UTAH: Day Three and Four – Lake Powell, Natural Bridges and Salt Lake City

 

Our four days exploring in Utah, continued early Saturday morning, 11/7/15, at the ‘outpost’ of Bullfrog, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area where we rented a small boat to explore nearby parts of Lake Powell, specifically Moqui Canyon. Later we would view the remarkable terrain in Natural Bridges National Monument, spend the night in Salt Lake City, and fly home Sunday, 11/8/15. 

This post contains 18 images most with comments. Browse through quickly, or click on for higher visual resolution.  

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From our lodge, early morning…houseboats moored at Bullfrog Marina
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One of the last days of the season, there were virtually no other renters despite what I considered perfect weather.
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Easily enduring chilly morning temperatures, the stunning sceanery kept the cameras busy, as Holly focuses here. 
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Seven year old Tyler was no exception.
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Moqui Canyon is one of hundreds of flooded canyons of the Glen Canyon portion of the Colorado River.
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The winding waterway, in just this one “side” canyon, goes on for a number of miles, twisting and turning with one incomparable view after another.

 

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We beached here where Holly, Steve and Tyler climbed and explored, as I relished in the awesome surroundings.
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All three are in this image, as photographed from the boat.
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Steve , camera in hand, explores around the bend.
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The weather today was cool, crisp and perfect; while summertime brings temperatures near 100 deg. F. (38 deg. C.) …with an abundance of houseboats and pleasure craft, many rented for a week at a time or privately owned.
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Steve, Holly and grandson Tyler

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I believe Lake Powell has only three access areas in its 186 mile (299 km) length and 1,960 miles (3,161 km) of shoreline, leaving plenty of exploration room.

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After returning the boat, driving for a few more hours, and seeing virtualy no one on the road, (except  a mounted cowhand coaxing his small herd of cattle,) we explored Natural Bridges National Monument in the later afternoon.
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A spectacular scenic roadway provides viewpoints for several bridges, this being  Kachina, 210 ft. (64 m) high.
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We continued late into the night to Salt Lake City and our room. Sunday morning, day four, 11/8/15, the Wasatch Mountains caught the early sunlight as seen from our hotel (see feature image at top of this post,) and the view above was of the Utah State Capitol building as we headed back to the airport.
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The Colorado Rockies are below our regional jet to Denver, then the long flight home – ending our otherwise short and memorable adventure.

As usual, thanks for viewing and comments are always welcome. M 🙂

UTAH: Day Two, 11/6/15 – Arches, Canyons and Dinasours

With my son Steve, daughter Holly, and seven year old grandson Tyler we spent the night in Moab, and were beginning our first full day. Now we were in the heart of the Colorado Plateau (Utah,) one of the most impressive scupltured and gorged terrains in the world.

This post contains 21 images.

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK – MORNING:

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NEXT: COLORADO RIVER SCENIC BYWAY, RT. 297 – MID DAY

The series below

These 500 foot (150m.) cliffs, right along the river, offer climbers world class rock faces.

A little further, my grandson leads the way to a fallen strata slab exposing nearly 200 million year old dinosaur tracks…AWESOME! Talk about being in his climbing glory!

Further above the tracks, Tyler “discovers” petroglyphs on the cliff faces, and uncle Steve confirms the sighting.

NOTE: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN AFTER THE BLANK AREAS ABOVE AND BELOW THE SECOND IMAGE BELOW> THE WORDPRESS EDITOR IS BEING PERSNICKETY, AND I WANT TO PUBLISH THIS BEFORE I DIE!

Along trhe Colorado River, Utah
Along the Colorado River, Potash Road, Rt. 297

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Utah
Rock Climbing

 

 

 

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NEXT: CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK – LATE AFTERNOON to SUNSET:

The Series Below

Incomparable switchbacks of the Shafer Trail dropping 1400 feet (426 m.) from the Caynyonlands “Island in the Sky” Mesa

The mesas to the south-east, and snow topped La Sal Mountains beyond

Holly and Tyler

the forth image below, there is a car visible just below and right of center, way down on the 100 mile long White Rim Trail, ringing the “Island” Mesa.

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NEXT:  BULLFROG MARINA, GLEN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATION AREA:

Under a million stars, it took five hours on virtually isolated roads to to reach our stay for the night. It was around 11:00 PM in Bullfrog, an outpost at this time of the year where the sky is virtully void of “light pollution.” This slightly wide angle picture was taken at an exposure to approximate the actual experience. It shows the winter Milky Way. Also the Andromeda Galaxy (M 31,) is visible just right and below center, some two million LY distant.  Here, in this dark, moonless sky, naked eye oservers might be able to see another galaxy, elusive M33, which is also in this image, although very faint, just right of center, 1/10 up from bottom. A star cluster known as the “Double Cluster,” is to the left.

