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Random thoughts and pictures from our travels in a LazyDaze motorhome.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

East on I70…

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Saturday, the 23rd, we exited Zion NP to begin our trip home to Iowa. We were sad to leave our friends, but looking forward to seeing our kids, and especially their kids! We headed north on Interstate 15, then east on I70 to Salina where we’d RON (Remain Overnight).  As we progressed east the next day to Colorado NM at Grand Junction, we passed over the great Rafael Swell that extends north-south across southern Utah. Snow can still be seen on mountains to the west as we approached the high point of the swell.

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There are several outlooks along the interstate that you can view the surrounding terrain. It is quite other-worldly. Large portions of southern Utah were not truly mapped or investigated until the 1920s and 30s.

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A view into a large canyon…

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Great distant views as well…

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A person could easily get lost down there…

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Interesting formations near the top of swell.

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We arrived at Colorado National Monument by late afternoon and set up at the Saddlehorn Campground. We took a short hike to the nearby canyon’s edge for some views and exercise. This is a shot of Window Rock. You can see some reflected fencing on the left since the drop is quite far.

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Trying to guess how far down…

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This is Monument Canyon…

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Interesting rock towers...

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A view out of the canyon across Grand Junction.

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Two ravens on the cliff edge.

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A cliff edge, about 700 feet down to the floor edge.

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Another view of Monument Valley…

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More towers…

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Near the visitor center, an automated weather station, interrogated via satellite. That is an automatic rain gauge on the right, surrounded by a wind screen. Wind screens decrease the effects of gusty winds.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Echo Canyon

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This is a view of Zion Canyon looking upstream to the Big Bend in the river, after a 300 foot climb up to Echo Canyon. This is the same trail that will take you up to Observation Point and Hidden Canyon. A bit past this point, my cliff edge insecurities got the better of me. So, the following pictures are Carla’s with assistance from our friend Debbie.

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Its about a two mile climb to Echo Canyon from the valley floor. This is a view of the trail to the entrance of Echo Canyon. I would guesstimate around 1000 feet of vertical. This is the upper portion, with another switchback portion lower.

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Echo Canyon is a hanging slot canyon. Hanging in the idea that the canyon is above the valley floor and not directly accessible. In this case, water is flowing.

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A shot upstream into the canyon.

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Pooling and miniature runoff slot and a much larger slot in the background.

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Looking down into the slot…

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Debbie walking ahead in the slot with a deeper slot off to the right.

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Interesting formations in the canyon wall caused by running water.

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Trail over a portion of a slot…

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Another view of the canyon…with a slot to the left.

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More of the interior…

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Water flowing into the deeper slot…

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Later that evening we went out for pizza and beer at Zion Pizza and Noodle. Excellent pizza by the way!! Left to right…Gayle, Jim, Debbie, Jan, Ron, and Carla. Ron and Jan are new friends from Indianola, Iowa who full-time in their Lazy Daze. Indianola is about 15 miles from our home. The other three on the left are friends we developed painstakingly over the last year or so, since we are so hard to get along with :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Taylor Creek Trail

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Our day started with a squirrel in a bush next to the rig, watching the fancy Class A next to us.

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We headed for the northwest corner of Zion which is accessible only from Interstate 15. This is the Kolob Canyons area, which are finger-like smaller Zion canyons in the making.

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You can drive to an overlook at see more big wall sandstone…

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and rather provacative scenery.

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As our usual mode of operation, we went for a hike, specifically up the middle fork of Taylor Creek. A nice five mile round trip into a tightening canyon with a running stream.

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There were quite a few stream crossings. In fact, I counted 55 crossings of this stupid stream on the trip back. All in 2.5 miles!

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Other times, the trail smelled of deep woods pine.

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Before slogging back into the middle of the creek.

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We meet this fine female, who thought we should get out of the way instead!

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She must have lived here.

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Nice desert varnish in the making with actual water.

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This is the end of the trail, a huge undercut cave structure. A double overhang was suspended above the entrance with a small overflow of water. The picture does not do it justice.

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Water dancing in the air…

Monday, April 19, 2010

East Mesa Trail – Observation Point

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Today was a hike to reduce exertion in climbing 2000 feet above the Zion Canyon floor to Observation Point.  You can do it the hard way, a four mile slog up very steep switchbacks, or the easier way via the East Mesa Trail. You reach the trail via dirt backroads, coming in to the eastern boundary of the park. Hike three miles, and viola, you are there.  Snow was still melting on portions of the trail, which made for some mud and snow tromping. But, the views to the north were super along a portion of the trail.

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A zoom into, I believe, Mystery Canyon.

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This is the reason for the hike. Pretty awesome, heh? Carla took this shot. I was standing 15 feet back behind her. The image has been cropped a bit, so she was not quite this close to the edge. It is 2148 feet straight down. Zion Canyon in all its glory. That narrow looking mountain, right of center is Angel’s Landing. You can hike up that and walk the ridge line. That is around 1720 feet. This was all made by that small river at the bottom.

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Another view, cropped a bit.

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One of my shots with a couple of other hikers near the edge. That small elevated plateau on the left is the East Temple. Some haze down canyon where the campgrounds are.

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A waterfall off to the north side of Observation Point. As you hiked out to the point itself, you quickly realize you are running out of real estate. A little unnerving for me, but still quite awesome.