So yeah, I didn’t blog on days 15 and 16. Here they are in a nutshell:

Day 15

I hiked to Angels Landing in Zion National Park. (Except I didn’t go all the way to Angels Landing. I stopped at what is called Scouts Lookout or Scouts Landing. I thought the view from up there was amazing and it was a great hike.) I know I wasn’t going to post pictures from Zion, but above is the view from Scouts Lookout, where I spent about a half hour resting after the climb, chatting with other hikers, and just enjoying the scenery.

Then I did the Riverside Trail, which was a very easy walk along the river. Then I wanted to do two more hikes before departing, but it started to rain, so I left and drove to St. George. Continue reading “Retrospective”

I’ve spent the better part of two weeks exploring some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever encountered, and today in Bryce Canyon, everything I saw was as beautiful as everything I’ve seen.

Which led me to wonder… If everything is beautiful, is anything beautiful?

If you asked me what was the highlight of my trip, I couldn’t answer. If you asked me the most beautiful place I visited, I would stammer and shrug.

As I wandered around Bryce today and took some three hundred pictures, I wondered how I would pare them down to a reasonable number. They were all equally beautiful. Except they weren’t. After a while, walking and driving through the park, nothing was beautiful. Because how do you measure beauty against the most beautiful things nature has ever produced?

I somehow pared down the 300 photos to 68, which I posted in a Google album.

And above is just one to whet the appetite. It’s the first one I took, my first view of Bryce Canyon from Sunset Point. The one where I just gazed in wonder and didn’t worry about if it was just as beautiful as everything else I’ve seen on my trip.

Check out the rest. They’re really beautiful.

In the last two days I drove from Telluride, Colorado, to Bryce, Utah. I drove through a number of small towns, and the much larger communities of Monticello and Blanding, Utah, and I detoured to Natural Bridges National Monument before stopping for the night in Mexican Hat, Utah. Then I continued south through Monument Valley and through the Navajo reservation, stopping for breakfast in Kayenta, Arizona, toured Lower Antelope Canyon just east of Page, Arizona, crossed the Colorado River at Glen Canyon Dam, and then reentered Utah, ending at Bryce Canyon Pines, where I’m spending two nights as a base for exploring Bryce Canyon National Park.
Continue reading “No Ocean”

I left Durango this morning, heading north on US-550 through Silverton, Ouray, and Ridgway, then southwest and then southeast to Telluride. The drive was spectacular. They had a lot of snow in the mountains yesterday, so it was like driving through a winter wonderland.

The road was also twisty as it climbed up and down over several mountain passes.

I took a lot of pictures through the car windshield while I was driving, all random, and most of them came out far better than I would have expected. Pictures will tell the story much better than I can. (I cropped out the hood of the car from most of the pics.)

I found Silverton the most authentic of the three former mining towns I went through. Except for the main street through town, all the streets are unpaved. And the streets are extremely wide. I don’t know how many buildings are original, but it really had the feeling of an old western town upon which the 21st century has intruded. As opposed to Ouray, which feels more like it has melded its past with with present in a bit of a touristy mix. And Ridgway, which really wasn’t much of anything at all.

Silverton
Ouray, nestled in this tiny, narrow valley, is prettier from a distance than up close.

I’m in Telluride in the off season. Ski season is over, and the summer festival season doesn’t start until next week. The town is very quiet, and the free gondola is not running. I got here in time to take a walk along the San Miguel River (more of a creek really) and have dinner. Tomorrow morning before I leave I will wander through the main shopping district.

It turns out I didn’t know what a pueblo is. I thought it was a structure. But it is actually a community. In fact, the word “pueblo” comes from Castilian for town or village and has the same Latin root as the English word “people.”

I visited Taos Pueblo today and learned a lot about how the community lives. Taos Pueblo is one of 21 federally-recognized pueblos in the USA, 19 of which are in New Mexico. About 4,500 people are members of the Taos Pueblo, but only a few families actually live in the pueblo; most have modern homes outside the pueblo and also maintain homes within the pueblo that they use for ceremonial occasions. There is no electricity or running water in the pueblo. The homes have outdoor ovens, they use propane lamps and batteries, and they get water from Red Willow Creek, which runs through the community and is drinkable without requiring any treatment.
Continue reading “Pueblo”

I climbed some ladders today.

Bandelier National Monument, about 50 miles northwest of Santa Fe, was on my list of things to do if you have several days to spend in Santa Fe, but since I only had one day, I didn’t anticipate going there. However, since it wasn’t too far out of the way on my drive between Santa Fe and Taos, I thought I’d check it out. And since I bought the America the Beautiful Pass for this trip, the entrance fee was covered.
Continue reading “Ladders”

Today was the first day of my trip that I didn’t use my car at all. I just walked around Santa Fe all day. I can definitely see the allure of this city. It has an arty, healthy, hip, funky vibe and even though it’s a small city (about 75,000 people), it has a lot of culture., good restaurants, and a respect for history in terms of building codes.
Continue reading “Gabby Docents”

I stopped for lunch yesterday (I was too exhausted to blog last night) in Gallup, New Mexico, which seems like it got stuck in time during the Route 66 era.

It was probably 70 degrees in Gallup, and I walked around in a short-sleeve shirt. A half hour further east, I drove through a lightning storm, and then the temperature plummeted into the 30s and the rain turned to sleet, and for one stretch of about 10 miles traffic on I-40 was crawling at 20 mph on icy/slushy pavement. Then the roads cleared and within fifteen minutes it was 70 degrees again. Who knew the weather on this trip would be so interesting?
Continue reading “Fun with weather”