Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Great SW USA Adventure

After much fund-raising and heinous heinous planning, I embarked on leading a group of students and my sister on a 10 day camping excursion from Bakersfield to Carlsbad Caverns and back. With the exception of one flat tire, we literally had no problems at all - some sketchy weather at times, but all in all, the mission in its entirety was accomplished with success.

Below are highlight photos from each day, the rest of them can be found here.


Day 1: Death Valley - the scenery was spectacular, and I've been yearning to see the fabled moving rocks up close in person for years, so this was for sure the highlight for me. Way too cool!


Day 2: Zion (and some rain) - the checkerboard mesa was pretty spectacular, although I can't seem to forget the extreme craving for pancakes after we saw oodles and oodles of stacked up crossbedded sandstone...


Day 3: In the rain we saw Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Parks, but having been to both before, and always coming away with the feeling that photos just don't do the grandeur justice, I have to say that the fake cops lining every small Utah and Arizona town were truly the highlight of that day. I suppose the purpose of the dummy cops is defeated when 9 people are poking in the windows of all the cop cars pointing and laughing and taking photos...


Day 4: From the Glen Canyon Dam to Sunset Crater to Montezuma's Castle & Well, and ending at Meteor Crater - the highlight of this long day for me must have been laughing at the photos of two students: one wearing a crooked tree as a mustache, and the other wearing a "junior ranger" vest in a gift shop - though they were hysterical, I'm showing you the craziness that is Montezuma's Castle.


Day 5: The spectacular Petrified Forest (and Painted Desert), followed up by Roswell and the Bottomless Lakes in New Mexico. Some of the petrified trees were impressively large...


Day 6: A morning at Carlsbad Caverns, the by the Permian Reef Trail (Texas) and onwards to camp at Rockhound State Park (obvious choice for a geology group). My highlight is the unlabeled cave formation of such obvious nature...


Day 7: A lengthy but scenic drive through the Sonoran Desert (yes, I realize that most of the trip was actually in the Sonoran Desert - but this day went through the actual National Monument) - while the highlight was likely the "Desert Dance Party" at the camp at the Petroglyph Site, this Chuckwalla I saw was pretty freaking cool.


Day 8: An excursion to the Salton Sea (as stinky as promised) brought us full circle back to California, and while we camped at Palm Canyon in Borrego Springs (Anza-Borrego State Park), which was beautiful and delightful and comfortable, the highlight has to be a dead fish on a stick. GROSS!


Day 9: Joshua Tree National Park - I FINALLY made it inside the park boundaries - and the spheroidal weathering of the monzogranite is really what makes this place stand out. Especially with butt- and whale-shaped rocks...


Day 10: Departure for home via my old faithful: the grand Mojave Desert. After over a year of threatening to do so, the Creech finally went for a swim in one of the brine trenches. We all nearly died of laughter.

6 comments:

Missy said...

Wow! Looks like a fun trip, odd shaped cave formations and all!

My family took a trip throughout the SW the year before I was born. Someday maybe I'll make it to the Grand Canyon!

Gayle said...

Since you were in Fredonia did you also stop by Best Friends in Kanab,7 miles north? Last time I saw that Fredonia "cop" he had been egged and was covered with snow. (Dec. 08). My first trip to Kanab I pulled up to their "cop" at midnight, looking for a place to eat. There was none. We had beer and potato chips for dinner!

gnat said...

Ha! yes, we stayed in Kanab - there were a lot of this type of cop "milling around" the area, this was just my photo of choice!!!

Kilometres said...

I don't get it... why would they have a dummy cop?

The trip looks like it was a great time! I'm jealous of all the fun you must have had. How many students did you take with you?

Gayle said...

Where in Kanab did you stay? I love the Perry Lodge. If I get there after they've closed they tape my key to the front door!
Gayle (Dawn's cousin/Best Friends volunteer/Pup-My-Ride Transport driver for Best Friends)

gnat said...

we were at the holiday inn express - where C knows the manager and we got a sweet sweet rate...