Top 10 Posts of 2018

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! As 2018 draws to a close, I’d like to do a year-in-review post. It’s been a great inaugural year here on the blog, with 113 posts, over 5000 visitors and over 600 people following along on the journey. I am grateful for and humbled by your support.

Here are the top ten most popular posts from 2018 (you can click on each title to go to the original post):

10: Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Clingman’s Dome (Tennessee/North Carolina)DSC05739

9: Montezuma Castle National Monument (Arizona)IMG_5657

8: Muir Woods National Monument (California)F-_2012_2012-08-11-San-Francisco_DSC02511

7: Crater Lake National Park – Garfield Peak (Oregon)Day7-IMG_6122

6: Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)DSCN0953

5: Flathead National Forest – Whitefish Mountain (Montana)IMG_1677

4: Acadia National Park – Loop Road Highlights (Maine)IMG_1355

3: Acadia National Park – Jordan Pond and the Bubbles (Maine)2007_0527(009)

2: Glacier National Park – Running Eagle Falls (Montana)IMG_1792

And the most popular post of 2018….Capitol Reef National Park – Cathedral Valley (Utah)IMG_8712

Happy New Year everyone and here’s to happy exploring ahead for 2019!

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Wahweap Overlook & Marina


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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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From the top of Wahweap Overlook, there are panoramic views of Wahweap Bay and the surrounding waters of Lake Powell. There is a signed turnoff on highway 89 about 3 miles North of the dam. Follow the short dirt road, to the parking lot.  There is a shade shelter and a bench.

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We stopped at the overlook on our way to dinner at the marina and were lucky enough to see a thunderstorm descending on the far side of Lake Powell. We stayed for a while, trying to capture photos of the lightning strikes and enjoying to cool breeze.

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Down at the marina, we had dinner on the roof deck of a restaurant on one of the docks. The restaurant itself was nothing special, but the view made it worth the trip. We watched the sun set and saw a rainbow after the storm passed.

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To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

Location: 100 Lakeshore Drive, Wahweap Marina

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designated or established: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Navajo Bridge

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

The Navajo Bridge in Glen Canyon National Recreation area is off the beaten path. I’d seen photos of it on Instagram when planning this trip, so I knew I had to get it on the itinerary. After having spent a few days seeing the sights around Page, Arizona, we set out for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, with a slight detour to see Navajo Bridge.

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This turned out to be a pretty big detour since part of Highway 89 had washed away during a storm and we had to go around through Navajo territory and then back up to the turn-off to the bridge. And then, when we got there, the Interpretive Center was closed. There hadn’t been any mention of that on the website…we should have called.

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Undeterred, we parked in the lot on the opposite side of the canyon from the visitor center, walked across the pedestrian bridge, took photos and then shopped in the Native American craft market in the parking lot.

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Navajo Bridge is actually two bridges. The original bridge opened in 1929 providing a direct route from Arizona to Utah across the canyon. Previously, motorists had to either drive 800 miles around to cross the Colorado River or take a ferry.

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By the 1990s, the historic bridge was proving inadequate for modern traffic. The historic bridge became a pedestrian bridge and a new bridge was erected across Marble Canyon, slightly downstream from the old one. Though my husband may have been annoyed by the extra drive time, I’m glad we made the trip to see this.

To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

Location: U.S. Hwy 89 A, Marble Canyon, AZ 86036

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/19/2014

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Navajo Bridge is the 9th highest steel arch bridge in the US, at 470 feet above the Colorado River in Marble Canyon.

NRHP: Cameron Suspension Bridge

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

The Cameron Suspension Bridge was built over the Little Colorado River in 1911 to provide better access to the Navajo Nation and Hopi Indian Reservation. The bridge originally carried highway 89, nearly collapsed under the weight of too many sheep in 1937 and was replaced by a more modern bridge in 1959.

 

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Five years after the suspension bridge was erected, the Richardson Brothers established the Cameron Trading post where the Navajo and Hopi came to barter for dry goods. As the town grew up around the bridge and trading post, it became a hotel for the area’s tourists.

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Today, it is a Southwestern version of the Cracker Barrel, with a restaurant and large gift shop and an adjoining motel. We stopped there on our way to the Grand Canyon to use the restroom. We perused the native crafts available in the gift shop, walked through the motel’s courtyard garden and took some photos of the historic bridge and canyon from the back of their property.

