Let’s Take a Trip to Canyonlands National Park

Decisions! Decisions! Where will the road lead next? Should we stay a while longer in Utah? Or should we move along?

The postcard I received just days ago urges us to visit the Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah, so we’ll remain in Utah a little longer.

Canyonlands National Park preserves 337,598 acres of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires in the heart of southeast Utah’s high desert. Water and gravity have been the prime architects of this land, sculpting layers of rock into the rugged landscape you see today.

Canyonlands preserves the natural beauty and human history throughout its four districts, which are divided by the Green and Colorado rivers. While the districts share a primitive desert atmosphere, each retains its own character and offers different opportunities for exploration and adventure. –from National Park Service

The districts are Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the rivers themselves.

Canyonlands

Sky District, Canyonland National Parks, Utah Photograph by George H.H. Huey. Designed and distributed by Impact Photo Graphics.

The postcard came from Kelly C, another Wildlfowers friend, who has been traveling all over the country this year. Sadly, a super-busy season of work impeded our meeting up when she was in my “neck of the woods” earlier this year.

From the postcard back:

An afternoon thunderstorm creates a vibrant rainbow above Monument Basin and the surrounding canyons at the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park.

Despite the postal tattoos, this view is gorgeous! As you just read, the postcard features the Island of the Sky district:

The Island in the Sky sits atop a massive 1500 foot mesa, quite literally an Island in the Sky. Twenty miles (32.2 km) of paved roads lead to many of the most spectacular views in Canyon Country. From these lofty viewpoints visitors can often see over 100 miles (161 km) in any given direction, resulting in panoramic views that encompass thousands of square miles of canyon country. –from Discover Moab

Read more about the park by visiting the Canyonlands Natural History Association site. For more breathtaking views of the park, click here >>> Canyonlands National Park Flickr.

Are you ready for another trip? Or should we stay put for a while?

Let’s Take a Trip to Bryce Canyon National Park

This week has left me a bit dispirited and in need of a good road trip, so we’re leaving Virginia and traveling straight across the country to Utah.

Why Utah? Bryce Canyon National Park. Ohhhh, you thought the Grand Canyon was the only canyon worth seeing in the US of A? Well, the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon will make your jaw drop! 

What are hoodoos? Simply put, a type of rock formation, but since I am sure that answer does not suffice:

Hoodoos are tall skinny spires of rock that protrude from the bottom of arid basins and “broken” lands. Hoodoos are most commonly found in the High Plateaus region of the Colorado Plateau and in the Badlands regions of the Northern Great Plains. Hoodoos, which may range from 1.5 to 45 metres (4.9 to 147.6 ft), typically consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They generally form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations.  –from Hoodoo: What is a Hoodoo? Read more about how hoodoos are formed by clicking the link.

Bryce Canyon

Right-click to view larger

My Wildflowers friend, Phyllis R, sent the postcard to brighten my day, and she certainly did! As you can see, the multi-view postcard features four different images from Bryce Canyon National Park: the Amphitheater, Thors Hammer (über cool!), Agua Canyon, and Natural Bridge, shot by photographers Chet Waggener, Russ Finley, Josh P. George, and John Wagner. 

From the postcard back:

Bryce Canyon, famous for its unique geology consists of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in Southern Utah. The weathering force of frost-wedging and dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes including canyons, windows, fins, and spires called “hoodoos.” 

Here’s a fun fact. Bryce Canyon is not actually a canyon. As mentioned above, it is, rather, “a series of natural amphitheaters or bowls carved into the Paunsaugunt Plateau that extend 20 miles (30 km) north-to-south.” Read more here: The World’s Highest Concentration of Hoodoos.

For a more comprehensive explanation of the formations at the park, see: “The Geology of Bryce Canon.”  Or, if you just want to see spectacular pics, click the link >>> Bryce Canyon on Flickr.

Hmm…I wonder where we will go next?

Let’s Take a Trip to Shenandoah National Park

I recently returned from a not-for-pleasure-but-super-fun trip; it was my first trip away from my usual haunts since the pandemic began. Now, I have the travel bug, but preparation for the new school year (only two weeks away), my son’s involvement in a summer bridge program as an ambassador, and hubby’s impending surgery have ruled out traveling in the immediate future. 

