Sunday, June 25, 2017

Our 90 Day Limit???

I've reached the end.  At least for a few weeks.  Time to rest.

Last Spring when we were touring Europe we woke up one morning and said, "We're done." The next day we were on a plane flying toward home.  We had been gone for 90 days.

A couple of days ago we looked at each other and said the same thing, "We're done."  Once again it had been 90 days.  It was time to settle down for a few weeks before we start our Summer travels.  We need a vacation from our vagabond lifestyle.

So we are heading back to Tacoma and should arrive before the end of June.

The next few weeks were supposed to have been spent hiking and seeing the Grand Tetons.  The Tetons will have to wait until another time.  It's time to kick back and be lazy.

To family and friends:  We would love to see as many of you as we can while we are in the Pacific Northwest.  Call us.  We will be around from June 29th through July 27th.

Our Summer plans include Glacier National Park and Banff/ Jasper National Parks in Alberta, Canada.  These travels begin July 27th and end near the last week of August.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ranger Stations

We spent two days at Oak Creek which is over 100 miles from our last campsite but still in Dixie National Forest.  Oak Creek is a small campsite with a stunning river running through the center.

We visited the closest Ranger station to plan the days hike.  It turned out to be a jewel.

Built by the CCC in 1935
The CCC built a series of these cabin one days hike from each other through the park in the 1930's.  These were living quarters for a Ranger and his family during the summers.  With my last name I should have been a Forest Ranger.

As we entered we were greeted by a volunteer Ranger.  She had just finished baking biscuits in the wood fired oven and offered us biscuits and jam for breakfast.  She said she does this every morning to warm the cabin.  Lucky us.

The original wood stove, still in use daily.
The 30's kitchen.
We talked and picked a hike for the day, Blind Lake.  We drove 8 miles up a mountain until we found the trailhead which began at over 10,000 feet.  It was a long and dust drive on a dirt road that made us wish we had a Jeep not a Honda.

Todays hike was too much for me.  We never made it to Blind Lake but it was a nice hike through the Aspin and Noble Firs.  A rough trail, steep climb and elevation gain was more than I expected.  Better to live for another day.

Life is good.

A Few Arches Make a Good Hike

When we saw a hike that include 15 small arches we knew that it was a hike for us.  We drove up a dirt road a few miles, parked and found the trailhead.  Dixie National Forest has over 2 million acres and unlike the National Parks dogs are welcome on the trails in National Forests.

Up, up and away.
The hardest part of hiking for me is elevation gain.  I'm old and fat which makes it hard to climb.  The other factor this last week was that all the hikes start at over 8,000 feet.  In case that is not something you have experienced just imagine turning down the oxygen on Grandpa's air supply.  That's why I kept asking Terri, "You trying to kill me?"

Enough whining.  The hikes are worth the effort.

Climb high enough and you can look down on spires and hoodoos.
A row of arches ahead.
Terri sitting under an arche eating an apple.

What's in that cave?
As we wander there are many side trails, caves and canyons that we don't explore.  We only have so much energy and the question is always, "Can we make it back to the trail head?"  So far we have used common sense and made it back each time, sometimes right at the end of my limits. Terri usually has energy to spare.  Eva is usually dragging just like me.

A selfie under an arche.
We're loving our time in Dixie.

Life is good.

Red Canyon Hikes

We've spent the last week dry-camping in out of the way places.  No water, electricity or sewer.  Just beautiful locations.  Needless to say we've had no internet or cellular coverage.

The view out our RV window.  Nice.
Two years ago when we did the 7 week tour of the "Big 5 National Parks" in southern Utah we kept seeing the areas between, like Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest and 1.9 million acre Escalante.  This trip we are concentrating on the out of the way places in southern Utah.

Eva is ready to go hiking.  Let's go Smokey.
Our favorite hikes were in Red Canyon.  Pink Ledges and Arches Trail were the best.  Here's some photos.

On the trail before sunrise.

