Home From Our Southwest Adventuring!
Oh, My, Goodness. What a trip! For those of you that might not have followed along via my Instagram account, here is a snapshot of the photos I posted, starting in St. George, Utah, and ending in Kanab, Utah:
We were gone a total of three weeks, visited five national parks, three national monuments, and traveled over 2,000 miles. We visited an amazing array of places by car, foot, kayak, gondola and boat, and made countless memories we will never, ever forget. Our newly retired best friends, who have the same type of travel trailer that we do, accompanied us, and I am pretty confident they had as wonderful of a time as we did in that midway through they were already talking about planning another long distance RV trip to do all together, possibly up into the Pacific Northwest.
Here are a few of the random things that went through my mind during our journey:
- Wildfires are a constant summertime threat throughout the southwest. Our scheduled ride on the Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Train out of Durango was cancelled due to the Burro Wildfire, and our return trip home from Kanab, Utah was impacted by the Lone Pine Wildfire.
- Our National Parks are without question one of our nation's greatest treasures. We met foreign visitor after foreign visitor that came here solely to see our vast, beautiful wilderness, and we were humbled anew each and every time they shared their joy at being able to do so with us.
- It's hot in the southwest! And while, yes, it's a dry heat that is much, much easier to take then when combined with humidity, it still affected us tremendously when we were out and about. My skin cracked open in a few places, plus I experienced several instances of moderate heat exhaustion in spite being well covered from the sun, finding shade where I could, and drinking a good amount of water each day that had been supplemented with electrolytes.
- Utah is the cleanest state we've ever traveled in, with some of the nicest, most helpful people we've ever met. But it's also home to some of the goofiest alcohol laws we've ever encountered, including not being allowed to order any drinks in a restaurant bar unless it's accompanied by a food order, and limiting the percentage of alcohol in beer to 4% or less. Too funny!
- We enjoyed riding a series of gondolas into and out of Telluride, Colorado during our visit there, which are completely free to use in the summertime.
- We saved over $250 in entrance and camping fees with my husband's National Parks lifetime senior pass, including half price full hookup camping reservations at Mesa Verde National Park.
- We came in well under budget thanks to our love of being active wherever and whenever possible. The majority of our days were spent hiking or attending ranger talks, both free, including an Astronomy event in Bryce Canyon one memorable evening - we exited the shuttle bus in a completely dark field, and basically groped our way over to the dozens of viewing telescopes that had been set up.
- In total we hoofed our way over more than 100 miles of national park and monument trails, enjoying amazing sights and sounds as we went along.
- Our wildlife sightings included coyote, marmot, collared lizard, turkey, mule deer, Blue jay, red tail hawk, chipmunks and squirrel.
- Our geology sightings included the Colorado River, the Colorado Plateau, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyondland, Arches and Mesa Verde National Parks, and Canyons of the Ancients, Cedar Break, and Escalante National Monuments, plus the Navajo Nation's Four Corners Monument at the point where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico come together. We also enjoyed exploring the Utah towns of St. George, Torrey, Moab, and Kanab, and the Colorado towns of Cortez and Telluride.
And finally . . .
- Though it's always wonderful to get away, it's also always wonderful to come back home.
Make it a great day wherever you are!