Lots of rocks: Part 3

After a late picnic lunch in Arches National Park, we headed up the road and across the highway to Canyonlands National Park.  The entry to the park looked very similar to where we had just been, but I did like the huge battleship formation: I was tickled to get out of the car and see that it is actually called The Monitor, and its neighbor (not in the picture) is The Merrimac!

Again, words fail to capture and fail to describe, so this post will be mostly pictures.  The clouds were moving in again, and they provided some very dramatic lighting and backdrops.

Have I told you that I really liked the texture and contours of the rocks?


My next post will have words.

Last Sunday with the Mount Hard Core Slopers

Here we are on top of the Mount on a really cold winter's day - a shower of rain has just passed through but still a few keen men... from the left we have anonymous spectator on the seat, then Leon (from Foamworks), Ralph, Richard (the F3B Dentist)and John.

Earlier in the arvo we were flying at the Half Goat and this is Ralph testing out one of the new Fusion 2010 prototypes. Leon also had a new Fusion 2010 with the new wing - the RW03 developed by Ralph. By all accounts it flys very nicely and appears to have excellent inverted performance as an added bonus.

Johnny S had his Screamin' Banshee out again blasting around the sky - at times a rather weird and dark looking sky as you can see in this shot...

So a good little afternoon for most - my only problem being an indiscreet encounter with a digger parked in the landing zone at the top - oh dear, the poor old Vampire in the wars again - this time a broken aileron and wing damage.

Lots of rocks: Part 2

Our day at Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park left me looking for superlatives. Since I ran out of descriptive words there, I won't try to use any here. Just pictures ... Well, mostly just pictures!

The entrance to Arches National Park: I love the contrasting shapes and colors

Archways on their way to becoming arches
Arches and archways and caves
Zooming in to show the people and give a sense of scale
Twin Arches
Turret Arch, from the north arch of Twin Arches
A happy rock climber
I wasn't prepared for the beautiful expanse of the area -- and yes, I did hire an 18th-century romantic painter to add the clouds.
Delicate Arch: I love the cloud pattern in this shot
Cropped to zoom and show the other-worldliness of Delicate Arch's environs
I was shooting the upthrust of the rocks and the gathering clouds: I was tickled to see the bird that flew into the shot
Balanced Rock, with Turret Arch in the background

I had to take a picture of this exhibit in the Visitors Center.

One thing that left me speechless through this part of the trip was realizing how all these marvels were formed: First all the layers of dirt and sediment and rock had to be deposited on the ocean floor over time. THEN, after the sea was gone, they all had to be eroded away by wind and sand and rain and time to leave what we see today.  Awe. Nothing but awe.

Lots of rocks: Part 1

Monument Valley is a sweeping area in northwest Arizona and southeast Utah. I've driven through it a number of times, but even so, I couldn't take in enough of it this time.

I think that some of the more dramatic "monuments" are familiar even to non-Americans, thanks in no small part to the films of director John Ford (1894 - 1973). He loved the landscape so much and made so many movies there that the region became known as "Ford country," and at least one of the rock formations is named after him.

The clouds were moving in quickly, but I still had to stop the car one more time to take a last look backward, even though the rain had started falling.

We turned north from Monument Valley and headed toward Natural Bridges National Monument in southern Utah. After a while, I asked my mother, Do you suppose we're going to be going up THAT?

The road seemed to disappear in front of us, but we soon came to a pair of signs that left us no doubt:

10% grades / 5 mph switchbacks / narrow gravel road / 1 mile

And so we began our ascent of the Moki Dugway.

About one-third of the way up, looking south toward Monument Valley.

Nearly at the top, looking east over the Valley of the Gods

Mother is not happy with this last photo stop, because we're still trying to outrun the rain, and we're not at the top yet.

And here is the road that stretched before us at the top of the Moki Dugway: Long, straight, and empty. Just beautiful.

The cliffs and canyons of Natural Bridges are so very different from Monument Valley and from the red mesas that surround it.

I loved the strange, rounded shapes of the rocks and canyons.

Sipapu Bridge

I really wanted to get into those little canyons, but I had to content myself with gazing from above. The boys and I did hike halfway down one canyon so that we could be level with the bridge.

Owachomo Bridge

The guys liked clambering and climbing.

I liked watching.

But I really just liked the shapes and contours of the rocks themselves.

It was a great day; long and exhausting, but great!

Click on any photo to enlarge it and get a better view.