Nature Calls…and Then Hits Me in the Ass…

I fell last night while hiking…going downhill, I slipped on some loose rocks. I do fall or almost fall pretty regularly, and that’s why we have padded asses. To land on. Which I did. Unfortunately, there was a large rock where I landed, so I am right now sitting on a softball-sized bruise just to the left of my coccyx. Which I think is intact, because although I feel a bit stiff (and ancient, dammit), there’s no excruciating pain. Good thing really. There’s no ass cast. And trying to keep an ice pack on that part of my body while teaching (or ironing) is not a thing.

So yeah, we hiked with the furry beasts…

We saw a snake right at the beginning, in the parking lot…

It was a little one. But yeah, a Diamondback…

The grasses are going brown…which makes everything look different…

The poppies are gone…but there are still new flowers every time we go out there…

I really should live somewhere that rains more.

Except that would probably drive me nuts…

I really do appreciate all the hikes and being out in nature. Even with the giant ass bruise. Ouch. Poor dead butterfly…

Beautiful though…

Here’s the full Patreon Amanda Palmer picture…we are in the top far right.

Thanks for an awesome weekend y’all.

Speaking of Patreon, I recorded three more short videos last night, so I’m editing tonight. Hopefully those will go up tonight. My second video for the month might well be at Walden Pond…you just never know.

When I got home, I did some things. After dinner, I worked on this sweet thing…who is close to done…

She’s got a rug and some knee and arm designs…and that’s it. I’m hoping I have enough of the green to finish the rug. We’ll see. I should prep the next one or two for the trip to Boston. The last three are smaller…they should take less time. This one has actually been pretty fast, compared to the last two. We’ll see what the final time is though. I’m currently at about 6 1/2 hours. Not bad.

Then I ironed…

That is a run of blue, for sure. I didn’t even finish that section…just the stuff under water. Wait, no. I didn’t finish ALL the stuff under water. The windows aren’t done. I know. It doesn’t make sense right now. It will. More of that tonight. I’m about halfway through the 500s. It’s taking forever, but I am past the halfway mark for sure now. It feels like I might finish. Someday. Hopefully before we leave, but no guarantees. Probably not.

Speaking of leaving, the job calls. Today I start teaching sex ed. I’m not ready. It will be fine. Too much talking though. This week is easy…all relationships and liking vs loving and all that gooby stuff…well, and statutory rape. Fun stuff.

Work Now, Art Later…

I see a lot of prospecti (prospectuses?) for art exhibits. I know what my work looks like. But then they put in phrases like “suitable for children and adults” and I don’t know what that means. I mean, I assume it means, don’t enter, Nida, because you’ve got the boobs and the uterus on there. Like why can’t they just say no nudity? If that’s what they mean. I’m assuming that’s one of the things they mean. I don’t think you should hide nudity from kids. Sexual violence, sure…violence in general, if you can, so ironic considering the video games. Sure, my kid can play this violent shoot ’em up video game where the goal is to kill everyone and get all the things, but those fabric boobs are gonna fuck him up. Sigh. Anyway. I guess I’m not entering that show.

I do have a bunch of shows to enter coming up, and I need to calendar them so I don’t forget. One of them says essentially “no boobs”, but I knew that going in and I think the overall goal is good, so I went with it. Plus this topic has no boobs in it. This time. That’s the one I can’t show online yet. It’s hard to work on a piece and not show parts of it. I’m very much a show-the-process person. Which is the video I’m working on for my Patreon…trying to show more of the process. I’m hoping to have it done by the weekend and posted. For only a dollar a month! You can watch me explain my shit. And decide I’m crazy. It’s OK…you won’t be the first one. I want to talk about how I do it and why I do it and what makes me do it.

So yesterday, we only took one dog for a walk. The old lady is limping and needs to rest for a week, we think. She gets arthritic at times, and probably overdid it on Sunday, running around. So we left her a treat ball (and she ate a magazine), and took the little one out…

So many flowers still! We had a little rain yesterday…

The mustard is growing like crazy here too…

And this little guy ended up covered in those twirly sticks that are a pain to get out of his fur…

These guys were talking to us…

Still new flowers everywhere…

I love spring. This guy was sparkly.

And large…

The weather was gorgeous…there’s something about those big rain clouds filling the sky…

We listened for coyotes a few times. Couldn’t decide if we really heard them.

We see them all the time, so we know they’re here.

