Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday Wildlife

A not-so-timid rock squirrel (Spermophilus variegatus) posed for a portrait along the White House Ruin trail in Canyon De Chelly National Monument.  Kathy and I spent a night in the monument on our way to the San Juan River in late September.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The View Hotel at Monument Valley provided a perfect venue for taking in the scenery as sunset yielded to the night sky on October 2.

Note:  Click on a photo to enlarge.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Sunlight

A Monumental Day

Our last day on the river was a busy one.  We were up before 7:00; made coffee, ate breakfast, washed dishes, struck camp, loaded our boats, and were on the river shortly after 10:00; arrived 6.6 miles down river at the BLM boat ramp at Mexican Hat less than ninety minutes later; and had loaded all of our boats on the trailers and gear into our vehicles in time to order lunch by 1:30 at The Olde Bridge Grille in town.  After a relaxing meal, the other five members of our merry band of paddlers headed south and east for home. 

But the day for Kathy and me had just begun.  After checking into our room at the San Juan Inn and transferring items from our ice chests to the tiny refrigerator in the room, our first order of business after five river days was, of course, a warm shower and clean clothes.  After a brief rest, it was off to Goosenecks State Park, a short drive north from Mexican Hat.  We arrived around 5:00.  After about thirty minutes of viewing the impressive entrenched meanders of the San Juan River (see photo in prior blog post), we headed back south through Mexican Hat and on to Monument Valley Tribal Park. 

After several stops for photos, we arrived at The View Hotel in Monument Valley before 6:30, just in time to catch the setting sun illuminating the iconic rock formations overlooked by the hotel. 

And we were in time to catch dinner at the hotel restaurant and watch as the sun set and the day merged into twilight.

It was all quite magical.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


It's Only Natural

The day following the end of our trip on the San Juan River, Kathy and I traveled north to take in more of the fantastic scenery of southeastern Utah.  Included was a quick tour of Natural Bridges National Monument.  This monument is famous for its three spectacular  bridges.

Our first stop was at Sipapu ("place of emergence" in Hopi) Bridge.  While Kathy stopped at a very nice viewpoint halfway down the trail, I continued down to the bridge, shown above.  Later, we stopped at the viewpoint for Kachina Bridge (seen below), named for the Hopi kachina spirits.

At our final stop along the monument's loop road, we had a nice view of Owachomo ("rock mound") Bridge.  It is the oldest of the three largest bridges in the monument.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Wildlife

While hiking along Chinle Wash on day three of our San Juan River outing earlier this month, I was caught in a staredown with this common blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana).  It was perched on what appears to be the pelvic bone of a large mammal.  The reptile won the staring match, as I kept looking over my shoulder to see what might be stalking another mammal.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


After our canoeing trip on the San Juan River ended earlier this month at Mexican Hat, Utah, Kathy and I made the short drive to Goosenecks State Park.  From the park, we had a great view of the entrenched meanders of the river.  This photo shows only about a third of that view.  Two years earlier, I was looking up at the visitors to the park.  The photo below shows Zoltan Mraz, Michael Portman, and Mike Scudday as we paddled below the viewpoint in September of 2012.  The tiny specks of color at the top are some of that day's tourists.