May, 2012

26-04-12 till 04-05-12 YOSEMITE, still spectacular!!!

02-05, Four Mile trail plus a part of Panorama, Vernal and Nevada Falls trail.

Some more about YosemiteAll our full day hikes begin early in the morning, so this one was no exception. Four Mile Trail is 15,5km long (round trip) with 975km elevation gain. Being on top of the Glacier Point, 2199km, we decided to make a go for another trail, we wanted to reach Vernal and Nevada Falls. After all, we didn't regret we made this decision! The views were just fabulous! While walking Four Miles Trail we had some awesome views at the Valley and the Yosemite Falls, while walking to Nevada/Vernal Falls the views kept being spectacular! We passed Illilouette Fall as well, which were beautiful as well. Each of these 3 waterfalls had something special. The last waterfall on our way hiking back to the bikes, the Vernal Fall was very spectacular as well. The trail which goes to these falls calls The Mist Trail, because of the mist along the trail caused by the falls. It was a very cool experience to hike in the mist of these falls. As we were hiking from the side of the Glacier Point we didn't have to climb all these stairs up the falls but the other way round, and we have to admit damn were we glad we were descending!
At the end of the trail we knew the supper would taste very good! 03-05 eating out day :)

04-05, Wawona Meadow Loop and hike to the Grizzly Giant Tree. 'Good bye' Yosemite!

This day we drove through the Yosemite to the Wawona area, did a small hike up there and went to see the Grizzly Giant Tree, which was good fun as well. After that we said 'Good Bye' to the beautiful Yosemite. Govert did his best to drive these 'curly' roads of the Yosemite. The same day we arrived in Frezno, bought some camping clothes and 2 wonderful sleeping bags, so now we can go for a multiple day hike:) We are looking forward to it:)

05-05-2012, visiting Sequoia National Park: 'hi the biggest tree on earth!'

Some frigging BIG treesVisiting Sequoia was amazing! It's difficult to describe the feeling while walking among these magnificent giants! The silence was all around us. To our surprise there were very little people on the trail we took. So seeing no one and walking among these trees it's an incredible experience! When we arrived to see the biggest tree it was a little crowded as everyone wanted to make a photo of this unique tree. It was funny to make an observation of the people who were ignorant or just didn't pay attention when someone else wanted to make a picture of the tree, so they would stay in a way for the others. We enjoyed the beauty of this national park and had to move on. On our way, driving back from Sequoia we passed by an amazing Lake Kaweah! The next time we're in this area we definitely wanna spend some time around this lake. You can camp out right on the lake shore with an amazing view of the lake and the 'soft rolling' mountains. Very beautiful! The next day, 06-05 we drove most of the day and had a spot by an RV park again.

07-05-12 until 08-05-12, Visiting Death Valley and 'Hello Fabulous Las Vegas!'

Death ValleyDriving through Death Valley was also a unique experience. We didn't think a desert would have so many colors! The colors were changing with every mile: from dark brown to red, pink, green, yellow and so on....The artist drive was very beautiful! What we also noticed that we run out of gasoline more quicker then normal....has smth to do maybe with high temperature??! From there on we hit the road and were in Las Vegas in the evening. After some relaxing at the RV park (which was the luxurious we've been to up till now) we went to see the Las Vegas at night. Fabulous Las VegasIt's incredible that you build up such a city in a middle of a desert. Anyway you wont be board in Las Vegas. The only thing we missed there were cafes that you can sit outside and enjoy the view. It's not that there weren't cafes outside at all, but most of the time you can sit outside if you're coming for a dinner but just for a drink they give you a table inside.... oh well it's not that we did a big afford to look for them that much. We enjoyed the fountain at the Ballagio and we went to the MGM to see how obsessed some people are with the casino! The next day we drove through Vegas again and Iryna tried to find some nice clothes for herself. The next spot was Hover Dam, we didn't spend much time there, but we did have a walk around. Then carried on further. We had a spot for the night at an RV park at Williams.

