More photos from old vacations. This time we have moved from Arizona to Utah and to Bryce Canyon. This was a place I was absolutely blown away by. Photos of the canyon and the hoodoos within had got me interested in the place but seeing it was quite stunning. We were staying on the rim so hiking down in to the canyon or taking the trail around the rim was really easy for us. It might be true that I spent so much time trying to take some photos on the way around the rim trail that we got to the lot farther around too late for the shuttle and had to walk back again. I think that proved to be good fortune as the views get better as the sun gets lower.
When you are within the canyon, the hoodoos rise up around you and you get a sense of the scale which you don’t from outside. The peace and calm when you are down in there is very special. I may not be a spiritual person but I certainly felt really at ease as we walked through the trails. Here are a few of the shots I took during that trip. There are other parts of Utah that we haven’t explored yet and I hope any trip back includes the opportunity to visit Bryce again.
Nancy and I took a trip to Arizona and Utah many years ago. It proved to be a really excellent trip and we saw some amazing locations. The first stop on the trip was the Grand Canyon. While the majority of visitors go to the South Rim of the canyon, this trip took us to the North Rim. The two locations are not far apart but to get from one to the other involves hours of driving. Apparently, there is some canyon in the way!
The North Rim is accessible for a smaller part of the year because it gets snowed in and doesn’t clear out until late in spring. The views are supposed to be similar on either side but the lack of people at the North Rim makes it a more peaceful place to visit apparently (I haven’t been to the South Rim so can’t speak with authority). The scenery was definitely beautiful. We had some cloudy times and some very clear weather. At night you could look at an amazing night sky.
The problem with the Grand Canyon is that there is little you can do to convey the scale. Images are really not able to provide an understanding of just how vast the place is. You can see it is pretty, but the experience is not reproduced. To be honest, even when I was there, I found it hard to appreciate the scale. With so little to reference, you struggle to realize what is close and what is far away. Occasionally, if you see a boat on the Colorado River, you realize just how immense it all is. Awesome is a word that should be used when describing the Grand Canyon!
I haven’t looked at these pictures for years. I realize that I took some of them as examples at the time and then focused on those. I haven’t been through some of the others. With newer processing techniques, there is plenty to be done with some of the shots I have overlooked. I shall be playing with this for quite a while I think.
The view from the top of Culver Down is usually good (provided you aren’t in cloud) so we took a trip up there while I was visiting mum. While there was a lot of rain and cloud coming through as a result of the storm system, there was also a fair bit of sun illuminating parts of the countryside when a gap in the clouds showed up. From that location, you could see where the sun was running to. Whether looking down at the windmill, across to the harbor or spotting the Ledge (a nasty rocky outcrop just below the surface of the sea that has claimed many an unlucky sailor), the light was interesting. The rainbow certainly didn’t hurt either.
Taking any of the Washington State ferries provides with some interesting scenery. Puget Sound is surrounded by large mountains so you can see something in most directions. The other ferry plying our route passed us mid-way across the journey and catching it with a mountain in the background was not tricky. The ferries seem large when you are close to them but they are quickly put in context with a volcano in the background!
The drive to the rain forest from Port Angeles took us alongside Crescent Lake. I suspect I don’t need to tell you roughly what shape the lake is but, if you don’t know, check it out on a map! It was a pretty overcast morning when we drove by but this provided some soft lighting on the surrounding hills and also gave some interesting clouds to sit in some of the valleys and near the hill tops.
There were plenty of pull off locations along the road that skirts the south side of the lake. It appears that the north side is pretty inaccessible by vehicle when looking at the maps of the area. Only when you get to the west end of the lake do you start to see properties on the other side so I guess the road access up there does not go too far. The water in the lake was very calm and the whole thing had a very ethereal feel about it.
Ullswater is gorgeous. Not a lot more to say to be honest. A large lake surrounded by impressive hills. Add a sunny day and what more could you want. This place is lovely and, since it is not on a main thoroughfare, once you are out of the main tourist season, it is not terribly busy. What more could you ask for?
The Lake District includes a few pretty steep passes to let you get from one valley to another. The route to Ullswater from Windermere takes you over the Kirkstone Pass. It isn’t the steepest pass in the Lakes but it is pretty steep all the same. Definitely not something you want to be stuck behind a slow truck on.
At the top of the pass is the Kirkstone Pass Inn. If you were traversing the pass in awful weather (something that is not that unusual in the Lakes), reaching that Inn would certainly seem to be a very welcome development. On the day we came through, though, the sun was shining and the sky was blue. The light on the hills looked great and the view down to Ullswater was fantastic. The steepness of the descent is something that it is hard to convey in a photograph but the drop was quite something to see. As we started down, there was a turn out that allowed us to stop again and get an even better view on the route down to the valley. It also allowed some of the other traffic to move on. Climbing the hill and dropping down the other side is not terrible for a car but it is fair to say I was happier doing it with a rental car than with my own!
Our Lake District stay was based out of Ambleside. It is only a short trip up the road to get to the pretty village of Grasmere. Home to William Wordsworth, it was also a good starting point for a walk through the surrounding hills taking us down to Rydal, around Rydal Water and back up to overlook Grasmere before heading back down into the village. Grasmere is a very picturesque lake which makes it pretty standard fayre for the Lake District where everything is picturesque. Even by Lake District standards, though, it does look great.
Our walk took us up on to the hillside overlooking the lake and with a view up towards Dunmail Raise and on to Thirlmere. While it started out a bit overcast, the sun started to break through as we walked and the sunlight on the hillsides amongst the shadows of the clouds made the place look magical. These pictures do nothing to share that feeling with you. The village of Grasmere is a very popular tourist location but, thankfully, most people stay close to the village and our walk, while not devoid of other people, was pretty quiet. We did come across the same three people at various times but managed to pace ourselves to allow them to head off leaving us with a bit more space. Having people around was not so much of an issue but, since I am a bit out of shape, I don’t like to see other people while I am struggling with a climb. I have to maintain the pretense that I am in good shape!
Head south from Livermore and you get into some hilly territory beyond the vineyards. Climb over one of the ridges and you drop down into a valley flooded by a reservoir. The water is surrounded by a park that has lots of options for hiking, biking, boating and just hanging out. This is Del Valle Regional Park. We were keen to try and get some hiking in before the temperatures got too high so planned out a route that would take us up around the hills and back down to the lake.
While the park is very popular and a lot of people were along the water having picnics and swimming, it didn’t take long to get well away from everyone. To be fair, it wasn’t hard to see why. The route we took involved a very steep climb to start things off. Without having warmed up much, we were both suddenly very aware of how quickly (or not) we were going up. However, once we had reached the high point, we then had a far more relaxing path to take along the ridge. The view was fantastic and we were almost totally alone for the entire route.
Finally we dropped down to the water and had a gentle stroll back to our starting point. Meanwhile, plenty of people were enjoying the water. Kayaks and powered boats were all over the water. The edge of the water had a lot of people fishing. All in all, it seemed the image of relaxed sunny day.
A short drive from Dublin can take you in to the hills and some pretty queit places. There is a reservoir that is just across the county line known as the Los Vaqueros Watershed. We thought it would be a good place for a hike while the temperatures are still cool. When things warm up, I suspect this will be a pretty hot part of the area. As it was, the temperatures were nice and the recent rains meant the hillsides were very green.
The purpose of the visit was to have a hike so I decided not to take my cameras with me. However, the phone is always with me so there is a camera if the view warrants it. The shots here are all from the camera. It was amazingly quiet while we were there. Plenty of people were fishing down at the water’s edge but on the trails we were almost alone for much of the time. As we were heading back to the car, a few more groups showed up but most of the time we were nowhere near anyone. The exception was a bobcat that appeared on the trail below us. Nancy spotted it about the time it spotted us. We stared at each other for a while before it got bored and wandered off. Needless to say, the wide angle lens on the phone was not up to getting a shot so you will have to take my word for it.