Deanie, Zachary, and I took a month off (May 4th through June 1st) to travel around the western part of the U.S. We took Zachary out of school (with a bunch of assignments to do along the way). We flew into Denver International Airport with all our camping gear, rented a car, and off we went.
Zachary kept a daily journal of our exploits - I've transcribed them for your perusal.
I present here our itinerary (as it turned out - we only had a vague notion of where we would end up at any given point in time). If the National Park Service has a web page for the place, I have linked the name to that page.
The small picture representative of the place links to a larger version of the picture with a slightly longer description, along with other links to the place (if I could find some on Yahoo or Alta Vista).
|Colorado Springs||Pike's Peak, Garden of the Gods, Cave of the Winds. Kind of commercial, but not too bad.|
|Cripple Creek||Mollie Kathleen (I keep thinking "Katzen", but that's clearly not it) Gold Mine - 1000 feet deep - tres cool.|
|Royal Gorge||Hey, something else 1000 feet deep. Look through the floor plank of the bridge. Cool bridge.|
|Great Sand Dunes National Monument||Alas, only 700 feet high :-). Took about 1 1/2 hours to climb and 15 minutes to decend. I live near dunes, and these are pretty impressive.|
|Mesa Verde National Park||Great cave dwellings (although my mother says Turkey has much better ones for Christians :-) ). Good hikes, as well.|
|Four Corners||Not worth it, unless you really like tourist traps. Zach's in all four states, here.|
|Canyon de Chelly National Monument||Who knew? Never even heard of the place, but a great canyon with some nice hikes. Navaho still live in it.|
|Grand Canyon National
|Words can't describe it, and neither can pictures. Unimaginable. Great hike on the South Kaibab Trail with a ranger.|
|Glen Canyon Dam||Great display of technological prowess. Incredible ruination of beautiful canyon. Oh well, can't win them all.|
|Grand Canyon National
|Completely different than the South Rim - you've got to visit both. Great hike on the North Kaibab Trail.|
|Zion National Park||You're in the canyon. Nice views of "Great White Throne" (named by Mormons, most assuredly with a different connotation than the one that this name gives us now :-). Great hikes on a knife edge 1000 feet up, and up narrow canyons on the Virgin river.|
|Bryce National Park||Great Mule Ride (get "Leroy"). Beautiful spires and hikes.|
|Capitol Reef National Park||Hard to describe. Sort of canyonish, sort of a wall of sandstone, depending on which direction you go. Nice hike up to the "Golden Throne" viewpoint. Very secluded.|
|Canyonlands National Park||Very primitive - great views of the Colorado and the Green River prior to merging in "Island in the Sky" area. Nice hiking, especially at "Salt Dome".|
|Arches National Park||Never seen so many arches in my life! What's the difference between an arch and a bridge? Great hike in "Fiery Furnace".|
|Dinosaur National Monument||Not a lot of dinosaur stuff, but what's there is GREAT! Some VERY good hikes - incredible quiet.|
|Rocky Mountain National Park||Unbelievable vistas of the Rockies. Good hikes in the snow near Bear lake, and without snow in the Moraine area.|
|Greeley||Visited Lee and Terri Devlin. Got a ride in Lee's Piper Colt with Zachary.|
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