A Travellerspoint blog

July 2020

Canyonlands Natl Park - unique, diverse & remote

Mesa Arch is a popular spot to watch sunrise; LBJ created Canyonlands National Park in September, 1964

Mesa Arch is a popular spot to watch sunrise; LBJ created Canyonlands National Park in September, 1964

Grand View Point Overlook; Canyonlands is divided into 4 distinct sections separated by the Colorado and Green Rivers; we only visited the Island in the Sky section which is closest to Moab

Grand View Point Overlook; Canyonlands is divided into 4 distinct sections separated by the Colorado and Green Rivers; we only visited the Island in the Sky section which is closest to Moab

We toured the 34 mile scenic drive of Island in the Sky along with several interesting hikes; the 527 sq mi park offers staggering vistas of desert solitude

We toured the 34 mile scenic drive of Island in the Sky along with several interesting hikes; the 527 sq mi park offers staggering vistas of desert solitude

Upheaval Dome is a mysterious crater that some scientists believe was created by a meteorite 60 million years ago while others think it is a collapsed salt dome

Upheaval Dome is a mysterious crater that some scientists believe was created by a meteorite 60 million years ago while others think it is a collapsed salt dome

Millions of years of uplift followed by erosion (caused by water and wind) have created the crazy formations in Canyonlands; the wide open spaces of the park create a true wilderness feel

Millions of years of uplift followed by erosion (caused by water and wind) have created the crazy formations in Canyonlands; the wide open spaces of the park create a true wilderness feel

Much of the classic movie Thelma and Louise was shot around Moab; the final scene which was supposedly the Grand Canyon was shot nearby at Dead Horse State Park

Much of the classic movie Thelma and Louise was shot around Moab; the final scene which was supposedly the Grand Canyon was shot nearby at Dead Horse State Park

Our first attempt to visit Canyonlands was thwarted by a road that was only passable with 4WD despite Google Maps showing it as a state highway; admission to the park is $30 per vehicle and good for a week

Our first attempt to visit Canyonlands was thwarted by a road that was only passable with 4WD despite Google Maps showing it as a state highway; admission to the park is $30 per vehicle and good for a week

Bob found a spacious house for us just outside of Moab; despite the pandemic, the town of 5000 was full of tourists looking to enjoy the scenery in SE Utah

Bob found a spacious house for us just outside of Moab; despite the pandemic, the town of 5000 was full of tourists looking to enjoy the scenery in SE Utah

Mesa Arch was unique, forming on the edge of an 800 foot cliff; I had booked a 2 day whitewater rafting trip through Cataract Canyon for the days before the guys arrived but it was cancelled due to low participation

Mesa Arch was unique, forming on the edge of an 800 foot cliff; I had booked a 2 day whitewater rafting trip through Cataract Canyon for the days before the guys arrived but it was cancelled due to low participation

Green River Point Overlook; due to the rugged nature of the park, there are no roads directly linking the different sections of Canyonlands (this means hours of driving to visit the different sections)

Green River Point Overlook; due to the rugged nature of the park, there are no roads directly linking the different sections of Canyonlands (this means hours of driving to visit the different sections)

I had really missed Mike and my other TX compadres during my months of travel followed by the pandemic lockdown; our group enjoyed a spirited game of dominoes in which Mike prevailed

I had really missed Mike and my other TX compadres during my months of travel followed by the pandemic lockdown; our group enjoyed a spirited game of dominoes in which Mike prevailed

Posted by VagabondCowboy 01:22 Comments (0)

The best place to snorkel in the islands near Bali

Mangrove Point was the only place on the island without strong currents and with decent snorkeling; Lee managed to safely get us there twice on a scooter as I hung on for dear life

Mangrove Point was the only place on the island without strong currents and with decent snorkeling; Lee managed to safely get us there twice on a scooter as I hung on for dear life

Pacific bullethead parrotfish; Mangrove Point easily had the best snorkeling we found on the Nusas so we went back for a second day of snorkeling there

