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Monthly Archives: July 2017

 

Milkweed

Red Milkweed Beetle

Daisy Fleabane

Alfalfa

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The Pale and Spotted Touch-me-nots are blooming along the Red Cedar State Trail.

Pale Touch-me-not

Spotted-touch-me-not

As part of our Dreamland safaris Tour we were taken over to Moccasin Mountain Tracksite to view tracks to view fossil track preserved in layers of Navajo Sandstone. Apparently water was hard to find in this desert. Water was seasonally available which drew animals to the ares where the wet sand formed molds which later became fossilized tracks. It took us a while to find some track but then the race was on to see who could find the most tracks. It is not something we planned on doing but it was a part of the other families tour so we went along. It was really impressive. It is a place that we might have been able to drive to but it was still at the end of a sandy road.

After our visit to the Tracksite we headed back to Kanab. It was late in the afternoon and we still had a long drive to Page, Arizona.

After visiting Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park we race back to Dreamland Safari Tours to catch our tour out to Red Canyon. The locals call it Peek-a-boo Canyon and Dreamland calls it the Mystical Slot Canyon Tour. We drove back through Kanab and out to the Best Friends Animal Society. The family we were touring with had visited Animal Society the day before and thought it was great. We turned off on a sand road. after driving for a ways the driver stopped to let some air out of the tires to gain more traction in the sand. He said that the sand was still fairly stable but as the summer goes on he has to let almost all of the air out of the tires then has to pump them back up when he returns to the main road.  A little further on we encountered a 4 wheel drive SUV that tried to make it and was seriously stuck in the sand. We were very lucky that we didn’t try it in our all wheel drive van. We were also lucky we didn’t try hiking to it. It would have been tough slogging through the soft sand. We did meet a family that made the hike and were not looking forward to the trip back. When we talked to the rangers about the hike in they made it sound like we would be walking down a single lane road. As we discovered the area was crisscrossed by ATV roads so we would have been hopelessly lost since there were no road markers. Even our experienced driver missed one turn and had to backtrack.

Red Canyon is a hidden gem. It is very similar to Lower Antelope Canyon in Page but without the crowds. Like Antelope Canyon it is very short, less that a half mile, that can be easily hiked before it is blocked by boulders. Our guide said that a few years ago heavy rains caused a flash flood that scoured out the canyon and made it about fifteen feed deeper and much more spectacular.

More photos of Red Canyon can be found on my website.

 

 

We had planned on hiking a couple of days in Zion but my wife didn’t like the motel we were staying at. I thought it was OK. I had planned driving down to Page and then entering the drawing to get into the Wave. However, I discovered that the Wave drawings were now being held in Kanab at the visitors center. Thus we decided to cut our visit to Zion short and drive to Kanab and stay. It was much less expensive and the hotel was excellent. That evening we had a nice meal and during the meal noticed some photos of a slot canyon in the area. We found out the locals called it Peek-a-boo Canyon We talked to the owner about it and he suggested getting a guided trip to the  canyon.

That evening we checked out the canyon on the web. The next morning we headed to the visitors center for the Wave drawing. The last time I was at a drawing it was held at the Paria Contact Station. That time there were about a dozen people at the station for the drawing and it was a simple process of putting your name and the number in your party on a slip of paper which was then drawn out of a hat. When we arrived at the visitors center there were already quite a few people signed up. It was a little more complicated signup process. When the drawing took place there were over a 100 people attending. Needless to say we didn’t get a slot since there are only 10 slots available and those attending the drawing probably represented 300 people. It was a fun experience and the ranger conducting the drawing was quite funny and kept the atmosphere light. My wife took a cell phone photo during the drawing.

While we were at the visitors center we asked about Peek-a-boo Canyon. The gave us a map and suggested that we would walk in to the Canyon. It was about 4 miles on the road. We could not drive because you need an ATV or a serious 4 wheel drive vehicle to make it. We thought about hiking but finally decided to drive out to Dreamland Safari Tours and see if they could take us out. We lucked out. They had a tour booked for noon and had space for us. At this point we had a couple of hours to spare so we decided to drive out to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. I had visited the Sand Dunes about fifteen years ago and thought it was great.

When we arrived at the Sand Dunes we were very disappointed to find that ATV’s and motor cycles were allowed on the dunes. In the old days they were confined to a section away from the main dunes. Now they had the run of most of the park. Nothing like going out to enjoy nature and having to dodge ATV’s and listen to them roar by. Apparently the state doesn’t have the backbone to say no to the nuts that want to race around on their ATV’s.

We noticed these deer at the edge of the dunes. The could hear the ATV’s coming.

We ended up taking photos of small sections on the dunes that had not been destroyed by the ATV’s. I have to say this will not be on our list of places to stop the next time we are in the area.

