Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday hike

It's been unusually mild this winter, which has allowed John and I to enjoy the outdoors even longer. Christmas Eve turned out to be the perfect day to explore more of the hiking trails throughout the Colorado National Monument. We're in Colorado, we might as well enjoy it!

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a very happy holiday season! We were able to see many of our friends and family earlier this month in Missouri, which was our first trip back since we got married. It was good for my soul!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Birthday Vacay: Heading Home

Our birthday vacation came to an end with a flight home over Bryce Canyon National Park and Lake Powell. Even from the air Bryce is spectacular.

If you look close, you can see the "bathtub ring" around Lake Powell.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Birthday Vacay: Zion NP

On day two of our birthday expedition, we made the 80 mile trek to Zion National Park. This is another park that I didn't get to explore much on the train tours, and John had never been. It started out as a pretty dreary day, but by the end, it was absolutely gorgeous.

I really like that Bryce and Zion are so close because they give two completely different perspectives. At Bryce you're at the rim of the canyon looking down on these gorgeous orange hoodoos and at Zion, you're in a valley looking up at these towering monoliths. All of it is quite spectacular.

Weeping walls during our first hike. The sandstone is so porous, it is constantly "weeping". They say that the water that comes out of these stones is thousands/millions of years old ... I'm not sure about that one, but when you have a continuously wet wall in the middle of the dessert, the water has to come from somewhere.

These flowers were everywhere. I'm not sure what they are, but they're beautiful.

Looking down through Zion's Valley.

At the end of our first hike was this view. You can hike across the river into the "Narrows" which is where the canyon becomes even more narrow - imagine that - and it was carved by the river. I don't think I would do it that day since they were calling for flash floods.

John at the end of the trail.

Me striking a pose circa 1997 senior photo shoot.

The park's shuttle system. There is no place for the cars to park in Zion, so they have everyone park at the visitor's center, and then the shuttles come by every 10 minutes or so and pick you up, drop you off at the next stop, etc. It's a great system, but when we got there in the morning, I thought John was going to turn the car around to go home. The crowd was monstrous! He ended up having more fun when the crowds thinned out toward the afternoon. During our first hike to the river, it seemed as if people were hiking on a mission and not enjoying what was around them as they went, so you felt like you were slowing traffic if you stopped to enjoy or take a photo. But it is good to see that so many are enjoying our national parks.

A taste of Zion's monoliths

Monday, September 06, 2010

Birthday Vacay: Bryce Canyon NP

A month late in updating you on our birthday trip, but here's the first day. John and I flew - John flew, and I rode along - to Bryce Canyon National Park the weekend before our birthdays. We landed at the airport, which is nothing more than a paved runway a barn and the "terminal."

We made our way to Ruby's Inn, which is near the airport and run by the same family for generations. There's a few hotels, couple gas stations, rentals, etc. Basically it's a tourist trap, but it's the only thing available near the park. We rented the last car available and made our way into the park.

I had been to the park before with the train tours, but I never got to do any of the hiking. I didn't even know there were so many great trails! I guess when you're touring with a more mature audience, you don't realize such things.

On a hike at Sunrise Point.

The hoodoos at Bryce Canyon. The hoodoos are caused by the natural erosion process of water flowing through the rocks, freezing, thawing, etc.

Toward the end of the day we were getting pooped from our hikes. I decided to take a breather after a monsoonal downpour.

John being his handsome, jovial self near the Natural Bridge.

Ending our day at the Natural Bridge.

That evening we went to the Western show that Ruby's Inn put on, which came with dinner. The food was good and the singing was great.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

What's different?

Can you see the difference between these two pictures? (not counting cleanliness)

That's right ... We put new pulls on our kitchen cabinets! I know it seems like small potatoes, but there will be no more nails breaking, splitting or pulled back painfully while opening cabinets. The extra benefit is it adds panache!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ridgway to Ouray

Swimming is a very important part of any trip with Levi, so we went to Ridgway State Park. We had heard it was a fun, beautiful place, and they were right. We had a picnic first.

