Elche, Spain

Welcoming 2023 with a beautiful sunrise over the Mediterranean.
The Via Augustus roman road led us to Elche.
Elche has a long history so we headed to the Archeology Museum.
A large sculpture of the Dama de Elche is outside.
The real one is in the National Museum in Madrid but this is the replica. Scholars think it was painted in multiple colors which we saw in another section of the museum.
Elche is also a UNESCO world Heritage site for the ancient groves of date palm trees.
The doves and pigeons seem quite content to make this their home.
A few miles south is the Natural Park El Fondo where we walked over the Salt Marshes.
There were several of these red-knobbed coots – a Eurasian water fowl.
Enjoying the Peñón de Ifach as we near our balcony in Calpe for Wine O’clock.

Congaree National Park/South Carolina

Congaree National Park protects the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern US.
Spring wildflowers blooming made the boardwalk part of the trail extra special.
In 2003, it gained National Park status and has since been designated an International Biosphere Reserve, a National Natural Landmark and Globally Important Bird Area.  It is named after the local Native American tribe and was been preserved since1976 as a National Monument.
Unique tall trees included bald cypress with the knobby knees above as well as Tupelo trees, Loblolly pines, and giant oaks.
This is really beautiful with all the reflections.
We enjoyed a 6 mile hike and a picnic lunch to absorb the enormity of this park. Perfect day.
Ninety Six National Historic Site we learned more about the Revolutionary War. This was a nice park to walk around but the VC was not open.
Lake Greenwood SP is one of 16 S Carolina State Parks built by the CCC. They had an amazing exhibit in their VC. The previous night we were at Givens Ferry SP on the Edisto River also built by the CCC .
Kings Mountain National Military Park and Cowpens National Battlefield we learned more of our Revolutionary War history. Both had walking trails to contemplate the enormity of this war.
A walk through the woods and rolling hills brings to life the fighting conditions that the armies faced.
We enjoyed a stroll to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site just across the border in North Carolina. He enjoyed life here from 1945 until his death in 1967.
This was the only interpretation available about “America’s Voice” (January 6, 1878 – July 22, 1967) an American poet, biographer, journalist, and editor. He won three Pulitzer Prizes: two for his poetry and one for his biography of Abraham Lincoln

Utah: Sand Island/Butler Wash

We are in Bluff Utah by lunch and snagged a river site at Sand Island Campground.
A wonderful walk along the river to see petroglyphs – and blooming cactus.
Nicely preserved petroglyphs in the rock faces.
Also some wall remnants protected under cliff overhangs.
We headed up Butler Wash along Combs Ridge for some more remote hiking.
More ancient construction under some huge cliffs with protected coves.
Absolutely gorgeous petroglyphs – quite large and very distinct.
We could make up our own stories as to the meanings.
Nice scenery to enjoy after a day of hiking – relaxing in the shade of the van!
A long day hike up a canyon to some more areas of interest.
Posing outside doorway to give some scale to the building.
Love how the large boulders are incorporated into the walls. There must have been an upper level
Amazing hand print detail captured with a zoom lens.
We had a very hot day of hiking and we did not explore all the side canyons.
But enjoyed some unusual natural rock formations.

5/5: Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness

Time and natural elements have etched a fantasy world in these shale hills.
A perfect day to wander around all the various formations.
This was a petrified log among a huge amount of petrified wood covering the hills.
This looks like an entire turtle has been turned to stone as it scaled the ridge.
Cap rock formation of sandstone over mudstone. Textures abound!
An entire army of CapRockers advancing, creating shadows.
Was this Antoni Gaudí ‘s inspiration for Casa Milà rooftop garden in Barcelona?
This gateway arch led farther into the badlands for more exploring.
An acropolis: the highest city on a rocky outcropping. 4th century citadel?
De-Na-Zin is Navajo for Cranes. Sandhill Cranes?

6/8: Mt Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado

“Safer at Home and the Colorado Great Outdoors 2020”

Perfect. The fall colors add so much to this reflection in the beaver pond.

We said we need to come back in the fall when we were here in July 2016.

The horses seem oblivious to their surroundings but add beauty to the vistas.

We found a great camp spot a bit closer to the trail.

Blue Lakes Trail heads into the Mount Sneffels Wilderness.

We enjoyed a short break at the first lake, wondering where the trail continued.

There is a view after we gained a few feet of elevation.

The upper lake we enjoyed for a while, where we saw a marmot while taking this picture.

And one final picture on the way down – wow!

5/8: Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado

“Safer at Home and the Colorado Great Outdoors 2020”

So many aspens! There is Gold in them there hills!

Howdy partner! We donned our masks to enjoy a walk around downtown Crested Butte.

Blue Mesa Reservoir is about 56 feet low due to water use fighting fires in California.

We camped 2 nights at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

We walked the rim trail with the gamble oaks red dramatically setting off the black rock.

Enjoying the splendor of the canyon.

Looking down, down, down at the Gunnison River.

We were last here in the spring of 2012.

3/8: Powderhorn Wilderness, Colorado

“Safer at Home and the Colorado Great Outdoors 2020”

We turned off Slumgullion Pass to Deer Lakes on the Cannibal Plateau in the Gunnison National Forest-

trying our best not to do an Alfred Packer

We found a great spot to camp next to this beaver pond – we watched several move branches across the pond and then disappear underwater.

A hike into the Powderhorn wilderness above our camp.

A peaceful way to enjoy a day. It is wonderful to be off the grid.

Heading back to our favorite campsite to watch the beaver family preparing for winter.

2/8: Rio Grande Reservoir, Colorado

“Safer at Home and the Colorado Great Outdoors 2020”

Still in the Rio Grande National Forest, we head up another valley.

We start above our camp at Thirty Mile Campground for our hike.

Checking the map while overlooking Rio Grande Reservoir.

Entering Weminuche Wilderness, the largest protected area in Colorado.

A bridge sturdy enough for horses crosses the start of the Rio Grande River.

Weminuche Pass is a relatively low crossing of the Continental Divide.

Finding the names for all the mountains while we take a break.

Enjoying the deer back at our camp site while we listened to the river.