Category Archives: Travel

08-29-21 – Anza-Borrego Desert State Park


Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is a California State Park located within the Colorado Desert of southern California, United States. The park takes its name from 18th century Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, a Spanish word for sheep. With 585,930 acres (237,120 ha) that includes one-fifth of San Diego County, it is the largest state park in California.

The park occupies eastern San Diego County and reaches into Imperial and Riverside counties, enveloping two communities: Borrego Springs, which is home to the park’s headquarters, and Shelter Valley.

The park is an anchor in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve, and adjacent to the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument.

The great bowl of the surrounding desert is surrounded by mountains, with the Vallecito Mountains to the south and the highest Santa Rosa Mountains to the north which are in the wilderness area, without paved roads and with the only year-round creeks.

The park has 500 mi (800 km) of dirt roads, 12 designated wilderness areas, and 110 mi (180 km) of hiking trails. Park information and maps are available in the visitor center. The park has Wi-Fi access.

The park is around a two-hour drive northeast from San Diego, southeast from Riverside or Irvine, and south from Palm Springs. Access on the east-Coachella Valley side is via County Route S22 and State Route 78. Access on the west-Pacific Ocean side is via California County Routes S79. S67 provides access through the high and forested Laguna Mountains, such as in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. These highways climb from the coast to 2,400 ft (730 m) above sea level, then descend 2,000 ft (610 m) down into the Borrego Valley in the center of the park.

A popular site to hike to near the visitor center is Hellhole Palms, a grove of California fan palms in Hellhole Canyon near Maidenhair Falls.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anza-Borrego_Desert_State_Park

05-15-21 – Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument


Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument (sometimes referred to as Parashant National Monument) is located on the northern edge of the Grand Canyon in northwest Arizona. The monument was established by Presidential Proclamation 7265 on January 11, 2000.

The national monument is a very remote and undeveloped place jointly managed by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There are no paved roads into the monument and no visitor services. The 1,048,325-acre (424,242 ha) monument is larger than the state of Rhode Island. The BLM portion of the monument consists of 808,747 acres (327,288 ha). The NPS portion contains 208,453 acres (84,358 ha) of lands that were previously part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. There are also about 23,205 acres (9,391 ha) of Arizona State Land Department lands and 7,920 acres (3,210 ha) of private lands within the monument boundaries. Grand Canyon–Parashant is not considered a separate unit of the NPS because its NPS area is counted in Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Elevation ranges from 1,230 feet (370 m) above sea level near Grand Wash Bay at Lake Mead, to 8,029 feet (2,447 m) at Mount Trumbull. The Interagency Information Center is located in the BLM Office in St. George, Utah.

The name Parashant is derived from the Paiute word Pawteh ‘ee oasoasant, meaning “tanned elk hide,” or “softening of the elk hide.”

There are a number of ruins of former Mormon settlements in the area, such as the Oak Grove Dairy.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canyon-Parashant_National_Monument

05-14-21 – Jurassic National Monument


Jurassic National Monument, at the site of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, well known for containing the densest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur fossils ever found, is a paleontological site located near Cleveland, Utah, in the San Rafael Swell, a part of the geological layers known as the Morrison Formation.

Well over 15,000 bones have been excavated from this Jurassic excavation site and there are many thousands more awaiting excavation and study. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in October 1965. The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed into law March 12, 2019, named it as a national monument.

All of these bones, belonging to different species, are found disarticulated and indistinctly mixed together. It has been hypothesised that this strong concentration of mixed fossilised bones is due to a “predator trap”, but any kind of definitive scientific consensus hasn’t been reached yet and debates still continue to the present day.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurassic_National_Monument

05-13-21 – Flaming Gorge

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area located in the states of Wyoming and Utah. The recreation centerpiece of the area is the 91 miles (146 km) long Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

The area was given the name “Flaming Gorge” by John Wesley Powell during his 1869 expedition down the Green River, due to the spectacular, gorgeous red sandstone cliffs that surround this part of the river.

The Flaming Gorge reservoir was created by the 1964 construction of the Flaming Gorge Dam across the Green River.

Flaming Gorge Dam is used to generate hydroelectric power. Three turbines and generators at the base of the dam have the capacity to produce 50,650 kilowatts of electrical power each.

