Arches National Park
ContentsRearview Mirror - Summary of the past week
Pups Across America! - Pics of the Kids at their best.
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading
(Note: click on any photo for a larger image/slideshow)
We were on camp host duty all day so we hung around the park. I started the day with an early morning hike with the Pups and was able to get a few decent pics as the clouds freshened the light and added some interest to the scene.
Our friend, Jo, was supposed to fly in to visit, but called and said she missed her flight…bummer.
Monday: Independence Day Road Trip
I went out early taking the mile-plus Highline Lake hike down by the water. The Pups had a great time sniffing critter tracks.
At 7:30 Jan and I drove the short distance into the Colorado Monument stopping at the visitor center. We took a mile-and-a-half hike along the Canyon Rim trail that hugged the canyon. This is one impressive place.
After breakfast and cleaning up, we drove to the Grand Junction airport, and this time Jo made her flight. After a few, quick, “Hi, how are you’s,” we were in the car heading east on I-70.
At Marker 49 we headed east on Highway 65. We took this Scenic Byway twelve miles into Mesa where we stopped for what turned out to be an interesting Independence Day lunch. The food was pretty good, however, it wasn’t what we ordered, it came out staggered over time, and napkins and condiments appeared to be valuable extras. Our poor waitress was challenged by either alcohol, drugs, or electrical shock treatment (my guess is the shock treatment), and try as she might, the end results of her actions never quite met her intent. The ambience was further vitalized by a herd of buzzing flies that invaded from the porch and the constant blood-curdling screams of a youngster in the corner.
Back in the car, we up and backed our way to the top of Grand Mesa, the tallest mesa in the world. Here snow appeared in the distance and at the roadsides as we wove through beautiful green woods complimented by deep blue lakes. As is Jan’s nature, she soon tired of the smooth paved roads and took off on the dirt. We meandered for miles until we came to the end of the road, aptly named The End of the Road. We got out to admire the view and came across some extremely tame chipmunk-like critters taking nuts and Fritos out of people’s hands. I took several pictures to turn into posters for Jerry’s room.
The prudent return from our passage would be to retrace our tracks back to Highway 65 and continue south for 30 miles or so, then take Highway 50 west on back to Grand Junction. However, an old sign by the side of the road at the End of The Road, said “18 Miles to Highway 50.” Aha! A chance to save at least 40 miles to get us home. Jan turned our nimble Honda Element to the right and straight down (so it seemed) on a narrow, switchback dirt road. The trip was just gorgeous, lined with wild flowers and view after view. My job was to hold on to Mitzy and Jerry, appear calm, and gaze as far ahead as I could see to warn Jan of incoming traffic. This was important because steep, narrow, loose-gravely roads made meeting cars a challenge. In less than an hour we were back on Highway 50 heading for camp.
However, the excitement of the day had not ended, because later that evening our friend Mers (pure trouble) arrived from an all-day jaunt from Michigan.
Tuesday: Arches National Park
We had been to Arches in the summer a couple years before, and it was hot, 115 degrees. So sharing that information and mentally preparing for oven-like temperatures, we got in the car a little after 8:00 and made our way to I-70, and then headed west for our 108-mile trek into Utah and into Arches National Park. With a decent road, hardly any traffic, and a 75-mph speed limit we made good time. At Marker 182 we turned south on 191. We drove past the entrance and down into Moab for a hearty breakfast. By 11:00 a.m. we were within the park, oohing and aahing as we drove along stopping for several short hikes. The Weather Gods smiled upon us the whole trip--constant cloud cover not only kept the arid temperatures in the comfortable 80s but also the lack of direct sunlight took away the harshness adding vibrancy to the sandstone structures, making for nicer images.
After having our scenic fill, we headed back to Moab for a couple of pints and snacks at the Moab Brewery. From there we headed back to camp, though this time taking Highway 128, a scenic byway that borders the eastern side of the Park…excellent choice, Alex! Right on the edge of the Colorado River with huge red rock structures bordering our journey, the vistas were as gorgeous of those inside the park. Even after a mind-filling day of great scenery we still found ourselves pulling over for more photo ops.
Wednesday: Black Canyon Gunnison National Park
Once again around 8:00, the four of us plus the Pups loaded into the car for a big-day road trip. Out of camp we took 139 south to Loma, and got on I-70 east. After stopping for a wonderful breakfast in downtown Grand Junction at the Dream Café, we picked up Highway 50 and headed east/southeast through Delta, Olathe, and Montrose. Eight miles east of Montrose we took Highway 347 north the six miles into Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
The weather was quite warm but not super hot, so we trounced out for a few short hikes to get a better view of the deepest canyon in the world. This is one world-class canyon with breath-taking views all over the place. If you haven’t been there and you are into impressive scenery, put the Black Canyon on your bucket list.
On the trail to Painted Wall, we heard a guy yelling out at the top of his lungs to hear his echo. When we showed up and doubted his claim that he stood atop a rock overlooking the canyon, he immediately leaped onto his rock, assumed his super hero pose and yelled “Jan, Jan” into the canyon. Quite impressive.
On our return trek home, we stopped off at the cool, just re-built downtown of Grand Junction. We sat outside (along with the Pups) at the Rockslide Brewery for snacks and libation before heading back to enjoy a campfire and popcorn with our neighbors, Marjorie and David.
Jan took Jamers and Jo out exploring the Colorado Monument before taking Jo to the Grand Junction airport for her flight back to LA. I spent the day working, including a selling services webinar (number six in a ten-session series) I put on in conjunction with my friend and colleague Hank. Pleased to say it went very well.
I started the day with an early morning coaching call with a client from Canada, then a hike along the bluffs of Highline Lake. I spent the day working and helping Jan with camp host chores.
I guess I’m falling into a pattern, but it is a pattern I enjoy. Out for 75-minute hike with the kids along the water, over the hills and through the marshes. I got some great shots of the Kids, especially Jerry running full steam along the trails. Today, we came across something not seen before at Highline--a mud puddle. I mean a world-class mud puddle, where within minutes the mud turns to a concrete-like substance, something you could easily hold adobe homes together with. Hence both Pups ended up in our shower where Jan had to soak and scrub our Little Adventurers clean.
This time of year is called the monsoon season, and most every day we either receive a shower or the threat of a shower accompanied by black skies, thunder, and lightening.
July 20 - 23: Visiting our grandson Austie in Parker, CO.
July 24 - August 7: Camp hosting at Highline State Park with a side trip or two.
August 8 on: Change of plans. Instead of going to Yellowstone and Glacier, our current plan is to spend most of August exploring Colorado.
September 4-10: Camp with Scott and Deb in Northern Michigan?
September 11-25: Visit Kalamazoo, MI friends and participate in Ribarama.
October 16-31: Visit Kentucky friends.
November 1: Head back to Pine Island.
Have questions or comments--send them in.
See you next week.