Cross country: Still in Jensen, Utah and more Rocky Mountain images

August 28, 2013

What a find! I can only imagine what people thought when they uncovered dinosaur bones in the early 1900s in what is now Jensen, Utah. After digging up and shipping complete skeletal remains to various museums, the original National Monument was established in 1915 to preserve the quarry and 80 acres around it. In 1938 the Monument was increased to include more than 210,000 acres.

You can see the actual bones in the quarry building. How wicked is that? After viewing the bones, we took the 24-mile driving tour to see the scenery that included the Green River. This was a photographer’s dream. I have seen colors like this before in mountains, but the Green River added a new dynamic.

We are both feeling better today, but are still feeling some of the altitude effects. We are still at a little over 5,000 ft. We live at 106 ft.

Tomorrow, we go on to Salt Lake City, and will be there for two days. Then it’s four days to home. We are both anxious to be in our home. I have such mixed feelings. I want to see more, but I also want to be home. Making it easier is that we have visited this part of the United States and seen its beauty.

Tonight, I’ll show you the rest of the Rocky Mountain images.  I’m not going to write captions since they are all landscape images that are similar yet different. I’ll try to get to the Dinosaur National Monument when we get to Salt Lake City. You know it’s true, the further you go, the behinder you get.

I don’t think we’ll find anything new in Salt Lake City, but it’s been about 33 years since we’ve visited. I’m sure things have changed.


Cross country: Jensen, Utah and Rocky Mountain National Park images

August 27, 2013

Beautiful but exhausting—that’s how I’ll describe the Rocky Mountain National Park. Beautiful, because it is; tiring because when you can’t breathe correctly, you get tired and don’t feel well. We left that wicked campground a day early. Richard was having increasingly difficulty breathing.  We did get to see mamma moose and the babies one more time before we left. So, here we are in Jensen, Utah and Dinosaur National Monument—getting closer to home.

We went from a mountain campground to a high desert rocky campground. I’m not griping. That’s just the way it is. Gem is not happy about the move. The other campground had some wicked smells! Tomorrow, if Richard is feeling better, we’ll go into the National Monument. I talked to some people in the campground and they said it was amazing. So, how can we not go??

Now, yesterday I promised you my impressions of Rocky Mountain National Park. Please understand that we love our National Parks. The only one we missed on this trip was Shenandoah National Park because we needed to move on so we could visit relatives.

Rocky Mountain is one of the best we experienced. However, it is not for the person not used to altitude. We peaked at 11,800 ft. Our campground was over 8,000 ft. So for those of us who live at 108 ft. above sea level, it’s hard to breathe.

We did our best and drove the main road through the park, stopping at every trail head and turn out. I think we got the essence of the park. But, timing is everything. Each afternoon, monsoons hit the area. The black clouds roll in, threatening to ruin everyone’s fun. If you’re lucky, they just make it difficult to take photos. If you’re unlucky, you get rained on. The rain can last for a few minutes or for hours.

I know you’re saying, “Well, just go in the morning!” We intended to do that, BUT! I did shoot a lot of images, and I’ll show you some tonight, continuing for a couple of posts.

The other important fact about the Park, is the dying lodge pole trees. They are dying because of a beetle infestation and lack of water. In the current drought conditions, the trees can’t make the sap that helps them fight off the beetles that bore into the bark.

The ranger who led the hike said the forest in changing from a majority of lodge pole trees to a variety of trees that can withstand the drought conditions. Fortunately, Mother Nature’s changes take a long time, and hopefully we’ll see the lodge pole pine make a comeback.

Hopefully, tomorrow we’ll get to see Dinosaur National Monument and it will also be beautiful, but not tiring.


Cross country: Grand Lake, Colorado and Rocky Mountain National Park

August 26, 2013

We reached new heights today—11,800 ft. above sea level! We drove to the crest in the Rocky Mountain National Park, stopping to take pictures. We tried one small hike, and we both had altitude problem. So, we thought we’d let the truck do the hiking. We still had problems!

Richard couldn’t catch his breath, and I had a tightening in my chest and couldn’t catch my breath. I was also worried that he was overworking his knees. We’ve never had altitude problems before, and I’m guessing it’s age (and, in my case a repaired heart). Our campground is at 8300 ft. At first it was difficult for me to walk the dog up hill; now it’s a little easier.

I shot a lot of photos today and still have to sort through them. Tonight, I’m showing you scenery in and from our campground. You’ll see a great number of shots of mama moose and her two offspring. It was so wicked that they came to feed in our campground near the children’s playground.

I’ll give you my impressions of the Park in tomorrow’s post. No, we’re not going to try to hike it again. We thought we’d go into Grand Lake Village and just take it easy. No new heights for us; it’s easier to function at 8300 ft.


Cross Country: Grand Lake, Colorado and Strasburg, Colorado images

August 25, 2013

Mountains! It’s been a long time since we were in mountains. We could see them from Denver, but today we’re in them. You see, in California we have flat lands, deserts, hills and mountains. We haven’t seen true mountains since we left the Great Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. Yes, there was Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain in Maine, but there is no comparison.

During our drive in, we crested at about 11,400 feet. Our campground is at 8,600 feet. So, I’m experiencing some altitude adjustment. It’s good that Denver is at 5,000+ feet so we had a chance to get used to the higher altitude or my adjustment would be worse.

I remember going through the Rockies 2 years ago. The drive was so beautiful. I didn’t have my camera yet and didn’t take photos because my little point and shoot couldn’t capture it like my memory can.

We will be here for three nights and will have two full days in the Rocky Mountain National Park. I hope to get some fantastic images for you. I’ve already started. When we came in, a mama moose and her two babies were feeding on some tree leaves. This campground has wildlife in it and we have been warned about not letting Gem off the leash.

I’m hoping the cooler weather up here will help us finally get rid of the fleas. Warning: don’t take your dog into the Midwest. The fleas are mean there! Today I’m showing you some of the treasures at the Strasburg Museum, a collection of history donated by public entities and private citizens. Buildings were moved and placed in the museum. I have many more images, but you may not be as enthusiastic as I am about history. I’ve chosen samples to show you.

Okay, time to get dinner on. Maybe after dinner and if the rain, yes it’s raining again, stops, we can go to the visitor’s center and plan our day in the mountains tomorrow.