Frivolous Friday! Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Valley of Fire, Lake Powell & Phoenix – Wolf Pup RV Adventure #6
It’s Frivolous Friday!
Thought I would share some of the fun I squeezed in this week (in between all my portrait sessions and retouching work.)
Yep, this happened #1:
The hubs and I just spent two glorious weeks on an amazing RV Road Trip and guess what?
I brought along my camera to document the whole thing! **I know, you are amazed aren’t you? ;-P
If you need a quick refresher, we bought a little RV about nine months ago….
Isn’t it adorable? It’s just the right size for two people and one poodle!
Here’s what it looks like inside (after you open the slide out)
The brand name is “Wolf Pup” and I think the name is as cute as it looks!
One wall of our trailer slides out after you park so it’s extra roomy inside….
So our adventure was 1800 glorious miles over 12 nights from the desert to the mountains and everything in between!
Here’s our route:
Our first amazing stop was Valley of Fire State Park (just north of Vegas) where the rocks were on fire and the views were out of this world!
Don’t you think hills really do look ON FIRE?
Oh and yep….the camping poodle accompanied us….
We saw lots of cool things at Valley of Fire, like these pictographs from 700 A.D.
And some big horn sheep enjoying a meal….
Then we packed up our little Wolf Pup (the brand name of our RV and cutest name EVER) and hit the road…
Phase two of our trip started with a six hour drive to Utah
Oour beautiful campground was right next to the entrance of Zion National Park.
The views from our little camping spot were just jaw-dropping!
(And the icing on the cake it was that our campground was ideally located to just walk into the National Park without having to worry about parking!)
This was our first time to Zion National Park and it sure won’t be our last!
Cars are not allowed into the main part of Zion National Park, but it has a very nice (free) shuttle system –
you just hop on and hop off to see the sights or jump on a trail – here I am in full photographer mode!
And, whenever I’m in a National Park I ALWAYS have an audio guide going because why wouldn’t I want to LEARN about all the cool things as I’m seeing them?
“Just Ahead” is my absolute favorite audio guide (it’s GPS oriented, so when you drive by something interesting it automatically starts playing – we even used it on the shuttle!)
Look at all the information we got:
We did a lot of hiking too – one of my favs was the River Walk to the Narrows.
Also enjoyed the Emerald Pools and waterfall hikes!
We were sad to see how dry everything is – I guess the drought extends to Utah as well as California but we did see some wildflowers. After four days in Zion, we packed up the little Wolf Pup and hit the road – and were excited to pass through the historic 1930 Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel
The tunnel is so small that Rangers are posted at both ends of the tunnel to convert two-way tunnel traffic to one-way for larger vehicles (like our trailer) ensuring safe passage.
We were first in line to wait for our time in the tunnel – so the Ranger let me jump out of the truck for a little photo shoot of our trailer looking oh-so-cool against the red rocks of Zion while we waited for our turn.
Then it was our turn to drive down the center of the tunnel! So COOL!
We arrived about three hours later at Bryce Canyon National Park –
…and pulled into our stunning campsite at Ruby’s Inn RV Park and Campground which was surrounded by pine trees and covered in wildflowers!
Since we were in the wilderness, there were deer walking all around the campground…and eating the dandelions (true story, by the third day of our trip all the dandelions from our campsite were GONE!)
The next morning we ventured into Bryce Canyon – and let me just say it was COLD.
And when I say cold, I mean COLD!
I’m talking 22 degrees at night and a high of 44 during the day – glad we were prepared for it – I was snug as a bug – even if I did look like a puffy marshmallow!
(True story, a man stopped me and said he was freezing and I was the only one on the mountain dressed properly…lol…little did he know that as a So Cal gal, I dress like this any time it’s under 65 degrees….HA!)
We weren’t prepared for how beautiful it all was – truly jaw dropping everywhere you look!
If you look way down in the bottom of the canyon you can see the trail we hiked the next day…
Can you see the trail zig-zagging down the mountain?
These rock formations are called hoodoos.
Hoodoos are pillars of rock, typically between 5 and 150 feet high. They have a variable, totem pole-like thickness throughout their height.
The towers are typically a softer sandstone capped by a more erosion-resistant layer of rock.
As the softer rock of the pillar erodes away at a faster rate than the hoodoo cap, crazy and impossible shapes form.
