My World and Welcome to It!

These are my thoughts and opinions about life in general. I also get daily prompts from DSP which inspire me to write. If I throw in some scrapbook pages I've done, photos I've taken, and stories about me, you will have an idea about my loony life!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Trip 2011 Statistics

Thank you everyone for your patience while reading about our trip out west. I hope I haven’t bored you with all the details and memories but it was a great trip and I learned so much! As I wind up the trip I thought I would share with you some statistics from our trip that I found interesting! Please come back next week for my regular educational topic posts!

1. Days on the road: 62
2. States traveled through: 9 different states
3. Miles traveled: 11,500
4. Amount spent on gas: $845
5. Things learned: impossible to number! image
6. Budget: 61% spent on lodging, 26% spent on food, 8% spent on gas, 5% spent on other.
7. National Parks visited: 11 - Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Glacier, Arches, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Great Sand Dunes,
8. National Monuments: 7 - Devils Tower, Craters of the Moon, Timpanagos Cave, Pipe Springs, Cedar Breaks,, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Natural Bridges
9. Wildlife seen: buffalo, big horned sheep, black bear, grizzly bear, coyote, ducks, birds, eagles, hawks, mountain goats, marmots, prairie dogs, 1 snake
10. Nights camping: 7
11. Tires purchased: 2
12. Oil changes: 1
13. Average daily cost for 2 people: $173

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 – Heading Home 8/25/11 -8/29/11

018For more pictures, click HERE

8/26/11: We are winding our way back east. We left Cortez, CO this morning and headed east by way of the scenic byway. We went up to Ouray and came down the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton and Durango. The mountains were absolutely beautiful! There was even snow up on the mountains. I was surprised that temperatures went from 94 to 54 when we got above 12,000 feet elevation. Eventually we ended up in Alamosa, CO for the night.

8/27/11: Today seemed to go on forever! The road we planned on taking (Hwy 10) was closed and we had to go down to Trinidad, CO to cut across to Hwy 50. It was all flat and boring. We stopped a couple of times but didn’t find any treasures. Finally we got to Hutchinson Hampton Inn. We went to Fazolis for dinner which is like fast food Italian dinners.

8/28/11: We had a really nice drive today until we got near St. Louis and the traffic got thick. We finally stopped in Mt. Vernon, IL for the night at a Hampton Inn. At least we are on the far side of St. Louis so we won’t have to fight the traffic tomorrow morning.

8/29/11: Planned on stopping in Knoxville for the night but we were so close to home (about 4 hrs.) that Don pushed it and we got home about 9pm. By the time we unpacked most of the stuff, it was midnight. And then we were so keyed up and overtired, we didn’t go to bed until 2am! It was a nice drive home but it seemed like it took forever!

What I Learned Today:
· There are major temperatures changes when you get higher in elevation.
· It is best to go through big cities on the weekend!
· There is no place like home! (and my own bed!)
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Image: Pat Hensley

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 – Mesa Verde National Park 8/25/11

013For more pictures, click HERE

We had a nice drive from Monticello, UT to Cortez, CO. Along the way we found a great antique shop where Don found some treasures. When we got to Cortez, we got a room at the Baymont Inn before heading to Mesa Verde NP. The drive was beautiful. We stopped at the overlooks and enjoyed the scenery and the cliff dwellings. It always amazes us when we see these and think of the people who lived here and their lives.

We also found a Walmart to refill prescriptions and bought some supplies. We looked at the map and decided that tomorrow we will head towards Durango and Great Sand Dunes National Park.

What I Learned Today:
· I’m glad that I didn’t live in the days of the cliff dwellers!
· President Teddy Roosevelt made Mesa Verde a national park in 1906.
· The elevation of the park is above 8000 feet.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Image: Pat Hensley

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 – Utah 8/24/11

011For more pictures, click HERE

We had a long day driving today. We went through Bryce Canyon NP, Capitol Reef NP, Glen Canyon NRA, and Natural Bridges NM today. We didn’t get to do a lot of hiking because it was thundering most of the day and it is not a good thing to be the tallest thing out on high ground during that time. We did stop and take lots of pictures though when we could.
Eventually we stopped in Monticello, UT for the night at The Monticello Inn ($54 per night).


What I Learned Today:

·         Natural Bridges NM was Utah’s first national monument.

·         The scenic road in Capitol Reef NP was closed. There is lots of construction going on in all of the national parks.

