bike trail we have ever ridden. We left Victor early and on our way to Jackson we spotted a moose right beside the road. They are as prolific as deer are in Ohio. We arrived at the Visitor Center in Moose where we parked the jeep and started our bike ride on the 8-mile long multi-use bike trail through the magnificent Grand Teton National Park that opened in 2008. We had spectacular views of the Tetons all the way to Jenny Lake. We continued to ride to Leigh Lake along the road and came back to Jenny Lake to catch the boat to Inspiration Point. Beautiful glacially-carved Jenny Lake is the second largest lake in the Grand Tetons, and the deepest at 423 feet. Continue reading

Green River Lakes, Wind River Range

GLD1-23We went to the Green River Lakes area to do some backpacking as it was one of the few places in the Wind River Range that offered a lot of hiking options below the snow line.  This is where we started our Wind River backpacking adventure yars ago in the pouring rain so it will be nice to see what the area looks like in good weather. The first nite we decided to camp in the main campground and hike around the lower lake to get our bearings.  The weather was great and after getting settled in we started hiking down the south side of the lower lake. There was still a lot of trees down across the trail so progress was slow, but the views were breathtaking.  At the east end of the lake we crossed the Green River and headed up to the upper lake and views of Square Top Mountain. We found an awesome place to camp for the next 2 days then returned to the campground along the north side of the lake for a nice dinner, great campfire and a good nights sleep.  Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Pinedale, Wyoming

Lead-Picture-Rotator

Approaching Photographers Point

After spending a few relaxing days in Heber City, where Bob bought a new camera in SLC. We sent the old camera in for warranty repair and we will get it back in 4 weeks. Good idea to buy the warranty! Then it was off to Pinedale WY to backpack in the Wind River Range. We are staying at the Highline Trail RV Park just south of Pinedale near Boulder. Again we found out that we are too early to hike into the Titcomb Basin because of the snow level. We visited the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, that exhibits western historical pieces relating to the mountain men who explored this region in the early to middle part of the 19th century. Including Jim Bridger’s rifle from 1853, exhibits of the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade between 1820 and 1840, Native American Heritage featuring clothing, tools, and weapons used by the Plains Indian tribes, and one of the highlights of the Museum is the full-scale replica of American Horse’s tipi. Bob even got to feel like a Mountain Man wearing one of their fur coats. I really think he should have lived back then as he loves reading all about their journey into the Wild West. We also visited the Boulder Lake Lodge, located NE of the tiny town of Boulder. It is surrounded by sage brush flats and willow lined snow melt creeks. Here you can stay and rent horses to pack into the Wind River Range and go Glamping for a couple weeks. We definitely want to return here and go backpacking with the horses. Click on thumbnail to view images 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

2016 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, Durango CO

Poster-Web

We left the RV in Moab at the Portal RV Park while we were staying in the condo in Durango with Jim and Dana. On Friday Jim and Dana got their bikes ready for the Iron Horse Classic bike race tomorrow and Bob and I went out for breakfast to the College Drive Café. We were both still hungry from the 5 day rafting trip, so I ate a huge Veggie Burrito, Bob had the Whole Earth omelette and we cleaned the plates enjoying every mouthful. Jim and Dana arrived with their friend Don and his niece, Dior, and they joined us for breakfast as well. Then we went shopping in Durango, love all the fabulous outdoor stores here, but we ended the day at the nail salon getting pedicures, badly needed!! Finally it was dinner time and we all met at the East by Southwest Japanese restaurant and had a fabulous sushi dinner. 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

Priest Gulch, Colorado

Priest Gulch-25On Friday, May 13th we left Mesa Verde and drove in the RV to Dolores, CO, not very far away. We are staying at the Priest Gulch RV Park located on the Dolores River, a beautiful site nestled in the pine trees listening to the roaring river go by. In the afternoon we drove in the jeep over Lizard Head Pass to Telluride where we ate lunch at the Brown Dog Pizza Restaurant. There is still a lot of snow on the pass and the mountains, so we won’t be able to do any backpacking while we are here. The next day we drove to Dunton Hot Springs, a private town turned into a private resort set in a picturesque wooded area off the beaten path. There is a gate across the road so no one can trespass unless guests,  we took photos from afar. Near by we hiked the Geyser Spring Trail, 2.5 miles R/T, the trail ends up at a small warm pool fed by the only true geyser in the state of Colorado. We started the trail by crossing a foot bridge over the West Dolores River  and climbed 500 feet to 9,100 ft in elevation. The sulphur smell is very strong and there is a sign warning people not to bathe in the pool due the sulphur dioxide eruptions that occur every thirty to forty minutes emitting strong sulphur gases. We had been here in 2009 and there was no sign, so we did bathe in the pool with no side effects. The water was not very warm this time, so we did not attempt to bathe. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyon de Chelly-23

Spider Rock

We packed up all our camping gear in the back of the jeep and left to drive the 3 hours to Canyon De Chelly in Arizona and camp there one night. On the way we stopped at the Four Corners Monument in Arizona, which marks the quadripoint where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet. The Navajo Nation maintains the monument as a tourist attraction, and it cost $10 to enter,  there is nothing to do there except wait in line to get your picture taken on all four states, or buy from the Navajo vendors set up around the monument. It wasn’t very busy so we were able to get in and out fairly quickly.  

We arrived at the small town of Chinle, AZ, and went to the Visitor Center first to find out where to go and what to see here. Canyon De Chelly National Monument, established in 1931,  includes two large canyons, Canyon de Chelly, (pronounced “d’shay”) to the south and Canyon Del Muerto to the north. Canyon de Chelly got its name from the Navajo word Tseyi, which means canyon or “in the rock.” Canyon Del Muerto, Spanish for “canyon of the dead,” was named when remains of mummies were discovered on an archeological expedition in the 1880s. Canyon de Chelly is entirely owned by the Navajo Tribal Trust of the Navajo Nation, and approximately 40 Navajo families live in the park. We decided to do the North Rim Drive first and walked to the overlook of the Antelope House Ruins. We were in awe  as we viewed the canyon from the overlook and its 1000 feet walls of red, black and orange. The Antelope House ruins were nestled on the canyon floor under an alcove. We used our binoculars to see the ruins up close. Continue reading