We went up to see the vernal pool…it’s doing well…

Bigger than usual for May, for sure. We were trying to figure out if the little plants that are all over are the precursor to this flower. Couldn’t tell.

We’ll have to go back in a week and see what’s there. The progression of plant life as we get closer to summer is very different from normal. The difference between 4″ and 14″ of rain. Speaking of, around here is where it started raining on us.

It was short-lived but not light. Puppy didn’t like it. Here’s the vernal pool from above.

Ducks landing in it…I’m sure the frogs are fully developed from the tadpoles we saw a month ago.

We got home, I worked for a while…a time-consuming (and brain-consuming) grading assignment. I only did one period. It was all I could handle. And then in for the ironing! I watched all of Dead to Me, which I liked, and then went on to Our Planet, which I really liked. I am a nature show-a-holic.

As you can see, I’m ironing things. For the quilt you can’t see.

I’m using fabrics for that quilt…oooh…flesh tones.

Probably means there’s a person in it. I’m wondering when I last made a quilt without a person in it. Probably when I did the little bird and cat quilts…but not since then. I really am a figurative artist.

I have tutoring tonight, so we’ll see if I get any grading done. I need to do some embroidery, and I need to do a lot more ironing. Remember my plan to be done with the ironing by the weekend? Yeah. Well. I’m working on it. It’s just slow. Of the 924 pieces, I only have about 160 or so ironed. I got stymied by a design element that needs to be colored in a certain way…and I don’t know what that is. Plus I went to bed really late Sunday night, so I made an effort to go to bed earlier last night. Not that it helped…I just laid there and tried to fall asleep. Silly really. OK. Work now, art later.

Going to the Canyon

We left Arches and drove through more beautiful rocks to get near the Grand Canyon in the next day…lovely Tuba City, to be specific. We knew we wanted to come in the East entrance, and do it early, so this made the most sense. The other thing we knew we wanted was a damn shower. So there was that.

We ended up driving through Monument Valley…we didn’t have time to go in and do the drive (always leave stuff for the next trip). But you can see some of them from the road that goes through…

It’s beautiful country…

That storm kind of chased us across the state, but without any real rain until we got to our hotel.

So making a plan to go back…

As it was, I think we stopped at almost every scenic overlook…

But didn’t buy anything.

Driving through reservations is always interesting. I taught near a reservation for a few years. It’s a different way of life, not always by choice. It’s interesting that we both thought Monument Valley was a national park, but it’s reservation-owned. So that’s a good thing. We white folks have taken so much away from the Native Americans.

The majority of what we drove through was Navajo Nation.

We illegally transported alcohol through…whoops. I’m impressed that they’ve taken this step toward managing alcohol abuse on the reservation. It’s drastic, but hopefully it works.

We finally made it to the hotel…and the most amazing thing in the world…a shower.

Too many hot hikes with no washing…this was a good thing.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to finish up. Another early meeting, though, so who knows.

Yesterday, we managed to get all the quilts shipped to where they were supposed to be going. Now they just need to GET there. That’s always the stressful part.

Meanwhile, after work, we walked the dogs…back to the routine! In the two weeks since we’d been there, the mustard had grown like…well…a weed. A lot of it was taller than me.

Certainly the path was harder to find.

Still new flowers popping up. We had a little rain this week.

The grasses are higher than I’ve ever seen them.

These grasses have purple heads of grain on them…

Tons of fire danger. Lots of foxtails to go in doggie feets.

Poison oak (not above) encroaching on the trail.

Flowers in abundance.

Ah, the boychild making the puppy run…

Calli and I are like nope. Not doing it.

This guy. Dude. Get off the path. Are you coming or going? Is the spike on your head end or butt end?

So many caterpillars this year…plus I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this hawk before…or one just like it who hung out on the same piece of wire.

It was a nice walk. Although then I came back and pulled things out of the fur between Calli’s toes (mostly not from the walk). Those curly things are a bitch to get out.

She was a very good girl and didn’t bite me.

OK, so I scratched her belly too.

I graded some stuff, and then settled down to try to get through more of the Wonder Under. Puppy helped.

Not so much.

I have that one piece on the top right of the second yard to do, and then a third yard. I have quilt class tonight, so I’ll try to get done there…if I can. Then sort them etc. I have a plan. I always have a plan.

