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Posts Tagged ‘National Parks’

Good morning all!

Once again, I find myself apologizing for the delay in posting. It seems that my whole schedule has gone haywire, and I am behind in so many things. All I can do is take things one step at a time, and do the best I can to get caught up. And so…here is the post for today.

When we left the Grand Canyon, we were all pretty tired but filled with a sense of awe and wonder. Even despite the fatigue, our excitement remained high in continuing on with our journey.

After just a short nap in Cameron, we continued on heading north. We passed the 3,000 mile mark and found ourselves on the north rim just in time for the sunrise. Words (nor my pictures) can accurately describe the beauty that surrounded us.

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The full moon setting, just before sunrise.

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The 1st rays of light began to show the beautiful surroundings.

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A short time later, we crossed the line into Utah and stopped for breakfast.

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While we were eating, we were looking at our map and deciding our best route for the day. We had decided to take a little side trip that ended up leading us toward Zion National Park. The patterns and colors of the landscape along the way were simply amazing!

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The effects of water, wind, sun and time has created spectacular caves that were in some cases, used by ancient peoples for shelters and special ceremonies.

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This particular cave has been turned into a tourist attraction with a very strong theme of capitalism. Not that I’m against making money or anything like that, but I would have preferred a more natural setting here.

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In itself, the place was pretty, though we decided to skip taking a tour here, as we would most likely have spent a fortune on the souvenirs. We continued on our way, stopping to collect a few small rocks and small bottle of the orange sand we found along the roadway.

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I know, we’re cheap tourists. 🙂 (Not really, we spent a small fortune on souvenirs and I may come to regret that as I pay this month’s bills.)

I have to admit that I had never heard of Zion National Park before, but when I saw the name on the map I remarked to Amy and Christian, “The bible mentions the name Zion several times, and even though I know it’s not the same Zion, we gotta go there”. And we were all glad we did!

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I’m not really sure why this cow was in a herd of buffalo, but I thought it was cute. (Yes, I’m weird that way.)

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There was a small wildfire up in the hills to the left of the park’s entrance, and we stopped to watch as the helicopter scooped up buckets of water and then dropped them onto the fire. Having been a firefighter for Forestry has given me a real sense of appreciation for what these guys do, and it always fills me with a sense of excitement to watch them in action.

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After the fire was out, we continued on with our drive through the park. We were told that the Grand Canyon was viewing things from the top looking down, while Zion was viewing things from the bottom looking up. That was a very accurate description. (Please excuse the quality of the pictures here. Most were taken from inside the car as we were driving along, and I haven’t edited out the mirrors, etc.)

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We drove through 2 tunnels in the mountains. I quickly decided that going into a tunnel without headlights and wearing sunglasses is a very scary experience, and I do not recommend it!

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There were several trails throughout the park for day hikes, but most of the parking areas were full, as was the parking lot to the visitor’s center. I would recommend that during peak tourist season, if you want to do more than drive through the park, go early in the day. It was hot enough that we didn’t really want to get out of the air conditioning and do much hiking that day, but there were several areas that I would like to explore more.

At the other end of the park we entered a small village filled with several stores and galleries. We stopped at a small market and bought a few items, including some locally grown fresh fruits. As we were reaching the end of the village, one gallery caught our attention with several unique looking windmills.

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A few miles further we came upon a theme park setting of an old western town, set up as a tourist attraction.

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By the time we passed through here, it was getting late into the afternoon. We drove on through fairly flat desert area and onto Salt Lake City. I was getting tired, so Amy took over driving while Christian and I took a nap.

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Our 1st view heading into Salt Lake City

The main purpose for going this route was to collect a small vial of salt from the salt flats, another cheap souvenir. Unfortunately, our map was a little vague as where the salt flats were, so we never made it there. We did get to see the Morton Salt Plant though.

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That’s one big pile of salt at the Morton Salt Plant!

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This fella was off of the side of the road on our way back from the salt plant, and was kind enough to pause from his dinner and pose for a picture.

The next picture is very poor quality, but hey, I’m not a professional photographer, AND we were doing 75 mph down the highway at the time so I didn’t expect too much. It still shows the brilliant colors of the sunset as we left Salt Lake City. 🙂

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In all honesty, the only reason I had for going into Utah in the first place was to collect some salt. I didn’t really know much about the state, and had no idea of the beauty we would find there. In spite of the disappointment in not getting our salt sample, I am very glad we went.

 Amy continued driving on into the night, as Christian and I fell back to sleep. I woke up briefly as she pulled into a truck stop for the night. I don’t know exactly where we were, and we were too tired to care by then.

We slept for about 5 hours and then I took over driving again. We crossed over into southern Idaho just after dawn and stopped for breakfast in Blackfoot. When we finished, we drove through the town and found the “Potato Museum”. It wasn’t open yet, so we took pictures out in front with the giant baked potato.

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After a few nights of little sleep, we were all feeling a bit goofy. During our stop at the museum, Amy showed Christian the fine art of mouth prints on glass.

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 Christian quickly picked up the skill and added his own imprints.

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This was the start of our journey to Yellowstone National Park. We were all enjoying ourselves immensely, creating memories and sharing laughs along the way. We probably entertained a few folks along the way, and maybe annoyed some others.

I hope you all enjoy the posts of our journey. I said earlier, I am no professional photographer. But I tried to capture some of the beauty and our moments together. I will post more pictures and updates on Monday of our trip through the Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone. Until then, may you all have a beautiful and fun filled weekend, and God bless! – Amber & Christian

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