Red Rock Canyon in Black & White

I wish that I was more patient. I would love to take better photos of the places I visit, but simply don’t have the patience to take quality photos. I’ve tried in the past and it just doesn’t work. I have finally come to the conclusion that my small automatic camera is the only way that I will get any photos of all the parks I visit.

While visiting Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area, I had a friend join me who has the patience to take photos. Not only that, she has the creativity to take black and white photos in a place that is know for its brilliant colors — something that would never even cross my mind. Enjoy (click on the photos to really enjoy them)

red rock canyon burro

red rock canyon crevice

red rock canyon donkey

red rock canyon sky

red rock canyon slot

Photos copyright Lorraine Bonde, used with permission.

Tortoise Crossing Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

One of the things that I love about the parks in the National Parks system is that there’s a good chance that you will end up stumbling across something that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. I was recently visiting Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area just outside Las Vegas when I came across this road warning sign:

tortoise xing

Probably more effective that speed bumps for slowing down traffic (especially when a tortoise is crossing the road)

Riverside Walk at Zion National Park

Although a Grand Canyon rafting trip officially begins when you hit the water at Lees Ferry, it unofficially begins when you make your way to Las Vegas. There are options to fly from Las Vagas to Lees Ferry, but I would highly recommend renting a car and driving.

While it’s about a 5 to 6 hour drive from Las Vegas to Lees Ferry, the route allows you to drive through Zion National Park. Planning an extra day or two to explore and play in Zion before a Grand Canyon rafting trip would be an excellent way to begin the entire vacation (while it’s possible to do it after the rafting trip as well, you will have a lot more energy before the trip).

Even if you don’t have the time to give yourself a full day at Zion National Park, it’s still possible to do a short hike while passing through (what we ended up doing). A hike along the Riverside Walk path that takes you to The Narrows (Temple of Sinawava stop) is ideal in this situation since it also requires a trip on the shuttle bus which allows you to see the entire park and gives a quick guided overview of Zion.

The Riverside Walk is a relatively easy 2 mile round trip (about 1.5 hours) on a maintained path that is suitable for wheelchairs and strollers and gives some wonderful views of the North Fork Virgin River:

Riverside Walk in Zion National Park

The end of the Riverside Walk path is at the North Fork Virgin River where the beginning of the The Narrows hike begins. This is a much more strenuous hike through the river and requires water shoes (these can be rented at a number of shops just outside the park’s south entrance). You can hike the first few miles of this without a permit, but the entire 16 mile hike up The Narrows does require a permit.

The Narrows at Zion National Park