Archives for posts with tag: geology

Zion is one of my favorite national parks but I think that this time, after seeing it no less than 6 times, I’ve had my fix. It’s majestic, entertaining, whirlwind of rock-ology to satisfy any amateur or professional geologist with the whittled and whirled carvings wind and  water have done to the different sandstones in both checkerboard and dancing swirls across the sides of mountains. There’s also the Virgin River which flows through Zion with it’s flash flooding impact on vulnerable boulders, trees, river banks and visitors, adding different elements such as erosion, landslides and chaos.

Do’s & Don’ts: I highly recommend not coming in the heat of the summer. It was hotter than hot (107 may not sound so bad but add altitude and dehydration and you won’t like it). Don’t wear flip flops or open toed shoes if walking in the sand in this heat is what you plan to do because your feet will be burned like fire. Don’t forget food and water. Don’t bring children under 25. I saw way too many miserable babies with equally miserable parents with condo’s attached to their backs to carry the little ones. Don’t rely on cellphone service for communication with family members if you aren’t at a lodge, Visitors Center or a neighboring town.

Do bring comfortable walking clothes and shoes. Do take the Zion Shuttle from the Visiter’s Center. Get to the park early to get a parking space for under $20.00. Do take your time driving through and read up before going because this is really a cool place to visit but knowledge about the park will help you enjoy it even more.

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Driving into Zion from St. George, Utah

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The topography is constantly changing.

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When Jenni and I took the Shuttle, she decided to jump off to take on the mighty Angel Falls hike up (and I mean UP) a switchback trail to see what she could see. I, however, took the low road and opted for a casual stroll by the river, aptly named “Riverwalk.” Neither was easy in 107 degree heat with 6000 foot elevations. We came back exhausted, dirty and thirsty but very happy!

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Riverwalk by Virgin River

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Riverwalk trail has much to see and it’s easy hiking with right clothes and shoes…which I did not have on!

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more Riverwalk trail

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and more Riverwalk trail

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and more Riverwalk trail

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HUH? A herd of Mountain Goats? Really?

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Leaving Zion going toward Kanab, Utah

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And there it is! The money shot!

As we left Zion, we felt we must be in the middle of nowhere because cell service wasn’t great and neither was the internet but some people who live here think it’s in the middle of everywhere! I kinda think they might be right because Kanab, Utah is East of Zion, South of Bryce and North of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and I’d swear that when Ava and I came through here in 2011, it wasn’t this hot nor was it this as developed!

Kanab is a quaint town bursting at the seams. Big chain hotels are popping up everywhere here, but the coolest place to stay is The Parry Lodge (“where all the movie stars stay”). It’s clean, reasonable, comfortable and includes a breakfast buffet! Can’t beat that, now can ya’!

The other charming element of this town is “The Rocking V Cafe” owned, operated by a most engaging and entertaining proprietor by the name of Victor Cooper. He goes around from table-to-table making sure everybody is happy and full. Looks like he enjoys his work! (rockingvcafe.com)

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Tomorrow? Bryce Canyon drive-thru and haul a$$ to Vernal, Utah to see Dinosaur National Park and hit my very favorite Flaming Gorge, Wyoming the next day. Cowboy country coming up, y’all! Yeehaw!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!

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As I traveled through the middle of northern Oklahoma’s wheat fields into the lush mountains and valleys of northeastern New Mexico to finally stop in the arid terrain of Santa Fe in such a short period of time, is always exciting and underlines why I do what I do…the backroads of our wonderful, diverse country.

As an amateur geologist, I LOVE to see the result of millions of years of erosion which  emphatically defines the dynamics behind the peak formations of mountains…striations of different rocks forced in vertical, instead of horizontal positions. The drive from Albuquerque to Las Vegas is one of the finest areas to experience this natural phenomina.

The driver from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, however, defines a vastly different natural occurrence of underwater ocean beds of the dryest terrain varying from vast salt beds and desert to arid mountains and valleys.

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This what greeted me as I left the desert of Nevada and crossed over into California!

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And this is when I knew LA was near!

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I knew I was getting close to LA when a pack of about thirty motorcycle gangers went whizzing between lanes on the expressway going about 90 MPH! That, and the insane expressway traffic of $200,000 cars pulling Speed Racer tricks in and out of lanes to get five feet closer to an exit lane confirmed (as if there was any doubt) that I was approaching LA.

As I neared my destination (45 miles outside LA), I was abducted by aliens. I’m sure that could be the only reason why my phone stopped working, my Bluetooth didn’t recognize  my phone, my GPS (Tom) sent me around in circles telling me to go in a direction only to have me immediately exit to go back from when I came and never got any closer than that same 45 miles to Rachel (my LA daughter-by-another-mother)! Tom never adjusted the distance to Rachel nor did my gas gauge change from a quarter of a tank during this time warp.

In all fairness to Tom (my GPS) has taken me close to 150,000 miles of backroads and interstates since I started in 2009 and this is a first. Finally, after being on every interstate, state road and street between me and Rachel for over an hour, I called her to find out what roads I needed to take. I admit to surprising the urge to throw Tom (my GPS) out the window. But remembering that he has a 99.9% success rate and I do love Tom, I realized his malfunction wasn’t his fault at all but the result of an alien abduction. After I told on him to Rachel, he straightened right up and got us on the right road.

When I finally got on the right road (I-10 W), Tom kept saying, literally every miles and a half, “stay in the left lane” over and over and over again like I was the one who screwed up! Humph!

I got to Rachel’s and my phone worked but my Bluetooth never recovered but I certainly did the minute I saw my special angel, Rachel. I’ve loved her from the first moment I met her at age eleven. I walked into her home full of angels! Rachel, her wonderful husband and baby are very special people to me. It’s a safe haven of acceptance, love and respect.

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Rachel, Noah and Itty Bit

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A loving daddy!

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My angels! See us in the mirror?

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The three of us!

I am truly blessed! Thank you, my loves, for being you!

Next? I go back to Vegas, Baby to pick up the Queen of Electra Brass (Jenni Lee) to take our annual trip to new and exciting places!

HAPPY TAILS, TALES OR TRAILS…YOUR PICK!