Zion Canyon, Zion National Park, UT

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We have shown you parks of Zion, Carmel Highway and Kolob Canyons, but the most famous and most visited is Zion Canyon proper.  It is typically very busy and crowded, enough so that they only allow you to visit on foot or using a shuttle system most of the year.  But in the dead of winter we were allowed to drive in and had the park basically to ourselves.

Some of the iconic views include the Three Patriarchs.  Made us giggle about our three messiahs…  Larry if your listening you should giggle too…

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Of course Angels Landing which has the most popular hike in the park, 5.5 miles round trip with over 1,500 feet of elevation gain.  We did not attempt the hike but Gibson and Lydia have done it so you will have to ask them for details, but I understand it includes at least 21 switch backs (Walters Wiggles) going up and a narrow ridge with a chain railing across to the summit ending with stunning views of the valley.  It looked pretty good from street level to us!!!

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And the great white throne.

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These are just other wonderful views of the canyon and surrounding cliffs.

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Peace Love Joy and Justice for all in the new year!!!

 

Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park, UT

Kolob Canyons is a remote canyon area on the westerly edge of Zion National Park.  It is closer to us than Zion Canyon proper only about 20 miles straight up Interstate 15 from home and is one of the most stunning canyons we have seen.  I have to admit that the contrast of white snow on top of the dazzling red cliffs and brilliant blue skies made it even more stunning.  At first it was just a dusting of snow…

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But later in our stay it truly became a winter wonderland!!!  This day we were one of the first up the hill after the roads had been cleared.  We had never seen so much virgin snow, and although we are not fans of cold weather or snow, this has to be one of the most beautiful things we have ever seen.

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Peace Love and thankful every day for the beautiful wonders we are enjoying!!!

 

Red Cliffs National Recreation Area

As mentioned in a prior post we are staying just across the highway from Red Cliffs National Recreation and Conservation Areas.  In our last post they had not had any rain in over 150 days, but that all changed while we were here.   The dry creek bed we visited earlier has transformed into a small flowing creek.  This still is one of my favorite walks in the area, and Nellie loves the water as always.  Not really much more to say, but wanted to let you know that water does exist sometimes in the desert…

Peace and Love

St. George, UT

For anyone who follows us I must apologize for slacking off these last couple of months.  First, we were out of data for the WordPress site, second without over the air TV the computer has been busy and finally it is winter, time to regroup visit doctors and chill out after an eventful year.  But we have enjoyed our visit in St. George this November and December.

So, here is a recap of some of our adventures in St. George and surrounding area.  Utah is known for a large population of Mormons or members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS).  The Temple in St. George was the first completed in Utah and only the third overall.   We heard that it was closing for a three-year renovation and not knowing much about LDS we thought we would visit (possibly get a tour) and learn a little about the religion.

Well ordinary people are not allowed into the temple and only followers who are deemed worthy may enter a LDS Temple.  But we were welcomed at the visitor’s center and told a little about the renovations and temple uses.  With the temple closing for several years it was very busy on this last day, they were performing over 20 marriages in one day.  The temple is beautiful from the outside and really dominates the landscape of the town.

Of course, there are many red rocks including the Pioneer Park overlooking the city.

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Quail Creek state park just around the bend from our campground.  Which has a reservoirs and water treatment plant supplying fresh water to the surrounding area.  The layers of rock and angles of the rock layers really show off the forces of uplifting and violent geological history of this area.  Not to mention this beautiful heron on a visit.

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With the winter approaching we got to experience some winter weather in the area.  Luckily it did not snow a significant amount at our home, but did get a dusting on the red rocks across the street.

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And lots more on the western side of St. George going toward Nevada.

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We enjoyed a quite Christmas, although we have been traveling for three years, this was the first by ourselves.  We missed family and friends, but celebrated none the less.

Finally, we enjoyed several wonderful desert sunsets and a rainbow to boot…  Peace and love to all in 2020.

