• canyons

    natural secrets, natural world, travel • Oct 25th, 2019

    Yosemite

    Thought I’d share a few photos and thoughts about our road trip to the western states this month: we decided to hike in a few of the national parks before week three with our birthday boy in Tucson. We’d visited the Grand Canyon a long time ago; as its name suggests it’s the largest and most visited one within striking distance of California so we thought about the smaller parks a bit further east starting at Yosemite which was still pretty busy as visitors are nudged to walk along the valley floor where the hikes are easier. The first wilderness we experienced, magnificent sequoia forests in the October sunlight filtering and scenting the air. Another time we’ll take the car to the trailheads a bit higher up and explore from there rather than use the shuttle bus.

    We drove on to Death Valley, the hottest place on earth according to encyclopedias of old; the land is way below sea level and records astonishingly high temperatures. We were wowed by the beauty of the rocks and sands as far as the eye can see. Here there were few visitors in a powerful landscape that just goes on and on.

    Death Valley

    Next stop, Zion National Park in Utah which again follows the valley floor and takes you deep into the canyon, crossing the fast flowing stream on a trail called the Narrows; you can hire boots so your own don’t get wet and a stick is useful to get a firm footing. I managed though we didn’t walk too much further; always tempted to see what’s round the next bend but the sides of the canyon are so steep there wasn’t any sun and we headed back to the wider warmer section.

    Zion

    As we left this green valley I had a distinct feeling that each park would be more wondrous than the last and so it was with Bryce Canyon.  Here we were hiking the rim looking down at the canyon and its treasure. The carving out of hoodoos and grottos over many thousands of years creates an amphitheatre of innumerable statues standing as one.  We got to walk down a fair way so we could appreciate the scale of it all; had a big spiritual moment there as the light played across the rock formations  just before dusk… such keenly felt emotions of gratitude, strength and love.

    Bryce

    Our final stop before Tucson was Monument Valley where we did our most challenging hike walking round the buttes and spires; lots of people just look at the view from the hotel terrace but then you don’t get to see the other side and we wanted to savour all the views and see the plants up close. We went a bit wrong on the trail which added another 2 miles to a hike I was a bit doubtful about from the start, no one to ask so we had to read the tracks and footprints and navigate naturally. And then the big slope in deep sand in the midday sun which explains the photograph on my Instagram story taken after we’d got to the finish.

    Monument Valley

     

    We got our culture fix in Tucson which I’ll tell you about in a new post: different ways of living and some easy recipes of course.

     

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