Pinedale, Wyoming

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

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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

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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

Canyons of the Ancients, National Monument

Hovenweep-28After visiting the Anasazi Heritage Museum yesterday and seeing all the artifacts that were excavated from the Canyons of the Ancients and learning about the Ancestral Puebloan life on the Great Sage Plains, we wanted to visit the area in person. The Canyon of the Ancients encompasses more than 170,000 acres of high desert in the southwest corner of Colorado. Thousands of archaeological sites have been recorded in this incredibly ancient culture rich area. The first we stopped at was Lowry Pueblo, a 1,000-year-old Ancestral Pueblo village, and most of the area is protected under a modern roof. Off to the side we saw the Lowry Great Kiva, 47 feet in diameter, it is one of the largest kivas found is this area, very impressive, definitely the largest kiva we have seen so far. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Anasazi Heritage Center and Mesa Verde National Park

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Square Tower House

Today we drove to Cortez, and then north to the Anasazi Heritage Center, located in Dolores, which is a museum of the Ancestral Pueblo culture and other Native cultures in the Four Corners region. The Heritage Center, in operation since 1988, is a fabulous museum of millions of artifacts and displays showing the life of the native pueblo people, who resided in permanent communities called pueblos and grew their own crops. We saw many artifacts of tools for hunting and cooking, pottery, basketry in many colors, and a loom where one could try their skill at weaving. There were two pueblo ruins outside the Heritage Center, the Dominguez Pueblo, an example of an independent family homes outside the main pueblo, and the Escalante Pueblo constructed in 1120 to 1130 AD and made of groupings of stone walled family and common rooms, and a kiva. There was more to see at this pueblo, and it had great views of the Great Sage Plains and the McFee Reservoir. It was well worth the walk up the hill to view this ruin and see the views, but we had to leave and continue on our quest for more ruins at Mesa Verde. Click on thumbnail to view Continue reading

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe-5We finally arrived in Santa Fe a day later than we had planned because of RV repairs in Tucson. We are staying at the Trailer Ranch RV Resort only 4 miles from downtown Santa Fe. After settling into our site we drove into Santa Fe and went for dinner at the Blue Corn Café. We walked the streets and gazed at all the beautiful art pieces in the windows and on the sidewalks. The next day we drove to Canyon Road which is an entire street dedicated to galleries and art shops. We had breakfast at The Teahouse, sitting outside under the trees, enjoying the best oatmeal I have ever eaten, (and I’ve eaten a lot of oatmeal). We walked up and down Canyon Street exploring all the unique shops with different art sculptures and paintings, and Décor for homes. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading