Sunday, June 13, 2010

Roadtrip Hiking

Callie and I did several hikes on our roadtrip. Here they are in more detail.
If you want to read about our roadtrip go to

Carlsbad Caverns Loop June 7, 2010

Length: 1.5 miles loop
People: Callie and me

We did not have a lot of time to spend at Carlsbad Caverns National Park unfortunately. As a result we were not able to walk down through the natural cave entrance to the main cavern. Instead we took the elevator down 700 feet underground and exited into the dark gift show at the bottom. They have only the amount of lighting absolutely needed for the caves so it took our eyes a little bit to adjust.
As soon as we entered the main cavern we were completely awestruck. That something of this magnitude and beauty exists down here. And that we can access it is amazing. They have a well paved path that leads through and around all the pools, stalactites, stalagmites, abysses, drop offs, arches and bat guano. The whole time we were walking through we had our mouths open in wonder. We attempted to capture the cavern with our cameras but it was way too dark to show the place properly. Here are a few things we liked the most.

This is really one of those National Parks that you have to see it to believe it. Pictures don’t even come close to showing the vastness of the cavern. Which is almost 3 football fields long, it took us 1.5 miles to loop around the whole cavern.
I would love to go back, because we missed a few things, like hiking down through the natural entrance. There are also side trips to other parts of the caverns and other caverns in the area that you can do. And most importantly, I want to see the bats fly out of the cave in the evening.

Petrified Forest June 11, 2010

Painted Desert Rim Trail
Stats: 1.2 miles round trip
People: Callie and me

We of course stopped at the ranger station before we began our journey through Petrified Forest National Park. It was an overcast day for us while we were there, so unfortunately the Painted Desert was not as vibrant as it could have been. But we still thought it was lovely. We made our first stop at the Painted Desert Rim Trial that starts at Tawa Point and ended at the Painted Desert Inn. We did the short trail along the rim that gave sweeping views of the multi colored desert for as far as we could see. The trail was a nice red dirt trail that was fairly level and easy. It was .6 miles one way. Once we reached the Painted Desert Inn we turned around. It was not an impressive hike but we were limited on time so we wanted to make sure we didn’t do anything too time consuming.

Rainbow Forest Trail
Stats: 0.4 mile loop
People: Callie and me

After driving along the road that bisects the park we found our way to the end where the Rainbow Forest Ranger Station is located. All along the road we kept seeing outcroppings of rocks, which were actually parts of the Petrified Forest. The Rainbow Forest is a large clustering of the Petrified rocks that the ranger station has fenced in hopes of preventing any theft. Which is the big environmental emphasis in this park, Don’t take the rocks! The look starts out the back of the ranger station and winds you around and by large trees that have turned to stone where they lay. And little stumps and large parts of trees. It was really great to see all the different colors that were there in the rock/trees. And because we are good National Park people, we went over the gift shop and Callie purchased 2 boxes of petrified wood that was collected outside of the park.

Grand Canyon – Bright Angel Trail June 12, 2010

Stats: 3 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Wild Life Spotted: 3 mountain goats
People: Callie and me

When you are at the Grand Canyon it is a requirement to hike a little of the infamous trail down to the bottom of the canyon. Since we were once again limited on time, and definitely not fit enough to make the whole (18 mile/3,500 foot elevation gain) hike I decided that we should at least go to Restroom Stop #1. This was 1.5 miles down the canyon trail and right by our cabin. We started the decent with much awe, because as you go down the trail you begin to see a whole different side of the canyon, you really see the color changes at each level because you are walking right through it, and you get a perspective of how small you are and how big the canyon is. From the rim of the canyon you are wowed by expanse, from inside the canyon you look up and you are wowed by the enormity and depth. We only went 1.5 miles down and we passed through the top white area of stone into the red sandstone. It was an easy trip down and a longer slower trip back up. But we stopped a lot and took in the scenery, watched the afternoon thunderstorm roll in and look at the 3 big horned sheep we saw in the canyon with us. Because we started early we passed a lot of people coming down, a few for the whole trip and a few just to one of the restroom stops like us. It was really worth the struggle of the hike though as the hike was truly the highlight of the Grand Canyon stop. It began to rain as we reached the last ¼ mile of the trail so we booked it as fast as we could back to our cabin.
We had also meant to hike part of the rim trail later that day to see the canyon and hike on the edge of the rim but the thunderstorm lasted from around 11am to 5pm when we went to dinner, so we ended up riding the tram to each of the rim stops during that time and faced hailstorms and down pours of rain.

No comments: