Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Vacation 2012: Day 9

Last but not least: Day 9! This was the last day of our road trip, and our first day back in the heat. We woke up in Price, Utah (M on the map) and rolled out in our packed car. By day nine of a road trip, all of the wonderful, precise packing we did in order to fit our camping gear, food, clothes, and two people into a tiny Honda Fit went out the window. I gave up trying to dig out the proper bags to put things away and keeping all of the empty drink bottles in the front of the car until I could dispose of them at a gas station. I was sitting in the passenger seat, and I wanted my feet free! All the bags, atlases, brochures, receipts, shoes, and jackets were beginning to make me claustrophobic. The car was also beginning to develop that road trip "funk." If it was in my way, I threw it into the abyss of the backseat and I wouldn't see it again until we were back home in Mesa (P). The teacher in me gave way to the artist! 

Canyonlands was the perfect place to visit for the artistic mood. Every trip I go on, there is always a place left "unfinished." A place that I have a deep yearning to go back and explore. Last year, that place was Zion. This year, it was Canyonlands. Canyonlands is a really interesting park. It's very close to Arches, which is extremely crowded, yet there is almost no one there. It is 527 square miles in size (a little over half the size of the Grand Canyon and five times the size of Arches National Park) and feels empty. The park is divided into three sections, only one of which is accessible without any four wheel driving. This is the other reason I find it so intriguing. I feel like driving into one of the unpaved sections of the park would be like exploring a virtually unseen land. 

Click on the pictures to see at full size. 
We visited the Island in the Sky district, which is the only area with all paved roads. This area offered great views of the canyons.

I love this view. It's fascinating to see the various layers of the mesas and canyon.

This gives you a good idea of the size of the canyons. The haze is dust in the air, making it hard to see details at a distance.
A close up of some of the awesome rock formations in the canyon.
In this picture you can see some of the dirt roads down in the canyon. I totally want to go explore down there!

The clouds casting shadows.

The red sand makes this area look like Canyon de Chelly or Sedona.

Bill taking in the view.

Bill also took a shot of me taking in the view.

After spending the morning at Canyonlands, we started on the long drive home. We made it back to Mesa at about 2 in the morning. It was a long day! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Summer Vacation 2012: Day 8

On Friday morning, we woke up early to go see the Mud Volcano area before we packed up and headed back toward home.

Some birds along the way.
A geothermal area along the side of the road.
The mud volcano area is made up of several muddy pools with gaseous bubbles and sulfuric acid. Some of these pools have erupted and spewed mud in the past, but aren't doing that right now.
This pool was bubbling quite a bit. You can see mine and Bill's reflections in the steam.
Since we were up early, the Mud Volcano area was nearly deserted. Bill and I were walking along the boardwalk and came upon this buffalo. He looked up and gave us a very menacing look. There are many signs all over Yellowstone saying that tourists have been "gored by buffalo." Needless to say, we gave him a wide berth...
One of the bubbling pools steaming in the morning air.

The Black Dragon's Caludron is a very large pool. It's difficult to see its size here, but you will be able to see it in the compilation video.
A bubbling puddle.
This pool had so many gaseous bubbles coming up that it actually created waves and a mini shoreline.
A sulfuric stream.

This is what I think of when I see this robin:

I love this movie...

I'm thinking maybe this robin has heard that a few too many times?

This steam really stunk like sulfur.
The pools in the Mud Volcano area are the most acidic in the park. In this spot, the steam has worn away the grate. It also discolored the wood railing and stone walls. If you look in the picture below, you'll notice that the wood is stained this dark blue color. This is from the steam.
A hole in the parking lot. I guess a thermal feature started to break through after they'd paved it?

After going to the Mud Volcano area, Bill and I packed up our camp and headed south through the Grand Tetons (K on the map) and all the way to Price Utah (L on the map)

On our way out, we saw a large crowd of people stopped on the side of the road looking at this mamma grizzly bear and her two babies. They were very far away. This was the best I could photograph them with an 80x digital zoom.
Shooting Star flowers.
An Elk

He was done with us lol.

Below is my compilation of all the video clips from Yellowstone. Enjoy!

I recommend viewing this in full screen. If you have a good internet connection and computer, you can change the settings to 1080p.

The Grand Tetons again :)

Bill and I decided to go looking for some moose. We have been trying to see a moose ever since our Alaska trip two years ago and we heard this was the area to see them.

Unfortunately, we didn't see any moose, but we found some pretty spots. 
We stopped back through Jackson, Wyoming for some geocaching and saw these awesome antler arches. 

Day 9 coming soon!