Our Journey...

Think we forgot to tell you a lil bit about what sort of vacay we're on! Last September of 2011, Dad retired. He and momzers got an RV and decided to plan a trip across the country, visiting national parks on the way to Maine (where's that?) for a family reunion. That's a long trip from northern California! Anyway, this blog is now a record of our travels across the good ole U.S. of A. and even Canada - plus all the things we get to do and see! We started our journey mid-March and hope to be back in NoCal by mid-October - yeah!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Catching Up - Sammie and Avalon Style!

We'd like to start out by woofin' our "hi's and hellos" to our buds - we've been a mite bizzy in the last week or so; have tried to keep up on that book of faces (heh heh!), but we're not even doing so good on that one! So... this post is furry long - so fasten your saddle cinches and set tall on that horsie; we'll tell you some tall (but true) tales!
Firstly, the other day we got to go to a neat-o place called Ken's Lake, which is surrounded by red rocks (what else is new?), a waterfall, a sorta scary jeep road, hiking and biking trails plus the La Sal Mountains! Oh yeah... and a lake!
Here I am, first to jump in and I must woof, I look a bit like an old lady (like mom?) floundering about in there. I'm just lookin' over my shoulder for a stick or something to be thrown to me!
Then we DID spy dad with a couple of wooden ones...
After a few tosses, I had to shake all that water from my furs!
Then we had a little tiff over one of the stickies!
Then Avalon got zoomies! We spent quite some time there and then walked along a trail to see the waterfall, which was actually several falls - bootiful! (We got to wade in some of the lower pools!) For Part the Second, we're gonna narrate the tale we were told by Momma and Pa about their adventure into the Fiery Furnace - sounds sorta scary, eh? It's not too bad!
At Arches NP (where we are NOT allowed to go - so rude...), there are many places for humans to go and see so much beauty. We're all sort of on "gorgeouscountry" overload at this point, but find we always have plenty of room for more. There are apparently over 2500 arches in the Park, and our pawrents wanted to see some on a furry special hike - to - the Fiery Furnace!
As you can see by this signage, a permit is required for access; either one has to sign on for a tour with a ranger or be ultra experienced in backcountry hiking. There were about 15 other people, and they'd all been warned not to go if they had a fear of heights or of squeezing through tight spaces in rocks. Also, there'd be some minor technical rock scrambling and boulder hopping over a few steep crevasses - ya think? Too late... Mom and Dad had sealed their fate and signed on!
So, from the parking lot, the Fiery Furnace looks like the above picture. A ginormous labyrinth of tiny finger slots that humans could easily get lost in, but not us, of course!
Here is our intrepid leader, Ranger Victoria Allen. She was most knowledgeable and taught Momzers and Dad tons of stuff using words we still don't get like Cryptobiotic Soil and plants and all the ways arches are formed and the differences between bridges and arches and oh, we are simply exhausted already!
So the beginning of the three hour tour (we're not kidding!) started at 3 P.M., on a perfect day. They spent a few minutes in a sandy wash, studying desert plants and THAT SOIL! It was neither too hot or humid (never here!) and as the day wore on, the sun cast the rosiest glow on the sands and rocks, making everybuddy look a bit pinkish!
The first arch they saw was "Kissing Turtles" Can you see why?
The light was playing beautifully colorful games on all the walls, just like the above picture!
Here's a boulder hop Mom did, using a helper's arm - Dad told us he jumped all by hisself!
Here's Mom and Dad going through "Crawl-Through" arch, which technically isn't an arch yet, cause it has to be three feet tall/wide, but for the day, it was a "baby arch."
Another canyon later, the pawrents experienced "Walk-Through Bridge." The difference between an arch and a bridge is how they are formed. A natural bridge is formed mostly by water running through it and an arch is formed by the erosion of sand grains, little by little, in the weakest point of a cliff (that becomes an arch). Mom's fave ) definition is: "An arch spans a valley of erosion."
At any rate, here's Mom listening to a talk and then watching a demo of Ranger Allen doing the "Penguin" walk over a crack in the rock - a sorta climbing move.
She's so coordinated!
After everybody got across the crack, they ended up in a rock alcove that had a huge pothole in it - and several really small potholes as well. And also...
TWO incredibly cool arches! Known as Skull Arch, the pair, together with the rest of the wall, look more like their namesake upside down, than rightside-up heh heh!
We loves this shot of silhouetted Dad in a slot!
Here he is, strolling two more bootiful cliff walls. By this time, it's prolly about 5:15 P.M. The rocks are really starting to glow, although you can't tell in all the images.
And as he and Mom pad along on some cliffy slickrock, look what they see up above as they head into the alcove!
Perfectly named: "Surprise Arch!" It spans 63 feet, but da folks never learned how tall it was - we'll find out for you if ya like! Well... all good things must come to and our pawrents would love to thank Ranger Allen for all her fabuloso teachings and - wait! There IS more! (For more reading on this amazing place, please press HERE!)

