Travels across the United States, 2012

We traveled a lot in 2012, especially Chris.  Chris had a two week flight test in Dugway, Utah in March that he flew to, and visited Arches and Canyonlands National Parks on the weekend off.  Chris made two big driving trips this year, primarily to conduct flight testing for the Shadow, but we also fit vacation time into these trips. 

The first trip was in April and May for five weeks, throughout much of the southeastern United States.  Chris drove over 6000 miles, and visited these states: Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

The second trip was all over the United States, starting in June and ending in November.  Chris had flight testing to conduct in Huntsville - Alabama, Yuma - Arizona, and Dugway - Utah, and the rest of the family flew out to Phoenix in the middle of that trip for a family driving vacation for three weeks, 6000 miles, and 10 states.  Four of those states were at once when we stood on the Four Corners marker.  The altitude extremes for this trip ranged from -282 ft at Badwater, Death Valley, California to +11,158 ft at the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70 in Colorado.  The temperature extremes ranged from 123° F (50.6° C) in Death Valley to 19° F (-7.2° C) at Dugway Proving Ground. Chris' car had a total for the second trip of over 18,000 miles, and Chris visited these states:  Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

This map shows the main points that we visited on the family trip, and that Chris visited while in Yuma or Dugway, or traveling between the flight test facilities.

 Chris took over 21,000 photos during all three trips, and visited the national and state parks listed below.  As Chris sorts through the photos and picks the best ones, they will slowly be added to this page, so come back for photo updates.

05 - 16 March 2012, Flight Testing, Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah

  • Arches National Park, Utah
  • Canyonlands National Park, Islands in the Sky, Utah

Chris had to fly to Salt Lake City to assist with two weeks of Shadow flight testing at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.  He visited Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky section on the weekend of 10 - 11 March.  He did lots of hiking at both parks, including hiking up to Delicate Arch at night for some long time exposures.  He flew his remote control aerial photo plane at Canyonlands and got some neat shots from the air.

Delicate Arch at night


Delicate Arch at sunet

Delicate Arch

Double-O Arch

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch
see insets for scale-->

Landscape Arch - top center inset
person above arch

Landscape Arch - right middle inset
people in small arch



Delicate Arch

Landscape Arch

Landscape Arch

Aerial photos from Canyonlands National Park

13 April - 20 May 2012, Flight Testing, Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama
  • Coopers Rock State Park, West Virginia
  • Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Kentucky / Tennessee
  • Rock Island State Park, Tennessee
  • Andersonville National Historic Site, Georgia
  • Stone Mountain State Park, Georgia
  • Chickamagua & Chattanooga National Military Park, Tennessee
  • Roan Mountain State Park, Tennessee
  • Claytor Lake State Park, Virginia

During April and May, Chris again had to travel for Shadow flight test, this time to Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama.  On the way to Huntsville, he visited Coopers Rock State Forest, West Virginia, Rock Island State Park, Tennessee, and camped with his sister at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Kentucky / Tennessee. 

Coopers Rock

Big South Fork

Rock Island Gorge

Rock Island Twin Falls

He conducted flight testing for two weeks, then took a week off to visit his sister in Chattanooga.  He made a slight detour to fly RC planes at the Southeast Electric Flight Festival, SEFF, in Americus, Georgia.  SEFF is the largest electric-only RC event in the United States.  On the way from SEFF to his sister's house, he toured the Andersonville National Historic Site Civil War prison, just north of Americus, and he hiked to the top of Stone Mountain.  While in Chattanooga, he visited the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, Lookout Mountain Battlefield at Point Park.  Chris, his sister, and her husband spent several days camping at the Roan Mountain Naturalist Rally in northeast Tennessee.

Shadow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Launch Sequence

Southeastern Electric Flight Festival (SEFF)





Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain

Chattanooga from Lookout Mountain
Roan Mountain State Park, Tennessee

Chris then returned to Huntsville for two more weeks of test flight before driving home.  He made a detour on the way home, flying RC planes again, this time at the Joe Nall RC flight event in Woodruff, SC.  Joe Nall is the largest gathering of RC flyers in the world.  After leaving Joe Nall, he stopped at Claytor Lake State Park, where he camped a lot with his family when he was young.