I got into another show that will be local here in San Diego…it’s called Indoor/Outdoor (way too similar to Inside/Outside, whose opening is this Saturday). It will be at the Athenaeum in Barrio Logan, The opening is June 8, probably 6-8 (I don’t have an exact time yet). There will be a coinciding exhibition with our Swedish compatriots at the San Diego Art Institute…we did a show with this group in San Diego and Sweden previously. So more about that later.

For now, off to school to an early meeting, then labs all day long…cool ones, though. Hopefully it will all work.

Sweatin’ It in Arches

After two nights in Bryce, we drove to Arches National Park, which basically took all day. We went through a bunch of wild landscape, up over a snowy pass…

We were on this scenic highway 12, which was really beautiful, but long. Totally worth it. At some point, we came to Capitol Reef National Park, or maybe Escalante/Grand Staircase was first…I don’t remember.

That looks like Capitol Reef. We ate lunch in a shady spot and then it rained.

Not bad…just enough…

I basically spent the whole day staring out the window at all the weird rocks…especially those green ones.

We didn’t hike…there wasn’t time.

We did get out and look at stuff though…like petroglyphs…

Cool stuff. By the time we made it to Arches, it was after 5 PM, there was no one on staff anywhere, and we had to try to get a tent to stay in rocky ground. That’s our tent in front of their camper (it was the only place the stakes would go in).

And here’s what happened to the mallet.

Oh well. The stakes went in well enough to survive the wind and rain storm the next night.

We got up relatively early the next morning and walked out to the Devil’s Garden area near our campground…this time, we actually camped in the park. With no showers. I remembered that later.

The thing about Arches is that there are arches everywhere…the one below lost a major piece back in the 70s, so you can’t go up to it anymore. I’m OK with that.

It’s pretty huge though.

This is what stopped us going to one of the arches…climbing up this rock fin. Too slippery.

We got about halfway up and stopped. Other people kept going. I’m OK with that too.

Flowers and plants everywhere…a bonus of a rainy spring.

I think you totally miss that in summer. This is Delicate Arch. We did the in-between hike, not the rock-scrambling hike. There are people up there. Not us.

It was also pretty warm in Arches. I don’t do well with warm.

The flowers do though. This is Pothole Arch…fascinating thinking about the science behind all these.

We did all the short hikes during the day…

There were lots of people on these. Pulling a dance move? Nah. Pointing at an arch.

There were lots of them.

So a weird selfie, but mostly was trying to get my feminist shirt, which I hiked in, and a bunch of women told me they liked my shirt. That was cool.

Nevertheless She Persisted applies to many things. Turret Arch…

So I have all these appliqued quilt blocks from 2005-2007 that I did (a friend made the patterns), and some of the places we went are in those blocks…like this one.

This is one of the Windows, North or South…

I think it’s South.

Then we went into town for alcohol, wood, and gas. All important. We came back and tried to hike Park Avenue in the middle of the day heat. Ugh. No. We got about halfway…but I really feel like these rocks should just fall over.

They are illogical. The valley was very warm.

I can’t imagine it in July. Interesting rocks above and below though.

Petrified stream beds. Balanced Rock!

We did over 11 miles of hikes that I counted on this day, but this was like 300 yards off the road…so we walked much farther than 11 miles…just in little bits.

This is Skyline Arch…we hiked out to it.

Because we wanted to see the rock fall…some huge piece fell out back in the 1940s and is lying in the path. Not as exciting as the view up.

Then we headed back to camp…had a snack, refueled packs, and did a longer hike to see Tapestry Arch…

And then Broken Arch…well, flowers first…

And trying to find the path with stone cairns…some big, some tiny…

And wandering around the sandy landscape…until we found Broken Arch…

And a view of where we were hiking next, to Sand Dune Arch…this is the back view of Broken Arch…

At Sand Dune Arch, stupid tourist photos got in the way…this lovely Asian woman is in all my photos because her husband kept saying, “put your arms up.” “Now move forward three feet.” And my patience was wearing thin. His as well…

Although he smiled for me. Heading back toward camp…it was further than we thought…

But there were very few people out there. This funky flower…only the top one can be purple! All the rest are yellow!

Weird. We had a long discussion about open carry in a National Park, because of the guy who was hiking in front of us at Sand Dune Arch, with his gun. To protect himself from??? I just don’t know. Scared old man.

Back to the campsite, where we attempted to clean up enough to go out into public for dinner. Yes! Food cooked by other people in a restaurant! What a concept. We earned it.