Flaming Gorge National Recreation area is administered by the Ashley National Forest. Activities in the recreation area include camping, biking, rock climbing, paddling, hiking, boating and fishing on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, and rafting on the portion of the Green River downstream from Flaming Gorge Dam.

The Sheep Creek Geologic Loop is a 10-mile section of road that takes you through the center of the Uinta Crest Fault. Along its course, you will not only see exposed layers of the earth raised in dramatic angles and positions, but will also have the opportunity to pull out at overlooks with your binoculars and scan for wildlife, including those Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

Red Canyon Overlook is a viewpoint at Colorado National Monument that looks directly down Red Canyon from its head to Grand Junction in the Grand Valley to the northeast. The overlook, fenced by a stone wall, is right next to a small parking area on the north side of Rim Rock Drive.

05-13-21 – Fantasy Canyon


Fantasy Canyon is a Bureau of Land Management-managed area located about 27 miles (43 km) south of Vernal, in Uintah County, Utah. Even though the area is only about 10 acres (40,000 m2) in size, it contains some of the most unusual geologic features in the world. The site was officially documented by early explorer and paleontologist Earl Douglass, who recorded the area by other names such as “The Devil’s Playground” and “Hades Pit.” He published photographs of this area in a 1909 publication called “The Columbian Magazine.”

The rocks of Fantasy Canyon, quartzose sandstones, were deposited during the Eocene Epoch. They date from around 38 to 50 million years ago. During the geologic period, the Uinta Basin was occupied by a large lake called Lake Uinta. The lake extended 120 miles (190 km) west to Heber City, 30 miles (48 km) east to Rangely, Colorado, south to the Book Cliff Divide, north to the Uinta Mountains, and was about a half mile deep.

Fantasy Canyon is along the east shore of what was once Lake Uinta, where the sediments eroded from the surrounding high lands. Sediments were deposited and the once loose sands, silts, and clays were forged into sandstone and shale. Because of different rates of weathering, the more durable sandstone remained while the more easily weathered siltstone and shale washed away, yielding this spectacular scenery. Today’s geologic formations of Fantasy Canyon will eventually give way to weather and then topple and erode into sand, but new formations will appear as the topsoil washes away. Because the delicate formations are so fragile the area is referred to as “Nature’s China Shop.”

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy_Canyon

05-12-21 – Goblin Valley State Park


Goblin Valley State Park is a state park of Utah, in the United States. The park features thousands of hoodoos, referred to locally as goblins, which are formations of mushroom-shaped rock pinnacles, some as tall as several yards (meters). The distinct shapes of these rocks result from an erosion-resistant layer of rock atop relatively softer sandstone. Goblin Valley State Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, also in Utah about 190 miles (310 km) to the southwest, contain some of the largest occurrences of hoodoos in the world.

The unusual stone shapes in Goblin Valley result from the weathering of Entrada sandstone. The Entrada consists of debris eroded from former highlands and redeposited on a former tidal flat of alternating layers of sandstone, siltstone, and shale. The rocks show evidence of being near the margins of an ancient sea with the ebb and flow of tides, tidal channels that directed currents back to the sea and coastal sand dunes.

Joint or fracture patterns within the Entrada sandstone beds created initial zones of weakness. The unweathered joints intersected to form sharp edges and corners with greater surface-area-to-volume ratios than the faces. As a result, the edges and corners weathered more quickly, producing the spherical-shaped ‘goblins’.

The Entrada sandstone from which the hoodoos developed was deposited in the Jurassic period around 170 million years ago.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goblin_Valley_State_Park

05-11-21 – Burr Trail


Travel Utah’s Beautiful Backcountry Along the Burr Trail

Located just outside the northeast region of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Bullfrog, the Burr Trail offers excitement for the adventurous explorer. Views of features like the Henry Mountains, Waterpocket Fold, the red Circle Cliffs, Long Canyon, and Pedestal Alley await the traveler who wishes to explore this interesting road. To fully enjoy the journey always be well prepared. Make sure you have plenty of water, a first aid kit, proper footwear, sunscreen, a hat and a means of communication.

History of the Trail

John Atlantic Burr was born in 1846, during his family’s journey from New York to San Francisco on the SS Brooklyn while sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Once they arrived, Charles and Sarah Burr then set out to Salt Lake City with their new baby. As part of the early pioneers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Burr family eventually moved south in 1876 and founded the town of Burrville, Utah.

