Tom Moody Trail Thursday, Aug 24 2017 

Tom Moody Trail Petroglyphs

Tom Moody Trail Petroglyphs

We spent the last night of our five-week RV adventure in the J&H RV Park in Flagstaff, Arizona. We hiked the nearby Tom Moody Trail, a flat 2.8-mile loop that is part of the 478-acre Picture Canyon Natural & Cultural Preserve. The Rio de Flag, which originates from springs on the southwestern slopes of the San Francisco Peaks, flows adjacent to part of the trail. We especially enjoyed seeing the petroglyphs featuring zig zag and celestial images. Part of the Tom Moody Trail corresponds with a small segment of the 800-mile Arizona Trail. After our hike, I found the following reference online from the Daily Sun (1-27-2009): “Thomas Oakley Moody, 57, died with his good friend Frank Protina when their small plane crashed early on Friday, Jan. 23, 2009. They were [on] the way to a river restoration project near Yuma.” The Don Weaver Trail is only 0.7 miles long and would be another interesting adventure.

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Zion National Park Thursday, Aug 24 2017 

Before leaving the state of Idaho, we stopped for lunch at the Juniper Rest Area. We learned that the Black Pine Valley is the home for a significant nesting population of the ferruginous hawk, the largest of the North American hawks. It would have been special to spot one of these hawks. We spent the night in Brigham City, first called Box Elder. Now the county has that name. On our August 21st drive, we stopped just south of Provo where a kind gentleman let us use a pair of his special glasses so that we could look at the eclipse. Amazing! We stayed at the Fillmore, Utah KOA that provides an extensive offering of cable tv stations.

Our stay the following two nights in Springdale, Utah at the Zion Canyon RV Campground placed us on the Virgin River only a half mile from the south entrance of Zion National Park. We arrived early enough to drive to the Visitor’s Center where we boarded a bus and traveled to the Zion Lodge. We walked the easy Lower Emerald Pool Trail and saw the remnants of waterfalls flowing this late in the season. We then hiked to the Middle Pool with a small waterfall and interesting reflections in a pool of standing water. Then, I took the sandy and rocky moderate trail that climbs to the Upper Emerald Pool. Back at the Zion Lodge, we enjoyed a meal with a good view at the Red Rock Grill.

Court of the Patriarchs

Court of the Patriarchs

The next day we took the Springdale shuttle to the park entrance where we boarded the Zion Canyon Shuttle. Upon descending at the final stop, Temple of Sinawava, we hiked the Riverside Walk. Many people continued into the Narrows. We got “wet feet” thinking about getting wet feet. We took the shuttle to the Grotto. After admiring Angels Landing and those willing to follow 21 switchbacks and rise 1,400 feet in a half-mile. Instead, we hiked the half-mile Grotto Trail to Zion Lodge. Two separate deer and their fawns didn’t mind hikers. At the Court of the Patriarchs stop, I walked 150 feet to an overlook of this aptly named rock formations of Abraham Peak, Isaac Peak, and Jacob Peak. We took the shuttle to the next stop, Canyon Junction, where we walked on the Pa’rus Trail to the Museum. This paved trail that follows the Virgin River was more exposed than we would have liked. At the Museum, we viewed some of the exhibits focused on the human history of Zion National Park, watched the informative film on the park, and attended a ranger presentation on the geology of the park. We finished the day with dinner across the street from our campground at the Spotted Dog where we dined on our last visit to Springdale.

Leaving Zion was an adventure because we needed to drive through a 1.1-mile-long tunnel. RVs are required to pay a $15 fee but all vehicles travel single file and take turns with vehicles traveling in the opposite direction. We were gifted with sightings of big horn sheep on the east side of the tunnel. We didn’t stop for pictures but the views were magnificent. Zion National Park is a very special place!

Boise, Idaho Sunday, Aug 20 2017 

On our drive to Boise we stopped for lunch shortly after crossing the Idaho border at a rest stop with a view of the Snake River. Our campground is in Meridian, not far from the last place my wife’s mother lived. Since we last visited Meridian a new mall, the Village of Meridian, offers upscale restaurants and retail stores. After sharing dinner with three of my wife’s sisters and two of their spouses, we walked around the mall, enjoying the music and water fountain features. One of the sisters hosted a family gathering with six of the seven living children and many of their children and grandchildren. A good time was had by all!

