First day of the trip and what a great way to start a trip , a peaceful place like Joshua Tree NP.
Here is the sunset at Joshua Tree , this just sums up my expereince at Joshua Tree.You can view more pics from my trip @ http://yessy.com/bachans/
So this trip is over , but the journey continues and I wanted to share the lessson learnt .
I consider these as the things that worked and made my trip wonderful.
1. To begin with initial trip outline from my friend Deepu , without which I would not have got started with the trip.
2.All the wonedrful people [Terri, Greig, Sonja,Esther,Venaja ,Taro and his wife, Anna ,Emily,Mark and many others ]who I met along the way whose suggestion helped me travel to places that I had not initially planned to travel.
3[Convenience].Garmin Nuvi 560 GPS, this made my spontaneous change in plan much easier to lookup directions and also find places to stay .
4. Maps and initial trip outline laid out by AAA.
5.Use of Yahoo trip Planner to layout the trip plan and also keeping it up todate on a daily basis help me share my experience and also easily communicate to my friend where I was and what I have been doing .
6. [Fun,Cost effective, make friends]Hostel !! Hostel !! - decision to stay at hostels , helped me connect with lodz of wonderful people during the trip and also make it cost effective , this was very important especially with the soaring gas prices.
7. [Fun,Cost effective, make friends]Decision to carry food with me not only helped me have the food I like , it also helped me share some exotic food with the wonderful people I met .
I can keep going , but I consider these as the most important things I will keep in mind when I plan my next trip to make it even more wonderful , cost effective and adventurous as this was.
One of the best travel episodes in my life so far. I finished my 18 day road trip after around 4000 miles of driving over 80 hours, hiked around 40 miles ..visited 10 national park in 5 states .
I am looking forward to more travelling I can do.Hope you all get to travel and share your travel with others!!
Started off my day with another round of discussion with Greg at the Lake Powell Hostel about places to visit along the way to Cortez. He has been very helpful since I got to Page on Friday [05/23]. I just can't tell you how much I love staying in hostels, I would recommend hostels to anyone making road trips in US. You would be surprised there are quite a lot of hostels in the US.
My First stop after Page was the Navajo National Monument which is around 9 miles on AZ 564 from US 160 in northern Arizona. I got there around 12 pm . It is little more than an hours drive from Page.It is good place to get an understanding of the Indian culture and traditions. Visitor center has a museum , where you can view replicas of pots , tools etc used by Indians . There was also an Indian making a basket . After spending few minutes at the museum , I stepped out to check out some of the trails.Right outside the visitor center , I was welcomed by few Dinosour footprints and also sweathouses used by Indian. I took the Sandal trail , which will give you a distant view of the Betatakin . I was disappointed that I didn't make it in time for the guided tour Betatakin . Highly recommend this for your trip . I made my way back to the visitor center , checked out some CD's and books about Navajo culture and headed out to Monument Valley , it is an hours drive from Navajo National Monument.
watch for the next update..
Mpre pictures from my trip at http://picasaweb.google.com/bachans/Day6NavajoNationalMonument
Reached mouument valley around 2 pm . My initial thoughts was to take a guided tour , but decided to expereince the 17 mile ride by myself . The ride down the valley is amazing and on a sunnier day the views would have been wonderful . Just like the way I felt by seeing the rocks at Joshua Tree, it seems to be that all of the butts have a story to tell. I kept looking at some of the minarates thinking about the patience with which mother natures would have used its siblings( wind , water etc ) to shape each of these minarates . Yes just the way I read it before I visited the valley , the structures are gravity defying. My favourite one is theThree Sisters monument . I finished the spectacular tour around 5 30 pm and head to the Mexican Hat area .
Started off the day quite late and got to the Subway in Cortez around 12 pm , little did I know why my mind played trick on me to delay my morning plans ( plan was to get early to Mesa Verde NP and get to Monticello,UT around 6 pm ). I ran into Esther and Renne at subway, I have met them yesterday at Monument Valley and they were the ones who suggested me the Valley of Gods drive. We had our brunch together and I was talking about my plans and I was asking them about what else I could do as I am already in Colarado ( Esther is from Durango,CO and Renee is from Farmington, NM). They suggested to take a trip out to Pagosa Springs and then drive up the mountains via Durango , Silverton, Ouray,Ridgeway and norwood to Moab. So here I am at Spa @ Pagosa after more than an hour in the hot springs. I would recomment this place to anyone , even if you dont stay at the motel, you should come spend time at the hot springs.
