Friday, August 19, 2011

Ice Cave Peak

 About an hour from our home is a quiet little place with a most spectacular view.  It is called Ice Cave Peak on Mosby Mountain.

The peak most immediately overlooks Whiterocks Canyon.  Our perch sits at 10,000 feet, the creek below, at 7200; which makes for a pretty breathtaking precipice.  The views into the canyon are wonderful!  As if that weren't enough though, one can see King's Peak, Mt Emmons and other lofty 13'ers of the High Uintas.  Additionally, from the same seat you can see almost the entire Uintah Basin, plus the rim of the Book Cliffs and deep Desolation Canyon to the south.  To the east Blue Mountain is clearly visible with views of Round Top and Wild Mountain, Harper's Corner and the back side of Split Mountain.

The air was fresh and cool, despite a clear sky and little shade.  Sweetie and I were delighted to watch a pair of Peregrine Falcons cavorting just before us on the updrafts rising from the deep gorge.  One kept stooping on something quite invisible to the naked eye.  Upon inspection with binoculars we found a very confused Monarch Butterfly gliding out there, being thoroughly harassed, but completely unharmed by the awesome bird.  Sure wish we'd have had our camera with the long lens.

Mosby Mountain is accessed by way of the Deep Creek to Paradise Park Road out of Lapoint, Utah.  The ride up the mountain first wanders through  sage and cedar and a series of pleasant homesteads in the foothills, then rises quickly through a lush and massive forest of Quaking Aspen to a piney, flat top summit interspersed with grassy meadows and parks.  It has been a wet year and the wildflowers are abundant.  I went mushrooming hoping to find some morels -no luck - but I did find some ten other species of mushrooms which were amazing, but unfamiliar, so I didn't harvest any.

I had been up here earlier with a couple of good friends and we found and explored the ice cave with is not far from the view point.

Our trip home took us by way of Treaty Line Road, Deep Creek, Pine Ridge and Dry Fork Canyon all areas of wonderful scenes and pleasant memories.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The Sprague Library in Sugar House, Utah

On our way home from a family reunion Booklogged and I came across this wonderful library in Sugar House, Utah.  The Sprague Library was built in the 1930's and is still serving the reading public in Sugar House.  We loved it's fine architecture and it's great slate roof.

Inside it was full of the charm of a different era.
Here's a quiet reading room.  Imagine the fire burning on a cold winter day.  Might be hard to find a seat in the winter.
The Children's Library was bright and inviting.  No wonder it was busy!
A more recent addition is a lovely plaza in the rear.  The pyramid is a skylight for the art gallery and large reading room below.  A library should be a monument to literacy and words and this one certainly serves that purpose.  Hooray for books, freedom of expression and great ideas!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Bryce and Zion National Parks

We were initially headed for Cedar City, and on to Vegas tomorrow, but decided to go to Vegas today.  We traveled by way of Bryce and Zion National Parks.  What a drive!  Highway 12 is something to write home about all by itself!  The trip over Boulder Mountain was breathtaking.  The ride between Boulder and Escalante is amazing and even a little scary when the highway is perched on a hogback and the shoulder drops away into deep canyons on both sides.  Miles and miles of sandstone in every direction, with so many folds and seams; a person could get lost out here.

Friends of ours left Vernal and moved home to Boulder.  We could see why.  So quiet.  So pastoral.  So peaceful.  So home.

We stopped in Torrey and did a little shopping.  Sweetie found a Mary Englebreit puzzle I liked.

We had been to Bryce Canyon before, but I had never hiked down among the hoodoos.  We had time today.  Booklogged sat in a comfortable chair overlooking that most enchanted of places and chatted with passers by, drinking in the beauty and reading a page or two from her current book.  I hiked the Navajo Loop.  It was a thrilling time to dive into the Canyon and weave through the towering structures of orange limestone.  I felt like a vanilla icecream molecule wandering around inside a Creamsicle.  Edward Abbey types resent the trails and development in the parks, but I think the mix of human architecture and nature are wonderful.  The switchback trail into the canyon, has done no harm, looks beautiful and allows access to hundreds who wouldn't brave the interior any other way.  I'm glad they did it!

On the journey we were thankful for the few dull spots in the landscape.  Chances to cleanse our palates, so to speak, for the next vista of grandeur.