Sun starting to come through the canyon.
Eva always wants to walk a log.

We did a hike up Cassidy Canyon but turned around after a mile because it wasn't pretty enough.  The next day we drove 105 miles to Cedar Breaks National Monument as a day trip.

Cedar Breaks is a stunning location who's only drawback is that it is in the middle of nowhere, really nowhere.  It's up at an elevation about 10,000 feet so it is under snow most of the year.  We passed through snow fields in the middle of June.

That's two miles up in the air.  Very thin air.
More hikes and photos to come.  We're at Huntington State Park in Eastern Utah for the night.  So long as I have internet I'll do a couple of blogs.

Life is good.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Little Culture in Kanab

After many days of hiking and nature it was time to change things up.  It was time for a night out on the town.  The only drawback to my plan was we were in Kanab.  Now don't get me wrong, Kanab is a fine tiny town in the middle of nowhere Utah, so options are limited.  But being resourceful we were able to find "country culture" in downtown Kanab.

It was western movie night at the Crescent Moon Theatre.

Once you arrive and pay your $1.00 admission you get to vote on which movie they will show that evening.  Luckily the audience chose a great movie for the night.  We got to see John Wayne in his first role as a leading man in "The Big Trail".

After purchasing our $1.00 popcorn and $1.00 coke we were ready for a full evenings entertainment.  The evening began with the projectionist showing us his vacation slides from many years ago. Ya gotta love old Kodachrome.

It's a nice theatre with soft seats, good sound and old movie posters decorating the walls.

The lady on the right built the theatre after her husbands death to honor his love of movies.  She's still going strong at 92 and was there to greet us as we came into her theatre.

Big Trail was a great movie and John Wayne played his role as John Wayne well.  In the end he got the girl and all was right with the world.

The final kiss is coming next.
It was a great evening out on the town.  The best part was it only cost me $6.00.  Who says I'm cheap?  I prefer "thrifty" if you don't mind.

Life is good.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Horseshoe Bend Canyon

Last evening we planned a late hike to be at Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River at sunset.  It was about a mile walk in from Highway 89 just outside of Page, Arizona.  It had cooled down nicely from the 90 degree heat of the day.  Eva was ready to hike.

Up over the hill and down to the canyon edge.
The cliffs down to the river.
Looking up river right into the sun.
Peek-a-boo of the river down stream.
The full horseshoe at sunset.
Eva and Terri on the cliffs edge.
We stayed until after sunset.
It's dark and time to hike back out.
We had hoped for a better sunset, but nature doesn't always follow my plan.  It was a beautiful evening, so I'm happy to be with my favorite wife and my favorite dog in a great place.

Life is good.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Nice Walk Through Antelope Slot Canyon

We have come to love slot canyon hikes.  So long as there is no rain or a flash flood they are a surrealistic experience.  Walking through a very narrow river bed that has carved it's way through the desert for millennia takes us to amazing visual experiences.

Yesterday hike took us through Antelope Slot Canyon near Page, Arizona.  This is one of the most visited slot canyons in the area and is deserving of its' reputation.  Here are a bunch of photos from our walk.

Ready to begin.
It takes about 90 minutes to walk through and return.  It is slightly cooler inside than the desert surrounding the entrance.  The walls of the canyon extend 120 feet above us as we walk.  This is an active riverbed given the right rainstorm.  The water can rush trough this small channel at 50 MPH when there is a flash flood.

Looking up to see the light.

Do you see the heart shape?

Something you can't see from the photos is the falling sand.  Remember we are 100 to 120 feet below the desert floor.  On this day there is a sand storm blowing up there.  Each time we look up we may be greeted by small sand particles falling in our eyes.  It doesn't stop us from looking up.  A few tears and it washes right out.

My favorite photo of the day.
Terri looking to catch enough light in a dark section of the canyon.
We will be finding more slot canyons as we enter Utah in the next few days.  Today is a kick-back day - laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning house.

Life is good.