2011 Summer Vacation, Days 18-21

Shabbos (Day 18) was wonderful.  It was odd to be back in civilization again.

Sunday (Day 19) we left Denver and spent the night at the Walmart of Warrenton, MO.  We stopped at the Sternberg Museum in Hays, KS.  I slept in the car while Trish and the kids poked around.  We drove 790 miles, and managed to pick up kosher sandwiches at a supermarket in Kansas City:

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Here we are in the parking lot on Monday morning:

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Monday (Day 20) we drove 765 miles, and stayed at the Walmart in Clearfield, PA.  We were supposed to get all the way home, but the truck blew a tire due to road debris on the Interstate in Indianapolis.  The shoulder was narrow, so changing the tire was a little scary.  We picked up a new spare at a local Pep Boys.

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Early morning at the Clearfield Walmart:

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Tuesday (Day 21) we drove 270 miles from Clearfield, PA to home:

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So ends our second summer mega road trip.  Can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

2011 Summer Vacation, Day 17

We got up early to walk out to Landscape Arch, since we had to be in Denver by sunset.  The morning light was great:

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Landscape Arch, the world’s longest natural arch with a span of 290 feet, is amazing.  It has lost significant amounts of material in the last 20 years, so go see it while it’s still standing:

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Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch:

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“Race ya to the bottom!”

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Really, it’s not as bad as it looks:

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Skyline Arch:

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Our campsite wasn’t much to look at, but just getting into Arches’ only campground was quite an achievement:

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More arches in the Windows Section of the park:

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Looking North towards the Fiery Furnace:

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We left Arches shortly before noon.  When the kids were having their Junior Ranger books stamped, the ranger mentioned that she grew up in Oregon.  I asked her if she had heard of Hancock, and it turned out that she had been a camper there, though years after I was done staffing there.

We drove to Denver for Shabbos.  The drive through the Rockies was scenic, though it’s much more pretty in the winter.  We stayed with a wonderful family (name withheld for privacy), and had the pleasure of experiencing the Aish Denver community:

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We drove 370 miles today:

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2011 Summer Vacation, Day 16

We continued on the dirt road through Valley of the gods as we pulled out in the morning:

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Our next stop was Natural Bridges National Monument.  It would have been 40 miles shorter to get there via the Moki Dugway, but signs like this convinced us to go the long way around:

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Even the long way around had some pretty significant grades.  After checking out the visitor center, we decided to hike down to Sipapu Bridge.  Sipapu is 220 feet high, with a span of 268 feet and a thickness of 53 feet:

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Sipapu in the distance:

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Trish and the kids are in the lower right corner of the frame:

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Three frame panorama (click for full view):

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Long way up:

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Fun with the sun:

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Trish caught me working the bridge.  It’s all about the angle!

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The stream that carved (and continues to carve) Sipapu:

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Next we drove to the trailhead for Owachomo Bridge.  It’s smaller (106ft high, 180ft span), but it’s only 9 feet thick!

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On the way out of the park we met some folks doing the “Bike the US for MS” tour.  I found one of the rider’s blog posts for that day.

We headed North about 100 miles to Arches National Park:

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Delicate Arch at sunset.  As shown below, we were across the valley from the arch:

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Moonrise:

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Trish draws Delicate Arch:

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After dinner, we did a night hike to Sand Dune Arch.  The moon casts light on the sandstone above:

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Moon through the rocks:

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Big dipper:

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We drove 230 miles today.  Natural Bridges NM (B), Arches NP (C):

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2011 Summer Vacation, Day 15

Early morning sunrise at the Grand Canyon:

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We said goodbye to the canyon and headed Northeast.  Our first stop of the day was Navajo National Monument:

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We took a short hike to an overlook of the Betatakin ruins:

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Onward to Monument Valley.  On the approach, we passed Agathla Peak:

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Driving into the valley:

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We drove the dirt road through the valley.  It was amazing.

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Click on the panorama for a larger version:

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On our way north, we passed the Mexican Hat:

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Next we stopped at Goosenecks State Park.  There was a bit of scrambling involved in getting this shot, which is a four photograph panorama:

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We ended our day driving into the Valley of the gods:

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We found a nice spot to set up camp at the North end of the valley.  The nearest people were about 10 miles away.  I would have to say this spot was tied for the best dispersed camping spot to date:

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The next TrailManor brochure cover:

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The kids mixed water with the clay to make adobe:

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Trish relaxes:

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Moonlight over the valley:

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We drove 250 miles today.  Navajo NM (B), Monument Valley (C), Mexican Hat (D), Goosenecks SP (E), Valley of the gods (F):

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2011 Summer Vacation, Day 14

This morning, B decided to set herself up as an Indian princess.  I tried to explain the concept of political correctness to her, but I didn’t get far:

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We went to a ranger talk given by Ranger Bob Kelso, who did an excellent job.  Trish was very impressed with his pedagogy.  A cursory web search indicates he may have been the principal of the Grand Canyon School District at some point.

We took the shuttle to the South Kaibab trailhead.  There was lightning in the canyon, but it appeared to be moving away, so we started down:

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The first part was pretty steep:

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We turned around a couple miles down at “Ooh Aah Point”:

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Pensive M:

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The switchbacks we came down can be seen working their way up the canyon wall:

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Capturing this hummingbird was tricky.  70-200 2.8L IS @ 200mm, 1/8000 of a second:

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Switchbacks below:

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Next we took the shuttle to Yaki Point.  Here’s a panorama.  Click on it for a larger version:

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In the afternoon, we took the shuttle to Hopi Point:

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Gotta love the glasses:

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Tomorrow, we say goodbye to Grand Canyon.

Not much driving today.  Huzzah!  South Kaibab Trailhead (B), Yaki Point (C), Hopi Point (D):

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