October 2018
  • Day10

    Last Day -- In Salt Lake City

    October 21, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    We got to Salt Lake in late morning and spent a few hours walking around town, to the Temple Visitor’s Center, and to the State Capitol. I was surprised that the capitol building was open on Sunday, and more surprisingly, that there was not one security guard in sight nor was there any security to get in. The other capitol buildings I’ve been in lately have metal detectors and agents going through bags. The building itself is a classic state capitol, but not nearly as ornate and gilded as the Illinois or Colorado buildings. There were several murals of westward expansion to Utah, including Brigham Young dressed in a white dress shirt and tie pointing the way ahead through the wilderness surrounded by others who looked much less spiffy and more realistic.

    Since our Greek dinner last night had been less than spectacular, we were planning to go to a standard known chain or something, but our daughter texted that we had to go to the Red Iguana. So with her recommendation, off we went, for what was an excellent mole meal. Poblano Mole and Mole Verde were the two choices. Turns out we were lucky to waltz right in, since the hostess told us the wait had been more than an hour just a while ago. And when we left, people were again lining up outside, so we must have found the Iguana sweet spot.

    Not much left here in Utah for me except an elliptical workout and dinner. I saw a notice that the two Florida gubernatorial candidates will be debating tonight on CNN. Since I have spent probably more than a hundred hours this year working on amicus briefs on different Florida state law issues, I am geeky enough to want to spend my last night on vacation watching Andrew Gillum debate Ron DeSantis!
    Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day9

    Hunting for petroglyphs

    October 20, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    I had messed up the day of our return home, thinking it was Sunday instead of Monday. So we suddenly had one more day to enjoy Utah. I found that right on the way to Salt Lake from Moab, there is a canyon with endless numbers of petroglyphs from the Fremont and pictographs from the Utes. The oldest are from around 1000 A.D. We got a little brochure in the gas station at the junction and headed into Nine Mile Canyon, which is actually about 50 miles long. I was a little creeped out because about five miles before the turnoff, up on a hill on the side of the road was a sign that looked like a painted sheet that said “White men kill.” Because we were below the sign, I couldn’t see if there was a direct object to that lovely sentence, nor could we decide whether it was a statement of fact or an exhortation, but in any event it was creepy.

    The road through the canyon was all dirt till a few years ago when mining companies volunteered to pave it as part of their mining concession. There are about 25 miles of rock faces and if you look closely, you will see tons and tons of drawings. It was really fun, kind of like where’s Waldo — lots of walking up and down hills looking at rock faces, trying to identify animals. Definitely saw some elk, some bison, bighorn sheep, something that looked like a turkey. We met a guy in an orange truck at the first site, who really knew all about these sites, and so we just got in the habit of stopping along the road wherever we saw his truck. He didn’t seem to mind.

    Joe has suggested a Greek restaurant in town, the number 3 rated restaurant in Price, Utah. But a Subway is number five, so I don’t think we should get our hopes up!
    Read more

  • Day8

    Two more days in Arches

    October 19, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    We have had two more days of hiking in Arches, yesterday cloudy but today a brilliant cobalt blue sky again. A couple of times, Joe read in the car while I added a more strenuous loop, and he says Christopher Browning’s “Dismantling Democracy 1933 vs. 2018” in the New York Review is a must-read. So he was not wasting time while sitting in a parking lot, even though once I could have sworn that I saw his eyes closed when I returned to the car.

    The park is crowded, lots of families, lots of retired couples, lots of international visitors. It is good to see how many people are up for taking a three hour walk with some elevation gain just to see a hole that erosion has made in a rock.

    Last night’s dinner has to set the record for the best customer service ever. We went to a very crowded and busy pizzaria with a real wood burning stove no less, and found that the two tables next to us had turned over twice and we still had not gotten our pizza. Joe had a big bowl of toscana soup which took some time, but even so, we were starting to wonder what was going on. The waitress came and apologized, saying that something had happened to our ticket. Then the head cook brought out the pizza and apologized again. We said we were fine, not a problem, we are on vacation. Then the manager came to apologize and we told him the same thing. About ten minutes later, the waitress told us that our pizzas were on the house because of the bad service, but that under Utah law we would have to pay for our glasses of wine. Fine, but really not necessary. Then ten minutes later, the owner of the restaurant came and told us he wanted to treat us to dessert. Never in all my days have I gotten such attention over a late pizza! Forma Antica is the name of the place, and in addition to the service, their pizza was excellent. And tasted good after our morning hike as well!

