Angel’s Landing @ Zion National Park: Photos

A few of my favorite pics from our road trip last week:

Pretty pink flowers growing out of the mountain wall at Angel’s Landing

zionflower

Beautiful bright red bird!

zionredbird

Looking down from the top of Angel’s Landing. Don’t climb this if you have vertigo!!

angellandingSurrounded by beauty.

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The view from the top while we ate a snack of nuts and apples.

angellanding3#ZionNationalPark #AngelsLanding #photography #travel #nature #hiking #camping #Utah

 

Wandering to Zion, Part Three

Our road trip adventure continues…only two more installments and then I’ll be back to writing sparkly + snarky commentary.
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Confession: I’m a great co-pilot traveling companion. You would LOVE to have me in the passenger seat with you, I promise.

I keep the snacks flowing, conversation is stimulating, and I even throw a few dance moves in with jazz handskitty-jazz-hands at appropriate moments. Jazz hands are the BEST.

Kitty jazz hands are even better, don’t you agree?

We compiled a bunch of music for the road; stuff we both like; Frank, Ella, Nat King Cole, stuff I like; Adele and Christina Perri, and music hub enjoys; Coldplay, U2, Nine Inch Nail, Com Truise.

The next morning we hit the road to explore the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert. We walked pretty much throughout the whole park at every stop and trailhead. The sky wasn’t as blue as the day before so the colors weren’t as vibrant as they might have been.

Of course I compelled my tugboat man to accompany me to a gift shop for local wares, and we chose geodes, petrified wood, and a petrified sand dollar!aquageode hotpinkgeode petrifiedsanddollar petrifiedwood

It’s hard to believe this was all under the ocean a zillion years ago. Evidence of early human occupation (13,000 years ago) is readily visible with petroglyphs and potsherds.

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Our plan was to journey on the Highway 40 — old Route 66 — to Natural Bridges National Monument in southeast Utah, between Hanksville and Blanding. It’s rather remote and not close to other parks so is not so heavily visited. Unlike Arches National Park with over 2,000 classified arches, there are only three bridges here though the monument also contains Anasazi cliff dwellings, pictographs and white sandstone canyons.

But…when we got back on the road, my tugboat man noticed that one of the dashboard gauges indicated that we were losing power.

Things didn’t look good.

We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

Although he packed a lot of tools, the one thing we needed most, something called a volt meter, was still at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Lucky for us (unlucky for lots of other cars that must break down on that road) we saw a hand painted sign for Mike’s Auto Repair and took the next exit.

Mike was like a lot of people we came in contact with in Arizona — sorta friendly, sorta not — and all business. He had a volt meter, and he and hub figured that our problem was either a bad battery or a bad alternator — or both.

We gave Mike a “donation” for the use of his diagnostic tool which ensured that our tires remained unslashed, and drove forty miles back to Holbrook, where there was an O’Reilly Auto Parts Store, just like there was in Payson where we had a less urgent car repair issue.

I was nervous the whole way — being stranded didn’t sound like it was any sort of adventure that I wanted to experience.

In Holbrook, we bought a battery which hub installed in a few minutes.

Everyone at O’Reilly (and hub)  thought that would/should solve the problem…and brushed aside my BRILLIANT and soon-to-be prophetic suggestion that we also purchase an alternator “just in case”.

We’ve gone on a lot of road trips and we’ve never had any problems, and so far this was our second mechanical failure in three days. For someone who has absolutely NO idea about what makes cars tick, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to stock up on parts that MIGHT break, right?

Can you guess where this is going?

We hadn’t gone more than one mile when the battery gauge indicated a problem in the electrical system  —  again.

Obviously not the battery this time, but hub said that somehow the battery wasn’t charging.

Yup.

The alternator or the voltage regulator was probably at fault. Apparently, everything decided to fail at the same time. We immediately turned around back to O’Reilly and lucked out that they even had the right part in stock or we might still be there.

carholbrook1

There’s a Dollar General on pretty much every corner throughout Arizona and I picked my way between broken glass and plastic bags across a trash strewn empty lot for a little retail therapy while hub was doing his best MacGyver impression. I went up and down every aisle but came away empty-handed; nothing caught my discerning eye. Oh well. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.carholbrook

Once again we settled in for a long ride. Because we had lost most of the day, we decided to change direction, skip National Bridges National Park and forge ahead to the Vermillion Cliffs at the The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah  – wandering ever closer to Zion.

