Thursday, April 30, 2015

Water Falls & Mountain Views

We moved to a new campsite this morning.  There was one amazing site in the South Campground and Terri had been keeping an eye on it the last three days.  On one of our walks last night we struck up a conversation with the man who had site #77.  He said he was going to be leaving this morning, so we were ready at 7:00 am to move into the best site in the campground.

An unobstructed view of the mountains next to the Virgin River.  Looking North.
Looking South.
Look close, Eva standing on the front dash with the mountains reflected in the windshield.
The river is about 50 feet from the RV so we can hear the rapids from our bedroom window.  A "10" spot in a "10" location.

Eva standing in the river this evening.
We went on our best hike since arriving here in Zion National Park.  We did a 3.7 mile hike that included Upper and Lower Emerald Pools.  The first half was an easy walk to the Falls, the second half was a lot of climbing on sand covered stones to get to the top pool.

Up through the gaps.
We walked behind this falls.
Terri smiling at the top of the falls where the water goes over the edge.
The view from a mile up.
Terri added to the cairn collection on the way past.

It was in the high 80's today so I stood in the waterfall on the way back down.  It felt really good.  I told Terri we should jump in the Virgin River when we got back down.

We stayed out of the river, but it was sure tempting.

Life is good... Terri's turn to hold the rocks up so I could pass under... team work.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Watchman Trail Hike - Zion National Park

The Watchman trailhead is on the backside of our campground.  We should have gotten an earlier start on our day but it was already in the 80's by the time we took off for the trailhead.

We gained elevation quickly so the whole hike had great views. There were a lot of switchbacks to this trail as we wound up through the canyon.

Many times the trail went under the cliffs.

It was my turn to hold the rock in place as Terri passed by.
You will notice that we both have walking sticks.  These are not just ordinary walking sticks, these are bedazzled walking sticks.  Our youngest daughter went through a stage where she stuck shinny jewels on everything.  I guess I have inherited this fixation from my kid.

Our bedazzled walking sticks hanging over our bed in the motorhome.
We have collected these emblems from all of our various stops in the last two years.  It is a nice way to remember all the great times we have had in our travels.  The reason we were late getting out on the trail this morning was that I was busy attaching more of the cloisonné emblems to our sticks.

The other big advantage to a bedazzled walking stick is that they are great conversation starters as we meet people along the trails.

After a few miles we were both beat.  Time to head home.
Now if you are tired of my desert flower photos you can skip the remaining shots.  Just more Spring wild flowers here in Zion.

And for a final shot for the day, a panorama from our hike.  Life is good.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mountain Goats

Ten mountain goats.  Can you spot them all?  These were part of a larger group we saw this evening.  The babies stuck close to their moms and they all just went about their business of eating and ignored us as they climbed the rocks.

The old guy kept an eye on us.
Eventually they all wandered over the ridge out of sight.  They weren't in any hurry, they obviously own this mountain.

We drove into St. George this morning to purchase a new entry handle for our front steps.  Ours had broken a few days ago and I was amazed how trained I had become to reach for that handle when I go up the steps.  After a few dozen times of reaching for the missing handle I knew it was time to go to the big town and find one.

New handle installed.
This morning was also time to take care of chores.  It's not all fun and games out here.  I drove the motorhome into Springdale to fill the propane tank.  ($67.62)  It's a really big tank that I only have to fill a few times per year.  While I was away from the campsite I filled the fresh water and dumped the black and gray tanks.  We have no electricity, water or any hookups here in the National Park, so it has been more like boondocking.  But at a cost of $8.00 per night I can't complain.

Complain?  With views like this evenings there is no room to complain about anything.

We drove East to see the mountains at sunset.  It was wonderful.

Mountains casting shadows on mountains.  Cool.

Checkerboard Mountain.
Driving in and out of the shadows.

Evening has come to the valley we are in.
Wild flowers at dusk.
We feel blessed to be where we are..... life is very good.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Zion National Park

Zion National Park was at the top end of my bucket list.  I have been looking forward to coming here for years.  After a few hours in the park I can say that Zion deserves it's fine reputation. 

The camping here is on a first come/first served basis.  We started just after sunrise this morning so that we could be here early to score a campsite. The strategy worked and we are settled in for the week in Zion.

Sunrise at Lake Powell this morning.
Our view from South Campground.

Looking East.
Looking South.
These are three views are from our campground.  The campground is only a few hundred feet into the park.  The really good stuff was yet to come.

Our first hike came after we settled into the South Campground.  We took the shuttle bus to the end of Zion Canyon and walked to the Narrows section of that trail.  The only way to go further into that canyon involved walking in the Virgin River.  We weren't ready to get wet but may be willing another day.  It will be in the low 80's tomorrow, cold water might sound good.

The river has cut a narrow gap in the canyon.
Terri held this rock in place until I passed through.

The seeping walls of the canyon.
We have just begun to see the sights, many more days ahead to explore, hike and enjoy.
The test.

Life is good..... we passed the first test, we fit through the tunnel.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lone Rock Beach

We find ourselves on the shore of Lake Powell sitting with a view that stretches for miles of shoreline.  This is probably not hard considering there is 1,900 miles of shoreline on this lake.  That is the same distance as driving from Seattle to San Francisco and back.

That's Lone Rock standing in the lake.
This is the view out our windows for the next few days.
I liked my shadow as I shot the view at sunset.
I'm 120 feet tall and skinny.
Sunset looking West.
Now I'll get to the great part of the day.  Our hike to Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River.  It was an easy one mile hike to this amazing view point.

Horseshoe Bend. Looking over the edge from thousands of feet up.

So long as we were there we extended our hike south along the rim of the canyon.  The wind gusts were strong at times so we were careful not to blow over the edge.

We couldn't resist the feet over the edge shot.
Terri and Eva climbed to the top of this vista.

We took time to just sit and listen.  The reward was from the birds that flew by as we sat.  It's hard to imagine but a bird soaring at 40 or 50 mph sounds like a small jet.  One passed a few feet from Terri's head, we were both shocked by the sound.  We sat for quite a while enjoying the sound of their flight.

We finished our day with a couple more short hikes through the red rocks along Lake Powell.  The formations in the weather worn stones are like a picture.

Struggling to survive.
Life is good for the Ranger's.

Eva the wonderdog.