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The last two days of our four day adventuere will be posted around 12/6/15

As ususal, thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcomed.  M:-)

UTAH: Great Salt Lake and Wasatch Mts – Day One

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My previous post was a prelude to this short series highlighting our recent four day adventure to Utah. Along with my son, daughter and seven year old grandson, we would experience a memorable, whirlwind adventure.

Please click on any of the images for a closer look.

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My daughter, and grandson on the edge of the Great Salt Lake. She tasted and confirmed the water was indeed… SALTY. The 1700 sq. mile (4400 sq. km) lake is relatively shallow and fish-less. This lookout is from the marina just west of the city. (1:50 PM)
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Passing through Salt Lake City, the pretty Wasatch Mountains dominate the cloud laden South East. We were  heading to Park City. (2:15 PM)
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Park City is a major winter skiing resort and summertime hiking hub.  (3:10 PM)

 

 

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The entire network of ski trails are now accessible right from downtown. This being the “shoulder” season between summer and winter, it’s open for hikers. The first snow of the season is visible on the grass.    (3:17 PM)
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The Wastach Mountains, near Sundance, Utah (4:37 PM)
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A  short distance up a winding alpine road, (Rt. 92,) is the trail head for 11,752 ft. (3580 m.) Mt Timpanogos, a spectacular but difficult 14 mile (22 km) RT climb which I had partially explored and nearly froze on, some years earlier. (5:09 PM)
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The Little Provo River winds through Robert Redford’s charming and impressive lodge in Sundance. It was a little after local sunset. (5:28 PM)
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Warming by the open fire-pit, we would shortly relax with dinner in the lodge and continue another 2 1/2 hours to Moab for the night. 

 

Day two will follow shortly.

Thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome. M 🙂

Lake Powell and Rainbow Bridge, Utah – Warm Thoughts on a Cold Day

Posting this in N.J. on a windy, cold day (wind chill: zero F  (-18 C))  brings these warmer images to mind, part of a southwest (U.S.) vacation some time ago when we rented a small boat and explored a number of the 190 spectacular winding sandstone canyons of  (man-made) Lake Powell, and swam in it’s deep blue waters.

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The “noodle” was a good idea as the waters are over 500′ (152m) deep in places.

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The entrance to Forbiding Canyon is some 60 statute miles (96 km) east of Wahweap Marina.  About five incredibly beautiful miles further, are the Rainbow Bridge boat docks.

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Small boats and houseboats provide the only reasonable access to Rainbow Bridge.

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Just after approaching between towering cliffs, the natural sandstone arch, which IS Rainbow Bridge, can be seen here to the left.

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 Rainbow Bridge, 580′ (177m high, is one of the worlds largest natural  arches, basically inaccessible by car.

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Once docked, there is a short but warm hike to the arch.

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Below: It’s awesome. Only after the Glen Canyon Dam was completed in 1963, and the Colorado River flooded, was Rainbow Bridge accessible for most.

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our rental boat in the Rainbow Bridge dockage-area marina around 12 noon

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Back in the boat, we headed out and had lunch in narrow seclusion among towering formations, affording shade from the hot sun.

83.018     8-8-95     Lake Powell, UT-AZ., The very hot sun, star filter, over rocks

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Although we would boat about 140 miles round trip today (225 km,) we never tired of the remarkable scenery, allowing stops for exploring and swimming. 

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83.019     8-8-95     Lake Powell, UT-AZ., Holly and Steve swimming

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House boats and other watercraft rentals are available throughout most of the year on Lake Powell, the “reservoir” located mostly just above the Arizona State line, as seen in the satelite photo and maps below.

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Forbidding Canyon. The main lake is above this section, out of the picture above; and Rainbow Bridge would be just out of the picture, below the dockage area at the lower right. This image is about 2.5 miles (4 km) wide.

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Below, Lake Powell, from Google Maps. Wahweap to the left, Rainbow Bridge to the right.

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Thanks for viewing, and as usual comments are always welcome. M 🙂

The Great American Road-Trip – Day 4

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Approximate route of Day 4,  385 miles, about 19 hours

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Day 4

 

Wednesday, Aug. 16th, 1967, before dawn at Imperial Point, North (East) Rim, Grand Canyon. 

With flashlights, Tom and I drowsily but carefully walked down a path to near the edge of the canyon and would witness the indescribable vista brightening before us. Outcroppings, gorges and trees stretched thousands of feet below, with views out over the distant Colorado River and eastern plateaus. Perched on separate ledges, with virtually no sounds except an occasional hawk, we leisurely watched the changing colors as the warming sun began to rise.

