Utah Adventures – Part 2, Bryce Canyon National Park

On a very cold Black Friday morning, Dave and I rose very early and met with our photo guides for the Day, David and Eric of Action Photo Tours out of Kanab, Utah.  Our mission, instead of shopping, was to capture Bryce Canyon at Sunrise.  And capture it we did.  The picture above was taken on the hike down into the Amphitheater.  Note the scale of the canyon walls when compared to members of our photo tour.  The sweeping majesty of this National Park is awe-inspiring.

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We arrived at the Amphitheater just at sunrise that morning.  And it was a very cold morning at about 9 degrees F.  I didn’t even notice the cold (I was bundled up pretty well in layers of appropriate clothing) when I spied the view with the sun just coming up over the southeastern rim.  But in the picture I took below, you can sense the cold.

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Once we took some sunrise pictures of the top of the Amphitheater, we took the Navajo Trail loop down into the Amphitheater and was treated to a better view of the iconic Thor’s Hammer.

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And here is a picture I took of my husband Dave shooting while getting instruction and tips from Eric.

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David and Eric of Action Photo Tours were wonderful.  Their insight, suggestions, instruction were spot on for both of us and I would highly recommend taking a photography tour with them.  It was an unforgettable visit to Bryce Canyon.

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And sunrise in Bryce Canyon is not to be missed.

Utah Adventures – Part 1 – Angels Landing, Zion National Park

Our Thanksgiving week adventure started in Las Vegas where we spent a couple of days relaxing before our real adventure began.  We traveled from Las Vegas to St. George, Utah, where we spent the next three evenings and used it as our base to explore Zion National Park.  Our first stop was to the parks Visitor Center.  We had planned on scoping the park out the first day, maybe take a short hike to warm up the muscles, but that wasn’t what was in store for us.  It was Tuesday morning and the Park Ranger indicated that if we really wanted to hike Angel’s Landing (one of the more strenuous hikes in the park) that we should do it that day, as starting on Wednesday the park and that particular trail would get much more busy with the Thanksgiving Holiday.

I was a little apprehensive, as I am not in the best of shape, and sheer drops of +1000 ft are a little scary.  However, my Husband, Dave, was determined to do this hike all the way to the summit.  I turned to Dave right then and there and said let’s do it.  When we got to the parking area for the hike (during the summer months and holidays the park runs shuttle buses to help ease the traffic), we noticed that a lot of other people had the same idea of hiking Angels Landing that day.  Not to worry, we parked about 1/4 mile away from the trailhead and started our trek up.

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The first part of the hike is many, and I mean a lot, of switchbacks up the mountain.  About 2 miles of I believe 3 sets of switchbacks (may have been 4 sets – I stopped counting after the first set).  Yes, I had a pretty heavy backpack on as well (my camera was inside as I was concentrating on just making it up the 2 miles).  I had hiking poles, which I found came in very handy.

After two miles we reached Scouts Lookout.  I found this nice website Hikespeak.com that provides a really nice write-up about Angels Landing hike and Scouts Lookout.  This is where I stopped and let Dave go the rest of the way up to Angels Landing.

From Scouts Lookout to the top of Angels Landing is about a half mile.  The park has put up some chain links in certain areas to help with the climb, but my husband said that it was still a very difficult hike/rock scramble up to the summit.  Dave made it up to the top and said that he was in such awe as to the view and scenery he didn’t concentrate on picture-taking.  I still think he took some pretty awesome pictures.

dave-angels-landing

Dave was up on the summit for about 3 hours.  I was very happy to see him coming down the rocky trail and that he didn’t fall off the edge of the summit.  The final challenge was working our way back down the switchbacks for the 2 miles back.

angels-landing-hike-down

After making it to the summit and back we both felt exhilarated and tired.  The next day we took a leisurely hike to the Emerald Pools, lower and middle, and then had lunch in the lodge.

More of our Thanksgiving adventures to come……

 

The Garden State

This past weekend while I was driving a commentator on the radio was discussing the most beautiful states in the US and then noted the ugliest states.  One of the states listed as the ugliest (I think it was #7) was my home state of New Jersey.  I was incensed.  We have lived here in New Jersey all of our lives, and while I would never say we are the “most” beautiful state, I certainly would not say we are one of the ugliest.  In fact one can find beauty in all of the states if one looks.

 

But you don’t need to look far to see the beauty of New Jersey.  One just needs to leave the environs of the New York City-Newark airport area to find that New Jersey is truly “The Garden State”.  From rolling hills and farms, to the pine trees, to the beautiful coast line, New Jersey is a beautiful state and is worthy of its title.

I’m sharing some pictures here taken by my husband recently on a hike through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (oh yes we do have National Parks, National Historic Sites and National Recreation areas in New Jersey).  This is a lovely area where the Delaware River cuts through New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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You can hike many trails here, including the Appalachian Trail.

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And some of the hikes are quite difficult.

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I just wanted to share with all a little piece of where I live and the state I call home.

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And finally the intrepid adventurer himself.

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