Still no shower.

On the way back, we rode through a storm that then chased us into our tent for the night, tensely listening for thunder, planning to run to the car, finally collapsing exhausted by probably 9:30 PM.

The next morning dawned perfectly clear and beautiful…

So we packed up and got ready to leave. We originally had no plan for after this…we’d thrown around ideas, but knew we needed to start heading back home. So in the restaurant in Moab, we made a plan (because we had no cell service in the campsite)…and made a reservation for Tuba City, near the Grand Canyon. A quick day trip through there, then heading home. More on that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I survived my first day back at school yesterday. I’m exhausted. No shock there. This is puppy love while I’m grading assignments on the stationary bike.

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I packed up one quilt, six to go. I traced this piece, ready to embroider…

I’m a little short on two of the colors, so they hopefully will show up in the next week or so. I’ll go as far as I can. I started some of the embroidery on it…just because I need to get them done.

She’s pink and purple for now. And then I cut stuff out for a while.

I went to bed early again…

It’s going to be a rough week. But I’ll get stuff done. I have to.

Breathing Deeply in Bryce…

Is not a thing. Not while hiking. No oxygen up that high. OK, not really, and we did eventually adjust, but it made hiking a challenge. After two days in Zion, we left for Bryce Canyon National Park (not a canyon). It’s not very far away, and there are a lot fewer people than Zion, hallelujah. A chunk of the park was still closed for snow…including some hikes and the main road past mile 12. That was still cool, though, because it was beautiful with the snow on the rocks.

So we camped just outside of Bryce, because campsites in the park are first come, first served, and we didn’t think we could get there early enough to get one. It was just outside the park, though, so no worries. We got in, set up camp, and then headed off to Bryce to see the sights.

The first day, we just drove to all the overlooks and well…looked at them.

The snow made it even more beautiful…

No matter when you go to these parks, the weather is going to have an effect…too hot? Too cold? Snow closed the road?

I enjoyed seeing Bryce with snow…

I think I’ve only been here once before. I’m not sure.

So driving up to the points closer to where the road was closed, there was definitely more snow…

At least by the side of the road…

Natural Bridge was as high up the road as we could go…and these guys were hanging out there…

We didn’t see much wildlife at Bryce…just a few deer on the last day.

We figured it was too cold.

Although our first night, we heard what sounded like a very lonely or wounded animal. A really loud animal. A sound that worried us a bit. Is that a bear? I don’t think that’s a bear. Do we have bear boxes here? Um. No. We don’t.

Bears are pretty rare up there, but the noise was loud and from a large animal.

Plus honestly, we kind of froze a bit on the first night camping here. It was in the low to mid 30s (good thing it didn’t get down to 18 degrees like we had originally seen). We didn’t prepare enough for that…the second night, we figured it out.

Anyway, so we got to all the overlooks on the first day, and then headed back to the campsite.

So we overlooked this field…there’s a fence on the left and in front that is the end of the campground, and then there’s all this open space out there. It didn’t block any of the wind, but that died down around 8 PM…

There was still snow in some of the campsites, but we liked this one well enough. It was pretty damn quiet. We made skillet enchiladas the first night…

Pretty easy…

Pretty tasty…and then the sun started to go down.

Definitely time for fire.

Like I said, at this point, the wind had died down.

And the moon was starting to come up behind the tent. We changed into warmer clothes…

And watched the sun go down and the moon go up.

The next morning, we planned to hike the Fairyland Loop. We didn’t get up very early, honestly, after not sleeping much, and my blood sugar had crashed, so that always helps me be in a sunny mood. We got to the parking lot a little late, but it turned out OK. I think we started hiking around 10 AM.

So in this loop, you hike down into the amphitheater and then around inside for a while, and then you hike out. It was awesome. Breathing was an issue at times, but mostly it was OK. It got warm at times when the sun came out…I was perfectly happy with the clouds and slightly cooler temperatures for most of it though.

It was definitely cool seeing the formations from below as well as above.

It’s supposed to be an 8-mile hike, but somehow we managed to make it 9 1/2 miles.

I guess we wander a lot.

That formation is definitely a cat.

I was fascinated by the trees, dead and alive. I saw at least 4 different pines, including one very strange one…

The one in front…almost sausage-like branches with the thicker needles.

There were people on this trail, but not a ton…and most of them understood trail etiquette, until we got to the very end.

