Tuesday, October 13, 2009

National Parks, Thank you Ken Burns

Pam Pennick of "Digging" invited garden bloggers to share their National Park experiences with each other as nature loving beings in light of Ken Burns' series The National Parks. It's really nice going through these photos again, as this trip was in the summer of '08. Hubby and I took our two teen aged daughters on a drive out West that none of us will ever forget. This past wretchedly hot summer didn't afford us a vacation as I spent the summer sweating over my garden and stressing about each lost little plant. Next summer we're going to hit the road again.

The beans at Mesa Verde
We got rid of our Television last spring. It was a management decision which was not popular with the teens, but everyone is in school and it was cutting into what we call 'real' family time.
So, I was bummed when the series came on and I couldn't get it clear on my computer. I did however watch the intro and saw the beautiful Great White One, Denali, my daughters name and my old view from Solitude Way in Fairbanks...on a rare clear day. We've put the series on our queue for Netflix.
The canyon views are spectacular. We stayed in the lodge inside the park, which wasn't really that great but being inside the park at sunrise, having a cup of coffee on the roof and watching the sun creep over the valley made the overly priced, modest accommodations worthwhile.

I don't remember which house this was. We stayed for just 2 days and saw 3 houses and took in a hike, then hit the road.

The girls had a blast climbing around and all the arguing in the car seemed to melt away. That summer, the gas prices were ridiculous so, needing a new car anyway, we got a little Civic...no TV on the back of the seat, no cell phones, no i-pods. We went old-school...which was wonderful in many ways. We listened to several books on tape and talked, but we did have to institute the "don't cross this line" rule but the close quarters made the majesty of the landscape even more humbling.

A little like passing in the hall at our tiny Crestview home.
Too close for comfort.

I walked right into this branch! It took me a minute to realize the worms, I thought it was some kind of yellow fruit at first! Then, yikes!

The return of foliage after a fire is a spooky scene. When I first moved to Santa Barbara I remember driving through the San Marcos pass and seeing the same bareness above the new growth and not knowing what had happened wondering what strangeness is this?

One of the vista's on the drive back down the Mesa.

We stopped every time anyone in the car wanted to. That was something both of our parents didn't honor and we wanted to take our time, investigate, commune.

Denali taking in the view at Glen Canyon

Bryce Canyon wasn't our first stop. We went to Natural Bridges National Monument and saw the second largest land bridge in the U.S. and got lost taking what was supposed to be a 45minute -1 hour hike...which ended up taking half the day. I left my camera in the car, but Autumn got some stunning shots.

We camped at Bryce Canyon, and it ended up being the wrong thing to do...it rained and dropped down into the 50's and we froze! But...you don't usually sleep in when it's that cold...well, I don't, so Greg and I hiked up to the lodge for a coffee and sunrise.

We are going to make it a point to visit this place in the winter. It's the melting snow that creates the hoodoos...and I can imagine the deafening silence.

The sunset was equally stunning.

This was my favorite shot of the trip. These rocks are pure magic.

The once again happy beans when we are leaving...the camping was hard on 'em.

A few times in my life I've either lived in or spent some time in some pretty desolate places. They hold a dear spot in my heart and it seems impossible to capture the vastness in one little photo.

View of the Colorado River from Navajo Bridge.

We were dodging rain the entire time. This is a shot taken at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

North Rim, Grand Canyon, sunset.
Love that pink.

The girls hiking at Zion National Park.

We took the bus tour at Zion and ended up camping two days. We fell in love with this place and it wasn't as crowded as the Grand Canyon and it was on the great lawn that we caught up with folks we'd been seeing at every point of our drive, and made friends.

The walls are so steep that you feel like you're in a fortress. The sky was clear at night and the stars amazing.

Zion National Park.

Our scariest hike was on a trail that had a sign that read "This trail may cause death" it was too much for my daredevil daughter...I ended up staying behind half way through with my youngest, who's named after the largest Mountain in North America...and is afraid of heights.
We passed this owl both ways, but on the way back...he was awake, and seemingly fine with our presence.

We hit Vegas for a short 8 hours. After a week of gorgeous, the glitter, gluttony and cigarette smoke sent us on to the Pacific. Greg, had never been past West Texas when we started our drive. Here he is at Laguna Beach on a grey, wet day. The girls we dropped at Disney Land...which was a fabulous call on our part. We all had a great time.

Our stay in California was brief, but we hit some good stuff...showed the girls UCLA, Venice Beach, Laguna, spent some time driving around. I was voted down on my idea to visit the Getty...since I'd already been and time was short. We hit Joshua Tree, and Seguaro National Park on our loop back.

Autumn parting the rocks with her super human strength!

We timed the trip to end up at White Sands National Monument on the full moon. There is a full moon party each month that I'd been wanting to attend since I was a kid. Turns out we camped in the worst lightning storm ever! It was on all four sides and we spent the night holding the tent down, and praying that we would make it through. The camp rangers found us around 2:30am. and offered to open the gates for us to leave, but by then the clouds had cleared and the gypsum sands were glowing in the moonlight. The party was cancelled but there we were seeming to walk on the face of the moon. It was awesome. He left, the rain came back and we suffered through until morning, when...by then we were too exhausted to hit Carlsbad and Balmorea as planned. We sacked out in a hotel and sped home.
When we arrived, in spite of having a friend stay at our home to care for the dogs, chickens, cats and greens we were amazed by the heat damage. That's why I didn't dare leave this summer...and also why I won't be volunteering to be on any Fall garden tours again!
The road is calling...
Happy Gardening!


Pam/Digging said...

The road IS calling. Cheryl. What a great road trip--thanks for sharing it with us. We took a huge road trip in the other direction that summer of the sky-high gas prices. Still, it's wonderful to be on the road, seeing the sights.

If you'll leave your link to this post on my introductory post, I'll collect everyone's links for a wrap-up post at the end of the week. http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=4332

Gloria B said...

Loved the pictures and stories, Cheryl! I took a trip w/my parents when I was 15 and then my son and I went west and stayed in every western state - most of the times in National Parks. We were gone 3.5weeks but that wasn't enough time! Thanks for sharing!

cat said...

oh what gorgeous photos! 3 years ago we took a 3 month road trip and zion was one of our favorite stops! simply magical..:)

i got your comment on my blog too...yay that my bro is coming over! he'll treat your windows right..he's a super good guy...thanks so much for calling him..:)

loved all your pics and stories..thank you so much for sharing..:)

The Curious Holts said...

OH, I was sooo there. Your girls are named Denali and Autumn??? That is just so cool. I wish I could have another baby just to name him/her Denali. sigh.

ConsciousGardener said...

I hope I did that right Pam! Thanks you'll for checking out my story/photos...I can't wait to head out next summer!

Yes, Michelle..Denali Blyss is my youngest and Autumn Sage my big girl...Salvia Greggi grew wild all over our midwife's property in Santa Barbara and I fell in love with it...

vertie said...

You've gone to many of the places I still have on my list. I'm trying to find pics from our trip out west via a more southern route. We also went to Joshua Tree and Grand Canyon but didn't get as far north as Bryce and Zion.

Annie in Austin said...

Some trek, Cheryl, with such great memories for your family. These are places I'd like to see someday, too ...your photos are lovely!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Cat said...

I love Bryce, not a big fan of Zion, but Bryce takes my breath away.