September 10, 2019 – Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The mule deer were out in the morning.

The park visitor center is an adorable log cabin with a deck on two sides.

Our water tank has sprung a link, so we bought a gallon of water from the grocery store to make coffee when we are not in an RV park with a water hook-up. I topped off the water jug and then Andy filled his Bubba cup at the visitor center.

Of course, we watched the movie before going out to look in the canyon. The visitor center had a few exhibits and some rocks in cases.

Holy cow! Another first for me. Look at that log picnic table. I bet it weighs a ton.

Here is the view of the overlook from the back deck of the visitor center. You can see the split-rail fence where people are walking down to the overlook at the edge of the light brown bluff.

No, it is not the Grand Canyon, but this place is truly awesome. I looked up some statistics:

The Black Canyon is incredibly deep and sheer, with plunging cliffs, soaring buttresses and a thundering river. The following lists will help you understand the physical size of the canyon in comparison to other canyons and man-made structures.

Greatest Depth:
Warner Point
Chasm View
Gunnison Point
2,722 feet (829 m)
1,820 feet (555 m)
1,840 feet (561 m)
Narrowest Width:
At the rim (Chasm View)
At the river (The Narrows)
1,100 feet (335 m)
40 feet (12 m)
Total Lenth of
Black Canyon:
Total Length
Length in National Park
48 miles (77 km)
14 miles (22.5 km)
The River:

Average descent over the entire length of canyon:
43 feet/mile (8 m/km)Greatest decent: Occurs in the park at Chasm View –
240 feet/mile (45 m/km)

There is some interesting history, HERE, if you are interested in the early explorations of the Gunnison.

We walked down the trail from the visitor center.

I got a nice shot of the visitor center sitting at the rim.

Out at the overlook, the Gunnison River is just a sparkly ribbon of water.

At the top, I noticed that the “bushes” were oaks.

Our wildlife sighting was the grasshopper-looking guy sitting in the sun on the trail.

From the top, you have to be right on it before seeing that there is a deep, steep, and rough canyon down there.

We moved on to the next overlook.

This viewpoint is at a wide section of the canyon. The narrowest is only forty feet wide.

We stopped and listened to a ranger talk about rock climbing. This high wall is one of the most popular spots for climbers in this park with dozens of marked climbs (for expert climbers only). I could not see the bottom.

After two overlooks, Andy said he could not walk anymore. We took the rim drive to the end of the road but did not get any more looks into the canyon. I did see the Painted Wall but did not get out of the RV for a better look. Here is one borrowed from the web.


September 9, 2019 – Provo, Utah to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado

This was a driving day and I did not take any pictures. Too bad, because the drive from Provo through the Wasatch Mountains on US 6 was amazing. A genuine mountain pass, following the waterway that carved it.

Then we came out into a plain and connected to Interstate 70. As I scanned the enormous landscape, I saw a strange land formation that looked just like the Waterpocket Fold. Then I saw a sign for Capitol Reef National Park and realized IT WAS the Waterpocket Fold.

We passed the road to Moab and Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. I wanted to go back there. We continued on I-70 to Grand Junction in Colorado. There we followed US 50 to Montrose, the closest town to the park.

The park has three loops in the campground and B Loop has electricity! We got one of the last spots.

It was the first time we had a split-level campsite.

There was a bit of a mountain view in the distance, but this picture doesn’t show it.

We were no sooner seated outside in our folding chairs when two mule deer stopped to look us over. They disappeared into the brush before I could pick up the camera.

I was excited about this park because it is a Dark Park, meaning the night sky has more stars than we see elsewhere. The temperature dropped as the sun was setting so we were inside waiting for Dark to come. It never did. A big ole moon was so bright that we could only see one or two stars. Andy got up a 0330 and the moon was low in the sky, behind the trees. We went out and, indeed, saw more stars than we ever see back east, including the Milky Way when our backs were to the moon.

September 8, 2019 – Provo, Utah

I needed a day of rest after the long drive, so we spent another night in Provo on Utah Lake. It is a very nice state park/marina with mountain views all around.

Here is Scamp in our campsite. Each site has a little pavilion over the picnic table. Our site overlooks a marsh, the Utah Lake, and beyond the lake, more mountains.

We took a walk around the park in the afternoon. I think these are black-eyed Susans, which is the Maryland state flower. They are everywhere in Utah too.

