Palo Duro Canyon

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We opted to stop at Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo on our way home. It was pretty much the half-way point from our last stop in Colorado.

We’ve been to this park four times now so I didn’t bother to get out the camera. I only took a few photos from my phone. We also only did one hike to The Lighthouse and I’m pretty sure I’ve taken this exact picture of Alan multiple times before:

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We are on the road driving home as I write this. I only have a couple photos from the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monumnet left to post.

I did want to share this picture of the weather balloons over the Canyon from our first night. They looked kind of freaky glowing in the sky as the sun was setting:

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Here are some leftover tallies as well:

Miles Hiked:
Mueller 3
Palo Duro 6

Trip Total: 224

National Parks/Monuments: 14

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An Eagle?

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We are long gone from this state park in Colorado but I don’t have any pictures in my phone to post so I figured this would do!

I watched the bird for quite a while as it gracefully circled over the lake and our campsite. By the time I realized it may be an eagle and called Alan to get the camera, the bird was heading away into the mountains.

We are now in Palo Duro Canyon and I’m pretty sure there aren’t any eagles here!

Quilting on the Road

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It has been a little cold in the trailer a few nights on this trip. I brought three quilts but that turned out not to be enough.

One stays in the car and I use it outside in the morning when it is cool. One is on the bed. The “extra” quilt has to go on the bed when it is a particularly cold night – at least for the first couple of hours.

That meant there wasn’t a quilt for Alan to use on the couch when I was already in bed.

So what is a quilter (with a sewing machine, rotary cutter and mat) to do? Buy fabric and make a quilt of course! (Technically, it isn’t a quilt because there are only two layers but we will just ignore that point.)

I had spotted some cute “camping” fabric early in the trip in Grand Junction so I bought some complimentary fabrics along the way and made this strip/quilt-as-you-go/fleece-backed throw. Alan did remark that it was a little short but you have no waste by making the throw the width of the fabric (roughly 40″) by the width of the fleece (maximum 60″).

Now, we have four quilts with us. I’m not sure that will be enough for our trip to Alaska next year.

Yellow-Bellied Marmot

Rocky Mountain NP 069The Rocky Mountain NP brochure says that “yellow-bellied marmots are often seen from Trail Ridge Road basking in the sun on rocky outcrops” and that is exactly where we spotted this guy.

Boy, was he fat – supposedly getting ready to hibernate for the winter!

We stopped up the road a bit and got out of the truck and walked back to get these shots. This apparently attracted a bit of attention from other tourists who then stopped in the middle of the road!

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Trail Ridge Road

Mountain Index Rocky Mountain NP 028We took one day of our visit at Rocky Mountain National Park to drive out Trail Ridge Road and stop at the scenic vistas.

It really was beautiful up on the Alpine Tundra.

I wouldn’t call it hiking but we did walk out the Tundra Communities trail. You could tell you were at more than 12,000 feet in elevation.

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Did I mention that it was cold, too?

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We had a beautiful view of Longs Peak from our campsite and I tried to get a photo of it from this side but the clouds were hampering my efforts!

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Rocky Mountain National Park

We have arrived at our final planned National Park/Monument – Rocky Mountain National Park.  However, by the time anyone reads this, we will already have left Rocky Mountain for Denver. 

We got rained on the first two days we spent in the Park.  We took a drive when the rain let up and visited a few overlooks/points of interest.  This is an area that was completely flooded when a dam broke in the 80’s:

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Unfortunately, with the overcast sky my photos are pretty washed out!

We saw a lot of elk in the Park but I only took a few photos – including these elk heads . . . check out that bull keeping an eye on his herd. 

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National Parks/Monuments Visited:  13

Cool Weather, At Last

We have now left Utah for Colorado and cool weather!  Last night it got down to at least 45 degrees and the heat in the trailer ran frequently. 

We are staying at Steamboat Lake State Park, near Steamboat Springs.  The Lake is really lovely:

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There isn’t really any hiking in the Park, so we drove out to the National Forest and hiked to the top of Hahn’s Peak.  It was a beautiful hike and the view from the top was really spectacular:

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You can see in the photo the rock that makes up the top of the mountain.  It was the strangest thing … We had read somewhere that miners in the area had cut down all the trees and left the top bald but we weren’t expecting Just Rock!

Miles Hiked:  4.5
Total Miles Hiked:  188.5

Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur Park National Monument 036On Wednesday, we drove out to Dinosaur National Monument. The main dinosaur quarry viewing area is closed right now for reconstruction (opens in October) but they took you on a nice guided hike to see dinosaur bones up close and personal. You could even touch them.

One of the larger bones is in the picture below with the ranger – you can’t miss is because there is a big arrow pointing the way!

All of the bones in this area were fragments but they seemed to know what kind of dinosaurs they were from but don’t ask me . . . I don’t remember any of the details.

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We also took the driving tour out to the Josie Bassett Morris ranch. She was a homesteader who lived alone in her cabin until she was 90. Funny thing is that I didn’t take any pictures of the actual cabin or anything else for that matter, except for this information display!

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Along the way, there are some nice pictographs/petroglyphs from the Fremont Indians. The small photo at the top of this post is actually of a very large petroglyph that is way up on a cliff now. I think I read something that said the lizard is 9’ long (but I don’t have a reference source so don’t hold me to that!)

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We also drove out to Dinosaur, Co where there is another Visitor Center for Dinosaur National Monument but no actual dinosaurs – just canyons. We took another auto tour . . . that one was really about the scenic overlooks.

Unfortunately, they were doing road construction and using some of the overlooks for vehicle staging. We have seen a lot of road projects on this trip even though the original roads seem to be in great condition – it seems that Utah may have gotten a lot of stimulus money.

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On Thursday we are leaving Utah for good and heading back into Colorado for the rest of our trip. Hopefully, we will find some cooler weather there.

National Monuments/Parks Visited: 12