Saturday, August 29, 2009

Grand Teton

I took so many pictures while in Grand Teton National park that it took me a while to decide what to post.  I hope you like reflection shots, I do so there are quite a few here.  I stayed in the park at one of the campgrounds. 

As far as wildlife, I saw moose -

gt moose

Grizzly Bear (note this picture was taken with my camera at it’s maximum optical and digital zoom, so it’s not the best of pictures.  He was eating an elk, but decided not to post the one that I have of that),

gt bear


Red Squirrels (and other small animals), but this one was too cute to not post -

gt red squirrel and lots of buffalo.  If you ever want to be surrounded by wild buffalo (in your car), just ask and I’ll tell you where in the Teton’s to go.  I have closer up pictures, but I like the one with the mountains in the background. gt buffalo I also saw elk and pronghorn antelope. 

Now for some of the scenery.  I went on several hikes and below are pictures from either the hikes or just some of the scenic drives. 

gt morning

gt reflect 1 gt leigh lake reflect 1

gt bradley-taggert lake hike gt leigh lake reflect 4

gt reflect 2 

gt tetons gt leigh lake reflect 3I’m currently in Yellowstone and will be here for another week.  I’ll post about my Yellowstone adventures later. 

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area

On Monday, I went to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area for the day.  I saw that I would like to spend more time in this area. 

Below is a picture of Red Canyon.  The water is more green than the picture shows- even though it looks good as blue.  I attempted to play with the color in the picture, but nothing made the water green!  It could be that I don’t know what I’m doing when editing pictures!

flaming gorge red canyon

The cliffs were really this red – perhaps more so, but again the water was green.

flaming gorge 1  These are some friendly deer that I ran into on one of my hikes around red canyon.  flaming gorge deer

Next will be the Grand Tetons!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rocky Mountain National Park

I camped about 30 minutes outside of Rocky Mountain National Park.  I’m still not confident on my mountain driving or the power of my RV while towing, so I decided to camp outside of the park.  I stayed in Loveland, CO.  The drive to RMNP was beautiful, it went thru Big Thompson Canyon.  At times there was only room for the road and the river at the bottom of the canyon. 

One of my favorite hikes was from Bear Lake to Emerald Lake. bear lake 1 It’s only a couple of miles, but it is all up.  Coming down was much better!! The trail rmnp dream lakeup lead to Nymph, Dream and then Emerald Lake.  The first time I hiked this trail, it was cold and very windy.  I hiked it a few days later with much nicer weather.   On the day I went across the park (the road is 12,000+ ft high at it’s highest point), I saw elk, moose, marmots and lots of chipmunks.  I also hiked up to Alberta falls, but none of my pictures turned out very good. 


More Rocky Mountain National Park pictures--

rmnp stream mnts

rmnp water lily

rmnp treeline


Very close to my campground was an “Open air” space (I think it’s just a county park) called “Devil’s Backbone”.  Since I’m into rock formations, I found it very interesting.  I took the 3.5 mile loop trail to get a closer look.

devils backbone

There was a plant that I found very interesting at this park, if anyone knows what this is let me know.

devils backbone plant

I also hiked Gem Lake, which I found out was part of the RMNP.  I had read that it was an easy hike, but I don’t think I would have labeled it that.  It was 1.7 miles up and a lot of it was very rocky.  But it was well worth it.  The view going up was great, even with the clouds coming in.  The lake and surrounding area was wonderful.   It was a beautiful place for lunch, the picture below was taken from my lunch spot!

gem lake 1gem lake 2

One thing I had to do this past week was to get my hair cut by an unknown stylist.  This may not be a problem for some, but the same hair stylist has cut my hair for many years so it was a difficult thing to do.  Oh well, it will grow back and I’ll be able to have my regular hair stylist fix my hair in November!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Colorado Springs, CO