The wind kicked up just as we started our walk and some good-sized waves were crashing against the jetty.

It is the biggest jetty I have ever seen, and, with several other jetties forms a huge harbor.

Not as large, Utah Lake is just south of the Great Salt Lake. From Salt Lake City south to Provo is one big city/sprawl. The jetty is wide enough for a two-lane road and broad shoulders for parking and picnicking at the water’s edge.

And, looking back to shore are the mountains.

September 6, 2019 – Lassen Volcanic National Park

Our first stop in the morning was a back-track to the park entrance where I could get a photo of Mount Lassen reflected in Manzanita Lake. Maybe I didn’t walk around the lake far enough to get the whole mountain in. Even if I had, the ripples in the water were not going to allow the reflection I was after.

Our next stop was the ranger station, the home of Benjamin and Estella Loomis before the park’s existence. Loomis took a series of photographs of Mount Lassen’s eruption in 1914.  They became a sensation across the nation.  He then rallied for Mount Lassen to become a national park.  They maintained the right to stay in their home for life.

Loomis built a museum and gift shop to show and sell his photos. It is still a museum and park visitor center.

Loomis also bought a seismograph and housed it in this small building in front of the museum.  The U.S. Geological Survey still collects data from it. There are nine seismographs in the park monitoring Lassen’s activity.

What a drive.  The road is very good: a two-lane highway with diving lines painted on it.  There are white lines painted at the edge of the pavement.  Beyond the white lines, in many places, is nothing but air.  The scenery is breathtaking, even when there is no fear of falling off the edge.  I paused a few times to take a picture. We drove a good distance through the park when I saw a must-have photo opportunity.  I had already passed it.  Fortunately, it was not too much farther when we reached the parking lot for the summit trailhead.  So, I pulled in and head back to THE SPOT.

I used the zoom to get a better picture of the distant lake.

It was exciting to then make a U-turn to head back in the right direction.  The road was just wide enough with the pull-off to make a U-turn, only backing up once. I am happy to report that we did not roll down the hill.

This is Lake Helen.  The blue is just and blue and colorful around the shore as Crater Lake was.  I assumed it was just a shallow spot that gathered rain and snow and was surprised to read in our guide that it is one-hundred-ten feet deep.  It is named for the first white woman to climb to Lassen’s peak. I still haven’t learned to stitch two photos together, so here is Lake Helen to the left

and Lake Helen to the right.

This enormous rock sticking up out of a mountain caught my eye.  I didn’t see any sign identifying it, I think it is bigger than an office building.

This is an errant boulder placed here by a glacier. The photo does not really show how precariously it is perched at the edge. The woman under it told her party she was going to push it over. She is my scale model today.

I walked around and found a vantage point more to my liking.

Errant Boulder

This scene is above the boiling mud pots.

There are more in the park, but we only saw two at this stop. This mud pot was at a furious boil and little blobs of mud were going airborne. My picture did not capture the copious amount of steam rising from the pot. These are the same features seen in Yellowstone. Like Yellowstone, Lassen is an active volcano.

Boiling Mud Pot

This is the hillside just to the right of that mud pot. According to the sign, the colors are from the minerals in the water seeping from the ground uphill.

The second mud pot, across the road, was also boiling and steaming but farther away.

Lassen is not the only volcano show in town.  Many of the peaks here are volcanoes.  The park has all the four types of volcanoes: plug dome, composite or stratovolcanoes, shield, and cinder cone. The literature says that there was once a large mountain and these are just what is left of it. Lassen is the southern-most of the string of volcanoes starting with Mount Garibaldi in British Columbia.

There are many fascinating sights in the park that we did not see because of the long or strenuous, or long and strenuous hikes to get to them. We stopped in the visitor center near the park exit (for us).

Visitor Center

I saw the view out the back windows and then the café to my left with the same view.  It was lunchtime. That was one of the best veggie wraps I’ve ever eaten.

There was an excellent movie showing many of the sights we missed and a good explanation of volcanoes.

Andy decided to leave a day early and go on to the next stop in Provo, Utah. It was a long drive and I was tired and hungry – and cranky – by the time we got there. I seem to have lost the pictures I took of our nice campsite by the lake in Utah Lake State Park.

September 5, 2019 – Eureka to Lassen Volcanic National Park, California

California Route 299 connects US 101 (the Coast Road) to Interstate 5 at the north end of California’s Central Valley. My photos don’t show it, but it is one of life’s memorable drives. I did take some pictures because there were so many spots where road repairs stopped us.