·         Lake Powell is the second largest man made lake in the US next to Lake Mead and is located on the Colorado River. It was made by damming up the Glen Canyon with a controversial dam.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Image: Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 – Kodachrome State Park 8/23/11

008For more pictures, click HERE

We left Zion National Park and headed for Bryce early this morning. We saw big horn sheep and mule deer along the way. We had a wonderful breakfast at the Thunderbird Restaurant in Mt. Carmel Junction. My breakfast had a piece of country ham that was about a half inch thick and covered my 10 inch plate! Plus I had 2 eggs, hash browns, and toast! Along the drive we stopped at the Dixie National Forest Visitor Center and hiked on the trail around the hoodoos.

We are staying at Kodachrome State Park in the Red Stone cabins which are nice. There is a microwave, oven, and full bath along with 2 double beds. It is a nice change from 6 days of camping in a tent. I did get to knit a little on my shawl but as it gets bigger, each row has more stitches.
We ended up exploring the park and doing some hiking around the sand pipes. They views were beautiful but it was hot and dry outside. Eventually we headed back to the cabin where the air condition would keep us cooler.

After a dinner of popcorn and ramen noodles (thanks to the microwave), we sat outside on the porch and enjoyed the thunder and lightning show. We even saw two rainbows! As the sun set, the reflection on the clouds made the sky look like it was on fire. After it got dark, we used the black light on the keychain to look for scorpions but we never found any (thank goodness!)


What I Learned Today:

·         Kodachrome Basin SP is filled with rock formations called sedimentary pipes or sand pipes.

·         Many of the sand pipes look like phallic symbols.

·         We save a lot of money by using the microwave or coffee maker to make our own dinner in hotel rooms.

·         Sunset after a rain storm is spectacular!  
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Image: Pat Hensley

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Zion National Park – 8/20/11 – 8/23/11

NarrowsPatFor more pictures, click HERE

Day 1: This morning we left the Grand Canyon North Rim and headed for Zion National Park. As we passed through Kanab, UT, they were having the 13th annual Western Legends Festival. I was able to take pictures of Clint Walker, Paul Peterson, James Stacy, Kathy Carver (Cissy from Family Affair), Tommy Kirk, Ed Faulkner, Joel McCrea. We walked around the booths and admired the different crafts available. After stopping at a couple of grocery stores, we were on our way.

When we left there we stopped at a couple of antique shops in Orderville. We also stopped at some rock shops so I could find some rock disks to make a drop spindle.
We arrived at Zion and set up our tent at site B14. It is a beautiful spot with trees around us. We drove to Springdale for a block of ice and then went to the visitor center for info. Then we decided it was time to swim in the river (no showers in the park). After swimming we ate dinner (Doritos and bologna). When the stars came out, it was beautiful! We even saw the milky way! It was so beautiful we almost didn’t want to go to bed!

Day 2: I woke up to a really windy morning. It was still dark outside when I got on the computer and waited for the sun to come up. Don finally got up and we took the free shuttle to the Temple of Sinewava to hike in the Narrows (a slot canyon). On the way we saw Condors up in the trees and in the sky. We started hiking at 10am and we finished by 5pm after hiking at least 10 miles in the river. I only fell twice! The water came up to my chest on the way in at one place and on the way back it was up to my neck. That was the scariest part. There was lots of rock and boulder scrambling but it was well worth the hike! I think it was the best hike I’ve ever done (maybe because it was different).

Day 3: We had another windy morning which must be usual in the canyon. I played on my computer in the dark until hubby finally woke up. Our breakfast of bagels, garlic and herb cheese and a slice of bologna has really been a hit! Then we rode the shuttle through the park to the Lodge where we looked around. Eventually we even got a soft serve ice cream ($2.50). After that we went to the museum and another ranger talk about ravens. By this time, it was lunch (do you notice a lot of our day has revolved around food?) so we went to Blondie’s Diner in Springdale which was right outside the park. I had chicken strips and fries for $6.95. The food was so good that we decided to go back for dinner that evening. In the heat of the afternoon when the temps reached 103F, we played in the river to keep cool. At 6:30pm we went on a 2 hr. bus tour with the ranger through the park and enjoyed that. After that, we were back at Blondie’s where I had an 8 oz. steak, salad, potato, and vegetable for $14.95. It was a great day!

