Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Road Trip: Colorado Plateau - Ultimate Destination: Mazatlan

We left home on September 28. and spent the first night in Seattle with the Heyers (Simon, RL, Kelsey and Barlow) the next night in Wenatchee (Chapples) and the third night in Twin Falls in a motel.  The next day we drove to Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada. It was COLD!

It was 33 degrees when we woke up so we hiked up
to the Bristlecone Pine grove quite early
-slow going at 10,000 feet, but we
warmed up quickly.
Some of the Bristlecone Pines are several thousands of
years old. This one was over 3,000 years old when it died.
 Cave Tour of Lehman Caves
It was a great tour by a Park Ranger.
Then we drove to Moab where we camped
 for five nights in a BLM Campground
 right on the Colorado River.

From our camp we hiked up a shady canyon along a clear creek
 to Morning Glory Arch, 

Drove the La Sal Mountain Loop,
 (awesome views and no traffic)

View looking down Castle Valley toward Moab
Spent two days hiking in Arches National Park,

Delicate Arch

Does this remind you of Thelma and Louise?

Spent a day sightseeing and hiking in Canyonlands NP

and took a high clearance/four wheel drive steep and 
scary switchback road back down to Moab - which ended
 up being one of the highlights of the whole trip!

View of Shafer road from the top 

On our way!
Not much of a shoulder
The road hugged the side of the cliffs

There were several wash-outs along the way
 from the flash floods a few weeks before we were here,
but we made it all the way down and back to Moab.
It took us about three hours.
Dinner at Moab Brewery!
The next day (10/7) we headed toward Capitol Reef NP 
with a stop at Natural Bridges National Monument, 
and a drive across what used to be 
part of Lake Powell (at Hite) 
and is now dry.

Capitol Reef was beautiful and a bit different from where we had been.
The campground was in Fruita - which was a Mormon
 settlement with orchards, a store and lots of 
historical buildings that have been preserved
 - along with petroglyphs and much Native American history.
Instead of being above the canyons looking down. 
We were hiking down in the canyons looking up.
Settled in
Hiking to "The Tanks"
The "Tanks"
 We got up early (10/9) headed toward 
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park 
(we had a reservation)
 on our way to Bryce Canyon NP.
The drive south on Hwy. 12 from Torrey
 to Escalante over Boulder Mountain was
was one of the prettiest of the trip.

Aspen turning color and mule deer crossing the road
Escalante SP - our tent is the blue spot on the right
The hike up behind the campground to the petrified forest
was interesting. There are huge chunks of 
petrified trees covering quite a large area.

The next day we drove to Bryce Canyon NP.
Our pictures don't do it justice:

Sunrise looking at the Amphitheater from Bryce Point

Navajo Loop Trail down
into the Canyon
(Chrissy at the bottom of photo) 

We had made a reservation at Kodachrome Basin State Park 
for three nights because nothing was available at Bryce.
It's about 30 minutes away from the National Park and is very nice. 
Our campsite at Kodachrome Basin State Park
Morning hike from our campsite at Kodachrome
Looking down at the Kodachrome Basin Campground
Next stop was Zion National Park.  We got up 
early enough to drive the Zion - Mt. Carmel Highway 
with it's amazing tunnels and get to the campground by 9am 
so we could grab one of the first come first served campsites. 
After we set up camp we realized that Mike and Kate
Gormley, friends from Bainbridge, 
were camp hosts and almost next door to us!
So after a day of hiking and touring the park
 we had dinner with Mike and Kate. It was fun to catch up with them.


Mike and Kate Gormley - Camp Hosts at Zion
From Zion we drove to the North Rim of the 
Grand Canyon where we had reserved a campsite.
Set up camp, went to the campgound store, 
did a couple of short hikes, 
and watched the sunset from the Lodge.

Sunset from the Lodge at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Sunrise at Imperial Point-North Rim

Our Campsite at the North Rim

As we were leaving the North Rim this herd of Bison was crossing the road
From the Grand Canyon we headed straight to Drew's house near Phoenix
where we spent four days doing laundry, washing the car,
unloading and re-packing the car (we left our camping gear in Drew's garage),
doing a major boat food shop, catching up on email, etc.

Drew and Jane at Drew's house in Phoenix (Gold Canyon)

Sunset from Drew's back yard
We arrived back in Mazatlan on 10/22. Loomba-Loomba
looked great. She had been well cared for and was 
clean and shiny with new varnish on all of the teak.
We are staying at Torres Mazatlan (condo) for two weeks while 
we are putting the boat back together 
and having some major engine maintenance done.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

It's been an absolutely beautiful summer in the Great Pacific Northwest - reminding us why we call it home. We are heading south on September 29th and taking our time getting back to Mazatlan. This year we will head east and then south, camping along the way.
Our summer consisted of going back and forth between Bainbridge Island (home) and Seattle (where Kelsey, RL, Simon and Barlow live). Fortunately the kids have a room for us!
A "Welcome Home" from Simon

We spent quite a few afternoons with Simon and family
 at Lake Washington.

Simon's first trip to the Zoo.
Giraffes seem to be his favorite animals.
(after dogs, of course)
We were also able to see many, but unfortunately not all, of our local friends, get in a camping trip to Staircase campground in Olympic National Park, a trip to Wenatchee, have a few out of town visitors, play tourist in Seattle, and do quite a bit of yard work.
We went to Poulsbo on a friends boat for the
3rd of July fireworks show.
4th of July at Tom (Chrissy's brother) and Claudette's

Camping at Staircase in Olympic National Park
 with Tom and Claudette

Our yard - not looking too bad considering we've been gone
 most of the last four years