Red Cliffs National Conservation and Recreation Area

We have really enjoyed having this national public land area across the highway from home.  It has given us a wonderful dog friendly place to walk and enjoy the lovely red sandstone formations.  There are also some interesting history.  Including dinosaur tracks – use your imagination.

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And ancient Anasazi ruins.

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But my favorite so far is the red reef trail that follows a creek bed up into the sandstone formations.  The creek is dry, but when we arrived, they had not had any rain in over 150 days!!!  After not quite a mile you have to climb up the side of a waterfall using a rope and foot holds.  This time the fall was dry and you can see the climb around.  We did not venture any further, but may try again sometime.

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Peace and love from the red rocks of Utah!!!

Zion and Mt. Carmel Highway

Our first visit to Zion this visit was up and over the Mt. Carmel Highway.  Will be visiting the valley another day.  Just past the eastern entrance to Zion NP you climb up several switchbacks over 1,000 ft up and thru a 1.1 mile tunnel to the top of Mt. Carmel.

The switchbacks give nice views of the grandeur of the canyon walls and surrounding mountains.

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The tunnel goes over 1 mile thru this mountain and there are a couple of windows in the tunnel for views and to add light and air.

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Once on top you would never know how high above the valley you really are.  There is a short hike that gives canyon views, but since Nellie was with us we did not choose to take that walk, maybe next time.  The tops on these great mountains look much like the petrified sand dunes at Snows Canyon except different in color.  The colors and swirls of sand stone are beautiful!!!

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And of course, the popular checkboard mesa.  You may remember it from our prior visit.

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Peace and love from beautiful blue sky Utah!!!

St. George – Snow Canyon

We decided to plant ourselves near St. George, UT for a couple of months.  Thanks to Ron for the wonderful suggestion.  St. George is in the southwestern corner of Utah and has a very temperate climate, with more than 300 sunny days and less than 10 inches of rain in an average year!!  Should be a little cool, but not COLD or HOT.  Our kind of place.  It is also a large enough town that we should be able to get all necessary annual medical checkups.

We got a spot in Hurricane, just north of St. George and settled in for our longest stay in a while.  We were pleasantly surprised by the extreme beauty and variety of choices for outdoor activity.  Just south of St. George (about 30 minutes from home) is Snows Canyon a Utah state park, just north (about 50 minutes from home) is Zion National Park and right across the street (less than 5 minutes from home) is Red Cliffs national conservation and recreation areas!!!  Could not ask for much more from our perspective.

This post will focus on Snows Canyon and the couple of visits there so far, hopefully more to come.

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We have taken several very nice walks in the park, starting with Jenny’s canyon.  This was a very nice slot canyon, one of the best examples we have seen.  Cut thru the softer red sandstone it was very tall and pretty narrow.

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I just love the “lace work” carved into the sandstone, just beautiful!!!

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Next, we visited the petrified sand dunes.  Made of Navajo sandstone these rolling hills are simply wonderful.  Easy to climb with wonderful views of most of the park and some very interesting textures created by the blowing sand when they were actually sand!!

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Finally, we walked up thru Johnson’s Canyon.  Not that impressive of a canyon, but it did have a 122ft arch.  It is hard to pick out in the picture because you only see rock thru the arch not sky (second picture).  You will just have to trust that it is there.

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The walk to Johnson’s canyon was partially thru some lava fields.  Much of this park is or was covered in lava.  You can see the large black rocks scattered over the red sandstone hill side.

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You also had to walk thru a “wash” (basically a dry creek bed).  This wash drains into and connects with a small spring fed stream, although it looks like a small rock the below pictured rock is the size of a small house.  The wash or stream also had some cottonwoods on its banks that provided a small amount of fall color.  There are not many trees in this area so the autumn colors are hard to find.

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Peace and Love from Snow Canyon and so thankful for the beautiful blue skies!!!