Pacific bullethead parrotfish; Mangrove Point easily had the best snorkeling we found on the Nusas so we went back for a second day of snorkeling there

Mt Agung is an active volcano and the highest point on the island of Bali at almost 10,000 ft; it has erupted frequently in recent years with the last time being May 2019

Mt Agung is an active volcano and the highest point on the island of Bali at almost 10,000 ft; it has erupted frequently in recent years with the last time being May 2019

Spotted boxfish; this is a male since the females have different colors and patterns; this colorful species can grow to be 10 inches long although they are usually much smaller

Spotted boxfish; this is a male since the females have different colors and patterns; this colorful species can grow to be 10 inches long although they are usually much smaller

Blue blanquillo; I had never seen this species of tilefish before since it usually swims around 70 feet down and would not typically be seen by a snorkeler

Blue blanquillo; I had never seen this species of tilefish before since it usually swims around 70 feet down and would not typically be seen by a snorkeler

Latticed butterflyfish;  this is an uncommon species found in areas of rich coral growth within lagoons and protected reef flats and seaward reefs; it feeds mainly on coral polyps and sea anemones

Latticed butterflyfish; this is an uncommon species found in areas of rich coral growth within lagoons and protected reef flats and seaward reefs; it feeds mainly on coral polyps and sea anemones

Orange-lined triggerfish; this species is diurnal, solitary, and territorial; it can be aggressive with other fish and erects its first dorsal spine to intimidate opponents and predators

Orange-lined triggerfish; this species is diurnal, solitary, and territorial; it can be aggressive with other fish and erects its first dorsal spine to intimidate opponents and predators

Collector urchin; debris tends to collect on these urchins, hence their name; most collector urchins feed on seagrass fronds - this has an ecological impact varying with the season and abundance of the urchins

Collector urchin; debris tends to collect on these urchins, hence their name; most collector urchins feed on seagrass fronds - this has an ecological impact varying with the season and abundance of the urchins

Teardrop butterflyfish; this species feeds on filamentous algae, hard and soft corals, crustaceans and worms; spawning is thought to take place in relation to the lunar cycles but this is not certain

Teardrop butterflyfish; this species feeds on filamentous algae, hard and soft corals, crustaceans and worms; spawning is thought to take place in relation to the lunar cycles but this is not certain

Swarthy parrotfish; I loved the colors and it's not one of the more commonly seen parrotfish

Swarthy parrotfish; I loved the colors and it's not one of the more commonly seen parrotfish

Longnose butterflyfish; these fish are more often solitary than other species of butterflyfish; being territorial, longnose butterflyfish patrol their patches of coral with a monogamous partner

Longnose butterflyfish; these fish are more often solitary than other species of butterflyfish; being territorial, longnose butterflyfish patrol their patches of coral with a monogamous partner

Saddled butterflyfish; this species is one of the largest butterflyfishes and in shape it resembles certain angelfishes more than most of its relatives

Saddled butterflyfish; this species is one of the largest butterflyfishes and in shape it resembles certain angelfishes more than most of its relatives

Much of the coral here had experienced extensive bleaching; there were tons of fish but some snorkel boats were feeding them which is not a good thing

Much of the coral here had experienced extensive bleaching; there were tons of fish but some snorkel boats were feeding them which is not a good thing

Lined butterflyfish; you don't often see this many butterflyfish together since they typically just travel in pairs (they mate for life)

Lined butterflyfish; you don't often see this many butterflyfish together since they typically just travel in pairs (they mate for life)

Sixbar wrasse; this species forms small groups and feeds on planktonic and benthic crustaceans, small fish, fish eggs and fish larvae; an aquarium fish of this species was observed to use a rock as an anvil

Sixbar wrasse; this species forms small groups and feeds on planktonic and benthic crustaceans, small fish, fish eggs and fish larvae; an aquarium fish of this species was observed to use a rock as an anvil

Foxface rabbitfish; this species is omnivorous, eating mostly algae and zooplankton; it can end up in the aquarium trade and does a good job of cleaning algae from tanks

