Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 24-29

July 8- 14

We've been on the road for over a month now! The time has flown by, we can't even believe it.  

After the Great Sand Dunes we headed to Messa Verde national park. It is the only man made national park. We took two days to explore the park and did 3 different tours of the cliff dwellings of the ancient Puebloans. They were amazing, and their houses were literally built into the side of cliffs. We took one tour called Balcony House, and this cliff dwelling was set high in the cliffs, and the whole house was a balcony overlooking the canyon below.  We made a friend while we were at a campground in Messa Verde, Jim ( Hi, Jim!).  We talked to Jim for awhile,  he was also originally from the east coast. He is traveling cross country on his motorcycle! He told us all about his cross country journeys, which have been plentiful! 

Next we headed to Arches National Park in Utah. Arches was awesome! We hiked a bunch different trails, and climbed some of the rocks. Neil even climbed on top of one of the arches. The arches are all natural, not man made, and it is amazing how huge some are! 

Next stop was Canyonlands National Park, The canyons were crazy! We could not believe how huge they were, Neil even said they reminded him of the Grand Canyon. Again, we did some hikes and got some awesome pictures!  Utah is really hot we have found,  even being outside for a few minutes makes you sweat. 

Next destination  was Bryce, but we drove through and stayed at Capitol Reef National Park on the way. We did some research and Capital Reef didn't really interest us, so we weren't going to do too much exploring. When we got to Capital Reef campground it was pretty late, we were tired, and the gas light had turned on in the car. When we got out of the car we heard the tire hissing and discovered that a rock went right through the tire. We decided to change the tire, and put on the spare, but that was flat as well, just our luck. We decided we'd deal with it in the morning. The park rangers took us to their maintenance shed and pumped up the spare, and we drove into down and got the tire patched, we were ready for action again. 

Bryce National Park was next, and it was amazing. The rock formations which they call the hoodoos were beautiful, they are all different shapes, and such a vibrant orange! We hiked down into the Bryce amphitheater which was awesome. It had just rained so the clay path was very sticky, and we had a build up of a ton of clay on our shoes. The wet clay was also slippery, it was an adventure hiking town. The hoodoos looked awesome, and it was very neat to see them from different angles. Then we headed to the starting location of our overnight backpacking trip. It took us awhile to get all of our supplies packed in our bags, but we eventually got everything packed and headed on or way. The hike to our site was very pretty, very forested but we did see sone hoodoos. The designated sight was very nice with a stream running right behind it. We made some dinner but far away from our site because of bears. We had to tie all of our cooking supplies and food up in a tree after we were done. We had a lot of fun just relaxing and having peace and quiet. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day 14-23

June 28-July 7

We've now been on the road for 3 weeks! A lot has happened since the last update. After the Badlands we headed towards Rapid City. When we were there we met up with Neil's friends from home, Robbie and Tim, who were on there way to LA. We all went and saw Mt. Rushmore! Then Neil and I went to a park called Bear Country USA. We drove through the park, with our windows and doors shut like they told us, and we saw rocky mountain elk, reindeer, arctic wolves, big horned sheep, mountain lions, and about 50 bears! It was amazing! The animals would walk right in front of our car. There was another section  of the park that we walked around which was called "baby land." Our favorite part of baby land was the 30 baby bear cubs running around!

The next day we went to the Rushmore Tramway. We took a chairlift ride up,
and then an alpine slide down the mountain. We had a good view of Mt Rushmore from the top. Then we headed to the Crazy Horse Monument. Neil and I loved it! We spent about 3 hours looking at the Indian artifacts and the hand made jewelry. Then we finally got to the monument! What amazed us the most was the time line, and background of the monument. We read about what has been worked on over the years, and how it is a family effort with no state or federal funding for the project. 

Next we headed to Wind Cave National park. We toured one of the caves, which is the 5th longest cave in the world, consisting of 136 miles. We took an hour and a half tour. The cave was amazing and very intricate. Before our tour we started talking to the people parked next to us, because they were from Massachusetts as well! It's a small world! They were road tripping as well and have been on the road for over two months. They gave us a lot of helpful pointers for our journey! 

We spent about 5 days in South Dakota, and decided to head towards Colorado. First we wanted to hit Devils Towers in Wyoming. Devils towers was amazing. It just juts up from the earth, and everything around it is pretty flat. We saw a lot of people rock climbing the tower when we were there. The columns on the tower are the largest and widest in the world. 

Then it was off to Colorado. Our first destination  was Rocky Mountain National Park. We tried to find a campground when we got close to the park, but they were all full because it was July 4th weekend. We finally found a site that had overflow spots, which was basically a spot to park and sleep. The view from the site was beautiful. We were surrounded by snow covered mountains. The next day we used the pool and hot tub at the campground and then drove 1 mile down the road to the National Park. We went on a beautiful hike, and passed 4 lakes on our way. We hiked through the snow in a lot of spots. The mountains were all around us, and the views of the mountains over the lakes was awesome! We finally got to the top, and the we had an am amazing view of the mountains right in front of us, covered in snow! We took a lot of pictures! 

Next we headed to Denver to visit Neil's friend Andrew. The views of the city were so crazy because there are mountains surrounding the city. It was fun hanging out in Denver with Andrew, but it was definitely a change of pace for us. When we were leaving Denver we drive about 20 minutes to the Red Rocks concert venue! It was beautiful! Inside they had a hall of fame for artists who have performed there, and lists of artists that have played there over the years.

Next we headed toward The Great Sand Dunes National Park. On our way we stopped in a town called Bueno Vista. We found a beautiful campground, and we watched fire works there for the 4th of July. The next morning we asked about a white water rafting flyer that they had in the office. The lady said it was awesome, so Neil and I decided to do it! We ratted in the Arkansas River through the Black Canyon. It was so much fun! We went through one class 4 rapids which covered the whole raft in water! The views were amazing and the rapids were so thrilling!! We had a blast! 

The next day, we headed to the Great Sand Dunes. We decided to hike High Dune which was a 650 foot tall dune! The start of our hike was a 9 thousand elevation and we were continuing to head up! The dunes were very steep and the air was very thin! It was quite a hike. When we finally got to the top the dunes looked like they continued on forever. On the way down, we ran down the dunes! It was so much fun! We had so much momentum and the sand would slide! Down was a lot easier than up! 

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