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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend near Page AZ is an iconic photographic site.      It's a bit of a hike to reach the edge of the overhang, but you get to see an incredible view of this picturesque curve of the Colorado River.    

What you don't know when you see this photograph is that the person with the camera was ignoring advice to not get too close to the edge as it has been known to break off.     It is impossible to get a full view of the Horseshoe without ignoring Park Service advice.     (fortunately my kids are old enough to know that their Mother doesn't always listen to advice given and the Grandkids are too young to visit this site)

This view is from the trail site.    If you enlarge the picture  you will see people hiking to the overhang.    That dark hole in the middle is where future pictures are taken.

Standing back, at what I perceive as a safe distance, this is the shot you get.    The Colorado looks beautiful, but I know I can do better.......

As a calming factor, I looked for a live beautiful flower before risking life and limb for a "perfect" picture of the Bend.

Okay, I am closer, but...........

Yes, a pretty good shot, but not iconic.      It's not a continuous river of water.

 I did it.     Yes, I was laying on my tummy, much too close to the edge.     I extended my arms (with camera in hand) and hit the button a few times.

Wish we had gotten a picture of me leaning over the edge and RJ holding onto my legs (in case the edge broke off)       That would have been the picture that blogs are made of!!!

Please enjoy this iconic picture of Horseshoe Bend.     If you look closely you can see campers on the sand bars.    One of my pictures shows three boats on the river, but that is being saved for competition.   You can see a couple boats in the earlier picture.

Hope you enjoyed my efforts to bring you this iconic picture.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Monument Valley

We were truly in John Wayne country today.     This is where Stagecoach was filmed, along with over 100 other films.

In the 1950's this became a Navajo Nation Park and remains so today.    It is certainly done on a much smaller scale than our National Parks, but it is very well run.

This first photo is a classic shot of the "Mittens".

The sky varied a lot today.     We could have almost total blue skies, or heavily overcast.    The wind was with us all day, though.

There weren't many flowers, but these were very healthy.

This location really reminds me of many old westerns.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lake Powell

Although the water levels are low, Lake Powell is still a beautiful area.    In 1974 RJ and I took a white water raft trip down the Colorado thru the Grand Canyon.    It was definitely a trip of a lifetime.   We had always hoped to take the boys on this trip, but it never seemed to work out.   I remember sleeping on a cot under the stars, shaking out my shoes in the morning to eradicate any tarantula's or other creepy crawlies that found a new home.     We couldn't use soap in the tributaries, but the river was so cold we would have to shake our wash cloth to warm it enough to wash our faces.

We became friends of a family from Boone NC, but I lost the book with their name and address.     We have been to Boone a couple of times and always think of them.

One day we had a water fight with the other boloney boats using the large food cans from previous nights.    It was a great way to cool off.     Unfortunately, RJ was trying to aid in the cooling process by dumping a can of water over my head and it slipped, hitting me.    Ouch!

One lady's foot slipped between the slats and broke her ankle.    This was pre-cell phones.    She had to endure the pain overnight.    Once a day a helicopter would fly over so we made a large X in the sand with our life jackets signaling them to send help.

Our pilots/navigators had been in the stage play Fiddler on the Roof in Provo the previous winter.    We were entertained nightly with their beautiful voices.    What a treat!

Despite all the wonderful travels we have had since that trip, it remains at (or close to) the top of the list for me.

Many years ago, RJ worked at Skipperliner and we visited this area when they delivered a boat to Lake Powell for tours.

Emma, Kayla and Ethan, this is for you.      These are real dinosaur tracks.    Wish you could have been with us to see them.

This bridge and dam are a lot like the ones at Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.

What a beautiful area.    

On to Page and the treasures they have to offer.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Cathedral Gorge State Park

Cathedral Gorge is a couple hours NW of Las Vegas off Hwy 93.      Millions of years ago this was a fresh water lake.    You can explore the narrow canyons that cut deep into the old muds that millions of years ago were at the bottom of the lake.    You can even crawl through tunnels to discover hidden chambers in the network of canyons.       I'm not a cave person, so we skipped that option.

In the lower right hand corner you can see the sand path leading into one of the slot canyons.   You go up the sand incline a few feet and turn right.     I have been in other slot canyons, but this is the narrowest ever.

This is a partial view looking up.    Sorry, I don't have anything in the photo to give you a sense of how high up this is.    Trust me, it's really tall.      All of the slots we went into had this one smooth area.       Any ideas why?      It's not in the literature.

This is one of the slot canyons.    The dark area in the lower middle is where we entered.     The next picture shows RJ entering.

There are several forks off this slot canyon, but most of them end up in a small room/cave.      Still, it would be easy to get lost in the maze of slot canyons within the area we entered.

The tripod was an unnecessary item - there was rarely any place large enough to open the legs.

The winds are still active here, so the ranger recommended that we not take any of the hikes in the park.     It ended up being a long drive to walk in a couple of slot canyons and return.    Oh well, it was different from the other parks in the desert and it was fun exploring in the slots.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Valley of Fire - Revisited

Valley of Fire State Park is always a fun day trip.       Hope you enjoy some of my shots.....

"The Piano" is  an iconic photo spot while taking the scenic (gravel) drive.

My favorite hike is from Parking Area 3 to the Fire Wave.   I love the red and white stripes that swirl this area.    Yes, I went down this stone face to the area below - I wouldn't want to do this if the rocks were wet!     A later photo will show me sitting on the rock on the left.

This is a natural slide that reminds me of a waterpark.     I would have loved to shoot this from a different angle, but again chose safety over the shot.    Sorry.....

I may never get to visit The Wave in Coyote Buttes, but I am told this is a good substitute.

There are many petroglyphs in the park, especially on the White Domes trail.    We didn't do that one today, but this was on the way to Mouse's Tank.

Mouse’s Tank is named for a Southern Paiute Indian renegade (“Little Mouse”) who used Valley of Fire as a hideout in the 1890’s after he was accused of killing two prospectors and other crimes in the area.  

There aren't as many flowers here as other areas we have visited, but this cactus sure has a lot of buds

This rock intrigued me.    It looks like four animals were immortalized here.    I see a cat on the right, a lizard at the top.    Don't know about the guy in the middle.    Looks like it has a "Marge" hairdo, though.    The bottom left looks a little like a lamb (but since it's Easter, I may be seeing things)

A typical view in Valley of Fire State Park

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Spring Flowers at the Bellagio

The Spring Flower Display is now open at the Bellagio.     It's amazing how quickly they can dismantle the Chinese New Year show and construct this new one.

There's even a Zen garden

This giant bird was a favorite with all of the visitors.

Here's a close up of the tail feathers.

Calla Lilies are a favorite of mine.     I've never seen such a large display before.

These floating (but anchored) floral arrangements were throughout the exhibit.

There were tulips in mass.

I love that they make these beautiful, peaceful retreats in the midst of the craziness that is the Strip!