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ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

 Moab, UT February 2017

 

Arches National Park is located just outside of Moab, UT and is neighbors with Canyonlands National Park.  This park is well named.  There are so many beautiful and different arches to see.  The come in all different size and shapes too.

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We did this Park after the South Canyonlands park.  This park was much busier than Canyonlands.  Which equaled lots of bored kids complaining about being there and more foreigners with selfie sticks.  It was still pretty windy and cold when we went to Arches.  This park had more variety of trail lengths though.

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James still didn’t feel good about his knee.  We did a few hikes together to some great arches.  The Landscape Arch is one worth mentioning because in 1991 a huge piece of rock at the bottom part of the arch fell!  There was a visitor who managed to catch a picture of it falling.  Can you imagine being there when that happened?  This trail had a really cool tree on the path also.  We are suckers for pictures of interesting trees.

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Before we ended the day I hiked to Delicate Arch.  James stayed with Xander in the van to give his knee a rest.  This hike was 3 miles round trip and 480 feet elevation gain, all on the way to the arch.  The way back was all down hill.  It seemed like it just went straight up the side of the mountain.  It was all one giant slab of rock.  It is crazy how a trail gets worn into the rock from all the people.  The views up to the arch we spectacular.

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When you’re almost to the arch you walk on this path that they blasted out the side of the rock to make.  It got my stomach turning a little bit.  I don’t like being up on the edge of cliffs like that.  It was totally worth it though.  The Delicate Arch was like a piece of art work that had its own gallery dedicated to it.  When you come around the corner, there it is standing tall all by itself with an amphitheater in front of it.

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After Arches National Park we finished up Canyonlands then headed to Green River, UT.  Talk about a dieing town.  We had researched a landscape called Crystal Geyser, so we added it to our pit stops.  It is near Green River.  We found the route to get out to the geyser.  It was all dirt road.  Well after a few wrong turns and almost getting stuck a couple times we decided it wasn’t meant to be.  The van made some pretty impressive ruts in the super soft sand sections that crossed the road.  I really don’t know how we didn’t get stuck.  You could tell when you hit the sand because the van almost can to a complete stop.  Finally the road just got to rocky for us to safely navigate.

Here is a video

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And a picture of where we almost got stuck.

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While we didn’t get to see the geyser (which who knows if it would have erupted when we were there), we had a blast trying to get there.  This pit stop was about the journey not the destination!  Its important to always remember that.  Utah hasn’t let us down so far.  Cant wait to see more of it.

CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK

Fruita, UT February 2017

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We headed to Capitol Reef National Park after our fail to see the Crystal Geyser. Capitol Reef is an old Mormon settlement area. There is also history of Native Americans, but not much is known about them. They know that unlike other tribes they didn’t move with the seasons. They stayed here full time. They don’t know what they called themselves or why the left. A tiny river called the Freemont River cuts through this park, and so the name was given, The Freemont people.

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On our travels we try to take scenic bypasses as much as possible. This is something neither of us have ever done before. Seems like in the hustle of life even if you did do a road trip it was always a rush to get to where you were going because you had limited time to get there, do your thing, and get back to work. I love that we have time to enjoy the route to our destination now. It adds so much more to the experience.

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As seems to be the theme of our travels so far, this park is also formed of wonderful red rock. The canyon walls tower above you. We did a great hike in a wash that had huge canyon walls on either side. We brought Xander with us (shhh don’t tell). He loved it, except when we would make him pose for pictures. You think he would be used to it by now! We spotted a couple of big horn sheep but they were to far to get a good picture of. We found a cool rock formation that I played “where’s Waldo” in. It looks like I have no body in the picture. Xander and I played in a few other rock formations. He loves rock climbing, I think he feels like king of the mountain.

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Next stop was an arch. This hike was short but really steep. We passed a couple coming down and they advised that it wasn’t worth the hike. After visiting Arches National Park we decided that we were probably jaded on our opinion of arches, and took their word for it. We turned around and moved on to see some petroglyphs. Some of these were really different. They looked like aliens carved on the rocks. For some reason this made me think of the movie Stargate.

