Sunday, November 25, 2012

Death Valley '49ers 63rd Encampment 2012

 Lets try and get back into more Blog posting as we have more travels to share. 
Our plan was to head back to Pahrump Nevada from Las Vegas after adding more solar to our coach to visit family and then to Death Valley.
We made plans to go to the Death Valley '49ers Encampment as first timers and see what was going on.  The Pre-Encampment was Nov. 3rd through the 6th and the Encampment was the 7th through the 11th.  We arrived the 2nd of November with plans to stay and dry camp for 9 days in Death Valley.  The only problem with the first 4 days was that it was in the mid 90s during the day and a little cooler at night; it got kind of hot in the coach in the afternoon.  We now understand why they call it Furnace Creek Campground.  We had to turn on the generator and the AC on one or two afternoons to get a little cool air.  Don't know how people used to live and work in this environment.
We had a grand time with, by our estimate, over 700 rigs.  There was lots of Western music playing on various stages during the day and into the night with some great entertainers.
We did some hikes, starting out with this one up the Mosaic Canyon, where Dick got this picture of Jackie starting up the dry wash.


We got to a point where the wash took a 90deg. turn with all the rocks washed away leaving nothing but solid marble to walk on.

A better view of the transition between the solid (cement like rocks) and the marble full of striations from the running water over the years.

Back at the National Park where we stayed, it was at the base of the hills and Dick was able to get this shot from the camp at sunset with a man and child walking down the ridge line with the setting sun on the hill behind.

Another day we joined up with 20 other 4wd vehicles for a 4X4 tour of Wood Canyon.  We met at Stovepipe Wells and headed out with our tour leader Chuck Knight who has spent over 30 years traveling and researching Death Valley.
He took us to spots along the road where there were Indian petroglyphs, old mines, and mills.  Here is one of the stops on the way South.


At a mine the remains of all the junk that was brought up there during the years of operation as still there.

We left the mine and started heading up a old narrow wash that was a real challenge for our Jeep Liberty with low clearance, but we made it to the top at over 6000 feet.  We started at about 285 feet below sea level that can be seen at the bottom of Death Valley in this picture.
This is where we all stopped and had lunch and it was a comfortable 70deg. at this elevation.

Another day another hike, this time we met near the south end of the park and 4 wheeled up about 2 miles where we parked and headed off.  Again Chuck was leading as he has been up this area several times before.  It was a tough hike and one of those days that got very hot.

Just an interesting plant that Dick had to get a shot of.  It was dead like most everything in the wash.

As you can see it was very steep at times and lots of loose rocks with no real trail.

We got about 3/4 the way up and decided to head back because the heat was getting to us and there was no place to bring in a helicopter to haul us out.  Three of us decided to head back and on the way we ran across this little guy about 5" wide blocking our path.  Dick convinced the tarantula to move to the side for us or get squished; he/she moved.

We found another way to get back to the jeep and it was a little easier but we were keeping our fingers crossed that we would not get lost.
On the way back to camp we ran across this coyote looking for a handout.  Sorry fella we had lunch before we pulled out and ate it all.   Besides this is a National Park and you can't feed the animals.

Another trip to Stovepipe Wells to catch the evening sun on the sand dunes.

The man in this photo sped into the parking lot, jumped out of his car and ran out to try and get his own pictures.  I got you in mine.

The purpose of the Death Valley '49ers Non-Profit Organization is to promote understanding and appreciation of Death Valley and its history.   It was fun to see this piece of history going down the road; one of the original 20 mule teams, not sure about the mules but the two freight and one water wagons are original.

To be continued...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lower Antelope slot canyon, Page Arizona

The plan was to post a blog about our month-long stay at Arches National Park as camp hosts and then another one with some pictures of our last few days dry camping at Goosenecks State Park in Utah, but they will both have to come later because  we just checked off another bucket list item today and we wanted to share it with you.
There are two well known slot canyons near Page Arizona on the Navajo Reservation.  Both called Antelope Canyon but we decided to visit the lesser known (and less expensive) or lower Antelope Canyon where there is a lot less people and you can pay to stay down and photograph for 2 hours.  We went in at 11:00 AM, Jackie went with the tour and Dick came out a little after 1:00.  He took 290 pictures but for the most part it was just a little under 100 as he set his camera to bracket so with every click he got 3 identical pictures.  One was a normal exposure and then one each over and under exposed just to make sure he was able to catch the reflective light in the canyon.
Jackie was the last of the party to slip into the slot and head down.  The remaining pictures don't need any verbage so we hope you enjoy them as much as Dick enjoyed taking them.  They are in the order as we progressed through the canyon.  At some places there was more light or we turned a corner so the direction of the light changed.  No pictures have been altered and are just as the camera picked up the reflecting light an the rock walls.  The closer you get to the top the more of the yellow would pop.
In some pictures you can see the floor of the cavern that was as narrow as the width of your shoe.  The walls did taper out so you could get through.  As we progressed through the canyon we encountered more and more steps going down and finally at the end we had to hike up several stories worth of metal steps to get out.  Dick wanted to turn around and walk back through in case he missed any spots that needed more pictures taken, but he climbed the steps as Jackie was waiting at the car.


