The Mighty Junebugg – a June of all Trades


Zion National Park: Day 1
September 18, 2009, 11:02 pm
Filed under: camping, Cooking, Life, National Parks, Road Trip, Travel, Utah, Zion National Park

Since its almost that time of year again, I thought I’d post up a trip from last October. Zion National Park is an amazing place, add the colors of Fall and it really does feel like heaven on Earth. I’m planning another trip to Zion in the middle of this October 09 and would love company, if you want to come along… let me know!

Zion is part of the “Grand Staircase” which includes the Grand Canyon and Brice Canyon. The Grand Staircase refers to an immense sequence of sedimentary rock layers that stretch south from Bryce Canyon National Park through Zion National Park and into the Grand Canyon. In the 1870s, geologist Clarence Dutton first conceptualized this region as a huge stairway ascending out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon northward with the cliff edge of each layer forming giant steps.

Zion is about a 7 hour drive from Long Beach and is about an hour past St. George, Utah. On this trip we left at midnight. Along the way we stopped for breakfast and grocery shopping so we arrived around 10 am. There are two campsites in the park but South Campground doesn’t require reservations. There are no showers in the campground but take a two mile drive into town and there are pay showers available. We set up camp and thought we would sleep for a couple of hours before exploring our surroundings. After about 3 minutes in the tent, we knew it would be impossible to sleep. We were too excited AND tents are like saunas during the day time. It was in the 80’s and the skies were bright blue. It made a beautiful contrast against the beautiful red rocks that make up Zion’s canyon.

the view from our campsite at South Campground

the view from our campsite at South Campground

We got ready and went out to hike and explore.

Junebugg, your favorite happy camper

Junebugg, your favorite happy camper

Zion is open year round but April through October, cars are not allowed to drive to the points of interest. There just isn’t enough room to accommodate all the cars during this busy season so the park offers a wonderful tram service that runs very frequently and stops at every point of interest. The tram is air conditioned, free and offers an audio tour during its route.

the Zion tram system is also powered by natural gas or something like that

the Zion tram system is also powered by natural gas or something like that

Zion rocks!

Zion rocks!

Fall leaves in Zion. This pic was taken along the trail up to Weeping Rock

Fall leaves in Zion. This pic was taken along the trail up to Weeping Rock

Weeping Rock in Zion National Park, 800 year old water filters through drips from the rock. I felt like I was getting blessed by holy water

Weeping Rock in Zion National Park, 800 year old water filters through drips from the rock. I felt like I was getting blessed by holy water

Fall leaves against crisp blue sky

Fall leaves against crisp blue sky

Love is everywhere

Love is everywhere

Fall leaves

Fall leaves

the colors were simply amazing!

the colors were simply amazing!

reds, oranges & yellows against the last of the green

reds, oranges & yellows against the last of the green

Along the hike up the Three Pools... almost to the 3rd pool!

Along the hike up the Three Pools... almost to the 3rd pool!

deer aren't afraid of people & wander comfortably thru the campground

deer aren't afraid of people & wander comfortably thru the campground

Wild Turkey was our poison of the trip... and it was wild!

Wild Turkey was our poison of the trip... and it was wild!

Chicken Curry with boilermakers was a nice way to end the day

Chicken Curry with boilermakers was a nice way to end the day



Zion National Park: Day 2
September 18, 2009, 11:02 pm
Filed under: camping, Cooking, Life, National Parks, Photography, Road Trip, Travel, Zion National Park

We woke up and made some breakfast. Today we planned to take the tram up to the top of the canyon and get off at the last stop, the Temple of Sinawava. We brought water shoes and planned to hike back down towards our campground IN the Virgin River which carved the canyon over millions of years. The water is knee deep or so and I recommend a hiking stick to help balance yourself while walking over smooth and sometimes slippers round rocks that pave the riverbed.

spam & rice was a lovely way to start the day

spam & rice was a lovely way to start the day

honey, ginseng, chai tea for breakfast

honey, ginseng, chai tea for breakfast

the tram route

the tram route

WuTang Rock in Zion National Park hee hee

WuTang Rock in Zion National Park hee hee

We hiked in and along the Virgin River all day

We hiked in and along the Virgin River all day

Zion rock formations

Zion rock formations

Junebugg the happy camper

Junebugg the happy camper

the road is red in Zion because they used rock quarried locally

the road is red in Zion because they used rock quarried locally

a motorcycle tent trailer!

a motorcycle tent trailer!

pasta & Modelo for dinner

pasta & Modelo for dinner

night cap... the Wild Turkey in action!

night cap... the Wild Turkey in action!