Foxface rabbitfish; this species is omnivorous, eating mostly algae and zooplankton; it can end up in the aquarium trade and does a good job of cleaning algae from tanks

Titan triggerfish; Nusa Lembongan used to have a small seaweed farming industry but that has largely disappeared as the waters have become too polluted; speedboats can reach Bali in 30 minutes

Titan triggerfish; Nusa Lembongan used to have a small seaweed farming industry but that has largely disappeared as the waters have become too polluted; speedboats can reach Bali in 30 minutes

Moon wrasse; Nusa Lembongan is only 8 square km in area with a permanent population estimated at 5,000; 7 miles of the Badung Strait separates Nusa Lembongan from Bali

Moon wrasse; Nusa Lembongan is only 8 square km in area with a permanent population estimated at 5,000; 7 miles of the Badung Strait separates Nusa Lembongan from Bali

Blackpatch triggerfish; the ferry system from Bali was pretty chaotic and informal but seemed to work OK; I would not want to make the crossing if the seas were rough though

Blackpatch triggerfish; the ferry system from Bali was pretty chaotic and informal but seemed to work OK; I would not want to make the crossing if the seas were rough though

Posted by VagabondCowboy 02:15 Comments (0)

Absolute best day hike anywhere - The Narrows, Zion Natl Pk

The Narrows hike involves 50  crossings of the Virgin River although it's an out and back so you can travel whatever distance suits you and then turn around

The Narrows hike involves 50+ crossings of the Virgin River although it's an out and back so you can travel whatever distance suits you and then turn around

In the Wall Street section, Zion Canyon can be only 20 feet wide while the walls are more than 2000 ft high; the best time to do this hike is from mid-May through September

In the Wall Street section, Zion Canyon can be only 20 feet wide while the walls are more than 2000 ft high; the best time to do this hike is from mid-May through September

Hiking The Narrows is one of the most world-famous day hikes in the world and for very good reason; it is so unique with such amazing views that it's a day you'll never forget

Hiking The Narrows is one of the most world-famous day hikes in the world and for very good reason; it is so unique with such amazing views that it's a day you'll never forget

You can see how clear the water is which helped when deciding where to step; sometimes you had to cross in deeper waters which one reviewer aptly compared to walking on greasy bowling balls

You can see how clear the water is which helped when deciding where to step; sometimes you had to cross in deeper waters which one reviewer aptly compared to walking on greasy bowling balls

I managed the entire hike upstream without a single tumble which was miraculous; coming downstream I was getting tired and fell in the water a few times but nothing serious

I managed the entire hike upstream without a single tumble which was miraculous; coming downstream I was getting tired and fell in the water a few times but nothing serious

I kept walking and for well over an hour saw no other hikers; concerned I had passed the turnaround point (nothing is marked) I eventually headed downstream and am glad I did since I was totally wiped out when I finished

I kept walking and for well over an hour saw no other hikers; concerned I had passed the turnaround point (nothing is marked) I eventually headed downstream and am glad I did since I was totally wiped out when I finished

During my visit timed tickets were required for the shuttle bus ($1); if you didn't luck out getting one online you could pay for a shuttle service ($45) to take you or you could walk or bike 8  miles

During my visit timed tickets were required for the shuttle bus ($1); if you didn't luck out getting one online you could pay for a shuttle service ($45) to take you or you could walk or bike 8+ miles

Zion, like all other national parks, shows signs of neglect with the maintenance backlog of $12  billion; derelict campgrounds have closed and signage everywhere is very poor

Zion, like all other national parks, shows signs of neglect with the maintenance backlog of $12+ billion; derelict campgrounds have closed and signage everywhere is very poor

The Narrows is the most popular hike in Zion National Park, and one of the world's best slot canyon hikes; it is pure fun and can be tailored to suite any ability level.

The Narrows is the most popular hike in Zion National Park, and one of the world's best slot canyon hikes; it is pure fun and can be tailored to suite any ability level.

