Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #184 – Travel Has Taught Me

“To Travel is to Live” – Hans Christian Andersen

Travel has taught me that there is beauty everywhere you go if you just take the time to look around. When we were traveling by RV, we always had several major destinations for each trip. At first we just drove between destinations without taking much time to enjoy the places in between.

The more trips we took, the more we enjoyed the out of way places that are often overlooked by travelers. Lake Bistineau State Park, Louisiana was one of those places.

Cypress Trees in Lake Bistineau State Park

I’ve learned that traveling opens up opportunities to try new things, even things that terrify me. Our hike to Delicate Arch at Arches National Park is a perfect example of this. I’m scared of heights and almost didn’t make the hike when I read I would have to walk along a narrow ledge with a shear drop off. With Henry’s help and encouragement, I made it. The payoff was this fantastic view.

Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, Utah

I learned that asking a local is the best way to find out about the area, the history, and the out of the way places to visit that don’t show up in tour guides. One year we spent about two months wandering around Texas when the bluebonnets were blooming. A ranger I met in one of the state parks gave us directions to a scenic drive on a dirt road that we would have never discovered if we hadn’t asked.

Texas Bluebonnets

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” -James Michener

Travel has taught me I can learn more about a lot about a place by having conversations with people who live there. At the beautiful Russian Orthodox Church in Ninilchik, Alaska we met two women who manage the gift shop and maintain all the graves. They grew up in Ninilchik together and lived with relatives in Anchorage to attend high school because at the time there was no high school in Ninilchik (there is one today). They graduated together in 1950.

Gift Shop for the Russian Orthadox Church in Ninilchik, Alaska

Travel has taught me to try the local foods. We have enjoyed barbecue beef brisket in Texas, pasties in Michigan, Indian Tacos in South Dakota and Arizona, New Mexico cuisine, local seafood in Florida, Washington and Oregon, pork tenderloin sandwiches in Missouri, Dungeness Crab straight off the boat in Alaska, and so many other delicious things we can’t get at home.

Dungeness Crab, Haines, Alaska

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”― Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s quote describes exactly why Henry and I chose to go on our cruise in January. I’ve learned that every day is a gift. None of us know what tomorrow will bring. A single phone call, doctor’s visit, or an unexpected event can change your life in an instant.

St. Kitts

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing: – Helen Keller

Many thanks for Amy’s challenge Lens’Artists #184: Travel has taught me

Lens-Artists #68: Layered

This week, Amy has challenged us to feature photos featuring layers. When I read the challenge I immediately thought of colorful layered natural wonders found in Arizona and Utah.

The photo above and the photo below were taken from different overlooks at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

The state of Utah was filled with many different examples of layered natural formations.

Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Watchman in Zion National Park, Utah

Many thanks to Amy for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Layered


Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Utah

State 40:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is


Utah became the 45th state on January 4, 1896. The Capital is Salt Lake City.

As we drove through Utah exploring national and state parks the scenery was spectacular. There were red sandstone cliffs and hoodoos, multicolored striped mesas, white cliffs, red slick rock, arches and balanced rocks, canyons carved by river water, and twisting narrow highways with steep grades.

We had our first views of Utah as we entered the state from the southern border with Arizona.

Red Canyon

Our first Utah destination was Bryce Canyon National Park. After setting up camp at Ruby’s Inn we headed to Bryce to take an afternoon drive through the park. Just a few overlooks later our drive was cut short as the rain started coming down. By the time we got back to our campsite the rain was coming down in buckets. With better weather the next morning we returned to Bryce for some more views of the red sandstone formations called hoodoos.

As we traveled on scenic Utah Highway 12 from Bryce Canyon to Torrey we stopped for lunch at Kodachrome Basin State Park.

Henry and Blondie are standing at the base of this hoodoo in Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome Basin State Park

After lunch we continued to Torrey. The narrow highway climbed upward with several 8% and a couple of 10% grades. We were both happy when we arrived at Sand Creek RV Park safe and sound. There were no other campers in the park and our site had a great view of red cliffs and mountains.

The next morning we left the camper in the campground to make the 20 mile round trip scenic drive through Capitol Reef National Park.

Capitol Reef National Park

Capitol Reef National Park
Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)

Capitol Reef Petroglyphs

Traveling on Highway 24 from Torrey to Moab the scenery changed from red cliffs to all white cliffs to grey and gold mesas near a town called Luna Mesa.

Driving through Luna Mesa on Highway 24 we felt like we were on the moon

Portal RV Park in Moab was our home for a few days while we toured Arches National Park,  Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, and enjoyed several  Moab restaurants.

We made several visits to Arches National Park and went on a few short hikes. I have a terrible fear of heights and was hesitant to do the Delicate Arch hike because there is a section where the trail is very narrow and high above ground. I am very happy that I didn’t let my fear keep me from making the hike that was the highlight of our visit to Arches.

Henry standing under Delicate Arch

Petroglyphs at the bottom of the Delicate Arch trail

There were many other arches and formations in Arches National Park that we saw as we toured the park and walked on many short trails.

Three Gossips at Arches National Park

Balanced Rock at Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Double Arch at Arches National Park

One of the Elephants on Parade at Arches National Park

Arches National Park Landscape Arch
Arches National Park Landscape Arch

Dead Horse Point was a short drive from our campground in Moab. The view from one of the overlooks provided a spectacular view of the Colorado River and the deep canyon.

Dead Horse Point State Park

We arrived at Canyonlands National Park just as the afternoon storms were rolling in.

Rain over Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park (Utah)
Canyonlands National Park (Utah)

Of all the Utah parks we visited, Zion is my favorite. Maybe it’s because we had this view from our campsite beside the Virgin River in the Watchman Campground. Or maybe it’s because our first night we watched the moon rise over Watchman.


Moon rising over Watchman in Zion National Park

Or maybe it’s my favorite because of the beauty of the park. To hop on the shuttle for a ride through the canyon all we had to do was take a short walk from our campsite to the Visitor’s Center. One day we took Blondie on a four mile hike on the Pa’Rus trail beside the Virgin River. Another day we took a ranger guided shuttle tour through the canyon in the morning and drove through the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel to the East entrance after lunch. The landscape changed on the other side of the mountain and we discovered a herd of Big Horn Sheep.

Blondie takes a dip in the Virgin River

Virgin River in Zion National Park

Zion National Park

The Narrows in Zion National Park

Menu Falls at Zion National Park

Three Patriarchs in Zion National Park

Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park

Big Horn Sheep in Zion National Park

Big Horn Sheep in Zion National Park

Our adventures in Utah continued as we towed our fifth wheel through the Zion-Mount Carmel tunnel to our next destination, Gouldings Lodge and Campground in Utah near Monument Valley which is in the Navajo Nation Reservation in both Arizona and Utah.

John Wayne's Cabin from "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"
John Wayne’s Cabin at Goulding’s from “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”

View of Monument Valley from Goulding’s Lodge and Campground

The elemental effects of nature on the earth are evident all over the state. Water and wind created these magnificent formations on the earth.

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon     Pennsylvania    South Carolina     South Dakota     Tennessee     Texas