Zion National Park: Day 3
September 18, 2009, 11:02 pm
Filed under: camping, Cooking, Life, National Parks, Road Trip, Travel, Zion National Park

On this day, we were going to hike The Narrows! We started off with a hearty breakfast to store a little energy for what was to come.

Hiking breakfast: leftover curry, eggs & turkey bacon

Hiking breakfast: leftover curry, eggs & turkey bacon

Zion Canyon is wide and deep but it comes to a place where the canyon walls rise up over 1000ft vertically. The opposing walls come within 10 or 20 feet of eachother and the Virgin River flows between them. At this point, there is no dry land to walk on, the river flows from wall to wall so hikers walk IN the river. Many people rent waterproof overalls & hiking poles at places like this but you can just wear old tennis shoes with no socks or water shoes. The water isn’t very warm but you get used to it pretty quickly. Along the river there are a few berms of dry land and if you apply for a permit, you can even camp on them. When hiking the Narrows, ALWAYS check with the ranger station about weather conditions. Even if the sky is blue, rain fall 50 miles away can cause flash flooding in the canyon and you risk drowning or being crushed by boulders or tree trunks pushed along in the flood. All the scary shit aside, this is my favorite hike on the planet so far!

almost to the entrance of the Narrows

almost to the entrance of the Narrows

the Virgin River glistening in the sunlight

the Virgin River glistening in the sunlight

it was finally time to step into the water and hike into the Narrows

it was finally time to step into the water and hike into the Narrows

Virgin River

Virgin River

Wall Street in the Zion Narrows

Wall Street in the Zion Narrows

a lonely tree hangs on to life

a lonely tree hangs on to life

Abigail fell in the water so we had to build a fire to dry her pants

Abigail fell in the water so we had to build a fire to dry her pants

we stacked some blessings stones

we stacked some blessings stones

DAMN!!!! Don't feed the squirrels, its serious!

DAMN!!!! Don't feed the squirrels, its serious!

Dinner after a long day of hiking

Dinner after a long day of hiking



Zion National Park: Day 4
September 18, 2009, 11:01 pm
Filed under: camping, Life, National Parks, Photography, Road Trip, Travel, Zion National Park

We woke up and packed up camp. It was time to head home but we planned to take Zion National Park Scenic Byway.

good ol' #85 was our home at South Campground

good ol' #85 was our home at South Campground

We took the scenic drive and had to go thru this tunnel

We took the scenic drive and had to go thru this tunnel

a view from inside the tunnel looking out

a view from inside the tunnel looking out

beautiful Zion rock formations and colors

beautiful Zion rock formations and colors

Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park

Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park

the canyon rose high above us...

the canyon rose high above us...

red rock

red rock

my car hit a milestone on the way home

my car hit a milestone on the way home



Arizona Road Trip Day 1: Hoover Dam
September 2, 2009, 1:38 am
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Life, National Parks, Road Trip, Travel

Just outside of Las Vegas lies a fascinating American monument. For the childrenless 20 or 30 somethings reading this, it might bring back torturous flashbacks of ancient school day field trips to boring relics built by really old people. I assure you this trip was both fascinating and entertaining. We were headed to Grand Canyon but decided to stop at the Hoover Dam just to say we had been there. This was to be a 4 night, 5 day adventure ending at Slide Rock near Sedona, AZ. We woke up before the sun on Monday morning and were on the road by 5 am. By doing so we were able to avoid all the rush hour traffic. After driving for 3 hours, hunger set in and we decided to stop in Baker at Bob’s Big Boy for some breakfast.

Abi & June with good ol' Bob in Baker

Abi & June with good ol' Bob in Baker

91 degrees F at 8am according to the world's largest thermometer

91 degrees F at 8am according to the world's largest thermometer

Another hour & 45 minute drive and we were at Hoover Dam! I haven’t been there since I was a kid and a lot had been done since I was there last. An amazing desert colored visitor center and entrance had been built.

the new entrance & visitor center for the dam

the new entrance & visitor center for the dam

No alcohol or guns.... Best Sign Ever

No alcohol or guns.... Best Sign Ever

this place had higher security than an airport to enter

this place had higher security than an airport to enter

Drawings of what lies beneath at the dam

Drawings of what lies beneath at the dam

the turbine room creates electricity! (sorry for the blurry pic)

the turbine room creates electricity! (sorry for the blurry pic)

they use cool trikes like this to get around inside the massive dam

they use cool trikes like this to get around inside the massive dam

Face of the dam, I really wanna see someone skateboard this!

