Entries from March 2009 ↓


I’m back from a weekend in Seattle, one of my favorite cities.  I stayed at a friend’s place and on Saturday we wandered around downtown where the Space Needle looms overs you the entire time:

Right by the Space Needle is the Science Fiction Museum which I wanted to visit.  Here’s the entrance with the monorail cutting through it.

The museum has Captain Kirk’s chair, a Death Star model used in the first Star Wars movie, and tons of other stuff.   The same place houses the Experience Music Project which features a lot of guitars:

It was typical March weather in Seattle:

I was convinced to take a tour of the library which is architecturally interesting and bold in its use of color:

Wandering around downtown was fun, but the highlights of the weekend were an amazing dinner at Cafe Juanita and the best latte I’ve ever had at Vivace.

Southwest Road Trip

I’m back from a road trip of over 6000 km (3700 miles) through the Southwest.  Driving the open desert roads of the Colorado Plateau was bliss; the mind-numbing interstates, not so much.  But ultimately a small price to pay for revisiting some of my favorite places on the planet.  There’s something about the Southwest that keeps pulling me back.

Strolling on, it seems to me that the strangeness and wonder of existence are emphasized here, in the desert, by the comparative sparsity of the flora and fauna:  life not crowded upon life as in other places but scattered abroad in spareness and simplicity, with a generous gift of space for each herb and bush and tree, each stem of grass, so that the living organism stands out bold and brave and vivid against the lifeless sand and barren rock. The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life-forms.  Love flowers best in openness and freedom.
–Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

Zion National Park

My first National Park of the year: Zion.  I bought the annual national park pass here ($80).

You can still drive in Zion Canyon in March.  Starting in April when the “tourist season” begins, you have to take a shuttle bus.  I drove to the trailhead for Angels Landing and hiked up for these views:

This hike is not for those with a fear of heights.  If you view the following photo at maximum resolution, you can just make out some hikers as tiny dots along the ridge…

Bryce National Park

To me Bryce is the least interesting national park in Utah.  But it’s still worth revisiting and an easy stop:

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Heading east out of Bryce on Highway 12 (“a destination unto itself”), it starts to feel increasingly remote.  I stayed in Escalante, Utah, the launching pad for journeys into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designated as such by Clinton in 1996.  There are no paved roads in this national monument, and I hope it stays that way.

I drove down Hole-in-the-Rock road to the trailhead for some slot canyons.  Here’s me at the trailhead:

Juniper trees abound:

Here’s “Spooky Canyon”:

And this is the Devil’s Garden area:

Capitol Reef National Park

It’s easy to underestimate this national park.  The main highway cuts through a narrow portion of the park.  From this highway you can park at viewpoints…

…and even see the namesake Capitol Dome:

But the real charm of Capitol Reef is found to the north in Cathedral Valley or to the south in the Waterpocket district.  I had never visited the latter, so I took a right at Boulder, Utah, and headed down the famous switchbacks of the Burr Trail:

Arches National Park

Arches is an otherworldly place.

I felt compelled to see Delicate Arch again.

A weird, lovely, fantastic object out of nature like Delicate Arch has the curious ability to remind us—like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness—that out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men as sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels. For a few moments we discover that nothing can be taken for granted…

— Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire

On my way out I took a quick shot of Balanced Rock at sunset.  There were about a dozen photographers standing next to me.

Canyonlands National Park

Right next to Arches is Canyonlands.  Here’s a view looking south from Dead Horse Point:


My little camera (Panasonic LX3) takes HD video.  Here’s a few samples from my trip.

My sister asked if I was camping.  Um…
A narrow slot canyon:
And finally, the highlight reel: