Trying to get on to post pictures has been difficult as we are often early to rise ( 4 am twice in Grand Canyon for Sunrise for me) and usualy quite tired by the end of the day or getting in late. But, I have been taking tons of pics and here is an attempt at a catchup post.
Some of the sights along the roads of the rural Midwest with lots of soy and corn crops:
Badlands, the animals. Last one is a herd of buffalo, our first encounter with the large beasts:
Prairie Dogs of the Badlands, the ones with the plague (yep as in the Black Death) so we stayed in the RV for the most part the close up is with my telephoto lens while we were viewing the buffalo in the pics above.
The scenery of the Balands, just pops up out of nowhere from the plains.
Really cool sculpture park I spied from the road in South Dakota, I saw the large bull’s head from the highway and we went to investigate. Had a whole pagan thing going on with the red robed priests leading up to the horned guards and the large bull figure. Inside the Bull was a very wicker man type scene with a figure/sacrifice suspended inside.
Our close encounter of the third kind at Devil’s Tower where we surprisingly ran into the Seemungals, friends from Marlborough on their own vacation. Also swung up to Deadwood and popped into the Sturgis Harley Davision a few weeks ahead of the rally.
Our Dinosuar dig tour of an active site in Thermopolis, South Dakota where we dug for fossils and got to do some work in the lab as well:
Yellowstone: the Animals. The black bear was going to town on a berry bush right next to the road. The same morning we got up early (5 am) to go to Hayden Valley and spied the grizzly we also got to see a pack of wolves, pups and all. However, they were so far away the pictures did not do it justice. If you do go to Yellowstone, definitely take the time to get up early to go see them as you will encounter the enthusiasts and their spotting scopes versus the tourists you will find trying to catch a glimpse of the more elusive animals at dusk.
Yellowstone, the sights and geothermal wonders. Three words: Grand Prismatic Pool. I’ve seen pictures of the vivid colors of the microbial mats, but the reality is breath taking. The first geyser is of course Old Faithful, but the 2nd is a larger one that goes off far less frequently that my patience was rewarded with a 200 foot explosion.
Great Salt Lake and the Grand Tetons. The bouyancy of the Great Salt lake was amazing, you could practically sit up and not sink, however the water was filled with Brine Shrimp aka Sea Monkeys and Nicole and Peter weren’t too fond of bathing with them and if you got the super salt saturated water in your eyes (which Brian and I did) it burns real *insert appropriate explitive* bad. The glow in the first picture is from the remnants of forest fire just over the ridge that evacuated the park two days prior to our arrival. It was mostly contained by the time we got there. The boys broke out their two man tent at the Great Salt lake.
The Canyons of the Colorado Plateau: Bryce, Zion and the Grand
Hiking up the Virgin River in the Narrows at Zion. Highly recommend renting the water hiking shoes, we hiked 6 miles total and no way we could have gone that far in our Teva sandals.
Rafting on the Colorado River in the calm part near Page, AZ. Water was cooooolllld, but refreshing in the heat of the canyon. Some free range “wildish” horses came down over the dune as we passed by as well.
Petrified Forest, the blue/purple of the badlands here was amazing.
Took a detour to hit Sunset Crater to hike on it’s lava field and see the remains of a large pueblo structure.