Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Journey Continues - South and Central Utah

Climbing, Exploring and Adventuring in Utah

A lot has happened since my last post and I apologize for the long absence. There are several articles I'm planning on going back and writing about later, but for now I want to post some pics and brief description of where I'm at now. About a month ago I left to go on this current part of my journey and along way have stopped in Bend Oregon, Mammoth Lakes California (climbing at Owens River Gorge), Las Vegas Nevada (climbing at Red Rocks Canyon) before moving through Utah.
On the road just coming in to Capitol Reef
I have been completely blown away by the incredible landscapes and natural beauty in all the areas I have visited on this trip. Each one is unique and amazing its own way. It's almost cliche to say, but we have almost an embarrassment of natural riches in this country - as if something as incredible as this natural beauty could possibly be embarrassing (it couldn't).
Cycling back to camp after riding and hiking in The Narrows at Zion National Park
It's also been a trip of healing for me personally and a trip of great contrasts. For example, the temperatures in Red Rocks or Zion National Park were as hot as 111 degrees F in the day and not much cooler at night. In Cedar Breaks National Monument or Bryce Canyon, the evening temperatures dropped to as low as 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Since I have been mostly car camping, the night time extremes have made sleeping a real challenge at times. I seem to be either sweating my ass off off or freezing solid while huddled under my sleeping bag and wearing every stitch of clothing I brought. Other contrasts that stand out to me are the outdoor recreation opportunities and tranquility of Red Rocks juxtaposed against the crazy non-stop gambling, lights and noise of Vegas just 10 minutes drive away. More about this later...
Flowering cactus in Zion National Park
Once my close friend and long-time climbing partner Matt left to go home after Red Rocks, I have spent more time hiking and cycling while taking in the sites. It gives you a different perspective when you slow down and see the world this way. More time to closely observe, appreciate and be grateful I think. More time to be contemplative. I feel so lucky that so many desert plants and cacti were flowering at this time and that I got to experience this incredible treasure.
Hickman Natural Bridge at Capitol Reef. 

Cedar Breaks 

Me at Bryce Canyon taking a break from cycling around in the park.

Sunlight and leaves in Zion National Park
Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Balanced Rock - Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Wall Street - Bryce Canyon

Endless forest of Hoodoos - Bryce Canyon
Amazing display of light at the end of my first day in Arches National Park
Although I managed to take quite a few pictures documenting some of the things I've seen or experienced so far on this trip, there were many more I could not get for one reason or another. I saw this unbelievable double rainbow coming down from the 9600 foot summit on my way into Capitol Reef, but it was a curvy long 8% grade and no good places to pullout and take pics. I have these images forever stamped in my memory however. The spectacular atmospheric display I saw at the end of my first day in Arches (above) was simply awe inspiring and changing radically from moment to moment.
I'm not exactly sure where this part of current journey is taking me, but for now I am in Grand Junction Colorado and moving toward Denver by way of Gunnison, Rifle and Glenwood Springs. I have a rough plan, but really the road tells me where to go each morning and I have learned to trust it. So far it has not let me down. Not by a country mile. Stay tuned for more...