What I Learned Today:
· Many movie stars look nothing like they did when they were young and famous.
· It is hard to find a rock disk.
· The wind is pretty strong down the canyon in the morning.
· The water was 62 degrees F.
· In 1909 this area was made into a national monument by President Taft and called Mukuntuweap National Monument. In 1919, it became Zion National Park.
· This area gets an average of 15 inches of rainfall each year.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Grand Canyon – 8/15/11 – 8/19/11

116For more pictures, click HERE

Day 1: On the way to the Grand Canyon at the North Rim, we stopped at Pipe Springs National Monument. I had never heard of this but I’m glad we went. This was the only water source for the area and a Mormon settlement was built right over the spring. This settlement was used to hold the tithing herd from the Mormon Church and also served as a hideout for the many wives when the anti-polygamists were looking to arrest the husbands. It also served as the first telegraph office in Arizona. I met a Native American who was making cordage out of yucca fibers. I also met a volunteer who was chipping obsidian to make arrowheads for tools. His wife brought out her drop spindle to show me how she makes yarn. What I thought was interesting was that her drop spindle was made from a stone disk that she bought from a rock shop and stuck on a branch from her yard.

At the Grand Canyon, we are staying in a Pioneer cabin with 1 queen bed and 2 bunk beds plus a futon double. There are 2 rooms with a bath and shower. It is pretty nice here. After 2 days w-e are moving to the Campground (site 64). We ate the pasta lunch buffet at the lodge ($13.95 including drink per person). We attended the geology talk which was a pretty good talk. After exploring, we attended the Condor talk too. Then we walked the Transcept trail along the rim to the campground. For dinner we shared a pint of Haagen Dazs Pistachio ice cream. We did see a bike company use the handicapped parking as a loading and unloading zone. (We took pictures and I will probably write to the company about this.) At 8pm, we attended the evening show about the Colorado River.

Day 2: The heat and the elevation has been hard on us. We hiked to the campground and back for a hotdog and ice cream. The price of food has been outrageous! In the afternoon, we came back to the cabin and rested while watching TED videos on my ipad. In the evening we went to the ranger program about the Geology of the North Kaibab Trail which was really interesting.

Day 3: Don woke up not feeling too well today and had a pop tart for breakfast. Then he crawled back in bed for about 2 hours before we had to check out of our cabin. After having the pasta buffet for lunch, we headed to the campground where we will be staying for 3 days. It was hard putting up the tent in the heat of the day. After setting up the tent, we relaxed for a little while. Then we drove around to Point Imperial. After doing some research, we decided Don was throwing off too many minerals from drinking too much water (mimicking heat exhaustion)and he had a package of salt and some salty pretzels which made him feel better. When we returned we had ice cream again for dinner (Haagen Dazs Amaretto Almond Crunch). In the evening we went to the Ranger presentation in the amphitheater on Grand Canyon geology.

Day 4: I woke up early and sat outside the tent waiting for the rest of the world to wake up. I listened to some podcasts on my Ipad and knit on my shawl. After a very light breakfast (poptarts and cookies) we took a drive to the Vermillion Cliffs where the Condors were released years ago. Then we drove to Cape Royal and did some hiking. By then the afternoon thunderstorms arrived and we went back to our campsite to relax. Dinner was ramen noodles.

Day 5: For breakfast we ate oatmeal and granola bars. We had a lazy day and spent it at the campground. It was overcast and we had some showers in the afternoon but not enough to even wet the ground. We did take the opportunity to do some laundry and eat more ice cream. I think 5 days was too much for the North Rim and we would have been happy with 2 or 3 days.

What I Learned:
· I had to change the time on my watch because Arizona is in standard time and doesn’t change their time like everyone else.
· A raven has a wing span of 54 inches.
· We are at 8500 ft. elevation here in the North Rim.
· Make sure the air pump for the air mattress has fresh batteries or it will take forever to pump up!
· Ice cream makes a great dinner!
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

The Great Adventure 2011 Utah – 8/14/11

054For more pictures, click HERE

Early in the morning we left Moab and headed to Kanab, UT. On the way we stopped at an antique store and bought some treasures. We took a side trip to Cedar Breaks National Monument. There were 2 – two mile hikes there. One of them was to a Bristlecone Pine Tree that was 1600 years old. The other one was to an Alpine Pond. I was surprised when I had to put on a jacket because it was so windy and cool here (compared to the extreme heat of Moab!).

We finally arrived at the Parry Lodge and was given the Yvonne DeCarlo (Lily Munster from the TV show The Munsters) room. She stayed in this room when she was filming in town. Many western movies were filmed in the area and the famous people stayed at this hotel which is nicknamed “Little Hollywood.” At 8pm each night, they show an old movie in the barn.

