Thursday, April 28, 2011

Angels Landing

A couple of hours south of Bryce Canyon is Zion National Park.  The colors of the rocks are similar, but they couldn't be more different.  The way the water flows through the valley meadows, the waterfalls, and the steep walls are more reminiscent of Yosemite, the GRANDEST park.  Zion is beautiful.

    I was here briefly in 1972, and in my mind's eye, this view is what I see:

Zion began a shuttle system for park visitors in 1997.  It is free with many stops where you can get off and get on to go in either direction.  The afternoon we arrived, we rode the shuttle to get an overview.  On the way up the canyon you hear the stories, marvel at the cliffs and the waterfalls, and decide where to go first the next day.  Since it was late in the afternoon, on the way down the canyon we saw mule deer, vultures, and wild turkeys along with our first introduction to Angels Landing, our destination for the next day.

First we took the Riverside Hike of 2.2 miles at the top of the canyon. It had rained recently, and the Virgin River was in full flow.  Then we headed back down canyon.  At one stop a ranger had a telescope pointing to rock climbers. She also told us that California Condors can be seen in the park, but none had been spotted today.

Then because our friend Chuck said it was a great hike, we decided to go to Angels Landing.  Remember that we had hiked down into Bryce Canyon yesterday?  Well, the wimp hiker that I am, wasn't too keen on the idea. However, I realized we would be going up first, then down.  I said I would go as far as I was able, and we began the climb.  Well, we climbed, and I kept going...up, up, up.  The path was steep, but doable because the trail that had been created in 1926, was concrete, not dirt and rocks.  Of course, it was too hard to think about taking any photos with all my puffing, pausing, puffing, and putting one foot in front of the other.  My eyes were fixated on the next bit to do and keeping away from the edge.  After some time and Walter's Wiggles, we arrived at Scout Lookout.  WOW!  We had climbed the major portion of the hike...nearly 2 miles up 1400 feet.  The last half mile to the summit was via a dirt and sandstone path with the occasional chain.  Boyo said he had had enough, but I was welcome to go ahead.  I did start out, but at this point I was too tired, too shaky to continue.  Maybe if we had not done the Riverside Hike earlier....

And after a brief rest, we headed down...which is when I could finally take some photos.

This is the beginning of the last half mile.  Note the sign about how you could easily fall down the 1000 foot drop-offs on either side.  I also did not like how there were really a lot of people on the narrow trail.

                                          Walter's Wiggles          

                                          21 Switchbacks

                                             Up Canyon

                                             Down Canyon

                                        A Backward Glance

                                       Are We There Yet?

"One Hell of a Place to Lose a Cow"

That is a descriptive quote by pioneer settler Ebenezer Bryce of Bryce Canyon National Park .  We arrived here after staying overnight in Page, Arizona and crossing Glen Canyon Dam at the southern end of Lake Powell.  It is a beautiful place formed from headwater erosion forming interesting shapes called Hoodoos.

We took a short hike downward, but you could go for miles and miles and get lost, just like a cow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Larry McMurtry's Archer City, Texas

Here we are in Archer City, Texas, home of Larry McMurtry, one of our favorite authors.  Wow!  There are a lot of books here.  This is book building #1.  That is where you pay for books you have selected from exploring buildings #2, #3, and #4. 

We had root beer floats at the local Dairy Queen that has appeared in several of McMurtry's books and movies.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lovers' Cup 2011

We Won!  We Won!  WE WON!  We won the C Division...the good news!  The bad news...we are now B players.  We think this was the 5th time we have played in this tournament in this division...just working our way up...year by year by year by year by year.  It was March 19 and 20, 2011, the 11th anniversary of the Lovers' Cup Tennis Tournament here at Lake Como on the most beautiful clay courts, a dream brought to reality by Steph and Mike.

It really could have gone either way.  On any day that we have played EJ and Ken, either side could have won.  In fact, they had beat us in our previous two meetings.  I don't know what happened.  It was so nice to have an official, Kim, keep track of the score.  I did not have to remember it.  We won 6-4, 7-5; that's all I know.

Congratulations to Bonnie and Fred who won the B Division, and to Libby and Carl who won the A Division.

We have been in Florida for just over a month now.  It has been a great time with friends we don't see very often and friends from California.  It is about time to say goodbye, but I just had to spread the news about our accomplishment...such that it is.