Tag Archives: Utah

Catching Up – Installment 1

Long, long ago (well, last October at least) we drove from California to Waco, TX. And we took 10 days to get there! The reason it took so long was that we made stops at any number of National Parks along the way. I just checked where I had left off with our travel stories, and it seems we had just left Page, AZ and Lake Powell. Then I went to Gary’s journal to refresh my memory about what came next –

Tuesday, Oct 11 –
Left Walmart & drove east along rt. 98 & 160. Stopped at 4 Corners (Navajo land) & also Hovenweek NP – Pueblo Village-buildings. Continued on to campground. Set up RV. Relaxed. Went to Dinner. Pizza – Stopped at Walmart – ordered drugs. Went through many back roads to get to Hovenweep.
Wednesday, Oct 12-
Went to Mesa Verde NP. Toured Balcony House and drove around to all other lookouts. Stopped @ museum & watched movie. Also went to Anasazi Village for more movies and museum. Dinner @ small restaurant. Picked up scrips @Walmart and did laundry @ campground.

Yes – we do lead an exciting life, filled with Walmart trips and laundromats. But there were a couple of POI’s in those paragraphs too!

Four Corners –
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Truth here – it was a little disappointing. Although, it was what it said it was – a marker of where the four states come together. Several folks were waiting in line to get a picture of someone in their group standing in all four states at once, but that didn’t seem all that important to us. In looking back over my pictures, the one above is really, truly the only one I took. Oh well.
Hovenweep National Monument
I’d never even heard of the  Hovenweep National Monument. How about you? Here’s a little bit about it from the website –

Once home to over 2,500 people, Hovenweep includes six prehistoric villages built between A.D. 1200 and 1300. Explore a variety of structures, including multistory towers perched on canyon rims and balanced on boulders. The construction and attention to detail will leave you marveling at the skill and motivation of the builders.

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We enjoyed a bit of a hike
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and were impressed with these remains perched on the canyon rim.
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Here’s a little panorama of the canyon –
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See the mountains in the distance? It was quite the landmark in this neck of the woods!
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🙂
After we did a bit of exploring in the Hovenweep ruins, we continued on our way to our next campground. Remember the mention of lots of back roads?
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Oh, yeah, baby!
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We settled nicely into our campground (and worked in that exciting stop at Walmart). The next day we set out for Mesa Verde – a true highlight of our ‘long road to Waco”.
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Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde, as you probably know, is all about cliff dwellings. It was absolutely amazing to see these masterpieces of engineering from centuries ago.
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While most of these cliff communities were viewed from overlooks, there was one that you could actually tour. The Balcony House
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And it was a real hands-on tour!
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We had an excellent Native American guide, who, as we stood silent in one of the rooms, serenaded us with a melody from his handmade flute.
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It was goose-bump beautiful!
These cliff dwellings were truly amazing.
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And the view on the way back to the campground was pretty striking too!
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It was a great day – from the guided tour to the many cliff dwellings to the beautiful views to those handy movies!
I’d highly recommend it as an addition to your bucket list!

Well, that gets us a little farther down the road, but there are still more adventures to share. But enough for tonight! HERE‘s a link to more pictures of the Hovenweep National Monument, and HERE‘s a link to more photos from Mesa Verde National Park.
I’ll save the rest of the trip for another day!

Now where were we?

Right – just leaving the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and heading to Page, AZ for our next National Park visit.
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And what a beautiful drive it was!! Most of it was a very scenic drive along the Vermillion Cliffs,
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across the Colorado River
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up a couple of ‘hills’
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and then down into Page, AZ.
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Page is a fairly new city, having been founded and then developed only during the building of the Glen Canyon Dam.
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And of course, the dam created Lake Powell, which is a huge recreation (boating, camping, hiking, etc.) area.
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Now we didn’t take in ALL there was to do the area, but we gave it our best (scratching the surface style) shot!
There was the Dam Tour –
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which was made all the more interesting by our tour guide, who was a Page ‘native’ and had lots of stories from ‘back in the day’. Like when he and his buddies would cut school and explore the inner tunnels of the dam, before security shut that down. (He was also a retired policeman, so that added a bit of interest too!)
We took in one fairly long hike to find some “slot canyons”.
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It was not only a beautiful drive to GET to the hike –
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(more of those beautiful Vermillion Cliffs)
but since the hike was through a “wash’, there wasn’t much of an elevation change to deal with (our nemesis!).
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Although the slot canyons at the end of our Wire Pass hike were probably not as impressive as perhaps the more well known Antelope Canyon (Wire Pass – Free. Antelope – almost $100 for the two of us), we certainly were impressed!
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We absolutely love the sculpture of these rock walls

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A wonderful reminder of the creative beauty of our God! (And the power of moving water!!!)
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We checked out a bit of lake shore camping,
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(maybe next time!)
enjoyed another short hike
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and just generally enjoyed the beauty of the day.
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As the sun was beginning to sink and hoping to catch the sunset, we checked out another highly recommended (and short) hike – Horseshoe Bend.
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We were not alone in our thought process!
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(I confess – this picture really cracks me up!! And – they are ALL too close to the edge!!!)
I guess I’ve seen more beautiful sunsets –
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but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more people hoping it would be (more beautiful)!
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So that about wraps up our time at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. There was so much to see and do here (not to mention that it might have been nice just to sit on the beach and stare at that lake) that it might warrant a trip back! But for now – it was pack ‘er up and move on down the road.  Still to come – Four Corners, Mesa Verde, Hovenweep, and the Petrified Forest.

