United States

From Glacier / Waterton to Banff / Yoho Nationalparks

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Wednesday, 22 August 2018 19:52

On July 24th 2018 we crossed the border to Canada via the International Peace Park World Heritage Site Waterton - Glacier. Firstly we drove to Waterton Village to check the actual conditions in the Waterton National Park. It turned out that all streets and most of the trails were closed due to a huge fire last September. Still we were lucky because there was an impressive Pow Wow festival of the Blackfoot Indians, an unforgettable experience for us.

Indian Chiefs

 

There was dancing the whole afternoon including many kids supported by drumming. The costumes were very colorful and so beautiful.

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Wyoming - Bears and More

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Thursday, 19 July 2018 02:18

We saw incredible much wildlife in the beautiful mountains of Wyoming. This state is adored with two famous National Parks - Grand Teton and Yellowstone, and many wilderness areas like the majestic Absaroka, Bighorn and Windriver Ranges with the tallest summits of the Rocky Mountains outside of Colorado. There is no bigger city in Wyoming, just half a million people are living on 253,000 square kilometers (2/3 the size of Germany!).

Little brown Black Bear climbing on a tree trunk

 

Our first impression of Wyoming was Japanese because we were stopped on the highway close to Laramie by a twin of our car full of Japanese men. They were so excited seeing a European Volkswagen Camper based on EuroVan which is the US version of the European Transporter T4.


   

The highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains

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Saturday, 23 June 2018 04:43

In Colorado are the highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains, which are more than 4,800 kilometers long and mainly several hundred kilometers wide. The European Alps are tiny in comparison with the Rocky Mountains but have few slightly higher summits.

American people measure altitudes in feet, thus 14ers are important for them (more than 14,000 feet - approximately 4270 meters sea-level). All 58 14ers of the Rocky Mountains are in Colorado. More than 500 summits exceed 4000 meters sea-level. Its tallest point Mount Elbert (4401 meters sea-level) is the second highest summit of continental USA (without Alaska) after Mount Whitney in California.

Marion and Alfred on top of Mount Elbert

 

   

Rocky Mountains - Ski Mountaineering and Denver

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Monday, 14 May 2018 19:33

End of March 2018 we came the first time to the Rocky Mountains via the highway Interstate 40 between Great Junction and Denver. We had taken our skies from Germany and we were eager to do some Ski Mountaineering. Unfortunately the conditions were everything but good because it was very stormy, cloudy and much to warm. In the year 2018 the southern Rocky Mountains received unusually little snow. Many ridges up to 4000 meters sea-level and more were without snow. However we did two nice tours in the Front Range close to the Eisenhower Tunnel and in the Vazquez Peak Wilderness Area.

Alfred in the valley behind the western entrance of the Eisenhower Tunnel

 

   

Monument Valley, Petrified Forest and other treasures on Colorado Plateau

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Thursday, 05 April 2018 03:10

We came back again to the Colorado Plateau from the south via northern Arizona where some marvelous parks and areas are located. It is mainly the land of the indigenous Navajo Nation which is with more than 300,000 people the second biggest native tribe in USA. In this region we saw many stunning cliff dwellings of the ancient people built approximately 1,000 years ago. It is still a secret why most of them were left around 1300.

Thanks to Marlboro, many (western) movies and film stars like John Wayne Monument Valley is one of the most famous parts of North America. It is managed by the Navajo people and shows in addition to the overwhelming landscape actual and historical Navajo life in an impressive little museum.

West Mitten, East Mitten and Merrick Butte seen from the Visitor Center of Monument Valley

  

Remarkable are 400 Navajo Code Talkers which played a famous role during World War II by relaying radio messages using their own language, which the Japanese were unable to understand.

Our first stop was the beautiful Petrified Forest National Park with colorful specimens from small shards to massive trunks of a prehistoric forest in the arid Painted Desert.