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On our way out of the park it was close to sunset so we went to sunset point. It got extremely windy. We brought Xander with us here also. He was miserable. He is to prissy to sit on the rock and the powerful wind was cold. He would cuddle up on my lap. After sitting in the freezing wind for about 15 minutes we headed back to the van. The sunset wasn’t worth the misery.

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Capitol Reef was a quant park. You could almost see how the settlers lived. We got to see turkey, deer, and big horn sheep. I love seeing wildlife. It was a good decision to pass through this park. We might have to come back and spend more time here.

FISHER TOWERS

Somewhere in southern  Utah
February 2017

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The drive from Grand Junction, CO to Moab, UT is wonderful.  As usual we took a scenic bypass that followed the Colorado river.  Fisher Towers was a random stop that we saw as we were driving.  It was a good decision to stop off and check it out.  The huge rock towers were awesome.  It is a great rock climbing place.  If you’re into that.  I want to be into it but then reality sets in and I remember that I’m scared of that shit.

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After we parked and opened the back to get Xander out a dog comes running around the front of the van.  So we close the door and wait for unleashed dog and owner to pass.  As we are waiting on them we see a lady with two dogs off leash coming up the trail to the parking lot.  So we wait a little longer for this group to pass and then let our monster out- ON HIS LEASH!  It constantly amazes us how many people are completely ignorant about keeping their pets on leash.  I understand letting your dog off leash on the trail, we do that if there isn’t lots of traffic.  The thing they don’t think about is everyone else.  What if someone wasn’t crazy about dogs or afraid of them?  What if (in our situation) there is another dog who is not dog friendly?  At least leash your dog when you are close to the trail head or in the parking lot.  Ok rant over!
On the drive to this stop James had a great idea.  We stopped and he got the drone out and he flew it along the van as we drove down the river.  It was a really great idea.  We have done it a couple times since.  It will be footage for our you tube channel.  There is a beautiful property along the river that has cabins you can rent out.  It would be fun to go back there when it is warmer and do some river floating.  The river is really gentle in this section.

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On the Fisher Towers trail I tried to make Xander pose for pictures numerous times.  I managed to catch a few of him and James.  They both hate being in pictures.  We found a few good opportunities to get pictures of unique trees also.

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We cut this hike short so that we could move on to Canyonlands.  I love finding random gems like this along the way.  The great part about what we are doing is that we can change our plans and any point and make any stop/side trip that we want.  Whatever strikes us at the moment is what we are doing, and it is always the right choice.

 

WIND TUNNEL IN CANYONLANDS

 

CANYONLANDS
NATIONAL PARK

Moab, UT February 2017

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Canyonlands is quit majestic.  James and I both feel that while the Grand Canyon is larger in size, Canyonlands wins in beauty.  The colors here are so much brighter and vary so much more.  We went to both sections of Canyonlands.  The Needles in the south and Island in the Sky in the north.  Canyonlands is located near Moab, UT.

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Moab is a cool little town.  It is defiantly geared towards those interested in the outdoors.  There are a lot of mountain bike and four wheel trails here.  We stopped at a brewery and discovered Utah’s interesting alcohol laws.  Beer on draft can only be 4% abv, but you can buy the same beer in a can or bottle in regular abv and drink it at the bar.  Doesn’t make sense but OK.   At the bar we met a couple who were visiting as well.  They were camping in a tent and said they had a six month plan to be in a van.  It was great talking to them about it and being able to give some pointers.  They said that it just fed the fire for them.  I hope everything works out as planned for them.
Our visit of the north and south section of Canyonlands was divided by my trip to Las Vegas.  I flew out of Grand Junction, Co.  I have family that live very close to Grand Junction so we decided to take a quick weekend detour and go visit my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin.  It was great to see them all.  They are such giving people.  My Uncle is always looking out to make sure I have everything I need (thanks for the full propane tank!).  Xander had a blast playing with the horses and cows that lived next door.  It was his first time interacting with livestock.  He was pretty brave with a fence between them.  He looked forward to going out in the yard every morning.