Next time, okay?

As always, thanks for stopping by. And thanks for your patience as I work on getting this ol’ blog up-to-date between lovin’ on these cutie pies!
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I’m sure you can understand my distractions!

Steph

Oh – and if you’d like to see some additional photos from our time in and around Page, Arizona, you can check them out HERE!

Wyoming!

Today was our very first venture into Wyoming! And while we never traveled farther off the interstate than to stop at a rest area, we thoroughly enjoyed the drive! And since I KNEW you would like to come along, I’ve tried my hand at making a “movie” of some of the highlights (ok, so it’s really just a slideshow, but let’s pretend, OK?). Fair warning – I’ve put some music to it, so if that annoys you, feel free to hit the mute button!
Here goes –

I think it’s a little fuzzy, so if you’d like to see the pictures individually (and without the music!), you can do so HERE!

It was a good travel day – full of all new road and some interesting sights along the way! Thanks for coming along! Tomorrow we break away from the interstate as we head north for a stretch. As much as we like “making time” on the big roads, I think we’re ready for the change – it’s always interesting to actually drive through some of these small towns. The memory card is empty and the batteries are charged!
Just sayin!

Another bite of the elephant

Today isn’t going to be counted as one of our longest travel days, but it will certainly rate right up there with one of the best! We were blessed again with beautiful weather as we continued toward Salt Lake City.
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Although we had driven through SLC before, we had never approached it from the west. Sometimes I am surprised at how surprised I am by the geography around cities. I mean the Winter Olympics were here several years ago, so just why did the fact that the road looked like this after we left “downtown” seem so unexpected?
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We were joined by my niece, Bethany, for the afternoon (the reason this was such a lovely day), and we took a little drive to check out nearby Rockport State Park.
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And then we joined Bethany as she led worship around a campfire at a small camp near where we were parked for the night.
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A very special time.
And to top it off – God gave us this on the ride home –
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Ah……

The next couple of days look to be pure driving days. Well, at least that’s how it looks now. And you know what that means – more windshield shots!!!!
I’ve been told that cell and internet connectivity will reduce to zero once we get outside of SLC. So you may not hear from me for a couple of days, but beware – when I come back there will lots of shots of the (new to me) road ahead!

Bryce Canyon National Park

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WOW – I am so glad that we saved Bryce Canyon for the end of our Rock Tour. All of our previous stops were EXCELLENT – but to finish off with something this unique, made a wonderful conclusion for a wonderful adventure.
We camped in a lovely state park not to far from Bryce that had it’s own Red Rock thing going!
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How sweet is that!
Since we arrived in the area in the early afternoon, we didn’t do anything too involved that first day at Bryce. You know, it was kind of a “scope out the situation” kind of day. We did the visitors’ center, watched a wonderful video, and then took the scenic drive to the end of the canyon. And then, of course, we stopped at every overlook on the way back. I can’t say that Gary got out of the truck at every stop, but I wasn’t going to miss a thing! Here are some shots from that first day –
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Those two are from the farthest overlook point – and what a vista! The ranger said it was a good 100 mile view – and I believe him!
And as we made our way down the road…..
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We decided to come back to catch the sunrise the next morning, so after we picked our spot from the many wonderful overlooks (Bryce Point with its view into the main amphitheater) we headed back home. A nice hot dinner, some good reading and another lovely sunset completed our day.
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We left the next morning at 5:30 (for a 6:30 sunrise) and waited with these other good folks for the sun to appear!
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And let me tell you – IT WAS COLD! and WINDY! I can’t imagine what the wind chill was – but my 5 layers of clothes and jackets weren’t really enough. But enough whining! Ah, the sunrise ……
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Well, actually what was spectacular was the rising sun hitting the canyon walls – my, oh, my, how it made them dance!
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After my fingers thawed, we had a lovely breakfast at the Bryce Canyon Lodge before we hiked the Queen’s Garden and Navajo Loop trail – “The Best Three Mile Hike in the World!”
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It took us right down (and I mean DOWN) to the canyon floor – so beautiful!
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And of course, what goes down, must come up! And up we came –
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THIS! There were about 4 more switchbacks before we made it too the top. We were certainly out of breath, but we were pretty happy with ourselves. What a beautiful (and heart pounding) hike!
I kept clicking picitures as we returned to the truck (’cause that’s what I do!)-
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and I was very pleased to catch this little bird before it took flight!
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I think it’s a female western bluebird – but I’m not sure. Anyone out there have a better guess?

After our hike (we did it in just under 2 hours – yes, we were feeling pretty proud of ourselves!) we returned to the campground, got packed up and hit the raod. Since we had such a “nice” early start we were on the road by 11AM! Over three hundred miles later we’re stopped at a nice picnic area and we’re both BEAT! Gary’s already hit the sack, and I’m following close behind. I have a couple of other stories from our Rock Tour, but they’ll have to wait.
Ta-ta!