Face of the dam, I really wanna see someone skateboard this!

Visitors used to enter thru the two towers you see, now its more high tech

Visitors used to enter thru the two towers you see, now its more high tech

looking at the water that comes out of the damn dam

looking at the water that comes out of the damn dam

the ingenuity used in building these structures amazes me

the ingenuity used in building these structures amazes me

Las Vegas is only 35 miles north of Hoover Dam

Las Vegas is only 35 miles north of Hoover Dam

looking strait down the bowl of the dam (this makes your tummy tickle)

looking strait down the bowl of the dam (this makes your tummy tickle)

the Hoover Dam Bypass is scheduled to be complete in late 2010

the Hoover Dam Bypass is scheduled to be complete in late 2010

This bridge is an amazing feat and has even been on cable tv’s Extreme Engineering. When complete in 2010, it will be the World’s biggest arch bridge and help to alieveiate traffic on the 2 lane hwy that crosses the dam itself. Its cool to have been able to witness such an amazing structure in its building stage. Check out the tv episode about it of you have a chance, its pretty interesting.

Water levels have dropped drastically in recent years, notice the white line on the edge

Water levels have dropped drastically in recent years, notice the white line on the edge

Driving across the dam takes one from Nevada to Arizona

Driving across the dam takes one from Nevada to Arizona

Many men died while building this dam, I wonder if its haunted

Many men died while building this dam, I wonder if its haunted

they had some cool Art Deco metal work, I loved this Aquarians ass!

they had some cool Art Deco metal work, I loved this Aquarians ass!

rubbing the feet of this giant winged person is supposedly good luck

rubbing the feet of this giant winged person is supposedly good luck

I always gotta give a shot out to California... & LONG BEACH while I'm at it!

I always gotta give a shot out to California... & LONG BEACH while I'm at it!

after the damn we stopped at a seedy chinese buffet in a scary small redneck town

after the damn we stopped at a seedy chinese buffet in a scary small redneck town

the cocktails were damn good and a great way to celebrate our trip to the dam!

the cocktails were damn good and a great way to celebrate our trip to the dam!

So we were feeling pretty sleepy at this point but our next stop was the Grand Canyon and the anticipation was high! Another 3 hour drive and we were finally at the Grand Canyon. When you get there, the canyon isn’t visible; it just looks like desert for as far as the eye can see. We paid our National park entrance fee of $25; which is good for one car for 7 days. Once inside the park we went to check out campgrounds. Since it was the middle of the week, we didn’t make reservations… luckily we found a spot at Mather Campground. The campground had warm pay showers and we were content. There wasn’t much daylight left so we hurried to set up camp.

Home Sweet home for the next 2 days

Home Sweet home for the next 2 days

This is our kitchen setup (where the magic happens)

This is our kitchen setup (where the magic happens)

We didn't make it to the rim in time for sunset, this is from the campsite

We didn't make it to the rim in time for sunset, this is from the campsite

It was a full moon at the rim and the canyon was MAGNIFICENT! We joined the ranger along with 400 other tourists for a full moon nature walk. There were so many people it was hard to hear but still spectacular

It was a full moon at the rim and the canyon was MAGNIFICENT! We joined the ranger along with 400 other tourists for a full moon nature walk. There were so many people it was hard to hear but still spectacular

The visitor center had some children's wisdom: "Don't step on plants"

The visitor center had some children's wisdom: "Don't step on plants"

"Don't take sticks or branches or bark for a fire"

"Don't take sticks or branches or bark for a fire"

"Don't cut the flowers with a knife."

"Don't cut the flowers with a knife."

By this time were  we so tired we could barely keep our eyes open. We went back to camp, scrounged up some dinner and went to bed. In the morning we were going to see the canyon by the light of day, and we could hardly wait!



