Pictures from Utah 1996


More Travel Stories

Wall of Zion park with erosion. Artsy We drove from Las Vegas through St. George to Zion. We were lucky enough to have reservations at the lodge in the heart of the valley. When we stepped out of our door in the morning the valley walls loomed above us. Dinner was in the park restaurant, which was excellent. Too many bugs for us to eat outside on the deck, but that's the ticket if you can. We also spent time just laying on our backs on the grass looking up at the peaks of the valley poking into the sky. We walked up the canyon in thigh deep water for almost five miles before turning back. Zion canyon creek walk
Then it was on to Bryce Canyon. We had to stay just outside of the park, the only accommodations inside are camp sites. The hotel had been billed as beautiful with a view of the red cliffs; called Red Cliff Inn. Turned out to be motel 6 genre with an outdoor swimming pool enclosed by a sheet metal garden house. We swam and listened to the rattle of the corrugated fiberglass walls. The wind blew like the devil. The park itself is an excellent trip. We hiked down into the hoodoos for hours. Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon ....................................................
The drive to Moab was a long slow rise from one plateau to another. The geology here is layers of sediments that range up to hundreds of feet thick. As we drove slowly up in elevation the entire landscape would take on the color of the layer we were in. Then in a small, short rise we would mount the next plateau and the scenery would immediately turn a new color. Brown turns to ash gray, which gives way to Navajo red, then on to a rust and white speckles. Sometimes we could see hills to our left or right that would show us the next color layer to come. The road would rise slowly and we would watch the next color come closer to the ground we were driving on. Then, suddenly, with a visual whoosh, we cross into the layer and everywhere this new color has taken over. Wild.
Canyonlands National Park Canyonlands National Park is the upper canyon that the Colorado river carved out before it carved the Grand Canyon. There were some spectacular lookout points. All of which were deserted. In the picture to the left we were on Needles Overlook, a point 500 feet above an erosion shelf that itself was eroded another 700 feet to the river. The park is like looking in the Grand Canyon without all the mountains in the middle of the canyon. While out on this point the clouds started to gather and I started to get worried about a forming lightening storm. If it hit we could hide under the park shelter, but it would be a 100 yard run over open ground to our car. The lightening didn't come and we made it easily back to the car before the rain started in earnest.


And then in Moab we visited Arches National Park. While other places may have two or three arches, this park has them everywhere you turn. And not just some small hole in a cliff face, but arches big enough to put whole buildings under. In the photo at the right look at the size of the people! Moab is a neat little town with micro breweries and sweet small restaurants with outdoor seating. That night I woke about 4 AM to explosions of dynamite going off. I have never been so close to lightening and thunder. No rumble of a far off flash, here the light is coincident with a bang. Not a rumble, a bang. It was louder than a gun going off in your hand. I put on a pair of shorts and stood under the eave of the floor above to watch the show. A wonderful show of pure natural power in action. Arches National Park

This trip was filled with natural wonders. The Utah Handbook by Weir and Blake is required reading. There were many places I haven't mentioned here, yet they were spectacular too. Capital Reef National Park, unbelievable sights. A new highway has just gone through and will bring more tourists and the inevitable change to the feeling of the place. Already there are Super8 motels in some places where there used to be only a local motel of 12 rooms along the side of the road.

These places made me realize that our own country side is incredible. I've traveled to many exotic places in search of beautiful sights and awe inspiring views. Traveling through southern Utah shows that this can all be found much closer to home.