If you can't see movie: press here.
Yesterday, Momz and Dadzers took US for a pawesomely cool hike!
And this pitchur above shows a little of where it took place. The name of this Canyon has a most unfortunate name. As the author of an article on GOMOAB.com wrote,"On a politically correct scale of 1 - 10, Negro Bill Canyon gets a 1." Please read more about this beautiful place with its important history HERE.
.We have to woof at you all about something... there are at least a million lizards here and we found several of those. Above, I am scoping one out.
Above, Avalon in action as she thinks about it... then pounces.
If you are a boy doggeh, you might not want to lift your leg here.
Momma could not find out the names of the purple flowers, but thinks they must be from the Pea or Snapdragon families. The white flowers are Apache Plume and smelled just heavenly. We loved the caterpillar and mom like the way the spider web glittered in the sun...
Avalon loved the cool waters along our hike... it was getting over 85 degrees out in the sun! The trail was lovely and shaded with this stream all along the way...
I loved to dip my claws and paws in the river, then come running out onto the soft red sands.
This was our fave pool to swim in - so fantabulous to cool off in!
We finally rounded a bend in the canyon to see a cairn and THAT in the distance! Morning Glory Bridge - isn't it spectacular?
If you can't see this vid: press movie -
We just love this area and wish we could stay here longer! Still... we get a week more - yayhoooooo!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Winds, Sands and Snows at Capitol Reef

We arrived here all excited about a week ago - the weather was beautiful and our campsite overlooked some of the prettiest red rock cliffs you ever saw! Behind these mesas are high wooded mountains, the tops of which were covered with the last of the winter snows. Beautiful.
Mom and Dad took us to some nearby BLM land by Sand Creek to run and play - we had such a great time chasing down our kong and bumper - you can't see the pretty landscape in this shot, but we're running towards the wild high desert! Next day, after (yawn... another) windy night, we loaded up the truck with lunchables and treats and stuff...

And headed out to Capitol Reef NP, which is about 10 miles away. Momz and Dadzers checked out the Visitor's Center and learned that this park also goes by the funny name, Waterpocket Fold. Even if you climb the highest peak here, you can't see this "reef/fold" - you have to almost be in outer space to see it - check it out here. It's a long, skinny park, as you can see! So... we decided to familiarize ourselves with Cap. Reef by truck - first driving the nine miles down Highway 24 and enjoying the lovely Fremont River that creates a super pretty valley full of cottonwood trees and orchards (will explain that in a bit).

Our first stop was a visit to the petroglyphs - attributed to the Fremont and ancestral Puebloans, who etched pictures with triangular shapes - can you see the sheep? Wish we could have gotten closer for a better photo!
We had a great time examining some of the beautiful qualities of the rock formations here - domes and look at this - above! It's called the Cassidy Arch and you can hike a super tough trail to get there, or check it out from a cool canyon ride down a dirt road to Capitol Gorge, which is beautiful! When we leave for Moab tomorrow, we'll explain more about arches; there are two ways that they are formed! You won't believe this, but Cassidy (named after Butch Cassidy) Arch was formed over millions of years with the erosion of a weak part of what was once a cliff - grain by GRAIN of sand! Wow!
Okay... so this was cool! Part of the park is called the Fruita Historic District, where Mormon pioneers - only about ten families - arrived in the later 1800s and planted orchards of various fruits and nuts. The park service still takes care of these beautiful orchards. Above: we loved the barn, field and horses against those red cliffs!
This is part of the road to Capitol Gorge - there are what we decided were "slot canyons" for cars - the tall, high cliffs were barely far enough apart to accomodate our truck! This was one place where there was a ginormous overhang.
Waiting for homemade vanilla ice cream at the historic Fruita store. It was charming with all old fashioned things and old canned goods!
The next day, it rained and was windy and all the roads that are not paved (which are the places we needed to get to) are basically off-limits when wet. See, they cross washes which can flood in a heartbeat and drown you, so we decided to take a road trip...
... to Lake Powell!
It was a long drive to get to warmer weather and the beach (what a red beach!), but so worth it!
Dad threw us sticks into Lake Powell and we were all enthusiastic and happy to oblige their return heheh!
Avalon has a mighty swell CORE to be able to balance on that log so well, doesn't she? Not sure I, Sammie, could do that!
Later, on the way back to windyland, Mom took this pic of the Fremont River, flowing through Capitol Reef NP.
We've really been "doing" lots of weather down here, but we're still trying to stir up that lemonade from this lemonish "weather" we're bein' dealt! Yesterday, we woke up to snow - yeah...not in the mountains even - right out our window - in the valley of Torrey! Mid-April!
The snows didn't stick very well, but we decided to go up Highway 12 to the mountains.
This was a pretty little pull-off we found with a stream and everything. Moi, Sammie, immediately put my nose to work. Mom helped me tell the story as it happened.
Yeah... so I needed to chase my sis, Avalon, to get back what was rightfully mine... but Mom put me in the truck, cause I'm a good girl and come when I'm called! (OOOOPs - my bad! Didn't catch Mom's boo boo - that second pic, top is Avalon, not me! Avalon is furry quick to steal my "sticks"!!!)
It took some time for Avalon to join me in the back seat. Mom and Dad were not pleased at what we'd been so very interested in. They thought it was a stick!

Look how pleased my sissie looks!
At the next stop, Mom and Dad made sure we were chomping or chasing the real thing...
On the way down the mountain, we saw these guys...
...and this pretty cool (and dramatically lit) view! Ciao!