Driving down Highway 40 — Old Route 66 — we both sang along with Nat to “Get Your Kicks on Route 66″ I mean, how can you NOT, right?

route661 route662 route663 route664

Along the way, on the side of the road, were a couple of Navajo women selling jewelry. I screeched, “Pull over!!” to hub, and jumped out of the car. The tables were packed with handmade jewelry — turquoise, hematite, juniper beads, and baskets. I asked before I snapped, and got a big smile for the camera.jewelryNavajo

A pretty good haul, don’t you agree? I got a basket too, but forgot to take a pic.navajojewelryArriving in Page too late to locate a campground, we had our worst night EVER at Motel Sucks Six in Page, Utah at fake Lake Powell. Apparently, this was a busy time for Page, as all the hotels were booked. The fact that Motel Six had any room available was NOT a good sign.

My travel tip to everyone is to avoid this Motel Six if at all possible. Especially Room 239. 

You’re welcome.

Next stop: Vermillion Cliffs!

 

 

Wandering to Zion…Part Two

Wandering to Zion, Day One: Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man
Part One and a Half…Wandering to Zion
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We were meandering; taking our sweet time getting to our ultimate destination of Zion National Park.  Zion was so crowded that we figured it was the perfect excuse to explore lesser known parks.

That’s how we roll, me and my tugboat man. This was the most relaxed road trip we’ve embarked upon; no stress or pressure — no deadline.

Moving on, literally…we left Payson, Arizona and drove to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. We hiked to the largest travertine bridge in the world — 183 feet high with a tunnel width of 150 feet and length of 400 feet.

There was a bit of scary, slippery rock scrambling with a moderately steep drop; not one of my favorite things to do, but the view was worth it.

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Our next stop was the nearly 700 year-old Salado cave dwellings at Tonto National Monument. To get to them, there’s a steep but paved one-mile round-trip trail that ascends 350 feet to the Lower Cave Dwelling.

Built in the early 14th century, this village was part of a vast multi-cultural network that extended from the Four Corners region to Northern Mexico. While remnants of thousands of similar villages dot the Southwest, this well-preserved building represents one of the last Salido cliff dwellings. Local springs provided water for Paleo-Indians who lived here over 10,500 years ago.

There was so much to see and be amazed by –

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t am so in LOVE with Saguaro cactus — those arms that dot the landscape all over Arizona. We don’t have that variety of cactus in SoCal. I got a package of seeds and hope they sprout.

Saguaro cactus

Along the road, whenever we saw something that looked cool, we’d stop and follow a trail or hike to a monument or a site.

OldHouseAZ

It began to get late and we couldn’t find a campground again so we stayed at a Howard Johnson in Holbrook, Arizona. There was a quaint little Italian restaurant in walking distance with great pizza and decent chianti.

I’m not overly fond of hotels — I always make hub check for bugs and bring my own sanitizer — but it’s nice to take a shower and wash off the dust at the end of a long day. I don’t care if it’s a a five-star hotel, either. Have you seen those TV shows that expose the dirt and germs? So much ick, right?

Side note: Only in California do all public restrooms provide seat protectors. There needs to be a Federal law that make seat protectors mandatory. I HATE going all old school with toilet paper lining the seat — but I NEED that barrier between me and the rest of the world

Next time, Part Three of Wandering to Zion with Princess Rosebud and her Tugboat Man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wandering to Zion, Day One: Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Day One… Sunday, April 13

Sort of a late departure at 9:30 a.m. ‘cos we still had some packing to do and my tugboat man wanted French toast for breakfast. Since he does 100% of the driving, he deserved a bit of pampering, right?

Vehicle mileage 176,080

We stopped at Vons to get water and ice before heading East on the 78 to North 15.

There was a squeaky sound near a belt or bearing or something that was annoying hub; I wasn’t really paying attention to what he was saying — blah blah blah, and we stopped to buy a small can of WD-40 at Lowe’s in Escondido and got back on the road.