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We didn’t have the best weather while visiting.  It was cloudy, chilly, and very windy.  It seemed like all the trails here were fairly lengthy.  We didn’t do to much hiking here because James’ knee was acting up (or so he claimed).  That was fine with me because of the weather.  An advantage to going this time of year is that the Park is free in the off-season.  We didn’t have to whip out the annual pass here. The Needles section of Canyonlands is defiantly not as popular as The Island in the Sky.  I think it might be because its more out of the way to get to.

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I can see the lure to this National Park.  It is amazing to see what natural has carved out of the land after thousands of years.  What we are left with is priceless sculptures of the earth.
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Our list of misc stuff we use

So it takes a surprising amount of “stuff” to make the van work smoothly and then you have all the extra “stuff” that you convenience your self you need. Well here is our list of “stuff”!!

This includes everything that is not electrical. For the electrical I am making a separate page

Get unstuck with these tire cleats. They have saved us in Ice and Mud so far. A great tool for the adventurous

Trac-Grabber – The “Get Unstuck” Traction Solution for Trucks/SUV’s – Emergency Rescue Device, Prevents Slipping in Snow, Sand & Mud – Chain or Snow Tire Alternative (Set of 2 Blocks & Straps)


USB 15ft extension. We use this to plug in the dog blanket.

UGREEN USB Extension Cable USB 2.0 Active Repeater Extension Cable A Male to A Female with Built-in Signal Booster Chips (15ft)


Here is the hitch we have that we can stand on and shower of the back.

Heininger 3052 PortablePET Twistep Dog Hitch Step


Here is our cell phone booster

weBoost Drive 4G-X Cell Phone Signal Booster for Car, Truck, and RV Use – Enhance Your Signal up to 32x. Can Cover up to 4 Devices.


This is the shatter proof mirror we use

Source One Acrylic Safety Mirror Sheet Great for Classroom Camping Fun House – Shatter Resistant (5×7 Inch)


This is the front guard/bumper we use

TAC Custom Fit 2014-2017 Dodge Ram Pro-Master Van (Full Size) Front Runner Guard BLK Brush Nudge Push Bull Bar


This is our 2 folding bikes we have

Xspec 26″ 21 Speed Folding Mountain Bike Bicycle Trail Commuter Shimano Black


Here is our 4k Video recorder by DJI the Osmo

DJI Osmo Handheld 4K Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal Starters Bundle


This is our 12volt tire pump. The Promaster needs to pump up to 85PSI. Gas stations only go up to 60psi. This is a must have

P.I. Auto Store Premium Digital Tire Inflator – Electric 12v DC Portable Auto Air Compressor. Pump to 150 Psi. With Carry Case


This is our heat mat for under Xanders bed. Works great. It is showing not available on Amazon at the moment

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00SN6MYA2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Here is our 64 quart DC fridge

Dometic CFX-65DZUS Portable Electric Cooler Refrigerator/Freezer – 61 Liters


And our Mr Buddy Heater

Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater and Mr. Heater Buddy Series Hose Assembly – 10-ft., Model F273704 Bundle


Our tape sealant for the roof penetrations.

EternaBond RSW-4-50 RoofSeal Sealant Tape, White – 4″ x 50′


Our front windshield reflector

Sunshade for Ram Promaster Full-size Van w/RV Mirror 2014 2015 2016 2017 Heatshield Sunshade 1562


Our Propane stove

Camp Chef Everest 2 Burner Stove


12 inch DC Fan for circulation

Fan-Tastic 01100WH Endless Breeze Stand alone Fan


This is our deep sink we bought

Mustee 11 Utility Sink, 17-Inch x 20-Inch, White


This is our 20 gallon water tank

Barker Manufacturing Company 11916 20 Gal. Water Tank Kit


A inline water filter prior to the water pump

SHURFLO (255-213) 1/2″ Twist-On Pipe Strainer


Our water pump

SHURflo 4008-101-E65 3.0 Revolution Water Pump


Our fantastic Vent

Fan-Tastic 801251 RV Roof Vent


The Zipper we used for the bug screen

Zipper, 72″ Inch, YKK, Black, 10, Seperating Zipper, Double Metal Slider, Boat Canvas


