10.16.2010

101610 Bridge Day Flags

Another year, another Bridge Day!
This year was special, since Chris and I got to lower the flags in a tandem rappel! I was on the bottom, with the Park Service and West Virginia flags. Chris was on top with the American flag. It was a beautiful day, no rain, and I got in 2 rappels, 1 climb and the 1 tandem rappel with flags. For more images, go here.
Thanks to Ellen Hofler for this image of us.

07.07.2010

Mesa Verde
Spent the night camping at Mesa Verde National Park and then started the day on a self-guided tour of the Far View Tower.

Then we paid for a guided tour of Balcony House (below). It was a very exposed hike to get there and I was surprised at all the fat, out-of-shape people that were on it. I was thinking the whole time that it would suck to be a ranger doing the tours, as you’d be fearful all the time of someone slipping and falling to their death.
Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde
Here is the Cliff Palace, another paid tour. This place was so beautiful . . . I wound’t mind living there myself!

So we had to leave since we could only get a campsite for one night. So we packed up in the evening and mushed on towards a campsite I found in my Don Wright’s Guide to Free Campgrounds, western edition, for the night. We had to travel about 60 miles south to a $5 BLM campsite, no running water, of course.

07.06.2010

Grand Gulch
En route from Capitol Reef, Utah, to Mesa Verde, Colorado. Made a few stops along the way, like this view looking down at the Grand Gulch from atop the mountain. Next stop: the Navajo Rez to show Chris the impressive Monument Valley.

Monument Valley
The last time I was in Monument Valley was in 2002 (click here to see my old Visual Journal post). And man, shit has changed!! They built a fucking air conditioned monstrosity and a huge paved lot where the old campground used to be!!! I was saddened to see this vulgar display of “progress.” But I guess if the Navajo Nation wanted to develop their tourism, it’s their right. But my heart was truly broken to see it like this.

They even improved the dirt road so cars could drive down in the valley!! No more 4-wheel drive needed.
Monument Valley

07.05.2010

Capitol Reef
So our pal Kelton Russenberger took us to Capitol Reef National Park for some hiking and camping on his day off from Bryce Canyon National Park. This was one of the many beautiful view while driving into the park on the gravel road towards Cedar Mesa.

Capitol Reef
Hitting a trail.

Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef
So this hidden treasure that many overlook for the sexier nearby parks (like Zion, Bryce, etc.) is pretty neat. Being a geology and geography nerd, I was simply astonished to be in a waterpocket fold, which is a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth), that extends almost 100 miles in the park!

07.04.2010

Valley of Fire
Celebrating the Fourth of July proper — by hitting the trails in Valley of Fire before it got too hot. It was nice not to see anyone else there on our hikes.

Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire
An of course we saw many petroglyphs.

Valley of Fire
Love these rolling hills, all of different colors!!

And then we hit the road again, heading to Bryce Canyon to visit our caving friend, Kelton Russenberger, who’s working there for the summer as a ranger.
Bryce Canyon