Fortunately, my pen friends keep my wanderlust satiated by sharing postcards from their travels, so this week we’re going to use their tourist postcards to take a few short trips to interesting places in the USA. Maybe, I’ll even find time (read: motivation and energy) to select a few photos, collect my thoughts, and share a bit about my recent trip.

Today, we go to Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park lies astride a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, just 75 miles west of our nation’s capital. The scenic roadway Skyline Drive takes you through the 105 mile long park, providing more than 75 overlooks with spectacular vistas.

Five hundred miles of trails, consisting of 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail, lead visitors to waterfalls, panoramic views, protected wilderness, and preserved human history in the Shenandoah valley. — from Escape to the Blue Ridge, Shenandoah National Park. 

Shenandoah

Photo by Bill Lea. Designed and distributed by Impact Photo Graphics.

The postcard came from my pen friend, Arielle W. It features an American black bear cub [ursus americanus]. From the back of the postcard:

As you walk a trail or drive along Skyline Drive, you might meet a black bear, possibly a mother with her cub or cubs. A bear cub when born in late winter, weighs only about 8 ounnces. It is hard to believe that this cub will grow to 300-500lbs.

I appreciate Arielle’s choice of this “elusive” black bear. He is adorable, and I can look at his sweet face all day. 

She and her older son took a trip to the park, a brief respite from the “overwhelming and uncertain,” a time for them to “find joy together.” I love how nature invites us to connect and breathe and exist in ways our workaday lives does not often allow.

To escape the usual, you can find lots of beautiful pics from Shenandoah National Park by clicking the link: Shenandoah Pics on Flickr. 

Enjoy!

Lighthouses!

My friend Kem recently returned from a family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard.  Do you know what I found in the mail today?  That’s right! A postcard she sent days before her return.

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Cape Poge Lighthouse. Photo by Paul Rezendes

Cape Poge Lighthouse is located on Northeast tip of Chappaquiddick Island.

Kem wrote that she always thinks of me when she visits a new place (how sweet!) and that my camera would be quite happy with the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard (I agree!).  The lighthouses were her favorite sites while there.  She talked about her trip and included pics of some of the lighthouses in a recent blog post.

I love lighthouses too, not only because they are beautiful structures but because of their interesting histories.  The Cape Poge Lighthouse postcard prompted me to take another look at the other lighthouse postcards I’ve received over the last several years.

Take a look:

Map of the Lighthouses of Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Until the Cape Cod Canal opened in 1914, every vessel sailing between Boston and points south had to weather the dangers of Cape Cod’s dreaded sand bars that thrust out into the Atlantic Ocean. In 1797, the U.S. government constructed the first lighthouse on Cape Cod. These lonely sentinels have since provided guidance to mariners.

Click the link for more information on the Cape Cod Lighthouses.

Scituate Light (Cedar Point), Massachusetts

Scituate Lighthouse–a historic lighthouse of the War of 1812. This lighthouse is located at the entrance to the harbor and offers a beautiful view of the coast and the harbor.

The Cape May Lighthouse, New Jersey

Situated on the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, Cape May is recognized by the United States government as the country’s oldest seaside resort.  The Cape May Lighthouse, built in 1859, is operated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The St. Simons Lighthouse, St. Simons, Georgia

The St. Simons Lighthouse was built by James Gould in 1810. It was destroyed during the Civil War and rebuilt in 1872.

Great Lakes Lighthouses

Left to Right–

Great Lakes Lighthouses

Although the two “Great Lakes Lighthouses” postcards seem to feature the same houses, there is an additional house in the postcard above–Seul Choix Lighthouse, Lake Michigan (middle white lighthouse).

I received the postcards in swaps from 2010-2016.  However, the final postcard in my very small collection of lighthouses is a “souvenir” I picked up in San Francisco after a visit to Alcatraz Island.

Alcatraz Island Lighthouse

The Alcatraz Island Lighthouse was the first one built on the U.S. West Coast, located in California’s San Francisco Bay. It is located at the southern end of the island near the entrance to the prison.

I enjoyed revisiting the lighthouses and reviewing the many other (unrelated) interesting postcards I ran across.  I encountered many that deserve blog posts, so look for some “flashback” postcard posts in the near future.

I think I just added a visit to all the U.S. lighthouses to my travel bucket list.  Maybe, I’ll get started this summer!

Have you visited any lighthouses lately?

Thanks for thinking of me, Kemi, and for prompting the visit down postcard lane.