Grand Canyon – North Rim

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We just got back from several days in the Grand Canyon.  Not the popular and tourist heavy South Rim… but the more out of the way North Rim.  More over.. not actually in the National Park itself, technically outside of the park.  We camped in the forest outside the Grand Canyon – North Rim, finding amazing spots that overlooked the back side of the Grand Canyon.

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We didn’t have to fight the crowds, or make reservations at jammed lodges for a year in advance.  We camped on our own, brought and ate our own wonderful meals.  We went for hikes along amazing trails and took in views that took our breath away.

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As I sat one morning, all by myself, waiting for the sun to come up over the canyons, I took pause to feel thankful for this amazing state we live in.  How fortunate I feel to live in a place where we can see this amazing landscape, in the solitude of my own company, feeling quite safe and extremely comfortable.

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As the light shifted and changed over the canyon walls I thought how challenging Arizona photographers have it to photograph these vast ravines and sprawling cliffs.  The shadows and light changing like a curtain being raised slowly over a work of art, waiting to see what moods today will bring about… clouds, blue sky, storms, dust, or haze.

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We camped in several stunning spots, including Jump Up Point, Crazy Jug, and Rainbow’s End Trails.  Each had their own beauty, foreground, and atmosphere.  It was a great peaceful, relaxing trip…. one we’ll have to do again.

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Bull Pen

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Finally… an outing!  We have been ‘home alone’ sort of speak for too long.  So we took the truck out and did a quick jaunt to Bull Pen for a simple lunch outing.

Bull Pen is just outside of Camp Verde and has several trails that go down to Clear Creek.  There is nothing like sitting outside the babbling of the water rushing across boulders forming their own waterfall.  It’s peaceful and relaxing… just what the dr. ordered.

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We were surprised how many people were actually there for during the week.  We found a nice spot to ourselves and relaxed in this beautiful environment, if only for a few hours.

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From the Archives: Venice, ITALY

I have a friend going to Venice, Italy this year, so I thought I’d post some old pix from my last trip, years ago now.  All my friends seem to be taking these great International trips… seems I’m the one staying home for a change.  Maybe I need to some planning.  Hmmmm.

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I love Venice.  It’s a magical place.  Just sitting in St. Mark’s square having a coffee watching the people go by… or the dueling music at night, can be very entertaining.

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But it’s so much more… it’s the architecture, the gondolas, the city on the water, the food stalls, and artisan shops filled with masks, glass blowing, and hand made papers.  It is a festival for the eyes and the senses.

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I hope she enjoys it as much as we did.  But then, how could you not.

Have fun!… and get lots of GREAT pix.

South Oregon Coast

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The Southern Oregon Coast is as picturesque as the Northern Coast, but with smaller towns and more nature walks and trails throughout.  Again we are impressed by the magnitude of State Parks along the way, and Oregon’s celebration of their coastline.

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The Southern Coast has more lighthouses, and more spurious rocks in the ocean jutting out, ocean spraying from their jagged edges, vs. Northern coast’s individually named singular rocks like Rockaway, and Haystack.  This coast is more rugged, with windy roads and frequent pull outs.

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Several lighthouses are part of State Parks including campgrounds and walking trails to allow one to spend time to appreciate and enjoy the super scenic area, complete with beach, rock formations, and lighthouse trails.

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North Oregon Coast

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We’ve been up and down both East and West coasts.  I’d be hard pressed to say which is more beautiful… so I won’t, because I can’t.  They are both stunning.  I love the rock formations jutting out from the ocean, trees overhanging the black sand, and sunsets on the beach.  It’s all pretty awesome.

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Along the way there are quaint charming little towns, and different rock formations with individual names.  There’s Haystack rock in Cannon Beach and Rockaway Beach, and a dozen others up and down the coast filled with State Parks and walking trails to fully enjoy it’s beauty.

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Oregon does a great job sharing their beaches with the community and it’s visitors through lots of maps, brochures, hiking / biking trails, camping, and wildlife viewing areas.  They invite visitors to share in it’s grandeur.

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Columbia River Gorge

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The U.S. is full of scenic byways and highways and wondrous viewpoints.  National Parks and Historic Monuments across the states preserve and protect these treasures, but few are more gorgeous or a testament to the need of such protection as the Historic Columbia River Highway.

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This historic highway was started in 1913 and finished in 1922 and is carefully woven between waterfalls and nature.  It is truly Poetry in Stone as the architects and craftsmen sought to highlight and embrace this awesome scenery for the community and mankind.

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Unfortunately only  short sections of this road are still drivable  as modern technology made way for bigger ‘better’ highways, tearing down, covering up, and demolishing much of Oregon’s treasured past.  Smaller sections are being restored to their original grandeur for hiking and bicyclist use to allow future generations to enjoy them.

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In 1986 advocates of the Columbia River Gorge sought to make this area the first and only National Scenic Area to preserve and protect this gorgeous environment.

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