Saturday, 4 April 2015

Zion to Bryce Canyon

Leaving Zion Lodge behind we set off up a very steep road through the canyon and through a 1.1 mile tunnel to start our journey over the plateau to Bryce Canyon.

Very soon the landscape started to change and the colours of the rock and earth became even more vivid.

We stopped for coffee at Mount Carmel Junction, a tiny settlement where the restaurant is famous for its 'Ho Made Pies' (there is a story to this of course..)

As we travelled along the high plateau there was still quite a bit of snow.

Arriving at Bryce Canyon and making our way to the first viewpoint at the canyon rim we were quite unprepared for the size and colours of the canyon.

We drove 18 miles to the end of the national park, a summit called Rainbow Point (around 9,300 feet above sea level) and then visited some of the viewpoints on the way back.  Each viewpoint revealed something new.. 

As the sun went down, parts of the Canyon fell into deep shadow - whereas other areas just glowed.,

Tonight we are staying at Ruby's Inn just outside the National Park.  Another family business like the Thunderbird Cafe which has benefited from the fascination of the extraordinary geology of this part of Utah.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Three States and Zion National Park

An evening view of the canyon at Zion National Park, where we are staying overnight at Zion Lodge in a rustic log cabin, just below the vertical red cliffs..

It is very cosy and all the furniture is made from tree branches, with bark, and wicker.  It is quite quaint..,

Of course our day started in rather a different place ..

We awoke to bright, clear skies in Las Vegas and a partial view of the mountains alongside the pyramid part of the Luxor hotel.

We were soon on the road and with the 'Strip' behind us the desert looked hot, dry and unforgiving - real 'tumbleweed' territory.

The mountains got nearer and nearer as we passed from Nevada into Arizona..

...and not much further on, into Utah..
(So that is three more states off the list!)

We then started to follow the Virgin River which, though not a torrent by any means today, is the river responsible for carving through the layers of red and white rock to create Zion Canyon. 

We found the first sightings of the mountains quite spectacular but were bowled over by what was to come.

Some selected highlights of the drive and riverside walks today in the canyon..

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Over the top in Las Vegas

Flying out of San Jose this afternoon we had a very clear view of the Sierra Nevada mountains, with very little snow cover.

Approaching Las Vegas the mountains look very desolate and uninviting and then suddenly, on the plain ahead there is the city with Las Vegas Boulevard with all its over the top skyscraper hotels standing tall.

Our hotel, Luxor, with its huge pyramid, Egyptian decor including huge statues and a monumental Sphinx is probably more outrageous than most..

The gambling halls are rather less glamorous than I had imagined from watching James Bond films.

Mostly they comprised row after row of slot machines and then some tables where you could play poker, blackjack etc.  far from being dolled up to the nines, quite a few people seem to have come in their garden clothes.  Another illusion shattered...

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Rosicrucian Park & Egyptian Museum

Another adventure on the bus from Santa Clara today took me to The Egyptian Museum (entrance shown above and below) and Rosicrucian Park.

In the Spring sunshine the park was very beautiful (and very busy with several school groups visiting).

I revisited some parts of the garden later in the day to take shots with less people!

The flowers, including these Bird of Paradise flowers at the back of the Planetarium, were in full bloom.

There are many beautiful rose trees..

The Peace Garden was much quieter later in the day..

A new Alchemy Garden has just been created with areas representing the elements.  A museum of Alchemy is also planned as part of centenary celebrations this summer.

I took many more photos in the garden and within the museum but will save some for another day.

(Mum, please check your emails - I am sending some there)