September 19, 2015 – Zion National Park

Today, we took the park shuttle bus into the park, the canyon that we have not seen before. We went to the last bus stop and walked the River Trail to the end.

 

b1 Rocks

The wall along the river trail has hanging gardens.  Some spots are quite lush.

b2 Hanging Garden

Andy and I got a kick out of this nose shaped rock formation.  Water was dripping out all around the bottom.  Andy said he could relate to that.

b3 Runny Nose Rock

We did not elect to walk up the river past the trail’s end.  It was too cold.

b4 End of Sidewalk in Narrows

The crowds were arriving as we headed back out.

b5 Walkway to Narrows

b9 Zion Canyon

Christopher opened a bag of wasabi peas and this squirrel ran right up to him for some.  Christopher did not feed the wildlife though. We saw a number of squirrels along the trail (all fat). At one point the trail was blocked with people taking pictures of one.  Andy noted, “Squirrel jam!”

b6 Fat Squirrel

The canyon is narrow enough that you see mountain tops out of the top of the bus.

b7 Peak Through Bus Roof

b8 Cliff

Ranger House

b10

This wind sculpture is outside the Thai restaurant were we met Bonnie and Ed Grafton for lunch. Two wheels of leaves spin in the wind and I was mesmerized.

b11 Wind Toy

Bonnie is a bird expert at the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab. Lunch was fabulous and a good time with friends.

b12 Bonnie, Ed Grafton, Andy

Another ranger house.

b13 Ranger House

We drove back up the mountain and through the tunnel in the afternoon.  This is the only tunnel I have ever seen with windows.  They were put there to get fresh air in the mile-long tunnel. There are no lights in the tunnel either.

b14 Window in Tunnel

b15 Rock Dollop

b16 Above Tunnel

This is a larger, but shorter tunnel.  Still no lights.

b17 Small Tunnel

The scenery above the tunnel is strange and beautiful.

b18 Pink Slope

b19 Christopher on Rocks

b20 Oozing Rock

This is called the Checkerboard Mesa, but my picture does not show it off to its best.

b21 Checkerboard Mesa

b22 Rocks

b23 Big Horn Sheep

Out hiking destination was that hoodoo in the center of the picture. It is farther than it looks.

b24 Hoo Doos on Slope

b25 Crossing Wash

b26 Walking up Rock Slope

b27 Mud Dollop

b28 Almost to Hoo Doo

b28 Christopher and Hoo Doo

b29 Christopher on Hoo Doo

b30 Swirls of Pink

b31 Rpcl

This tree was lit up by the afternoon sun as we headed back down into the canyon.

b32 Tree on Curve

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September 6, 2015 – Golden to Grand Junction, Colorado

Sunday, September 06, 2015 – Golden to Grand Junction, Colorado (239miles)

I am still on Central Time and got up at 0600, after having tried to go back to sleep for over an hour. We got underway at 0741.  We were out of the fairgrounds and on Indiana street, when the GPS said for me to go east on US 6.  I said it could not be right to Andy, but he had his head in his iPad and told me to just do what the GPS said.  A few minutes later, he lifted his head, faced the sun, and said, “Why are we going east?” The answer was, “Because you told me to just do what the GPS says!”  I pulled off at the next exit and got back on US 6 heading west and that took us right on to I-70.  Heading west and into the Rocky Mountains.

The hillsides along I-70 are filled with beautiful, large homes and gorgeous trees. There are also a few outlying small towns, from which I assume some people commute to Denver.  There were also some resort-looking towns. We were enjoying the scenery, but did not remember seeing any of it before. We drove out to Vail and Beaver Creek skiing years ago. Past Beaver Creek, we were covering new ground.

We spotted some patches of snow on top of a few mountains just outside Idaho Springs. I’m sure it was last year’s snow still hanging in there.

Just past Silver Flume, we saw a lot of dead trees.  I was guessing maybe half of them in some spots.

There is a large lake at Frisco, which made for some nice.  I was regretting not buying that camera at Costco that I could wear on my head and take pictures.  Or, maybe I could just set in on the dash.  We were remarking that the huge windshield on a motorhome which allows big screen scenery watching.  We don’t even have to bend our heads to look out.  We have 180 degrees of scenery from our front-row seats.

I-70 through the Rockies is the only stretch of interstate that I recall seeing cars (and trucks) parked along the shoulders, and a bit off.  It is the customary thing to do here. There were hiking trailheads and creek for fishing.  I pulled off an exit to make a pit stop, and the off and on ramps were lined with cars of hikers. This section of the interstate also allows bicycles.

At 1026 we crossed the Colorado River at Dotsero.  Shortly thereafter, we were in the Glenwood Canyon and following the Colorado River. Wow!  The canyon walls are as high as 1,300 feet and it is only wide enough for train tracks, the river, and four lanes of I-70.  It is only about 12 miles long, but due to road repairs and closed lanes, we were only traveling about 35 miles per hour.  This gave me time to gawk a bit. I used all the superlatives I could think of and then my tongue was searching for more. Mostly, I just said, “WOW”. Since I was driving, I did not get any pictures, so I snatched a few from the internet.

Glenwood Canyon

 

Hanging-Lake-Rest-Stop_Web

Somewhere in this section, I realized that the east-bound lanes were gone. They were practically underneath us and we could not see them.

I-70 Glenwood Canyon

That was the prettiest section of interstate ever. Andy enjoyed the scenery so much today that he remarked, “I think this day will go down in famy”.

The next canyon, called South Canyon was much wider and open.

Mesa County

Then we suddenly came out onto a plain filled with trees and crops, including a lot of vineyards and orchards. The whole enormous plain is surrounding by towering mesas. The town of Grand Junction is on the Colorado River. Here is another picture from the internet.

Grand_Junction_Valley

We got to the RV park at 1228. We crossed the Rockies much faster than I expected.

We made a short drive into downtown to have a look around. Main Street is tree-lined with sculptures on every block. I looked to be thriving.  And charming. This picture was also taken from the web; I was driving.

Main Street Grand Junction CO