Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Southwest

A little less than a month ago we started out on an open-ended camping/road trip. The goal was to make a big circle through southern California, over to Nevada, then up to Utah and back home to Oregon.

I made a video of it. One month of travelling/camping condensed into 20 minutes. Watch it if you dare. : )

Our first stop was Sequoia National Park. We have a special fondness for sequoias, especially as we have about 15 of them around our house. This park boasts not only the largest sequoia alive today, but it also happens to be the largest tree in the whole world! I didn't get a great photo of it, but I did get this picture of David, on a hike, posing next to this great slab of rock with a face. Can you see it?
A friend of ours had recommended we stop at Red Rock Canyon, so I plugged it into our GPS and away we went. It wasn't until the second day there that we discovered we were actually at the wrong one! Who knew there were two Red Rock Canyons!?

This first one was actually Red Rock Canyon State Park, in California. The campground was quite lovely, and we enjoyed exploring the area on foot.

Here is Jacob in a little creek bed near the main red rock feature.
After the mixup with the first Red Rocks, we decided to take a drive through Death Valley, which is a LOT more interesting than it sounds! We managed to catch the tail end of a rare superbloom (which was terribly difficult to get good photos of).

We considered camping there, but everyone else was out to see the flowers too, and the campgrounds were full, even in the middle of the week. It was also about 80 degrees, and we had our little doggie with us, who wasn't allowed on trails. So we moved on.
Red Rock Canyon number 2 was next. This place is right outside of Las Vegas, and so QUITE popular. Despite that and the fact that we arrived at night (since we spent all day driving through Death Valley), we found decent camping.

We spent a few days there, during which time we explored the ancient, petrified sand dunes. From afar they look like giant piles of multi-colored poop. : )

Since we were so close to a big city, we drove in occasionally and took advantage of wifi at Starbucks to get some work done. We also (for grins) drove down "the strip" in Vegas. No we didn't stop. And no, I never want to go to Vegas ever again. Sorry if you love it.
One day at Red Rock 2 we took a hike up into Ice Box Canyon. It was shorts weather in the sun, and jacket weather in the canyon. Jacob got a bit cold, despite bounding constantly up and down the trail and over big rocks.
Our adventure dog, Lucy, is representing our next stop, Valley of Fire. We had THE most amazing campsite EVER here (will show this in the video).

I also got to paint some, for the first time on the trip. The boys were ready for some down-time, and I could literally walk about 50 feet to find good views. I'm not sure yet what's post worthy. But I had fun.
Zion was next, which was absolutely stunning, but also quite mobbed! Also dogs weren't allowed on trails or left in campers, so we moved on. Just outside of Zion we found some lovely cabins and decided to chill there for a couple of days. We were able to leave Lucy there and head back to explore a bit. The best hikes we found were off the beaten trail.
We were lucky to have the cabin, because on the last day it rained and rained and then snowed so hard it was horizontal.

At this point we decided to go home. We were all tired and ready to sleep in our own beds. But on the drive north we saw signs for Bryce Canyon and decided to stop and look around (wow!). And since we were so close to Grand Staircase Escalante (one of our planned stops) we decided to spend one day there to look around.
But this area turned out to be so cool, we decided to stay longer. We camped down a tiny dirt road, which was off another dirt road, which was about 26 miles down another dirt road, in the middle of absolutely nowhere! The views were spectacular.

We got to see a couple of VERY cool slot canyons. After climbing out of one, I saw what I'm fairly sure was a bobcat, slinking away. It was cool but also a little scary, especially for Jacob.
This was the road to the slot canyons, and our trusty Jeep that pulled us (in total) over 3,000 miles on this trip! We are happy to be home and to have these memories!


  1. What a great trip! I'm so glad you don't want to go back to Vegas!

  2. Thanks for this great post, Carol/. I feel I had a vacation myself. I have been to several of the the spots so was easy to understand your pleasure. Never did make Ice Box Canyon !!

  3. I'm looking forward to your paintings of the slot canyons. I'm sure they were created especially for artists. I've never been, but will get there someday!

  4. very cool i hope one day to visit that area as i have never been.

  5. What an excellent learning time for Jacob. How cool to see all those wilderness places.

  6. What a great trip! I'll bet it made a big impression on Jacob! I'm looking forward to seeing those paintings!