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Dates of visit:
Sept. 30, 2006 -
Oct. 18, 2006

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Scenic byways
 Ghost towns
 Mountain vistas
 Hiking
 Autumn colors
 Small towns
 National Parks
 National Monuments
 Las Vegas
 

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First page - Wolf Creek, Creede Ghost Town and Bachelor Loop, Lake City, Henson Ghost Town
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Seventh page - Arizona Ghost Towns: Oatman, Chloride, Vulture Mine, Stanton
*** Utah ***
*** Bryce Canyon National Park ***
*** Zion National Park ***
*** Nevada ***
*** Las Vegas ***
        Travel Route
        Bryce Canyon National Park
        Site Gallery - Bryce Canyon National Park
        Zion National Park
        Site Gallery - Zion National Park
        City of Las Vegas
        Site Gallery - City of Las Vegas
Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park ** Location of Bryce Canyon NP **

Bryce Canyon ... At Bryce Canyon National Park erosion forms an array of fantastic shapes we know as hoodoos. Surrounded by the beauty of southern Utah, hoodoos cast their spell on all who visit. Geologists say that 10 million years ago forces within the Earth created and then moved the massive blocks we know as the Table Cliffs and Paunsaugunt plateaus. Rock layers on the Table Cliffs now tower 2,000 feet above their corresponding layers on the Paunsaugunt. Ancient rivers carved the tops and exposed the edges of these blocks, removing some layers and sculpting formations in others. The Paria Valley was created and later widened between the plateaus.

The Paria River and its tributaries still carve the plateau edges. Carrying dirt and gravel, rushing waters gully the edges and steep slopes of the Paunsaugunt Plateau on which lies the national park. With time, tall and thin ridges called fins emerge. Fins then erode into pinnacles and spires called hoodoos that, weakening and falling, add their bright colors to the hills below.

People have lived in the Colorado Plateau region for about 12,000 years, but only random fragments of worked stone reveal heir presence near Bryce Canyon. Artifacts add details of human use at lower elevations beyond the park boundary. Ancestral Puebloan and Fremont cultural influences found nearby are studied by archeologists. Paiutes, who lived in this region when settlers and other people from the eastern states came to southern Utah, accounted for the hoodoos as the "Legend People" whom Coyote had turned to stone.

Capt. Clarence E. Dutton and John Wesley Powell explored this area in the 1870s and gave it many place names. Dutton's report gave the name Pink Cliffs to the Claron Formation. Names from the Paiute are Paunsaugunt, place or home of the beavers; Paria, muddy water or elk water; Panguitch, water or fish; and Yovimpa, point of pines. Paiutes were displaced by emissaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who developed many small communities in Utah. Ebenezer Bryce did such work in southwestern Utah and northern Arizona.

In 1875 Bryce came to the Paria Valley to live and harvest plateau timber. Neighbors called the canyon behind his home Bryce's Canyon. Soon after 1900, people were coming to see the colorful geologic sights and the first accommodations were built along the Paunsaugunt Plateau rim above Bryce's Canyon.

By 1920 people were trying to protect the canyon's scenic wonders. In 1923 President Warren G. Harding proclaimed part of the area as Bryce Canyon National Monument under the Powell (now the Dixie) National Forest. In 1924 legislation was passed to establish the area as Utah National Park, but the provisions of the legislation were not met until 1928. Legislation passed that year changed the name of the new park to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Each year more than 1.7 million people visit the park from all over the world and take delight in the sights, which are as varied as the hoodoo's shapes and colors. Open all year, the park offers recreational opportunities in each season. Hiking, sightseeing, and photography are popular summer activities. Spring and fall months offer greater solitude. Winter quiet combines with the region's best air quality for unparalleled views and serenity. In all seasons the fantastic shapes and colors cast their spell and remind us how important it is to protect places like Bryce Canyon National Park.

Source: Tourist site brochure, US Government Printing Office


Video recorded: September 2006
HINT
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Video recorded: September 2006
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Site Gallery - Bryce Canyon National Park
 
Hiking the canyon trails
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Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Canyon National Park Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon - Inspiration Point
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon - Paria View
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon - Fairyland Canyon
Bryce Canyon National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park ** Location of Zion NP **

Zion ... immutable yet ever changing, the cliffs of Zion stand resolute, a glowing presence in late day, a wild calm. Melodies of waters soothe desert-parched ears, streams twinkle over stone, wren song cascades from red rock cliffs, and cottonwood leaves jitter on the breeze. But when lightning flashes water falls erupt from dry cliffs, and floods flash down waterless canyons exploding log jams, hurling boulders, croaking wild joyousness, and dancing stone and water and time. Zion is alive with movement, a river of life always here and always changing.

