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National Parks of CO, UT and AZ

Date: 10 days, August 1 to 10, 2003

My mom was in Boulder, CO for an MAA conference so I flew out there to meet her. There we got a rental car and drove through Utah to Arizona and stopped at the many national parks on the way. We flew out from Phoenix.

As you can probably tell, my scanner was acting up. I may try to rescan some of these in the future, but for now this is what I got.

On Saturday, we took a little day trip down to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. That night we went to check out Boulder's Pearl Street (downtown). There we saw this couple showing off their fire-dancing skills.

We left Boulder early on Sunday, and headed down I-25 to Route 50. The first stop was the Royal Gorge. The bridge across is the highest suspension bridge in the world. It was possible to drive across, but since the bridge floor was made of wooden planks, with gaps between them, we decided that perhaps we shouldn't try...

This is a shot of the Curecanti National Recreational Area

Here is my mom at the Black Canyon of the Gunisson NP. The walls of this canyon are so narrow, that many parts deep down are always in a shadow. I really liked this place. If people tell you that the Grand Canyon is a place to see, don't listen to them. Go to Gunisson instead.

The next day we crossed the San Juan range. These are really beautiful mountains. The Rocky Mountains NP should have been built here instead of in Boulder. The road took us through several passes located above 11,000 feet.

The Cliff Palace (I think) at the Mesa Verde NP

Next we crossed over to Utah and headed for the Arches NP. We saw some neat formations on the way, such as the Church Rock...

...and the Wilson Arch

Here is the Delicate Arch in the Arches NP. This shot was taken from a distance. A 2 mile trail leads to a closer spot, from where all those neat up-close shots are taken, but we didn't have the time to go there.

Here is a picture of the Three Gossips shot the next morning. I shot an almost matching picture the night before, in which everything is red. This really shows just how much effect the time of day can have on photography. The entire park was red before sunset, but was yellow the next morning.

From Arches we headed to the Zion NP. I was sort of disappointed with Zion, as there really wasn't much to see from the car. I think Zion is a hiking park and in order to see it's true character we would have needed more time. Maybe I'll come back here in the future to do some backcountry hiking.

Good old Bryce Canyon NP...

...and the Grand Canyon NP from the North Rim. This canyon looks really big, and thats before you even realize that you are only seeing a miniscule portion of it.

Next we crossed to the Navajo Nation. Entering the Navajo Nation was like going to a third-world country, as the Indians seem to be very poor. There really didn't seem to be many cities or much industry in the reservation, and thus the main source of income seemed to be selling crafts to tourists. However, I managed to capture this really beutiful sunset.

The next day we went to the Monument Valley. This part of the reservation is famous for its rock formations.

Next day we visited the Petrified Forest NP. Here is the Painted Desert, which makes up the park's northern section.

The petrified wood was really awesome as it retained all of its structure. Unless you take a close look, you would think that all these logs were chopped down just couple days ago.

We then headed down to Tucson where we visited the Saguaro NP

It was really neat to see so many different types of cactus growing wildly, but furthermore, we saw a lot of them blooming. Here is a flower of a barrel cactus.

From Tucson we went to Phoenix. There I met up with Mike Garrison, who just recently graduated from VT and got a job in Tempe. Him and his buddies took me drinking, and I gotta say, Phoenix got a great night-life! I also met up with my friend Maria from Florida Tech. It was really great to see her after 3 years!