Thursday, April 30, 2015

We're at Zion now.

Zion, Utah - #1

 After seeing so many canyons, mesas, hoodoos, ridges and rims, were we jaded? Could we possibly find enthusiasm for one more rock, no matter how grand?

Early this afternoon we arrived at Zion National Park, joining our friends, Paul and Karen, for a few days of exporing and visiting. So far our only exploration has been around the campground, but we find our enthusiasm is intact, even before hiking the "good" places.


"National Parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best..."

Wallace Stegner


 Bryce Canyon, Utah

Hoo hoo hoo, for the hoodoos!


"words are like nets - we hope they'll cover what we mean,
 but we know they can't possibly hold that much joy, or grief, or wonder."
- Jodi Picoult, Change of Heart

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Up, up, up...

Red Canyon, Utah

Here we are on the top of the world. But, as you can see from the photo, there's much more "top of the world" above us.

We're breathless from both the stark and majestic beauty, as well as hiking at this elevation. Down near the visitor's center it is 7700'. Here we don't know, but we're guessing 8500'+. The hike up was huff-and-puff steep. Peering over the edge is scary steep. Way down there (top center in the photo), is the highway where Thistle is parked.

Internet service has been either nonexistent or very weak all along Scenic Byway 12. Without coffee shops we would have been completely out of touch. But way up on this mountain I have five bars. I talk with Brad and send him photographs.

He tells me about his new kitties. Nothing will convince me that cell phones aren't magic, and in this magical place, it would be easy to develop any number of other superstitions. The Nakai flute music we've been listening to as we travel, along with this other-world hoodoo scenery, provides an overall gestalt encapsulating the mystical nature of our experience.

Red Canyon doesn't show up on some of the maps and books we consult. It is small and insignificant compared to its neighbor's Bryce and Zion, but a giant in our eyes. No other hikers on the trail, beautiful views, and hoodoos up close and personal. Perhaps though, if completely honest, the scarcity of people might be the very cold 26 degrees last night? Also, the surrounding campgrounds and roads are ATV friendly, which might not please us later in the season when they're roaring around.

Ancient gnarled bristlecone pines hang onto the mountain, roots in stone. Needled branches are toughing it out in the freezing wind and cold of winter and the searing hot and dry of summer.

Contemplative Mr. Ed.


"This living would include becoming a caretaker of silence, a connoisseur of stillness, a listener of wind where each dialect is not only heard but understood."

- Terry Tempest Williams, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert

Monday, April 27, 2015

Going Back

Isn't it interesting to discover something "new" about one's self? We have been traveling for two and one half months now, and we've discovered each of us resists going back. Once we move on, we have moved on! I know, you laugh! Many of you have watched us live our lives that way.

Right now we are camped at King Creek, a winter-closed-but-still-kinda-open campground between Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon on the East Fork of the Sevier River. It's not snowing. The sun shines and we're sheltered from the wind. Hiking is not unbearably cold. It's also not slick and muddy! The forecast calls for warmer weather again mid week. Hum?

We look at one another, blurting out at the same moment, "shall we go back to Bryce?"

On our retreat from Bryce yesterday, we stopped at Red Canyon and hiked the close-to-the-road tourist hikes. Beautiful, but a tease. Now we want more of the Red Canyon hoodoos!

We definitely plan on hiking there again today, but that's not the going back I'm referring to. Shall we retrace our steps and return to Bryce Canyon?

We still want to hike down into the canyon so a plan to wait out the weather is forming, and right now it looks like this: today Red Canyon hiking; tomorrow riding the bike trail between Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon; and Wednesday, back to Bryce for our hike into the canyon, and perhaps an extra day or two for clear-sky sightseeing and bike riding.


"We must not only protect the country side and save it from destruction, we must restore what has been destroyed and salvage the beauty and charm of our cities … Once our natural splendor is destroyed, it can never be recaptured. And once man can no longer walk with beauty or wonder at nature, his spirit will wither and his sustenance be wasted."
- Lyndon B. Johnson
President of the United States

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Bryce Canyon, Utah

Yesterday we arrived in Bryce Canyon, went to a couple of viewpoints, and returned to camp with the idea that today we'd go to all the viewpoints and perhaps hike down into the canyon.

Well, here's what happened!

Farview Point, elevation 8819. The view, at "Farview" was not so far, and it was beginning to snow...

Aqua Canyon View Point, more snow...

Ponderosa Canyon Viewpoint...

Rainbow Point, elevation 9115. Funny, the higher we go...

Even Mr. Raven was pretty grumpy about the weather.

Headed down again, Natural Bridge viewpoint...

Descending further, the snow began changing to sleet...

At Fairland Point, down at elevation 7758, the Hoodoos came out to play, but the sky is still pretty socked in...

What will tomorrow bring? More snow and cold, we hear.  The question - will we stick around or move on?

"One Hell of a place to loose a cow."
- Ebenezer Bryce
Scottish immigrant and pioneer