Across The West – Random Photos

As we travelled about I sometimes get photos that I like but there aren’t enough for a single posting. This is a collection of those random photos.

Tucson – The look back towards the city from Gates Pass Scenic Lookout

Sunset east of Vail, Arizona

Grasslands near Sonoita, Arizona. When you get above 4500′ in elevation in this part of Arizona the desert turns to grasslands.

Winslow, Arizona. Get mentioned in an Eagles song, it ends up as a tourist attraction and mini park.

About 1:10 into the song…

Mexican Hat, Utah

Gooseneck State Park. 1000′ deep!

Bluff, Utah – Twin Rocks Cafe

Southern Utah – A common sight – the dramatic look of irrigated fields in the desert.

Outside of Cortez, Colorado – The cattle drive has ended, along the road to Canyon of the Ancients National Monument.

Somewhere in Western Wyoming

Eastern Nevada – Coming down a mountain going eastbound on I-80, with the interstate continuing into the distance.

West Wendover, Nevada – Wendover Will

Navajo Nation, Arizona – The ubiquitous souvenir stand.

Page, Arizona – June 2022 – Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon in Navajo Nation just outside of Page, Arizona. It is an amazing place created by the erosion of the Navajo Sandstone by water (at times very intense flash floods).

For this trip I have tried to limit the postings to around 14 photos each – no chance here, it was tough enough to get down to 21!

A big thanks to our guide Lamar, who not only pointed out the highlights, he was very adept at taking photos with your phone (no – none of these are Lamar’s!)

Page, Arizona – June 2022 – Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam

The Glen Canyon Dam was completed along the Colorado River in 1966, creating Lake Powell. The lake can hold as much as 25 million acre feet of water, but is currently only at 27%. The photos of that shortage are dramatic.

At 710′ high, it is the 4th tallest dam in the United States.

A look down river at the canyon.

The rock formations around the canyon have some of the distinctive swirls.

Once you cross the bridge you get some dramatic views of the dam, bridge and lake. For those unfamiliar the ‘bathtub ring’ indicates the high water marks.

Northern Arizona – June 2022 – Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

The Vermillion Cliffs are an eroded escarpment across far northern Arizona, rising as high as 3000′ above the nearby valley. It provides a very scenic drive from the Grand Canyon North Rim to Page, Arizona.

The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is at an area where the cliffs meet the Colorado River in Marble Canyon.

In the 1800s this area was known as Lee’s Ferry, with some historic structures situated along the river.

Many rafting trips depart from here and head down river.

Back at Marble Canyon is the Navajo Bridge, the last crossing of the Colorado River downriver for almost 300 miles (until you reach the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas).

There is an impressive view of the canyon from the bridge.

A bit further up the road, just before reaching Page, is the famed Horseshoe Bend. While impressive, it is not in my opinion as impressive as Gooseneck State Park in Utah (visited earlier in this trip).

Southern Idaho – May 2022 – What Out For That First Step, It’s a Doozie

The day started out in Boise, with a tour around town to check out some of the architectural highlights.

The Boise Depot is a former train station that is now used for special events.

We then left town, headed for Twin Falls. Along the way we made a stop at Bruneau Sand Dunes.

After climbing on the dunes for a while, we continued across the southern Idaho countryside.

As we arrived in Twin Falls we crossed the Perrine Memorial Bridge. This bridge is 486′ above the Snake River. It is also the only place in the country where people can BASE jump without a permit at any time.

Also in town is Shoshone Falls.

Eastern Washington & Oregon – May 2022 – Walla Walla to the Snake River Canyon

Our cold, rainy Memorial Day weekend continued with a visit to one of the best named towns in the country, Walla Walla Washington.

The area around Walla Walla has always been farmed, only in the last few decades it has become known for it’s vineyards.

Further east, at the Idaho/Washington border lie the twin towns of Clarkston, Washington and Lewiston, Idaho. The Snake River south of the towns has an impressive canyon.

Washington Highway 129 leaves Clarkston south towards the Oregon border, which when reached turns into Oregon Highway 3. It is a very cool drive!

