Friday, June 20, 2014

Cross Country Trip ~ Part Seven


Day seven of our trip still in Ogden, Utah, we drove over to Antelope Island, which is the largest of the 10 islands in the great Salt Lake. 

Driving out of Ogden ... too cool of a shot NOT to share!

Salt Lake was surprisingly, very smelly, and not a good kinda smell.  Now, that does not in any way take away from its beauty ... it is absolutely beautiful and very different from any lake I've ever been to (not talking bout any of Georgia's manmade lakes here ya'll ... I have been over a few of the Great Lakes, been to Lake Ontario and walked beside Lake Tahoe) ... this lake was as calm and smooth as glass, literally ya'll, so the reflection of the surrounding mountains was amazingly awesome!  Mirror images! 

See all that lavender?  Absolutely beautiful!

I was expecting the drive over to the island to be by way of bridge (or ferry) since it is an island, but it was by way of a causeway, thus we smelled the dang thing right away ... kind of turned my tummy but I tried to overlook that seeing the beauty of it.

There's those beautiful orange flowers ~ up close!
Can you see them ... in the distance?

This might have just been the highlight of our entire trip ... remember me saying in my Kansas post how it would be so cool if we saw buffalo, uh, I mean bison, stampeeding across the range?  Well we didn't see them stampedeing BUT we did see them living wild and free on Antelope Island and DID get up close and personal with at least one albiet with a whole herd off in the distance ...close enough to stampede if they wanted to.  Well ... to be honest, 10 or so yards was close up and personal enough for me ... didn't want to piss that big ol' bison off, though even at that distance he didn't seem to even notice us, seriously!!!  I'm pretty sure though if we had tried to move in to 'pet' him ... it wouldn't have turned out well.  REMINDER: Bison, like any wildlife, are pretty awesome up close and personal BUT can be very dangerous if they feel threatened!!!  Very cool though ... especially in light of fact that bison, uh, I mean bufflo, are mentioned in a few of our country's patriot songs. 

Now, ain't that just sooooo cool?
Too cool for words!!!
We also saw Antelope (hence the name of the island), however, they were too far away to get a good photo and there were only a handful of them.

There was some interesting and different sort of terrain and vegetation on the island ... very pretty ... some neat hiking trails too (though no trees for shade).

We parked and walked down to the 'beach' which I tell ya didn't seem quite as far seeing it from the parking lot but it was a hike and it got smellier and smellier the closer we got ... I had wanted to stick my toes in the water but the closest I could stand to be was about 4 feet from the water ... the smell was just unbearable!!! 

The Beach ~ quite a hike out there!

Interesting to note here ... it was Memorial Day and there were only a handful, literally, of boats out on the lake, most of which, were canoes or paddle boats.  I learned that the only living creatures in Salt Lake are brine shrimp and algae ... makes you wonder why early settlers settled here since you cannot drink the water and there are no fish for food (since back then people lived off the land).  It is beautiful though and lots and lots of great hiking and outdoorsy stuff to do ... I will be back (and not just cause my son lives there)!!!  

Okay ~ now to hike back LOL

We certainly enjoyed our afternoon there!

Next up, after our visit with our son and his family ... Grand Canyon National Park!


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cross Country Trip ~ Part Six


Since they are just 2 blocks, literally, from the base of the mountain range that runs along the eastern border of Ogden, Utah, Wasatch-Cache National Forest, we decided this day would be spent hiking up the trails ... headed to a beautiful waterfall hidden except to hikers. 

Dang if that altitude thing didn't make it impossible for me to make all of those 10-15% grades up to the waterfall (no dizziness or nausea, just felt like I couldn't breathe) ... I made it about 3/4 of the way and I just couldn't take any more.  Not wanting to stop hiking though, we instead decided to hike off in a different direction, less of those steep inclines but still high up onto the mountainside where we overlooked the cities of Ogden and Salt Lake City and could also see Salt Lake (the lake) in the distance ... it was beautiful and what an awesome hike!!!  