Shadow Flight Testing

Joe Nall

Claytor Lake

24 June - 17 July 2012, Flight Testing, Huntsville, Alabama

The long summer trip started in June.  Chris had to travel to Huntsville again for two more weeks of flight test.  While he was there, he visited Cathedral Caverns State Park.  His trip was extended, and he was scheduled to go to Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona to conduct automatic landing tests and to take over as flight test director for a few weeks of the ongoing Shadow flight test at Yuma.  He and Tami decided to plan another summer driving vacation out west, similar to their 2009 summer vacation, but this time Chris, Tami, Alex, Eli, and Nathan would all be going on the trip.

June - July 2012, Redstone and Yuma flight testing, Maryland to Alabama to Arizona
  • Cathedral Caverns State Park, Alabama
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
  • Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona
August 2012, family vacation, Arizona / Nevada / California / Oregon / Idaho / Wyoming / Montana / Colorado / Utah / New Mexico / Arizona
  • Red Rocks National Conservation Area, Nevada
  • Lake Meade National Recreation Area, Nevada
  • Death Valley National Park, California
  • Yosemite National Park, California
  • Alcatraz National Historic Site, California
  • Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California
  • Redwoods National and State Parks, California
  • Humboldt Lagoons State Park, California
  • Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California
  • Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
  • Shoshone Falls & Dierkes Lake State Parks, Idaho
  • Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming / Montana
  • Four Corners Navajo Tribal Monument, Utah / Colorado / New Mexico / Arizona
  • Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Pak, Utah
September - November 2012, Dugway flight testing, Arizona to Utah to Colorado to Maryland
  • Joshua Tree National Park, California
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona
  • Painted Desert, Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
  • Canyon de Chelly National Park, Arizona
  • Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah
  • Goblin Valley State Park, Utah
  • Zion National Park, Utah
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  • Canyonlands National Park, Needles, Utah
  • Arches National Park, Utah
  • Colorado National Monument, Colorado


Shadow Flight Testing
Cathedral Caverns, Alabama

18 July 2012, Wednesday, Huntsville to Dallas, Texas

After completing almost 4 weeks of flight testing in Huntsville, Chris began his drive out west to Yuma on July 18th, to begin conducting automatic landing testing there for 2 weeks.  He made it to Dallas, Texas on the first night.

19 July 2012, Thursday, Dallas to Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Chris drove across Texas, stopping in Abilene to take some photos of airplanes at Dyess Air Force Base, then made it to Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico for the bat flight on the evening of the 19th, before spending the night in Carlsbad. 





20 July 2012, Friday, Carlsbad Caverns to Wilcox, Arizona

Chris spent many hours walking around Carlsbad Caverns on the 20th, hiking in the natural entrance and down to the Big Room. He drove from Carlsbad to Wilcox, Arizona after finishing the cave walk.

21 July 2012, Saturday, Wilcox to Chiricahua to Yuma, Arizona

Chris drove from Wilcox to Chiricahua National Monument about 40 miles away, and hiked the Echo Canyon trail, and the Heart of Rocks loop trail.  A thunderstorm moved in during part of the hike, forcing him to take cover under the only shelter available in this open terrain; low rocks.  This park used to be one of Chris' favorite hiking destinations when Shadow flight test was conducted a few hours away at Ft Huachuca, Arizona.  That flight test facility was moved to Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah in late 2009, so Chris had not been to Chiricahua in several years.  He completed about 9 miles of hiking, then drove west, arriving in Yuma on the evening of 21 July.

