Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bryce Canyon National Park

Whereas Zion National Park was best seen from inside the canyon, 
most of Bryce Canyon, Utah is best viewed from above. 

My first view of Bryce took my breath away. 
One might think it was due to the brisk wind blowing in my face, 
with a bit of snow pelting me, 
but no, 
it was the expanse and beauty of the place.

As we drove from viewpoint to viewpoint, 
we experienced snow squalls and sunshine. 

But the racing clouds alternating with brilliant blue skies brought their own sort of beauty to the grandeur of the knobby spires, called 'hoodoos'.

Although Bryce and Zion are only about 70 miles apart, they are millions of years apart as far as their geology is concerned. Zion is comprised of older rock formations (Mesozoic period) created 65 to 225 million years ago, while Bryce's rock was formed from 65 million years ago to more recent times, during the Cenozoic period. (I will be adding a brief post about the geology of this area later.) 

Ebenezer Bryce homesteaded here in 1870, and thus the name originated. Local folks referred to the area as Bryce's Canyon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Zion National Park

We visited Zion National Park in the southwest corner of Utah. Zion was carved out of the layered sandstone formed by the sediment of ancient seas and nearby sand dunes. The main road in the park follows the river valley with immense walls of sandstone towering above.

At the bottom... looking up

 A turn in the river

Water seeping out of the rock from far above

Water dripping
I love the spiral on the right

 A hawk soars high above the canyon wall

Mr. Dreamy does his part to insure safe passage

Water from snow melt and rains continues to shape the canyon

After hundreds of years, the water will cut the rock
forming a new canyon

We drove out of the canyon as impressive rock walls
continued to astound us

In some places you could see almost perfect 'amphitheaters'
where softer rock let go of its hold and fell below 

As you climb higher in Zion, you must travel through a tunnel over 1 mile in length. It was completed in 1930. Some modern vehicles cannot fit in the tunnel unless traffic is stopped and they drive down the middle of the road. No... we won't be bringing the motorhome through the tunnel, even though we would fit. The switchbacks leading up to the tunnel are unnerving enough in a car!

As you emerge from the tunnel you are welcomed by more massive formations, but here the geology is different.  Instead of being in the canyon, you are suddenly on top, where you can see fossilized sand dunes and rock with interesting patterns of striations.

The beauty took my breath away

Checkerboard Rock

Pictures don't accurately represent what one sees in person. Pictures fail to give one the feeling of the size and grandeur of the formations. I am so glad that we had the opportunity to explore just a bit of the park.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Nine Lives

If I come back as a cat, I want to spend at least one of my lives at the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Angel Canyon, UT!

We recently took a tour of the facility (featured on Dogtown several years ago). It is amazing. The sanctuary is located in a drop-dead gorgeous canyon near Kanab, UT. They house about 1900 animals, including, but not limited to, horses, pigs, dogs, cats, birds, and bunnies. Animals with injuries or illnesses are treated. Animals may live out their lives at the sanctuary, or they may be adopted.

The mission of the organization is to save them all. They want to end indiscriminate breeding. They support spay and neuter clinics and the "Big Fix" mobile clinic. They partner with organizations throughout the US to promote "no kill" shelters and programs. They raise funds through activities across the US like "Strut your Mutt", and raise awareness with conferences, adoption events, TV shows and literature. They want to put an end to breed discrimination and puppy mills, and they assist with trap, neuter and return programs for feral cats.

Best Friends offers tours of their facilities and encourage individuals to come and volunteer, even if it is for just a day. Volunteers must attend an informational session before they work with the animals. Volunteers may choose where they want to volunteer and what they'd like to do and the staff or other volunteers assist them. They might clean animal runs, walk dogs or sit with cats. Even the cats get walked, or taken outside in strollers by volunteers. Volunteers help prepare animals for life with a family.

We visited one of several cat houses. Each house has several rooms with exterior play areas. The rooms have all manner of things that cats would like, from snuggly beds to things to climb.

There are 'hidey holes' for cats who want to be alone.
Volunteers make fleece beds and pads, 
and it is evident that the cats appreciate their efforts!

This cat was hiding in a hallway storage closet!

Each room has an outdoor living area as well.

What cat wouldn't love the freedom to climb, sleep,
eat and play? 
In my opinion, this could be cat heaven!

We enjoyed our visit to Kanab and to Best Friends. I would love to go back and spend some time volunteering. Maybe next year!