The Roads to Chaco

I’ll admit I’d never even heard of Chaco Culture National Historic Park until I visited Mesa Verde National Park in 2015 when a Ranger on one of the guided tours said “If you think this is something, you should visit Chaco Canyon!”    So to learn that it was once considered the center of all ancestral Puebloan culture came as quite a surprise.   How could this ancient hub of civilization, just one state over from my childhood home, be a complete unknown to me?  After all the road trips of my youth across the great southwest, Continue reading

If A Tree Falls in the Forest…

NOTE:  Thanks for all your wonderful comments and support on my “Dear Mr. President” post.   I’ll get back to life in Mexico soon, but first, I have a few posts to catch up on, lest I forget the last days of my southerly winter migration…

If a tree falls in the forest and I can’t remember seeing it, does it still count?  If I visited a national park but can’t remember a thing about it, does it still count?

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a national park junkie.   I have lofty aspirations to visit all 59 with the official “Park” status. Continue reading

One Last Look Over the Rim

Just how long can one stretch out a story about the Grand Canyon, one might ask?  Well, longer than the average visitor spends on the edge of the rim…

I decide to stay one more day on the snowy South Rim, after all, no one seems to notice that the Winnie is taking up space in the empty Backcountry Office parking lot.  Continue reading

It’s All About the Layers

The “wake up knock” comes on the Phantom Ranch women’s dorm door at 5:00am.   I’ve signed up for the 5:30am early breakfast in order to get on the trail as early as possible.   The sun doesn’t rise until 7:15, so this will mean hiking for about an hour in the dark, but I figure it’s better to put in the dark time at the bottom of the canyon rather than risk having to hike in the dark at the top where it’s covered in snow and ice. Continue reading

The Ranch to Ribbon Falls

I make it to Phantom Ranch’s Canteen in plenty of time to down a couple of beers before they close at 4:00pm to prepare for the evening meals. But first, Kate, the bartender/hostess/receptionist/wait staff tells me to go to the dorm first to secure my spot.  “Pick any available bed that has a towel folded on it.”  It’s late in the afternoon, so I am thinking I’ll be lucky if I can secure a lower bunk.  Continue reading

Lees Ferry, Lake Havasu Latkes, and Leaning Toward the Ledge

Once back from my white knuckle drive from White Pocket, the rains roll in right on cue, just as forecasted.   I am feeling a great deal of gratitude for making it back safely without getting stuck.    Rain on the 10 mile sandy stretch could possibly help pack down the loose sand, but the rest of the road is likely to be a muddy mess. Continue reading

The Haunting and Daunting White Pocket

Back in 2014 during a visit to the Zion National Park Visitor Center, I opened up one of those fancy coffee table books with the slick pages touting the top scenic destinations in southern Utah.  As I typically do, I thumbed through the pages mentally checking off those I’ve seen, while evaluating the “Wow factor” of those I haven’t.   Most of the glossy, full page photos were of places Continue reading

Going It Alone

I write a lot about the physical aspect of going it alone on this blog, but rarely delve into the emotional aspect.  People often recoil at the notion that I am traveling/hiking/biking/kayaking/RVing alone.  I recently had a man stop me on the trail just to ask if I was hiking alone.  He remarked that he was seeing more and more solo women on the trail, and did I think it was because of “the book?”   I replied perhaps, but I have been hiking solo 20 years before Cheryl Strayed wrote the “Wild.”  In fact, traveling alone is Continue reading

Seeing Zion in a Different Light

I only planned to stop in Zion for a few days, just long enough to say a quick “hello” to my friends and revisit a few of my favorite places.  I came with my usual “list:” Ride my bike to the end of the road, stopping for soft serve ice cream at Zion Lodge.  See a couple of movies.  Spend time with my favorite cottonwoods along the Virgin River as they turn from green to gold.  And hike at least one trail I’ve never hiked before.    But once I arrived, so did Indian Summer.  Continue reading

Red Rocks Revisited

Even though I set my intentions to see “all new things” on my southerly migration this year, there are a few favorite stops that I just can’t bypass, one of which is my favorite state park in the little Snow Canyon just outside of St. George, Utah.

I first visited Snow Canyon while staying at the Red Mountain Resort back in 2006 for Thanksgiving weekend as a “spa getaway.”   I took several of the guided hikes from the resort which sits at the gateway to the state park.  It was my first experience ever hiking slick rock, and my first time to ever hear “trust your shoes.”   I can still remember Continue reading