View from Heart of Rocks

22 July - 03 August 2012, Flight Testing, Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona

Two weeks of automatic landing flight testing was conducted at Yuma.  Yuma is known for its great weather; it is sunny more days per year that anywhere else.  The Yuma Territorial Prison State Park is a neat place to visit if you are ever passing through.  It is right next to the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge at Yuma Crossing, across the Colorado River.   About 30 miles north of town, most of the water that remains in the Colorado River is diverted to crops in the Imperial Valley via the All-American Canal.  You can wade across the Colorado River in places by the time it reaches Yuma.  After passing through Yuma, almost all that remains of the Colorado River (by treaty) is diverted for agriculture on the Mexican side of the Imperial Valley.

Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge

Yuma Territorial Prison guard tower

03 August 2012, Friday, Yuma to Sedona, Arizona

Tami, Eli, and Nathan flew from Baltimore to Phoenix, and Alex flew from Denver, and we all began a three week tour of these western states, following very closely to what Chris, Tami, and Nathan had done in 2009. Chris left Yuma Proving Grounds on Friday after work, and drove to Phoenix to pick up everyone.  Chris had bought a car-top carrier to hold all the extra stuff from 5 people, and we all squeezed into his car for 6000+ miles of fun!  First stop was Sedona, about 2 hours north of Phoenix.  We had dinner Friday at the Elote Cafe, a very nice restaurant we had eaten at several times before.

04 - 05 August 2012, Saturday - Sunday, Sedona

We spent two days and two nights in Sedona, and rented a 4-wheel drive off-road dune buggy for several hours to drive around some very rough four-wheeling roads near Sedona, before driving to Las Vegas on Sunday evening.

06 - 07 August 2012, Monday - Tuesday, Las Vegas, Nevada

We then spent two days and three nights in Las Vegas.  We visited Red Rocks, where Nathan got to try out his new driving permit by driving around the scenic loop.  We stopped by our old house we lived in from 1993 to 1997, and also visited Lake Meade National Recreation Area and Hoover Dam, and the new bridge over the Colorado River below the dam. 

Red Rocks

08 August 2012, Wednesday, Las Vegas to Death Valley to Mammoth Lakes, California

We left Las Vegas and drove through Death Valley National Park, stopping at Zabriskie Point, and visiting the lowest spot in the United States at Badwater, just like we did in 2009.  We continued on to Mammoth Lakes in California for one night. 

Zabriskie Point


09 - 10 August 2012, Thursday - Friday, Yosemite

We then drove north to Yosemite National Park, and spent two nights in a cabin in Yosemite West, a small privately owned community that is actually inside the entrance station to Yosemite, but on private land.  We hiked up above Olmsted Point, watched sunset from Glacier Point, went swimming in Tenaya Lake and the Merced River, and hiked up to Vernal Falls via the Mist Trail.

Tenaya Lake
Above Olmsted Point
Half Dome in the distance
Tenaya Lake
View from Glacier Point

Mist Trail

Vernal Fall

Vernal Fall

Merced River and Half Dome

Emerald Pool, just above Vernal Fall

11 - 13 August 2012, Saturday - Sunday - Monday, San Francisco

We drove to San Francisco, where we spent three nights.  We toured the city for two days and three nights, and made it to Alcatraz on this visit.

Dummy used for escape

Escape hole

Exercise yard

14 August 2012, Tuesday, Napa

We headed north out of town, through the Napa Valley, stopping at some wineries, including Francis Ford Coppola's winery just off route 101 about two hours north of San Francisco.  There are lots of items from his movies, including original Tucker #1037, one of only 52 Tuckers ever built.  After purchasing some wine in a couple places, we continuing north and stopped for the night in Garberville, gateway to the Redwoods.

15 August 2012, Wednesday, Redwoods

The Avenue of the Giants, groves of redwood trees along route 254, which is parallel to route 101, begins just north of Garberville.  Most of it is in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.  We enjoyed the big trees as we drove north along the coast and then through Redwoods National and State Parks.  Chris' sister had visited a unique spot along the coast on one of her trips, so we decided to drive out to that same place; Fern Canyon.  It is a lush, narrow canyon, filled with ferns and is really neat.  We drove on north and east, spending the night in Grants Pass, Oregon.

