Friday, July 20, 2018

Boise (Boy-see), Idaho; Subdued but Tasteless? Table Rock; A Cemetery Message; Cedar Breaks; Spring Creek Slot Canyon; Four Corners; A Colorado Cowgirl


Frequent readers of this blog may recall our previous visit to a great American city, Boise, Idaho, and that the locals pronounce it "Boy-see", with the inflection on the first syllable. Boise never fails to impress us. I could easily live here... the people are very friendly (they are much like Southerners), the rivers here are legendary for great fishing, stunning mountains are nearby, there are miles of bike trails... well, you get the idea. We spent a week here, with the coach set up at Gowen Field, an Army and Air Force National Guard facility right near the airport. 


While taking a bike ride on the outskirts of town, we came across this interesting casual patio design, complete with a Disney-themed mannequin... how would I tactfully describe this setup? Subdued, but tasteless???












Of course, I also did some hiking in Boise; this image shows some of the rocks just below the rim of the Table Rock trail. The main trail was crowded, but on this side trail I met only one other hiker. 














Visitors to Boise may recognize the Idaho State Capitol Building. Built starting in 1905, it is in Renaissance Revival style, and is built of sandstone quarried at the Table Rock quarry where I had just hiked.












From Boise, we dropped back down to Utah. Suzanne had a scheduled radio show, so we parked next to a school just off the highway, and I went out for a walk. As I passed a cemetery, I wandered through and saw this tombstone with an interesting plaque attached. Was it just coincidence that I walked past this spot while Suzanne was doing her radio show, Messages of Hope??? Hmmmm....









Our next stop was Cedar Breaks National Monument, in Utah. Just the drive in/up to Cedar Breaks was spectacular. There wouldn't be a place to launch our kayaks, since the monument is above 10,000 feet, but we would find a great hike awaiting us...














The scenery was stunning. There were lots of hoodoos, reminiscent of Bryce Canyon, only 50 miles or so from here. The Southern Paiute called this area u-map-wich, "the place where rocks are always sliding down". Early settlers mistook the ubiquitous junipers to be cedars, and called the steep, broken terrain breaks, hence the name Cedar Breaks.












We followed the four mile Ramparts Trail along the rim to Spectra Point and Ramparts Overlook. This stately bristlecone pine (Pinus longavea) is the longest living species on earth, with one specimen having been dated to more than 5,000 years of age. It only lives in alkaline soil that is also high in calcium and magnesium but low in phosphorus, attributes which do not allow the growth of other species. 















While staying in Cedar City, Utah, we visited a beautiful slot canyon at Spring Creek. A nearby river had a waterfall, where 90% of the turistas gather, but this relatively unknown trail was almost deserted. The rock formations were gorgeous! (Sorry, I couldn't help myself for the pun...)




















Sandstone can be sculpted in an infinite manner, in this case mostly by water, but wind can have similar effects.























Suzanne found a perfectly-formed small cave where she could do a short meditation. 

















My meditative time comes while hiking, sailing or even sitting in a camp chair with a glass of Zinfandel... and sometimes, I can even convince MLB to join me. (I must note, however, than she tends to fade after a very small glass of vin... what in the Navy we call a "short ball hitter"...) 













Okay, this one is for the guys... I am thinking about a new vehicle... a M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle, 4x4, four wheeled, 260 hp Cummins diesel, 15 tons GVW, top speed 62 mph, modular expandable mine resistant armor (important for driving to dinner in urban areas like San Francisco, Detroit or Chicago), 40 mm grenade launcher, .50 and .30 caliber machine guns, and 4 seats... list price $800,000, but the Army cancelled the program, and I think I can get one for $30,000 on eBay... but I may have to redesign the garage for the high clearance.





June 29th was a great day... I surprised My Lovely Bride with an anniversary gift and a nice dinner out. Lest you ladies out there think that I am a total barbarian, I will have you know that I (myself) selected the outfit that Suzanne is wearing. And it even fit! Not bad for a simple Cajun boy, huh? Suzanne has put up with me for 22 years now... and please, no snide comments about her lack of judgment!


















On our way to Colorado, we passed through Four Corners, where Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado meet. The landscape is pretty desolate, but there are many rock formations, mesas and buttes that catch your eye... this is just one of them. Just don't look for a gas station, coffee shop or lutefisk stand here. (But you might find fry bread, a local delicacy...)









Eastward to Colorado! We drove through Durango and Pagosa Springs, two delightful towns, but marred by heavy smoke from nearby forest fires.While walking around Durango, I met this cute local girl. She wasn't very talkative, though, even after I offered to buy her a sarsaparilla... maybe it was because MLB was with me... (note to self... don't chat up finicky saloon girls wearing fishnet stockings).