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Old 28th December 2013, 09:19   #16
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Default Re: Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)

Day 5: Trekking in Arches National Park, Utah.

Woke up to a pleasant morning. Wanted to cover as much trails as possible in the park.

Went straight to Devils Garden parking lot which is also the starting point for the trail to Landscape Arch. It is a 1 hour round trip trail.

Double-O Arch – near the Landscape Arch
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Landscape Arch. Length of this arch is about the size of a football field.
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Part of the trail is still covered in snow.
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Pine Tree Arch
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Skyline Arch
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Path to the Sand Dune Arch – passing through narrow gaps.
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Sand Dune Arch
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Broken Arch
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The background of arches
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1183.jpg
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Old 28th December 2013, 11:27   #17
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Default Re: Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)

Double Arch – a 30 minute round trip trail.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1184.jpg

Reaching under the arch
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Below the Double Arch
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Decided to see the Delicate Arch one more time – in sunlight. So, embarking on the trail again.

View of the trail from parking lot. It’s somewhere on the barren rocky section where we got lost on the day before.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1193.jpg

Closer look at the trail – It is the right bottom corner of the frame where we got lost.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1194.jpg

We had around 90 minutes for sunset and took a small detour to see some petroglyphs.
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Reached the arch in 55 minutes this time.
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Waited for the sunset.
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Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1198.jpg


Started the walk back immediately after sunset. Reached the parking lot before it was dark. Went to hotel after dinner.
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Old 28th December 2013, 12:25   #18
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Default Re: Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)

Day 6: Arches National Park, Utah -> Monument Valley Tribal Park, Arizona -> Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado


Started with a quick drive along the Colorado River.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1199.jpg

A bridge for the cyclists/joggers.
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Driving on highway 191 towards south today.

Different terrains on the way.
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Nearing the Monument Valley.
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Closer look.
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Crossing in to Arizona
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Monument Valley Tribal Park
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1221.jpg

Natural monuments.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1222.jpg

Closer look at few of the monuments
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1224.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1225.jpg

Driving on highway again. This time on highway 160 traveling east.
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Crossing on to Colorado state
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Went to the hotel in Cortez, Colorado. Nice town.
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Old 28th December 2013, 13:44   #19
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Default Re: Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)

Day 7: Exploring Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1235.jpg

Started the climb of mountain – Sunny, but snow everywhere around.
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Reached the visitor center and learned about how American Indians lived here during AD 1200s. (In India, we had wealthy kings ruling during that period).
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First view of the remains of cliff dwellings.
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Closer look at where we are heading to.
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They lived in pit houses too.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1246.jpg

This one is the “kiva” where they used to conduct ceremonies. Entrance is from the top.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1247.jpg

These had good architectural designs to have healthy airflow inside the kivas.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1248.jpg

Peek inside one of the rooms.
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Another set of houses.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1256.jpg

Look where it is constructed. Extremely difficult to reach there with no sign of water source nearby.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1257.jpg

All these houses are along the cliffs separating this valley.
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Balcony House.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1259.jpg

One more
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1260.jpg

Cliff Palace
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1270.jpg

Back to Hotel for a good sleep after dinner.
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Old 28th December 2013, 15:42   #20
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Default Re: Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)

Day 8: Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado -> Petrified National Forest, Arizona -> Flagstaff, Arizona.

Entering New Mexico state. We are just passing through this state.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1275.jpg

Hotels/restaurants made with ancient architecture to attract tourists.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1276.jpg

Back in Arizona state and Today’s destination
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1279.jpg

At the visitor center to collect local maps
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1280.jpg

A sample of what is ahead for us.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1281.jpg

Panoramic view of painted desert
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1285.jpg

More from painted desert
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Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1290.jpg

Painted desert is very vast area.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1293.jpg

Moved on to Blue Mesa
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1296.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1297.jpg


First glimpses of petrified wood.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1300.jpg
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Trail to see the collection of petrified wood
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1309.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1310.jpg

Somewhere near the Petrified Forest museum
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1316.jpg

Sunset colors
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1318.jpg

Difficult to believe that these are stones until you are near to touch and feel them. Scientists say the water flowing through buried wood has replaced organic material from wood with minerals over the years and they have turned in to stones, without loosing its structural look. Nature's wonders.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1319.jpg

Closer look at the wood that turned in to stone.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1320.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1324.jpg

Amazing colors
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1325.jpg

Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1326.jpg

Park is closing and Rangers are asking everyone to leave. Two hours of drive remaining to the Hotel.

Off to the Hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona – End of day.
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Old 28th December 2013, 21:57   #21
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Default Re: Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)

Day 9: Flagstaff, Arizona -> Sunset Crater Volcano National Park, Arizona -> Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona -> Vasco, California.

This was an unplanned day. Instead of heading back home, thought of seeing some nearby dormant volcanoes.


Spotted white trees on the way and stopped for taking photos.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1330.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1333.jpg

Sunset Crater volcanic National Park.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1352.jpg

Volcanic rocks. This area had volcano eruption around 800 years ago.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1335.jpg

Wanted to hike to the top of a volcano. But looking at the state of the trail, called it off. Even if we reach the top, we may see only snow.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1337.jpg

Closer look at the rock
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1339.jpg

Even closer look
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1340.jpg

Driving around the park area
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1344.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1347.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1348.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1349.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1350.jpg

Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1353.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1355.jpg
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Old 28th December 2013, 22:37   #22
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Default Re: Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)

Decided to have a quick look at the Grand Canyon too. It is just 1 hour away. On the way to Grand Canyon – view of Little Colorado River.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1356.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1357.jpg

Highway 64 leading to Grand Canyon
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Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1364.jpg

Greeted by a rare phenomenon called “Cloud Inversion” at Grand Canyon. Entire Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1367.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1372.jpg


Clouds filled to the brink of Grand Canyon.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1374.jpg

Couple of miles ahead, view without the clouds.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1375.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1378.jpg
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1379.jpg

Back on highway – destination Home at Sunnyvale, California.
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1380.jpg

After 7.5 hours of drive, reached Vasco, California at around 10:30pm. Decided to call it a day and checked-in to a Hotel. GPS was showing 3.5 hrs more to reach home.



Day 10: Vasco, California -> Sunnyvale, California

Somewhere on highway 152, between freeway I5 and Gilroy
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1381.jpg

Near Gilroy, California
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1382.jpg

Back Home - Sunnyvale, California
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-dsc_1384.jpg




Actual route map:
Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)-a_actual_route.jpg

Trip Summary:
Total 3145 miles covered in 10 days with 62 hours and 38 minutes of driving. Route spanned across six of the south western states of USA.


I do want to say thanks to team bhp travelogues. They are real good inspiration and helped a lot in my planning. Also, feels good to see the "BHPian" tag on my username. A hard-earned one.
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Old 30th December 2013, 11:16   #23
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Default Re: Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)

Wow! Killer of a travelogue. You are sure living the American dream, just not the consumerist one!
The Pink sand dunes would have definitely been a better visit at a different time of the year and a more grand scene in my view.
Its also good to see those long straight roads to Monument Valley. Seen those on movies and have long wanted to be there some day. Someday!
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Old 30th December 2013, 12:10   #24
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Default Re: Photologue - To the Red Planet on Earth (Utah & Arizona)

Man, amazing place. True to your handle

I appreciate the efforts you have put in to organize these pics, and prepare a great travelog for people like us - who can see this through your eyes!

Beautiful...
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