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Posts Tagged ‘monoliths’

Highway 12 (Day 127, Part 2)

November 23rd, 2009 No comments

The weird part is that when I went to college in Utah, I never really thought the place was all that pretty. And I even went to some places in Southern Utah back then. Bah.

The driving from Four Corners all the way to Escalante was fantastic. The scenery kept changing (from one type of red rock outcropping to another, sure, but still) and was constantly interesting. To me. YMMV.

highway-12 1

And, IMHO, aspens rawk.

highway-12 2The foreground makes all the difference…

highway-12 3Because I’ve never seen snow before.

The pass tops out at 9,600 feet elevation. Kind of interesting to consider how wild 6,000 feet seemed in New Hampshire and then how mild that is in western-US terms. Anyway. Once I got to Escalante, I had a late lunch and found a place to stay, then headed out onto the Hole-in-the-Wall road. I was sort of hoping I could get to the hole before sundown, but about halfway there realized I wasn’t gonna make it.

hole-in-the-rock-road 1But I *did* get to see these rocks.

hole-in-the-rock-road 2And take a hero-shot of my truck. Boy *that’s* gonna look good on Craigslist one day.

hole-in-the-rock-road 3Then I took the obligatory battery of sunset photos.

And then I went to the hotel and ate pre-packaged cheese-and-crackers.

bkd

Categories: southwest Tags: , , ,

Capitol Reef: More Red Rocks (Day 127)

November 23rd, 2009 3 comments

Went on an actual little hike at Capitol Reef (National Park). It’s the national park in Utah that no one wants to talk about. Probably due to all the scandals and all.

Chimney Rock Loop, with about 3 miles of additional canyon thrown in.

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 1The rock they named the trail after. Curiously, it’s not much a part of the route’s scenery.

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 2

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 3Evidence I was there — and that the moustache was still alive and well as of Day 127.

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 4

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 5I’m always impressed by the trees that manage to make a living out here. And by contrails.

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 6

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 7Birds could live here. Or rock-climbing gnomes.

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 8

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 9Just trying to imagine the wind that blew the pinecone (or whatever) here in the first place…

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 11The rocks also make me think of the U2: Live at Red Rocks video, which then reminds me that someone thought it was a good idea to put songs like “Party Girl” on the video/album, which then makes me remember there’s a reason I never owned U2’s Live at Red Rocks video.

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 12And do the trees get lonely?

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 14Looking west from the top of the switchbacks.

capitol-reef-chimney-rock 15

Yeah, I guess I’m mostly over captions.

BTW, another park with a ranger who gave good advice on a hike. She also seemed somewhat outraged that every photo of Bryce Canyon that she’d ever seen in a calendar pictured Bryce during winter with snow on the Hoodoos. It *is* an outrage.

Just FWIW in case you care etc. etc., I liked Capitol Reef. It’s more subtle and less in-your-face than Bryce or Arches — more just a place to hang out than to have to confront. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I know it’s true. FWIW.

bkd


Doesn’t “Moki Dugway” Play Outfield for Cleveland? (Day 126, Part 2)

November 23rd, 2009 2 comments

Seems like he should if he doesn’t.

At the end of Valley of the Gods, the road dumps you off on Utah Highway 261, which you then follow if you’re trying to get yourself on to Lake Powell and Capitol Reef. The speed limit changes almost immediately from 55 to 35 and then to 15 and then the highway becomes gravel and good luck to you from there.

Road goes up quickly. Photos didn’t turn out that great, but it was an amazing stretch of road. I have no incentive to lie to you about this, therefore I *MUST* be a reliable source of information in this matter.

This drive, btw, is called “Moki Dugway”. Named after the outfielder. It made a Forbes list of America’s scariest highways.

moki-dugway 1

moki-dugway 2

moki-dugway 3

moki-dugway 4

moki-dugway

moki-dugway (1)

At the top of it you get a view back over the Valley of the Gods, where my truck no longer is. Way cool drive, although the funnest part was being on one of the switchbacks and trying to figure out how where the road was actually going, cuz you sure can’t see how there’s going to be another ledge onto which it can switch back.

Lessee. Then I stopped by Natural Bridges National Monument and drove around their scenic loop. It was getting pretty late in the afternoon to try and take pictures, but oh well.

natural-bridges 1

natural-bridges 2

These bridges also had names. There were a couple others there as well. Would probably be a fun place to visit in the actual day-time so you could run out on the trails and check out the bridges from a vantage point other than the overlook on the road. Tja.

