Archive for December, 2010

Bryce

December 17, 2010

Bryce is nice:

If you look at it, you will gasp.  Like this rock wall gasps:

You will then see hoodoos (not the magic, the rocks):

And this rock:

And this rock:

And this rock:

And this rock:

And this rock:

And this rock:

(heehee)

You’ll also see this tunnel.

Maybe you’ll even see Selby.

Here she is drinking coffee like a tourist:

Here I am drinking water (while holding coffee like a multi-tasking tourist):

Here is a freezing sunrise over Bryce (sunrise over ice?):

I almost got frostbite on my fingers.

Zion

December 14, 2010

Leaving Vegas, we began “The Grand Circle Tour”, as 1920s Union Pacific marketers once called the line that brought travelers through Zion, Bryce and the North Rim of Grand Canyon.  Lacking both the intricate beauty of Bryce and the sweeping, oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-die shock of Grand Canyon, Zion is the least memorable of the three.  That doesn’t mean it’s not memorable.  Or not amazing.  Just not as.  A good place to start.

We took a long hike.  The first of many.  Here’s Selby walking up a hill:

The top:

I thought about stealing this marker but forgot my pickax.  Do they increase the fine with inflation?

The view:

Back at the bottom, tired, dehydrated and in need of electrolytes, we met some hip, road-tripping Portland chicks (or was it Seattle?  Same shit.) who were toting a couple lion heads around the country, photographing what they saw.  They saw us:

The weeping rock:

Rain falls on the top of the mountain.  It soaks into the porous sandstone.  Over hundreds of years, it seeps down to the base of the rock, and drips out.  Like rain or tears.  Don’t drink it.  Imagine the video turned this way:

A fawn suckling at our campsite:

The next morning, a sunrise:

 

Vegas

December 10, 2010

I regret to report that Vegas is no longer about suits and dice-kissing ladies.  Though Selby and I tried to bring that style back:

As you can see, America’s Best Value Inn is a glamorous, glamorous place.  The other hotels (the ones with casinos) were mostly patronized by three-foot-daiquiri-toting, NASCAR-shirted flip-floppers.  Not that there’s anything wrong with flip flops.  The streets are uncomfortably crowded.  Imagine Time Square: The Theme Park staffed mainly by whistling men snapping prostitute fliers.  $37 dollars…really??

I miss New York:

WHAT?! GEYSER PORN! VIDEO!!! aka Yellowstone, pt. 3

December 1, 2010

Photographs are all well and good, but they’re quite still and don’t lend themselves to moving things.  In Yellowstone, the ground moves:

Video is better:

 

Yellowstone, pt. 2

December 1, 2010

The Boiling River flows through Yellowstone.  You can’t touch it: it’s boiling.  Eventually, it flows into a normal, cold river.  Where they meet, they form something of a jacuzzi river.  I paddled about for an hour or so.  Some eddies are scalding hot while others are frigid.  Delightful, really.  To get there, you’ve got to head to the north edge of the park:

And of course hop between states on your way.

Yellowstone has a canyon, too.  The Yellowstone Grand Canyon.  Not as impressive as the real Grand Canyon.  But not bad:

Now you get the bit about yellow stones.  Me:

I met a lady at my camp who offered me some newspaper to help kindle a fire.  I thanked her for her kindness.  She then offered to dig out her ax so I could cut the logs I had carried from a dry part of the camp.  I prefer the smash-into-concrete-until-they-splinter method.  I declined her offer but thanked her again for being so hospitable.  She said, “Of course!  This is the West!”  As if only the West is hospitable.  Would no Vermonter share their newspaper in a campground? Would no New Yorker point a lost Montanan to the train?  I hate that shit.

Yellowstone, pt. 1

December 1, 2010

I was told that there is a point somewhere in Yellowstone National Park that is farther away from civilization than any other point in the lower 48.  Granted, this most-distant point is only something like 30 miles from the nearest town.  But still.  It’s a barren place.

And an otherworldly one.  There are more geysers and hot springs in Yellowstone than in the rest of the world combined.  The whole place is little more than a thin crust atop a massive volcano.  Fields of thermophilic bacteria, which thrive off the extreme heat produced by the volcano, surround the geysers.  These are crossed by wooden boardwalks and marked by signs warning that the earth may have shifted since the maps were published.  Don’t walk off the trail.  Don’t trust the maps.

Here, buffalo prints wander through a bacteria colony:

Here, mud boils in what’s called a “Paint Pot”:

And plenty of steam too: