Hiking out

Mar 26th 2008 — National Parks,Zion — 4:49 pm

In the morning we packed up our stuff and hiked back down to the wash from our hilltop campsite. We left our big packs against a tree and followed proceeded to follow the wash upstream. It was a lovely hike with sun, sand, and water. The abundance of vegetation was rather surprising and ended up stopping us a little short of our goal. We basically hiked as far as you could go. I’m going to say we hiked to the end of the wash. My best guess was we went about 4 miles from where we had left our packs

After we got tired of navigating the spiky bushes we turned around, hiked back down and grabbed our bags where we’d left them, and continued all the way back to our car. It is interesting how walking the opposite direction things can look completely different. The hills and turns of the trail seem different. With the different light it was like another hike altogether!

Arriving at the car with a decent amount of daylight we got started on the drive back to Bozeman. About an hour north of Salt Lake we found a hotel parking lot and slept in the back of the van. This trip really made me appreciate the minivan in that it is like an RV except reasonably sized and with way better gas mileage.

Kez and the Wash Sandy Wash Trail Burn Rocks Waterbugs Beaver Creek Kez Spider Feet

Zion Backcountry

Mar 23rd 2008 — National Parks,Zion — 10:18 pm

The day before we obtained a permit from the backcountry office in Zion to backpack in a more northern, mountainous region of Zion, Kolob Canyon. After the hour-long drive to the trailhead, the possibility of cold nights and hiking through more snow inspired the 2nd southern migration of our trip. We got our permit changed and drove back to the area of the park where we were earlier in the morning to hike up something known as the Coal Pit Wash.

With a name like “Coal Pit Wash” I didn’t expect too much except for warmer temperatures (the area is a lot lower than Kolob canoyn and basically a desert). It turned out to be a really varied and interesting hike. There was a good-sized stream the whole way, which we felt like only occurs in the spring when the snow melts. As you hike up the wash the water becomes clearer and colder as you reduce the time the snow melt has to flow among the sand and the red rocks. Also, as you follow the wash upwards the vegetation changes gradually from a very sparse desert to almost an impassible jungle as you get higher into areas more protected from the sun by the cliffs.

Coal Pit Wash Burnt Tree Kez Hikin’ Plant Kez Spring Yours Truly Campsite View Cliffs

A Brief Trip to Bryce

Mar 21st 2008 — National Parks — 4:26 pm

We woke up right outside the Grand Canyon park limits and followed the plan we had made to drive to Bryce Canyon National Park, located a couple of hours north and east of Zion. There was a fair amount of snow in this area on the drive down and we were worried that spring hadn’t quite reached Bryce yet.

The countryside kept getting snowier and snowier as we went north and into higher elevations. Upon arrival in Bryce we were greeted with about 3 solid feet of snow covering basically everything. After a very brief stop of pulling the car into a couple of overlooks and taking a couple of pictures, the plan was made to escape the cold and the snow and drive back down to Zion.

I’m sure Bryce Canyon is an amazing place, but it was too cold and snow covered to entice us to stay around for very long. Hiking around in several feet of snow wasn’t too appealing.

Arriving in Zion with 60-something degree weather and basically zero snow made the extra driving time well worth it.

The Glen Canyon Dam Start of Colorado River The Rock Shop Red Canyon Red Canyon 2 Bryce Canyon Bryce Canyon 2 Zion Rock Zion Rock 2

From Cottonwood Creek to Kaibab National Forest

Mar 19th 2008 — Grand Canyon,National Parks — 6:47 pm

Having camped at Cottonwood Creek, we packed up and started the hike back out of the canyon. . We hiked back up to Horseshoe Mesa and back to the rim by way of the Grandview Trail.

Happy to have navigated the snow covered cliffsides we stopped at Desert View Point to watch the sunset. Not much was happening as the sun was trapped by a big mean cloud, but patience paid off and the last several minutes before it dipped below the horizon made us glad we waited around.

We drove a short ways out of the part and camped in the Kaibab National Forest. The free and solitary camping in national forests has been one of my favorite discoveries of traveling in the west.

The plan for the next day was to drive to Bryce Canyon by way of the Glen Canyon Dam.

Cottonwood Creek Toilets Miner Cobblestone Grandview Trailhead Sign Grandview Trailhead Sign 2 Colorado River Looking East from Desert View Desert View Watchtower Kez at Campfire

In the Canyon

Mar 18th 2008 — Grand Canyon,National Parks — 5:27 pm

We started the next day on top of Horseshoe Mesa. During the day we made our way off the side of the mesa down to the Kaibab Plateau. The Kaibab is home to the Tonto Trail which you can follow for 70 miles east to west in the middle of the canyon.

We camped that night at Cottonwood Creek, which was doing pretty well due to all the melting snow higher in the canyon. It was a neat place to camp and completely different from where we had stayed the night before.

These pictures are all from that day and are presented in the order they were taken.

Early Morning Miner Cookhouse Yucca Cactus On Kaibab Plateau Looking at Horshoe Mesa Colorado River On Kaibab Plateau Again Near Campsite at Night Cottonwood

The Grandview Trail

Mar 17th 2008 — Grand Canyon,National Parks — 2:24 pm

We camped a night on the rim and the next day went into the Canyon via the Grandview Trail. The top of the trail was snow-covered and steep but after a while things got better. It was an excellent trail with almost no one on it. This was quite a change compared to the heavily-trafficked Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails I’ve done in past years.

The ranger at the backcountry station where we got the permit had told us about a cave and old abandoned mines near Horseshoe Mesa. We were excited about finding them and definitely managed to do so. I quickly realized that the idea of exploring caves or abandoned mines is much more appealing to me than the actual process.

We found the Cave of the Domes rather easily and explored just enough to see the hundred-year old signatures on the ceiling. Including the quite famous Kolb Brothers , who had a studio right on the rim.

Horseshoe Mesa Grandview Trail Kolb Brothers Miles Brothers Hoist Mining CartHorsehoe Mesa again Looking down on the Mesa Kez and Canyon

Driving Southwest

Mar 16th 2008 — Grand Canyon,National Parks — 9:00 am

We are back in cold Bozeman after a week of almost constant warmth in the Southwest.

It was an excellent trip indeed, and we got to see a lot of really beautiful country.

Here are some of the pictures from the drive down.

Blowing-Snow Our Bar Vermillion Cliffs Rock Colorado River from Navajo Bridge Kez at Overlook Colorado River in the Grand Canyon

Spring Break! WooooOOOOOO!

Mar 6th 2008 — Bozeman,Montana — 11:16 pm

As of tomorrow at noon it will officially be Spring Break for us Montana State folks. Kez and I are driving down the the Grand Canyon and plan on stopping by Bryce Canyon NP as well (I’ve never actually been there.)

We have had a bunch of snow up here and I’ve been enjoying it, but it’ll be nice to get to somewhere a little warmer and less snowy.

To tide you over until next week here are some random picture I’m pulling out from the vault. Except for the picture of the pine needles which I took today.

Stephanie Spins Hilary Squints Elk in Gardiner Pine Needles

The Benefits of Photoshop

Mar 2nd 2008 — Bozeman — 11:15 pm

Photoshop is an amazing tool and one without which digital photography is sorely lacking. I’m not very skilled at Photoshop but the following “before and after” of an old picture that I messed with the other day illustrates how you can make your pictures better without being over-the-top or altering reality too much.

The third picture is just a shot of Mainstreet, Bozeman I took a couple days ago. Before Photoshop is was a picture of an old shoe.

Kez Campfire Before Kez Campfire After Bozeman Main Street

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