Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Hike, a Bike Ride and a Road Trip

Well, if we get this posted in the near future we will have done a little better then last time.  We're still in Panguitch but that is going to change soon.  More on that later.  So we're still doing our volunteer gig.  We worked one day in the Visitor Center and several days of maintenance related tasks.  Debbie and I spent 3 work days renovating an early 1900's forest ranger station which is called the Podunk.

The Podunk is about 16 feet square.  It served as a seasonal dwelling for park rangers spending the summer months in the Dixie National Forest.  It's was moved from original location and is currently located at the Visitor Center. Our role was sanding, scraping and painting.

I think it went well.  Following that we've spent several days working on a large garage.  That task also includes sanding, scraping and painting.  This garage is located here in the maintenance yard where we live so all we have to do is stroll across the gravel yard  and start working.  This job will take several more days.

But it's not all work.  On the 23rd Debbie and I did a great series of hikes in our Red Canyon.  The initial hike included the Cassidy, Rich and Ledge Point trails.  Beautiful scenery and a  reasonable effort totalling 6.8 miles.

From there we drove a few miles to another Red Canyon trail called the Arches. 

This trail is only 7 tenths of a mile and claims to have 15 arches. We think that claim is a little exaggerated. There are a few arches coupled with numerous windows.

Unique colors
Nonetheless, the Arches is a bold little trail.  It's quite steep, has some tricky footing and you're right up against the scenery.

It was a wonderful wrap to an outstanding 7.5 mile day.

The next day I did a challenging mountain bike ride on the Thunder Mountain Trail.

This is also in Red Canyon.  Please know I'm very much a novice mountain biker but the concept appeals to me.  It's my understanding that trails of this sort are rated 1-5, 5 being the hardest.  This trail is rated a 3-4.  I rode with Mark, a fellow volunteer.

The first half of the ride was challenging but manageable.  I rode most of it.

But then the terrain changed dramatically and it was way beyond anything I could ride. It was like the trail was dropping down the other side of the mountain. It was VERY steep, rocky, multiple switchbacks and narrow with sure enough fall to your death opportunities.

All this necessitated multiple stops to walk.  It was a truly exhilarating ride with only a few mishaps.....all mine!  I fell once about half way through the ride.  Not too serious.  A bruise or two and a minor cut.  But at the end of the trail the terrain smooths out nicely,  I'm feeling mighty confident and I'm gettin' it!  But as I'm flying through a rocky wash I hit a rock and fold.  No broken bones or really serious injury but I 'm still nursing some aches, pains and cuts. I can't complain, it was really a great outing!

On the 30th the four of us went to St. George, UT for 4 days.  We stayed at the La Quinta.  They allow dogs and have free breakfast.  Debbie had an eye doctor appointment that day.  She had cataract surgery several years ago and she's experiencing some clouding.  We were glad to hear it was nothing serious and is correctable.  We'll do that back in AZ.  Tuesday we spent at Zion National Park.

We rode the shuttle, got off at a few scenic spots and then stopped to hike the 1.2 mile Lower Emerald Pools Trail.  It was paved and pretty.

We then did the 1 mile Grotto trail, passing some pretty flowers along the way.

Back on the shuttle stopping at the Hidden Canyon Trail.  This is 2.4 miles and  rated as strenuous.  850 feet of elevation gain during the first mile and then OMG drop-offs! 

Debbie easily managed the first 2 miles which were primarily just steep. But all at once we're looking at a trail that is way beyond anything Debbie will do. Wildly narrow trail, chains strategically installed so that hopefully you won't die and take your breath away views.

Chains on the right

That's a trail?

Chains on left


Debbie turned back and waited for me. I pressed on to the end.  There were portions that caused me to pause. (That means I was scared and had to get my head together.)

We then went on to the Riverside walk.   This is the lead in to the Narrows which is a hike up through the river into slot canyons.  We decided to not do the walk at that time because we planned to return the next day to do the portion of the Narrows that begins at the end of Riverwalk.  We rode the shuttle out of the Canyon and headed back to the hotel.  We stopped at an outfitter where we were going to rent some waterproof hiking boots and other gear for our Narrows hike the next day.  There we watched a video about the Narrows.  Some highlights included very strong current, 62 degree water temp and a significant chance of flash flooding.  Nope, not happening for us. We had a good laugh and went home.

The next day we did some shopping.  That included several thrift stores.  We need winter work clothes for our up coming beet harvest. That evening we visited the Mormon Temple in St. George.  It is a beautiful  building with gorgeous grounds.  After spending a little time in Utah, you quickly come to recognize that the Mormon church is the dominate influence in the state.

Our last day started with a mandatory stop at Walmart.  On the way up interstate 15 we stopped at  Kolob Canyon which is in the north portion of Zion National Park.  We did a nice five mile scenic drive. From there we really went home.

Now for an itinerary up date.  We expect to leave here on August 19 which is much earlier then we first anticipated. No, we haven't been fired, we just worked it out with our volunteer coordinator. Since we've added the beet harvest to our schedule it just seemed like we "needed" to see some of those spectacular locations between here and Sidney, MT.  So from here we're going to Salt Lake City, Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.  We report to the beet harvest at the end of September.

August 4 was our 22nd anniversary!  Our blessings are enormous!  We celebrated with a gigantic PIZZA.  We know how to live!!

Just can't sign-off without another picture of our beloved hummingbirds. Debbie is already concerned about who is going to feed the hummers after we depart.  Maybe we can hire a pet sitter?



  1. Geez, you guys really go in for the hard work! If I was a volunteer and they asked me to sand, scrape and paint old buildings, I'd be outta there. And next a beet harvest??? That's going to be backbreaking, too. I have to hand it to you both!

    Your "vacation" with all the trails had some beautiful areas. I love the red rocks and the arches/windows. That looks more like my speed for a hike. Next time I'm in that area I'll check it out.

    Congrats on finishing the bike trail, I think challenges are good for us, and you did it! :)

  2. I'm with Debbie. I wouldn't do those chained trails either. :)

  3. Every time I read your blog I'm impressed with all of your energy. So much so that I have to take a nap. Be careful out there!

  4. Not sure which was more strenuous, the volunteering or the vacation?
    Pretty awesome scenery, that's for sure.
    That whole, "falling to your death" thing?
    Best to be avoided.
    I like biking on reasonably flat, preferably paved surfaces.

  5. Fabulous hikes and good for you for finishing that harrowing hike! Makes me want to come right out there and try it. There are hikes like that here in Acadia, but Eldy won't let me try one unless I sign a waiver for my family! Beautiful photos, thank you for sharing. Looking forward to your further adventures!

  6. You folks sure do work hard AND play hard. Love the pictures as usual. Happy Anniversary , albeit late. Take care and have fun!

  7. Hope you had a wonderful anniversary! Sorry I am late telling you this! The pictures are fantastic! You are soon going to see some of the country that we have been to. Cannot wait to see how you like it! And tell Debbie the hummers will be fine! They will find food somewhere else! They are survivors!!

    Travel safely!!