This was a particularly scenic spot, with an overlook to take in the scenic mountain view. The entrance to the overlook was just where the flagger was standing with a stop sign. When we finally moved again, we decided not to stop there.

I did take a picture out my window of the scenery uphill. We were close to the top.

I was surprised to see a rest stop and pulled in to take advantage of it. This was in a narrow-valley section of the road and the hill was steep just behind the building.

This is the rest-stop cat.

The road follows the Mad River and its tributaries through the mountains. We were often far above the gorge and could not see the bottom.

Those are some mean looking mountains.

At one point, I saw a place to pull off the road where I could get out of the van and take a picture of the river. This is not the most scenic spot.

There were many cascades.

This stop was a long one. From the amount of dust in the air, we thought they were blasting ahead, though no signs advised it. I looked to me as though they were clearing back the hillsides farther away from the road to prevent rock slides onto the highway. Loaders were filling dump trucks with rubble. We saw this in several spots.

This photo was through the windshield while we were stopped, yet again.

Note the piles of dirt/gravel on the roadside ahead. The actual roadwork was around the bend.

At Redding CA, and Interstate 5, we took California 44 right to Lassen. That drive was also scenic, but no road work gave me an opportunity for pictures.

Here is Scamp in our campsite in the Manzanita Campground in the Lassen Volcanic National Park. It smelled so good there!

Every campsite has a bear box and a sturdy picnic table.

The trees are magnificent. I think these are Douglas Firs.

This is Manzanita Lake, which is next to the campground. I suppose, though, I should say the campground is next to the lake.

The campground store has a great log bench in front.

September 4, 2019 – Trinidad and Patrick’s Point State Park

Cordelia’s mother Davina joined us today for our last day in Eureka. Cordelia drove straight to the Lighthouse Grill in Trinidad so I could get another nut burger before we leave the area. Davina became much more animated when she got her sandwich and “the best French fries she’s ever had in her whole life”.

After our delicious lunches, we went a bit farther north to Patrick’s Point State Park.

I told Andy to smile for the picture and he said, “I am smiling”. The ocean behind us disappeared in the mist.

It was a bit hazy over the ocean, but the weather was actually perfect for taking a walk. We were high above the ocean in the parking lot. The hump on the left is Patrick’s Point. The one on the right is Wedding Rock. The ocean waves were crashing over the rocks between the two large ones.

This huge rock wall is along the rim trail.

We headed out the trail to Patrick’s Point. Knowing I would be snapping away, Cordelia and Christopher decided to pose as I was approaching. I liked this one.

I don’t know whether they were posing for me at the point or not.

We stood and watched the ocean for a while before moving on. The specks far out in the water are both rocks and boats.

I came up another path and found Cordelia standing on a bench for a better view while Davina absorbed the atmosphere. The weather was perfect.

Wedding Rock in enormous. You can see two people specks on the path at the right edge of the picture.

I zoomed in for a closer look at the top of the rock and saw several more people. Note the two sitting outside the wall, just above the green spot on the left.

This is the next rock north of Wedding Rock. I see the white speck is still standing on the trail to Wedding Rock.

We did not hike down to Wedding Rock as the path and steps are steep and would challenge Andy’s sense of balance. I spotted more Dudleya growing on Wedding Rock.

I like this photo of Cordelia sitting quietly and communing with the Pacific.

It was fun to take pictures with family in them today. I don’t know what they were looking at, but it was something interesting, for sure.

Most of Patrick’s Point State Park is a forest and it extends to the bluffs at the ocean’s edge. Here, we were walking back toward the rim trail.

Christopher climbed up to have a look into the big holes in the rock wall.

Spiders. The answer was spiders. Therefore, he declined to sit on the edge for a photo.

It is a large state park, so we drove to Agate Beach. There are probably a dozen people walking down there on the beach, not even specks. At the far end of the beach is a sand spit that contains the Big Lagoon, along US 101.

I decided to test the seat formed by a low branch and Christopher took my picture.

Then he showed me how to really lounge on a branch above the ocean.

When he got up, he noticed that the ground felt hollow. And, when he stomped his foot, the pebbles bounced. That was just a little bit creepy; the ground should be solid.

I don’t know why I posted another picture of the beach.