    Tomorrow, we’re out of Moab and on the way back!
    Read more

  • Day6

    Day trip to Canyonlands National Park

    October 17, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 4 °C

    We have been lucky with the weather. Today it is raining and snowing in Bryce Canyon! I would have been VERY sad to have that happen, Bryce is just so amazing. Well, we have three more days in Moab and the weather forecast was for showers today, thunderstorms tomorrow, sunny on Friday. So, we decided to spend today in Canyonlands, another national park about an hour away, the thunderstorm day dodging the storms in the car around Arches, and the sunny day hiking in Arches. Sounds like a plan, but you know what happens to those best laid plans. That is something I have learned many times on the Camino, and I think it’s good advice for vacations, too!

    We had cloudy and some partly sunny weather from the time we arrived until about 4:30, when the showers started. At that point, there was one well known arch I really wanted to see, Mesa Arch, about a half mile from the car park. So I went on out while Joe waited in the car.

    We took three short hikes in different parts of the park, between 1.5 and 2.5 miles long. Beautiful canyons everywhere. The last hike, up to a huge crater, shows what happens when a large meteorite lands on earth.

    Maybe Thai food tonight if we can find the place that has been recommended!
    Read more

  • Day5

    Made it to Arches

    October 16, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 11 °C

    Today was our first day in Arches. It was about a three hour drive from Capitol Reef, through lots of very punishing territory. We stopped for breakfast at a breakfast diner type place that had John Wayne plastered on every available square inch on the wall.

    Once in Moab, we went straight to the park. The weather was beautiful, we are on a roll (though some rain is forecast for tomorrow). To take advantage, we went straight to the Delicate Arch trailhead. About a 3 mile roundtrip with some elevation up to the iconic arch that adorns Utah’s license plate. Joe got some more kudos from people at the top. No other people within a decade of him, I would wager. We felt lucky to be there, with the snow covered La Sal (?) mountains in the background. For the rest of the afternoon, we drove and stopped at various places with short walks to, you guessed it, more arches. With the bright blue sky in the background, everything was just beautiful.

    Doing laundry and thinking about dinner, but most of all thinking about how lucky we are to do this.

    PS. The sign at Arches said that discharging your firearm is illegal inside the park. Apparently bringing it in locked and loaded isn’t.
    Read more

  • Day4

    Last Day in Capitol Reef

    October 15, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 2 °C

    We finished out our visit to Capitol Reef with a couple of hikes and a saunter. First thing in the morning, Joe and I hiked the Chimney Rock Loop. Good elevation, great views, both of the chimney rock and the canyon it borders. Then once again my cooperative husband stayed down in a parking lot at the Cassidy Arch trailhead, and I went up to a pretty awesome site. A bit of scrambling at the end, nothing technical, but just terrific views. And thanks to the encouragement of a couple from upstate New York, I dared to walk out on the top of the arch itself, and have pictures to prove it.

    For our last park visit, we walked a few miles around a place named Goosenecks, with views of yet another canyon, and its Sunset Point, with probably the most complex and prettiest view of the whole park — all sorts of geology and canyons, pine trees, snow covered mountains in the back, just beautiful.

    Since we had finished our walking by 4:15, I decided we would probably have time to make it to Bicknell, about 15 miles away, to a pharmacy to pick up some medication Joe left at home. It had taken a while to get our pharmacy in touch with the Wayne County Health Center Pharmacy, but luckily it all worked out. The people were great, and when I picked up the medicine, I asked the pharmacist about the center. Is it a public health center? Yes, he said, it serves people county-wide. How is it funded? By the state of Utah, he said. But, he said, it it NOT a government clinic. Oh well.

    Tip of the day. Though the air is so dry it will crack the inside of your nose, here is one bit of advice. Do not leave the hot shower on for a while to add moisture to your room, or the fire alarms will go on. OOPS!!!
    Read more

  • Day3

    Another day in Capitol Reef

    October 14, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 1 °C

    Our second day in Capitol Reef was another couple exhilarating hikes that gave ample opportunity to contemplate our total irrelevance to the grand scheme of the universe. First hike of the morning was to Hickman’s Bridge, not too far but with a fair amount of elevation. We were lucky to have left the trailhead early, because on the way down we ran into lots of people heading up to that arch.

    Back in the parking lot, Joe kindly agreed to let me go back up and take another spur, to a place called Rim Overlook. More elevation gain, and great views. At the top, I met a couple from northern Minnesota. The guy could not contain himself — looking over the vast expanse, he started in on how the hell could Trump think it is a good idea to open this land up to mining????!!!