09-05-12 until 13-05-12, Grand Canyon National Park

little impression of Grand Canyon NPWell, we thought of staying only a night, then decided that it's quite beautiful so we stayed another 3 nights. We walked towards a canyon floor, but didn't make it all the way down. Problem is with canyon walks, the first bit is easy, you're going down. But then back when you're already tired is no fun. It takes roughly 2 times as long to go up then to go down. So we did ok, the trip took nearly 7 hours but we weren't even close to the canyon floor.
Everywhere it was signposted not to try to do a canyon floor & back on the same day. After we came back we understood why.
The next day we did have a fight again with the warm water unit. The hot water tank is leaking. So every once and a while half the RV is flooded. This is so annoying but a new water unit is some $500,-. Some cash we're not willing to spend as of yet. First we're gonna try to kinda weld it with epoxy glue. It's frigging amazing that this NP attracts some 5 million people annually.
Our last day in the GCNP is spend by getting up very early & watching the sun-rise. We also did a canyon rim walk of 15 km. We made so many pics, every corner we saw another nice view, especially Iryna LOL.

13-05-12 until 18-05-12, Zion National Park

Zion NPAs we arrived in Zion, we had to pay another $15,- for a tunnel pass. That's because one of the tunnels in Zion NP isn't high & wide enough for most of the RV's.
We stayed close to Zion in a RV park. The next morning we went to Zion NP very early as it's said to fill up very early. We got in at 08:30 & it was already almost full. We took a nice relaxing day, in the late afternoon we went to the rivertrail & went to bed early.
As we woke up we thought of having a trail day, unfortunately we were to lazy :-) so it turned out another relax day. In the evening we wanted to take a shower and the damn hot water tank started leaking again. This time we said to eachother, we're gonna get a new one. It's so annoying, every time we go somewhere we're afraid to take a shower.
The next day we had a chitchat with the camphost & asked where we could get some. He looked on the internet and gave us a couple a phone numbers to call. One of them was pretty close by in Hurricane. So tried that first. The woman on the phone was friendly enough & sai, just come by & we'll see what we can do. At first we thought of not going because it would take some time etc etc. But we talked it over & decided that we'll go there.
Came there at Nielsson RV & talked with one of the guys there, he looked at the unit, which we already took out & said, I can get ya a new one tomorrow morning for $400,-. We looked at each other & it was of course a done deal. We thought it would cost $500,- in total. Happily we drove back to Zion where we didn't do much again.
The next morning we phoned, and the unit was there, so we drove there, put it in, got some stuff from them to snug it in waterproof & we were good to go. Although it took quite a while to get it in to our liking it worked beautifully.
The rest of the afternoon we did some washing & bought some wood. In the evening we had a wonderful shower & a nice campfire.
Then came the big day, we're gonna do a nice tour. It's called the narrows & it's along & through the water. A splendid trip. At times the water came as high as you're waist but darn what a beautiful trail. All in all it's some 22 km. That evening sleep came very very swift haha. We burned enough calories from the previous day when we had McDonalds :-).

18-05-12 until 21-05-12, Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon NPThe idea was to get up early to go to Bryce Canyon NP (BCNP). Bummer it didn't really work. We only got up @ 7. We did the refreshing tour with the RV, meaning, dump the black & grey water. (black water holding tank is for the toilet, grey water holding tank is for washing dishes & shower water.) Take in fresh potable water. That's a procedure taking about 10 min max. Although some people seem to take an hour for it... So when we got in BCNP it was already 10 o'clock, we found a spot though in the RV section. When we setup shop Govert heard the wretching noise of a generator, as we found out he's allergic to it... So we asked the camphost whether there's also an generator free zone. It was, the only thing is that's not allowed for RV's over 20 feet. All of a sudden our RV crimped a whole foot :-). We found a nice spot & read for the remainder of the day.
The next day we took a little hike of 13km throughout the canyon, called the fairyland trail, a nice little walk. Annular Solar EclipseIt wasn't to bad altitude wise so that's good. We rewarded ourselves with a nice ice cold corona, pretty much the only beer in the USA that's reasonable to drink...Today, the 20th is a nice day, we did a little hike again, only 10 km, it was said to be one of the best hikes in the world. We enjoyed it very much! It's a canyon walk that goes through the rocks themselves. Very cool! In the evening we watched a solar eclipse & did some stargazing. Amazing how much ya can see with only starlight!