11:35 a.m. On Highway 10, OMG, just saw a solo rollover crash on the south side of the freeway; we didn’t stop because so many other good samaritans had already pulled over to render aid  — hope it won’t a driver distracted by texting.

12:30 p.m. Ate lunch at a rest stop just outside Coachella where the music festival is happening this weekend.  35-40 mph winds, crazy windy!

7:00 p.m. Because it’s Easter week and everything’s so crowded, we changed our itinerary a bit and drove all the way to Payson, Arizona where we’re spending the night at a Comfort Inn.

Tomorrow we plan to leave early to hike to 13th century Native American pueblos, and then drive to the Petrified Forest National Park  — after than, we’re on to something hub found called The Grand Staircase or “escarpments” — after that the Grand Canyon, ending up at Zion later in the week.

Or something like that.

We’re pretty flexible. If we see something interesting, we’ll stop and camp and hike even if it’s not on our official itinerary.

The scenery here in and around Payson, Arizona is amazing. It’s in the middle of Navajo country.

We drove through Maricopa County, home to the eccentric and notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but we didn’t see any of his pink-clad chain prisoners, I’m glad to say.

We walked over to Denny’s Restaurant for dinner. I had a veggie burger and hub had grilled salmon with wild rice and broccoli. Everything was surprisingly delicious — or maybe we were just starved.

Good night!

Click on each pic to see a larger version.

 

Wandering To Zion

FINALLY, my tugboat man recovered from his bout with the flu and we’re packed and ready to leave early Sunday morning on a road trip to Zion National Park

It’s a place we’ve always wanted to visit — hopefully we’ll get to more than one park –have you seen all the TV commercials about Utah’s Mighty Five?

Utah’s five national parks have it all. See unique soaring spires, towering pinnacles, sandstone canyons, and intricately eroded arches of sculptured stone.

I’d love to camp and hike at Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park, too, and we’ll be try to include at least a couple days at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

We might stay at a hotel or a lodge for a night, especially since the weather calls for night temps in the 30s and the possibility of rain.

It’s been a while since we’ve gone off the grid for a while; I’m really looking forward to beautiful country and some long, rigorous hikes.

Wearing my Chanel sunglasses to pop a squat in the desert; always fashion forward no matter where I go, that’s the way I roll.

Yay for adventures!

panoZION

 

 

 

 

 

*Secret Location* Hike with Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Now that my masterful mariner is totes recovered from the flu and the weather is AMAZING, it was time to drag him away from watching surf videos in his man cave and hit the dusty trails.

I can’t tell you where this spot is.

I wish I could but I can’t.

BUT  I promise if you come to my neck of the woods, I’ll blindfold you and take you there and you will LOVE it as much as we do. I promise.

In one direction, there’s a spectacular view of the ocean and off to the east you can see snow high atop the peaks of Mt. San Jacinto near Palm Springs. We could see snow today, but it was a bit hazy and the pic didn’t come out very good.

It used to be a place that only locals knew about; really primitive, but over the years the trails have expanded and are now managed and maintained and protected as open space by the city of Carlsbad, which is one of the FEW good things they’ve ever done (now you know what I think of the politics in my little town).

This secret spot is about five minutes by car from our house; sometimes we ride bicycles there but now we only have one bicycle ‘cos my son took tugboat man’s to a seminar at UC Irvine and it got stolen and we haven’t yet replaced it.

I snapped lots of pics. Click on them for a bigger and better view.

If you think you know where we are, let me know!

 

Wordless Wednesday — Moose Tracks — Don’t Murder Animals

Is it really Wednesday already? On my way to a Pilates class, here’s my contribution:

Moose Resting in Tall Grass in Grand Tetons.

moose

He didn’t move all day. He was about ten feet from the trail when we began our hike and four hours later, he was still there. We watched him for a while, admiring his rack (ha ha) and wondered how anyone could kill such a beautiful creature and mount the antlers on a wall for decoration. 

It hurt our heart and soul to think that if this lovely animal wandered off the protected lands of Grand Tetons National Park, he’d be slaughtered.

If I was anti-hunting before this trip, I have become (if possible) even more militantly against animal murder.

At the risk of offending anyone, I’d like to suggest that hunters have sociopathic tendencies. That opinion was derived from an animal rights group and it resonates with me. 