We arrived in Zion in the evening.  The fall leaves were perfect.  The lower elevation of Utah's Dixie affords autumn leaves much later than up in the north.  What a gorgeous time to visit the park!  For the umpteenth time on this trip, Sweetie pronounced this the most beautiful thing she'd ever seen!  Superlatives are abundant in Southern Utah!  We love it!

Enjoy the slide show!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Capitol Reef National Park and the Burr Trail - Lonelier Roads

We spent the day driving from Torrey to Boulder, onto the Burr Trail down to Bull Frog then back along the Water Pocket Fold to Highway 24 and back to Torrey past the Capitol Reef National Park Visitor's Center.

We saw so much and enjoyed such beauty we decided to create a slide show for this day.  Unimaginable variety of color, form and texture!  What a glorious day.  Enjoy!

One of a the highlights was the switch back dugway that gets you over the fold on the Burr Trail. The photos don't do it justice. We went over it on the way to Bull Frog and when we came back past it we drove to the top, had a nice picinic and drove back down again. Too much fun for two and old duffer and a book worm, but we'll take it!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lonely Roads

Our day began with a nice breakfast at Denny's.  A couple of local farmers were seated across from us.  They had a good time teasing the waitress.  At some point she announced she didn't drink alcohol, so they asked if she had any vices.  "I swear too much."  she confessed.  One of the farmers, understood.  "My cussing problem began with heavy machinery.  I swear I have never walked beneath a combine harvester without bumping my blankety blank head!"  Grandpa used to say the first swear word was invented while milking a cow.

I wanted to ask the locals what they thought of what's happened to Moab.  In my observation Arches and even Canyonlands didn't change Moab like the mountain bike did.

We stopped a second in a great little book store called Back of Beyond Books where Sweetie bought me a signed copy of Robert Fulghum's new novel Third Wish.  I'm looking forward to reading it.  It's a double volume chunkster though, so don't expect a review any time soon.

We headed south from Moab through such breathtaking country.  We drove past Hole In The Rock, thankful we'd already stopped there before.  We drove past Wilson Arch, happy to see it but not enough to stop for another set of photos.  We passed the Monticello Temple, wishing we could stop long enough to go inside.  The last time we drove through this country it was raining.  We were bound for Texas by way of Four Corners.  I'd forgotten about Monticello's vistas!

It's like being perched on the shoulder of a friendly giant.  You still have the notion of how puny you are because his head, Abajo Mountain looms above, almost within arms reach, yet, on a clear day like this you feel like you can see the whole world from your lofty perch.  I'd like to measure the distances in that panorama.  From the San Juan mountains in the East to Monument Valley in the South, from the La Sal Mountains to the North to Shiprock, way down across the Four Corners, you can see it all!  It's as though you can see forever in a glance.

We fueled up in Blanding and headed West toward Hall's Crossing.  On the way we made a wonderful stop at Natural Bridges National Monument.  Quiet and out of the way, what a special place this is.  After a quick stop at the Visitor's Center we drove the loop to see the three fantastic stone bridges that span a little creek running through White Canyon.  Two of them, Sipapu and Kachina are the second and third larges in the world.  Owachomo, which is smaller, is only nine feet thick.  We loved the road that makes the loop on which the three bridges can be viewed.  It is a one lane, one way route, that was so fun to drive and much less intrusive than a large one might have been.  Easy look outs afforded great views of each bridge.

Not long after departing Natural Bridges we encountered an intersection with arrows pointing each way to Hanksville.  One way leads to Hall's Crossing where a ferry takes you to Bull Frog on the opposite side of Lake Powell, the other leads to Hite and  bridges across the Colorado and Dirty Devil rivers.  The ferry schedule was posted and sounded most interesting so we headed for Hall's Crossing.  It was a beautiful drive with spectacular views of Monument Valley to the South and wonderful red rock mesas to the North.  The Ferry was closed for the season.  A bit of a disappointment, but the scenery was worth it.  How hard would it be though, to post a closed sign on the Ferry Schedule back at the intersection that might have spared us 100 needless miles.  For us it was no big deal, for someone else disaster.

The other route to Hite passes down Fry Canyon and some of the most breathtaking scenery in all of Southern Utah.  We were so glad the closed Ferry forced us to go this way!  Deep maroon rock formations above and white sandstone in the inner slot canyon with majestic Island In the Sky looming across between the rivers.  Sweetie and I both thought we'd never seen any place to beautiful!


