Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday - Grand Canyon, North Rim

Packed up the dogs and a nice lunch and off we went to see the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

Dad, dad, daaaad, the sign says "road closed for the winter"......did you see it?

Hmmmmm.   Doesn't really seem like winter anymore, but the road to the north rim was, indeed, closed until May 15.  

We made a last minute change of plans and detoured to Zion National Park.  Dave and I were there some years ago and had come in from the other direction so this would be new territory for us.  They have instituted a shuttle bus system since we were last there, so no dogs allowed.  No matter, we were just out to see what we could see and be happy with that.  You just can't do everything, there is always next time.

checkerboard mesa,,,,,

for obvious reasons

I was really disappointed with the pictures I took at Zion.  I don't know if its the camera, or the dirty windshield and sun angle, but most of the shots I took were discarded.  Aren't you glad you don't have to sift through hundreds of rock pictures again!  

Once again, the scale of things astonished us.  The little camera can't possible capture the enormity of the landscape.

We had been considering using this route from Kanab through St. George to Las Vegas (actually, Boulder City, Nv) Thursday when we leave.   It was serendipitous that the Grand Canyon was closed and we decided to drive into Zion instead.  If we take Beluga this way, we'll come to a mile long tunnel through the mountains.    Today, we drove the jeep through that tunnel and even though they regularly stop traffic and lead big vehicles through, its not something that we are eager to do if it can be avoided.  The tunnel was built in 1927 and it contains  no artificial illumination.  The only light comes from a couple of galleries or "windows" cut into the side wall for natural ventilation and light.  Head lights are de rigueur.

entrance to the big, dark tunnel

inside the tunnel

Signs everywhere say, remove sunglasses, turn on headlights, NO stopping in the tunnel.   I have seen pictures of the views looking out from the galleries or "windows" inside the tunnel, but I wonder how the nimble hikers managed to get those shots without stopping in the tunnel?????Did they disobey the rules?

At any rate, I was glad to get through, it was a rather long, dark drive and I couldn't help but think of just how deep into the mountains we actually were.

the little black hole in the bottom, middle of the picture is one of the galleries cut into the tunnel , seen from below

another view of a tunnel gallery or window cut into the mountain...can you see it?

We stopped to eat our lunch at the visitor's center.  Waaay too many people for us.   We drove up a road that was marked "do not enter" and parked for a quiet in car picnic.  Below are the views from lunch.

nice lunchtime views eh?

Time to head home, so back through the big tunnel and another, smaller and less scary one and the views, the fabulous views.

Even after we left the park proper, the views continued to amaze us.  We even passed a huge, rolling, green pasture filled with Buffalo!

Driving through a small crossroads, we saw  a sign for the Thunderbird Restaurant, boasting "ho made pies", how could we pass that up?    How could I pass up such a sign?  I bought a beautiful looking Strawberry Rhubarb pie to hold us for the next week or so.

Ho-made pie anyone?

We got back to Beluga too late to rustle up a decent dinner, so we voted to try a local restaurant, Rocking V.   It is part restaurant, part art gallery and they even serve wine!   (this is Utah, so we were happily surprised to find a wine list)

Tomorrow is our last day in Kanab and we will probably use it to get ourselves organized, do laundry and clean up a bit.   I spied a camera repair shop in town, maybe they can take a peak at my weary buddy.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday - no schedule

As much as we enjoyed our volunteer time the past few days, it was nice to have no schedule today.  Don't get me wrong, there are lots of things to do here, most of which we won't have time to see or do, but its so so nice to feel no pressure.  We'll be back and we'll see what we missed eventually.   Its taken us a while to slip into that state of mind, but now that we have, it feels good.