And there’s flowers growing in rock…

We stopped to breathe as needed…

So the trail down to the Tower arches here is a shorter one…so lots of people here.

But we climbed out here…

And went and found a bathroom, washed off our muddy boots (I think my boots still have Bryce mud on them). There was a little snow on the path too, but not much.

But that was at the top, at Sunrise Point. Then you have to walk around the rim to get back to Fairyland Point, because the shuttle doesn’t go there.

It’s mostly level. MOSTLY. I saw on the hiking apps that people were arguing which direction was easier. I’d recommend starting at Fairyland Point and hiking down and back on the rim. Otherwise, you’re climbing up Fairyland for about 3 miles.

I like a short painful climb better than a long one.

He agrees.

The last 2 1/2 miles were all on the rim…

Which was a nice way to end. So I think that other fire picture was actually the second night, where we were warmer (dressed better, towels on the air mattress, etc), but the wind picked up and was throwing things around. We did sleep better, and that weird animal only yowled once. Well. So not a yowl. This is a shitty picture of what is probably a pronghorn antelope (it was far away), and when you listen to them online, that was what we heard.

A lonely or horny antelope. Good to know.

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing stuff here. I swear. Getting ready for school. Ugh. But also…finishing the second embroidery. Gotta get these washed and ironed and officially photographed.

And also cutting out Wonder Under, because I finished tracing on Saturday night.

Good to know. Plus yesterday was Calli’s 10th birthday…

From the girlchild. This is her baby. Old baby, for sure.

OK, off to school. Not sure exactly what I’m doing today, but I know I’ll be tired doing it.

Hiking Zion…

Soon, so soon, I will have to get back into the standard routine of up early, write early, think early, eat early. I am not an early person. I can do it if I have to…trust me, on this trip, there were times we had to be up early to hike before heat or beat the crowds, and I did it, but sleep sometimes is so hard to get that it almost hurts. This morning, I am so tired, and it’s not even that early…tomorrow it will be two hours earlier, and my body is already protesting. Part of that is staying up too late, of course. Whoops. My bad. Good reasons though.

But I do have a meeting today and will have to leave soon (hence the not sleeping in until I really want to wake up, although really, the cats were already like, BIATCH WHY YOU NO FEED ME, so there was no hope).

I went through the 3000 pictures I took on the trip (I don’t really know how many there were) and pulled some I thought were especially good. I posted a brief run-through of the trip a few days ago after the most amazing shower in the world (not the shower itself, the physical stall in a bathtub…it wasn’t that awesome…it was just an amazing shower because I was so dirty by the time I got to it). Here’s the first two days, extended dance mix.

We left early in the morning, drove through Riverside and Las Vegas, and killed an inordinate amount of butterflies, it was truly disturbing.

I feel to atone I will need to plant my yard with whatever plants they eat and then get a bunch of caterpillars and let them feed off my yard. Because it was horrific.

On the way to Vegas, we stopped at Seven Magic Mountains…not because it’s totally amazing…but because it was weird…

It was also virtually impossible to avoid all the selfie people and people in general in this photo…

Definitely an interesting start to a trip that was all about rocks.

We drove all day, pretty much, checked into our bunkhouse, and then drove into Zion to check it out, hopefully get a map, and figure out what we were going to do the next day. It did actually bring a tear to my poor little eye, driving into the park and seeing those towering rocks. We did a short hike to make up for being in the car for hours…

and checked out the view…

From a little further back even…

Yeah. That.

And on the way back to the car, saw our first of many mule deer…

Oh hai! Sorry. Go back to eating that bush. Tree. Whatever it is.

We talked to the ranger at the entrance, and he said to make it into the visitors’ center parking lot, we needed to be there before 8. OK. We can do that.

This is, of course, how we end up making sausage and eggs on a barbecue outside at 6 in the morning. Ugh.

The different lights of Zion…

We didn’t camp in the park because apparently the tent caterpillars are awful this time of year. We did see lots of caterpillars. We’re hoping they all survived, to make up for the deaths we perpetrated on the way out there, even though it’s not the same butterfly dammit.

So the night before, we decided we would hike the Angel’s Landing trail until just before the crazy part, the single-file part. We decided to do it first, because it’s the hardest thing we wanted to do. We were on the trail early, around 8 AM, with this deer…

There were others. The hike starts in the bottom of the canyon, and then it climbs.