I was having such a good time that on the way back I took a side trip up Orderville Canyon which is a tributary of the Virgin River; there were a couple of challenging waterfalls to go up but very few people

I was having such a good time that on the way back I took a side trip up Orderville Canyon which is a tributary of the Virgin River; there were a couple of challenging waterfalls to go up but very few people

I had wondered why people didn't hike up and then inflate an inner tube to float down but in stretches the water is too shallow while in lots of other places there are mini-waterfalls making my idea impractical

I had wondered why people didn't hike up and then inflate an inner tube to float down but in stretches the water is too shallow while in lots of other places there are mini-waterfalls making my idea impractical

This is the view towards the end of the hike; I drank all 4 Powerades I took; a walking stick and rented water boots w/ankle support were essential

This is the view towards the end of the hike; I drank all 4 Powerades I took; a walking stick and rented water boots w/ankle support were essential

Posted by VagabondCowboy 03:20 Comments (0)

Some surprises on Black Rock dive in Raja Ampat

Epauletter (walking) shark; sorry but this was the best photo I took; check out the first episode of BBC's documentary Shark which shows this sharks ability to walk on land!

Epauletter (walking) shark; sorry but this was the best photo I took; check out the first episode of BBC's documentary Shark which shows this sharks ability to walk on land!

This photo, taken by my Malaysian dive partner on his GoPro, shows the amazing underwater visibility; I'm also envious of the colors and clarity in his photo

This photo, taken by my Malaysian dive partner on his GoPro, shows the amazing underwater visibility; I'm also envious of the colors and clarity in his photo

Black Rock is a famous Raja Ampat dive site distinguished by gorgeous soft coral gardens and schooling fish; this is an immense dive site on the west coast of Kawe Island worthy of more than just one dive

Black Rock is a famous Raja Ampat dive site distinguished by gorgeous soft coral gardens and schooling fish; this is an immense dive site on the west coast of Kawe Island worthy of more than just one dive

Black-velvet angelfish; I had never seen this species before as it is uncommon and only lives in central Indonesian waters

Black-velvet angelfish; I had never seen this species before as it is uncommon and only lives in central Indonesian waters

Amazingly, 75% o all coral species (more than 600 species of hard coral alone) in the world live in Raja Ampat; whales even live here! (we saw water from whale blowholes several times)

Amazingly, 75% of all coral species (more than 600 species of hard coral alone) in the world live in Raja Ampat; whales even live here! (we saw water from whale blowholes several times)

With more than 267 million people, Indonesia is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country; Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population

With more than 267 million people, Indonesia is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Muslim-majority country; Java, the world's most populous island, is home to more than half of the country's population

Clark's anemonefish; these guys always look so happy yet they fiercely guard their territories; they've been known to nip at divers that get too close

Clark's anemonefish; these guys always look so happy yet they fiercely guard their territories; they've been known to nip at divers that get too close

Longnose butterflyfish; being territorial, this species patrols its patch of coral with a monogamous partner; emitting sounds through complicated body movements is one technique they use to advertise territorial boundaries

Longnose butterflyfish; being territorial, this species patrols its patch of coral with a monogamous partner; emitting sounds through complicated body movements is one technique they use to advertise territorial boundaries

More than 1700 species of reef fish live in Raja Ampat; the area also has rare dugongs (which we didn't see) and dolphins (which we did see)

More than 1700 species of reef fish live in Raja Ampat; the area also has rare dugongs (which we didn't see) and dolphins (which we did see)

This moray eel looked gigantic since this is just part of his middle curled under a ledge; he never moved and I wasn't going to provoke him to see his true length

This moray eel looked gigantic since this is just part of his middle curled under a ledge; he never moved and I wasn't going to provoke him to see his true length

Posted by VagabondCowboy 03:26 Comments (0)

Wide open spaces greet visitors at Capitol Reef National Pk

Capitol Reef National Park was named for the line of white domes and cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, each of which looks somewhat like the United States Capitol building

Capitol Reef National Park was named for the line of white domes and cliffs of Navajo Sandstone, each of which looks somewhat like the United States Capitol building

