29 Mar 2014--Today is Sunday as I type this, but Cathy and I went on this excursion this past Thursday, the 26th of March. We are still struggling mightily with the internet here, or lack thereof, but we are occasionally muddling through, so we will be pleased to get this at least written up right now...probably have to post it another day when we can upload the video I want to attach.
Anyway, a heads-up is in order here. I have been struggling to figure out why so many of my pictures end up looking bleached out in comparison to what I can see with my naked eye, and we have finally figured it out. This is the deal...on the one hand I think I have to replace my camera, but more important to the "bleached" effect is that I am "over-zooming" in on my pictures...trying to take pics of the mountains, etc., in the far distance, surpassing my camera's ability to take an exact replica of what I can see with my own eyes. This has been an infinite source of frustration to me, but Cathy just showed me a function I can use when I download the pictures to my computer called "auto correct", that when I use it makes the pictures reflect far closer what I am actually seeing. So I used it on this particular blog to see how it would work out, and I am more than pleased with the result. I feel the very deep blue of the sky in some pics is a little bluer that the reality, but overall these pictures are much, much closer to what we are seeing. I wish I had known about it sooner...especially for the Artist's Drive blog...but at least I can use it now.
So, on Thursday we headed to Golden Canyon for what ended up being about a 4 1/2 mile hike of mostly level ground and beautiful surroundings. The 1st 1 1/2 miles lead you to what is called "Red Cathedral", but the getting there is really better than the end point. Cathy is standing here at the mouth of the canyon and then right away we are hit with a splash of color!
Along the way are many different points where you could get sidetracked either climbing or taking a side trail. Cathy climbed here to show you how high it is. You probably have to click on the 1st pic to see her. And video shows another side trek that we could have taken but we wouldn't have gotten to where we going, so we had to skip it.
More sights on the way to the Cathedral...you can see it in the background of the 1st pic. The colors change from turn to turn.
Taking the final turn and then the end point behind Cathy and I after the video.
We figured we would do the whole loop back to the car, so we circled here into what is called the "Gower Gulch" section of the canyon. This was the 1st area of any hill to speak of, which you can see right behind Cathy in the 2nd pic. It was fairly steep, but thankfully short...haha...and gave us a great view both looking back towards the salt flats and down into where we were headed, the "Badlands"!
These are the "Badlands", which we will see from a different angle later in the day.
In the video I say what sounds like "reevine" 2 times...and I don't have any idea why I am mispronouncing "ravine"? haha
Almost at the end of the trail, we have to go down a dry ravine to get out to the road area again.
Outside the canyon again, and headed back to the car.
We had read about "Dante's View" being the most spectacular view in the park, so we drove to that spot next. You will have to forgive me here, because I have posted what looks like the same picture over and over, but they were so beautiful I just couldn't stop myself. This overlook was stunning!!! We are 5000 feet above the valley floor, looking down into the salt flats we were walking in the other day, and I could have sat here all day just looking at it. (It was a good 20 degrees cooler than when we were in the canyon.) Check out the 1st pic with the bird in it...I love it!
Begrudgingly, we now headed to our final stop of the day, Zabriskie Point. You can see from the map where we were earlier in the day at Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch loop, so now we are just on the other side of the badlands we were walking in a little during our hike.
This area started out with borax mining, but when that wasn't as lucrative as expected, the owner set out to capitalize on his investments and worked to make the area a tourist destination. As George Bush would say..."Mission Accomplished"! haha It was growing late in the day so we didn't hike down in there, but I wouldn't mind going back another time to do so.
This was obviously an all-day outing, but all within probably a 45 mile span of the park. Can you believe how one stop is so incredibly different than the next? My friend Carol just asked me in an email what I thought was better, this park or the Badlands of South Dakota? I am still partly on the fence, but I am definitely leaning towards this. Not sure I will ever see anything more gorgeous than Dante's View!!! What do you think?