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!

Snapshots from Madrid: Doors and a Fond Farewell

We’ve reached the final installment of Cy’s “Snapshots from Madrid” series.  Today’s post features some of the interesting doors Cy “experienced” while in Madrid, an appropriate ending for the series.

I had the opportunity to visit the 80th anniversary Picasso exhibit at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid. The exhibit, entitled Pity and Terror in Picasso: The Path to Guernica, bring[s] together approximately 150 masterpieces by the artist–some from the Reina Sofía’s own collection and others from over 30 institutions around the world, including the Musée Picasso and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; the Tate Modern in London; The Museum of Modern Art  (MoMA) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, to name a few.  There are also selections from private collections including that of Claude Ruiz-Picasso, the son of the artist.

The exhibit was well worth the 10€ entry fee.

But I find the art of everyday Madrid inspirational as well.  In particular, the entry doors to apartment buildings and offices kept me engrossed for quite some time.  Some of the doors appear below.

[Click an image for a closer look.  Be sure to note the fine details–the artistry–of the doors].

  Without a doubt, Madrid has some of the most beautiful doors I’ve ever seen.

As Cy “closes the door” on her adventures in Madrid, she leaves knowing that the door will always be open. Who knows? Maybe, she’ll find her way back to Madrid some day.

Although this is the end of Cy’s series, I have a feeling I’ll be back with a few more random “Snapshots from Madrid” some time soon.

To visit–or revisit–the other three posts in the series, follow the links below:

Thank you, Cy, for allowing us to experience Madrid through you. Have a safe return home.  See you soon, friend!

Snapshots from Madrid: Beauty and Oppression

It’s Friday, so that means I am back with another installment of “Snapshots from Madrid.” Here Cy shares stunning architectural photos from Toledo and Buen Retiro Park in Madrid. Instead of the expected tourist response to the edifices, she shares her unique musings on the buildings.

There are a lot of things that I can say about Spain, some good and some bad, but I choose the good every day. What’s the use in rehearsing the problems that are familiar to us?  Today, I bought a few souvenirs from street hawkers. The hawkers are a bit ragged, but they work hard. So I buy a little something. As a tourist, I am careful to spend money with traditional as well as non-traditional vendors. That way everyone benefits.

The photos I am sharing today are from the expected tourist routes. The first is an alley in the Jewish Quarter of Toledo.

The Jewish Quarter Alley in Toledo, Spain. Photo by Cy

The others are from Buen Retiro Park in Madrid. I think these are the remains of a palace, but I’m not sure.  The “remains” are not like the “ruins” of Jerusalem and Greece. They’re more like museum structures–well-maintained partial structures with interiors.

“Park of the Pleasant Retreat,” Buen Retiro Park in Madrid. Photo by Cy.

“Another View,” Photo by Cy.

What do these preserved historical edifices have in common with the vendors I encounter on the streets?  I wonder what they would say about the paradoxes of which they are a part.  If they could speak, what would these edifices say about the people who are selling wares against such backdrops of beauty…and oppression?

If you want more information, click the links to find out more about the Jewish Quarter of Toledo and Buen Retiro Park and be sure to tune in next week for our final installment of “Snapshots from Madrid.”