The Marine Vinyl we used for the bug screen

VViViD White Weatherproof Faux Leather Finish Marine Vinyl Fabric (10ft x 54″)


The UV resistant Mesh for the bug screen

http://www.jjautofabrics.com/vinyl-screen-xmesh-white-56/

OUR ARIZONA TRIP SUMMERY

OUR ARIZONA TRIP SUMMERY

 February 2017

 

Arizona is such a stunning state.  There is such a vast variety of desert landscape.  From the enticing desert with all its shapely cactus and marvelous sunsets, to the forested mountains covered in a white blanket of snow, to the tremendous canyon formations of all shapes, sizes and colors.  Arizona was the beginning of our journey and I hope it didn’t set the bar to high!

Arizona State Line at Hoover Dam

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We embarked on our adventure in Tucson, Arizona.  After spending almost two weeks with my mom, sister, and nephew we hit the road.  We spent a total of 34 days and traveled about 2,469 miles in Arizona.  Most of it was exceptional.  The places that really stood out though were Sedona and Antelope Canyon.  The only “negative”, if you even want to call it that, was that tourist trap that we turned right back around and left, The Meteor Crater.

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Tuscon area

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Adjusting to life on the road has been smooth.  We were lucky enough to have a chance to slowly ease into it.  We have been living in the van since October 2016 and just bouncing between family to use the shower and anything else we needed.  Finding places to park in the city or camp in the open haven’t been a problem yet.  We found peace of mind that we can survive in cold weather. We spent more than a few night under 20 degrees and were nice and cozy in our little home. The biggest thing about living in such a small space is to stay organized and clean.  James was worried about me on these two factors.  I can be a bit of a slob sometimes.  There just isn’t room for that in the van though.  Everything has its place and needs to be put away to keep it comfortable in the van.  We also tried to figure out a rough budget.  Being the first month on the road we wanted to see how we stacked up to our estimated spending.  Weeeeeeelllll, we went over budget by a few hundred dollars.  I’ll give you one guess where all the extra money was spent- BEER!  We enjoyed lots of great breweries in Arizona.  We will be more mindful of that part of the budget in this area from now on.  Everything else was pretty much on point.

Phoenix

Phenix Area

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Arizona was definitely a great place to start our wandering.  It will leave a lasting impression on us both.  James was blown away at how beautiful a desert can actually be.  I feel so naïve growing up in Arizona and not realizing how beautiful it was.  I think that makes me appreciate this journey through Arizona even more.  I’m truly grateful to have had this experience in Arizona. I’m proud to say that I’m from Arizona.

Sedona

Sodona Area

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Flagstaff

Flagstaff area

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Navajo Area

Naijo area

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Utah State line at Monument Valley

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HORSESHOE BEND

HORSESHOE BEND

 Page, AZ February 2017

Horseshoe Bend is a part of the Colorado river that bends around the land in the shape of a horseshoe.  It is quite fascinating to see how the river takes shape in this way, but equally as fascinating is how high up the canyon walls are that you view the river from.  Amazingly there are no rails or barricades to keep people back from the edge of this 1000ft vertical cliff. For those who have never been in this area, everything is made of sandstone. It literally falls apart when you step on it, there is no structure to anything it’s all sand that has been compressed over millions of years. No rock at all. It’s one reason there are so many dramatic water erosion sites around there.

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It is a very short walk uphill then back down to get to the view point.  This is a very popular spot to visit and take pictures.  Driving towards the parking area we could see all the people hiking up the trail, like ants marching into their hill.  As we park we see the many source of these ants- tour buses!  There were tons of ants, the Asian selfie stick toting type, coming to see this attraction.

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We spent most of the day here but decided to go closer to sunset to try to capture so great colors with the water. After visiting Antelope Canyon, I feel like a professional cell phone photographer!  Which translates into having about a million and one pictures of the same thing in different shades and lighting.

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During the sunset, there was 1 Asian tourist that thought it would be a great picture opportunity to show how big his balls were and went out on this extremely undercut ledge for a picture. I really did think he was going to die. This ledge was only a couple feet thick and extended out about 6ft and this dude went all the way out to the edge and hung his feet out over the edge and posed for a few minutes. That guy was the highlight but it was the theme it seemed, everyone wanted to get a picture of themselves as close to the edge as possible. Even parents telling their kids to get out close to the edge. It seemed no one had any concept of just how dangerous it was, it would have been fine if it was solid rock but this was just compacted sand that could give away under pressure.