This trip is taking me to so many different interesting palces and people . I also met a friend of Esther and Renee , who is an artist and she took me to her in Cortez and it was amazing listening to inspiration behind some of her art work.
The drive to Pagosa was wonderful, colarado is very green during this time and I cant wait to do tomorrow's drive. There are couple of places between Cortez and Pagosa Springs that you should check out (around 17 miles west of Pagosa Springs on 160 on 151) , one is Chimney Rock and Lake Capote.Lake Capote is good place for camping and fishing.
Overall today was amazing , to make the day even wonderful at Pagosa I met a family that offered me to stay with them , next time I am in the area.
More to follow ...
I headed off the Mesa Verde from Cortez around 1 30 pm and got to the park entrance around 2pm , did few stops on the drive up at Park Point and couple of other scenic over looks.
Got to the visitor center around 2 45 ( visitor center is 15 miles from the park entrance). I decided to do couple of tours, Cliff Palace - Ranger guided ( every 30 minutes , 3$ / person) and Spruce Tree House, self guided tour. Cliff Palce is pretty good and will give you a good idea about Cliff Dwelling and Pueblo Indians culture.
I had only 4 hours for the park as I wanted to get to Pagosa before sunset.I would probably plan to spend a full day at Mesa Verde next time .
Started off the day with a breif soak at the Pagosa Hot Springs , got on the 160 west around 11 and reached Durango around noon. After a brief stop started the drive on 550 N towards Silverton , it is really an amazing drive, there was quite a lot of construction with one lane road along the trip. The stops gave an opportunity to enjoy the drive better . There are quite a few places along the way you can stop and enjoy the scenary and take some pictures. You would pass Coal Bank Pass Summit which is the second highest summit in CO , next only the Red Moutains pass Summit , which you will be passing on the way from Silverton to Ouray further on 550 N.You take this drive if you are in the area, give yourself 2 1/2 to 3 hours for the drive.
here are some pictures from the drive --- http://picasaweb.google.com/bachans/Day8DriveOn550NFromDurangoCOToOurayCO
After the challenging and wonderful drive up the mountains on 550 N, I got to Ouray around 2 30 pm , checked out the little town of Ouray for some time and stopped at Hot Springs Ouray , little north of the town. I talked to some locals and I was adviced to check out the Orvis Hot Springs which in further north and 3 miles south of Ridegway,CO.
I took a short tour and signed up for a one day soak for 14.50 $, I really liked the place as it had quite a few pools and also lot of green area to just lie around and do yoga !!! So I took a few dips in different pools and I happened to meet up local girl who has been to same ashram I have learnt yoga from ( Sivananda Yoga Ashram ). So we decided to do some Sivananda Style yoga after few soaks. We did yoga for an hour and it was amazing for few reasons , the group energy when you do it from some one who has learn from the same Gurus( teachers) , the peaceful environment with the sweet song of the water falling in the background and the extra flexibilty you get after being in the hot mineral springs ( now I know why people love Bikram yoga ). We went into the pool couple more time and I checked the camping they have at Orvis. I learnt that I could pay another 19 $ and camp for another night and use the hot springs next day as well, sweet deal and went all out for it .
Well one of the guest wanted to get a yoga lesson and I did a short yoga lesson .Finnaly we had a little picnic with wine and some food I heated up at the kitchen and had a nice sleep outside under the clear starry sky, it was bit could but two sleeping bags and a wollen cap did the trip...
After the nice lunch ,I decided to take a drive to telluride ( around 35 miles from Orvis Hot Springs) . It was a beautiful drive on 62 and 145 . Highly recommend this drive , during this time of the year you will find snow still up the mountains in the background with green in the foreground.
Telluride was a miners town later turned into a ski resort. It is worth checking out this town with it nices homes and cute shops around main st or colarado st.
You can also enjoy a free gandola ride up the moutains which is very scenic.
I can see myself having my summer home in this little town :)
I started off my day quite laid back with some browsing , soak at the hot springs and some yoga practise and lessons.Around noon headed out to Ridway for lunch . One of the campers had suggested checking out Siam restaurant and decided to give it a try . I was welcomed by the nice hostess Joanna and also by the wonderful aroma of thai curry . I decided to try thai red curry and I cant tell you how tasty it was .I would recommend anyone in the area to check out this place.The chefs are from thailand and they also have a restuarant in Telluride which is around 35 miles from Ridgway.