Arizona Road Trip Day 2: Grand Canyon
September 2, 2009, 1:38 am
Filed under: Arizona, Arizona Road Trip, camping, Cooking, Grand Canyon, Life, Photography, Road Trip, Travel

We woke up early; excited to explore the canyon. Since the National Park is protected, personal cars aren’t really welcomed at view points around the canyons rim. The parking lots just aren’t big enough to accommodate everyone Millions of people visit the Grand Canyon every year to see one of the Wonders of the World. The environmental impact of all the people and their cars would be too great so the park service came up with a wonderful solution. Visitors park their cars and take air conditioned trams to all points of interest. No one has to worry about parking or traffic or any of those mundane issues. Here are some of the sights we saw…

Abi, Ethan & June... enjoying the air conditioned tram ride to the rim

Abi, Ethan & June... enjoying the air conditioned tram ride to the rim

the first glimpse takes your breath away, "Grand" Canyon is not an accurate discription

the first glimpse takes your breath away, "Grand" Canyon is not an accurate description of how immense it really is.

a distant view of the Bright Angel Trail which goes down to the canyon floor

a distant view of the Bright Angel Trail which goes down to the canyon floor

a closer look: this is a strenuous trail that requires the whole day and LOTS of water. Its 20 degrees hotter at the bottom of the canyon

a closer look: this is a strenuous trail that requires the whole day and LOTS of water. Its 20 degrees hotter at the bottom of the canyon!

Love is in the air

Love is in the air

Millions of years of erosion by the Colorado River formed the MILE DEEP canyon!

Millions of years of erosion by the Colorado River formed the MILE DEEP canyon!

its huge and vast and no camera in the world can capture its greatness

its huge and vast and no camera in the world can capture its greatness

its SU-PER ABIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

its SU-PER ABIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!

After a sweltering hike along the Rim Trail, we went back to camp to wash up and have a snack before going back to the rim to watch sunset. When we got to camp, we discovered why you are supposed to secure all your food items. A bird had ravaged our pantry, he ate everything from chips & incense to tea & cereal. Items and trash were strewn across the campsite. The bird was proud of his work and sat squawking in a tree high above us… laughing at our lack of caution.

We didn't even open the box yet and he ate it all!

We didn't even open the box yet and he ate it all!

He must be a professional, he even left a calling card!!!

He must be a professional, he even left a calling card!!!

A snack of honey mustard chips, seaweed and apples hit the spot!

A snack of honey mustard chips, seaweed and apples hit the spot!

Next we showered up and headed back to the rim to watch sunset. Sunset is amazing from any point in the canyon, there is no bad spot to watch the spectacle. The sky changes colors every minute and the sun paints the canyon walls in a million colors. I’m not even gonna caption these next pics, just marvel at how the sights changed from minute to minute. These pictures were taken in order over the span of about 30 minutes…

2DSC042552DSC042612DSC042652DSC042692DSC042732DSC042752DSC042782DSC042812DSC042982DSC042992DSC043022DSC043052DSC043142DSC043172DSC043182DSC043212DSC043242DSC043272DSC04328WOWSERS! That sunset was bananas! We went back to camp, cooked dinner and settled in around the fire for jiffy pop and beer. I gotta say it was a good day!



Arizona Road Trip Day 3: Grand Canyon to Slide Rock

Despite the sweltering heat the day before, we woke up to a cold and overcast Grand Canyon. It was time to pack up camp and head 2 hours south to Slide Rock State Park. On the way out we explored more of the canyon and tried to stay warm.

3DSC04348

Tusayan Museum offered a glimpse of how the Native Americans lived

Tusayan Museum offered a glimpse of how the Native Americans lived

This is where a kiva once stood

This is where a kiva once stood

The river was sooooo far down, it was hard to photograph but I got it!

The river was sooooo far down, it was hard to photograph but I got it!

bye bye Grand Canyon!

bye bye Grand Canyon!

We stopped in Flagstaff to get groceries for the next couple of days. For $13.77 each, we were able to get steak & wine for dinner plus breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next day! Driving into Oak Creek Canyon brought back memories of road trippin’ with my hippy parents as a kid. We got a site at Cave Springs Campground and set up for the night. The campground is one of the more beautiful I’ve visited.

E5 had some soft sand to set our tent on

E5 had some soft sand to set our tent on

the camp host was gracious enough to deliver our firewood on his golf cart

the camp host was gracious enough to deliver our firewood on his golf cart

a snack of chips & cherries while we waited for dinner to cook

a snack of chips & cherries while we waited for dinner to cook

sunsets do amazing things to the sky!

sunsets do amazing things to the sky!

no camping stove tonight, the fire gave us all the heat we needed

no camping stove tonight, the fire gave us all the heat we needed

I found Ladybug Wine!!! Organically harvested and it was yummy

I found Ladybug Wine!!! Organically harvested and it was yummy

camping dinner of champions... it was even better than it looks! YUMMMM

camping dinner of champions... it was even better than it looks! YUMMMM

After a while around the fire, we went to bed, excited to explore Slide Rock State Park the next day…