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After snapping our million and one pictures we had had enough of all the people and walked way out of the way to a far spot for some piece and quite while we watched the sun set.  With all the noisy tourist, kids running around and photographers fighting for the best spot it really is not a peaceful place for how beautiful it is. But we were able to escape them for the most part by walking to a far point of the bend. We waiting out there until dark and everyone else had left. The walk back to the van in the moonlight was awesome.

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PAINTED BY THE SUN

PAINTED BY THE SUN

ANTELOPE CANYON

 

Page, AZ February 2017

 

We spent more time in Page than we have at any other stop since we’ve been on the road.  This is a small town with a lot of tourist passing through.  There is the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Canyon.

We spent so much time here out of convince (so we thought).  We needed to get some things done that required internet.  Things like planning our Utah adventure, write and post blogs, and upload/edit some videos.  The free internet in this town made you remember dial up days.  We tried three different places and settled for the public library.  The library its self was very nice.  It had great little nooks for work stations that had views of the canyons and decent Wi-Fi.

One of the places we tried to use internet was The Dam Bar.  While we were skeptical, because it didn’t have great reviews, we enjoyed it there… mostly for the cheap beer.  I think we were there three different times.  Spending many hours at a time there.   We even decided to spend Super Bowl there (what a crazy game).  During half time they had a raffle and we won a Bud Light neon sign!  Can you believe it?  Perfect, we can just mount it above the bed, no problem.  We ended up selling it that night to a guy at the bar who wanted it, for much less than I’d like to admit.  But, we didn’t have to haul it around with us until it sold on eBay and he got the sign he had his eye on for a great deal.  The staff here was great.  They worked hard and were genuine.   We made sure to stop by and tell them bye before we headed out. If your ever around they have good food, cheap drinks just don’t depend on using their Wi-Fi, its crap.

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The day came for our Antelope Canyon tour.  We checked the weather and planned it on a sunny day so that we could get lots of colors on our tour.  This is one of the activities that we both agreed we needed to do, even though it was going to cost us more money than we usually pay for stuff.  So, we found a tour company that tours the lower canyon.  It is a little cheaper because it doesn’t get crazy sun beams like the upper canyon around 33 bucks each.  To our delight, we found out on our tour that during this time of year you get a lot of fiery colors but not much sunbeam.

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Meredith, our tour guide, with Dixie Lower Antelope Canyon Tours was excellent.  We managed to get into a tour that was 40 minutes sooner than the one we scheduled.  We scored big time.  There were only four other people on that tour, and our original time was almost full with 20 people.  Meredith gave us a great lesson in Native American culture, from the different clans and customs to the history of Antelope Canyon.  She also had great tips for photographs in the canyon, as I’m sure all the guides do. Since there were only 6 of us and we made it clear we were in no rush she really took her time and only moved on when we all were ready to keep moving, unlike another small group that passed us because their guide was rushing them through.  The group that we toured with were from Austria and they had a great sense of humor.  The tour really exceeded our expectations.

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The climb down into the canyon was something else.  Each flight of stairs got more and more vertical.  Meredith suggest climbing down backwards like a ladder if you were scared.  I was scared but I wasn’t going to give in to my stupid fear.  The beauty of this canyon is almost indescribable.  Luckily, we took about a billion photos to share!  You really can’t help but take a picture every turn.  I imagine if there were waves on the sun, this is what it would look like.  So many bright and vivid variations of orange, red, pink, and purple.

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Meredith had a fun trick of pushing sand off the edge of the rock and taking a picture of it.  It made it look like a sand waterfall.  She also pointed out several different formations in the canyon like the bear, elephant, eagle, the Chief, the woman in the wind and Jabba the Hutt.  I could only make out two of them, the eagle and the elephant.

