Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 10 Grand Canyon

To handle the large crowds, the NPS has shuttle buses from the visitor center
to Hermit's Rest
stopping at all the observation points.
They were very effiicient and we rarely had to wait more than 5 min. for the next bus.

Each view was different,
it's hard to describe the depth and expanse of the canyon.

Wanda's camera had much better colors here than mine for some reason.

We could see the river at 4 observation points.
We were surprised at how green the water was. I guess it's only red in the spring when the snow melt washes down all the sediment.
Hopi House was designed by the famous National Park architect, Mary Colter.

She also designed Hermits Rest

and the Watchtower
the interior

We decided to treat ourselves to an actual meal at the Yippee-Ei-O Steakhouse in Tusayan, the closest town to the NP.

Our 2nd sunset at Grand canyon.

I hope to get alot of fabulous sunset pictures on this trip.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 9 Bridges,Goosenecks,Monuments & Sunset

The road to Natural Bridges passed through some beautiful desolate country. We didn't see any signs of civilization for over an hour. It's about as far from anything as we've been.
We passed throught this rock cut in the ridge

and saw this view of the cliff wall on the other side.

"Petrified Sand Dunes" on the road to Natural Bridges
The natural bridges were formed when the creeks eroded through an entrenched meander.

Sipapu & Kachina were @ 1/2 mile away as the crow flies and about 500' drop in elevation from the view point.
Sipapu height 220', span 268', width 31', thickness 53' .

Kachina height 210' , span 204', width 44', thickness 93'
Natural Bridges is one of a few places in the world ( all in UT ) that have microbiotic soil, the brown soil in the foreground of Owachomo Bridge.
The soil is alive with some kinds of microbes- a very fragile crust about 1/2 - 1" thick.
Owachomo height 106' span 180, width 27, thickness 9'

This cross-bedded sandstone was along a fairly easy trail down the slick rock. We hiked maybe 1/2 mile & 200' drop in elevation.

It was a very strange sensation to be down below looking up.
This was the view going back along the cliff face through that amazing rock cut.
We stopped at a BLM recreation site to see some more Petroglyphs.
Goosenecks State Park, in southern UT is the longest entrenched meander in North America.
We drove across the flat plateau until suddenly we came to the parking lot and parked 10 feet from the edge & looked straight down over 1,000'.
The San Juan river meanders 6 miles in 1 1/2 miles of linear distance. The width of the rock between the river might be @ 200 yards.
This wild rock is the Raplee Anticline near Goosenecks. The colors & erosion were really intense.
The wall of the mesa continued for about 5 miles with variations of the color banding and amazing erosion.
Mexican Hat, southern Utah on the way to...
Monument Valley Tribal Park UT/AZ
In the movie, this is the spot that Forrest Gump turned around to go home after running across the US.
The Mittens in Monument Valley

The Navaho Indian Reservation Vis. Ctr. gift shop had all the typical Indian crafts, silver & turquoise jewelry, rugs, pottery & the normal souvenirs,
including a whole section of John Wayne movie stuff.

The Valley is right on the state border.

The only thing that would have been better would have been there at sunset when the rocks really glow. This section of the desert was surprisingly green.
Ship Rock in Monument Valley is the lava plug of an ancient volcano.
We got to Grand Canyon just as the sun was setting so we stopped at the first view point.

It was fascinating watching the rocks change color as the sun set

No caption necessary. Tommorrow - Grand Canyon all day