 16 August 2012, Thursday, Crater Lake

From Grants Pass, it was about two hours to Crater Lake National Park.  We drove around the park scenic loop, and had a picnic on the west rim drive, overlooking Wizard Island.  From there, we had a lot of driving to get to our next destination, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.  We left Crater Lake and drove north to Bend, Oregon and then east to Boise, Idaho, where we spent the night.

17 August 2012, Friday, Crater Lake to Jackson, Wyoming

We drove across Idaho, stopping in Twin Falls and swimming in Dierkes Lake Park, next to the falls where the city got its name.  The Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls is where Evel Knievel tried to fly a rocket car across the Snake River in 1974, and the dirt ramp he used is still there.  We continued on to Jackson, Wyoming for the night.

18 August 2012, Saturday, Grand Tetons

We spent Saturday in Grand Tetons National Park, moving north towards Yellowstone National Park.  We arrived at West Thumb Geyser Basin in the late afternoon, and spent the night at Grant's Village on the shore of Yellowstone Lake. We drove over to the Snow Lodge restaurant at Old Faithful for dinner.

19 August 2012, Sunday, Yellowstone

We walked around the upper geyser basin at Old Faithful, and Grand Prismatic Spring at the middle geyser basin, before driving around the park on the west side, stopping for the night at Mammoth Hot Springs on the north side of the park.

Grand Prismatic Hot Springs

20 August 2012, Monday, Yellowstone

   We went swimming at the hot springs flowing into the Gardner River just north of Mammoth Hot Springs, drove through the Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance to the park in Montana, and then drove south and east around the park, stopping at Tower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Hayden Valley, and Fishing Bridge.   Alex and Chris hiked down "Uncle Tom's Trail", a metal stairway which descends 500 ft next to Lower Yellowstone Falls, and we all got to be within a few feet of buffalo as they slowly surrounded and walked around our car at Fishing Bridge.  We left through the east entrance of Yellowstone, and continued on to Cody, where we had pizza at the same Pizza Hut where Chris, Tami, and Nathan had dinner after leaving Yellowstone in 2009.
Lower Yellowstone Falls
Lower Yellowstone Falls
Tower Falls
Uncle Tom's Trail

As we continued on towards Casper from Cody, we hit a badger just south of Thermopolis, Wyoming.  If you have ever wondered what a badger smells like, don't try to find out; they smell like skunks, or rather, skunks smell like badgers.  You know when you are driving down the road and that unmistakable smell hits you, and you immediately say "Whoa - must be a skunk!"?   No one in our family says that anymore. We all now say "Whoa - smell that badger!"  The bonus is that badgers are bigger than skunks and can more easily do damage to your car, especially at 65+ mph. According to Wikipedia, the male American badger can get up to 25 lbs in the fall, when food is plentiful.  We hit a healthy badger.  The car received some damage, and we had to zip-tie the bottom plastic fairing below the engine back on to the car to travel back into Thermopolis for the night.  Alex and Chris got to crawl under the car for this work, and they smelled great afterwards.

21 - 22 August 2012, Tuesday - Wednesday, Denver

Chris got up and took the car to a car wash, where he cleaned it A LOT.  He then went to a hardware store, bought some replacement nuts and bolts and other repair materials, and fixed the plastic fairing under the car. Fortunately there was no further damage.  We then bought some air fresheners and put those in the air vents and throughout the car.  Chris' Acura smelled like Pina Colada for months.  We drove from Thermopolis to Denver, where we spent two nights. We passed Hell's Half Acre, a small portion of 'badlands' in the middle of Wyoming. Part of the movie Starship Troopers was filmed here.  Alex was living in Denver, so we dropped him off back at home.  We have relatives in Denver, so we visited them and also drove around the city a bit, looking for a new place for Alex to live, as he wanted to move out of the house he was living in.