Location: US Highway 8954 Miles North of FlagstaffCameron, AZ 86020

Designation: National Register of Historic Places

Date designation declared: 6/5/1986

Date of my visit: 8/19/2014

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Navajo Tribal Park: Lower Antelope Canyon

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon outside Page, Arizona. The Navajo name for Lower Antelope Canyon is Hazdistazí, or ‘spiral rock arches.’ It was designated a Navajo Tribal Park in 1997.

Entry is by guided tour only since a slot canyon is a dangerous place to be if there is rain anywhere along the course of the canyon (and thunderstorms are surprisingly frequent in the desert.) Several tourists have died in flash floods in this canyon.

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It was a cloudless sunny morning the day we set out to visit Antelope Canyon. We chose Lower Antelope because it is less crowded and less expensive than Upper Antelope.

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The only tour operator here for years was Ken’s. The year we went, his sister had also set up shop, next to Ken’s in the parking lot. Hers had no line, so we went there.

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Our tour guide was great, told interesting stories, gave tips on shooting photos, played the flute along the way and took family photos for us at several places.

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The slot canyon itself is amazing. It was formed by the erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding. During monsoon season, rainwater collects in the basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it scours through the narrow passageways.

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It is quite an arduous climb down steep stairs and ladders to the floor and then there are more stairs and ladders up and down along the way and places where you have to squeeze through narrow passages. The first multi-story, metal staircase by which we descended into the canyon was heart-stoppingly steep. I almost couldn’t bring myself to climb down until the guide told me there was no shame in climbing down backwards, as if it were a ladder (really, it almost was one!)

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We went early in the morning and the canyon was cool at the bottom, but by the time we ascended, we were sweating and tired. The guides gave us a free water at the end of the tour…be sure to bring your own for the tour. I did see small children and elderly people make the trek just fine with some help from the guides and their families.

 

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To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

Location: Navajo Nation near Page, AZ

Designation: Navajo Tribal Park

Date designated or established: 1997

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Hanging Garden Trail

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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After touring the Glen Canyon Dam, we asked a ranger in the visitor’s center for a short hike we could fit into the end of our day. He gave us directions to the Hanging Garden hike. The turn-off is 1/4 mile from the opposite side of the Glen Canyon Bridge from Carl Hayden Visitor Center on Highway 89.

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There aren’t great signs for the turn off, so we initially parked at the wrong trail-head.

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Our ‘wrong turn’ was an interesting hike meandering around the cool sandstone formations on the shore of Lake Powell.

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Then we went a little further down the road and found the right turn-off. Trail-head parking is 500 yards off of Highway 89 on a dirt road.

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This short, 1-mile round trip trail was created by the park service and leads to a startling green oasis beneath the rim of a butte. The route is easy to follow with a path marked by rocks along the entire route. There was no shade on this trail, but that was the only difficult part of the hike.

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There is a seep spring hidden beneath the sandstone. This spring captures rainwater and then slowly releases it, causing vegetation to grow vertically on the sheltered wall. It was pretty cool to see this in the midst of the barren landscape.

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To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

Location: Scenic View Drive and Hwy 89, Page, AZ

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Glen Canyon Dam

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Having taken a morning raft tour of the Colorado River, we chose to explore the Glen Canyon Dam after lunch.
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First, we stopped at the Dam Overlook on the east side of the river. If heading from Page to the Carl Hayden Visitors center, the overlook is before you cross the river, tucked behind the Glen Canyon NPS Headquarters. We walked down the short, steep path and stairs to amazing views of the Dam and the Colorado River.
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Then we crossed the River and signed up for the next Dam tour. We had to pass through security screening and pay a nominal fee. As a federal power plant facility, security measures are in place. While no bags, purses, knives, weapons (duh!) or food are allowed on the tour, wallets, cameras, and clear water bottles are welcome.

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On the tour, we got to walk out on top of the dam with a knowledgeable guide. There are some artifacts on display.

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The tour took us from the top of the dam, and down into it to see the workings of the power plant.

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The Dam was completed in 1966 and forms Lake Powell. Though touted as a vital source of renewable energy and regulated water flow, environmental groups criticized its impact on the Grand Canyon’s ecosystem. Because of the controversy, it was one of the last dams of its size to be built in the USA.

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To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

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Location: Hwy 89, Page, AZ

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

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The water level was pretty low when we visited. Our guide said this was the result of over a decade of severe drought.