Monday, October 29, 2012

Zion National Park

Today we visited Zion National Park.
The first stone formation which greets the visitors is the Checkerboard Mesa.

Because some of the motorhomes are rather large, traffic is now regulated when large vehicles want to enter the tunnel. Rangers are stationed at both ends and decide whether to make the traffic through the tunnel one way. We had to wait eight minutes for the vehicles from the other side to come past us. Owners of large motorhomes and trucks have to pay $ 15.00 now to go through the tunnel

The tunnel has four windows. Here is one.

The cliffs of Zion are colorful.

We walked the Riverside Walk. The walk follows the Virgin River, and is a 1.5 hour round trip.

At the end of the trail we stopped and watched people hike through The Narrows. They wore high boots.

Climbers were on some of the walls of the cliffs. We could hardly see them; they were so high.

Outside the park was a herd of bison.

We did some traveling today on highway 89 and 89A. From Kanab, Utah we drove to Page, Arizona.
Our first stop was the Lake Powell overlook.

Then we went to the Wahweap Recreation Area and checked out the campground. A lot of improvements have been made and of course the camping fees went up. It is a very beautiful facility and the view is out of this world.

A few years ago I started a one week trip,with the WIN's, on a house boat, from this marina.

At the Visitor Center they have one of John Wesley Powell,s wooden boat I went down the river in a large raft, I felt a lot safer than in a wooden boat..

From the highway bridge one has a good view of the dam.

A not so bright person flew with his ultra light plane into the canyon. We watched for a while and saw him struggling to get out again.

At the Visitor Center they have slab of stone with Dinosaur Tracks.

In Page we went to the Powell Museum where they have a Disney made replica of the Emma Dean, another one of Powell,s boats. Emma Dean was the name of his wife, and the boat was used for a film.

On highway 89A we stopped at the Navajo Bridge. The bridge is not used anymore. There is now a new, wider bridge.

At Lee,s Ferry we ate our lunch. We used the campground for a picnic area.

We went to the launch area. There were no rafts and boats being launched.
I am adding a picture from my 2007 rafting adventure to show how busy this place can get.

This morning we went to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The sand comes from the pink sandstone formations which are located in this area.
This park is heaven for off road vehicle enthusiasts.

When we came by the Moqui Cave it was not open. We took some pictures of the outside.

On the way back to Kanab we stopped at Grand Canyon Expedition, the rafting company, which took me and about 27 more WINs down the Colorado River, through the Grand Canyon. This was a one week trip and I will never forget this experience.
Marty, part owner of the company, and our guide is looking great. He lost some weight and seems to feel great after his heart problems have been taken care of.
He remembers our group and told me some of the special things we did. Since we could not have camp fires on the beaches along the river, Donna and Bob had bought for each member of the group a square candle.
Those candles looked real but were battery operated. We sat in a circle and lit the candles.
He also made an exception and had the two rafts stop at the Phantom Ranch. This has always been on my bucket list, but hiking down the canyon was no option.
After lunch Rhonda and Frank did some laundry while I went to the Hollywood Movie Set Museum.
Admission is free, but customers have to go through a large store. They hope that people see items they absolutely need.
Kanab is a very good location for making movies.

I also stopped at a restaurant which looked a bit like a museum.

Today we finally figured out how to get to go to the Wave, the colorful slot canyon.
Tomorrow morning at 8;30 AM we have to be at the Bureau of Land Management Visitor Center.
At 9:00 AM they have a lottery. Ten people can go to the Wave. There will also be ten more people who tried to get a spot via the Internet.
People who are chosen can go the next day.
We have to get out of the campground tomorrow. It will be closed for the rest of the season.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bryce Canyon National Park

It was cold last night. When I woke up it was 38 degrees F. in the motorhome. Frank told me that it was 24 degrees F. outside. This is not normal for this time of the year.
We took our time driving the 40 miles to Kodachrome Basin State Park, near Cannonville.
The ranger at the park told us that he had two sites with full hook-ups. One site was next to the Visitor Center, and is normally used by the Visitor Center Host. The other site is at the campground and is the campground host site. First I did not want to be over a mile away from Rhonda and Frank. I was willing to take a site without hook-ups next to them. But when we were told that it was 19 degrees F. here last night I changed my mind. I have a big catalytic heater but electricity for an electric heater is better. Telephones do not work here. We use walkie talkies to communicate.
I also do not get television and no radio stations.
After setting up the motorhomes we drove to the Chimney Rock.

Then we hiked to the Shakespeare Arch. It was a 1.75 mile loop. The trail to the arch was easy. The brochure said that after the arch the trail was moderate to strenuous. It was mostly strenuous.
The hike felt more like five miles. I am surprised how well I am doing on those hikes. Walking every morning in Camino Hills prepared me for it.

At one point a rock formation looked like a West Highland Terrier. The image is at the right side of the formation.

The trail went up and down, and sometimes we felt like sliding down on our butt.

The best pictures are taken in late afternoon. Unfortunately we can’t do this here. The sun is too low and other high rock formation block out the sun.
The weather is perfect for hiking during the day.
The Geographic Society, with the permission from the Kodak Company, named Kodachrome Basin.
Nearly 70 monolithic spires, ranging from six to 170 feet in height, jut up from the valley floor or protrude from the sandstone.

This was another cold night. I ran the electric heater all night and when I woke up it was 50 degrees F. in the motorhome.
I also turned on the catalytic heater for a while.
Early morning I walked the Nature Trail in the campground. There are many spires.

At 9:00 AM we left by car for Bryce Canyon. The blue sky and the colorful rock formation were a sight to see.

At Sunset Point we went down the canyon on the Navajo Loop Trail. This was a mistake. The trail was too difficult for Rhonda. Our second mistake was not to follow the guide booklet. We should have started in clockwise direction and gone down the steep slope. We took the easy way down and then had to come up the 800 feet on switch backs.
We came by the windows.

Here is a balanced rock, called Thors Hammer.

There were two dark slot canyons we had to come through.

From the top the trail appears to be easy.

Those rock formations are called Hoodoos.

After lunch and a rest we continued driving the rim road, and stopped at different points.
Here is the Natural Bridge. It is actually an arch.

Sometimes it is nice to go down memory lane. In 1991 Hanna and I spent Christmas in Bryce Canyon.
We had our cross country skis with us and Ruby’s Inn made us tracks every morning so we could ski on the rim.
We also hiked on the trails.
Bryce Canyon National Park is a beautiful place all year.

This was driving and taking a rest day.
It took us about two hours to get to Kanab. Somehow I am not 100 per cent with the program. I had forgotten on which side the utility hook ups are. Frank had to direct me to the correct side.
This RV Park closes for the season on Thursday. That is when we are leaving anyway.
The weather has improved. I was warmer last night than the two nights before.
This afternoon we wore shorts. Rhonda took us out for pizza at Pizza Hut.