Archive for September, 2012

Red Arches, Blue Skies


In geological terms, the sandstone arches of Arches National Park are passing fancies.  But from my mayfly like view, they are old and will be there to amaze and awe people for a very long time.


Meet Skyline Arch:


We dropped by the pride and joy of Arches, and the state of Utah; Delicate Arch

The hike to Delicate Arch is not terribly long, but has an elevation change of about 600 feet.  About 6 times.  My father’s hip was not up to the trek so we dropped by for the distance view and then went off for some more off road adventuring.

Getting There

Step one of any vacation to some place is “getting there”.  It took us two and a bit days to drive across the Great Plains into the Rocky Mountains, two days of mind numbing Kansas and Missouri, which in retrospect were not as mind numbing as eastern Colorado, even Nebraska was more interesting than eastern Colorado.


I promised an arch, so here it is, the St. Louis Arch!

We didn’t stop to stare, since we were just passing through and only stopped long enough to refuel and take a potty break.  I also bought a Snickers bar while we were refueling.  While I didn’t really want one at the time I felt that it is always good to have a little bit of chocolate available at all times, you know, in case Dementors attack us or something.

Next we had to drive through Kansas, all of it.  The neat thing about Kansas is that as you go from east to west if you have an altimeter on your GPS (as most Garmin GPS offer these days) then you can watch as you climb from around 1000 feet about sea level to around 5 or 6000 feet.  Seriously.  That is the most exciting aspect of Kansas.

Well, and all the dead corn.  This year’s drought walloped Kansas farmers very hard and it was hard to drive past all those fields of dead corn with out thinking of all those people who are watching their livelihood wither in the harsh Kansas sun.  Missouri and Illinois farmers had it tough, but I think Kansas is where we saw the most stands of corn that were black and dead.

In the meantime nature offered us a spectacular sky full of ominous clouds, with out a drop of rain.

We camped our first night in Kansas at what might have possibly been the coolest campground of the whole trip.  Of course, I might just be biased in favor of it since I am a crazy cat lady!  There was a whole colony of cats living there, the proprietor of the camp ground said they got a lot of abandoned cats, so she rounded them up, fed them, had them neutered and kept them vaccinated while providing shelter but not making them into housecats.  TNR at work folks!

The darling little SweetPea decided she liked the looks of us and spent the whole evening at our site, once we had eaten dinner (and yes, I shared with her) she alternated sitting on my lap and my fathers.


Given that just a couple of days before I lost my dear Xerxes to carcinoma I was a more than a little grateful for a kitty to cuddle with.  Oh yeah, big part of the reason my blog has been so quiet as of late.  I wasn’t coping well with that.  I’m still not, though vacation helped quite a bit my home isn’t the same without his quiet, calm presence watching over it.  I plan on doing a memorial post for him once I can get up the gumption to go through all the photos of him and select a few to share with you all.

The next day we made it to Colorado and passed into the Rocky Mountains.  If I could live anywhere in the USA, it would be there.  We were greeted by more stormy skies, but it didn’t do more than drizzle on us for a few seconds.  Upon reaching a peak I looked out the window, and saw this arch.


Utah Roadtrip

I couldn’t take Chicago any longer, so I ran away for a bit.  To Utah.  It was lovely.

Crossing the mountains in Colorado we were greeted by this sight:

Once out of the mountains most of what we saw was scrubland, and hills.  There is something serene and beautiful about the open empty places that helps heal the wounds city living has inflicted upon me.

Our first stop was in Moab for Arches and Canyonlands national parks.  While the arches in Arches are magnificent, the general landscape was breathtaking and mesmerizing.

OK, I’ll be honest, I didn’t take many photos of the arches themselves, I’ll post the few I did take in the next post.  I was more fascinated by the contrast of the green soil and red rocks to be honest.

The red of the sandstone comes from trace iron oxide (rust) where the greenish tint to certain layers of stone is from uranium.  I kid you not, this is what a park Ranger told me.

Oh, and the dead trees, hopefully by now everyone realizes that I love dead trees, and in the desert they don’t rot away, they stand mummified by the arid heat until wind or fire carries them away.