I guess this wasn’t so wordless after all.

Guide to Camping Preparations: Princess Rosebud-Style

PART ONE…

Princess Rosebud Hiking Guide

Me at Slough Creek Campground in Yellowstone. Pose it, girl!
Chanel sunglasses, of course.

Me on rocks near river

Hiking in Julian with Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Broken wrist notwithstanding, it was time for a back-to-nature adventure; this time a seven plus-mile, four-hour walk.

We drove up to our local mountain to the beautiful and historic town of Julian to hike the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, East End. The Cedar Fire in 2003 caused some damage that’s visible in a few burnt out trees, but most of it was spared.

Santa Ysabel East End Open Space PreserveTo get to the starting point from Julian, drive two miles north on Farmer Road to Wynola Road, jog briefly right, and turn left to remain on Farmer Road. Continue 1.2 miles north to the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve staging area on the left.

Start heading west, alongside the upper reaches of Santa Ysabel Creek, on the Kanaka Loop Trail. This part of the trail doubles as a segment of the unfinished Coast to Crest Trail, which will ultimately stretch all the way to the coast at Del Mar. It would be so cool to hike that one day.

Right away you’ll notice cattle — as in COWS — grazing on the grassy hillsides overlooking the creek. Another not-quite-natural occurrence is the appearance of large flocks of wild turkeys. The 20,000 or so turkeys now roaming the Julian-Cuyamaca area descended from an initial population of about 300 that hunting enthusiasts  animal murderers introduced in 1993.

I forgot my camera in the car, so here’s my embarassingly poor rendering of the cows and turkeys we saw.

Don't I draw like I'm five-years-old?

Artist: Princess Rosebud …Don’t I draw like I’m five-years-old? Obviously, both sides of my brain are not evolved equally.  It’s a good thing I don’t shop like I draw.

We saw sycamores, black oaks, and blackberry thickets. It’s a very active site for mountain lions – prints were everywhere along with a lot of coyote and mule deer scat.

The cows have an amazing playground; why they chose to sit in the middle of the trail along the entire route and either give us dirty looks or cause us to walk into the brush to get out of their way or in one case, CHASE US, I have no idea. They are VERY large and appear malevolent as if they know how big they are and were laughing with each other at my FEARFUL screams of “Go away, go away, shoo, shoo, get out of here, you stupid Cow!”

Geez, we don’t even eat meat, so they should have been extra nice to us, don’t you agree?

If I had my camera, I would have taken pics like this…

Kanaka Loop

Other people’s pics

It was a beautiful hike, not too strenuous for my still-healing broken wrist, and we decided to drive the few miles into Julian and walk around like tourists. Julian is an old mining town and is quaint and cute. We went into a one hundred year old soda shop and had a yummy sarsaparilla.

Now I have my camera again.

We gave this guy a few dollars for his animal rescue, ‘cos his little mini-pony was adorable. 

minipony

Carriage ride
Julian realty
Our fun day ended with a stop at a farm stand. Twenty-five avocados for $5.00. Yay! Guess who’s making guacamole?
avocados

Princess Rosebud and her tugboat man visit Palm Springs

What a difference a week makes

It’s nearly impossible to fathom that it was only last week that my tugboat man and I went to Palm Springs. He’s been gone for a week today and I’m experiencing “husband cold turkey” with no cell phone reception and only spotty email.

On my own, I have tons of free time but I’m always busy. Today I sent a Valentine’s Day package to son, DIL, and sister wife. After that, I stopped at one of my fave consignment shops and got a few things– nothing designer or vintage–not photo worthy–just a top for the gym, a Free People sweater, and a Tommy Bahama long sleeved Hawaiian shirt. I prolly won’t ever wear it, but at seven dollars, how could I NOT rescue it! The silk’s worth more than that, right?

I worked my way over to the library and got a few of their $1 books ‘cos I’m out of reading material after the “Elegance of the Hedgehog”.  I saw a car catch on fire in the parking lot!! Luckily for the owner, there’s a fire station right across the street. A few of those hunky guys came out, smelled smoke, did a little pointing, saw lots of people waving them over, jumped in their fire engine AND a paramedic’s unit (although no one was injured) and drove right by me as I stood next to my car. YUMMY!