John Burr grew up to be a cattle rancher in the rugged backcountry of Utah. Living in such a desolate area, he needed to develop a route to move his cattle between winter and summer ranges, as well as to market. This cattle trail through the rough, nearly impassible country around the Waterpocket Fold, Burr Canyon, and Muley Twist Canyon came to be known as the Burr Trail.

Source: National Park Service
https://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/driving-the-burr-trail.htm

05-11-21 – Devils Garden


A colorful formation in contrast to the gray cliffs that follow the Hole-in-the-Rock Road, Devil’s Garden is a unique, easily-accessible natural play park. After driving 12 miles down the graded road, there is a signed pullout for this spot designated as an “Outstanding Natural Area.”

As part of the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, this desert destination features hoodoos, natural arches, and various sandstone formations—some are reminiscent, on a smaller scale, to areas such as Goblin Valley.

Devil’s Garden is a maze of sandstone formations formed by, and continuously shaped by, erosion. Nature’s hand has been at work since the Jurassic Period more than 166 million years ago. Presently, Devil’s Garden boasts hoodoos, arches, and other rock protrusions from the sandy, desert landscape.

Source: Visit Utah
https://www.visitutah.com/articles/devils-garden

05-11-21 – Hole-in-the-Rock


Hole in the Rock is a narrow and steep crevice in the western rim of Glen Canyon, in southern Utah in the western United States. Together with another canyon on the eastern side of the Colorado River, it provided a route through what would otherwise be a large area of impassable terrain.

In the fall of 1879, the San Juan Expedition of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was seeking a route from south-central Utah to their proposed colony in the far southeastern corner of the state. Rejecting two longer routes, they chose a more direct path that initially took them along the relatively benign terrain beneath the Straight Cliffs of the Kaiparowits Plateau. However, when this led them to the 1200-foot (400 m) sandstone cliffs that surround Glen Canyon, they needed a way to cross to the eastern rim. They found (and named) Hole in the Rock, a narrow, steep, and rocky crevice and sandy slope that led down to the river. Directly across the river was Cottonwood Canyon, a tempting route up to Wilson Mesa on the other side.

They worked for months to prepare the road, using blasting powder to widen the upper section and hand chisels to carve anchor points directly into the sandstone. On January 26, 1880 the expedition (250 people, 83 full-sized wagons, and over 1000 head of livestock) began their descent to the river. Wagons were heavily roped, and teams of men and oxen used to lower them through the upper crevice, which has slopes approaching 45°. Further down, a wooden track had been constructed along a slickrock sandstone slope. Posts in drilled holes supported horizontal beams to allow passage of the wagons.

After an even more difficult journey on the east side of the river, the expedition founded the community of Bluff in southeastern Utah. They used the Hole in the Rock route as a supply road for only a year before replacing it with an easier route to the north, at Hall’s Crossing. Decades later, miners of the Hoskaninni Mining Company carved steps onto the same path used by the Mormon pioneers. The blasting holes, anchor points, and gouges from the hubs of the expedition’s wagons are still visible in the walls of the crevice.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hole_in_the_Rock_(rock_formation)

Dixie National Forest – Red Canyon


The Red Canyon is located just off Highway 12 en route to Bryce Canyon National Park amid the spectacular red sandstone spires and formations. This area has been called the “most photographed place in Utah”. It is easy to see why, with the brilliant red soil contrasted with the green pines. Offered for sale are a variety of gifts, souveniers, maps, books, tapes, and Smokey Bear collectables. Other offerings include brochures, and trail information. The Red Canyon Trail System is widely known and very popular. Nearby trails include Pink Ledges, Hoodoo, Birdseye and Golden wall. For mountain bike riding there is Thunder Mountain and Red Canyon Bicycle trail that is also used for road bikes. There are miles of ATV trails as well as paved bicycle trails. There are many trails open to foot traffic, as well as bicycle, horse and ATV. Stop by the Visitor Center to pick up a map and guidelines as to the type of traffic each trail allows. Seasonal displays show the area’s flowers, birds, trees and geology. There are permanent displays of area features as well. There are nature hikes, star viewing, and photography opportunities.

Source: USFS
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/dixie/recarea/?recid=24942