see red, see seds, here we go

Ely Travel Blog

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Okay, this probably isn't going to be any traffic stopping blog, I'm not much of a blogger really, even though I sure can run my mouth. Anyway, I'm putting something up about a trip from a bit ago, cause for one, I obviously did some traveling before I joined this site, but most of all I just wanted to start sharing some photos. Right, so...

In March of 2006, after I quit my job in Nevada and right before I moved over to New Zealand, not knowing how long I would be away, I thought I should try and see some bit of the US that I hadn't seen as of yet. One major geographic region that was really nagging me was that redrock-sandstone desert southwest. Other than the tundra of Alaska, I felt that was the one major type of US landscape in which I hadn't really spent any time at all. So, I packed up my yellow subaru baja (which I sold and miss dearly :-( ..., and my, at the time very recently, exgirlfriend and I set off for a quick road trip. The other idea of the trip was to spend some quality time with that car before I handed it over to someone else :o)

I labled this entry with "Ely, NV" because this is where we spent the first night, left Winnemucca after Heidi (the girl) got off work and cruised the 4 hours or so to Ely where we stayed with our friend Emily. Left early the next morning headed for Moab. Took US Hwy 50, super long straight bit crossing from Nevada into Utah, crazy, started to see a few real obvious inclined sedimentary layers exposed near the border.

A few picture I've included were snapped from the car or the road side along I70 through Utah. Eventually we turned south, tageting Arches and Moab. Took a sweet run around Arches that afternoon, highest concentration of natural arches in the world, over 2000 in the park! This place was exactly was I was looking for... red rocks, lots of sandstone, cool arches and other landforms. Very worth a visit if you pass by. Camped on the Colrado river that night outside of Moab.

The next day we were off again headed for four-corners... I'm a bit of a geogrpahy dork, so this spot has always intrigued me! On the way we saw some sweet dinosaurs on the side of the road in Blanding, I fought one, rode one and then one of them ate me - yikes! Four corners was slightly ghetto, but worth the stop if you're a geogrpahy dork. Then we were headed towards Bryce Canyon, but looking for somewhere to camp along the way. Shortly after passing by Monument Valley, we kinda randomly, kinda cause I though it might have been the canyon out of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (it's not, that one's in Jordan) we stopped at Antelope Canyon. There are two of these Antelope canyons, an Upper and Lower, on either side of the highway, run by two different gangs, so you have to pay seperately for both. We didn't have lots of time, so we opted for the lower. If you ever pass through this part of Arizona, do yourself a favor and see lower antelope canyon! It is one of the most spectacular natural rock formations I've ever seen. You are on Navajo reservation land here and they will charge what seems a lot at first, but it's worth it. I don't know how the Upper canyon is, but the money takers told me it looks similar to the Lower but is wider and they drive through it instead of walk. On the highway, you can fly right over the top of Lower Antelope Canyon without ever knowing it's there, on the surface it's just a tiny crack, but below, it opens slightly into a winding, self-guided spectacal of red, orange and brown sandstones, polished smooth by the flash floods that race through here during rains. After leaving the canyon, we blazed through Lake Powell, with a quick stop for fuel and to stick the porkchops and veggies into some marinade. We now knew we were going to take the backroad through Grand Staircase - Escalante National monument (the last place in the continental US to be mapped) and maybe find a place to camp, or else end up at Kodachrome State Park in Utah. I'm really glad we ended up at Kodachrome, because this place was an unexpected treat. A very neat and clean, comfortable state park facility, a bit out of the way, and a bit out of season, so it was quiet. Got there just as it was getting dark, enjoyed a brilliant dinner over the fire and awoke to a whole bunch of sandstone goodies! Spent the morning wandering about this park, admiring all the large, phallic rock structures and sandstone bluffs. We spent that afternoon just next door at Bryce Canyon, somwhere I'd wanted to see as long as I can remember. It was beautiful with the contrasting red earth, green pinetrees and white snow. Had a nice hike down through the hoodoos and then we were off again, on our way to a night in Vegas, just for fun!

From Vegas, the next day, it was off to see Lincoln County, the only of Nevada's 17 that I had yet to set foot in. This also allowed us to cruise NV State Hwy 375 aka "The Extraterrestrial Highway" past Area 51 and north back towards Winnemucca. I was looking for one last night of camping in the rugged beauty of Nevada, the state which had truely begun to feel like home. We targeted Spencer Hotsprings in the great smokey valley, a site I had first visited on my birthday a few years earlier. Stopping in Tonapah for a few supplies, we very coincidentaly ran into our friend Emily from Ely, who was very coincidentally headed to Spencer Hotsprings as well. A pleasant night in the valley bellow one of Nevada's most impressive mountain ranges, the Toyabe's and the next morning is was time to head home.

We took a bit of a scenic route over into the next valley to see Diana's Punchbowl, one of the most unique hotsprings I've ever seen. Really more like a hotsprings volcano made of travertine, quiet for now, but still maintains a pond of bubbling steaming water in it's caldera. Also in Monitor valley I was able to nail the geographic center of Nevada - yes!... dork! Stopped to see a few petraglyphs and then it was back to "the Muck"

A couple of weeks later I was on a plane headed for Aotearoa "Land of the Long White Cloud" - New Zealand.

I know I blazed through all of that, but hope you enjoy the photos, and if you want to know more about any of those spots, just ask me, I'm happy to chat, or if you want to know about anything really, you can ask me... I'm sure I'll be able to make up somehting good if I don't know. Cheers,
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Ely
photo by: X_Drive