Marsha and I joined an Elderhostel group in
Late September to enjoy the National Parks of Southern Utah and
Arizona. It was sponsored by Dixie College, St. George, Ut.
We had a great time with 41 others. In over 2
weeks of travel, we visited the following locations....not all of
which we're part of Elderhostel:
Follows a brief picture review of some of those locations. Between us, we took over 1,000 pictures so it would be impossible to capture them on the WEB w/o a major effort. If you would like copies of all of the original full resolution images on CD, plus a slideshow in context, see message at end of this page. For more information on Elderhostel, visit: http://www.elderhostel.org.
We started at Snow Canyon which is located just outside St. George and gives a great introduction to the types of rock formations we'll see on this trip. We were blessed with some light rain this day and the smell of the desert shouldn't be missed. St. George is becoming a popular retirement area with many golf courses and a population approaching 100,000. Its located about 120 miles from Las Vegas. We visited an outdoor theater which has stage plays during the summer months with a backdrop of beautiful rock formations.
We also visited the Dinosaur Discovery Park. An accidental
find a few years ago has yielded some most interesting molds of
footprints that go back about 200 million years.
Zion National Park was our next stop. Its
noted for its deep canyons and rock monoliths. A walk along the
valley floor and the Virgin river was a delight. From dry desert
to damp riverbed in such a short distance.
Pat and Dan Magleby were our
leaders and joined us in St. George where they live. They've been
trips for many years. Dan is a Geologist and worked in this area
during his career. He knows the rock formations well and provided
many data sheets describing the layers, their ages and characteristics.
Bryce Canyon is considered to be one of the most colorful parks in Utah. Its area is relative small but much is packed into a box canyon of sorts. Traveling down the trail beside the formations give a unique perspective. Area names such as "wall street" give a clue as to what lies below.
Near Dead Horse Point south of Green River, Ut. Below is the Colorado and Green Rivers. We observed some rock climbers far below on this day.
Arches National Park--a colorful place with many formations carved by wind rather than water in soft sandstone.
straddles the Utah-Arizona border and is well known as a favorite place
for filming old western movies. John Wayne was made famous by
many of his films which were created here.
The park is owned by the Navajo Nation and you're required to pay an entrance fee to wander thru the formations. I have always considered this to be one of the most inspiring places in all the U.S. The viewpoint, "Artists Window" is unreal. You think that you're looking at a postcard. On this trip, it was only a lunch stop at Gouldings Trading Post but from past visits, I consider it one of my favorite places. If you're able to wander inside the park, spend at least a day here. Under the right lighting conditions, this has to be one of the most photogenic places on earth.
Navigating the narrow canyons by boat to reach this area is quite
exciting as you can see in the slide show. As the water drops
behind the dam, the canyons get narrower and narrower so boat passage
becomes more difficult.
An evening spent with Navajo families enjoying their food and drink. They entertained us with some traditional dances and finally, gave a tour of the living quarters that 40% of their people still use today. Many live so far out in the countryside that electricity is still not available, nor do they miss it. TV is often enjoyed by the use of generators. They described how they do their arts and crafts.
North Rim of Grand Canyon. Fewer visitors here and it can be colder then the South rim because its higher. Many like the lower human impact on this side of the canyon. The canyon on the left side of the picture is the Bright Angel fault.
Traversing Death Valley National Park.
On our way home, we decided to take the scenic route and hit a few more points of interest. One such place was Death Valley. This is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere but more important, has some of the highest temperatures in the world in the summer. 132º F has been recorded. Being in early October, it wasn't too hot but not what Marsha & I would normally enjoy. We are planning on coming back in January to explore in greater depth with more comfortable weather. Maybe even a round of golf at Furnace Creek?
The old ghost town of Bodie was our next stop. Its located east of the Sierra Nevada mountains in Central California. Brought about by the Gold rush of the late 1800's and early 1900's it had a maximum population of 10,000 at one time. Now, the only residents are caretakers from the California State Parks which maintains it and protects from looters and vandalism. Bodie can have one of the worst climates in the lower 48 states with potentially high snowfall and bitter cold.
If you're into photography, you can have a field day here. Everything is left as natural as possible and the desert climate causes things to age slowly.
As mentioned in the beginning, I can't do justice to all the places we visited so I only inserted one image of each location. I've finished a slideshow based on Microsoft Power Point which is available on CD. It contains a complete set of full resolution images. They're sorted by regions or areas visited.
If interested in its purchase for $5.00, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you further information and instructions.
Last Revised: 11/27/05
Neil A. Robin