I arrived home to discover that I was missing an earring, probably dropped at the consignment shop. It was an amethyst with a dangly pearl and I was super upset so I got back in my car. It wasn’t in the dressing room or anywhere else in the store but I retraced my steps to where I had parked earlier and there it was!! Thank you, Mother Earth!

As I drove home along the same route for the second time today, I noticed six police cars at the Motel 6 (for a “village” that tries to promote its quaint-ness, Motel 6 kinda messes with that whole marketing campaign). They seemed to be converging on one man and handcuffing him. Excitement!! I was gonna cross the street and film the action, but my merchant mariner’s voice was in my head telling me it wasn’t very smart to get smack up in the middle of something that could get out of control. Dumb captain always in my head!! Sheesh.

The previous week, my last as a married woman…for a while

Palm Springs is about three hours from home, perfect for a day hike. Neither of us had ever been there or taken the tram, and we both love to hike in the snow, so we packed a lunch, gassed up the truck, and embarked on another adventure. We passed this…bearstore

and this…not a real bighorn sheep

and this was our first glimpse of snow on a hazy day.first view of san snow

We drove past the Marilyn Monroe statue but my tugboat man wouldn’t stop long enough for me to take a pic, so I had to Google it.marilynmonroepalmsprings

Before you reach Palm Springs, there’s another little town called Palm Desert with a shopping section that rivals Rodeo Drive.

gucci

I spied a GUCCI storefront out of the corner of my eye and yelled “GUCCI, GUCCI, GOOOOCHHIIIIII!!” My tugboat man’s response wasn’t very nice, “Don’t even think about it. I’m not stopping. I didn’t drive all this way to take you shopping.” Mean man. I shmushed my face up against the window and whimpered wistfully, “Gucci, Gucci, Gucci” in a manner guaranteed to elicit pity from my stone-faced hub until the light changed and I could no longer see the signage. Nothing. Nada. He drove right by it. Two can play this game I thought to myself–hmm, there’s only one road in and one road out and I’d have another chance on the way home. I’m one clever cookie!

Frank Sinatra lived in PS when it was a celebrity hotspot. We didn’t stop there, either.sinatra house palm springs

tram

Our destination was the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, the world’s largest rotating tramcar, a breathtaking journey up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon. It’s a brief ten minute ride starting at the  Valley Station – elevation 2,643 ft.–ending at the Mountain Station – elevation 8,516 ft. [from Wiki] San Jacinto Peak, 10,834 feet (3,302 m), is the highest peak of the San Jacinto Mountains, and of Riverside County, California. It lies within Mount San Jacinto State Park.

Naturalist John Muir wrote of San Jacinto Peak, “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!”[4]

The tram ride up was SCARY. I spent the entire ride clutching the captain’s arm ’til it went all numb ‘cos I thought the cables were gonna break and we were gonna die. When I expressed that thought to him, he told me to be stop hyperventilating, be quiet, and let up a bit on the vise-like death grip. Sometimes he’s NOT all that perfect. By the time I formed an appropriate response, the ride was over, and we were still alive.tram bench

I stopped to use the restroom and snapped a pic of my new Osprey backpack chock full of the essentials. El Capitan is getting a bit annoyed with the incessant picture taking of my Chanels.

There was SNOW!snowhike

On a gigantic flat rock warmed by the sun, we enjoyed a hearty lunch of canned sardines, cheese and crackers, dried mango, fresh fruit, cookies, and trail mix with raw almonds and cashews.our lunch snow hike

Four legs taking a break. Mine are NOT the hairy ones wearing shorts in the snow.two sets of legs

I left behind a message to others…ES in snow

No GUCCI. No WAY.

Here’s a gallery of the rest of the pics. It was a spectacular day! There wasn’t going to be a Gucci moment–that wasn’t going to happen even though I promised that all I wanted to do was LOOK and not actually buy anything (well, unless there was something that I couldn’t live without), but he was steadfast in his resolve to NOT stop–a girl needs to know when to quit and I do so I did. The last couple of pics are from a detour we made to walk a bit on the famous Pacific Crest Trail. Hubs dream is to walk the entire Trail. Probably not with me. What.Ev.