Category Archives: camping

Moab Rocks!

P1060803After our day at Capitol Reef we traveled to Arches National Park, only to find the campground full. The timing of our visit coincides with the annual Jeep safari, and Moab is crawling with Jeeps! We ended up at a KOA with full hookups and a nice view of the surrounding rocks.

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We hiked in Arches on two days, then traveled to Canyonlands National Park. Both are right here in Moab, and the town itself is pretty cool, too.  The entire area is scenic and enjoyable. Not only have we hiked, but we have watched the rock climbers and the jeeps, all very interesting. I will let the pictures speak for themselves!

Jeeps in campground

Jeeps in campground

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We  are moving tomorrow, headed for Nevada and California, so I don’t  know if I will be able to access the internet for a few days. Will post when I can, thanks for reading.

View at Canyonlands NP

View at Canyonlands NP

Bryce Canyon NP and Kodachrome State Park, Utah

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon NP follows the plateau rim for approximately 18 miles of amazing views of the hoodoos, fragrant pine forests, and elevations ranging from 7,700 to over 9,000 feet above sea level. Because of the high elevation, the temperature tends toward the cool side, with freezing temps the norm each night.

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We visited Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce Point. Woolly Bear was allowed to hike above the rim between Sunrise and Sunset Points. Then he stayed in the camper while Charlie and I hiked below the rim into the hoodoos of the Bryce Ampitheater. We took the Queen’s Garden Trail toward Thors Hammer.  We also hiked some at Fairyland Point, which is a smaller amphitheater of hoodoos. There is still snow in many places, and we were pleased that the road to Rainbow Point was clear and open for us. We spent one day just driving through the park and stopping at each view point , including Farview Point, the Natural Bridge, and Agua Canyon.

View from Rainbow Point

View from Rainbow Point

On our last day in Bryce we took a twenty mile road trip to Kodachrome State Park along scenic Rt 12. The Kodachrome Basin is a spectacular area of towering sandstone chimneys. There are 70 monolithic spires, ranging from 6 ft to 170 ft in height. The color and contrast prompted the National Geographic Society to name the park Kodachrome in 1949. And yes, Kodak Film Corp gave their blessing to the name!

Sand spire at Kodachrome State Park

Sand spire at Kodachrome State Park

We loved the fact that Woolly Bear could hike anywhere in the state park, provided he was on a leash.  But, we have to watch him with the strong sun and high elevation to make certain he is drinking enough and not over heating. We hiked to Angel’s Palace, which had magnificent views. Then put the WB in the camper before doing a bit more hiking. One can camp at Kodachrome, but reservations are a must this time of year. Every site was taken! We paid an $8 day use fee to hike at Kodachrome. It might have been the best $8 we have spent this trip!

We wanted to add more pictures, but our campground wifi is not cooperating! Will add the Kodachrome pictures when we have better service. We are on the road today, headed for Utah’s remaining three national parks: Capital Reef, Canyonlands and Arches. Will post about them when we have internet!

 

 

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

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After leaving Carlsbad Caverns we headed north toward the Grand Canyon. We spent two days on the road and camped at the Flagstaff KOA for two nights in order to sit out another windstorm. On the way we drove through the Petrified Forest National Park. We sat out the wind storm and took care of laundry and hiked in the National Forest adjacent to the KOA while waiting for the wind to die down.  The wind was brutal, but at least we didn’t have the dust we had at Big Bend! I am still trying to rid the camper of Texas dust!

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We had a short drive from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, and camped in the park at Mathers Campground for 20 dollars a night, no hookups. Our site was spacious and gave Woolly Bear plenty of room to roam! Site 137 , if you are interested. Elk visited the campground each day, western bluebirds were abundant, and huge ravens were everywhere. We walked the  greenway walking/ bicycle path to the market plaza and the rim, about 1.3 miles one way. There is a free shuttle bus, but dogs cannot ride, so we walked a lot!

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We spent five nights at Mathers Campground and hiked mostly above the rim(13 miles) because Woolly Bear could walk with us. He was not allowed below the rim on the trails. Twenty five years ago, we had visited and hiked the Bright Angel trail into the canyon. Now we were perfectly happy to roam the canyon rim on a well marked trail with very few other people! What a difference a few decades make.

 

Western Bluebird

Gray headed Junco

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We had some mechanical issues with our sprinter van, and spent one whole day driving back and forth from Flagstaff for the necessary parts. Fortunately Charlie is handy, and in consultation with both my brother Bob and his brother Pete, the  RV was soon in running order again.

