On my 1983 cross-country bike trip, I wanted to get to Yellowstone NP from western Colorado. There were several route options. For no other reason than there was a green splotch on the map, I opted to head toward Flaming Gorge. Naively thinking I was past the Rockies and large mountain passes, I was unprepared for the pass over the Uintas. I pulled into a campground at Flaming Gorge well past dark, thoroughly beyond exhausted, set up my tent and fell asleep. There are no words to describe the emotion when I woke early in the morning and crawled out of my tent about 30 feet from the rim of the 1,700 foot deep, 4,000 foot wide Red Canyon. I stayed all day. I vowed to go back.
It was clear early on that there would be no time to visit all five of Utah’s National Parks before our visit to Arizona. No problem – we can stop at four on the way south, and the hit the last one as we head back north. Ah, but which one? Fearing increasing temperatures in June, we opted for the one at the highest elevation, and we’re very happy we did. Bryce is nice!
Capitol Reef National Park is the most remote of the Southern Utah parks. Unique geological movements created a 100-mile wrinkle in the earth’s surface the eventually eroded into an angled reef surrounded by various shapes, sizes and colors of crazy rock formations. The unique movements also enabled the Fremont River to run year-round, creating the basis for settlement. The soil, climate and isolation were perfect for fruit orchards. Fruita, the remains of the historical town within Capitol Reef, is literally and figuratively an oasis in the desert.
If you’ve never trusted your trip, vacation or summer to a computer algorithm, it’s worth a try. Key your destination into Google Maps, select ‘avoid highways’ and follow the mathematically optimized route that will take you places you’d never find on your own while avoiding difficult left turns and heavy traffic. Continue reading “Squirrel!”
We really enjoyed our approach to adventure planning (others might call it non-planning), well honed on last year’s adventure. We set an intention to explore one or two areas of the country, then connect them up. As we go along.
Neither one of us has ever been to the Southern UT/Northern AZ canyons, so we’ve set aside the month of May – after the snows, before the heat and crowds – to hike, bike and generally check out this gorgeous and unique terrain that is so unlike New England. We’ll know when we’re done, and at that point, we’ll likely head north as the temps turn into summer. We’d like to see Glacier National Park. Then, we’ll likely head to the left coast, visiting friends and family, looking for music jams and enjoying fun places until it’s time to come back to New England.
Unlike last year, this adventure will require some ‘re-positioning.’ We most enjoy poking around slowly, following the wind and sound of blues. For the first few weeks this year, we’ll travel slightly longer days in a more or less direct line to Moab, threatening to visit any friends and family that may be along that line.
I visited the Black Hills in 1983 and put it on the top of my list of places to visit again. It only took 33 years! I’m finally back, and Doug is getting to see this beautiful place for the first time. Some of the tourist towns have grown, attractions have received face lifts, and more vacationers have discovered the Black Hills, yet it remains every bit as beautiful as I remembered…
Joe introduced me to Mike in 2007. Mike’s company Axia Strategies, a small healthcare consulting firm based in Savage, MN, needed to add a clinician to one of their client teams. That started a nearly 10-year relationship between our respective consulting firms. Mike and I shared a similar client service philosophy and a passion for craft brews, and he shared with me his love for the midwest. Mike’s work travel, a new grand-baby, getting 4 kids off to college, and managing a high-schooler’s sports schedule made arranging a get-together kind of tricky, but we were fortunately able to meet with Mike in Minneapolis for a great lunch. It was so fun to catch up, live, on his turf!
This schedule also gave us a couple of days to explore more of MN. We opted to stay along the St. Croix River where we enjoyed a gorgeous bike ride along the rolling hills near the WI border. We visited Pipestone National Monument, the sacred Indian mines. And since we were headed toward SD, Mike provided local intel on back roads to see MN prairies. We And of course, corn…
Our modus operandi has been to make up this adventure as we go along, so we haven’t planned much. Occasionally, we make reservations if we’d like to visit a popular area on a weekend. So far, it’s worked out, and what we thought could be our first shut-out turned into another high point…