As we were driving away from the Dunes we found a large flock of American Avocet’s wading in a small wet area along the road.

 

We arrived in Zion late in the afternoon. As we drove into the park we could see the rocks changing in color.

More photos from Zion can be found on my website.

We drove on to Springdale where we checked in to our hotel, did some laundry and then headed out to grab a bite to eat. When we returned to our hotel we were greeted with this display on the rocks across the valley.

The next morning we headed out to the park. Access to the park is by bus so we loaded up and road to the end of the bus line where we walked along the riverside trail. It was difficult to photograph in the morning light because one wall of the canyon was in deep shadows and the other in bright sunlight. It was early spring in Zion and the trees were just leafing out creating some beautiful colors.

We encountered this rock cairn along the trail.

We worked our way back toward the park entrance stopping at each of the stops to hike. We took the Kayenta Trail up toward the Emerald Pools. Along the way We had some great views of the canyon floor. The spring wildflowers were out along the trail. When we started out in the morning the Emerald Pools trail was closed but as we continued hiking we discovered that the trail had been opened earlier in the morning. Apparently it was closed because of a rock slide. The Emerald Pools weren’t all that great but there was a nice waterfall that we could walk behind.

 

We then worked our way out of the park.

The following morning we drove out to Sunrise Point. It was a beautiful morning. We took a few photos from Sunrise Point and then started walking down the Queen’s Garden Trail. There were already folks out hiking.

More photos from Bryce Canyon can be found on my website.

As we reached the bottom a bathroom emergency arose. The closest bathrooms appeared to be back up at Sunrise Point so we turned around and raced back to the top. Fortunately it was still cool out or we wouldn’t have made it.

After regrouping we decided to drive over to Sunset Point and hike down the Navajo Loop Trail. Unfortunately Wall Street was closed because the constant freezing and thawing was causing rocks to fall. We hit the trail head just ahead of a large group of foreign students who were on spring break.

At the bottom we made a wrong turn and ended up on a horse only trail. I wondered what was going on when everyone else went one direction and we went the other.

We decided to turn around and retraced our way back to the main trail. We hadn’t gone fare when it started to snow rather heavily. It wasn’t sticking to the ground and it made the trail a mess.

Fortunately we had our rain gear with us but I did put away my main camera and brought out my little pocket camera.

As we worked our way back up the Queen’s Garden Trail things started to clear once again.

Because we spent time in the morning at Capital Reef we didn’t arrive in Bryce until late in the day. A fellow traveler told us the park had been closed a few days earlier because of snow so we were in no hurry to get to Bryce. We hoped to go out for some sunset shots but it started raining so we decided have a nice steak dinner and wait until morning. The next morning we were up early and drove over to sunrise point. I was a bit disappointed because the sunrise was not that great.

More photos from Bryce Canyon can be found on my website.

After spending a little time looking around and taking a few photos we headed off to Bryce Point where we were going to hike the Peekaboo Loop Trail. I had forgotten that Bryce Point was one of the higher points in the park. Since since it had snowed a few days before and rained the evening before we immediately encountered mud and snow. It was the type of mud that clings to your hiking boots. It was also a little tricky in spots with a nice drop off. My wife doesn’t like high places. After going a few hundred yards we talked about turning around but decided to keep going. We were both happy that we did because it was a long but enjoyable hike.

It was spring and still cool out. Fortunately we like cool and try to plan our trips so we can travel and hike in nice cool weather. There were lots of tunnels on the trail.

The views in the park were truly spectacular. It was a cloudy day and it appeared that it might rain but it didn’t. The overcast made it a little easier to shoot without the harsh light. On the trail we met another photographer who hadn’t realized how many photos he would be taking and ran out of batteries. He had left one battery plunged in at the park store so he would have it charged when he returned.

After finishing our hike we drove back to the hotel stopping at some of the pullouts to take a few photos. We encountered these two women taking photos and one pullout. As you can see there was still quite a bit of snow at the higher elevations.

After dinner we drove out to Sunset Point to take a few photos. Not much of a sunset.

When we are in Duluth I like to walk down to Canal Park to watch the sunrise. On this particular morning I was setting up and heard a loud splash. A little while later I noticed that a couple of young men swimming out to Uncle Harvey’s Mausoleum. This the first time I had seen anyone on the Mausoleum at sunrise.

I took their picture then did a couple of panoramas from the same location.

There were some beautiful clouds in the sky over the harbor entrance.

As the sun rose the South Breakwater Light just glowed.

There were some great shots of the South Breakwater Inner Light which is privately owned.

Sunlight and water always make for some nice shots.

Last week we made a couple of trips to the Duluth Rose Garden. While the roses were just starting to bloom the Peony’s were at their peak.

There were some roses blooming but the best are yet to come.

There were also a number of other flowers blooming as we walked along the lakewalk.