What I Learned Today:
· Franklin D. Roosevelt established Cedar Breaks National Monument in 1933.
· Cedar Breaks National Monument was above 10,000 feet in elevation.
· The Parry Lodge is called “Little Hollywood” where famous actors and actresses stayed while making movies in the area.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Utah – 8/13/11

001For more pictures, click HERE

We headed to the Corona Trailhead early this morning before it got too hard. It started uphill right off the bat. First we crossed over the railroad tracks and headed across the desert to the cliffs. Eventually we came to 2 safety cabled areas which helped us cross some steep slippery slopes with ease. Don decided to stop at the second safety cable since we could see both arches from there. I decided to climb past the second safety cable and go up the ladder to this stone ledge which traveled about a half a mile to the base of both arches. I could see Don from the arches and he took pictures of me. I was worried about him standing in the hot sun so long so once I reached the arches, I didn’t stay long and returned to where he was. I had forgotten to watch carefully the route I took so I had to make several tries to find out the best place to work my way back along the steep slope. It was really hot on the way back. On the way back we stopped at the Farmer’s Market in Moab and I met a spinner (Meg Bigler) who was selling soap there. She took the time to show me how her spinning wheel worked and the basics. It was so much fun talking to her and of course, we exchanged Ravelry names!

Fiber1This afternoon we returned to Desert Thread to look at more yarn and fiber. Of course I couldn’t resist buying more local fiber at $2.50/oz. I ended up buying 18 oz. of CVM-Romney-Tunis blend. I also met the owners Cathy and Rosie who are sister. Even my hubby enjoyed talking to them. Of course we visited and talked their ears off while we were there and they never acted like we were in the way or keeping them for doing something. They were so warm and welcoming that I was glad we returned to the store again and met them. Rosie mentioned that she knew someone who lived in Asheville and I told them that they needed to come to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair that is held there each year. I think it would be so cool to see them again on YarnShopour side of the country! I thought the prices of their local yarn were reasonable and their fiber seemed very reasonable compared to what I was buying online. If any knitter or spinner is near Moab, I would make this shop a must for stopping!

What I Learned Today:
· I can do heights and steep slopes if there are safety cables and ladders.
· Asking someone questions about something they love to do usually sparks a demonstration if possible like the spinner who showed me how to use the spinning wheel.
· It is fun to meet local knitters and spinners.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Utah – 8/12/11

030For more pictures, click HERE

This morning after breakfast at Denny’s, we headed out to do Park Ave. trail and the Windows Trail. We did a few side trails also. The Park Avenue trail was wonderful early in the morning because most of the trail was in the shade and the ground was hard (not a sandy beach like yesterday). The Windows trail brought back memories of when we did that hike one year in April and it was cold and windy. In fact, I lost my favorite ball cap here!

After hiking, we went to Pasta Jays for lunch. We ate at a Pasta Jays in Boulder, CO and really enjoyed it. We brought leftovers home for dinner. That is the best part about having a full kitchen to come back to. Then we did some grocery shopping (ahhhh, air conditioning!). It was 99F outside at 3:30pm.

Tomorrow we will need to repack the car. Hopefully we can get the spinning wheel in the back compartment so it is out of the way. We will pack all the fiber and yarn around it to cushion it.
What I Learned Today:
· Most hikes in the desert are more pleasant in the morning because the rocks are cooler. I think in the evening the rocks will still retain the heat from the day.
· Some stuff can be cheaper at the Dollar General than the grocery store.
· Naps in the heat of the afternoon are really a good thing!
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Utah – 8/11/11

025For more pictures, click HERE

Early in the morning we headed out for a hike beginning at the Devil’s Garden Trailhead at the back of Arches National Park. We planned on doing the loop trail and side trails which would be about 8 miles long. Years ago we tried this hike but it was so windy in April that I was too scared to cross the fins near the Landscape Arch. This time I was prepared, the wind wasn’t blowing, and I was sure I could do it!