After Antonito, CO I went to Colorado Springs, CO for a fewCheyenne mtn cmpgrnd rv days.  I stayed at Cheyenne Mountain State Park.  My site was  great, it was on a mountain side.   The campground was a bit pricey, but was a full hookup park and there was a lot of room between sites.     Looking in one direction, I had a view of Cheyenne Mountain.  Here is the mountain behind my RV.  In the other direction I was looking over part of the army base just outside of Colorado Cheyenne mtn cmpgrnd sunrise Springs.  This picture was taken from the roof of my RV one morning.  I did get a good laugh – Just about every day I saw deer.  At my house, I considered them pest.  But when they are in the campground they are cute and I took pictures of them – interesting how things change! 

cheyenne mtn cmpgrnd deer

This campground has 20 or so hiking trails.  I stayed close to home and hiked several of these trails.  I also went to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs a couple of times.  It’s a free park and very beautiful.   Below are a couple of pictures from the Garden of the Gods park.garden_of_the_gods1

garden of the gods siamese twins

Off to Rocky Mountain National Park!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Albuquerque and Antonito

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged so this will be rather long.  I had very little internet access in Antonito (you had to go to the game room at the campground).  There was also no TV and no cell service.  It was nice and quiet!

Before I was in Antonito, CO I was in Albuquerque, NM.  While there, I visited Petroglyph National Monument and Tent Rocks National Monument (official name – Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument).  Petroglyph National monument is very close to Albuquerque.  They claim there are more than 300 Petroglyphs.

petroglyphTent Rocks National Monument was a bit of a surprise.  The tents themselves were interesting (see tent rocks national monument for info on what these rocks are), but there was also a mini-slot canyon that I really enjoyed. 


tent rocks 1

The “slot canyons” were really just a trail between the tent rocks and the mountains.  There were a few and you had to scramble over a few rocks.  When I saw this one, I wasn’t sure I would fit.

tent rocks 2 slot

That little slot just to the left of the center is one of the “slot canyons” and the one that I wasn’t sure that I would fit.


tent rocks slot

This is a closer view and I did fit, but when I turned while wearing my daypack it was a tight fit!  At the end of the trail there were several tent rocks that almost looked like an Indian village.  Some of these are just a few feet, while others are up to 90 feet.  Those pictured below were huge.

tent rocks 4

After Albuquerque I went to Antonito, CO.  This was a shock to my system.  It’s been rather warm everywhere I have been and for the first time since I started full-timing, I had to wear long pants!  Most mornings it was about 45 degrees!  It would warm up to the upper 70’s.  I stayed at the Ponderosa RV Park, which was right on the Conejos River.   In the picture below, you can just make out my blue and white RV to the right of the white pickup truck.  Fishing is a big thing around this campground. (Don’t forget you can click on the picture to enlarge it).campgruond

This is where I had several modifications made to my RV.  Mike and Lisa Sylvester (The RV Guy) installed 2 solar panels, a surge protector and better gauges for the various tanks and batteries.  I was also given some education on maintaining my RV. 

After the work on my RV was done, I rode a train, went to a lake and went to the beach (well it felt like that!).   I took the Cumbres & Toltec train.  This is a old-fashioned steam operated train.  They warned us that we would get soot on us and we did. 

train 1

train 2

I think they said that they were blowing out the boiler when the steam came out the side like in the above picture.  Not only was it interesting just because it was a steam train, but the scenery was great.

I also drove up to Platoro Lake. and did a bit of hiking.  It was a 25 mile rough dirt road to the lake, but just the drive up was worth it.  platoro drive

The next day, I went to Great Sand Dunes National Park.  At first it seemed like a huge beach.  But walking on the dunes is extremely difficult.   After making a few mistakes of trying to climb up the steep part, I decided that I wasn’t going to go all the way up and just walked along some of the ridges of the dunes, easier but still difficult.

dunes 1

dunes 2 dunes 3  

In the middle picture, you can see get an idea of the size of the dunes there are some people in the middle of the picture. – at the bottom of the dunes and climbing up.  

I arrived in Colorado Springs yesterday, but I’ll blog about this trip later!