This shot with Jackie in it gives you some idea of the height of the slot

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Back at Arches

Going back to the month of September finds us back at Arches National Park for the 3rd year as campground hosts.  We arrived late August and moved into the site 34 that is a regular dry camping site until the we could move into site 35 that was for the host that had power (solar) water and sewer.  We moved on the 1st of the month and got settled and ready to start our volunteer duties.

Shortly after we arrived the other host had a disagreement with management and walked off the job leaving us with no relief.  The next day a camper asked "how do you get a job like this" and we said "do we have a deal for you".  We had him contact our boss and in a few short days he was the replacement host.  He worked a week allowing us time off to play and then the host that was to start the 1st of October came 2 weeks early so we did not have to work but a few extra days.  We now have over 1500 volunteer hours each at National Parks.

I need to thank our new friends in the tent for taking this picture and sharing it with us.  This is our site with lots of room to relax.

A few shots of the campground showing the beauty of this park.  Look close and you can see the rainbow.

Another evening shot with the glow off the red rocks in the campground.

More of the same.  This shot being just behind one of the campsites where the kids like to play in the huge sandbox.

We had a walk-in couple one day that asked if we had any sites available, we usually don't.  As it turned out we had a site right next to us and gave it to them for 7 days.  Talk about an excited couple.  As it turned out we had the extreme pleasure of getting to know them and sharing several evenings and meals.  We also took them on some special hikes in the park. 

We  got together for a nice meal in town when they came back through Moab the day we left Arches.  Here is a big thank you to Adrienne and Vittorio for sharing your time with us and your excellent cooking skills.  I am sure we have new friends for life.  And here is a picture of the two love birds under broken arch on our way to...

Magic Mystery Bridge, one of the hikes we shared with them. 

Not sure why we added this picture as it's just about the same as the one above.  Oh well, one with people and one without.

Another day the four of us headed out to try and find another special place in the park.  The two of us tried and failed to find our way last year into Winter Camp Wash.  With a little more searching and trying another route we found how to get down into the wash. 

Someone years ago carved these steps into the side of the rock and it's the only way down.  Okay we
never got the shot while going down but did get one on the way out.

For those who know Arches you know that there are two places to see Delicate Arch: they are hiking to the arch or hiking to the Delicate Arch viewpoint.  Very few people know how to get to the wash below both locations where you can hike up to the vertical wall just behind the arch.

We now have pictures from all three locations.

And at the base of the wall Dick spent a half hour just picking up...

 a little of the trash that people had dropped over the side.  Over 40 plastic bottles, hats and camera parts.

On our first day off the two of us decided to enter a less traveled area of the park and headed out from Courthouse wash to see if we could find Ring Arch.  We had to walk around the end of this huge wall of stone.  Can you find Dick in the picture?

It was a very hot day so we decided not to hike all the way across the flats to get close to the arch.  There is one place in the park that you can see this from the road but it's a long way off.

That kinds of wraps up a month at Arches for this year and it looks like we will be back there for March and April next year.  It will be a lot cooler for hiking and we are excited to find new and different places and arches to see.

To be continued...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's fall in Utah

Today it was our first day off after Dick came down with a bad cold and is now feeling better.  It's a warm day for a ride with a mix of clouds and  sun so it was off on the back roads to over 10600 feet of elevation up, over and around the La Sal Mountains above Moab. 
Not much we can say except we hope you enjoy the pictures from today with very little wording and lots of yellow aspen trees.


Looking back toward Moab...

Depending on the elevation the amount of nice yellow leaves changed from full to partial.

At the top and starting down the back side.

Dark Canyon Lake.

 A fence runs through it...

To be continued...