Monday, June 25, 2007

Western Trip

We've just returned from our trip to the Rotary International Convention in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake was a much more contemporary and interesting city than I expected -- it was really clean & safe and had great sculptures throughout the whole city. We did a side tour to the Great Salt Lake and the Kennecott Copper Mine.

After that, we drove down to Las Vegas, stopping at Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park on the way. What awesome places they were! I continue to be amazed at the beauty and variety the Lord has created, just because He can!! I think Zion was my favorite because we were able to drive through it and really get a feel for the size and majesty of the canyons.

The next day, we drove out to Grand Canyon West, which is in the Haulapai Indian Reservation. We opted not to go out on the glass skywalk because it costs $50 more and you can't even take cameras out there! We were, however, just west of there at Guano Point (you can see where we were here on Google maps. The vistas were lovely and the Canyon is, of course, awesome -- there's a reason it's called one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The reason it's called Guano Point is that the indians used to zip-line & rapelle down the side of the canyon into bat caves there and "mine" the guano to sell!

Before you get to GC West, you drive over 17.5 miles of the worst dirt roads ever (even worse than those here in Michigan)! It takes about an hour to go those 17 miles, but they go through a Joshua tree forest and a beautiful part of the Mojave Desert. The Joshua trees go on for miles and are small (the tallest is about 15 feet) and gnarled looking. They are really old -- the forest is estimated to be about 900 years old! You can read about Joshua trees here in Wikipedia -- they really are fascinating, though I did find them ugly.

I saw some new birds, too, though I didn't have a field guide and had a hard time identifying them. I saw a Common Raven, a female Golden-Crowned Kinglet, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. I get really excited to see new birds! I know I'm a geek, but I just can't help myself.

After that, we stayed in Las Vegas for a day & a half. That was, for me, the low point. I'm always taken by how decadent and darkened it is, with everyone concentrating on nothing but themselves, sex, drinking and gambling! It was also 11o degrees, which is REALLY hot when there's nothing but asphalt and cement. We walked miles and saw all the sights, including the new Wynn (which is lush with water features and gardens and really lovely) and the waters at Bellagio. There are some really pretty parts of Vegas, if you can forget about the loss and economy that builds it and the fact that they're devouring all the water everywhere around them.

So that's the story of "what I did on my summer vacation". Be sure to check out the webshots link below for more pics. Thanks for visiting and for reading my long post!

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