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Zion: Angel’s Landing

May 10, 2014 1 comment

Angels Landing is one of the classic hikes in Zion and one of the most stunning viewpoints you will ever experience, but it’s not recommended for anybody with a fear of heights. Starting at the Grotto Trailhead, the hike to Angels Landing follows the longer West Rim Trail backpacking route up and out of the west side of the main canyon. Angels Landing is unique fin-like mountain formation that juts out to the center of the main canyon.

After a rather steep and winding climb from the Virgin River, you get a nice respite in Refrigerator Canyon, where it always is cooler than the rest of hike. Then, you reach Walter’s Wiggles, a steep climb with 21 switch backs. A bit of an exertion here! Then you reach Scout’s Landing, an open space with magnificent views.

Those who are braver than us finish the last 1/2 mile along a steep path with dropoffs of 1,500 feet. A final crossing of a spine with 1,500 dropoffs on both sides brings you to Angel’s Landing itself. Like many others, we passed on this last part, which is rated as one of the three most dangerous hikes in the USA.

After a the hike we managed a quick stop at the Three Patriarchs, a magnificent set of mountain peaks next to the Virgin river.

A river's side view of Angels Landing

A river’s side view of Angels Landing

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Entrance to "Refrigerator Canyon"

Entrance to “Refrigerator Canyon”

Looking up to Walter's Wiggles

Looking up to Walter’s Wiggles

And looking down Walters Wiggles

And looking down Walters Wiggles

A view back from Scout's Landing

A view back from Scout’s Landing

Looking down deom Scout's Landing into the valley

Looking down deom Scout’s Landing into the valley

Showing how tenuous the last 1/2 mile gets

Showing how tenuous the last 1/2 mile gets

A line of hikers starting the last 1/2 mile

A line of hikers starting the last 1/2 mile

A cactus flower, blooming alongside the trail

A cactus flower, blooming alongside the trail

A vie of the Patriarchs

A vie of the Patriarchs

Another view of the Patriarchs

Another view of the Patriarchs

Zion: Emerald Pools

There are three sets of pools in Zion known as Lower Emerald, Middle Emerald, and Upper Emerald Pool. There is one hike that goes to all three, which we’ve done before. However, we decided to just go as far as the Middle Pools, and then hike to the Grotto to catch the bus for Riverside.

The Riverside hike is really a mile long paved walk. At the end, you can keep going, but you have to hike (and possible swim!) in the river. You can get tours that rent you dry suits and special shoes, but since we were not so equipped, we just made a nice walk from it.

The tram system (free) is a great way to get to all the different trails in the park. And it helps cut down congestion as well as pollution. Such a magnificent park!

A view down the Virgin River

A view down the Virgin River

Rain on the trail!

Rain on the trail!

Rather steep climbing in places

Rather steep climbing in places

The trail narrows

The trail narrows

Middle Emerald Pool

Middle Emerald Pool

Scenic vista

Scenic vista

End of the paved trail, start of the water trail

End of the paved trail, start of the water trail

Tulip time at the Arboretum

March 29, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s tulip time at the Dallas Arboretum so we joined Stacy and Dallas for a nice picnic lunch and tulip viewing session. We had a great time until rain eventually drove us out. But the colors of the tulips, and the large plantings and layout, were beautiful. Some images:

Contrast between tulips and flowering trees

Contrast between tulips and flowering trees

Varied colors

Varied colors

Singlung one out

Singling one out from the group

Pansies hold their own

Pansies hold their own

In honor of my birth country -- orange tulip

In honor of my birth country — orange tulip

Unique purple tulip

Unique purple tulip

Red tulip closeup

Red tulip closeup

Green pistils

Green pistils

A lonely white tulip

A lonely white tulip

Inside a tulip

Inside a tulip

Seniors getting high

September 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Today Romola and I hiked at the highest altitude ever… our hike topped out at 12,000 ft.  Actually, it wasn’t TOO bad, we started at 10,600.   The hike took us up above the tree line of Engineer Mountain, between Durango and Silverton.   But it was a very enjoyable 5 miles, and the scenery was just incredible.

Start of the hike

Start of the hike, Coal Bank Pass

We weren't alone, a cowboy took a train of horses up ahead of us (not fun)

We weren’t alone, a cowboy took a train of horses up ahead of us (not fun)

Approaching the tree line of Engineer Mountain.

Approaching the tree line of Engineer Mountain.

Romola, near the top

Romola, near the top

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Amazing scenery

Amazing scenery

Mountains everywhere

Mountains everywhere

Arches and Canyonlands NP

September 17, 2013 Leave a comment

Somehow, 5 days in Moab just isn’t enough to see this amazing area.  And you better make sure you have a large capacity memory card for your camera since there is an amazing picture every time you turn around.   Here are just a few of them.

At Arches, we visited Delicate Arch, subject of a separate post.  Then we did an evening/sunset view at Two Windows.  It is just amazing how the setting sun colors the cliffs!  And yes, it really does get that red.

At Canyonlands, we hiked up Upheaval Dome, a very unusual formation.  It is still unknown what caused the unique formation:  an eruption? a meteor strike?  In any case, a wonderful view.  And at Mesa Arch we caught the sunlight shining under the arch, very unusual.  Finally, a short walk to Grand View point gave some amazing views.

Two Windows from a distance

Two Windows from a distance

Looking through North Window

Looking through North Window

The sun is tarting to color the rocks

The sun is starting to color the rocks.  And the moon is up…. and I’m avoiding any other comments.

Yes, it really is that bright red!

Yes, it really is that bright red!

Looking through South Window, clouds on tyhe hotizon

Looking through South Window, clouds on the horizon

Early morning, looking towards Park Avenue

Early morning, looking towards Park Avenue

The sun is starting to light up the cliffs

The sun is starting to light up the cliffs

The three gossips are waking up

The three gossips are waking up

The sun is striking the underside of Mesa Arch

The sun is striking the underside of Mesa Arch

A view under Mesa Arch

A view under Mesa Arch

Romola on her way up to the viewpoint.  It's a 1000 foot drop right and left....

Romola on her way up to the viewpoint. It’s a 1000 foot drop right and left….

Overview of Upheaval Dome

Overview of Upheaval Dome

A closer look at Upheaval Dome

A closer look at Upheaval Dome

Reflecting the clouds in a rain puddle

Reflecting the clouds in a rain puddle

Grand view... what else is there to say?

Grand view… what else is there to say?

And more Grand View

And more Grand View

And even more Grand View

And even more Grand View

Dead Horse Point State Park

September 13, 2013 Leave a comment

Dead Horse Point is in the Canyonlands area of Moab.   It is a remarkable area, with sweeping and dramatic vistas.  Superb views of the Colorado River far below, highlighted by the red rock, and offset by the greenery from a recent rain.  Beautiful.

This morning Les Cook joined us for a 5 mile hike along the west rim, followed by a return along the east rim.  So we got to see both sides of this magnificent canyon.  The enormous vistas, and deep drop offs, make you feel insignificant.

Twisted dead trees attest to the savage nature of this land

Twisted dead trees attest to the savage nature of this land

Les enjoying the canyon views

Les enjoying the canyon views

Green river, far below

Green river, far below on the horizon

Romola giving additional beauty to the canyon

Romola giving additional beauty to the canyon

A stunted tree in front of an expanded view

A stunted tree in front of an expansive view

Recent rain left puddles

Recent rain left puddles

You can see for miles and miles

You can see for miles and miles

Colorado River carving its way down the canyon

Colorado River carving its way down the canyon

 

Delicate Arch, Moab

September 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Did our first hike in Moab this trip.  A little puffing due to the elevation, but otherwise a nice hike.  A pretty steep climb on some slick rock, some rocky paths, and a narrow cliff side led us to the Delicate Arch itself.  Worth every step to get there!  Shifting cloud cover made the Arch almost animated, with shifting light play giving different looks.

We saw swollen streams caused by the recent heavy rains.  Hard to photograph, but you can see the swirling sand in the stream surface.  And there was pretty heavy erosion along the trail itself as well.

Heavy recent rain causes strong streams carrying sand

Heavy recent rain causes strong streams carrying sand

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Even the slick rock areas had puddles of water in depressions.

On the slick rock

On the slick rock, heading up

The drop-offs don't bother Romola much

The drop-offs don’t bother Romola much

Cliff side

Cliff side, on the way up

The arch itself

The Delicate arch itself

The sun angle makes for different "looks" of the arch

The sun angle makes for different “looks” of the arch

A different view when looking back

A different view when heading back

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