We arrived at Landscape Arch on the main trail where I took a bunch of pictures. I also saw another arch above and in the distance but I’m not sure which one it was. Then we continued on the trail only to find out that Wall Arch had collapsed in 2008 on the main trail so the trail was rerouted, right over a rock fin. I tried to go up the fin, but eventually I chickened out. So, we decided to retrace our steps and begin on the primitive loop which goes around the other way. After about 2.5 miles of soft sandy trail (which really tired out my legs) and some rock scrambling, we came to a rock fin. After 5 or 6 tries, Don was able to haul me up to the first ledge. We talked about continuing up the steep rock face but finally decided to give up. I had to admit defeat! I would rather do that than have to get the rangers to rescue me when I got in over my head! We returned the way we came and stopped at Pine Tree Arch and Tunnel Arch. All in all, we ended up doing our 8 miles anyway even if we didn’t do the whole loop trail. I feel bad for Don because he didn’t get to see all of the arches that we had hoped to see.

By then it was lunch time so we went to La Hacienda for lunch. I had 2 chili rellenos and a salad. In the afternoon we did our laundry. We found one Laundromat near the City Market but they wanted $4 for the washing machine! We left there and went to another one near McDonalds and their washers were only $1.50. In fact, it cost us $4 total to do our laundry (washer and dryer!) Then we came back and took a nap!

What I Learned Today:
· Gatorade makes a big difference when hiking in extreme heat! I drank more than if I had warm water.
· Knowing my limitations keeps me from getting in bad hiking situations.
· You never know what wildlife may be hidden in the bushes like deer and lizards.
· $4 is way too much to spend on a washing machine! (We found another Laundromat with $1.50 machines)
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Utah – 8/10/11

040For more pictures, click HERE

We had a wonderful day hiking today. First we hiked in Negro Bill Canyon to the Morning Glory Bridge. Even though we started at 8am, it was hot by the time we finished. The trail went in and out of the shade which was nice and there were several stream crossings. The Morning Glory Bridge is the 6th longest natural bridge in the US.

After our hike, we went to Wendy’s for lunch and then drove the La Sal Mountain Loop for a scenic drive. I was so excited when a black bear crossed in front of our car! When we finished it was still early enough for us to go on Cane Creek Rd. which was another scenic drive.

Animals seen today: Deer, Lizards, Black bear, blue birds and evidence of beaver and big horn sheep

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Utah – 8/9/11

101For more pictures, click HERE

Today we had a wonderful full day rafting on the Colorado River. It was a lot of fun! I really don’t have a lot to say because the pictures say it all!

What I Learned Today:
· A Butte is taller than it is wide and a Mesa is wider than it is tall.
· If the air and water temperature together is not at least 120 degrees, a person is at risk of hypothermia.
· It is hard to get back in a raft if you jump in the river to swim.
· Bring your own bottle of water, even if they say they supply water. (It is easier and more likely help you drink if you don’t have to bother someone to get some water.) Luckily I brought my own bottle of Gatorade to drink before lunch and then mixed some lemonade in it for the ride after lunch.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Utah – 8/8/11

022For more pictures, click HERE

This morning we got up early and headed towards Delicate Arch. Even though it wasn’t a long hike, it was hard when it got hot. The views were as beautiful as I remember but the last time we were here, it was in April and colder. After that we did the Delicate Arch viewpoints. Then we hiked to the Double Arch. After lunch we stopped at the grocery store and the knitting shop called Desert Threads. I bought a pound of 100% Corriedale fiber for about $40. The clerk, Nicole, was so nice and we spent a lot of time talking with her. As a former river guide, she told us about rafting down the Colorado River so we ended up booking a rafting trip for tomorrow. Then we drove on Hwy 279 to the Potash Plant. Along the way we saw petroglyphs and another arch. We stopped at a mailing center to see about mailing my spinning wheel home but decided it wasn’t cost effective to do so. Instead we will repack the car and store the wheel in the car.

What I Learned Today:
· Even hiking at 8am, it is still hot outside! We need to get an earlier start if we want to do that 8 mile hike before it gets hot.
· The red thread in the rocks is caused by the oxidizing of iron.
· “To qualify as an official stone “arch,” a hole must have an opening at least three feet (1m) long in any one direction.”

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Utah – 8/7/11

048For more pictures, click HERE

We drove to Moab, UT this morning and it was a lovely drive. It is amazing how much open land there is. We got to Arches NP at about 10am and it was already hot. We hiked to Sand Dunes Arches, Skyline Arches, and Balancing Rock but then it got too hot to hike anymore. By then it was lunchtime and we had chili rellenos at La Hacienda for lunch before checking into our room at the Kokopelli Intowner (part of the Kokopelli Lodge). I loved where we are staying for the week! Our “room” is actually a small apartment with livingroom and full kitchen along with bedroom and bath. There are some lawn chairs and a bbq grill outside for us to use too. I will enjoy staying here and the cost was less than the room we stayed in at the Comfort Inn last night in Green River!