Sacajawea

Sacajawea

The Idaho Botanical Garden, located on land previously occupied by the Idaho State Penitentiary, contains two old guard towers and the Old Penitentiary Cemetery. We walked through the English Garden, Meditation Garden, Rose Garden, Native Plant, and Vegetable Garden. We especially liked the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden that includes examples of plants in four habitats that Meriwether Lewis described during his travels between Great Falls, Montana and The Dalles, Oregon and features a bronze likeness of Sacajawea.

We toured the Idaho History Center special exhibit, “A. Lincoln: His Legacy in Idaho,” where we learned that President Lincoln signed the act creating Idaho Territory on March 4, 1863. The exhibit features many artifacts and informational signs about Lincoln’s life interspersed with historical developments in Idaho. Framed movie posters in the Center’s hallway celebrate Idaho film locations such as “Northwest Passage” (1940) in McCall and “Pale Rider” (1985) in Boulder Creek, Silver Creek, and the Vienna Mine in the Sawtooth National Forest.

Pendleton, Oregon Thursday, Aug 17 2017 

Stella Darby

Stella Darby

Views of St. Helens and Mount Baker became visible as we approached Yakima on our drive to Pendleton. The smoke is finally leaving us. The Pendleton Underground Tour introduced us to a portion of the six miles of tunnels and rooms beneath the streets of Pendleton. Originally, this was a way to bring gold from the train station to a bank. Later, businesses used this method to bring goods to their stores. We visited a reconstructed bar and poker room, a pool room and two bowling lanes, an ice making operation and butcher’s work area, a bathhouse and Chinese laundry, a Chinese jail and opium den, and a speakeasy. We went above ground to visit the Cozy Rooms, the brothel run by Madam Stella Darby from 1928-1967. Before the tour we watched a short video about the leather work of Duff Severe. After dinner at the Hamley Steak House, we walked a short distance on the Pendleton River Walk. It was interesting to learn a little about the history of Pendleton.

Ellensburg, Washington Wednesday, Aug 16 2017 

Draft Horses Barn

Draft Horses Barn

The drive from Kent, Washington to Ellensburg, Washington is not far, but we were slowed down by stop-and-go traffic on portions of the 405 and I-90. We stopped at a rest area a few miles from Ellensburg that gave us views of the Stuart Mountains. Our campsite at the Ellensburg KOA placed us on the fast-moving Yakima River. Our exploration of the city gave us a look at the buildings of Central Washington University. We hoped to hike on the Kittitas County Fairground’s John Wayne Pioneer Trail, but were discouraged by the sun exposure. Instead, we walked around the rodeo and county fairgrounds. We noted that the barns had murals focused on local events and classic quilt designs. The Davidson building, an Italianate built in 1889, is a unique downtown landmark. I was pleased to see that a nearby bike shop had a chess board that looks like it was well used. It was interesting to visit Ellensburg.

Point Defiance Park Tuesday, Aug 15 2017 

Red Wolf

Red Wolf

We started our Tacoma visit at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater used trained animals to emphasize a recycling and reuse philosophy. This message was amplified by a special exhibit of large animal sculptures composed from plastic pollution collected from beaches by the Washed Ashore project. Angela Haseltine Pozzi, founder and artistic director, creatively combined colorful objects. One of the pieces, Sebastian James the Puffin, was especially pleasing given the live horned and tufted puffins. This zoo has worked hard to breed red wolves from near extinction. We especially enjoyed their afternoon feeding. Here are some of the animals that we saw: a Sumatran tiger, a Malayan tapir, Asian elephants, polar bears, muskoxen, arctic foxes, a radiated tortoise, Magellanic penguins, otters, sea lions, and Pacific walruses. We toured the aquarium while construction is ongoing for a new aquarium. Blooming flowers amidst a variety of foliage added to our experience.

After leaving the zoo, we drove the Five Mile Drive through Point Defiance Park with a stop at Owen Beach, the saltwater beach on the shore of Commencement Bay. We stopped our car to avoid a mother racoon and her two young, but didn’t take the time for a picture because there were two cars behind me. Fort Nisqually was closed for the day. Built in 1833, this Hudson’s Bay Company trading point was originally located in DuPont, Washington. One hundred years later two original buildings were moved to Point Defiance. Four deer were grazing outside the Fort’s wall. There are many trails we could explore on a future trip. Tacoma is rightfully proud of this beautiful natural park.

We shared an early dinner with one of my wife’s sisters and her husband at Harbor Lights. We had a table with a great view of the Sound. After dinner, we walked past Fireboat No. 1 to the Les Davis Pier and our first view of Mount Rainier. The smoke is finally beginning to dissipate.

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