Everything in Zion takes life from the Virgin River's scarce desert waters. Water flows, and solid rock melts into cliffs and towers. Landscape changes as canyons deepen to create forested highlands and lowland deserts. A ribbon of green marks the river's course as diverse plants and animals take shelter and thrive in this canyon oasis. From the beginning people sought this place, this sanctuary in the desert's dry reaches. The very name Zion, a Hebrew word for refuge, evokes its significance.

Zion National Park is located along the edge of a region known as the Colorado Plateau. The rock layers have been uplifted, tilted, and eroded, forming a feature called the Grand Staircase, a series of colorful cliffs stretching between Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. The bottom layer of rock at Bryce Canyon is the top layer at Zion, and the bottom layer at Zion is the top layer at the Grand Canyon.

Sedimentation ... Zion was a relatively flat basin near sea level 240 million years ago. As sands, gravels, and mud eroded from surrounding mountains, streams carried these materials into the basin and deposited them in layers. The sheer weight of these accumulated layers caused the basin to sink, so that the top surface always remained near sea level. As the land rose and fell and as the climate changed, the depositional environment fluctuated from shallow seas to coastal plains to a desert of massive windblown sand. This process of sedimentation continued until over 10,000 feet of material accumulated.

Lithification ... Mineral-laden waters slowly filtered through the compacted sediments. Iron oxide, calcium carbonate, and silica acted as cementing agents, and with pressure from overlying layers over long periods of time, transformed the deposits into stone. Ancient sea beds became limestone; mud and clay became mudstones and shale; and desert sand became sandstone. Each layer originated from a distinct source and so differs in thickness, mineral content, color, and eroded appearance.

Uplift ... in an area from Zion to the Rocky Mountains, forces deep within the earth started to push the surface up. This was not chaotic uplift, but very slow vertical hoisting of huge blocks of the crust. Zionís elevation rose from near sea level to as high as 10,000 feet above sea level. Uplift is still occurring. In 1992 a magnitude 5.8 earthquake caused a landslide visible just outside the south entrance of the park in Springdale.

Erosion ... this uplift gave the streams greater cutting force in their descent to the sea. Zionís location on the western edge of this uplift caused the streams to tumble off the plateau, flowing rapidly down a steep gradient. A fast-moving stream carries more sediment and larger boulders than a slow-moving river. These streams began eroding and cutting into the rock layers, forming deep and narrow canyons. Since the uplift began, the North Fork of the Virgin River has carried away several thousand feet of rock that once lay above the highest layers visible today.

Geology-in-Action ... flash floods occur when sudden thunderstorms dump water on exposed rock. With little soil to absorb the rain, water runs downhill, gathering volume as it goes. These floods often occur without warning and can increase water flow by over 100 times. In 1998 a flash flood increased the volume of the Virgin River from 200 cubic feet per second to 4,500 cubic feet per second, again damaging the scenic drive at the Sentinel Slide.

Source: Tourist site brochure, US Government Printing Office


Video recorded: September 2006
HINT
: If video starts/stops often, PAUSE the playback for 15-30 seconds to allow the video buffer memory to fill. To resume playback press PLAY.

Site Gallery - Zion National Park
 

Zion National Park Zion National Park Zion National Park
Zion National Park Zion National Park Zion National Park
City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas ** Location of Las Vegas **

Las Vegas ... also called "Sin City", where "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." Nothing said here can add to the mystique and magic of this entertainment capital of the world.

For more information: http://www.visitlasvegas.com/vegas/index.jsp

Site Gallery - City of Las Vegas
 
Las Vegas' "The Strip"
Las Vegas Las Vegas Las Vegas
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Las Vegas Las Vegas Las Vegas
"Downtown" Las Vegas
Las Vegas Las Vegas Las Vegas
Fremont Street Experience
Freemont Street Freemont Street Freemont Street
Freemont Street Freemont Street Freemont Street
Freemont Street Freemont Street Freemont Street

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