What I Learned Today:
· This dry heat can really sap your energy!
· There are over 2000 arches in Arches NP.
· Arches NP is in the high desert between 4000 - 6000 ft. in elevation.
· President Hoover made Arches into a National Monument but it didn’t become a national park until 1971.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Utah – 8/6/11

069For more pictures, click HERE

Today we went to Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. It was a beautiful drive and the scenery was outstanding! How different the terrain is compared to Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. We hiked around the “goblins” and it was so hot! The air temperature was 95F but there in the valley, I’m sure it was hotter. Even though we drank lots of water, Don got a little overheated so we headed back to the car. If it was this hot here, I can only imagine how hot Arches NP will be over the next coming days. We will probably have to hike early in the morning and early evening, leaving the hot afternoon for either drives in the car or a nap.

What I Learned Today:

· Goblin Valley is made up of formations of sandstone that have eroded into interesting shapes.

· The movie Galaxy Quest (with Tim Allen) was filmed in Goblin Valley.

· The “goblins” are really hoodoos (according to Wikipedia, “A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney, and earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Hoodoos consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They typically form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations”

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Utah – 8/5/11

039For more pictures, click HERE

We headed towards Timpanagos Caves National Monument this morning. Our tickets noted that we could start hiking up the mountain at 10:45 and our tour started at 12:15 so we hiked on the nature trail first. Then at 10:30, we started up the 1100 foot climb to the cave entrance. It was so steep that it was quite a challenge and I felt pretty out of shape but the ranger reminded me that this elevation was different than I was used to so I felt better. The views were outstanding though along the way! We made it to the entrance at 12:00. The tour lasted an hour as we hiked through 3 caves (Hansen, Middle, and Timpanagos). Then we had to hike back down the 1100 feet!

After that we drove through the American Fork Canyon to Cascade Springs which was very pretty. We hiked the loop trails around the springs before driving through Provo Canyon. On the way back, we stopped at the In-n-Out Burger for dinner.

What I Learned Today:

· President Harding signed the proclamation declaring Timpanagos Caves a national monument in 1922.
· Chipmunks have a stripe that goes up their back and across their eyes. Ground squirrels have the stripe just up their backs.
· Climbing up 1100 feet is different at 6000 feet elevation than at 2000 feet.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Idaho – 8/4/11

014For more pictures, click HERE

We went to a place called Pickles for breakfast and just the name made me smile. After that we drove to the Experimental Breeder Reactor #1 (EBR-1) and took a self guided tour. It was really interesting. After that we drove through Atomic City which is an almost ghost town of 25 people but it has a brand new 3 bay fire station. When we left there, we drove to Blackfoot, ID to the World Largest Potato Museum. Then we drove to Utah!

I had hoped to visit my online friend, Jaedee, in Ogden when we stopped to see Hill AFB air museum. Unfortunately we drove for hours before we were able to find a hotel room. There was some outdoor convention of 25,000+ people so it was almost impossible to find a room. We finally found a room at the Quality Inn in Payson, ID. For dinner we went to Daltons which was wonderful. We had a dinner for two for only $20. We decided to stay tomorrow night too and go to the Salmon Supper which is an annual event here in Payson. Tomorrow morning, I will try to get us cave tour tickets to the Timpanogos Cave National Monument.

What I Learned Today:
· The EBR-1 is a great place to visit and it was free.
· Idaho is a beautiful place but we didn’t see a lot that we wanted to stop and see.
· Rush hour in Salt Lake City on I-15 is awful!
· The HOV 2+ lane was toll free.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Idaho – 8/3/11

051For more pictures, click HERE

We had a wonderful hot breakfast at Ruby’s Inn (it came with the room) and then headed to Idaho. Most of the day was spent traveling but the scenery was beautiful. I didn’t see a lot of places to stop along the way but there were lots of opportunities for rafting and fishing if we did either of those things. Finally we ended up in Arco, ID. We stopped at the hotel we wanted to stay at but the office was closed for about 30 minutes so we headed to the Craters of the Moon National Monument and drove the 7 mile loop road. We also stopped to do the nature trail and look at all the lava which reminded us a lot of Lava Beds National Monument in northern California.