   

Grand Canyon and southern Arizona

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Sunday, 11 March 2018 02:22

Grand Canyon is one of Earth's most powerful inspiring landscapes overwhelming the senses. It's system of gorges created by the mighty Colorado River, 450 kilometers long, up to 27 kilometers wide and up to 1,600 meters deep. In addition to its beauty it's full of live, an island in an arid environment. People lived there for more than 12,000 years. Thanks to the high elevation change a wide range of plant and animal communities are found on its slopes.

Bad weather on the upper Bright Angel Trail

 

To avoid the usual crowd of visitors we came mid of February 2018 to the south rim of Grand Canyon. Sometimes it was a little chilly in the morning on the 2,200 meters high plateau (up to -9°C) and we enjoyed some snow.


   

Las Vegas 2nd and its environment

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Thursday, 15 February 2018 02:52

We came back to Las Vegas on December 19th 2017 and disaster started on the next day: Our little motor-home which we had stored in Overton did not start. First we exchanged the battery, then the starter, then the engine, then the exhaust manifold and so on. We stayed in the Las Vegas region much longer than we had planned - until beginning of February 2018. But this mess gave us the chance to enjoy the American way of Live and to explore Las Vegas including its marvelous environment with many mountains in depth.

Happy New Year Las Vegas!

 

   

Las Vegas and three National Parks of southern Utah

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017 20:43

Las Vegas bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World for its innumerably casinos, huge resorts and fancy shows and other leisure activities. More than 40 millions tourists come to Las Vegas every year, also many couples for marriage which is quite easy in there.

Before we came to Las Vegas beginning of May 2017 we visited the outstanding National Parks Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion of southern Utah.

Pyramid with black lava stones in the Capitol Reef National Park

    

Capitol Reef's defining feature is a wrinkle in the Earth's crust extending more than 150 kilometers from Thousand Lake Mountain to Lake Powell. It is a classical one-sided fold with a formidable barrier in the east like a barrier reef in an ocean.

   

Arches, Canyonlands and Mesa Verde National Parks

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Sunday, 25 June 2017 11:37

The Southwest has the highest density of National Parks within the United States of America. Arches and Canyonlands are wonderful natural treasures in Utah. Outstanding is the Mesa Verde National Park in the southwest corner of Colorado with its stunning cliff dwellings built by the Ancestral Pueblo People between AD 1150 and 1300. To our mind this World Heritage Site is in line with Machu Picchu in Peru and the Maya pyramids in Yucatan / Mexico.

Cliff Palace which is with 150 rooms and 23 kivas (round sunken rooms of ceremonial importance) the largest cliff dwelling in North America

 

There is a nice dry campsite on public BLM lands few hundreds meters outside of the National Park where we stayed free of charge three pleasant nights (GPS coordinates: N37° 21.569' W108° 25.371').

   

New Mexico

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017 03:14

The beautiful and pristine state New Mexico has a lot of different landscapes: Dry deserts and wilderness, lush valleys, and tall and snow-capped mountains.

Prairie Dog  

And it is full of history. The first nuclear bomb was developed and tested in its southern deserts. New Mexico's capital Santa Fe was the hub of the railway in the late 19th and early 20th century which connected the East and West of USA. Most fascinating is the Indian art and culture of the indigenous people. The World Heritage Site Chaco is in line with southern touristic magnets of the Maya and Inca monuments. The Anasazi people built a lot of villages, cliff dwellings and cave houses mainly between 800AD and 1100AD.
 

   

Texas Southwest

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Saturday, 08 April 2017 01:33

The 2nd largest state of the United States Texas is not famous for mountains but for its oil, cattle, prairies, pastures, deserts, nice beaches, heat and huge cities like Dallas or Houston. In is southwest corner we found some interesting peaks in the two National Parks Big Bend and Guadalupe.

On March 9th 2017 we crossed the border from Mexico to the busy town Del Rio without any issues. Our first stop was the supermarket Walmart because we were curious about fresh food which we could not take over the border. Jesus, the prices for food were shockingly high in comparison to Mexico or Germany. In the afternoon we hiked the Sunrise Trail from the Visitor Center of the Amistad National Recreation Area. The views to the Amistad Reservoir were excellent.

Blooming Cactuses