Then I got to Lake Powell.

lake-powell

The, uh, bridge goes over the lake. Camped about a mile away from here — last camping night on the trip! — at Dirty Devil River. Nice campground, $6, but fetchin’ cold.

All in all, a big day.

bkd

Valley of the Gods and My Truck (Day 126)

November 22nd, 2009 5 comments

Dirt road. Southeast Utah. A little to the right of Monument Valley. Did I mention dirt road? Aw screw it, just pictures and call it good. Hopefully you like images of reddish rock outcroppings.

valley-of-the-gods 1And road. Images of roads also.

valley-of-the-gods 2These rocks all have names.

valley-of-the-gods 3But the names aren’t particularly interesting.

valley-of-the-gods 4Or descriptive, imho.

valley-of-the-gods 5But, you know, having a name or not doesn’t really change the rock.

valley-of-the-gods 6I mean, if it’s a good-looking rock, who cares what its name is?

valley-of-the-gods 7And the names are just arbitrary anyway.

valley-of-the-gods 8So if you need names, make up your own I guess.

valley-of-the-gods 9Technically speaking, the road has a name as well.

valley-of-the-gods 10But name or not, it still just takes you where it takes you.

valley-of-the-gods 11I don’t know what the weeds are called either.

Pleasant rocks. By which I mean they were rocks that were pleasant. It was a sentence fragment.

bkd

Categories: southwest Tags: , ,

The Enchanted Rock Did Not Crackle at Me (Day 119)

November 16th, 2009 No comments

I think it’s supposed to creak or crackle or something. And that it’s therefore “enchanted”. Well, that and it makes you invisible if you go to the top. Military crests and all that. Ah well, ah well.

It’s sort of like the Half Dome of Texas.

The hike around it is mostly dull and doesn’t get too interesting until you start hiking up the granite. At that point it turns fun. It’s nowhere near as steep or dramatic as Half Dome, but it’s a fine enough jaunt. As evidence thereof:

enchanted-rock_trail-panoramaYes, that’s the peak.

enchanted-rock_altarSort of an altar-thing.

enchanted-rock_uphill-trailThe upward trail.

enchanted-rock_sidehill-rocksSome rocks along the way.

enchanted-rock_creasesA crease with adjoining run-off.

enchanted-rock_me-at-topMe at the top.

enchanted-rock_others-at-topView at the top. With others.

Yep, so that was Enchanted Rock. No crackling on my watch. No cackling, either.

After that, drove on down to Fredericksburg. Ate lunch at a German restaurant — had the gulasch since they didn’t have klöse on the menü to go with the Jägerschnitzel. It was okay.

Then I went to the Nimitz Pacific War Museum. Unfortunately their main gallery is closed for renovation and they didn’t set those exhibits up somewhere else in the meantime. They had this “Pacific Theater Experience” thing set up a couple blocks down the road, but man. It was irritating at best. A couple tanks, a grounded PT boat, and a TBM Avenger and having to be part of a guided tour that somehow took almost an hour. It merited no photos.

OTOH, it *did* help me realize how special that USS Alabama floating museum was in Mobile. Full-on WW2 battleship that you can climb in, on, and around versus refurbished PT boat that you’re allowed to look at, but not touch. Mobile FTW.

Headed west from there. Stopped at a rest stop east of Ft. Stockton at sunset. It looked like this:

stockton-sunsetThe 10.

That’s probably enough.

bkd

Devil’s Tower, But No Devil (Day 48)

September 5th, 2009 2 comments

Me: The big fella around?

Devil’s Tower Imp: Huh? Oh — no. He always says he’s coming and then we get the place all fixed up for him, but then he doesn’t show up.

Me: Huh.

Imp: Yeah, he’s kind of a jerk.

Me: Makes sense.

devils_towerYep, it’s a big ol’ weird-shaped granite monolith all right!

devils-tower_hay-balesYep, it’s a big ol’ weird-shaped granite monolith with hay bales in front of it all right!

I walked around it. There were rock climbers on it — not that there’s anything wrong with that. Relevant Indian tribes consider the thing to be the home of 100-foot-tall bears, which seems considerably cooler than lazily assigning it to Satan. Man, but I hope there are 100-foot-tall bears somewhere. Maybe at Boundary Waters?

(Meanwhile, it’s 95 degrees in North Dakota and I’m sweating on the keyboard in the campground. Hopefully no ticks crawl in through the USB ports.)

bkd

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