Our next stop, still within the park, was Sumeg Village. There were more than 50 villages of the Yurok people along this coast in the 1800s. Sumeg means “forever” in Yurok. This village was constructed by an all-Yurok crew in 1990. It is used for cultural and educational activities that preserve the heritage of several local tribes: Yurok, Karuk, and Hoopa.

Our first sight was three deer. What big ears they have! They ambled off as we approached.

This is a sweathouse, which I imagine is like a sauna. The opening is about knee-high.

I turned on the flash and stuck the camera into the opening for a picture.

There were three typical redwood plank family houses with a hole to crawl through for a door. Cordelia surmised that would make it easy to bash a bear in the nose if he stuck his head inside.

One house had this interior. Two wide high shelves (bunks?) and one bench.

The others had this odd design. The perimeter was the level where you crawl in and the center was much deeper.

Christopher said there were steps, or a ladder, leading down into the center pit. Did they sleep below, next to the fire? Was the perimeter to store food and stuff? Did they sleep around the edge to stay out of the rain coming through the smoke-hole in the roof?

The roof was a complicated structure made of planks laid crosswise to each other in a kind of a stack. It must be fairly effective keeping the elements out. Note the logs laying across the planks that are tied down to the main beam with hazel bindings.

This looks like another sweathouse. It was behind a locked gate in a fenced-in area.

This is the dance pit. The boards on top are widely spaced, presumably for some shade. For a moment, I wished there was some signage to explain things. Then I realized/remembered that this is not a museum, per se. This village is used by the Yuroks for ceremonies and gatherings. We saw a poster for one coming up this coming weekend.

Christopher served as my scale model today. He is six-feet and four-inches tall.

Our last stop within the park was Palmer’s Point.

We could hear the sea lions barking, but could not see them. Christopher asked me to zoom the camera on this distant rock in the ocean. I still could not see them, but enlarged on the computer, those sea lions showed up.

These flowers were along the bluff at Palmer’s Point.

August 31, 2019 – Clarke Museum – and tacos

Our morning walk was downtown today. This is the Carson mansion (now a private club). He was one of the early lumber barons here in the logging heyday. There is more information about the house on Wikipedia.

This house, across the street from his father, is the house William Carson had built for his son as a wedding gift. They call it “The Pink Lady”.

We walked by the Humboldt County Library, and I admired the architecture as it “fits” with the area. We decided to go it for a look around, but it was closed.

I imagine the library has some big windows overlooking this view of the bay.

Christopher has been talking about the taco truck, so we tried it today. I had some chorizo tacos, with ground, browned, and crisped chorizo. Christopher tried one of mine and, since we liked them so much, we ordered two more. See the extensive menu at the left end of the trailer? I was amazed at how many items they prepare in that small trailer.

Christopher is a friend of everyone he meets around town. The taco man posed for a picture, but I forgot his name already.

Cordelia recommended the Clarke Museum downtown in an old bank building. I love old, fancy bank buildings, so I would have enjoyed it if the place was empty. Andy and I spent a couple hours looking at the exhibits in this relatively small museum. One room was primarily quilts made in Eureka over the years. Two caught my interest.

This one is like no other quilt I’ve seen. Other than the fact that there are squares, there is no discernible pattern to it. Each square is unique, yet they all go together well. I’m sorry I got so much reflection in my photo. I also didn’t photograph the sign, so I completely forgot the story of the quilt.

I never knew cigars came wrapped in silk. This pillowcase, made in 1895, is made from silk cigar labels. There was another next to it made from cigarette labels.

It has been a long time since I’ve been in a fancy old bank building. They don’t make them like that anymore.

Even the ceiling was fancy.

They don’t make keyboards like they used to either.

A smaller room was stuffed with furniture and household items. That cradle is very similar to the one I had for my babies. What happened to it, Barbara?

I love the dresses on display, but they sure make me feel fat.

Another larger room focused on native American crafts of some of the local tribes. Most items were baskets. It was interesting to learn about the patterns and how baskets changed over the years when Europeans started to buy baskets. The Indians began making basket styles that they had never made for themselves, based on what was selling well.

If I remember right, this skirt was made from deerskin. If I don’t remember right, it was made from plant fibers.

Baby Basket

A lot of the basket making was for fishing gear.

Log Canoe
Ceremonial Caps

This cap surprised me until I read the sign. Now I remember seeing this pattern in other places, not related to Nazis.