Thursday, September 22, 2011

Here we go again

Autumn is upon Park City and the leaves are beginning to turn those wonderful, magical colors - therefore, it must be time for us to be on the road again.

Fall colors on the mountain - SO - C'mon..let's hit the road!

So - Magic is out of storage and we are on our way again. Our most immediate ‘activity destination’ is the Albuquerque Balloon Festival October 4th - but, we have a few miles to travel and activities to enjoy before we get there;-) It was appropriate, though, that the balloons in Park City were overhead as we pulled away from home Monday morning.

Must've known we were heading for the Albuquerque Balloon Fest.

First stop - Moab and the beautiful red rock and many arches it has to offer. Also, that wonderful little muni course with the gorgeous views that we love. It warranted at least two days -

Golf in Moab is always a treat.

Then it was time to get serious about our National Parks (NP’s) and hiking and biking. We intend to visit many of the NP’s preserving the history of our Native peoples - learning about their history, homes and writings. This process was started with a drive down Utah Scenic Byway 279 where we were able to see petroglyphs from the Formative Period (1 - 1275 AD). There were “paper doll cutouts”, horned anthropomorphs holding shields, as well as a wide variety of other animal and abstract images. My favorite was the bear with the little man with a bow and arrow at his nose!

Petroglyphs galore. The Puebloans were very prolific.

Of course, we also found one of our usual dirt roads off the beaten path that took us up a beautiful canyon.

Oh, good. Another dirt road to explore!

This trip we even managed to find a Chuckwagon Dinner complete with Cowboy music to enjoy at the end of our day -

A chuckwagon dinner and a show. Most of the audience were French.

Tuesday - almost did ourselves in!! The day began with an 8 mile loop bike ride just to the west of the Arches NP. The ride was a lot of FUN (it did include a little bit of the slick rock!!) - and the views of the NP were wonderful -

All right! Let's ride. (See the Arch above his elbow!)

Arches Nat'l Park is in the background.

We got an early start, so the shadows were long.

After a quick ‘clean-up’ and lunch, Canyonlands Island in the Sky called.

Off to explore Canyonlands.

There were many hikes to be had and we needed to get going. First up was the Rim Trail at the Grand View Point Overlook. Thousands of feet below was Monument Basin, Totem Pole and White Rim. It is hard to get a perspective from the pictures - but, we are 2,000 feet above the floor of the canyon and the monuments on the floor rise over 300 feet from the canyon floor!! It is sandstone layers of varying hardness that make up Canyonland’s visible rock. But the character of the land is largely shaped by underlying salt deposits, which, under tremendous pressure from the rock above, push upward, forming domes that fracture the surface creating these beautiful, interesting sites.

With deep gorges..

And gorgeous monuments!

There were short hikes to overlooks of the Colorado and Green Rivers, to Upheaval Dome (a mile-wide crater enclosed by rock strata upturned in concentric circles with a center rock spire - perhaps created by a meteorite) and Mesa Arch where we watched the sun cast long shadows as it set behind us.

Mesa Arch as sunset nears.

The LaSal Mountains are in the background (35 miles away!).

We had exhausted ourselves and headed back to Magic for a good night’s sleep;-)

It is great to be back on the road and enjoying all it has to offer. Hope you will stick with us and enjoy our travels -

Until next time - Elizabeth and Gary back in their Magic Bus

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