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I’m so glad that we decided to spend the money on this adventure.  I know we don’t have a summer time tour to compare the sunbeams to, but I can’t imagine being more impressed.  The way the sun changes the color of the Navajo sandstone is remarkable.  It is like a magical paintbrush was dipped into the sun and brushed on the canyon walls.  I felt nothing but positive thoughts, feelings, and memories from Antelope Canyon.  Time to turn the Page on Arizona and head to Utah.

ROCK HARD WOOD


ROCK HARD WOOD

 Petrified Forest National Park, AZ February 2017

We were on our way to The Petrified Forest, a bunch of “scared” wood. My sister made that joke and I couldn’t help but use it.  On our way, we had plans to stop at The Meteor Crater.  What a joke!  We haven’t seen that big of a tourist trap in a long time.  $18 each to view a hole in the ground from behind glass inside a building.  Well, we turned right around and left, no thanks!  We also passed thru Winslow, AZ.  This town made me feel sad inside.  Very run down and depressing.  We zoomed through there and continued on to the Petrified Forest.

We arrived at the visitor center on the north end a little late in the day.  After getting advice on where we could park overnight for free the ranger gave us some info on the annual pass that was good for all National Parks and Monuments.  We have always been reluctant to buy this because most National Parks are not dog friendly.  She informed us that the on fee will cover both us in any of the parks or monuments.  We always assumed we would have to buy two.  So, after a little more debating we decided it would be worth it for us to purchase the pass.  The park closes at 5:00 so we bought the pass and did a quick drive thru the park (45 minutes from one end to the other) and decided to sleep at the truck stop not too far from the park.

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To our surprise this park allows dogs AND has multiple off trail areas that you can explore.  We both much rather take the path less traveled, so of course we decided to start the day with one of these areas.  The name “The Onyx Bridge” caught my eye.  With no more information than the name, I decided we would go here first.  What an amazing experience.  We almost wished we did it last because after having the freedom to make our own trail and explore wherever we want, it almost numbed us to the rest of the park.  Of course, it is all amazing to see but this topped it all.  We went straight for the grand finale.

If you want to do these undeveloped trails you are supposed to get a map and info at the visitor center, oops, we failed to do so.  We did stop at the Inn where it appeared the hike started.  The ranger inside was full of great information and didn’t miss the opportunity to give us grief for not preparing ourselves at the visitor center.  Its ok, because I liked him better.  He reminded me of my Uncle Wayne.  After getting a general map and a little visual through the window of the Inn, we loaded up with water, snacks, and Xander and headed out.

This hike is 4 miles round trip.  It starts with a fast decent down into the canyon, which means a difficult ending at the end of the day.  Our instructions were something like; when you hit, the wash follow that until you see the tree then head left and scramble up the fallen rocks to the bridge!  Um, yeah, ok.  Once we hit the valley floor you started seeing these amazing pieces of petrified wood.  Some of it in big logs still and some of it in tiny pieces that you would easily mistake for pebble if you didn’t know better.

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While there wasn’t, any water running in the wash it was still plenty wet.  Our shoes felt 10lbs heavier after walking across the wash, once we finally reached it.  We decided to cut straight across instead of following the wash.  Xander was in his element, being able to run free and explore.  As we were walking we noticed a whole tree up near the top of one of the cliffs.  James looked at the map and determined that we could hike up the cliff then north to the Onyx Bridge.  I am not good at navigating like that.  I’m grateful he is, because it was amazing up there.  It was tree after tree.  Some of them were so huge.  It is hard to imagine that these trees are hundreds of millions of years old.  When you look at them you see a tree but you touch it and it is hard as a rock, actually it is rock now.  Some of the wood has formed crystals inside of them.  You can see the crystal sparkling at you in the sun.

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The area beyond the Onyx Bridge was called the Black Forest.  It is named the black forest because it is the only area in the park with all black petrified wood.  Most of the petrified wood has a lot of red color with varying other colors.  We spent a lot of time exploring here.  You really could lose track of time here.  You spy a really great tree to go look at and when you get there you see ten more.

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As we make our way back I see a large area that looks shiny in the dirt.  My first thought is that it is trash, glass ect.  We walk over to inspect and find that it is a bunch of crystals.  Large sheets of it.  Just a side note, we didn’t see any trash at all anywhere on our hike.  It was refreshing to see that people respected the area and didn’t trash it.

