Archive for August, 2006

on the road again…

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

i’m heading out tomorrow morning to take tyler to banff national park in alberta, canada…then a little farther north to jasper national park. banff np is canada’s first (oldest) national park and the world’s third. in case you’re wondering which parks are the first and second in the world (as i did)…number one is yellowstone national park in (mostly) wyoming…number two is royal national park, south of sydney in australia. anyway, we’ll be hiking like crazy…and i get to see my first icefield. i’ll post our adventures as soon as we get back in about a week.

arches national park

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

date hiked: august 6, 2006
distance: park avenue trail = 2 miles and the windows trail = 1 mile
highest elevation: 5653 feet
elevation gain: 320 feet
time: approx 1.5 hours (both trails)

park avenue arches np

the park avenue trail in arches national park was my favorite hike in the park. the trail follows the wash to courthouse towers where you can either be picked up or turn around and head back to the start. my favorite rock formation was the one above. i think it looks like three women…chatting away (which is why it is aptly named the three gossips). i loved it.

the windows trail is a loop that includes the north window, south window, and the turret arch. tyler thinks the two windows look like alien eyes. it was interesting that the two windows are not actually parallel to each other and you can only get them both in a picture when you round the trail loop near turret arch.

windows arches

monument valley

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

camped: august 5, 2006

monument valley

after a long day of awesome sites, we were heading north (towards home). it was getting dark…and we had almost completely circled monument valley without having stopped to take pictures. we realized we needed to stop and take some shots…and start looking for a campground. turns out, we camped at gouldings in the town of monument valley, ut and woke up to this view outside our tent in the morning.

mon valley campground


navajo national monument

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

date hiked: august 5, 2006

navajo national monument

the navajo national monument consists of several well-preserved cliff dwellings. i was very excited to have been able to make this stop on the trip. unfortunately, we arrived too late to take the guide-led hike to the betatakin/talastima dwellings…so we could only take the mesa-top trail overlooking the canyon. again, this is one of those times where the picture doesn’t account for the amazing view.

cliff dwellers

Friday, August 18th, 2006

date: august 5, 2006

cliff dwellers

cliff dwellers is a series of structures at the foot of the vermilion cliffs on us89a. it was a place where some white folk were driving through and their car broke down. they ended up staying. the structures have not been lived in for over fifty years. when tyler and i were here 10 years ago, we ran around amongst the boulders, playing hide and seek…no one was there and there were no signs telling you want it was. we felt like we had come upon a treasure. now, there are signs and people on the site.

upper antelope canyon

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

date hiked: august 5, 2006

antelope canyon

antelope canyon is the most well-known slot canyon on the navajo reservation just outside of page, arizona. you must enter with one of the established tours…so it is a somewhat expensive site…but imho, worth every penny. kelli and i had an awesome tour guide, angie, who took pictures for people and told everyone where to stand for the best shots. (you are not allowed to use flash photography in the canyon, so taking pictures requires guidance for the amateur.) even though it was one of the most populated sites we explored, i think it was also one of the most beautiful.

antelope canyon

horseshoe bend

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

date hiked: august 5, 2006
distance: approx. 1.75 miles
elevation: unknown
time: unknown

horseshoe bend is named for the shape the colorado river makes as it weaves through this portion of glen canyon. the hike (which is really a short trip to the rim of the canyon) trailhead is located just outside of page, arizona on us 89. it is an amazing site and requires a wide lens to capture (which i didn’t have).

horseshoe bend

grand canyon national park – north rim

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

date hiked: august 3-4, 2006
distance (total): approx. 20 miles – on the rim and in the canyon
highest elevation: over 8000 feet
elevation gain: approx. 1500 feet from the supai tunnel to the rim
time: varied – for the 4 mile round trip to the supai tunnel and back to the rim = 2 hours 28 minutes

this was my (annie) second trip to the grand canyon. it was kelli’s first visit. it amazes me that although i knew what to expect this time, new things surprised me…and the same things shocked me all over again. i originally chose to go to the north rim because everything i had read about it appealed to me. it is less populated, only open part of the year, and greener, without an imax theater. i was deeply affected by my first visit, i couldn’t imagine not going back to the north rim again. almost ten years later, i am sure of the ability to be “spoken to” there…if one is silent enough to feel it.

