Glacier National Park

06-27-2011

From Hamilton, MT we packed up camp on the banks of the Bitter Root River and traveled north to Glacier National Park. The drive was beautiful passing by Flathead Lake nestled in the rustic view of the surrounding Rocky Mountain chain. We arrived at our campsite at the family owned Glacier Campground conveniently located just a mile from the entrance to west Glacier National Park.

06-28-2011

We start our day by visiting the Apgar Visitors Center and meeting up for our first hike of the day, The Oxbow Stroll. The stroll was a short ranger guided hike up to a bend on McDonald Creek where a variety of wild life can be seen at certain times of the year. We learned a great deal about the nature of plant and animal life in the park.

Following our hike we traveled north into the park to visit the lovely Lake McDonald Lodge nestled on the shores of Lake McDonald. Built in the early nineteen hundreds McDonald Lodge is a marvel of craftsmanship built from logs harvested from the surrounding forest. The view of Lake McDonald is spectacular with a small stream tumbling into the lake just beside the Lodge.

We finished the day with a hike on the Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail located at Avalanche point. Due to the heavy snows during the winter The Going to the Sun Road was closed beyond this point. This is the latest it has been closed due to snow removal at Logan Pass.

Stanley, Idaho & Challis Hot Springs, Challis, Idaho

06-24-2011

From Salt Lake City we got an early start and headed north toward Stanley, Idaho a good 6 hours away. We stopped in Twin Falls, ID to see the Niagara Falls of the west, Shoshone Falls, on the Snake River. With the water up so high from the above average snow fall in the mountains the falls were amazing. What a sight to behold thundering over the chasm splashing up with a mist that rained down on us from far away.

Traveling north from Twin Falls we passed over the saw tooth mountain range via the Galena summit road and down into the rugged mountain town of Stanley, Idaho. All along the way we were amazed at the rugged beauty of this part of Idaho with the Salmon River running close to the road on the back side of the pass.

We set up camp at the Elk Mountain RV resort and prepared for a cold night. It got down to the lower thirties which is common in this area as it sets many of the coldest temperature night minimums in the United States during the summer and winter.

06-25-2011

Today is my 61st birthday and we celebrated by visiting the beautiful Red Fish Lake area. We stopped in the lodge and marveled at the views of the lake with the mountains in the background. This is one spot we will definitely go back to and spend more time one year.

In the afternoon we visited the ghost town of Custer, ID, an old gold mining town from the turn of last century. It was great fun looking in the old buildings as many have been restored and tastefully preserved to show what life was like back in those times.

We finished the day by breaking camp and traveling down to Challis, ID to the lovely Challis hot springs to set up camp and soak for the night. Challis hot springs was a surprise for us as we had just read about it while having breakfast in Stanley that morning. When we arrived we found a place that was like right out of a story book. Our campsite was right on the banks of the Salmon River with the hot springs set into a background of mountains making for a view that was breath taking.  The springs and grounds were passed down from the same family for 4 generations complete with a bed and breakfast. It was just the kind of place that made my birthday come to a great ending with a smile on my face.

06-26-2011

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary. We celebrated by soaking during the morning at Challis Hot Springs. In the afternoon we traveled north along the scenic drive from Challis, ID to Hamilton, MT passing along the Salmon and Bitterroot rivers. We arrived in Montana via the Lost Trail Pass which still had large snow drifts piled up on the sides of the road unusual for this time of year.

 We stopped in Hamilton, MT at the Anglers Roost Resort right on the banks of the Bitter Root River to set up camp. Afterwards we went into to Hamilton and had a romantic dinner at one of the local grills to celebrate our anniversary.

Capital Reef National Park & Salt Lake City, Utah

06-22-2011

We started the day by driving from Moab, UT to Capitol Reef National Park to set up camp at campgrounds in Fruita. The setting at Fruita is nestled in a river valley surrounded by red rock cliffs and imbedded in fruit orchids that the Mormons planted many years ago. It is truly a paradise with landscape surrounded by some of the most beautiful cliffs and red rock formations anywhere.

In the afternoon we traveled up the scenic Capitol Reef Drive that follows the ridge of high cliffs that make up this park. We traveled up the Grand Wash road to a lovely canyon and hiked a short distance up into a narrow gorge with towering cliffs on each side.

At the end of the drive we traveled into Capital Gorge which even topped the Grand Wash for sheer beauty. At the end of the road we took a half mile hike into the gorge to view petroglyphs that the ancient Indians had left there on the walls of the canyon.

06-23-2011

Today we traveled north to Salt Lake City, Utah. The drive was beautiful with snow capped mountains in the distance all the way. It was a day of shopping for supplies and nestling in at the Pony Express campgrounds located just north of Salt Lake City. After dinner we plan to go to downtown Salt Lake City to visit the  Mormon Temple and Tabernacle.