Much of Capitol Reef looks like a game of Jenga due to the brittle nature of the local sandstone; the park is only 6 miles wide on average but is 60 miles long

Much of Capitol Reef looks like a game of Jenga due to the brittle nature of the local sandstone; the park is only 6 miles wide on average but is 60 miles long

The one room Behunin Cabin was completed in 1882 as home to a family of 13; the boys slept outside while the girls slept in the wagon

The one room Behunin Cabin was completed in 1882 as home to a family of 13; the boys slept outside while the girls slept in the wagon

These petroglyphs were created by Native Americans who lived in the area between 700 and 1300 AD; the Navajo once called this colorful area Land of the Sleeping Rainbow

These petroglyphs were created by Native Americans who lived in the area between 700 and 1300 AD; the Navajo once called this colorful area Land of the Sleeping Rainbow

The dry streambed at Capitol Gorge was used by pioneers to traverse the area; it's hard enough exploring the area by car or on foot so it's incredible to think of what motivated Americans to move west

The dry streambed at Capitol Gorge was used by pioneers to traverse the area; it's hard enough exploring the area by car or on foot so it's incredible to think of what motivated Americans to move west

Hickman Bridge (125 ft high and 133 ft wide) is the destination for the most popular hike in the park; it was created by intermittent flash floods through the Kayenta sandstone

Hickman Bridge (125 ft high and 133 ft wide) is the destination for the most popular hike in the park; it was created by intermittent flash floods through the Kayenta sandstone

The Hickman Bridge Trail goes directly underneath the bridge which is a perspective you don't often get; the park is more than 2 hrs west of Moab and 3 1/2 hrs south of Salt Lake City

The Hickman Bridge Trail goes directly underneath the bridge which is a perspective you don't often get; the park is more than 2 hrs west of Moab and 3 1/2 hrs south of Salt Lake City

The park is littered with volcanic black boulders that are about 20 million years old; supposedly admission is $20 per car per week but there are no manned pay stations like at other parks

The park is littered with volcanic black boulders that are about 20 million years old; supposedly admission is $20 per car per week but there are no manned pay stations like at other parks

Cassidy Arch is named after Butch Cassidy as he and his Wild Bunch used the Grand Wash to get through the Waterpocket Fold; this popular hike was rated strenuous but, other than lots of climbing, it wasn't very difficult

Cassidy Arch is named after Butch Cassidy as he and his Wild Bunch used the Grand Wash to get through the Waterpocket Fold; this popular hike was rated strenuous but, other than lots of climbing, it wasn't very difficult

Mormon settlers created a Pioneer Register on the walls of Capitol Gorge that date back to 1871; the gorge became a wagon trail enabling settlers to cross the Waterpocket Fold

Mormon settlers created a Pioneer Register on the walls of Capitol Gorge that date back to 1871; the gorge became a wagon trail enabling settlers to cross the Waterpocket Fold

Cassidy Arch is not actually an arch but is a natural bridge (you can walk across the top of it); Capitol Reef is a great place to social distance since there are very few tourists

Cassidy Arch is not actually an arch but is a natural bridge (you can walk across the top of it); Capitol Reef is a great place to social distance since there are very few tourists

This mule deer was intrigued by my camera; he came right up to me and sniffed the camera but decided it wasn't edible and went back to eating grass

This mule deer was intrigued by my camera; he came right up to me and sniffed the camera but decided it wasn't edible and went back to eating grass

The Fruita schoolhouse was built in 1896 with the first teacher being a local girl aged 12; the school stayed in operation until 1941 when it closed due to lack of students

The Fruita schoolhouse was built in 1896 with the first teacher being a local girl aged 12; the school stayed in operation until 1941 when it closed due to lack of students

The park was established in 1971 to protect the majority of the 100 mile long Waterpocket Fold (the largest exposed monocline in North America)

The park was established in 1971 to protect the majority of the 100 mile long Waterpocket Fold (the largest exposed monocline in North America)

Posted by VagabondCowboy 05:41 Comments (0)

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