Archive for the ‘National Parks’ Category

Stub Stewart State Park

Back in Oregon and spending some time relaxing at Stub Stewart.
Stub Stewart State Park is Oregonians’ newest backyard playground. Opened in 2007, the 1,650 acre park is the first full-fledged state park to be built since 1972.
15 miles of trails wind through the park, the park is known for its miles of dedicated horse trails. Home to one of the best horse camps in the northwest.

We are moving from Stub Stewart to the Tualatin River this week. Keep tuned for details.



Deadwood, South Dakota.

I spent a leisurely morning at the casinos in Deadwood and came away with $200.00 bucks more than I went in with…time to quit and escape with the loot.

It might have been more fun to rob a bank in the old west style as many Deadwood visitors had in the past, but, I still felt good taking instead of giving 🙂




Crazy Horse Memorial

After visiting Mount Rushmore, Edgar and I camped.  Getting up at 2:00 am to use the facilities, I thought for sure Edgar was zipped in the tent.  When I got back to the tent, no Edgar!!!  After searching and calling quietly to him for about an hour I heard a faint bark, was he stuck in a hole?  Oh no, not Edgar, he had followed me to the loo and I never saw him behind me.  Locked in the Ladies Room, he was sure glad to see me open the door.

The next morning it was 42 degrees and raining….brrrrrr.  We broke camp and headed to the Crazy Horse Memorial, it was cloudy and rainy, unfortunately you could not see the carving.
The visitor center at the memorial was worth the trip, I spent a couple hours hoping the weather would clear, the forecast was not cooperating.

We made our way to Deadwood.


Mt. Rushmore

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the completion of the Mount Rushmore carving.  With more than 3 million visitors in 2010, it is recognized internationally as a symbol of freedom, patriotism and democracy.

There are lots of camping spots around Mt. Rushmore and I chose a KOA between the Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial.  I checked in, put up the tent and headed for the evening lighting ceremony.

I admit to many tears during the ceremony as it celebrated not only our freedoms but those that fought for those freedoms.  My dad stormed the beach at Iwo Jima in WWII and my brother was in Vietnam during the Tet offensive, both proud United States Marines.

“My plan is to make Rushmore a center in the heart of America so attractive, so comprehending, that the inevitable visiting world will assemble there with something more than curiosity, and go away with something more than wonder.”  Sculptor Gutzon Borglum


On the Road Again

I love to drive.  The rhythm of the tires on the road, changing vistas and the sound of the wind with the windows down.

Driving across America on I-90 takes you through Ohio toward Chicago.  I stopped about an hour east of Chicago in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and tented at the State Park, a bargain at $17.50 per night.  The park was beautiful and clean and just a stones throw from the sand dunes created by Lake Michigan.

Indiana Dunes has several beautiful hikes that overlook Lake Michigan and the sand dunes.  Trail 10 is rated one of the best hikes in America.  Unfortunately, I twisted my ankle on an apple, go figure, before I left and had to settle for the 2 mile trail.  The trails are sand so wear appropriate footwear if you decide to try the hikes.

There is a beautiful beach along Lake Michigan.  Edgar was not welcome on the beach.





Kinzua Dam

The Allegheny River starts in New York and meanders its way through Pennsylvania ending in downtown Pittsburgh at the golden triangle where it meets the Monongahela and forms the mighty Ohio.

The Kinzua Dam creates a lake that stretches 100 miles through both states.


Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert

The high, dry grassland was once a vast floodplain crossed by many streams. Tall, stately conifer trees grew along the banks. Crocodile like reptiles, giant amphibians and small dinosaurs lived among a variety of ferns, cycads, and other plants and animals known only as fossils today. The trees, Araucarioxylon, Woodworthia, Schilderia, and others, fell, and swollen streams washed them into adjacent floodplains. A mix of silt, mud, and volcanic ash buried the logs. The sediment cut off oxygen and slowed the logs’ decay. Silica-laden groundwater seeped through the logs and replaced the original wood tissues with silica deposits. Eventually the silica crystallized into quartz, and the logs were preserved as petrified wood.

In 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt set aside selected stands of the petrified trees as Petrified Forest National Monument. In 1932 53,200 acres of the Painted Desert were bought and added to the monument. In 1962 the monument was designated as a National Park.

It costs $10.00 (or use your handy National Park Pass) and takes about 3 hours to drive through the park.


The Grand Canyon is indeed Grand!!

The Grand Canyon we visit today is a gift from past generations.  Just sitting and watching the changing shadows, wandering along a trail, feeling the sun and wind on your face and standing at the rim reminds me to give thanks to those generations.

Few places have provoked as much wonder as the Grand Canyon.  The rocks exposed within the Canyon range from the young to the old.  Kaibab limestone, the caprock on the rims of the canyon, formed 270 million years ago.  The oldest rocks, at the bottom, date from 1,840 million years.  Nowhere else on earth features such dazzling variety of colorful rock layers, impressive buttes, and shadowed side canyons.

Edgar was allowed to walk around with me on the paved trails, dogs are not allowed off trail.  It costs $25.00 and a long line to enter the park.  Buy a National Parks Pass on-line for $87.00 to gain admission to any of the National Parks and Recreation areas and bypass the long entrance lines.

The park camping was completely full so we went to the Ten X campground about 3 miles from the park entrance.  The camping was primitive – no water and a pit toilet – but it only cost $9.00 for a safe campsite.  In the morning I was able to re-enter the park and use their shower facilities – another reason to buy the season pass.


The Stars go all the way to the ground

The best part of primitive camping is no lights.  The stars go all the way to the ground.

Do you remember when you were a kid there seemed to be more stars.  They are still there, our view blocked by ever growing urban lights.

The worst part is no water.  If you are primitive camping make sure you carry enough for drinking, washing, tooth brushing and cleaning.

Even though the temperature dropped to below 40, I had the rainfly off my tent, the stars shining above me and fond memories of childhood keeping me warm.


Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam is a testimony to a country’s ability to construct monolithic projects in the midst of adverse conditions. Built during the Depression; thousands of men and their families came to Black Canyon to tame the Colorado River. It took less than five years, in a harsh and barren land, to build the largest dam of its time. Now, years later, Hoover Dam still stands as a world-renowned structure. The Dam is a National Historic Landmark and has been rated by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders.

30 miles outside of Las Vegas the Hoover Dam is still one of the most visited attractions, even 70 years after its construction.

Edgar was not allowed in the parking areas or out of the car anywhere, or left alone in the car, so we drove over the dam and back and snapped a few pictures from the roadway above.