Arches & Canyonlands

06-18-2011

From Ridgway State Park we traveled to Moab, UT through some of the most diverse landscaped of the trip. We went from canyons to farmland to mountain passes to the red rock country of Moab. We meet our friend Ron who came up from Powell, AZ to see us and our friend Debi who came up from Mesquite, NV. We settled in at our campground and had a great visit with campfire lighting up our campsite.

06-19-2011

We started the day with a great breakfast of bacon and eggs gathering up our energy for the day’s hikes. From the campground we took a 1.6 mile hike out to two lovely arches, Broken Arch & Tapestry arch. In this area of the desert the landscape is full of magnificent rock formations and slot canyons that are full of natural beauty.

 On our tour of the park we stopped by a variety of arches with their own distinctive beauty against a backdrop of desert landscape. Arches National Park is truly one of the most beautiful national parks we have ever been at. The weather was cool with a touch of rain here and there but not too much to keep us from enjoying the park.

06-20-2011

Today was the first really clear day we had in Arches. We took advantage of the cool clear weather to take several the best hikes in the park. Early on we hiked to Landscape arch near the campgrounds to take in the longest and perhaps most beautiful arch of them all. Set against a backdrop of crystal blue sky landscape arch overwhelms the imagination with its shear length and fragileness.

The hike of the day was walking out to Delicate Arch. Not an easy hike up hill for about a mile and a half with the reward beyond description. Silhouetted against a backdrop of mountains and smooth flow stone Delicate Arch is a wonder of nature. Arches will always be one of our favorite national parks having some of the most interesting landscapes of any park we have been to.

06-21-2011

After an early start we traveled into Moab, UT from Arches National Park to check into Slick Rock RV campground to freshen up after three days of dry camping at Arches. In the afternoon we toured Canyon Lands National Park located close to Arches National Park for a lovely afternoon of hikes to the many points of interest located there.

Canyon Lands reminded us of the Grand Canyon with wide vistas and deep canyons. We stopped at Mesa
Arch and the Green River overlook to view the panoramic landscapes that only Canyon Lands National Park can offer.

Telluride, CO

06-17-2011

Today is our second full day at Ridgway State Park. Since we were so close to Telluride, CO we decided to drive up to tour the premier winter ski destination for so many. As luck would have it one of the biggest and best blue grass festivals in the country was just getting started. The tickets were sold out well before we arrived however we were able to see performances in the town square on a small stage.

 Due to the crowds we parked in Mountain View village and took the gondola lift into town. This was quite an experience for us as the views were fabulous and the price was right, free. We toured the town and enjoyed people watching enjoying the many blue grass fans who were in town with their own unique persona.

 The views of the mountains from every angle just simply cannot be matched in this old mining town. Tomorrow we break camp and travel to Arches Natl. Park. I may not be able to post for several days depending on our ability to connect to a wireless signal. I will write and take pictures every day and post once we our able to connect again.


Orvis Hot Springs & Ouray, CO

06-16-2011

Today was the first day where we stayed for over one day at one campsite. We will be at Ridgeway State Park for three nights including last night. We plan to travel to Moab, Utah and Arches National Park on Saturday morning. On the way to Orvis Hot Springs we stopped at a lovely memorial park for Dennis Weaver better known as Chester in the Gunsmoke TV western series. He settled in this area making Ridgeway his home during and after his career. We were touched by the beauty of the park and grandeur of the Eagle mounted on a pedestal of rocks. We picked out rocks and stacked them as others have below the memorial.

Afterwards we spent much of the morning at Orvis Hot Springs soaking in the natural hot spring pools. Orvis Hot Springs is a lovely facility with grounds surrounded by gardens and a back drop of the beautiful San Juan mountain range. It is truly one of most relaxing places we have ever been.

After lunch we traveled a short distance into the lovely mountain community or Ouray, CO to enjoy an afternoon of site seeing and browsing through the many lovely shops. We hiked up to the falls at the edge of town for a breath taking view of the strong flow from the above average snow melt.

We finished the day with another soak at Orvis before returning to the Ridgeway State Park to bed down for the evening.

Silverton, Co & Ridgeway State Park

06/15/2011

 

 Silverton is high up at 9,260 feet making for cool nights. Last night we slept with electric blankets with the low dipping to 34 degrees. We started out our day by touring the shops of Silverton, CO. I was able to great shots of the Durango-Silverton narrow gauge steam engine train as well as the surrounding scenic landscapes that make this mountain town so famous

Our trip up to Red Mountain Pass to Ouray, CO was spectacular and scary with no guard rails in many places with straight drop offs. We stopped to take pictures of the old mines in the area and marveled at the many waterfalls that we passed by due to the heavy snow pack left over from the winter.

 

We settled in at Ridgeway State Park at a great campsite looking over the beautiful San Juan Mountains. We plan to stay up and watch the full moon rising over the mountain range having a cool glass of wine.