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Another Trip

Posted by Royost, on Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:12 pm
Greg, my son, and I took a trip.  We drove east out of California through Blythe and into Arizona through Quartzsite and Cinnabar where Conrad Greer, my school mate, and I went prospecting for uranium when I was in school.  We turned off onto Highway 60 and drove through towns with names like Hope, Salome, Aguila, Congress and Nowhere and listened to western music about love lost, love found, love lost again, dogs, horses, and pick-up trucks on the car radio.  We drove through the Yavapai Indian Reservation and stayed in Prescott the first night.  Prescott and the surrounding forest is fine country.

We lit out early  the next morning and drove on up to Jerome; once a thriving copper mining town of 15,000 and a virtual ghost town from 1953 when Phelps Dodge Corporation pulled out to 1986 when the lesbians came in and turned the old shops, stores and homes into shop, galleries and studios.  We breakfasted on the back porch of a restaurant originally opened by Chin Li in 1889 to feed the copper miners.  The sausage, eggs, potatoes were good and the view of the valley below and on up to MT Kendrick, 50 miles to the north, was balm to the soul.  After making it last as long as possible over second and third refills on the coffee, we headed on down through Old Cottonwood.  Old Cottonwood is where the hard core artists, with consternation of the local citizenry, are trying to establish a foothold.  These artists paint from their soul and often times their product is not understood by the towns people.

We drove past Tuzigoot National Monument and over to Montezumas Castle on the Verde River.  The Castle is a 29 room dwelling built 75 feet above the canyon floor into a soft sandstone cliff.  It was rumored by early explorers to have been occupied by Montezuma.  It was actually built by the Sinagua (which means without water) Indians around 1200 AD and deserted around 1400 AD for a reason not yet known.  Some reckon it was drought, some say it was disease.

We drove up Oak Creek Canyon and through Sedona where soft core artists have settled.  Each segment of this trip so far has rendered astonishment and amazement of the beauty that nature has wrought.  Oak Creek Canyon adds to that.  Water gorged the canyon and wind sculptured the towering walls into mosaics of brilliant red, orange and white.  Winter storms had deposited copious amounts of snow on Humphreys Peak to the north and the Creek was filled with log jams from earlier storms and run off from the snow pack.  On both sides the canyon walls look like dollops of chocolate and vanilla pudding swirled one on top of the other.  Sedona is a pretty little town with everything neat and proper and in its correct place.  Young, profit-minded yuppie artist peddle paintings of trees and rocks to tourists and eat regularly.

The Grand Canyon, the most famous of all canyons, is truly grand.  The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and over a mile deep.  The Canyon walls reveal vast layers of multi-colored strata and some of the oldest exposed rocks on earth.  We arrived late Tuesday afternoon and traveled the West Rim Drive to Hopi Point to photograph the eastern walls as the sun, eclipsed by the western walls, set.  I dont care much for the word indescribable.  As yet, there are no words sufficient in significance and magnitude to describe the Grand Canyon.  Awesome, if it had not been down graded by the Valley girls to mean good looking dude, may have been close.

We drove out the Eastern Rim the next day, stopping at Mather Point, Grand view Point, Moran Point and Desert View Point, well above snow level at 7438 feet, to view the western and northern walls of the Canyon.  We lingered and photographed through the eye of the mind the vast magnificence that nature had rent.  We also took a few with a Cannon EOS 750 which pall when compared to the 360 spherical degree, three dimensional minds eye. In the end we reluctantly got back into the car and drove away; silent, alone, and somber.

The Navajo Indian Reservation, largest in the United States, covers 17.5 million acres of rugged terrain in parts of Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico and is home to 210,000 people.  Most of the land is open range.  We drove up the western side of the reservation through Cameron, past Tuba City, The Gap and Bitter Springs.  Picked up a Navajo hitchhiker standing along side the road 20 miles from any place I could see and let him off 50 miles up the road again 20 miles from any place I could see.  No homes, no stores, no road, no anything.  Gave him a diet-free Pepsi, he said thanks - his first and last word - and we drove on.  We drove mile after mile without seeing another car nor town nor home.  We could not receive FM stations on the radio even using automatic scan and received only one Japanese/Navajo AM station.  I often times desire to get away from the agitated state of things.  I dont, however, want to get that far away.  The isolation did afford us the opportunity to fire off a box of 12 gauge shotgun shells at some threatening looking rocks and a rusted beer cans.

We drove past the Vermilion Cliffs to Jacob Lake.  The road from Jacob Lake to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, 44 miles to the south, was closed.  We had lunch, talked to the owner/cook about the good life - it seems he thought the good life was out in LA and I thought it was right there - got gasoline and drove on.  We were at 7921 feet elevation and well above the snow line.  The forest floor was covered with snow; however the roads were clear and the air shirt sleeve warm. We arrived at the east end of the one mile tunnel in Zion National Park at about 2 oclock Wednesday afternoon.  The sun was shinning and the sky above us was clear.  We egressed from the west end of the tunnel into a blinding rain/snow storm.  The wipers, working on high, could not keep the slush off the windshield.  We stopped on a pull-out and waited it out.  In a few minutes it was over.  The storm subsided, the sun came out and we witnessed the birth of a water fall from the top of the 1700 foot high vertical cliff across the river.     

From 240 million years ago to 10 million years ago the Zion area was relatively flat.  Then, in an area extending from the Rocky Mountains to Zion, a massive geologic event began.  Forces deep within the Earths mantle started to push up on the surface.  The land in Zion rose from sea level to as much as 10,000 feet above sea level.  Zions location on the western edge of this uplift caused streams to tumble off the plateau.  Flowing with great velocity and energy down the steep gradient, streams eroded and cut into rock forming deep and narrow canyons.  Such was the making of Zion Canyon by the Virgin River.  This narrow majestic canyon has vertical walls 2000 feet high.  Water flows in streams from the plateau above and disappears into mist and vapor before it reaches the canyon floor.

We drove to the end of the road and hiked another mile and a half up the Canyon.  Wednesday night we stayed at the Zion Lodge.  It was quiet, peaceful and serene without radio and television.  No Obama, no Iraq, no Afghanistan, no recession, no graffiti.

Thursday morning we headed on out through Saint George Pass down to Las Vegas and then northwest to Death Valley.  We went in the south entrance and drove up past Bad Water (elevation 279 feet below sea level), The Devils Golf Course which is a normally dry bed of a salt lake, Furnace Creek, The Devils Cornfield and Stovepipe Wells.  We climbed the 9% grade to Emigrant pass in low gear and promised the car that if it made it up without blowing a radiator hose, we would never call it bad names again.  It made it and, so far, we havent.

We are back home now.  I know because the news stations are talking about another one of Obama's recovery taxes.  That boy is going to tax us into the poor house.  

The weather was perfect.  The trip was good.  Greg is a good traveling companion.

I will always wonder where that Indian came from and where he was going.
Reply by Past Member, on Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:43 am
great about some photo`s???
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