Thursday, June 29, 2006

Road Trip - Day 3 - Final Day

Final day of the trip - A visit to the Arches National Park, Utah

The Arches was near a place called Moab. After Grand Canyon and Canyon lands, I thought I wouldn't be surprised by nature's works of art as I had seen some of the best of them, but I was terribly wrong!

The Arches Park, was a prehistoric land similar to Canyon Lands, the speciality of the park was the huge arc shaped structures formed by wind erosion over millions of years. Eons ago this area was supposedly under the ocean! and salt deposits got eroded away to form the arches that we see today.

9:30 Am - The arches national park:

It was a bit cold outside at this time of day. We were walking through the trail that led to the 300 foot landscape arch. The trails were laid out and neat, rather than the primitive trail that we saw in Canyon lands.

This trail will take us to a few arches, depending on how long we want to walk through it. There is an option to go through another difficult trail, for the more adventerous. But as we need to return back to LA, we did not try going through it.

After about a mile walk we reached the Landscape arch, it was a wonderful sight! The arch streched along the crystal blue summer sky.

After taking a few snaps, we moved back in the trail to go to a couple of other arches.
The Tunnel arch and Pine-Tree arch were totally different from landscape, but were interesting in themselves.

11:00 am - towards the delicate arch

Time was running out, we need to get back, in the meantime we could not miss the amazing sights the Arches park is famous for, and one of them is the delicate arch.

The delicate arch is huge and sits on top of a hill. We can go near it, by climbing or walking a long distance or we could go watch it from a far off observation point. We went to the observation point and took a look at it, would have been really nice if we got the time to walk all the way to the top and stand near the arch. Anyway will save that for next time!

11:32 am - The Windows

The windows refers to a groups of arches, in all stages of formation. Plenty of arches along the same area. It was a short stop, just to take a few photographs, and then were back on our way out of the park!

Later that day we were back home in LA, and the wonderful summer roadtrip came to an end.

Landscape arch
Picture of the 300 foot landscape arch, taken by me

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Road Trip - Day 2

9:05 am - Driving through the Utah desert

After a good night's sleep, back on the road on way to the Canyon Lands! We were riding through a desert, Weird looking terrain on both sides. Now and then we would pass through some small town. Most of this place comes under the Navajo Indian reservation.

We stopped a couple of places to take some snaps. The highway was really windy at times, you could feel the wind pushing on the car!

The canyon lands national park was not far away, we should be reaching there around noon.

1:07 pm - the canyon lands entrance

After waiting in queue at Grand Canyon entrance, here at Canyon Lands, it looked deserted! less number of people.

1:20 pm - Into the Canyon Lands!

This place truly looked like some other planet! There were some greenary here and there, and some truly amazing rock formations! The prehistoric nature of the rocks are evident from the various colored layers seen through the rock formations.

You can drive the car through the road and stop at some vista points to take some pictures, but the real fun comes when you hike!

Adventure lovers will adore this place, with splendid hiking trails, which take you deeper into the lairs of canyon lands, to boldly go where no motor vehicle had gone before! There is even a 100 mile bike trail!

2:30 pm - Hiking through the Canyon Lands

Armed with plenty of water for each of us, we set on a hiking trail. The trail was marked with small group of rocks stacked on top of each other, here and there.

The hiking gives a feel of exploring a prehistoric planet. Along the way we climbed small hills. It was very windy on top, and provided some breathtaking views.

The whole trail that we were going would go up to the confluence of rivers, where two rivers meet (the green and colorado rivers). As it was late in the day, and the whole hiking trail is about 5.5 miles in one direction, we did not hike the whole trail.

5:00 pm - The "Elephant Hills"

After coming back from the river confluence trail we walked through the "Elephant hills" trail. That was not as good as the first one, but still fun.

We tried in vain to find some rock formation that looked remotely similar to some part of an elephant! Though in our frustration to find one, we discovered new ones like, the "sitting hen" rock, the "snowman" formation etc! :-)

This trail was also intended to be a 4-wheel drive trail. In reality it looked like you need a vehicle trained in mountain climbing to go through the trail! At some places it was difficult even to walk straight. But we did see a jeep struggling through the drive, looked risky at times. You need four or five people, if you get stuck to give the vehicle a little push.

We started to walk back on the trail once the sun started going down the horizon.

Canyon Lands - 1

8:05 PM

To fully cover the canyon lands we need to take atleast a week, you need to hike long distances and camp inside the canyon lands. But thats another time.

Now, after sunset, its time to leave.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Road Trip - Day 1


2:00 am - Los Angeles, California

The rental SUV was under the street lamp, gleaming in a yellow hue.

Done with stuffing the bags into the back, and excited about the travel ahead, five of us got into the vehicle.

Soon we were in the Los Angeles freeway, and we zoomed ahead.

5:58 am - Freeway, Somewhere between Cal and Nevada.

Wide awake at this time, not much traffic on the freeway. It was desert on both sides of the road.

The sun was about to peek over the eastern horizon. The sky turned into vibrant twilight colors.

From the car, we saw the sun rise in the desert, that a was pretty sight. "Hotel California" by eagles was playing in the car stereo system, which added to the mood of the scene!

7:05 am - Still in the same freeway

Hard luck - the SUV broke down! and had to wait for three long hours before the rental company replaced the vehicle with another. This put an end to or original idea of going to the Arizona Meteor crater. We decided to move on directly to the Grand Canyon.

2:13 pm - Near Kaibab National forest, Arizona

On our way to one of the natural wonders on earth!

Sometime back we were driving through the desert, suddenly there were trees all around us, wondered how the terrain could change so fast.

As we were about two miles from the grand canyon national park entrance we encountered a vehicle queue! all of them were trying to get into the park, and it took another one and half hours to finally go through the entrance gate!

4:45 pm, mountain time- The Natural Wonder

Grand canyon, the sight was truly exhilarating. It is impossible to capture its scale of vastness in any photograph, one has to be present there physically to comprehend it.

We were at the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, the width of the canyon, is about 16 miles on an average.

There are various vista points, were one can stand and relish the sights of the canyon. Those were very windy, and we could see not just the canyon, but mountains, some 50 miles away!

To reach these points, there are two ways, walk the whole way or take the free shuttle bus (kind of like a guided tour which stops at all points) The fun part is to walk the whole way through the canyon rim. Stopping now and then to capture some snaps.

There are also long hiking trails, were hikers and adventure seekers can walk. It usually takes more than a day to hike all the way to the bottom of the canyon (of course you need to walk back too!) I think people would carry all water and supplies with them and camp at the bottom of the canyon.

We saw the Colorado river going through, a long distance away.

Once we reached a considerable distance we turned back and caught a shuttle bus back to our starting point.

From there, we drove the car to another location, were we hoped to catch the glimpse of sunset. And the Canyon looks amazing when the sun in down towards the horizon, lit up in the yellow-orange light of the setting sun.

Slowly the sun set in horizon, and glow faded from the canyon, the temperature quickly dropped and it was cool and windy.

The Grand Canyon

8:45 pm, mountain time:

We left the grand canyon, shortly after the sunset. Then we drove for a couple of hours and soon found a motel to stay for the night.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Summer Roadtrip

Couple of weeks back, I went on a wonderful road trip which covered four US States, California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada.

We (me and friends) went to 3 main places,

1. The Grand Canyon
2. Canyonlands National Park
3. The Arches National Park

The places were amazing! Looked out of this world!

Soon will write a detailed report, and share some photos.