It is not just that the food is tasty , it was not that expensive too, I just paid 8 $ for Red curry , white rice, soup and spring roll . Check this place out...
We left the hostel around 8 30 to get to Horsheshoe canyon trail head via the Two-wheel-drive access to the west rim of Horseshoe Canyon from Utah Highway 24 via 30 miles of graded dirt road,Driving time is roughly 2.5 hours from Moab , since we had some difficulty with directions we got the trail head around 11 30.
started the hike around noon and we did a 6.5 mile round trip hike down to the great gallery to watch the rock art panels . We got back at the trail head at 5 pm ,after 4 hr of hiking and spending little more than an hour absorbing the rock art.It worth watching it and the fact that there is no clear interpretation of this ancient rock art makes it more interesting.
Pics and trip details to follow soon.
We started the 90 minute drive from the hostel around noon and got the park around 2 pm. After spending sometime at the visitor center, we decided to take the Elephant hill hike ( 6.5 miles) all the way to Chesler park to get a closer view of the NEEDLES.
Great hike , challenging , we got back to the trailhead around 7 30 pm after much adventure.
Pics and details to follow...
Nothing can beat Bryce Canyon , my all time favourite !!
Started off the day quite slow , after a late breakfast headed to the Bryce NP around 11 30 am, after a brief consulation at the visitor center decided to park at Sunset point , take the shuttle to few of the view points and do couple of hikes.This is another thing I like about Bryce and Zion , dont need to drive around , just hop on the shuttle.
Got off the shuttle at Bryce Point and took a short walk and enjoyed the orange beauty of Bryce .
Next stop was at inspiration point , did a short walk up to the top of inspiration point and enjoyed some lovely scenary.
From Inspiration point did a 1/2 mile hike to sunset point . Started on a 3 mile hike all the way to Sunrise point , this included the Navajo Trail and Queens Garden trail. Started the walk around 1:00 am. Highly recommend this hike to see some of the hoodoos close by . Give yourself 1 1/2 to 2 hrs for this hike .Got to Sunrise point around 2 :30 and did a 1/2 mile hike to Sunset point to get back to my car.
It was a great day around 5 miles of hike in 3 hrs and didnt have to drive around at all. Bryce Rocks !!!
From bryce I got to the Kolob Canyon area of Zion NP around 5 pm. Kolob canyon is a pretty small scenic area , it is a 5 mile one way drive and there are 3 hikes , a 1 mile , 5 mile and a 15 mile hike. I decided to do the 5 mile and do the 1 mile hike [Timber creek overlook trail ] ]which is at the end of the drive. Very scenic area with lot of beautiful mesa tops...
You can see more pics at http://picasaweb.google.com/bachans/Day15KolobCanyonsZionNationalPark
Started from the lodge in Hurriancearound 10 am . Planned to park the car at springdale and take the
shuttle to the park visitor center . I love park with shuttle and that to free shuttle , I have realized that you get to see more on a park when you are taking a shuttle rather than driving around .I got to the Visitor center around 11 30 and checked out the few hikes I could for the day .
Hopped off the shuttle at Court of the Patriach and took few pictures,
got back on the next shuttle to the Zion Lodge to do the
Emerald Pools trail . Initial plan was to do the Lower Emerald trail ,but once I got started kept going all the way to the Upper Emerald pool with is a 3 mile loop . Nice views along the hike and the great thing about Zion is you can listen to the soothing music of water all along the hike .You will get a chance to wet your feet at the middle and upper emerald pool along the trail .
Finished the hike around 1 30 , got back on the next shuttle and headed to the Weeping rocks , took the short walk that will take you underneath the weeping rocks .It is very soothing and peaceful to be underneath the weeping rocks with the dripping music of water relaxing you.
It was a short day at Zion as I had to head back to Las Veags before it gets dark. Didnt do couple of other hikes I have done at Zion during my previous trip , Zion I will be back !!
I am back in Orange County after my 2 + week adventure . It is not really the end of the journey as I am sure I will get started with another one soon.
I will be spending sometime soaking in the beauty of the trip and re connecting with people I met durin the trip and reading more about what I have learnt from the trip.
Happy travels and hope we all get to experience this world more !!