Sorry, I think I may have duplicated a couple shots in these collages ... oops!

We saw all kinds of beautiful wild flowers from, plentiful lavender to foxglove to all other kinds of plants and flowers, the names of which I don't know, but I love nature!!!  We took PLENTY (well almost, we really should have taken more) water and snacks cause I gotta tell ya ... its dry out there ... hubby and I constantly used our Carmex while out west!!!

Coming up for the next post ~ Antelope Island in the middle of Salt Lake (the lake, not the city lol)


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Cross Country Trip ~ Part Five


After spending the night in Grand Junction, Colorado, the last big city for quite some time after, at least until Provo, Utah, some 4 hours drive ...we headed west on I-70 to Utah Highway 191.

Cell phone pic ... Goodbye Colorado
Colorado became more desert-like as we left by way of Grand Junction but still beautiful, in a different way.  As we made our way into Utah, I noticed how much the vegetation changed ...Utah has the MOST wild lavender I've ever seen ... I can only imagine how beautiful it must be when its all in bloom!!!

Kinda obvious which pics are taken through car windows and which are first hand.
Just like travelling through the Rockies in Colorado, in Utah every twist in turn seemed to have a different type of mountain ... left us in awe at every crook and turn of the highway.
Interesting irragation ... for my friend, Anita.

We arrived at our son and his family's house just after lunchtime ... after stopping for lunch in Provo, Utah, where our lunch tab was picked up by a random stranger 'paying it forward'. 

Mountain range just 2 blocks from our son's home.
Yeah!  Time with our gbabies ... one of which, our gdaughter, we were meeting for the first time, at almost 6 months old.  Won't blog too much about our visit with them as that is personal.

Hiking the mountainside in Ogden, Utah for next post ...


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cross Country Trip ~ Part Four


We got into Colorado Springs, Colorado late at night, after dark, so any pictures I took just didn't turn out too well but oh what a view come morning!

We had wanted to take the Cog Train up to Pike's Peak but reservations are required and the only time slot available was around noon ... too late in the day for our plans, so we drove up to the Peak, instead, at a cost of $12 per person ... well worth it!

The weather was beautiful, spring time temps, however, the guy at the gate said "It's starting to snow at the Summit, so if you want to make it up you might not want to make any stops along the way" so that's what we did ... drove straight up. It was freezing at the Summit but I was comfortable in my long sleeved shirt, covered by a zip up hoodie with my jean jacket on top with jeans and my cowboy boots (with socks) lol ... so as I said, weather was beautiful as we started our climb but as we neared the top it became somewhat foggy.  Pike's Peak stands at 14,110 feet at its Summit and somewhere along 11,000 feet, hubby says "I'm feeling this altitude, are you?" (shortness of breath)  I say, "no, my ears just keep popping, that's all ... I feel fine".

We get to the Summit and I go to get out of the car, feeling fine (so I thought), and BAM ... it hits me, I had to sit back down, and quickly.  Dizzy, nauseated ... my eyes literally felt like they were going back and forth real fast ... left to right, left to right, left to right ... now I remember why I felt so bad up here as a child!!! 

We made our way inside the Summit building, I really needed to go to the bathroom ... I make it there by holding onto walls and displays, praying "Please Lord, do not let me pass out".  I sat in the bathroom for sometime with my head between my knees, praying.  I know, that's probably too much information, but I was feeling pretty bad.  Finally, I had to just get up and deal with it and went back out to find hubby, again holding onto walls and displays for support ...”did everyone else feel like this?” … I did find, however, that if I held my face very very still, it helped.  Breathe Debbie, breathe ... 


I manage to pick out a souvenir and while standing at the counter waiting to pay, the guy gets on the PA system and announces that no one is to leave the Summit building ...there is lightening right on top of the peak ... literally, we heard the thunder and lightening at the SAME TIME as it struck all around us. 

