South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon (AZ)

It's been over 30 years since we'd been to the Grand Canyon, much too long to stay away from perhaps Earth's greatest geologic wonder. We made a last-minute decision to come here, only three days before, after we altered our itinerary to go back home in order to avoid dust storms in central Arizona. Granted,... Continue Reading →

Chaco Culture National Historic Park (NM)

In 2009, we avoided it because of its remoteness and the difficulty of getting there on unpaved roads. This time, we reversed course and decided to visit Chaco Culture National Historic Park (a mouthful, but it used to be called Chaco Canyon National Monument). This is the mother lode of all ancient Puebloan ruins, having... Continue Reading →

Land That Time (and Roads) Forgot: Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness (NM)

Of all the places in the Southwest, known for its extraordinary rock formations, that can claim the title of the weirdest and most fantastical, it would have to go to a part of New Mexico virtually inaccessible by car—the vast wildernesses of Bisti and De-Na-Zin. Visitors most likely to make the effort are adventurers, the curious and the intrepid... Continue Reading →

Lava Central: El Malpais National Monument (NM)

Lava, lava, everywhere. New Mexico might as well be called the Volcano State for all the young, exposed and hardened lava flows that are virtually everywhere. I had always thought that Oregon and Washington laid claim to the largest lava flows ever to have happened on the continent, but New Mexico is not lacking in that... Continue Reading →

Sunset Crater Volcanic National Monument (AZ)

If a volcano were erupting in my backyard, spewing lava and ash, I might be tempted to move away. This is precisely what the ancient Puebloan peoples did when Sunset Volcano erupted in the 11th century. It has done so several times since then in a span of 50 years. The monument is a grim... Continue Reading →

Wupatki National Monument (AZ)

An hour north of Flagstaff lies Wupatki National Monument. From Page, it was a leisurely hour and a half drive to the entrance. There are some 800 ruins within the monument, a staggering number even if you expected a large settlement. Only a few are open to the public. The largest and most impressive, Wupatki Pueblo,... Continue Reading →

Horseshoe Bend, Colorado River (Page, AZ)

One of the most awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping overlooks in the entire Southwest is the one that is a thousand feet above Horseshoe Bend, a meander of the Colorado River. Though it is spectacular at any time of day, the morning and late afternoon sun shows it to best dramatic effect. The signpost to the parking lot... Continue Reading →

Rainbow Bridge National Monument (Utah)

The last time we were in Page back in 2008, we decided against visiting Rainbow Bridge because it seemed pricey just to look at a natural bridge, even if a spectacular one. Ever since, I wondered if we'd missed an opportunity, not knowing if we'd ever return to Page. As luck would have it, we did... Continue Reading →

Canyon Overlook Trail, Zion NP

The Canyon Overlook Trail is a nice, moderately difficult hike, but it's so easy to miss. The trailhead doesn't start from the valley floor but rather from just east of the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel, 600ft above the valley floor. Entering or exiting Zion will also treat you to spectacular vistas as you take the winding... Continue Reading →

Virgin River Narrows, Zion NP

We'd been looking forward with some trepidation to this hike. Last time we were here in April 2008, it wasn't possible because the currents were too strong and water levels too high. The Narrows at Zion National Park is not a hike in the traditional sense because it involves wading in the Virgin River virtually the... Continue Reading →

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