Las Vegas, NV

From Lake Havasu City we headed to Las Vegas.  Not sure why, maybe the casino trip??? Or not.  We never made it to the strip, but did visit Sam’s Town Casino for about 30 minutes, that is how long our $20 lasted.  We did find a couple of very nice day trips from Vegas.  The first and most beautiful was the Valley of Fire.  About an hour north is a very nice state park ($10 entrance) with beautiful colors and shapes.

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After driving thru mostly brown arid desert for the hour + you cross a ridge to the most beautiful red rocks.  Some just scattered about others in very large formations.

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Little did we know that further into the valley the colors included yellows, purples and candy cane red and white stripes.  This was truly a beautiful area.

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We took a nice little walk around white dome which included a slot canyon and many beautiful colors and shapes.  Being a state park as opposed to a national park, Nellie was able to join on our walk!!!

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We also happened upon some petroglyphs and the wonderful big horned sheep!!!

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Our second day trip was to the Hoover Dam!!!  We visited here with Mom, Jimmy, Hailey and Gibson in 1998 on our way to raft the Grand Canyon.  There were several notable differences.

First the road has been moved.  You no longer have to drive over the two-lane dam.  They have rerouted the highway and  installed a very nice bridge over the river.  You are able to walk across the new bridge and get nice ariel views of the dam.

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I understand that the dam was creating quite a traffic jam during peak times of year, sometimes causing several hour delays.  The original dam and road ways are now only for visitors and spectators, with several parking areas and a variety of tour options.  We did the tour in 1998 so opted not to this time since I doubt that the workings of the dam had changed much!!

The other major change was the height of the lake.  We have since read that the lake level has been falling since the mid 1980s, but it looked pretty full when we were there in 98.  This time it was down at least a hundred feet.  You can see the difference in these two pics now and then.

You can also see the difference looking out over the lake and marina, the white on the surrounding rocks is mineral deposits from years of being under water.  The islands in the first picture were mostly underwater.   Drought in the west is a real thing even with all the dammed rivers.

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Nice visit to Las Vegas, glad our inner gambler didn’t take over.  Peace and Love!!!

Lake Havasu City, AZ

Been a while since I have posted and need to update to where we are now.  Still trying to decide where to settle for a couple of months for the winter so from 29 Palms we headed east to Arizona.  Lake Havasu City was a possibility, situated on the east side of Lake Havasu and across the lake from California.  After staying a week, we decided that this was not the place for us this winter.  But enjoyed our time there.  Here are the highlights.

Traveled old highway 66 across a mountain range thru the old historic town of Oatman.  It had been recommended as a nice day trip by the campground.  Oatman was basically a small tourist trap with many t-shirt/souvenir shops and free-range donkeys.

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More interesting to us were some make shift memorials and burial sited on a mountain peak.  What a beautiful final resting place.  Most were not formally marked so really not sure how old these may be but did not appear to be very old, also not sure if actual graves or just memorials to souls lost but we enjoyed poking around.

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Lake Havasu City’s claim to fame is the London Bridge.  The actual London Bridge that never really fell down, but was disassembled in London and shipped to Lake Havasu in 1968.  The process took 3 years, and the bridge is currently in use connecting the mainland to the island.

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Other interesting attractions are the lighthouses.  Lake Havasu City has a Lighthouse Club, and you know how we love lighthouses so we were interested of course.  They have built 27 replicas of lighthouse in and around the city.  Although pretty cool idea, they were really kind of silly.  Here are a few.

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Finally the best deal in town is the ferry ride to cross the lake to a casino on the California side.  We are really not gamblers, but a $2 ferry ride was not to be missed.  The ferry ride takes about 20 minutes and runs every hour.  It is used by gamblers from AZ wanting to take a chance at the casino, tourist just for the boat ride and even for students and others commuting across the lake.  We wasted $10 in 10 minutes at the casino, but really enjoyed getting out on the water a little.

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Peace and love from Lake Havasu City, AZ…