Hiking in Arches

We got up early this morning and zipped across Moab to Arches National Park. We wanted to make an early start on the Delicate Arch trail and were happy to have beaten most of the crowds as we headed onto the trail at 8:30ish. The whole trail was interesting and different from anything we hike at home, and of course the arch was amazing, but this bit of narrow trail, hugging the edge of the rock, was my favorite bit.

Scenic Byway 12

Coming out of Bryce Canyon today and heading toward Moab, UT, we took the advice of two separate retiree couples we’ve been along the way and drove Scenic Byway 12. Twists and turns, huge ups and downs, and more landscape changes than I could count made the trip fun, and the narrow road between two steep dropoffs as we crossed The Hogback made it spectacular.

I was driving much of the way, but managed to get this pic toward the end of 12. Check out the pictures and the map at the link above for more info.

Hoodoos

Every day of this trip has brought us to more and more interesting landscapes. Hoodoos have definitely been some of my favorite things to see here in Utah. The overlooks here in Bryce have had amazing views of some awesome rock formations, including this group of Hoodoos, just slightly left of center, that Esme dubbed, “The Choir.”

At the Grand Canyon

But there’s one thing that’s for certain
And I’m sure you’ll think it’s so
There’s too much in this old world
Even a girl like me don’t know
Like how some little stream
Carved out one big ol’ canyon

Or how a fire’s angry flame
Can be your best companion
Why lookin’ up at the stars
Will always make you feel small
And why just telling the truth
Ain’t tellin’ the whole story at all

Of all the music we’ve played in the car over the past month, it is the Okee Dokee Brothers songs that come to our tongues when the landscapes overcome us. Our journey to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon definitely had us singing about Sam, especially the verse above.

Link to full Lyrics

Clear here to hear it!

Zion

We spent Tuesday in Zion, where I learned about rocks and how sub par my photography is. The canyon was amazingly tall and beautiful and none of my photos could do it any justice. So I focused on people. Here we are on the banks of the Virgin River. Not a mighty river, to be sure, but she carved out this canyon, so that’s something worth celebrating!

Luxor

Photo credit goes to Esme, from the back seat.

We took a drive down The Strip this afternoon. It was fascinating to see the city and to see all the big, landmark Casinos that I’ve only ever seen on TV. We made a few u-turns to get a good view and then decided that we didn’t need to work out parking, we were done. Las Vegas was a fun place to gawp at, but there wasn’t a big draw for us to stick around this time.

La Paz

Today’s plan was for it to be a travel day, between the Yosemite area and Las Vegas, without any notable stops. Turns out, fate had other ideas.

We were just past Bakersfield, CA when we were enjoying the views of the foothills leading up into the mountains when we saw the brown sign on highway 58 for the Cesar Chavez National Monument. I had a vague idea of who Chavez was, but not really enough to explain it well to the girls. A minute and a snap decision later we had pulled off the highway in Keene, CA and were driving down a deserted road to the visitor center.

In addition to the moving exhibit about the 1965 Delano Grape Strike there was a fascinating movie about why and how Chavez chose this site for his Union Headquarters. I definitely came away with a deeper understanding of Chavez and the workers rights he championed.

Outside the Visitor Center there was a beautiful Memorial Garden and burial place of Chavez and his wife Helen.

I love surprises like this. Unplanned and completely wonderful!

Boatbuilding on the Fresno River

We had some trouble with the front axle of the ole Tardis. Peter was off today at the shop getting it repaired, so the girls and I hung out at our campsite, reading Harry Potter, chatting with our neighbors, enjoying a free shower and, of course, playing in the swimming hole.

Catherine built this great looking boat, but is sad to say that it wasn’t terribly sea worthy and was bested by the mighty Fresno River.

Yosemite Valley

Thanks to the multiple forest fires going on around Yosemite, we debated coming in. We decided that the Rangers were the experts and the park’s alerts weren’t too concerning so we drove in and set up camp at Wawona Campground. We spent Thursday in Yosemite Valley enjoying the sights.

Even though we’ve seen photos of El Capitan and Half Dome and the other landmarks, they were nothing compared to seeing them in person.