Our last full day at the Grand Canyon was spent with another short rim hike, a visit to Verkamps Visitor Center, a visit to the Yavapi Point and Geology Museum, and a road trip to Desert View, with a stop at the Tusayan Museum and Ruin. We hiked the watchtower at Desert View, then had to wrestle the wind on the return trip of 25 miles. The wind was gusting up to 65 mph, and our little camper is very difficult to handle in serious crosswinds! The winds died down over night, and we left camp before 7:00 am to head for Zion National Park in Utah.

Watch Tower at Desert View

Watch Tower at Desert View

We did not have cell service or wifi, nor electricity for the 6 days we were at the Grand Canyon, so this entry is a bit behind. Our temperatures have been downright chilly, sometimes dipping as low as 18 degrees at night. We are expecting the weather to shift to a warmer, kinder climate in the next week or so.

 

 

 

 

Big Bend NP

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We spent six days at Big Bend NP this past week and loved every minute of it- except for the wind/ dust storm we had one night!

Spring is a beautiful time to see Big Bend: the desert is in bloom and the birds are flitting every where. We saw summer tanagers, common black hawks, road runners, and our favorite, the vermillion flycatcher. After a day of exploring the park we would sit in our campsite and watch all of those birds plus the ever present black vultures and turkey buzzards circling over head (hope they weren’t trying to tell us anything!)

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The Rio Grande Village Campground offers spacious sites and abuts the Rio Grande River. The river access was a short walk from our reserved site 51. The site cost $14 a night, and was worth every penny. There is also a RV Park with full hookups, but the place looked like a parking lot and there was not enough space for Woolly Bear to chill, or us either. There is little, if any, cell service in the park and wifi is available right at the camp store, but not in the campgrounds. Hence, no blog entries til now.

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We spent our first night 8 miles outside the Persimmon Gap Entrance at a really cool private campground called Stillwell Store and RV Park. The hosts were charming, and the real estate great! No neighbors within half an acre of us, just how we like it.

Rio Grande near Santa Elena Canyon

Rio Grande near Santa Elena Canyon

We enjoyed the nature trail and both river and outlook spur trails, saw a Great Blue Heron near the boardwalk, and were surprised at how shallow the Rio Grande is in spots. We actually saw a fellow wade across the river from Mexico one morning!

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The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to Santa Elena Canyon is one of the prettiest drives we have ever done. A stop along the way at Sotol Vista gave us an amazing view, and we had the entire place to ourselves! At Santa Elena Canyon we hiked to the Rio Grande and Charlie hiked the Santa Elena Trail. I went partway, but returned to the camper to check on WB, as it was in the high 70s and quite sunny. We had left the generator on and the AC, but I worried anyway.  The next day we drove the steep and windy road into Chisos Basin, which was the most crowded part of the park, but simply beautiful. We hiked the Window Trail and also did the easy walk to the Window View.

Dust still in air after wind storm

Dust still in air after wind storm

Big Bend did not disappoint! If we visit again we will bring a Jeep so that we can drive the numerous dirt roads that our camper could not travel.P1050994

San Angelo State Park, Texas continued

Buffalo at San Angelo state Park

Buffalo at San Angelo State Park

San Angelo State Park has much to offer. It is home to the official Texas longhorn herd, has a small buffalo herd, prairie dog towns in both the South and the North Units, lots of deer,and plenty of raccoons. There are nature programs each day on a different topic(birding, petroglyphs, wildlife viewing, etc), as well as lots of mountain biking trails. They even have a section for equestrians to camp with their horses! Woolly Bear really wanted us to camp in the horse area, but that did not happen.

Love this ride!

Love this ride!

The only downside is that the Reservoir the park curls around is dry! The boat ramp goes into an empty bowl, and from the looks of the vegetation it appears to have been dry for a few years. We didn’t have time to find out why, but I suggest checking before you bring your canoe or fishing poles.

We took the opportunity to tour National Historic Landmark Fort Concho, located in the historic center of San Angelo. This fort was in operation from 1867-1889, built to protect the frontier settlements, and to patrol and map the vast West Texas region, as well as deal with hostile threats. It is a National Historic Landmark, and originally consisted of 40 buildings and covered 1600 acres. We spent time looking at the weaponry displays and uniforms, and toured the Barracks, stable, headquarters, hospital, and officers quarters. Additionally an antique telephone display was present, even though telephones were not present at any time during the Fort was active.

Fort Conco, San Angelo Texas

Fort Conco, San Angelo Texas

Medicinal supplies

Medicinal supplies

Hospital complete with mosquito nets

Hospital complete with mosquito nets

We will be traveling to Big Bend NP for the next week and do not expect cell service or wifi. Therefore Posts may be delayed.