The views of Lake Powell and back at Fry Canyon from across the river were wonderful too.  From there we headed up a wonderful canyon and, out on top, great views of the Henry Mountains as we drove to Hanksville.

We arrived in Hanksville at dusk and decided to push on to Torrey for better accomodations and an earlier start on the Burr Trail tomorrow.  The Red Cliffs Restaurant in Torrey has the best Pork Loin Masala imaginable!  The accomodations at the Best Western were inexpensive and very nice.

What a gorgeous, companionable day we enjoyed.  Plus we settled in time to watch the last hour of The Biggest Loser and Tracy got canned!  It doesn't get any better than this!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

November Get Away!

Call us crazy!  We think the kids thought we were - are.  We'd had a lazy morning and decided to have lunch at our favorite Chinese Buffet.  Getting in the car was our first mistake.  We love that car.  We love being together in that car.  You'll see why if you scroll down on this blog.  We've spent hours and hours together in that car and enjoyed (nearly) every minute of it.  If you scroll way way down you'll see our ll,080 mile trip to Newfoundland, for example.  Lots of hours together in the car on that one.

Any way, as I was saying, we got in the car and some kind of spell overcame us and before we'd driven the few blocks to the restaurant it was decided.  It was just too good a day to be sitting at home.

While at lunch, we bumped into our old friends Walt and Val and I guess they sensed the excitement, so we told them and they too, looked at us like we were crazy.  If you know Walt and Val then you'll know how very qualified they are to make such a judgment.  I couldn't help noticing that Val, Walt and I have similar profiles these days.  Maybe all three of us should quit visiting all-you-can-eat restaurants for a while.  Maybe when Sweetie and I get back.  I'll take it under advisement.

With clothes to pack, prescriptions to fill, books to mail and other loose ends to tie up, we didn't get out of town until two-thirty.  Then I made a quick stop in Jensen to get a notebook.  My Cocklebur Canister Cache has been neglected lately and was in sore need of a new log book.  I knew I wouldn't be any closer than I was today for a while so I stopped by and took care of my most popular Cache.

I love the desert this time of year.  The grass in the flats has gone blond and adds a bright, mellow aspect to the rocks and brush and sky.  Too late for the maroons of the Russian Thistle and the sea foam of the Desert Buckwheat, the scenery was still breath taking.  Cliff Ridge escorted us into Colorado and as always, displayed her majestic cliffs and crannies for many a pleasant mile.  I love the way the shadows play upon her weathered face in the autumn light.  I should have taken a picture.  I have hundreds of them, none the same.  But we were too excited to be together, on the road again, to be thinking of much else.

Sweetie hooked up her iPod and we enjoyed a Louise Penny story of Inspector Gamache solving yet another murder, actually two, in the little town of Three Pines south of Montreal.  We imagined Three Pines to be as picturesque and charming as Knowlton, a favorite from our trip through southern Quebec.  Fatal Grace is set in Mid-Winter and that has somehow made me glad we're heading south instead of north!  Quebec is so wonderful in the summer, I'm not so sure how we'd feel about her winters.

And so with glad hearts, a wonderful mystery and pavement rolling beneath us we journeyed to Moab, Utah.  We like to leave I-70 at Cisco and drive down the Colorado River canyon.  It probably takes a little longer, but the scenery is so wonderful.  From the photos of the moon you can see that most of our canyon time was spent in the dark.  Too bad we weren't equipped to take photos of that, because with the full moon and sharp clear horizons, it was one of our most memorable drives through the gorge.

I think this was the first time in my life that I had a balanced horrizon and could see the full sun and full moon, both perched on the horizon line at the same time.  It would be fun to have had a mirror so I could have taken a photo of them facing one another across the deserts of eastern Utah.

We checked into our motel and headed for Main Street to find something to eat.  Eatery after eatery had empty parking lots.  Then we passed the Moab Brewery.  The parking lot was crammed with cars.  That was a pretty good indicator that we'd found the right place to eat.  The food and atmosphere was fun.  All about adventure, with rafts hanging from the ceiling and mountain bikes on the wall, the place draws a crowd that looks to be pretending to be Edward Abbey and would utterly disgust him. Today's Moab would surely have him turning in his grave. If we could find his grave and connect a turbine to his feet we could provide electricity for half the continent by showing him videos of Jeepers and bikers and climbers and rafters tromping the daylights out of his beloved desert.