23 August 2012, Thursday, USAFA, Colorado

We left Alex in Denver, and Chris, Tami, Eli, and Nathan headed towards Phoenix.  We stopped at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, so everyone could see where Chris went to school, and drove across Colorado, stopping for the night in Cortez. We saw our one and only bear on the entire trip as we were driving across Colorado, in the dark. It ran across the road in front of us somewhere in the mountains east of Durango.  Sorry, we didn't get any pictures of the bear.

24 August 2012, Friday, Monument Valley

 We stopped at Four Corners (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona) and then drove on to Monument Valley in Utah.  After spending a few hours driving around the scenic loop in Monument Valley, we headed south to Flagstaff for dinner, and finally spent the night in Phoenix.    

25 August 2012, Saturday, travel home, and back to Yuma for Chris

Tami, Eli, and Nathan flew home from Phoenix, and Chris drove back to Yuma to begin more Shadow flight test on Monday morning.

26 August - 17 October 2012, Flight Testing, Yuma Proving Grounds, Arizona

Chris spent six of these eight weeks at Yuma conducting Shadow flight test, but did fly to Maryland for two 1-week trips to be home and to work at AAI's main factory in Hunt Valley.  Many aircraft fly in and out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, and Chris would drive by every evening to catch the landings at the end of the day's missions. 

Chris also visited Joshua Tree National Park on 23 September 2012, and went to the Miramar Air Show in San Diego on 14 October 2012. Photos from that air show are here and here.

Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree

Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree

Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree

View from top of Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree

18 October 2012, Thursday, Yuma to Canyon de Chelly

Chris' flight testing was done at Yuma, but he still had more testing to complete at Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah, starting on 22 October.  He finished his work at Yuma on 17 October, and began his drive to Dugway.  He visited Montezuma Castle National Monument, Meteor Crater, 'Stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona', and the Painted Desert section of Petrified Forest National Park, before camping for the night of October 18th at Canyon de Chelly (pronounced 'canyon de shay') in northeast Arizona.

Meteor Crater

Painted Desert

19 October 2012, Friday, Canyon de Chelly

Chris toured the north and south rim drives at Canyon de Chelly National Monument, and hiked down to the White House ruins.  He drove north into Utah following routes UT-163 and UT-261, which are incredible roads, crossing the Grand StaircaseUtah State Route 261 passes near Mexican Hat rock, and makes a series of switchbacks just north of Monument Valley at the Moki Dugway, rising 2000 ft in just a few miles, with fantastic views.  Chris shot this video of the climb up the switchbacks with a dashboard-mounted camera.  He camped again that night at Natural Bridges National Monument.

Spider Rock

White House ruins

White House ruins

White House ruins

White House ruins trailhead

Sunset from the Moki Dugway

Mexican Hat

 20 October 2012, Saturday, Natural Bridges, Glen Canyon, Goblin Valley

Chris hiked down and through all three natural bridges in the park, and then drove northwest towards Capitol Reef, driving through Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and across the Colorado River.  He made a side trip to Goblin Valley State Park, and spent a few hours walking around the hoodoos.  Goblin Valley is where the alien planet scene was filmed for the movie "Galaxy Quest".  It is neat little state park, and is definitely worth visiting.  He spent the night just outside Capitol Reef National Park.

Sipapu Bridge

Sipapu Bridge

Sipapu Bridge

Owachomo Bridge

Kachina Bridge

Kachina Bridge

Owachomo Bridge

Kachina Bridge

Glen Canyon, Hite - across the Colorado River

Glen Canyon, Utah State Route 95 crossing of the Colorado River

Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

21 October 2012, Sunday, Capitol Reef

Chris drove the main scenic drive in Capitol Reef, and hiked several trails, including Hickman Bridge and Cassidy Arch, which was named for Butch Cassidy, who supposedly had a hideout in that canyon.  Cassidy Arch trail is great; it climbs a total of almost 900 ft as it winds its way towards the arch.  Cassidy Arch itself is 500 ft above the canyon floor, and the trail goes above the arch, with the ability to walk across the top of the arch.  It was a little windy, but the arch is wide, so Chris did walk across the top of the arch.