After a short while, the Park Rangers announce that we could now go back outside, if we wanted, BUT could not leave the Summit until the snow plow came up so that we could follow it down.  There were 2 inches of "grapple", which we had never heard of but were told is snow in the form of pellets, on the mountain and roads.  Kinda looked like pea sized hail but made up of snow instead of ice.  We go and sit out in our car and wait (I just really needed to get down from that altitude, badly) ... the grapple hurt when it hit you so, we waited in the car, it was so foggy you couldn't see anything from the Peak anyway.  A few pretzels and sips of Ginger Ale later, and I felt better but it was time to head down.


We were held up there for over an hour and I wasn't able to get very many photos at the Summit.  Boooo!  But the drive down, even behind a snow plow, was interesting, considering there are no guard rails (at most points) and hair pin turns left and right.  Still it was beautiful and worth it all ... I'D DO IT AGAIN!

Next sightseeing stop, Golden, Colorado, well it wasn't actually a planned stop.   See, we stopped to get gas and I just happened to see a sign stating "Buffalo Bill's Grave 4 miles".  I'm like "I've been there!!!" excited as a kid lol  I remembered there was a beautiful overlook ... we had to go ... and we did, much to hubby's protestations ... he was grumbling and mumbling the whole 4 miles about "going to see a dead man's grave"!!! 

The grave and museum are located on top of Lookout Mountain and man, the views alone are worth the 4 miles off the Interstate, hubby was glad we stopped!  LOL Changed his tune right away after seeing the views!!!  The views and the gravesite are free to visit, the museum is $5 per person.  Free views and man oh man are they awesome ... you can see both Golden and Denver, Colorado off in the distance, actually you can see for miles and miles ... absolutely beautiful!  Let me tell you though, pictures do not even give the view justice ... firsthand is always the BEST view!  A MUST SEE, for sure, we will stop there again, if ever out that way!!!

Almost the same exact shot, all these years later!!!

Buffalo Bill's Grave way back then!
Back on I-70 and on towards Grand Junction, Colorado ... through the Rocky Mountains ... the most spectacular view after view, different terrain, topography, vegetation (from rocky to dry to forested to snow capped mountains) ... each turn seemed to have something different to see, you feel so very small driving through there ... let's just say, I was glad I was in the passenger's seat and not the driver's!!!  We were in total AWE!!!

Next sightseeing stop, Vail, Colorado, we wanted to stop long enough just to check out the little ski town ... and little town it is, something like 1 mile long by 4 blocks deep ... pretty little town full of very high end shops and restaurants, most of which were closed for the season.  We walked around the main part of town, 3 blocks one way, 2 blocks another then back around in a big circle (or square, is more like it lol).  I've never really had much interest in skiing but I gotta say it’s a beautiful little town with beautiful architecture, kinda looks like what you'd see in the Swiss Alps.  I even ran into Samuel L. Clemens aka Mark Twain and sat down to chat a bit ... well, not in the flesh but in bronze.

Somewhere between Vail and Rifle, Colorado, at Glenwood Canyon, Colorado there is a Rest Area ... one of the most beautiful Rest Areas I've ever seen, not based on their facilities because those were a little out dated, but based on the scenery surrounding it ... hiking/biking trails, perfect place to get some exercise, hiking or biking (if you have your own bike), while taking in a rest stop ... rushing beauty of the Colorado River running right along side of it (and a rushing creek feeding the river) ... OMG so beautiful!  If it hadn't been so late we would have gone on a longer hiking excursion, as it was, we didn't walk far but enjoyed it very much.  Wish I had the Mile Marker Number but it is definitely right at Glenwood Canyon (travelling west, that is).  So so so worth the stop!!!  Another definite MUST SEE!

More of the Rockies ...

Colorado ... what a beautiful state ... we had an amazing time travelling through and spending the day at various stops!!!  Lots more that we could have seen but only so many hours in a day!!!