    After lunch, more walking, this time through a canyon to a place below a rock called Cathedral Rock. The views are just incredible around every turn.

    There are some petroglyphs from ancient tribes named the Fremont people because they had no name of self-identification, apparently. Some petroglyphs, some remains of deerskin mocasins, waterproof reed baskets, but not much else. The drawings on the walls that we saw are from around 1000 AD, which was roaring Romanesque time in Spain!
    Read more

  • Day2

    In Capitol Reef National Park

    October 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

    Today we left Escalante and headed to Torrey, Utah, enjoying the small group of marathon runners going between Boulder and Escalante in the Escalante marathon. I cannot imagine running up and down those hills, but everyone was smiling! We learned that Boulder Utah actually has two very well regarded restaurants, but we missed them. One of them, Hell’s Backbone Grill, gets written up all the time, we heard.

    The drive further on to Torrey, the closest town to Capitol Reef, went through lots of aspen groves. Some still had beautiful yellow leaves, but most had dropped their leaves. I never thought of considering autumn colors as a factor in a trip to Utah! We had great views of the Henry mountains and learned we were traveling through the last part of the continental US to be mapped and charted.

    We got to Capitol Reef park early and decided to do a hike to Cohab Canyon. Not as long as others we’ve done (3.5 miles), but the elevation was a bit harder for Joe. It took us up to a canyon with crazy rock formations all along. Good hike!

    We are staying in a “resort” near the park, with a much better elliptical than our first place, and a nice view. Heading into town to Café Diablo. And tomorrow’s high is supposed to be about 40, with night temps dropping into the (gasp) 20s! I was planning on 60s weather.
    Read more

  • Day1

    A day in Bryce Canyon

    October 12, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

    If you go to Escalante, do not miss a meal a Devil’s Garden. Kind of upscale, southwestern food. Very yummy.

    The weather report for today was cool and sunny, so we decided to go to Bryce Canyon. We had been there years ago with the kids and remembered it as very nice. But still we were wowed by the hoodoos and all the formations. It was just gorgeous. Joe and I walked a 3 mile loop, Queen’s Garden merging with Navajo Loop. Maybe not so long in distance, but enough elevation gain to get the cardio going (total of about 700 feet, all at the end on switchbacks). As we were climbing to the top, we were with a Japanese couple who didn’t speak any English. They were clearly trying to ask us how old Joe was, and didn’t believe me when I put up 8 fingers and a zero with my thumb and second finger. Then they shook his hand, bowed their heads, and made a big fuss, all in Japanese, though, so I couldn’t understand it. After a lunch at Bryce Point, we took the 15 mile drive along the park, stopping at all the lookouts and soaking in the views. All in all, it was a very exhilirating day. Snow on the highest points made it just a little bit more beautiful!Read more

  • Day0

    In Escalante

    October 11, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    So, a few weeks ago, I bought tickets to Salt Lake, bought a Utah guide book, and made hotel reservations in three different spots. That was the extent of my planning. Yesterday, we got in our rental car and drove about 5 hours to Escalante, in Grand Staircase National Monument, near Bryce Canyon. From Panguitch to Escalante, the drive was pretty awesome, Red Canyon being my favorite.

    We are staying in an overpriced hotel, but it was the only place in town with an elliptical trainer, and that was one of my non-negotiables. Rain was scheduled for today, so a trip to the Visitors’ Center got us acclimated and kept us dry. From there we just decided to drive and see if we could find a dry spot. First try, down a 14 mile dirt road, Hole in the Rock Road, to Devil’s Garden (lots of unusual rock formations). The plan was aborted at about mile 12 when the car was fishtailing in the mud. Then up to Boulder, where there is a paved road. Burr Trail Road went through a gorgeous canyon and lo and behold we found the Slot Canyon someone had told me about!

    At that point the weather had really improved, so we decided to get back on lovely Highway 12 and drive to the trailhed for Calf Creek Falls. WOW. Three miles out and three back, and Joe was a trooper. The path goes along the creek and up and down along some of the side of the canyon. Not much elevation gain, probably under 300 feet total, but there were a few ascents that got the heart rate going. It was really a beautiful walk and the falls themselves were beautiful. We talked with someone who had been there a while ago, and she said the water was just a trickle. All in all a great day, the majesty of these landscapes really puts you in the mood for confronting life’s big questions!
    Read more