21-05-12, Capitol Reef National Park (CRNP)

Capitol Reef NPAs we arrived in Capitol Reef the campsite was already full. We've noticed that if you want a spot in a first come, first serve campground you'll have to arrive before say 09:00. If not, changes are good that it'll be completely full. Fortunately there is quite a bit of dispersed (government land, mostly BLM (Bureau of Land Management), where you can camp any where you like unless there's a sign no camping or no tress passing) camping available near CRNP. In CRNP we visited a beautiful canyon with the RV through an old wash from a river (dirt road). Very good. We met a couple of nice Belgian travelers there who basically did the same trip we did. So start in November in Asia, roughly in March back home for a couple days & from there on to the States. Although they're planning to do some on a bike. If you're interested check out

22-05-12, Bridges National Monument (BNM)

Us @ BNMWhile driving to BNM we passed through Glenn Canyon National Recreational Area. We were so impressed with it that we'll go back for it. It's kinda like Grand Canyon but for wilder & nicer. It's incredible that that's possible but according to us it's frigging spectacular.
So when we arrived in BNM we did a little hike down to one of the bridges. The forming of an arch & a bridge is different. The former one is formed by water that's pounding to the walls in a meander (so bend in the river), so with time the water punctures the wall and the bridge is formed. The cut of section doesn't get any water anymore and dries out because the river found a shortcut through the bridge.
An arch is formed by layered earth (in case of Arches NP), first a layer of salt, then petrified sand. Because the salt dissolves far easier in water then sandstone the arch is formed.

23-05-12, Arches National Park (ANP)

Us @ Delicate ArchAs we already explained how the arches are formed, won't we bother you with it again :-).
In ANP (not the Dutch News Agency) we found out that the campground offers 27 sites which can be reserved online (when we tried that the first available date was somewhere in September :-( unfortunately). When we arrived at the entrance (@ 7 am) we heard that there is the grand total of 1 first come first serve campground. So we didn't even bother. Close to ANP (near Moab, Utah) is enough BLM land so we stayed in a campground with an honesty box, cost of staying the enormous sum of $8. You've got pit toilets & waste container. The only thing lacking for us was fresh water. But as the visitor center of ANP offered that we were happy campers once again haha.
OK, back to ANP. We hiked to the so called Delicate Arch. Damn, a very impressive arch. It's incredible how it's been shaped. Of course we took quite a few pics there :-). After that we visited the North & South Window Arches. Not so spectacular as the Delicate Arch but still very pretty.
With this park we come to the end of the desert parks. For the last 2 months we pretty much were in arid landscapes. From here on we'll go to the Rockies!!! We're looking forward to it. Catch ya later, alligator.

23-05-12 & 27-05-12, Driving to Grand Teton NP (GTNP)

Driving through the alpine snowNot much to talk about. This long but relaxing drive went pretty smoothly. We took our time to reach Grand Teton NP. As the weather forecast wasn't that good for GTNP we stayed some more days at the camping at Ogden. They have quite a relaxed RV camping there, good facilities and good atmosphere. What they also have in Ogden is a great place to eat sushi!!!!! We couldn't resist and went there 2 evenings in a row. We at there the best sushi ever: perfect taste and nicely decorated! It's called Tona sushi, definitely worth paying a visit. In Ogden we also visited a cozy book store: Wisebird Bookstore. It's a small bookstore which has some good coffee, they have there area where you can sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with some nice reading book. The people who work there are very friendly and give ya lots of tips about nice places in the area to visit! We had a great talk with one of them, it's always nice to talk to open mined people.

28-05-12 & 31-05-12, From Desert to Alpine, 'Hello Bear Country' Grand Teton NP (GTNP)

View over Lake Jackson in GTNPWhat a wonderful drive we had heading to GTNP! Finally we are back in our favorite landscapes: The Alpines! We have been driving through snow, so we did catch up a little bit of winter which we missed this year. The first night we camped dispersed some 100 miles from Teton. It was snowing like hell and Iryna hoped we could get out from there the next day. But late in the evening it stopped snowing and we even enjoyed watching the stars! It was so perfect, when we walked outside we saw thousands of stars and the shining moon which gave so much light that we didn't need a flash light. The tops of the mountains around us were covered with snow and at that time we felt so small in this wild nature! The next day we reached Grand Teton, which is amazing! We enjoyed the beauty of it while driving through the park! At the visitor center we bought us some Bear Spray for $45 and on our way to Colter Bay Campground we got a chance to see a Grizzly Bear!!! It was walking through the field searching for food. We said to each other that we are so lucky to enjoy seeing all this!
It's unbelievable how much wild life there is in the park! On one trail we saw so many wild animals and birds we haven't seen in the last month of traveling. Of some of them we even don't know a name, but to give ya a rough idea: a bear, elk, moose, mountain marmot, mountain squirrel, coyote and a great variety of birds, one of them a peregrine falcon. We had some great days here despite the fact that we couldn't do some long day hikes because of the snow. And of course we have to mention that we made a nice campfire in the evening and enjoyed some marshmallows:).