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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Winter Visit To Zion National Park 

I just spent time in Zion National Park, Utah. Like other parts of the west right now, it isn't very snowy or icy. Everyday the sun illuminated the magical stone formations, bathing them in rich light.
I searched for desert bighorn sheep and spotted wild turkeys.
The canyon lookout trail provided stunning glimpses of Zion Canyon. Ravens soared around the peaks as storm clouds gathered above.
On the trail to the canyon overlook

Fossilized sanddunes abound throughout the park, the direction of the dunes clearly preserved in crossbedding.
fossilized sand dunes shown in crossbedding

I climbed up to Scout Lookout via the famous Walter's Wiggles, a series of very steep switchbacks.
On the trail to Scout Lookout

Walter's Wiggles

The view from Scout Lookout was astounding. Far below the Virgin River flowed along the canyon floor.

posted 4:29 PM

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Winter Visit To Yosemite National Park 

Yosemite National Park is beautiful right now. Though it's mid-winter, all the roads are open, even Tioga Pass and Glacier Point Road.


For the first time in my life, I got to see Tenaya Lake completely frozen. I walked and slid across it, marvelling at the thickness of the ice. The sun gleamed through the crystals, creating wonderful rainbow patches.


From Glacier Point, I gazed down on Yosemite Valley, seeing the ribbon of the Merced River and tiny landmarks like the historic Ahwahnee Hotel.


I then summited Sentinel Dome, another first for me. It's the second highest point in the valley, only Half Dome being higher. The sun began to set, illuminating everything in rose alpenglow. Beyond stood El Capitan. Half Dome and North Dome looked stunning, and I could see many waterfalls, including Vernal and Nevada Falls.


El Capitan seen from Sentinel Dome


North Dome (left) and Half Dome (right) seen from Sentinel Dome


A chill wind roared down the valley as the sun sank below the horizon, reminding me that even though there is a lack of snow in the Yosemite high country, it is still very much winter.


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posted 12:58 AM

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