Monday, March 23, 2009

March 23 - Arches National Park

Today Ash and I split up in the morning. She did a 3 hr hike to the Fiery Furnace. It looked a little to strenous for me in sections. The nice thing was that the visitor center had photos of the hard parts of the hike which was most helpful. Can't wait to see her picutres. After I dropped her off, I spent the next hour driving through the park and stopping at all the viewpoints and scoping out the easier trail hikes. Ashley finished up her hike and we drove to Potash were potash is mined ***
and to Island in the Sky (
which is in Canyonland National Park. We couldn't get everything in so we decided to stay one more day here. Tomorrow we plan to do more hiking and mountain bike riding.

March 22

March 22 – Moab, Utah
The agenda today was a hummer tour of the canyons in the area. They are much different than Sedona or Zion……more rounded. Being in a hummer for this type of tour makes it even more enjoyable because you aren’t bounced around like in a jeep. I can’t even explain what a great trip it was so I’ll let the pictures do the talking. Our guide was a very unique guy. His education is in medicine which he decided to give up to become a guide. But not just a guide like we know them to be. People from all over the country and world for that matter call him to arrange their vacations and he guides them……a good bit of back country stuff. He has had a fascinating life. He said that most of the guides he knows had either been engineers or doctors that decided to make a life change. The link below has photos that I found on the web to help sho
w what we did along with a few of our own.
The second part of the trip was rafting down the Colorado. We have no pictures of our own
because neither of us wanted to ruin our cameras. Soooooo—in the link are photos from the web which are very close to exactly what happened on the trip. We were told the water would be calm so the trip would be easy……well that was the day before the trip. Today the wind picked up significantly which made the trip 75% hard paddling, wet and
great fun.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March 21 - travel to Arches National Park

Left around 8:00AM. Really sad to leave Zion. It was great fun and
introduced me to a lot of new things......mountain biking and river hiking. Arrived in Moab around 2:30 PM, made arrangments for a jeep tour and river rafting trip for tomorrow then drove to Dead Horse Point Park and hiked a bit. Actually it was just a stroll across boulder and rocks.

Here is a link to tell you about Dead Horse. The view is from a mesa.

Friday, March 20, 2009

March 20 - Hiking the Virgin River Narrows and Canyon view

Had a tough time sleeping last night worrying about if I could actually do this trip. The day started by putting on our warmest clothing..... bottoms and tops of underarmor, layers of jackets, hats and gloves. Then onto the rental store getting suited up in dry suits, neoprene booties and shoes and walking sticks…..what a riot. Actually the
walking stick turned out to be a survival stick. The water was 30 deg and the outside temp was probably around 45 degs. The morning was spent navigating our way along the river and crossing it several times. The depth would range from our ankles to high waist. Once or twice we did find ourselves in chest high but then looked for other ways to cross the river. Truthfully, I was a nervous wreck but once I got started in was great fun. Actually, once I made up my mind the worst that could happen is that I fall completely in I sort of relaxed. It was
great fun but next time I want to do it in the fall ….like October. There is very little water coming off the mountains and it’s more of a mud hike than a
river hike. Here are some photos. Some are blurry because we had the camera in a plastic bag. When we got back we took a break for lunch and a short na
The Narrows hike took us to the bottom of the canyon and the afternoon hike took us to the top of the canyon. An unbelievable sight. We hiked from the road up to the top of the canyon. The trail was rocky and fortunately in some areas had a railing. Here are pictures of both the morning and afternoon.

March 19 - Jeep Tour Zion - revised 3/21

Took a jeep tour through Zion National Park and the surrounding areas on the Virgin River in Utah. This again is something not to miss on a trip
out west. Zion is fabulous. The jeep took us to the back country in the area…….and I mean back country. We didn’t see anyone else for hours. The road …..actually is wasn’t a road but a strip of sand as wide as the jeep, most of the time. Sometimes we had to duck so as not to get hit with branches. Found out it was part of the pony express route….how cool is that. We both loved this part of the trip….driving on sand and seeing out of the way spots that most tourists don’t see unless they take a jeep tour. There is a photo in
the link below showing Ashley peering down into a canyon. The story has it that it is the s
pot that the pony express carrier would lower mail do
wn to Springdale, Utah. (this is the city we stayed in while we were in Utah). Would love to upload more photos but we are limited with internet time.

Forgot to mention - part of the tour took us to the area used for the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Also visited the historic ghost town of Grafton and Gooseberry Mesa. Photos have been added to the link.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 18 - Utah - Virgin River Park

Today we did mountain biking for all of the morning. That was another butt pucker for me in the beginning. You can't tell by the pictures but the first part of the trip was going around a small gorge. Small but the fall will kill you if you loose your balance biking. Ashley biked and I biked but mostly walked that part of the trail. After that part was over we traveled away from the gorge.....thank god :). We were both proud of ourselves that we actually did the trail and I didn't have a heart attack.\ :).

Here are some pictures...

Mountain biking is hard but never boring like Montour Trails can sometimes be. We had a great time taking climbs over boulders. The best part was on the way back because it was down hill and we were more relaxed to take on the dips. Ash took on the steeper climbs and bigger dips. It was such a terrific morning. The plan is to start mountain biking back in Pgh

March 17

Travel day to Utah. We took a side trip to the Valley of Fire. This is something NOT TO MISS if you ever get out that way. It’s about 11 miles from the highway. Your driving along and there is nothing attractive about the scenery……then all of a sudden …..there it is…..the most incredible red rock mountains and formations. We stayed about 2 hours driving and getting out and walking . There is so much to see and you can camp right beneath the all the rock formations. I really want to do that in the future.