I called the DK motel and made a reservation since we didn’t think any of the other motels looked like possibilities and there were a lot of people at the national monument. The room with a queen bed was $38 and a 2 room suite was $48 so we got the 2 room suite. We were a little surprised that a 2 room suites just meant 2 bedrooms (one did not have a TV) and they both shared a bathroom. I was hoping for a sitting area but I should have asked. The room had a small dorm fridge and a microwave so it was okay for the price. We also did our laundry which was only 2 doors down from our room.
The hotel manager recommended Mello-dees for dinner and it was wonderful. My petite sirloin was $16.95 and my hubby had chicken fried steak for $14.95. Each meal included the zucchini/turkey sausage soup, a huge salad (including beets), the main dish with lots of mashed potatoes and gravy plus ice cream for dessert! The food was so tasty so I’m glad we stopped there for dinner.

What I Learned Today:
· In Idaho, there is a 21 mile scarp line caused by the 1983 earthquake.
· Astronauts trained for the early moon missions at Craters of the Moon National Monument.
· Arco, ID was the first atomic city.
· The first atomic sub sail is in Arco, ID park and has the number 666 which caused the sub to be called the Devil Sub.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 8/2/11

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After breakfast in Babb again, we headed for the Going-to-the-Sun road one last time. We stopped at the 1913 Ranger Station where volunteer Sheryl Mink, the artist, invited us to participate in the painting of the mural that when finished will be hung in the St. Mary’s Visitor Center. After that we did the Sun Point trail to Baring Falls which was very pretty. Then we continued across the road and out of the park. We headed towards Missoula on the east side of Flathead Lake because we took the west side to get to Kalispell. On the side of the road were tons of cherry orchards so we had to stop and buy some. A lb. of bing cherries were 2.50 and a lb. of Rainer cherries were 3.50 so we got both. We ended up for the night at Ruby’s Inn (King room for only $89). The staff were really friendly, the rooms clean, and we walked to The Montana Club for dinner.

What I Learned Today:
· The 2 bedroom cabin at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn had more room and was worth the $10 extra if one is available.
· Singing on the trail must keep the bears away because we never did see a bear on the trail since I was always singing.
· Some mom and pop hotels are much better than chain hotels.
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 8/1/11

029For more pictures, click HERE

Our one bedroom cabin at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn was small but cozy. The bathroom building was not too far away and they gave us 4 tokens for the shower (1 token = approx. 8.5 minutes). We got up early and did a wildflower hike around Lake Josephine. The area was abundant with wildflowers and I took lots of pictures. We saw a load of bear scat on the trail but no bears. After the wildflower hike, we had a picnic. Then we hiked to Apikuni Falls which was straight up a mountain. It was a great hike but it was tiring. After the hike we hit the restaurant for some pizza and then ice cream.

What I Learned Today:
· Beargrass was named by Lewis and Clark because it looked like grass and is found where bears live. Bears do not like to eat it unless they have to in order to survive.
· Sweet Cicely smells like licorice. You can eat the seeds that taste like licorice.
· Aspens shoot out roots underground for new growth.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 7/31/11

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I woke up early because I heard the wind howling and the rain pouring down. After I got up and tried to read my Ipad in the dark, I decided to go sit outside in my lawn chair. The rain and wind stopped and the sky looked like it was on fire! I was able to sit outside and knit while I listened to podcasts. When Don woke up, we checked out of our room and drove into Babb for breakfast. On the way back we hiked around Swiftcurrent Lake and looked for wildlife. The wind picked up while we were hiking and it felt like a fall day. After our hike, we stopped and had a picnic. In the afternoon we checked into our cabin and then joined the ranger on a nature hike which was wonderful. After the hike we came back to our cabin to relax before going to the restaurant and having a pizza. After dinner we went to hear the ranger talk about bears.

What I Learned Today:
· There is 1 species of salamander in the park and 4 frog species.
· The Calliope Hummingbird nest we saw was made from lichens, moss, and spider webs.
· Talking and making noise is the best way to let a bear know you are near.
· Human mother’s milk is about 3% fat and grizzly bear mother’s milk is 33% fat.
· The bears mate in the spring and is “almost pregnant.” If the conditions are right and the mother is in good shape, she is pregnant in November and the cub(s) are born in January or February.
· Black bear cubs stay for one summer and are kicked out the next. Grizzly bear cubs stay for 3 summers.
· Black bears get pregnant every other summer and grizzly bears every 3rd year.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 7/30/11

006For more pictures, click HERE

This morning we left Glacier Park Lodge and went to Browning for breakfast. The only place we could find was at the Glacier Parks Casino and the breakfast was great! After that we headed to Two Medicine Flats area. There we hiked to 2 waterfalls: Running Eagle Falls and Appistoki Falls. Both were beautiful! Of course we were on our own so Don did a lot of singing (off key of course) to scare away any bears and we didn’t come across any. I want to see some but only through binoculars or through a car window. After that we had lunch in Babb at Thorson’s CafĂ© and it was good too.