Palouse Hills, Washington – May 2022 – Impressive Waterfalls

The Palouse Hills area of eastern Washington is unique in that they were created over tens of thousands of years from wind blown dust called loess. This land turned out to be very fertile for the growing of wheat and barley, and the hills are covered with these fields.

Near the crossroads town of Washtucna is an old bus that, much like Cadillac Ranch, people come along and paint it, over and over again.

Palouse Falls is a 200′ high waterfalls situated in a 377′ deep canyon, shaped like a huge bowl. It is very impressive.

The overlook has a large number of marmot’s.

Birds seemed to like to ride the updrafts from the falls.

Just down the road (and river) is the confluence of the Snake and Palouse rivers at Lyons Ferry. There is an impressive road bridge crossing the Snake.

Just down river is the more impressive rail bridge, which we had the good fortunate of catching a long freight train crossing.

The Palouse Hills is a very scenic area far from any large cities.

Montana – May 2022 – Helena and Missoula

Our trip’s northernmost stops were in Montana, Idaho and Washington. In Montana we spent the night in Helena.

When we first arrived we saw the state capitol on a hill as we entered town. To our amazement we just drove right up, parked on the street just outside and walked in!

As we wandered around we looked down a hall to a room that had a sign above that said ‘Office of the Governor’. A lady was standing in the doorway, and she encouraged us to come on in.

She told us the capitol is the ‘People’s Building’, and during business hours is always open to just come on in, no security checks whatsoever. She showed us around the office a bit, including the room that is used for the governor to greet people. It contained a set of flags for the state of Montana, as well as the 8 tribes that reside in the state.

She also told us the best way to see the rest of the building and encouraged us to ‘explore’.

The next day found us in Missoula. There we checked out the riverfront and some of downtown’s historic buildings.

Cochise County, Arizona – March 2022 – Piney Canyon

The road from Chiracahua to Cave Creek goes up through the mountains along Piney Caney. It is a fabulous 24 mile gravel drive, peaking out over 6000′ in elevation.

With Arizona’s perpetual clear skies you often see the moon in the middle of the day.

The start of the road runs through some flatlands.

One of the last things I was expecting to see nearing the top was an E-bike. Note a bit of left over snow on the bank (and the aforementioned moon).

As you start down the east side you get impressive views of the mountains in the distance, but it does require focus to get down safely.

The appropriately named Cave Creek Park is located in the valley near the town of Portal.

Vail, Arizona – December 2021 – Views From The New Neighborhood

Our move to Arizona has found us living in a town called Vail, at the far east end of Tucson. It predates the same named town in Colorado by about 100 years, but for most of it’s time was a small, dusty railroad stop. The Colorado town has nothing on the Arizona one, the mountains here have more vertical gain above the town – just without so much snow (thankfully).

In the last 30 years it has grown tremendously but still has that ‘outpost’ feel, being at the edge of town, next to the mountains and desert. This posting has random views of some sights around Vail and beyond.

While Route 66 is the most famous east-west route in the pre interstate days, in reality more people actually took U.S. 80 west to California. This route made it’s way across Southern Arizona, including a portion between Benson and Vail, on it’s way to Tucson.

U.S. 80 crosses Cienega Creek on a 1921 bridge, next to where two Southern Pacific railroad routes also traverse the creek. A cienega is a wetland unique to the Southwestern U.S., resulting in a landscape unlike the surrounding area because of the constant availability of water, with large trees lining the banks.

Just to the east is the ghost town of Pantano, another railroad stop in the late 1800s, early 1900s. Today only the water tower remains.

About 30 miles south of Vail is the town of Sonoita. As you cross the Empire Mountains the landscape changes yet again, with large fields of tall grasses, instead of the Sonoran Desert look of Vail.

A local propane dealer has a cool collection of decorated tanks.

While Saguaro National Park East has a Tucson address, it is in the Vail area. It was a good day to take the dog for a walk, and take a closer look at the cacti.

The Vail area, and all of Southern Arizona, have spectacular sunsets.

Note the full moon peeking through the clouds.