Utah

Week Two: Bryce Canyon Nat’l Park, Utah

eGSWA_079 GSWA_083 GSWA_089 GSWA_091

Bryce Canyon is sort of tucked away, you must stop and get out and peer over the edge to see it – but WOW, when you do…
Behind the Bryce Canyon lodge are short hiking trails along the rim of the “Ampitheatre”, a vast circular congregation of stone columns called “hoo-doos”. Native legend says that Coyote wanted to punish the people for not doing what he wanted so he turned them all into stone. If you look hard enough and with enough imagination – indeed, the grouped columns do start to resemble clusters of people with heads and shoulders – some in pairs, some alone.

I arrived late afternoon when the sun was going down, it was a sunny 71 degree day, so I decided to pitch my tent and camp in the campground. However, not long after sundown the temperatures dropped fast and I huddled in my tent wrapped in my sleeping bag and piled with blankets. By the wee hours of the morning just before dawn (5 a.m.) the temperatures had plummeted to 28 degrees. Finally, I bravely put on my shoes and made a mad dash for my car! Off to the nearby Bryce Canyon lodge and to it’s cozy fireplace and comfy chairs to thaw out. What a delight! So much for camping in fall…

The up side is that by getting up REALLY early, I was wide awake and able to explore the park before the tourists got up. All the viewpoints were virtually empty, just me and my thoughts and maybe a stray Park Ranger or two. It was not until about 9 a.m. when I reached my final viewpoint that the tourists descended on the park. The early morning sunrise lit the tops of the rock formations nicely and I’m pleased with the photos I took. What do you think?

 

Week Two: Seque to southern Utah – Zion National Park

GSWA_041_HurricaneBnBHurricane Zion Historic B&B

First stop on this leg was Hurricane, Utah – my first venture into an AirBandB lodging listing. The B&B where I stayed was GREAT! I had a first floor room and first class service – cool room, great bed and sheets, a BIG welcome from my host Marla with wine & cheese and fun conversation, all at a very reasonable price. Isn’t this what travel is all about? Greetings, connections, laughs and crazy life stories… If you’re Zion park bound – go here! https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4135571

It’s only a short drive to nearby Zion Nat’l Park – but stop at the River Rock Coffee house on the way and get a great coffee, a yummy spinach & tomato quiche and a VIEW! Their back patio overlooks a wonderful Utah-esque canyon. GSWA_053http://www.riverrockroasters.com/index.html

First major hike in the park is the Watchman Tower hike – a 2.7 mile hillside hike – which was amazing! Between the blooming wildflowers (oh, how I love Indian Paintbrush flowers!) to the endless vistas – WOW. Wear your sunscreen, though!

As I walk, I generally look about for cool stuff – and find a collection of heart-shaped stones on my path. I collected them in my pocket and left them on a large stone next to the trail entrance – I hope someone sees them and smiles. Pay it forward!

GSWA_057GSWA_058_HeartStones

 

The Grand Southwest Adventure

ThelmaLouiseCar

First day to hit the road on the Grand Southwest Adventure! I’ve chosen to head to Barstow, about 325 miles away – the hotel prices are low and there are some museums and Route 66 things to do for Wednesday and Thursday morning, then I’ll leave to head to Las Vegas…then, on to the southwest for the Grand Southwest Adventure! I’ll keep you posted… 

Heading out from San Francisco through the farmlands – near Gilroy and Watsonville. The hills are alive – with poofy plastic poly tunnels covering strawberries and raspberries. Like a puff quilt of plastic, they follow the hillside’s terrain on either side of the highway. There are large farms ringed with cars and trucks, transportation for the many hunched over workers picking the berries in the open fields. Gilroy is known for garlic – hence, the annual Gilroy Garlic festival. One of the many delights of traveling solo is that I get to stop wherever I wish, without comment or discussion. The many fruit stands and produce markets along the roadside beckon and I hold out until I see…

The Casa de Fruta! It has a grand complex, filled with tourists and school groups and KIDS – a tipi, farm tractors, a merry go round, hay bales, animals and of course, a largGSWA_004e open market with fruit (naturally), nuts, grand bulbs and wreaths of Gilroy garlic, classic junk food treats and bins of salty & sweet goodies. Unbelievably, I resist the sweets and settle for some lovely fruit, some GGSWA_005ilroy garlic and a bag or two of seasoned almonds. I’d be tempted to get a big pumpkin to take to Las Vegas to carve – but I imagine with their temperatures, it’d look like a shriveled raisin in days.

Not too far down the road is a more rustic mom & pop fruit stand and while getting gas, I pop in there, too. There’s a vast selection of seasoned almonds, pistachios, dried fruits, pomegranates and other seasonal fruits. Deciding between tequila pistachios and garlic almonds – well, I went for the garlic and some rosemary pistachios. I’m stocked for the season! Spending the night on Route 66, in Barstow, California. More on that tomorrow!

 

 

Buy your copy today! Cuba for Mama: A Daughter’s Journey 2016

Like what you see? Subscribe by entering your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Pen2Paint Portfolio

Art Prints