As we enjoyed our second cup outside we bid good bye and safe travels to our neighbors.   After lunch we decided to stay close to home and explore our area a bit more.  We dropped in at the gift shop at BF to use up our 20% coupon, then drove up the dirt road to find the place where the Kanab Creek cut a deep channel and passed under the trail.  It was a hot day and we felt like getting our feet wet.

the creek runs through the bottom of this narrow slot

We walked along the top until Dave found a spot he thought we could scramble down.  He had no problem and I made it down with no mishaps using the PBC technique, I learned watching numerous photo demonstrations.    (PBC = Pam's Butt Crawl)

the walls varied from just over our heads to completely enclosing the space.

No, Dave isn't using both sticks, he's holding mine so I can hold the camera

The water was delightful and cool and we loved our splashy walk through the mini canyon.  I hope our sandals are waterproof.   We'll see tomorrow when they dry.

Across from the north entrance to BF Sanctuary was a road leading to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.  We drove about 15 miles in to the entrance.  The sand dunes are a fabulous, almost neon coral color.  I was a bit disappointed with the park, however.  It could have been that we just didn't explore far enough in, but it seemed the whole place was there for the use of ATV folks.  We drove around a bit, through the campground and then back out again.   We selected a different route back and were rewarded with expansive views of the different levels of the Grand Staircase area.

The real color of the sand dunes is somewhere between the three pictures above.  I'm having a bit of a problem with the camera lens lately.  Its balking when I try to focus at a distance and  is audibly complaining when I try to put it through its paces.  I may be wearing the d amn thing out.   I might actually have to dig out the instruction booklet and read it.   Not my usual style.

On our way home, we noticed this cute cairn at the entrance to Best Friend's Dogtown (no pun intended).

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday - puppy, puppy, puppy

We arrived before 1:00 for our 1:15 volunteer shift today.  I wanted to be there early so we would be able to sign up for the puppies!

Yep!   Sure enough we were assigned to the puppy preschool.  Another hard day at work, playing with puppies.  How lucky can you get.   There were only  8  puppies in residence and they all have been adopted and await transportation to their forever homes.   They still need to be fed, walked, played with, cuddled and groomed until their departure, so that is what we did.

entrance gate to the green, shady puppy park where we spent our afternoon

There were two other volunteers assigned to the pups.  Dave and I took a couple babies and went to the attached puppy park for a romp in the grass and sunshine.   The other women took two puppies for a leash walk on the adjacent trails.   We rotated the puppies between free play and walks.  First out with us were Jessie and Po.  They are kenneled together, but are not littermates.

these two were to short to look over the dutch doors, so they watched from below

sweet Jessie.  it was hard to get a picture of her because all she wanted to do was be in our arms

oh look, her big girl molars are coming in!

a real snuggle bunny

shhh, don't tell her she's getting too big to be held

meet little Po
she was born here and her mother is still awaiting adoption
part pug, part chihuahua

Po liked all the toys, Jessie liked us....

Proof that we did actual work today.
picking up Po's poop
After a while, it was the "fromage five".  These were five high energy malamute mixes.  They all had cheese names, don't ask why, I don't know.     They raced around together, tumbling, growling, playing keep away, digging and knocking over things.  Constant motion even though they had just come back from a leash walk.
I'll try to remember their names, forgive me if I mix them up.


Brie and Asiago tussle on the run

Asiago watching

one of the cheese puppies starts a hole that O'Connor later enlarged

Cheddar and her sandy nose
The fromage five were called back into the kennel for their early dinner and we gathered up beautiful O'Connor for his turn in the park.   He is leaving next week for what we all hope will be his forever home.  He was already in a very good home, but a neighbor saw him in his yard and called the police....Pit Bull's were not allowed in his town so his heartbroken owner had to bring him back.....

O'Connor is a real, certified tennis ball boy

if the ball wasn't at the end of his nose, or in his mouth, it was under his chin

Uh Oh, my ball fell into the hole, gotta get it out, gotta get it out!

where's my ball?   a kong, a bone, a pink dumbbell thingy, where's my BALL!

nope, no siree, ya can't fill in this hole until I find my BALL!
Our time with the puppies simply flew by and our shift was over in the blink of an eye.   We had such fun.  All I can say is, its a good thing these cuties were all spoken for, especially Jessie.