Tuesday, April 13, 2021

2021.04.13 Lees Ferry and Marble Canyon, Arizona

    Lees Ferry is the only place within Glen Canyon where you can drive to the Colorado River, right up to the first rapid of the Grand Canyon. Adventurous river runners launch their boats here for multi-day trips down the canyon. We originally stayed at the Lees Ferry Campground but didn't like it much, it was just too crowded. So, the next day we had to find another place, this time a nice boondocking spot away from people.
    We've been here, in Marble Canyon, many times before and always ignored the Cathedral Wash Trail, since it looked boring from the trailhead by the road. This time, we decided to hike it, and it sure wasn't a mistake, it turned out to be a pretty amazing endeavor.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

2021.04.06 Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah

    We drove by this state park several times before, but never decided to check it out. This time, our main interest was small town Kanab, where we wanted to apply for a permit to hike the very famous trail "The Wave". One can apply on line about four months ahead or you can come in person and try the lottery drawing for the next day. After three days of trying our lottery luck, we realized the chance was very slim. Only 4 permits were issued daily for about 120 people who would show up every morning. In the end, we didn't get the permit and that is totally fine. We went to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes instead and spent a beautiful afternoon here. And the bonus was we found a very nice and quiet campground outside of the park for $2.50/night. What a great deal.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

2021.04.03 Sunset Crater and Wupatki Pueblo, AZ

    Another interesting park we haven't seen before. And we were pretty certain there was nothing left to see for us in Arizona.
    The Sunset Crater Volcano Monument is about 20 miles north of Flagstaff, mostly ignored by the crowds rushing to The Great Canyon. Geologic features like cinders, lava rock, and lava flow compose this interesting landscape. What a great contrast to the red rocks that we're accustomed to around here. We hiked a few of the shorter hikes as it was very hot day but it was still pretty rewarding.
    There is also another national park in the same area, The Wupatki National Monument, connected by a scenic road. There are more than 800 ruins spread around in the desert within this monument, but five of the largest are the only sites open to visitors. All pueblos were built by Anasazi and Sinagua Indians during 12th and 13th centuries, who had to leave the area soon after because of the volcanic eruptions. This unfortunate event left some pueblos in a very good shape, allowing us to discover the way these peoples lived.
    These are two more national monuments we never heard of, but definitely well worth to see.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

2021.03.24 Quartzsite and KOFA , Arizona

    Quartzsite is the most popular place to boondock in the west of the US. Many full timers spend winter season here and every year in January various groups of full time travelers meet to share their experiences and celebrate the lifestyle. The whole town transforms into a huge flea market and you can buy a lot of funky stuff here. It's quite unusual and unique experience.

KOFA National Wildlife Refuge
    The name KOFA comes from the King of Arizona mine located somewhere along the mountain range. Nice and very peaceful boondocking place, but not much to do, except for The Palm Canyon, the most famous attraction in the area. It is the only place in Arizona where native California Fan Palms can be found. The trees grow in a steep, narrow ravine which is in shadow nearly all of the day. Fairly easy hike gets tricky up in the ravine off the main trail, which we of course had to try. Luckily, we have survived.
    The second attraction we found in this area was "Koh-Kopelli Spiral". A spiral labyrinth scraped out of the desert floor, leading to a pile of rocks in the center, along with some trinkets left by people who visited. No one knows who made it, some speculate that it was built by a French artist. The unknown makes it even more interesting. And I have to admit that it was a lot cooler than I expected it to be.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

2021.03.18 Valley of Fire, Nevada

    This was our first visit to The Valley of Fire State Park which is known for its stunning red sandstone rock formations. The impressive landscape glows red for miles and is especially beautiful at sunset. Proximity to Las Vegas makes this park very popular and quite busy. And because we couldn't get a campsite at the park campground, it was unfortunately a fairly short stay. Nonetheless, we really enjoyed hiking through the beautiful and colorful slot canyons, desert vistas, and even a historic movie site where the 1966 Western film The Professionals was shot.