Back at our room, we poured over the map and pretty much decided on the Burr Trail for tomorrow.  We'll head that way, unless we don't. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Oct 25, 2008 - Last Two Days

We stopped in Twin Falls to see the new temple there. It's beautiful. Then we drove to Fielding to see Mom's brother Donald and his wife Eleanor and Aunt Betty Jean. They prepared a delicious meal and we had a wonderful visit.

In the morning we drove to Brigham City to see Mom's sister Carol. While there Jane and her daughter stopped in. We visited for an hour or so. It was great.

We didn't take any pictures, though. I am so mad at myself.

We stopped in Layton to see Alyson and Katie who are roommates right now. Aly is

working at Staples and attending college. Katie is working at a day care center. We took them to lunch at Candleman's favorite burger place.We realized on the way to Layton that we missed the opportunity of pictures of Aunts and Uncle, so we were sure to take the camera into the girls' appartment and I took a picture of these few wacky and wonderful people.

From Layton we drove home, dropping Mom off at her house and sorting out our treasures. It was bittersweet to be home - we had such a wonderful time but it's always good to be home.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Oct 24, 2008 - Geiser Grand Hotel

We spent the night at the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City. This hotel has seen better days, but it was still fun to stay there and now I won't be wondering what it would be like. They really need to fix it up and make it the showplace it should be; maybe there's just not enough business.

We stayed in rooms on the 2nd floor that overlooked the dining room below and looked up at the pretty skylight.

We enjoyed a delicious breakfast in the dining room in the morning - eggs benedict, eggs rockefeller and trout and eggs. Poor Candleman looks like he spent too long in the Saloon - what a ham!

I laughed at the sign printed on this hotel across the stree and a block away; the sign was were it could be seen from the Geiser Grand. I ask you, does that place look modern? It may have done in 1930 or 40 or whenever it was built compared to the 1889 Geiser Grand. Today it just

looks silly, but freshly painted. Hmmm, what's with that?

One last picture from Baker City. This house is across the side street from the hotel. So lovely, but I think the wood shutters in the top, front window are not attractive. Gee, I hope those people don't come to critique my house!

Oct 24, 2008 - Draper Girl's Farm

We stopped at the Draper Girl's Country Farm in Parkdale, just outside of Hood River on Hwy 35. We bought two companions for our travel gourd as well as lots of fresh apples and pears. The selection was amazing, but we couldn't remember what types we had the minute we were in the car. It would be great to live close to orchards and fruit stands.

I was impressed with this little write up: "Our grandfather Roman started the tradition of self-service after hours, and we continue to offer this to our guests. Just stop on by and help yourself and put the money in the bin. "

Draper Girls offers the best apple cider I've ever tasted. Oh, my! It may be the best drink ever. They have one of a few licensed non-pasteurized cider mills in the state, so we could stock up because it needed to be refrigerated. So we only bought 2 bottles. It is to die for.

Oct 24, 2008 - Timberline Lodge

This lodge was built during the Depression by the Work Progress Administration and was dedicated by Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Today it is a year round ski lodge. As much as we love Mt. Hood (see last post) we decided it looks better from further away.

It was massive on the inside and was bit of a maze to find our way around. Part of that was because repairs were being made to the front door so we had to enter through a side door and then wander through halls to find the front desk.

We did enjoy sharing a bowl of cream of cauliflower soup that was delicious.

Oct 24, 2008 - Mt Hood Scenic Drive

Can you believe this picture?! I was so worried that we would be driving through a snow storm on the day we drove around Mt. Hood. Au contraire, the weather was perfect.

We stopped in the small community of Sandy, Oregon to take pictures of this glorious scene. Can you even imagine living where you could look out and see this, or go out for a stroll and just turn your head and WOW! The scene to the other side is nothing to sneeze at either. When we were driving along the coast, both Mom and Candleman picked numerous houses or places they would live if they could drop everything and live a dream. Both would enjoy living right on the ocean. I would like to live close but not right there. When we got to Sandy I said that this is the type of place I'd like to live. They conceded if they couldn't live on the ocean they'd like to live here.