It climbs about 1000 feet to Scout Lookout, and then another 500 feet for the Angel’s Landing part. It’s also a higher elevation than we’re used to, so we took it as slow as we had to. Basically, that’s how we did every hike this trip. At the appropriate speed for us.

A view of the valley…you can see some of the trail we’re climbing on the bottom right.

Part of the trail that climbs up…this is the easier part.

Much easier in shade too…the full heat of a summer’s day? I wouldn’t be able to hike this…looking down at what we’ve climbed up…

There were quite a few people on this trail.

The valley again…see the trail to the left of those people? Yes, we started down there.

Beautiful views as the sun starts to come into the valley. And we’re still smiling…

At this point, we’re on the 21 switchbacks that make up Walter’s Wiggles…looking down, you can see a bunch of the switchbacks.

It was slow going, but we went.

And finally at the top…

Well, at Scout Lookout, which is where we stopped. The Virgin River where we started…

The rock face in front of us…

And the crazy people who aren’t scared of heights and don’t mind waiting forever for a space to keep moving.

I’m sure it’s cool. I just wasn’t gonna do it. I am afraid of heights. So there.

The sun peaking over the rock walls…

Then we explored the rest of the park until we couldn’t handle badly behaved tourists any more.

This is on the Riverside Walk…down to the Narrows.

The Narrows had too much water flow to hike down it. But I’d do that. Another day.

This fat squirrel perched in a tree…

Eat your greens.

On one of the flatter hikes we did…

An afternoon view of the rocks now…

At this point, it was much warmer, although still only in the high 70s. It felt warmer than that though.

This is the Lower Emerald Pool…

There were many closed trails and the main road through Zion was closed for repairs, so we’d have to come back to see the rest of it. The people made it hard, though…not on the first trail, but everywhere else. There should be a trail etiquette class required before you can come in a National Park, I think. Although Zion was the worst for that.

Anyway, more later…I have to leave in 5 minutes. We spent one full day and an hour or two of another day in Zion, and we could have spent a whole ‘nother day, no problem. Good to know.

All About the Rocks

Wow. I think this is the longest I’ve gone without posting in years. In my defense, my cellular connectivity has been iffy as hell, if not nonexistent, for much of this trip, and when I did have it, I was busy doing something else or totally exhausted after hiking over 11+ miles a day. I realize that’s not much to some, but this old body has been running on little sleep, weird food options, and lots of climbing around for days now.

Seven Magic Mountains outside Las Vegas

That said, it’s been freakin’ awesome…a mind-blowing trip of all the different geologic formations you can get in two states (Arizona a little, but mostly Utah). I think we both decided while huddled in the tent last night during a rainstorm that we were done with camping on this trip, though, as we pinky-swore to wake the other one up if we heard thunder, so we could race to the car before lightning hit the aluminum connectors of the tent. Or the ground.

First night checking out Zion…

So this is the short version. We left last Wednesday on a long drive to Zion National Park. We originally had a reservation for the east side of the park, but they closed the road going through on April 9 to fix storm damage this winter, so I found a weird but functional place on the west side in La Verkin about a week before we left. It had a kitchenette and shared barbecues, so we used those (yes, even for pre-hike breakfasts of sausage and eggs). It’s Spring Break for about a million people, quite a few of them from other countries, and they all had the same plan for visiting Zion. We went in to the park that night to plan the hikes for the next day. We also did the Archeology Trail as a warm up for the next day…and saw our first wildlife.

Mule deer everywhere…

We got our butts up early and headed out to garner a spot in the coveted Visitor Center parking lot (you don’t wanna know how early), and then caught a shuttle to a hike I said I’d never do: Angel’s Landing. It was still morning cool, which is a good thing, because that climb and the Walter’s Wiggles with 21 switchbacks (it didn’t seem like that many) is not something I would’ve wanted to do in hot sunlight. We didn’t do the last stretch that’s single file and a chain attached to a rock wall, but we did go all the way to Scout Lookout. Some might call that chickening out…I don’t care…we did awesome.

Looking down from Scout Lookout…

From there, we caught the shuttle and did all the things we wanted to do…part of the Pa’rus Trail, the Lower Emerald Pool Trail (Upper and Kayenta were closed due to storm damage), Weeping Rock, and the Riverside Walk out to where The Narrows starts (also closed, because the water flow was high from Spring melt and rains). At that point, we’d had it with crowds of people and their bad tourist behavior. The Angel’s Landing crowd understood trail etiquette and were amazing…the shorter hikes? OMG. People. Really. So we headed back to our domicile and another barbecued dinner. We did a lot of miles that day…my app says over 14 miles that day total.

