Tent Rocks National Monument

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, located 40 miles southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico is a (BLM) managed site that was established as a U.S. National Monument by President Bill Clinton in January 2001. Kasha-Katuwe means “white cliffs” in the Pueblo language Keresan.

The area owes its remarkable geology to layers of volcanic rock and ash deposited by  a volcanic explosion within the Jemez Volcanic Field that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago. Over time, weathering and erosion of these layers has created canyons and tent rocks. The tent rocks themselves are cones of soft pumice and tuff beneath harder caprocks, and vary in height from a few feet to 90 feet.

We hiked both trails, the one around the base and the much more difficult climb to the top.  The latter included both working our way through a slot canyon and scrambling over rock formations.  But the view from the was worth the effort.

Ancient peoples of the Southern USA

October 29, 2017 Leave a comment

While touring through Arizona and New Mexico, we had the privilege of visiting a few of the amazing sites of ancient peoples.  A few that stood out:

Montezuma Castle National Monument protects a set of well-preserved dwellings located in Camp Verde, Arizona which were built and used by the Sinagua people, a pre-Columbian culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwestern United States, between approximately 1100 and 1425 AD. The main structure comprises five stories and twenty rooms, and was built over the course of three centuries.

Tuzigoot National Monument preserves a 3-story pueblo ruin on the summit of a limestone and sandstone ridge just east of Clarkdale, Arizona, 120 feet above the Verde River floodplain. The Tuzigoot Site is an elongated complex of stone masonry rooms that were built along the spine of a natural outcrop in the Verde Valley. The central rooms stand higher than the others and they appear to have served public functions. The pueblo has 110 rooms.  The ruins at Tuzigoot incorporate very few doors; instead, they use trapdoor type openings in the roofs, and use ladders to enter each room.
At this site, remains of pithouses can be seen as well as petroglyphs, although the petroglyphs can only be viewed on certain days of the week.

Bandelier National Monument is located near Los Alamos, New Mexico. The monument preserves the homes and territory of the Ancestral Puebloans of a later era in the Southwest. Most of the pueblo structures date to two eras, dating between 1150 and 1600 AD.  Human presence in the area has been dated to over 10,000 years before present. Permanent settlements have been dated to 1150 CE. The distribution of basalt and obsidian artifacts from the area, along with other traded goods, rock markings, and construction techniques, indicate that its inhabitants were part of a regional trade network that included what is now Mexico.

During World War II the monument area was closed to the public for several years, since the lodge was being used to house personnel working on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos to develop an atom bomb.

 

 

 

Sweet Creek Waterfalls

October 5, 2017 Leave a comment

This hike is close to Florence, near the Oregon coast.  This was one of the nicest hikes we’ve ever done.  It isn’t long, only about 2 miles each way.  It isn’t steep, only about 350 ft vertical.  It isn’t especially challenging, although there were some roots, rocks and catwalks.  And the whole route was under heavy forest growth.

But the waterfalls were amazing!  There are about 15 waterfalls along the two mile route, and rushing water all the way.  We did this on a beautiful day with our friends Jack and Sylvia Napoles. They bought a house in the area and will certainly do this hike and others in the Siuslaw Forest again!

Seattle, Mt. Rainier

August 29, 2017 Leave a comment

We’ve lived in the Seattle area, and visited here often.  We love the area, the people, the scenery and the opportunity to visit the Great Outdoors.  So when we were in the area we had to visit some iconic places.

Mount Rainier is one of the most active volcanoes in the USA and is one of the most scenic parts of a Seattle visit.  So we took the drive to the Paradise Visitor Center and enjoyed the drive, the scenic stops, but not the Paradise Center… the visitor parking lot was overloaded.  The price for a nice day in the great PNW…

Then a quick drive to Seattle and Pike Place Market for lunch and just visiting.  Actually, a slow drive, if there is one thing Seattle has too much of it is traffic!  But we enjoyed our visit (and yummy Ivar’s fish and chips) very much.

 

Punchbowl Falls, Angel’s Rest

August 16, 2017 Leave a comment

The Columbia Gorge is not only scenic, it has some great hikes.   We were glad to be back and have some nice weather to do two different hikes.  First we did Punchbowl Falls, 2 1/2 mile in on Eagle Creek.  This hike isn’t too strenuous, although there are some scary drop offs to watch for.  The Falls are gorgeous.

Our second hike was up to Angel’s Rest.  This is the only hike we do that is rated “Hard”, not because of the length (total distance maybe 5 1/2 miles) but it is steep, rocky, and high.  Elevation gain is some 1,500 feet, tough n old folks like us!  But the view is absolutely superb.  See the second set of pictures.

Punchbowl Falls hike

Angel’s Rest hike

 

Our scary RV day

August 7, 2017 1 comment

We’re on our way from Glacier NP to the West Coast and found an RV park along the way that was highly rated.  There was a warning, “steep downhill grade with switchbacks” entry into the park, but I called the owner and he said no problem, we have big trucks coming here all the time.  So off we went.

Once we got to the entry road, we unhooked our car, as suggested.  Then we started down the hill.  What we didn’t know is that the road was narrow, gravel, had deep ditches, and yes, it was steep.  Then we hit the first switchback.  It needed a “K” turn to get around and we still drug our rear wheels through the ditch .  Three more, and we were down.

Yes, this is a nice park, if you have kids and a small camper.  Once we got in our site we found no phone, no internet, and only 30A power.  Not good!  We were scheduled to stay here 4 nights but we left the next day.  Romola and I were both apprehensive but with some heavy duty “K” turns, we made it back up to the main road.  Won’t do that again!

 

Yellowstone NP

August 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Yellowstone National Park is a national park located in the U.S. states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It was established March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first National Park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful geyser, one of its most popular features.  Since we’ve seen Old Faithful several times, we focused more on other parts of the park.

Our friend Beth Horton is Park Archeologist, so we had some extra incentive to visit the many sights.  Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years.  Organized exploration did not begin until the late 1860s. Researchers have examined more than 1,000 archaeological sites.

The Park spans an area of some 3,500 square miles, comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-elevation lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years.  Half of the world’s geothermal features are in Yellowstone.   The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth’s northern temperate zone.