By then it was time to head to the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn to check in. Thankfully our room was ready for us. What a difference this place was compared to the Glacier Park Lodge! Everyone was smiling and seemed happy to be there. Our room was ready even though we were about an hour earlier than scheduled check in.

Once we checked in, we drove to the Many Glacier Lodge and looked around. It was a beautiful place! How different this place was compared to the Glacier Park Lodge. The staff was welcoming and the whole place was so much cleaner even though they were going through a major renovation! At 4pm we took the historical hotel tour with the ranger and learned about the history of the hotel. After the tour we headed back to Swiftcurrent where the ranger and some volunteers had scopes set up in the parking lot. We were able to see the mountain goats high up on the mountain as well as people hiking down the mountain. I think that was a neat activity to set up for visitors.

What I Learned Today:
· I can spray bug spray on my clothing and it will have the same effect as putting it on my skin. The bugs stayed away from me. Of course I had long hiking pants and a long sleeve shirt. I also sprayed the bug spray on the brim of my hat which helped keep them away from my face.
· The Two Medicine Flats area is not as heavily visited as the other sections of the park. This made it quite enjoyable for hiking.
· The Many Glacier Lodge which was built in 1915 by the Great Northern Railway.
· I would recommend the Many Glacier Lodge and the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn to others.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Great Adventure 2011 Montana – 7/29/11

For more pictures, click HERE

002On the way to Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier today, we stopped at a sale in front of an antique store called Station 8 in Columbia Falls, MT. I found my first spinning wheel – a Louet S70! I wasn’t sure if I should buy it since we were so far from home though and I called my friend Caron (who doesn’t seem to mind if I keep bugging her for advice!) and she said the price was great so I couldn’t resist. We took some parts off of it to get it in the car. Now I hope I can get it back together again when I get home. We may need to stop in Kalispell on the way to Idaho to find a long box and then take it apart more to ship it home.

Then we arrived at the Glacier Park Lodge. It was supposed to be a grand hotel and we were pretty disappointed. First we got there at 2:15 and this snooty desk clerk told me that check in wasn’t until 3pm and our room wasn’t ready yet. I can understand that but I was surprised that no rooms were cleaned at this time and there was no one else checking in. I went to use the restroom and it was filthy. There was toilet paper and empty rolls on the floor. The trash can was overflowing with dirty paper towels. The paper towel dispenser was empty and a roll was on top. You had to get it with your wet hands to unroll some to dry your hands. In the lobby, the radiators must have had dust an inch thick because we could write our names in it! I was shocked that a “nice” hotel would look like this! I went back at 3pm and they told me that there were still no rooms ready for us and that we needed to come back in 20 minutes. By this time the train arrived and a ton of people came in to check in and there were no rooms ready so the lobby was full of people milling around. I went back at 3:20 and they told me that my room still wasn’t ready. Finally at 3:30, I was able to check in. (Now would they let me check out 30 minutes later since my check in was 30 minutes later? No.) When we got to our room (307), the room had 2 double beds and a small bathroom. It wasn’t anything fancy at all and it cost almost $200! I’m glad we are only staying here for one night.

After check in, we walked around East Glacier and checked out the shops. At 4:45 we got in line outside of Serranos (a Mexican restaurant) waiting for it to open at 5pm. The food was outstanding! We each had 3 large chili rellenos ($14.95) that came with black beans and rice and a pitcher of margaritas ($24). I would definitely go here again! I want to thank @GlacierMTGuy on plurk for recommending this to us!

After dinner we walked around the train station and back to the lodge. We met a really nice couple from Denver and visited with them for awhile. Then we sat out on the porch to enjoy the sunset which was lovely.

What I Learned Today:
· It takes about 2 hours to drive from Kalispell to East Glacier.
· Huckleberry ice cream tastes like blueberry to me.
· Serranos is a wonderful place to eat!!
· I would not recommend the Glacier Lodge to anyone.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original Photo: by Pat Hensley