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On the second day we walked a couple of the developed trails that had signs posted all over to “stay on trail”.  We walked out to Agate House which was beautiful.  It was a reconstructed building that was built out of petrified wood. We both had, sadly, lost our enthusiasm after yesterday.  We spent a few minutes at the south visitor center watching a movie learning the process of how petrified wood is formed.  After that we decided to move on to our next adventure.  Antelope Canyon, here we come!

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TWO GUNS, A DESERTED GHOST TOWN & THE APACHE DEATH CAVE

TWO GUNS, A DESERTED GHOST TOWN

& THE APACHE DEATH CAVE

 Two Guns, AZ January 2017

 

This was a very cool, random find. We spent most of the day here and had plenty to explore.  Unlike most ghost towns, this one was completely deserted.  There was no tourist type set up here.  No gimmicks, no entrance fee, and only a couple of other random people.  One of which, had a huge husky that got loose then lost.    We were eating lunch outside of the van and had Xander out, when I see this beast running our way.  My first thought was, “Is that a wolf!?!?”  Ridiculous, I know!  Anyways the poor thing was panicking because it couldn’t find its owner. This huge dog was sprinting directly at us and we rushed to get Xander inside and James almost shot him as he continued to charge us. He came right up to us smelled us and turned around and left our camp.  We flagged down the owner and finally the pup made it back safely. I didn’t see the car that it came from because it was very far away.

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So back to the ghost town.  There is a very interesting story behind this town, I suggest you check it out here.  http://www.placesthatwere.com/2015/07/apache-death-cave-and-curse-of-two-guns.html In short, there was a peculiar man who called himself Two Guns and claimed to be Apache.  He developed the area to attract travelers on Route 66.  He even put up a zoo.  He also came across a cave where an Apache raiding party of 42 were killed by the Navajo. It was named “The Apache Death Cave”.  He turned that into a tourist attraction as well.  Story goes that it cursed him because he got mauled twice by a mountain lions from his own zoo and even a Gila monster that got a hold of his arm.  The town was rebuilt a few times.  There was definitely a deserted feeling to it.  All the structures were built with giant pieces of rock and mud.  Part of the zoo is still standing.  I can see why his mountain lion attacked him.  The enclosures were terribly small.

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James, being braver than I, even ventured upstairs in one of the buildings.  He said it was still very solid up there.  I took his word for it.  There was an outhouse that was still standing.  Just a small room with four holes in a wooden bench.  I’d hate to be the guy who has to clean that thing out!

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We found the Apache Death Cave.  There was a horizontal “ladder” made from wood that led you down into the opening of the cave.  It was a very eerie feeling.  Maybe it was just because we knew the history.  Not far after you enter the cave there was a little room that was built up with small flat rocks.  Who knows when or who did that.  As we ventured farther into the cave you could see where it had fallen in before.  Some spots you could even see daylight (a little scary).  We also saw a tiny little bat taking a nap on one of the rocks.  It was kind of cute.  The cave went on for what seemed like miles, but I’m sure was only a half mile or so and of course it was cold.  Something about that cold stale air adds to the eeriness of the cave.  At the last part of the cave it got so narrow that you had to suck it in and squeeze by sideways.  We finally got as far as we could fit and turned back.

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THE BELOW IS A VIDEO. YOU NEED TO CLICK ON IT TO WATCH

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THE BELOW IS A VIDEO. YOU NEED TO CLICK ON IT TO WATCH

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Just a few hundred yards past the old stone buildings was a newer deserted area.  It must have been one of the new attempts to ignite the town.  These buildings were covered in graffiti.  Some poetic, some funny, and some very artistic.  I love finding buildings like this.  We snapped a few pictures and wondered around the buildings when we found a can of spray paint that still had paint in it!  So of course, we had to leave our mark.  It is safe to say that graffiti artist is not in our future.

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We drove down a dirt road a little ways and decided to post up there for the night.  It was peacefully and quiet.  Finding old places like this with history makes you really respect the way life was so long ago.

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