Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Flower Photos

flowers 21

The scenery we've been seeing is so spectacular that it's hard to focus on smaller things. We've taken hundreds of photos, mostly of the grandeur of the Rockies, the breath-taking vistas of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the huge sandstone rock formations of Zion, and the amazing natural arches at Arches National Park. But the littler things, though maybe not majestic, also create the fabulous nature of the experience.

Flowers, tree branches, cactus, and other plants are a good example of the little beautiful things. Flowers grow out of cracks in the rocks on the cliffs at Zion; succulents and cactus grow in what appears to be totally arid sand, and they are everywhere in the woods and slopes in Aspen. Inspired by my blogger friend Jeanie at The Marmelade Gypsy, I've been taking close-ups or stepping back and trying to capture their images in the landscape. And now I've made a Flickr set from a number of these photos, from hikes, drives, Grand Canyon ATV tour, and strolls we have taken.

To see my 23 favorites of these photos at Flickr click on any one of the thumbnails below:

flowers 1 flowers 4 flowers 7 flowers 10 flowers 12 flowers 19

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last Rays of Sun

We watched the tops of the mountains as the last rays of the setting sun made them first golden, then deep red. Finally, the mountainsides were unlit and the clouds were pink. Then darkness.

Aspen is Beautiful

The mountains are indeed majestic! But I'm too busy having fun to post much about our biking, hiking, and other activities.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Arches National Park

Balancing Rock, Snow-Capped Mountains in the Distance

Delicate Arch from a distant viewpoint

Len photographing a Window Arch

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cycling in Zion

Bicycles are a perfect way to see the huge cliffs of Zion National Park. Only the park shuttle buses are allowed on many of the roads, and the drivers are very mindful of cyclists. This morning while it was still cool, we cycled up hill from the Lodge where we're staying to the Temple of Sinawava, the rock formation at the end of the road.

A mile of paved trail allows you to continue walking along the rushing river. This area has a fascinating little ecosystem with swamp plants and vertical cliffs covered with vegetation. At the end of the trail is The Narrows which we remembered as a wonderful experience from our previous trip, but at the moment the river is much too high to walk upstream in the river bed as we did then. The next photo shows the beginning of The Narrows:

On the way down we stopped at the Weeping Rocks where water oozes out of the rocks and drips down the rock face.

This afternoon, we decided to cycle downhill from the Lodge on the very steep road from to the Visitor Center. This part of the road is much steeper than the ride we took this morning: the road is above the cascading river. After the junction, the road is unrestricted, but there's a beautiful paved bike path for around the last 2 miles.

From the Visitor Center we and our bikes rode back up on the shuttle bus -- what luxury! We returned to the Temple of Sinagawa and repeated the downhill ride that we had done in the morning. Of course the effects of light vary throughout the day so we enjoyed it again.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Zion National Park

From Zion Lodge where we're staying we walked behind a now-small waterfall -- it was big earlier in the spring. We continued to the cliffs above, where shallow ponds are trickling across stone shelves and dropping off the edge. The sheer height of the cliffs is amazing.

We continued along the trail to a viewpoint above the Virgin River, which flows in the deep Zion valley. Below you can see the river and the rocky faces on the other side from the trail.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

my tired feet

The National Park and National Forest at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon afford a vast number of views of the canyon from different locations. The "rim" is actually a series of peninsulas or mesas separated by smaller canyons. We went to many of them, and walked all day. More later when I have better internet!