Thursday, March 31, 2016


We have been in Gunnison, Colorado all winter, and after a very cold one, with morning temperatures often minus 35 degrees, I thought spring had arrived to this part of the Rockies.  I should have known better. This morning we wakened to a dusting of snow, which means much more 35 miles north in the mountains of Crested Butte.  Since we gave up down hill skiing this year, while we prepare for our move back East, it doesn't excite me as it used to.  So I will be adding no snow scenes to my long neglected blog in this post.  We did take a wonderful drive back to California a short while ago to visit family and on the way to and from stopped in Utah for some sightseeing.

Already I have to apologize for my lie.  When I looked at my photos from this time I couldn't resist adding a couple shots as we traveled west towards Montrose and Utah beyond.

Even with the cloud above the new snow on frozen Blue Mesa and the mountains beyond was magical.  I will miss these scenes next year.

And as we began to pass under the Blue Sky the contrast between the white snow and the orange vegetation was beautiful to me.

Utah welcomed us with diminishing clouds, and the beginning of the red rock in the distance that gives so much or that state it beautiful color.

As we traveled west the sky turned a lovely blue and the rocks appeared redder under the clear sky.

We passed through what was called Outlaw Country, where Butch Cassidy and others outlaws hid from the law in the endless canyons.

And stopped to take a picture of Ghost Rock,

And admire Castle Mountain on our way to our stop in Cedar City for the night.


From Cedar City we headed west and then south towards St. George planning to visit a small state park we had seen on the map, Snow Canyon.

 This little Valley was obviously the garden center for this part of Utah.  Though it was still early in the season the watering equipment was lined up and ready for use after the planting.

 As we turned south there was still fog in the valley and the buildings and equipment stood out in relief from the dark mountains and light morning mist.

As we approached Snow Valley the volcano that created a lot of the topography that we were to see
was very apparent.
As we entered the Park the scenery changed dramatically. The beautiful red rock head wall provided a fitting backdrop for a mountain of white rock.

 The end of the lava flow coming from the volcano we had seen earlier made a beautiful contrast
to the desert vegetation growing in the valley floor.

 The bottom of the white "mountain" seemed very similar to the bottom of a sand dune.

 And growing around the lava flow, were beautiful little purple flowers.  I must find out their name.

 The red rock mountains continued down valley.

 We walked over to the edge and were able to amble over the petrified red sand dunes.

 There were interesting patterns in the rock, and they were backed by vertically striated  rocks of the same color.

 Looking back up valley with the white mountain showing above the petrified sand dunes was just incredibly beautiful.

At the camping site, the lava flow stood out against the red rock.

 As we headed South the red rock mountains became lower,

 And petered out to give way to the desert vegetation.

Finally heading West again, this unusual swirled formation stood out like a sore thumb

A bit further on we took a detour to an old mine which had be turned into a tourist attraction.  The colors in these rock flows reminded me of Artist Point in Death Valley in California

Stopping at a gas station before entering California, I spotted this dead butterfly on our bumper, a tragic but beautiful reminder of a beautiful state.


We had a wonderful visit with family in Dana Point, CA, and with our son and daughter-in -law, and on the way back to Colorado decided to spend a day in Bryce, Canyon N. P., one of the few National Parks in that state we had never visited.

It had rained in California and snowed in Utah, so as we approached our destination we began to see red rock appearing on the mountains covered with a thin layer of snow.

Looking skyward over the next mountain this cloud gave me concern for a moment until I remembered the tornadoes were rare in this king of terrain.

Nearing Bryce the scenery became more interesting with white cap rock appearing atop the red in places.

 And Hoodoos silhouetted against the blue sky.

 The road went through a couple of arches.

And the scenery got more spectacular.  We checked into our hotel and drove out to take some photos of the sunset near the lodge.

This little deer was grabbing a late afternoon snack.

And though we were told that the sunsets couldn't compete with the sunrises I thought this scene was not too shabby.

Putting 3 of my photos together into a panorama gives one a bit more prospective.


We got up very early the next morning to be back at the overlook by the lodge to see the sunrise.  People were already there with their cameras, but unfortunately there were no clouds to reflect the sun as it rose -
Only a slight overcast which turned orange in the new light.

I found a spot with a tree where I could prop my camera and catch the sun coming up.

The sun turned the whole amphitheater a bright copper color.  After breakfast we decided to drive the length of the park road across the plateau.  Because of the recent snow hiking was not an option.
It is say "A picture is worth a thousand words"

The View from Piracy Point, a short walk from Farview Point


The Headwall

The end of the road