And then Levi froze his tush off in the reservoir.

We then went on to Ouray, Colo., which is known for its springs. It's a beautiful town surrounded by the mountains.

I started to drive the Million Dollar Highway for this view, and had to turn around after a few miles. There is no guard rail and we were driving next to a cliff. My nerves couldn't take it, and I won't do it again!

I had such a great time with Mom and Levi. It was sad to see them go.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Grand Mesa

The third day we made the trek up the Grand Mesa, which was about 30 degrees cooler than in the valley of Grand Junction. Levi and I are posing near the Powderhorn Ski Resort that overlooks the valley. You can see the Bookcliffs in the background.

It was so green on top of the Grand Mesa, and there are a number of lakes scattered about. Absolutely gorgeous!

This is another gorgeous lake. I really like the picture since it looks like Mom and Levi are standing in front of a back drop. It also makes you want to go camping ...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fun in the Sun

The second day Mom and Levi were here, Levi and I went to the gym, we all went shopping, went to the pool and Levi got a ride in the convertible. Here he is looking too cool for school.

John had a good time taking him for a ride.

While the boys were gone, mom and I got out the mower to attack our little grass patch. I barely started when the boys showed up. Levi wanted to try the rotary mower out...

Then mom ...

And John finished up. There's nothing better than making your chores look fun and having someone else finish them up for you! I'm sure there's a bit of Tom Sawyer in all of us.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Glenwood Springs, Colo.

It was great having Mom and Levi out his past week for a visit. We had so much fun! Our first adventure was Glenwood Springs and the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. We took a ride up Iron Mountain on a tram, which is always an experience trying to get on and off a moving, swaying pod, but we got some great views on the way up.

Our first stop was the cave, which is was quite beautiful. One of the "rooms" is the second largest in the state. I have to say I was surprised since there are much larger caves in Missouri. I thought Colorado would have larger caves, but I guess not.

We took time to step outside the cave and take a look at the view of the Colorado River down below, and this thrill ride that swings you out over the canyon. I couldn't wait to try it out!

And then I got on it, and the butterflies started. We flew out over the canyon, looking at the river and highway approximately 4,000 feet below. I couldn't wait to do it again, but Levi sure could.

Levi rode the bull and laughed the entire time before getting thrown off.

I rode the bull and told them to stop BEFORE I got thrown off. By looking at the picture, I think I could have just stood up ...

We had lunch overlooking the city of Glenwood Springs.

And we rode the Alpine Coaster, which goes incredibly fast the more weight you have on the sled. This was our first go, and they assured me that the sled wouldn't fly off the coaster rails. It was so much fun, we did it again, but we did it on our own.

We sluiced for gems.

And we flew over the canyon once more before we made the trek back home. Levi is such a brave guy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rock Art

I really like this picture I took at Arches National Park, so I thought I would share. Along the hiking trails, rocks are stacked so you know you're on the path. This particular stack was by "Balanced Rock".

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fam Trip, Part Dos

The family fun continued Saturday with a trip to Arches National Park in the 100+ degree heat. It's a dry heat, so it's really not as bad as you think. However, it was still pretty warm. We took our time driving to Moab, Utah, making a stops along the Colorado River near Castle Valley. Here's John, Kevin and Kate. Kim decided to take a breather and recoup a bit from the full week of traveling and sightseeing. I would definitely need a vacation from a packed vacation!

The park was busy, but not as busy as it could be, which could have been due to the heat. I really like this picture of Kevin and Kate with the "Three Gossips" in the background.

Kate really enjoyed climbing all over the rocks. She's such a brave soul! This is much more treacherous than it looks. What you can't see is what they had to climb to get to this point at the "Double Arches".

As the day went on, clouds began to roll in, which made it much cooler (like 98). John took this picture as we were leaving the "Landscape Arch" area of the park around 6 p.m. or so.

Again, the mandatory glamor shot of me and John. I know you can't get enough of us! Do I sound conceited? Oh, well.