Lehman Caves

Lehman Caves, on the Eastern Edge of Nevada, are just outside of Great Basin National Park, not far from Zion National Park in Utah.  They were discovered by Absalom Lehman in 1885.  For us, our trip was not much more than a byway toward our home in AZ.  We thought we would check out Great Basin National Park, which unfortunately, despite their website saying it was open, was closed.  So the Caves ‘saved the day’ giving us a highlight we had not anticipated.  You can see my limited photos of Great Basin National Park here.

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We took a tour into the caves.  The pathways were paved and well lit.  Our guide was new, but friendly and informative.  She explained how after Lehman discovered the caves, he invited everyone he knew to come check them out.  They literally had parties and dances inside the caves, knocking down stalactites and stalagmites out of the way with sledge hammers to make more open space.

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People would right their names in graffiti on the ceilings and walls of the cave with their candles.

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There were sections that were dry and old.. others that had bred new life and were dripping into puddles below.  It was a huge cavernous area full of a number of cave formations we would learn.

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When we were there, there was a group of ‘cave cleaners’ who had volunteered to meticulously clean the inside of the caves.  Using feather dusters on long sticks, toothbrushes, paint brushes and tweezers, donning their lit mining hats they carefully inspected and cleaned the cave floor, spires, and formations.

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They had small trays where they picked up anything from hair strands, clothing fibers, to gum wrappers.  What a pain staking job!

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We found it fascinating and entertaining.  It was an excellent reprieve from our long journey.

 

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Toroweap Overlook

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Toroweap Overlook is a viewpoint within the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, United States.  It is located in a remote area on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, 55 miles west of the North Rim Headquarters.

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Grand Canyon National Parks own brochure says it best:  “At 3,000 vertical feet (880 m) above the Colorado River, the sheer drop from Toroweap Overlook offers a dramatic view.  The volcanic cinder cones and lava flows in this ancestral home of the Southern Paiute people make this area unique. A visit to Tuweep provides an opportunity for an uncrowded, rustic, and remote experience.  Access is challenging and demands skill at negotiating difficult roadways.  Services are non-existent: there is no water, gas, food, lodging, or phone service.”

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Backcountry Permits are required from the Grand Canyon National Park in order to camp at one of their only 8 spots.  We felt lucky to reserve our permit in advance.  It made for a fascinating and stunning overlook for a few days.

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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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Olympic National Park

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We have done a lot of the National Parks lately.  Olympic National Park in Northern Washington is one we have never done… but one I would recommend.  Unfortunately during the winter many of the scenic drives are closed.  But I dare say we got to do the best of them, the Quinault Rain Forest.

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With the abundance of mossy trees standing in groves and forests you can barely distinguish the moss trees from the moss fallen logs and ground floor.  Moss hangs from the trees like creepy beards on swamp things.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  It’s super cool and amazingly scenic in a creepy strange sort of way.  Absolutely spectacular.

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The huge amount of non stop rain is testament to this tangled webs of moss laden forest.  Branches so heavy with moss they break and fall to the ground, leaving only the moss covered stubs left on the trees.

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Waterfalls spout out of the mountain like running streams everywhere you look.  It’s just awesome to witness this amazing rain forest.

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Arches National Park

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Arches, while aptly named with memorable arches to view and walk amongst, is so much more.  It is multiple spires, hoodoos if you will, large canyons and seas of rock formations jutting out of the valley floor… and arches.

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Arches true colors shine at sunset when the colors turn a brilliant unreal orange-red.

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The rock pillars radiate as if they were on fire, taking on an other worldly glow.  It makes you stop dead in your feet just to take it in.  It comes like a storm, lights up the world, then without pause or hesitation it disappears behind the horizon until it comes back tomorrow.

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For me, I’m just happy to be witness to it’s grandeur and share in it’s awesome beauty.

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