Monday, August 3, 2015

Arizona in My Mind

A rock hill near horseshoe bend (May 2015)

I did the Grand Circle Tour covering mainly Utah and Arizona last summer.  The area of natural parks in Southwest US is vast and immense that even a month-long trip will not be enough to cover most popular sites.
With a time constraint, my small team hopped from one site to the next, trying to take in everything that we were seeing and experiencing!   It was tiring at times, but yes – it’s all worth it!!  And typical of any great place to go to – we ended up feeling ‘bitin’ (wanting for more).

Tour medium: mostly by tour van (and side trips by hiking, 4x4 jeep or optional cruise in the lake).  Best travel if time/money allowed would be a drive-your-own, the key challenge is finding the right accommodation in the right place (they could be far away from the sites), and driving 150-250mi a day.  
Picture-tour below:
Horseshoe bend. Tourists at the edge of the cliff, I heard people had fallen to their deaths - so this is one place where 'death by selfie' is quite possible. Enjoy the view but mind the cliff.

Horseshoe bend is an easy place to go to (free of charge), and comfortably "on the way" to other popular sites

Gopro "emo shot" at the edge. (hard to fit with normal lens). And now you see why it's called HORSESHOE bend!  Awesome!

To get there, one needs to walk 15-20mins...  only! for a really beautiful scenery.

Lizard trying to use its camo - not working much my little friend
Gopro view of Chelly canyon. You'll need a wide lens to capture this. I see this as 'minor' canyon compared to others, but amazing to see a natural outcropping of rock pole at the center. Plus the remnant of an indigenous community that left their mark here (below).

Zooming the view from the top, you'd see an old settlement of Indians that lived here hundreds of years ago.  I can imagine that the canyon must have been a very good hiding place, plus there's a good water source (river) and soil good enough for edible plants.

Monument valley (Arizona side), a park managed by Navajo Indians.  Here, tourists trying to get their 'solo shots' at the edge of a cliff.

I picked another 'edge location' behind them to avoid the crowd he he. what's with the edge anyway....

Its a desert but there are plants here... Indians used to live by a huge number around here... (the war of US expansion wiped out most of the southwest tribes)

More intriguing flora around the valley.. Indians have various use of unique plants here either as food or for medicinal purpose..

Totem pole, was a bit distant but a little zoom captured its unique form... The valley is vast and one needs an off-road vehicle to go around the sites.

Come to where the flavor is, come to the Monument Valley.  Yes that commercial was shot here, and other famous western movies (like that of John Wayne's).  I can't stop being amazed on nature's great sculpting prowess. 
Antelope Canyon - upward view...  shaped by nature!

Just like the famous rocks in Utah, nature creates and nature will eventually destroy this.  So see it now! :) Antelope canyon as seen from the interior.  the 'controlled natural lighting' giving a unique hue. Spectacular!

Nope, climbing is not allowed, even flash photography!  just feel, see and enjoy it.  A sort of extended 4x4 is needed to reach this point, the extra fee is worth it).
Glenn Dam near Lake Powell (at Page Arizona).

I only captured lizards in my fauna shot list.

Lake Powell.  I skipped the 40$-cruise and just relaxed 'by the beach'...
Petrified Forest area.  It was in fact a (dead) forest with 'wood-rocks' spanning a big area.  A 200million year process to 'convert' timber to rock, particle by particle.

Ouch!  It's really a rock!  there's no organic substance left, it looks like a piece of wood - but it's a solid rock.

A polished version exhibited in the Park's museum. One of nature's wonder here... "kakaiba"

Scattered pieces of rock-timber in the park.  These rocks were photographed in the early 1900s, and new photos suggested that timber-rocks were intact to this day - that means good conservation (or the rocks were just massively heavy to be lifted out).  I did visit some stores selling petrified wood, presumably from outside the park's boundary. (and no, I didn't buy).

A snapshot of a distant rainbow, from a speeding van.
Walnut Canyons.  Another 'minor' (for me) site where one could still see abandoned/remnant Indian settlement in the mountain's precarious slopes.
The settlers used bricks to build walls under natural cracks.  Remnants could be seen on this side of the mountain, and the opposite side. Early looters/diggers were able to unearth supplies of corn, other grains and home tools.  Sadly, lost treasures!
An 'apartment block' where indigenous settlers once lived.  It's hard to imagine how their daily routine looked like... just getting water and bringing up food were challenging enough.
What's an Arizona visit without the Grand Canyons.  It's massive and expansive.  One can see the 'layers of earth' from 1000ma to present day, a geological history written in stones.  Literally!  Water, wind, tectonic plate movement, etc.. slowly curved out/ created the mountains revealing its layers of history.
2 hombres went down this outcropping to have a closer view. 
The view from the southern rim was nice, but the mountains looked far (they are).  I heard the the view from the northern rim may be better.
"Me see mountains, me likes view. Me feels cold, so me wears malong;  Now me misses home, me time to go back home..."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing!... Been there but not from your perspective! Had fun looking at your pictures, Romi....goodluck and share more. Been a fan of yours since your Mt Everest climb! Proud of you kabayan!