Waterfall at Weeping Rock

Friday found us driving to Bryce Canyon National Park, where we camped outside the park, because everything else was first come, first served, and we didn’t want to risk having nowhere to stay. The campground at Ruby’s Inn was quiet and the showers were free and hot, and it wasn’t as cold at night as it was originally supposed to be, but it was still pretty damn cold. We got there pretty early on Friday and set up camp, and then headed off to Bryce to check it out. I’m glad we did, because we saw a bunch of the easy stuff on Friday, thus allowing us to do a really long hike on Saturday without feeling like we had to then go look at everything else. There was snow at Bryce, most recently from like 3 days ago.

See? Snow.

Sleep was not our friend Friday night; it was just too cold. Nevertheless, we got up early again and headed out for the Fairyland loop, which goes down into Bryce and wanders around, then climbs back out (oh yes, at elevation No Oxygen for You), and then traverses the Rim Trail back to the Fairyland parking area. Wow. Great hike, but we did way more than the 8 miles it claimed.

Down in the amphitheater…

We figured a better sleeping plan on Saturday night (towels on top of the air mattress to stop the cold seeping up from the ground, even though we had a tarp that was supposed to help with that, plus three layers of clothing, and wool socks, dammit, because cold feet were an issue the night before), and got out of bed early again, expecting (rightly so) a long driving day.

I have absolutely no idea what this is a picture of, but it was on Sunday.

We made it through parts of Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument and then Capitol Reef National Park, and finally headed into Arches National Park in the late afternoon, where we actually had a reserved site. At this point, it was Easter night, and there was no firewood or alcohol to be had (both useful for keeping moods light after a long hard day of driving, plus trying to pound tent stakes into hard rock), so it was not the best night, but the morning dawned ready for a day of hikes. And hike we did.

Double Arch in Arches National Park

We were camping in Devil’s Garden, so we started on that hike, although we turned around at the rock scramble where I was like um no way, can’t do that. So we then drove through the park, stopping at just about every possible sight, attempting one longer hike at Park Avenue (way too hot in between the rocks). We made a quick trip into Moab for alcohol, ice, gas, and firewood (the necessities), but then continued on to see the rest of the arches and other bits. We made it back to the campsite, and set out on a trail marked by rock cairns to see three different arches. I think that was what put us over 11 miles that day. Awesome views though and mostly avoided stupid people.

Crazy drive at night in the rain…

We had decided to treat ourselves with dinner out (there’s only so many camp meals we know how to make before wanting to drown ourselves) , so we headed into Moab for burgers and beer (or wine, as you prefer). On the way back, in the pitch black, a rainstorm wandered in and we white-knuckled the drive all the way through the park to the campground, watching lightning strikes out there in the clouds. The campground was dry as a bone, until about 5 minutes after we arrived, when the raindrops started…and then the wind. Holy crap, everything in the car or the tent, no fire tonight! In the end, we were so tired from the day of hiking that we went to bed, no thunder ever sounded, and we slept really well. Not too cold, just right, so tired we didn’t mind any of it.

Monument Valley

There was no cell service in our campsite (further up the hill had it, but they also probably had a rougher night with the wind and the rain), so we had mapped some ideas out at dinner in Moab. Canyonlands was a possibility, but in the end, we decided to brave the crowds at the Grand Canyon. We left Arches this morning and drove through Monument Valley (we didn’t go through the actual park…that’s for another trip) on our way to Tuba City, where we actually booked a hotel room. With a shower. Because there weren’t any in Arches and I think we really needed that. So we’re clean now and have a crazy plan for tomorrow, I had my Indian Fry Bread and retraced the most recent embroidery…more about those and the daily (almost) drawings in another post. Grand Canyon tomorrow and then heading back home. It’s been a whole lot of wow and hiking our old asses off, but I think it’s been an amazing trip so far. We have a pact for tomorrow to leave the park when one of us feels like pushing someone over the rim. We know this will be just a quick view of the park, and we’ll plan another trip later.

I have graded nothing. I have dealt with very little email, due to lack of access. The world is still rotating, though, and that’s a good thing.