And then after all that hiking down into the canyon it was time to hike back up….gulp…lots of STEEP switchbacks!
On some hikes outside the National Park we were allowed to bring our hiking poodle….
This was Red Rock Canyon – and the trail led close to more hoodoos and cliffs…
Here’s a rare sighting of a camping poodle…looking scruffy but having fun…;-)
After three nights in Bryce National Park, we hitched up the trailer and headed south back into Arizona!
Our next campground, Page Lake Powell Campground was near Lake Powell – which I’m sad to say the lake level is ONE HUNDRED FEET below normal – the drought is a very real thing my friends!
It was dry and dusty, but that didn’t stop the Camping Poodle from hiking on the rust colored trail!
The big reason we stopped at Lake Powell was to tour Antelope Canyon’s world famous Slot Canyon.
Slot canyons are tiny canyons formed when water finds its way into a crack or fissure in the bedrock.
Some places in the canyon are just a a meter wide so you have to skinny through….
It’s really a challenge to photograph because most of the canyon is in deep darkness while some is super bright – it’s all about balancing the light, while trying to avoid crowds and not fall….
You just can’t imagine how beautiful the light is playing across the rocky cliffs….I hope my photographs help tell the story.
Antelope Canyon is on a Navajo Reservation so you can ONLY visit the slot canyon with a Navajo Guide.
AND you absolutely have to wear a mask as a covid precaution.
(We were told that the masks were in an effort to save the Navajo people who have one of the highest covid death rates in the US!)
So we were happy to mask up!
The other stunning thing that’s near Lake Powell is the world famous Horseshoe Bend of the Grand Canyon.
Well, after enjoying sunset at Horseshoe Bend, we tucked in and got up bright and early to head to our fifth and final stop of our trip – Lost Dutchman State Park – just outside Phoenix.
Look at the view we had of Superstition Mountain from our campsite!
This was our view from the patio in the golden light of sunset.
And it was equally stunning as darkness fell….
I’m an early riser so of course I was up before sunrise and out on the trails…with my camera in one hand and a mug of coffee in the other… 😉
And I was excited to make a new friend who was up early too…ha!
I hiked around a bit and pre-planned the photo I wanted to make as soon as the sun rose above the mountains – and here it is!
I first set my aperture so the sun would look like a starburst, set my shutter speed to allow in just the perfect amount of light and then planned the angle my image using the Rule of Thirds.
Did you notice that I got low to the ground to create the sunburst against the chollas cactus and also made sure to frame up a saguaro cactus AND include some of Superstition Mountain?
A lot of thought and skill went into the creation of this portrait!
While I was out hiking I heard some baby birds chirping….so I followed the sound and discovered a Gila Woodpecker had built her home inside a saguaro cactus!
A nest in a saguaro? Be. still. my. heart.
I zipped back to the RV to trade my wide angle lens for my zoom lens and captured these sweet images of mama feeding her babies.
The babies were nestled deep into their nest, so they weren’t visible, but those little babies were NOISY and mommy and daddy were working hard to keep them fed!
Saguaros are the largest cactus in the United States and are found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert and – did you know in the spring they bloom?
With the right growing conditions, it is estimated that saguaros can live to be as much as 150-200 years old.
Saguaro are very slow growing cactus. A 10 year old plant might only be 1.5 inches tall.
Saguaro can grow to be between 40-60 feet tall and when rain is plentiful and the saguaro is fully hydrated it can weigh between 3200-4800 pounds.
Most of the saguaros roots are only 4-6 inches deep and radiate out as far from the plant as it is tall.
There is one deep root, or tap root that extends down into the ground more than 2 feet.
After the saguaro dies its woody ribs can be used to build roofs, fences, and parts of furniture.
. Native Americans used these as water containers long before the canteen was available.
And later that day we couldn’t resist a visit to the Goldfield Ghost Town just across the street from our camp.
Back in the 1890′s before the vein ran dry, Goldfield boasted 3 saloons, a boarding house, general store, blacksmith shop, brewery, meat market and a school house and most of those have been preserved!
Thankfully, it’s been restored and is now a tourist spot….
And after one last sunset, it was time to head back to San Diego….
…is it just me or is this cactus waving good-bye???? 😛What can I say: I’m Feeling Blessed!
And do you know what else I’m blessed by? Capturing amazing moments for you to treasure for a lifetime!
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