Saturday, September 20, 2008


Zion, Refuge in Hebrew, should mean Oh My God!! What an unimaginable place so grand in scale as to be completely overwhelming to me. I spent about 4 or 5 days here I’m not really sure. Anyway the hiking here is just amazing, first they have a transit system to be marveled at, you can take the shuttles all over the park which really reduces the vehicle traffic. OK the hiking trails are super maintained and some are pretty difficult to hike. Steep and many with very scary cliff drops to the edge of the trails. I did a couple that actually had chains for railings that if were not there I may not have been able to hike because I am chicken shit when it comes to exposed heights. I hike to a hidden canyon that had the chains but getting past that was worth the hike. The dcanyon went on for ? miles and I hiked in about 2-3 miles with the last two hrs. being half climbing and bouldering up the canyon. This was one of the dry slot canyons and was just amazingly beautiful. The next day I hiked up the Narrows a wet slot canyon where you basically walk up the river at time up to you waist in the water. Believe me it is just as cool as you can imagine it. And yes the water is cold as !@#$% but oh so worth the ten minutes of pain before your feet get numb.
I did take a day off from hiking to ride at a place called Gooseberry Mesa, It’s a combination of Moab slickrock and desert single track. This trail was very technical in places with some of the slickrock sections almost impossible to climb on the bike. What a great trail though. The Rim loop trail that goes all the way around the mesa is about 12+ miles and a great ride. Thank goodness there was not much elevation change because the technical sections wore me out. There are some spots along the rim of the Mesa that you literally ride with your tires just a few feet from the edge of a 1000 foot vertical drop. I found it less scary on the bike than off, I’m not sure why but maybe if I’m peddling my brain cant figure out what to think about the drop? Unfortunately I forgot the camera so no pics of the trails this time.
After a good ride I felt like I could explore more hiking in Zion, so off to Observation Point another strenuous trail that goes up through another spectacular slot canyon to an overlook. It is all really so grand it can’t be described by me or the pictures, you just have to come here for your self.
The only pitfall to this magnificent place is the tourist. I include myself in this group. This place is easy to access but you can’t see the really cool stuff without putting on your hiking boots and working for it. I came on Labor Day and there was a mass exodus of people but it was still very crowded after that. On the upbeat side is that I met some really great people there. Chan and Jason were staying in the same campground, which was very nice by the way, rite in the canyon. We had a great time in the evenings sitting around the campfire talking and meeting others as well. I met a great German family that were on a long vacation, it seems that there were a lot of foreign tourist from all over the word there.
All in all a fantastic place to go I will return one day to hike all the trails I didn’t get to this time.

Snow in the Desert

Snow Snow Snow everywhere!!!!! In the desert!! Ohhh wait a minute it’s not snow it’s bright white,……..SAND Welcome to the White Sands National monument. If you are ever in New Mexico you need to come and go sand skiing/sledding. This is a pretty unique place. Just be sure to put sunscreen under your chin, the reflection from the sun will cook you! Not much here, just miles of white sand. Well been here have the stamp to prove it so now off to Tempe AZ to see my uncle and aunt.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A big little mountain in Texas!

The Guadalupe Mountains are part of one of the finest examples of an ancient marine fossil reef on earth. This extraordinary natural phenomenon formed around 260-270 million years ago. During this time a vast tropical ocean covered portions of Texas and New Mexico. Over millions of years, calcareous sponges, algae, and other lime secreting marine organisms, along with lime precipitated from the seawater, built up to form the 400-milelong, horseshoe-shaped Captain Reef. Eventually the sea evaporated. As the reef subsided it was buried in a thick blanket of sediments and mineral salts. The reef was entombed for millions of years until a mountain building uplift exposed part of it. This ancient reef complex now towers above the Texas desert in the Guadalupe Mountains.
(Copied from the National Park handout.) It seemed to be the perfect way to describe the mountains there. I stayed at the base of the mountain in Pine Springs campground for the night and hike to the “Top of Texas” or Guadalupe peak. This peek towers over Texas at 8749 feet. The trail is very steep with 3000 feet of elevation gain from the campground in 4 miles. I hope my legs will recover. The hike up was great the sky was cloudy with a few sprinkles along the way which really helped to keep me from dying in the summer heat. It being the rainy season and all I had a great view of a green and lush desert. There were so many flowers and grasses not to mention trees and shrubs. I hiked this trail with the park ranger that was the guide for my Carlsbad Cavern tour and a couple of the other rangers Mike #2, Steven and Dan. Mike was extremely knowledgeable about the Guadalupe Mountains as well as the Caverns. It was a joy to have a free guide on the mountain. Thanks Mike!
Now off to stay another night at the Wal-Mart.

Let's Get Deep For A While

Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico; What can you say about a natural wonder so grand, that when you see it you feel like you have stepped into a movie set of Journey to the Center of the Earth. I tell you it is something to behold. Mere pictures or words can ever describe the magnitude and beauty of this place. I would try but it would sound pathetic, so I will show you a few pictures and give a brief rundown of it all. The bottom of my chin is still a little sore from it hitting the cave floor so many times. Around every corner is a formation that is awe inspiring and so beautiful that it makes you feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I suggest that when you go, and you should go, that you take a guided tour of one or more of the special caverns that are not open to the general public. The guides are very informed and give a great history of the cavers. I loved it!
So now it’s off to the Guadeloupe Mountains for some hiking.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Where are the Space ships?

OK Roswell New Mexico is a bust. I did however stay at a nice little campground, very clean and Quiet. I did ride my bike the 4 miles into town and searched in vain for the Aliens, I did find the UFO museum which was actually pretty cool. They have a lot of info about the 1946 Roswell crash and it seems to me that the government is hiding something from us. I know you wouldn't believe something like that. Any way it was a short visit and probably my last one there.

So up up and away, or at least I'm outa here.