Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Adios, Yellowstone. Hola, Bryce Canyon y Grand Canyon

After a couple of days exploring southern Montana while hoping for better weather in Yellowstone, I decided to try Yellowstone again. So, I drove into Yellowstone and went directly to a hike I had planned up to Specimen Ridge. This is an area where there are petrified trees, still standing where they were buried by lava. This includes walnut and redwood trees up to 8 foot diameter. These trees live only at lower elevations, confirming that this area was thrust upward. Unfortunately, about 800’ into the 1200’ climb I heard thunder, looked around and saw a thunderstorm coming in my direction. I arrived at the car just as sleet, snow and rain began pelting me. I drove for about an hour through heavy snow to where I had planned to camp. At that point, I heard on the radio that the forecast was for 12” more snow over the next couple of days, so decided to head south.

I drove south to Bryce Canyon National Park, where the weather was sunny and beautiful. I’m including a few pictures, although none of them do justice to the scenery there. And, in fact, some of the most dramatic scenery was not photographable. Southern Utah has some of the clearest air in the country, and at 9000’ elevation the night sky was amazing. It has been many years since I have seen the Milky Way so bright. And, did you know Venus casts enough light to create a noticeable shadow?

I drove into the nearest town on Sunday Morning and found three churches. One was completely vacant. No sign, no people. Both of the others were Church of Jesus Christ LDS and were large and packed. I knew that LDS was strong here, but this was unbelievable. I ended up not finding a church to attend and headed south to Grand Canyon National Park.

I visited the South Rim several years ago, so I decided to go to the North Rim. It was definitely more relaxed, but I thought not as dramatic. You can see smoke to the right side of the picture. This is an intentional burn near the South Rim village, so their view is probably not so good right now either.

Then, I found out that both the campground and lodge were all booked up and it was too late to get a backcountry permit. So, it was a late night drive on to Lake Powell, where I now am.

I'm actually downloading this from Flagstaff, Arizona and my connection is slow, so I'm going to cut this one short on pictures.

1 comment:

nemattox said...

Wow - the canyons are beautiful. I'm glad you have good weather there. Weird about the church being closed up with no sign or people! - Nicole