Oct 24, 2008 - Columbia River Gorge & Crown Point

We drove on hwy 84 from Portland to Multnomah Falls but then we turn around and headed west again, this time on the old scenic highway. It's a beautiful drive as the road twists and turns as it makes its way up to Crown Point. We visited the recently remodeled Vista House. The picture of Vista House I borrowed from the internet. It was taken on the day of its reopening.

We were surprised that the gift shop and dioramas about the gorge and the old hiway and Vista House were downstairs in a circular hallway around the outside walls. The main floor is open to the ceiling and has lots of windows to see out to the beautiful views. There are also sidewalks on the backside of the structure so people can snap some good shots.. .

Oct 24, 2008 - Multnomah Falls

When we first started planning this trip we talked about not going to the ocean, but then we just couldn't pass that up so we planned 2 days for the ocean. So glad we did. We also weren't going to visit Multnomah Falls, but when push came to shove, we just couldn't leave it out. So we drove the extra miles to see the falls (it cost us maybe 25 miles), but it was worth it. The falls are quite magnificent and it was fun to see them in the autumn.

We stepped into the gift store for a quick look-see. They had some really nice winter coats that fit me. The price so low and the quality so high that we

decided to get a coat for Alyson, who we knew needed a new winter coat, and for Katie because she loves the falls. All three of our coats are identical in a beautiful shade of light blue. And they are reversible. There was a sale - buy 3 get 1 free. We tried calling Jenny and Krisit to see if they needed new coats, but didn't reach them, so Candleman got a new coat even though he didn't particularly need one.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oct 23, 2008 - Portland's Chinese Gardens

The Chinese Garden is one of my favorite spots. It's so tranquil and harmonious. Portland's sister city, Suzhou, built this garden. Chinese artisans constructed the walls, buildings, pavilions and walkways using materials and tools they brought from China.

The garden is mostly in the style of Ming dynasty gardens and it is considered a winter garden. There is a tree that blooms in November and fills the neighboring blocks with an intoxicating smell. There is a Magnolia tree with will keep its big swelling buds until spring when it will bloom. A Oriental Plum is one of the harbingers of

spring and will bloom in February. Even though it is a winter garden there were a few fall trees - very lacy and delicate like those in the Japanese Garden.

A classical Chinese garden consists generally of five elements: plants, stone, water, architecture and poetry. As we wandered around enjoying the beauty we enjoyed some pleasing Chinese music. I thought it was piped in over speakers and I also thought the instrument was a flute. As we came to the Tea House we decided to go in. That's when we discovered the music where the music was coming from.

This was a string instrument that we had never see before. The man playing allowed us to take some pictures and he talked with us about the instrument. He said it was very easy to learn - instead of notes the music is written with numbers. What a great concept. I thought I might come home and translate some piano music into this number form and I might be able to play the piano. Candleman, who loves to buy instruments and who even plays them, was most excited. Someday we hope to find one of these for him.

They served our different flavored herbal teas in individual little teapots. Mom liked Candleman's pot best, but I liked our little blue flowered pots better. We tried Hibiscus, Rose Hip and, oh, I can't remember. It was a delightful experience, absolutely delightful.

I love the picture I took from the upstairs window of the rooftops. Speaking of windows,

I love the windows in the buildings. And speaking of roofs - these are made in columns so that the rain runs down the columns and then it hits a little stone guard that causes the rain to fall in individual drops. We were hoping to see rain while in the garden so we will have to return. Oh, darn. Our weather was perfect - October cool but clear skies.

There were some beautiful bonsai plants throughout the garden - deciduous, evergreens, bushes. It's just amazing. I never thought of a big redwood being made into a bonsai, but isn't it wonderful?

Last time we visited we talked about bringing a book with us next time and staying for hours, sitting, reading, contemplating, walking, sipping tea, sitting, reading, soaking in the harmony, tranquility, and loveliness.

I carried the book I was reading, Cassandra & Jane by Jill Pikeanthley, in hopes I would get 15 minutes or so to sit, read and contemplate. I sat down next to Candleman on one of our favorite benches. I opened my book and Candleman nudged me and said, "If we want to get into the gift shop, we better get going before they close." Hard choices! I wish I would have chosen reading. Candleman did buy a recently published book that interprets the columns of poetry found throughout the garden, so that was good.