Showing posts with label US National Park Pass. Show all posts
Showing posts with label US National Park Pass. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

“Where God Put the West”

Moab, Utah “where God put the West’.
        -- John Wayne, 1961, while filming The Comancheros on location

Thanks to movies and television, when you think of the ‘Wild West’ or ‘Out West’ or ‘Cowboy Country’ in the United States, images come to mind of a vast, barren landscape. Probably with a tumbleweed or two rolling past, a desert wind howling with an ominous cloud overhead, maybe a herd of buffalo, coyote, and, of course, a cowboy looking a lot like John Wayne atop his trusty ol’ Paint. 

Monument Valley, Utah in the distance
You are probably thinking of southeastern Utah, the location where a large number of those movies were filmed in the mid-20th Century. On our late summer road trip through the area, I wouldn't have been surprised to see a cowboy or two gallop past. With so many National and Navajo Parks in the area we will need to go back one day for another dose of what has drawn film-makers and tourists to the area for decades.

Map picture
National Parks in Southeast Utah and Northwest Arizona
While I’ve previously written about Monument Valley and Moab, today’s focus is Arches National Park just four miles north of Moab. Established as a National Park in 1929, it features more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches well as hundreds of unique geological formations.

Arches, arches everywhere
We set out about 9:30 a.m. Friday morning of Labor Day weekend to visit the 73,234-acre park. (That is about 119 square miles or 310 square kilometers). I note the time because as the day wore on the lines grew significantly and by Saturday morning cars waiting to enter the park stretched the length of the entryway and out to the highway. Wait times can become significant. Rangers will close the park when they’ve reached the maximum number of visitors.

Looking back at Moab as we head into Arches National Park
The 40-mile round trip road through the park begins with the two-lane road climbing sharply just after the entry gates. Elevations in the park run from 3,960 feet along the Colorado River to 5,653 at its Elephant Butte.  That tiny building – as it appears in the photo – is the large Visitor Center and shouldn’t be missed.

Petra, Jordan or Moab, Utah?
‘How could anything top Monument Valley?’ that wonderful stretch of land we’d traveled through just the day before. We couldn't imagine anything topping that, but we were only a few minutes into the park before we knew it was going to rival, if not exceed, what we had seen in Monument Valley. We were stunned at the similarities between Arches and Jordan’s Petra so we weren’t surprised to learn that parts of ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ had been filmed in both locations.

Mother Nature's handiwork
Precipitation in this area is less than 10 inches a year and on the day we visited the sky was so blue and the sun so bright you needed sun glasses to look at the amazing rock formations (and sun screen and hats).

The national park roadway
According to National Geographic, 300 million years ago inland seas covered this vast area, refilling and evaporating 29 times leaving salt beds thousands of feet deep. Because salt is less dense than rock, it rose up through it forming domes and ridges.

Views at every curve in the road
Most of the arches in the park are red sandstone which was deposited a mere 150 million years ago.

Stones or statues?
Small pull-outs and parking areas are provided along the route through the park.  In some areas trails lead from the parking areas taking visitors a bit closer or allowing a different perspective as was the case with the balanced rock below:

Balanced rock
From the parking lot, this is how the rock appeared. But from the trail that led around it, this is how it looked:

Everything has two-sides to its story
A good reminder that there are two sides to every story and its good to remember it is all in your perspective!

Some needed to get up close and personal
The arches were many – and you’ll note from my photos – never devoid of the tourist who needed to get up close and personal.

Trails in the park are user-friendly
Trails were well maintained and easy to navigate.  Some used walking sticks as the gravel made it difficult in places to get a foot-hold, but most were easily traveled. (Not recommended to do them at high noon as we found ourselves doing them – early morning or late afternoon would be much better both in terms of heat and lighting for photos.)

Too much to see in only one trip
They describe the formations as fins, towers, ribs, gargoyles, hoodos and balanced rocks in this park.  By whatever name, we found them all stunning.

Nature's varnish
The black substance, we learned at the visitor’s center, is a natural ‘varnish’ that the stone produces.

Use your imagination on this one
Our National Park’s just celebrated their 100th birthday and it takes a trip to a park like this one to remind us just what a national treasure we have in these magnificent places.  And for those of you ‘boomers’ out there a reminder that 'old age' has its benefits, like the National Park's life-long pass that gets you in to every National Park as many times as you wish to visit will cost you only $10.  And that to our way of thinking, is one of the best travel deals to be had!

Arches National Park - 'a must-visit' in Utah
For all the information you need on Arches National Park go to the park’s website:

For information on the National Park Pass for Seniors:

Thanks so much for the time you spent with us today ~ it is always nice to have you with us.  A big welcome to our new followers and subscribers; we hope you’ll comment often as that is what makes this blog fun!  Our wishes to you for safe and happy travels until we are together again ~ and next week we begin our tales from Greece where we've taken up residence at our Stone House on the Hill for the autumn.

Linking up this week with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Travel Tip Tuesday: America the Beautiful for only $10

DSCF1241Smokey the Bear, that icon of the U.S. Forest Service  has got one smokin’ deal for all you senior citizens out there.

Did you know that for $10 those of you who are 62 years of age and older can obtain a lifetime pass that gets you into more than 2,000 federal recreation sites?

Thanks for today’s Travel Tip goes to Larry in New Jersey and his son Aaron in Washington State, who tipped us off to this incredible deal.

Residents of the United States know that it costs to visit our national forests and federal recreation lands these days. 

The annual pass price: $80.
The senior citizen lifetime pass price: $10.

What does the senior pass do?

WARoadTrip2012 187Covers Entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

At places with a vehicle charge it covers the pass owner and passengers in the car.

Even better, it covers the pass owner and three additional adults in the car if it is a place that charges a per-person fee.

How to get the pass?

Passes can be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using an application form that is provided on the National Park website (click the link).  For passes obtained by mail there is an additional $10 processing fee.

We recommend you check out the website listed above as it offers details about the Senior Pass and the amenities it provides as well as information on Free Annual Passes for U.S. Military members and their dependents; Free Access Passes for those with permanent disabilities and Free Volunteer Passes.

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