Sunday 31st October 2021
The coast of Oregon is green (It must be all the rain and fog that reminds me of England). Eastern Oregon high desert is pretty barren and brown. (Probably because it hardly ever rains). Washington, Oregon, and California have such wonderfully diverse terrains and climates. From seasides to lush valleys and snowy mountains to high deserts. We had a nice stopover in the middle of nowhere. Lovely and quiet.
There’s not much traffic on highway 50 in Nevada. I guess that’s why it’s called the loneliest highway in America. That definitely suits us.
We had a quick stopover in Ely Nevada to have full hookups. That pesky cleaning and laundry has a way of catching up with us. Charcoal Ovens State Park still looks good. Nice to see nothing vandalized in such a remote park.
The smoky haze from so many recent wildfires had mostly gone by the time we arrived at Great Basin National Park. We love this park! It seems everyone else does too, as our usual first come first served campsites, are now all reservation only and booked solid. We did manage to find one spot after a trek on gravel roads, and squeezing the beast through a maze of undergrowth. We stayed 5 lovely sunny days. Since it is so isolated and at high elevation (7500-10,000 ft) this park is a great place to stargaze. We enjoyed looking at the Milky Way in a massive starry sky. There were quite a few satellites zipping by as well. My iPhone refused to give me a useable star pic but then again I am just a point and shoot pic taker.
It’s always a good feeling to hug a three thousand year old Bristlecone Pine Tree. I felt like a young nipper.
At over ten thousand feet elevation, the Bristlecone trees were pretty small on this exposed ridge. It’s hard to compete with the savage winters here. We had a lovely lunch spot next to these minis.
Dean just had to outdo me and snuggle up to a tree dated over three thousand five hundred years.
There are quite a few Aspen groves in the park, and many trees had already shed their leaves. This one had a cool looking trunk though.
I don’t know what this rock is made of, but it just looked good.
I appreciate a sit down now and then.
We did a hike at lower elevation and found a lovely Aspen grove to have our lunch and rest.
St. George in Southern Utah was our next stop. I really wanted a new walking stick and this is the perfect harvesting area for Utah Agave stalks.
Sawing off the spiky base.
The seed pods are next to go.
SCORE!!!! Three good possibles. We will store these until we get to our long layover in Phoenix, and then hopefully, one of these stalks will be be magically transformed into a Rose hiking stick.
A great day out.
After a whopping 64 mile drive we stopped for a few days at Pipe Spring National Monument. There was a very nice and cheap campground on the Kaibab Tribal Lands next to the Monument. Full hookups and good wifi. Yeah baby!
The fortified ranch house at Pipe Spring was built by Mormon settlers in 1870. It enclosed a large spring which caused major problems for the local Kaibab Paiute Native Americans. Cut off from the water they suffered greatly for many years. The buildings and spring became a National Monument in 1923.
The bedrooms looked pretty comfy.
Dean was thinking about dinner.
The spring is still pumping out water.
We managed to squeeze in a nice easy slot canyon hike.
I found a cozy nook for a rest.
Of course Dean had to outdo me.
The remnants of this ladder were lodged about 20 feet above the canyon floor. Note to self, always check to make sure no recent rainfall in slot canyon areas we might think about hiking.
After another massive 87 mile drive it was time for a couple of days rest in Page, Arizona. Glen Canyon Dam always look impressive. The visitor center is still closed but we could at least walk on the bridge. The water level doesn’t look too bad here.
Lake Powell is drying up quite a bit though. It is down over 50 feet just this year. The water level should be a long way up this road. Forget about oil, the West coast needs a water pipeline coming from the East coast. Maybe we could have a reverse pipeline and send some of our nice dry air to offset the Eastern humidity.
Our usual free parking spot to hike to Horseshoe Bend is now paid parking with several pay booths. It’s a very popular area with a steady stream of tourists.
We decided to save the $10 parking fee (wine money), and hiked from town over slick rock terrain. We actually found a rock guide that helped navigate us several miles. The 9 mile roundtrip was really interesting with lots of great views. The wine tasted pretty good as well after the hike.
Dean cautiously wiggled up to the edge of the cliff.
He got a great pic of the Colorado River at the aptly named Horseshoe Bend.
It’s been a fun trip south. We will be in Mesa (suburb of Phoenix) for the next 3 months. Would love to meet up up if you might be coming this way over the winter.