i was shocked to see the destruction the latest fires had caused driving into the north rim on hw 67. i knew the north rim had been evacuated just weeks prior to our visit due to the fires, but to see the forest covered in blackness is in such contrast to the surrounding green. that was something that still shocked me…the green. it is so green…both on the rim and in the canyon. i love that you drive through green meadows and forest…almost a tease of what’s to come. it is somewhat misleading…there is a deceptive trickery in it all, as you begin to wonder, “the grand canyon can’t be here, can it?” i like to pretend that it is the only approach that befits such a miraculous place…i like to imagine it is the entrance that is preparing your worthiness. silly, i know.

grand canyon

kelli and i hiked in the canyon to the supai tunnel on the north kaibab trail. after almost a mile, you reach the coconino overlook. it is one of my favorite places within the canyon. it is the place where i believe you can learn about yourself, if you are willing to be honest. the first time i sat at the overlook, i performed a private ritual. (i know this post must be sounding weird, but stay with me.) most people carry a lot of baggage around…they carry it so that it affects them consistently, along with every person they connect with. people don’t do it on purpose…but it is there. my feeling is…once in awhile, you find a place where you can set your bags down…and choose to leave without them. the coconino overlook is one of those places for me…it offers me a knowing, silent, comfortable reasurrance. this time, i felt, “yes, i know i left a lot of shit the last time i was here.” and then, “thanks…can ya handle some more?”

coconino overlook

mt rainier – noble knob and rainier view trail

Monday, August 14th, 2006

date hiked: august 11, 2006
distance: 7 miles (both trails)
highest elevation: 6080 feet
elevation gain: unknown
time: 4 hours

since kelli and i came home a week early from our road trip (which i’ll continue to post about), i (annie) took my son to mt rainier camping and hiking for a few days. i had never been that close to mt rainier before…it was a beautiful view. there was a lot of cloud cover, so you had to wait out the moments to see anything at all, but when you did…it was awe inspiring.

mt rainier

tyler insisted most of the time that although he loved camping, he still hated hiking. he said he was much better equipped to gather wood for the fire. he also found it disturbing that he couldn’t shower for a few days. i kept trying to tell him that he spent many young years camping with me and hygiene was never an issue. then, i rightfully get this response, “mom, i’m almost fourteen!” which of course is supposed to explain everything. he also is hysterically jealous of a woman’s ability to hide bad hygiene. he complained that my unwashed hair didn’t look bad…and then realized that hiding it under a bandana was cheating…in a ponytail…also cheating. i told him i’d buy him a hat for his birthday.

annie and tyler

we camped at corral pass campground and hiked two trails while there. the first was noble knob…a fun hike filled with wildflowers although we hit the end of the right season for prime blooms. we were there for berry season…which meant, look out for bears. we didn’t see any. the second hike was the rainier view trail…an easy hike up to a ridge with an awesome view (from the north) of mt rainier. we had a great time…tyler loved being in charge of the fire and yes…he hated the hiking.

capitol buildings

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

sacramento capitol building, date visited – august 1, 2006
carson city capitol building, date visited – august 2, 2006
salt lake city capitol building, date visited – august 7, 2006

kelli has a goal…she wants to visit the capitol building in each state. sacramento was our first stop. we had to go through security screening just like at an airport. it was interesting to find that they do not screen you at all capitol buildings.

capitol building

after visiting the capitol building, we walked the grounds and then headed to Old Sac. It was a great piece of history.

after sacramento, our next capitol building was carson city, nevada. this was annie’s favorite building. we also did a walking tour of the town…there were beautiful homes and buildings.

carson city capitol building

the last capitol building we visited was salt lake city, utah. unfortunately, the building is being renovated so we were unable to enter inside. i imagine it will be incredible once it is completed. kelli said she’ll have to visit again to go inside.

salt lake city capitol