Sunrise from Imperial Point Lookout, Grand Canyon

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The two or three hours we would spend there was a re-generation of our spirits and energy, and a long contemplative break from the nearly non-stop driving of the past few days. In the ensuing reflective down time, Tom and I would write to our girlfriends and families back home. 

Writing home

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The MGB started at 2015 miles into the trip. Time would allow a few more sights in the park, including Angel’s Window with it’s awesome views across the canyon to the south, and those at the iconic North Rim Lodge.

Angel’s Window (note people on top,) with Humphries Peak near Flagstaff, about 56 miles south.

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The South Rim is about 12 miles distant in this photo. (Historical note: There were fewer people and fewer handrails then, allowing considerably more access; like myself here, onto the outcroppings.)

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By 1:00 PM, we filled the tank with $3.00 of gas, (more expensive here than elsewhere, so far,) and headed north on Arizona Rt. 67, back to Jacob Lake and US 89 Alt. towards Utah. The clear, cool fresh air of the 8000 ft. elevation was giving way to the intense heat of the lower desert terrain, spawning some impressive thunderstorms, but offering only brief relief.

On US 89 Alt., northern Arizona, the 10 minute downpour would not give much relief from the heat, especially after we put the top up

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Kanab, Utah, about three miles north of the Arizona state line, would be the first town of any respectable size we’d seen since Flagstaff, over 200 road miles back – and where we would have a good lunch at a cowboy/family-style restaurant called “Trails End.”  We were now headed towards Zion National Park, initially fascinated by “Checkerboard Mesa,” a massive geological scouring just inside the eastern entrance. Exploring along Utah’s Rt. 9 in the park would capture the attention of our cameras for miles, winding past colorful buttes, monoliths, mesas, canyons and arches; and the awe inspiring Zion – Mt. Carmel Tunnel, bored right through the side of a towering mountain cliff. Over a mile in length, we paused midway at one of it’s large open rock “windows” for a view and pictures of Pine Creek Canyon below. Regrettably, our schedule did not afford much time for more than a perfunctory glance at this intensly beautiful region, vowing only to come back again some day.

The western entrance to Zion – Mt. Carmel Tunnel, a masterpiece of 1920’s engineering.

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The switchbacks into Pine Creek Canyon, as seen from one of several cliff-side windows

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At about 5:30 PM MDT, Tom took the wheel for the first time today just after leaving Zion. As we drove along Rt. 9 towards the neat town of Hurricane, Utah, the mountains behind provided a world-class scenic experience, particularly for me as I had reversed the seat-back again, now relaxing contently with an open air, rear-view panorama. (Historical note: The population of Hurricane was under 1400 at this time, but estimated at 14,000 by 2011!)

Along Rt. 9 in Utah, SW of Zion National Park – a quick jaunt off the side of the road for this first  image; and as seen from my reversed passenger-seat perspective

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Just after St. George, we got on Interstate 15, passing back into NW Arizona back in the desert, and then into Nevada at about sunset. The anticipation was heightened as we drew ever closer to Las Vegas with the top still down and hearing radio temperature reports of 105 F (40.6C) and now seeing lightning ahead reflecting surreally off the mountain ridges around us. There are no speed limits out here, but we maintained an “easy” 70 mph as we first started seeing the tiny glow of the city far ahead.

The legendary, hot night-time town of Las Vegas with it’s energy and excitement, bright lights, entertainment, casinos and fun soaked reveler’s frolicking contrasted diametrically with the surrounding desolation of the silent night desert. It was hard to hold the enthusiasm at bay while approaching. But we did – by checking into a small roadside motel for $8 a few miles outside the center city, giving us the opportunity to clean-up, and even do some wash….and finally drive on to busy Fremont Street, enthralled in the festive; and in one case enduring the playful antics of several young women in a passing car, one tossing a milk shake in our direction before they laughingly sped off. 

Fremont Street, Las Vegas – about 11:00 PM

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The “Strip” and Sands marquee with Dean Martin headlining

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Sahara with The Smothers Brothers, Vicki Carr, Pat Paulsen

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For a few short hours, I would be feeling the magical allure of the clubs, the draw of the casinos, the magnetism of the “singing” slots – feeling joy at the ringing bells and falling coins, which in the US was legal only here in Nevada. My first experience at casino gambling was good, up $20.00 before giving it all back; but Tom may have been a little less excited than I, as his luck was akin to his gambling legality – NIL, he being a few critical months younger than I and subject to an occasional escort back to the street. Regardless, by the early morning hours, we were ready for a long night of rest, actually in a motel, ending the day 385 miles further, and, 3300 miles into our trip.        

It was….a memorable day!

Day 5:  http://wp.me/p37YEI-Jp