Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bryce Canyon

Arrived at Bryce Canyon to a cloudy afternoon, so decided to enjoy retail therapy at the inn, rather than visit the park for a non-existent sunset. We looked at cute trinkets for a while, wondering whether to buy a souvenir. Then I remembered having expressed regret that we bought such tiny ornaments while in Japan, as the ones we have disappear into the enormous house we have bought. Not wanting to make the same mistake again, and egged on by both Pops and James (a Yorkshireman and a Scot both trying to make me spend money is surely a sign of something!), I picked almost the largest brightly coloured enamel kokopelli we could find (not unlike this one). It is quite strange that such a large and bright thing can look merely elegant in sufficiently large, dark surroundings.

Next morning James and I visited Bryce for sunrise, and then picked up Pops after breakfast for a more extended tour.

Pre-dawn
pre-dawn at Bryce

Post-dawn
Dawn at Bryce

Bryce Canyon

Post-breakfast
Aspen and a hole at Bryce


Flowers!!! at Bryce Canyon

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cedar Breaks

Unlike at RMNP no one made silly remarks about our attire at Cedar Breaks. This could have been because the scenery really is too spectacular to bother looking at people, but probably it was really because there were not many people there, and those that were there looked cold and like they wished they had our woolly jumpers, hats and windproof jackets. We even sparked up conversation with two cyclists. It looked like too much camping and high altitude had got the better of them, so James was curious to know what they had been up to. Cycling up hill for a very long time indeed seemed to be the answer.



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Friday, October 23, 2015

Canyonlands

After a regulation Moab cappuccino granola banana nut pancake breakfast, we visited the lower, south part, of Canyonlands. My dirt road driving non-abilities (and James reluctance to let me dent the rental car) stopped us visiting the actual Needles up close, but there was, nevertheless, some impressive geology.

In the visitor centres to these places there are fanciful hand-wavey tales of oceans going in and out, and things being uplifted and tilted and eroded. Note layers of white pillows which were once, apparently, sand dunes, interspersed with what was once, um, red mud stuffs.
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I suppose we were there at the driest time of year. The signs indicated that the eroded hollows in the surface usually contain water.
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Finally, the answer to one of life's great questions: meteorology + geology = art !
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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Arches

Don't know how people survive without breakfast, but we didn't want to hang around waiting for service in the one open restaurant in Dustville Dinosaur. Next stop Moab is the opposite; very commercial with cappuccinos on every corner. It also badly needs a bypass, as it has a roaring road ripping it in two. It was quite hot for late September (low 90s F), so we spent the afternoon in the pool, and headed to Arches National Park for sunset.

James and a tree

Sunset


The next morning we again left Pops in bed, and sprinted up to see Delicate Arch. I wasn't sure why it is such an icon of the region as it looks just another arch when portrayed pictorially. I think the answer is that it's not so much the arch itself as the location...
Delicate Arch panorama

But of course, I had a go at taking its portrait too. I can't decide which picture I like best, so here are two. It should have been better light at sunset, but Pops wouldn't have enjoyed the climb (he's robust, but still 85, you know! ;-) ).
Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Steamboats and Dinosaurs

Steamboat Springs, in Colorado is probably where people go skiing. There wasn't much snow about when we were there, so instead I enjoyed the hot springs at dawn. They were actually quite cool compared to Japanese hot springs, but they did include a nice swimming pool, which is not something I've ever encountered at an onsen. Other differences - the bathers were less naked but more more mixed sex. It was too expensive for both of us to enjoy this luxury so James went for a dawn run instead, upon which he met a family of moose. 

The Yampa river botanical gardens exceeded expectations, and were very colourful. 

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After enjoying all this alive stuff we skipped over to Dinosaur National Monument (which spans Colorado and Utah) to admire the long dead. There is a very impressive wall of real dinosaur fossils and a trail to go hunting for more. The layers of rock are tilted by practically 90 degrees, which makes it very easy to travel through time and admire the different fossils. I don't understand dinosaur fossils. Usually, in the geologic record, something the size of Stego's thigh bone would represent quite a long period of time. But Stego's thigh bone can only actually represent an instant... so how does that work then?
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Monday, October 19, 2015

Rocky Mountains

James says I must start blogging pix from our recent trip to the USA.

Day 1: RMNP


Rocky Mtns from Boulder
View of mtns from Boulder.


Bear Lake, RMNP
Took Pops for a walk round Bear Lake and ate lunch half way round. No chance of seeing any bears as there were so many people. Day was overcast, but pleasant nevertheless. Americans on a day out come across as really quite strange because they seem unable to walk past without making a personal comment about the most extraordinary small details in the person walking towards them - aren't they supposed to be admiring the views? I think it must be because of the gun culture. As you approach their alien fear kicks in and they instinctively check to see whether the gun you are carrying is bigger than the one they are carrying (that's just a sandwich in his hand, but maybe his gun is under his hat), and then comes the personal comment as a kind of cover-up. 


Aspen and mtn
Drove dutifully along trail ridge road admiring mtns and aspens. Onslaught of weird comments continued. One bloke, clearly panicked by James' knuckle duster of a wedding ring, asked James if it meant he was an engineer. Eh?! Others told me my camera was "real serious", but even so I managed to restrain myself from shooting them with it.

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