Hickman Bridge

Hickman Bridge



Cassidy Arch

Cassidy Arch

 Cassidy Arch

After touring Capitol Reef, Chris drove north to Fishlake National Forest, where he stopped at the largest living single organism in the world: Pando.  Pando is a single cloned Quaking Aspen, made up of 40,000 trees, all with the same root system.  He then continued on to Dugway Proving Grounds, about 100 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, where two more weeks of flight testing began.

22 October - 02 November, Flight Testing, Dugway Proving Grounds, Utah

Two more weeks of flight testing was conducted at Dugway.  Chris had the weekend of 27-28 October off, so he drove to southwest Utah and visited Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

27 - 28 October 2012, Saturday - Sunday, Zion and Bryce Canyon

Chris drove down to Zion National Park on Saturday, and on to Bryce Canyon National Park on Sunday.   He hiked the Angels Landing Trail on Saturday at Zion.  The trail starts by following the Virgin River and then makes a series of switchback climbs up to Refrigerator Canyon, a cool section in the shade.  Next comes Walter's Wiggles, 21 quick switchbacks, to climb up to Scout Lookout.  The last 1.1 mile round trip section from Scout Lookout goes out to the top of Angels Landing, 1200 ft above the valley floor, and is the most exposed trail Chris has ever hiked.  It follows the rocky crest of a knife edge ridge, with sheer drop-offs to the floor of the canyon on both sides.  The national park service recognizes at least 6 deaths on this trail in the last 8 years alone, and the Wikipedia entry for Angels Landing has links to 6 documented deaths in newspapers.  The photos here do not do it justice; there are spots where the trail is less than 3 feet wide, with nothing to either side.  Sections of the trail are less 'trail' and more 'suggested path up a cliff'. There is a chain to hold on to for many sections, and it is definitely needed in places to help pull yourself up.  The best way to experience the trail without hiking it is to watch videos;  a YouTube search on 'Angels Landing' will give good results.  Chris climbed up Angels Landing again in February 2015, and this time he carried a GoPro on his head to film the climb and descent.  Chris camped in the park and took some night photos, then left early on Sunday for Bryce Canyon National Park.  Sunday was more laid back, with a drive along Bryce Canyon's scenic drive, and a hike down into Bryce Canyon along the Queens Garden and Navajo trails, where the drop-offs are all less than 200 ft.

View from Angels Landing

Temple of the Virgins

Angels Landing from valley floor

Angels Landing ridge at top

View from beginning of
 Refrigerator Canyon

Climbing out of Refrigerator Canyon
on Walters Wiggles

Start of final section from
Scout Lookout to top

Further up the trail
above Scout Lookout

Start of trail from valley floor
up to Refrigerator Canyon

Angels Landing trail
"suggested path up a cliff"

Angels Landing trail

Angels Landing trail

Angels Landing trail

Angels Landing from valley floor
View looking down at Scout Lookout while descending from Angels Landing
Nighttime long exposure photos

View from Scout Lookout

Bryce Canyon

02 November 2012, Friday, Dugway to Moab, Utah

All of the flight testing was completed by Friday afternoon, so Chris could finally begin his drive home.  He would be stopping in Denver to meet with Alex, who had decided to leave Denver and move back east.  Alex was not ready to leave Denver until Monday, so Chris spent Saturday and Sunday slowing going from Dugway to Denver.  He drove Friday evening to Moab, Utah.

03 November 2012, Saturday, Canyonlands, Arches

Chris went hiking at Canyonlands National Park, Needles section on Saturday. On the way from Moab to Canyonlands, he stopped at Newspaper Rock State Historic Site, a large rock covered with petroglyphs.  Chris then drove back to Arches National Park near Moab, and hiked out to Delicate Arch in the dark for some night photos. He spent almost 4 hours hiking all around Delicate Arch, and then to Double Arch for some more night photos.  He camped Saturday night near the Big Bend camping area along the Colorado River, east of Moab.

Canyonlands, Needles

As Chris was sitting at the top of the Delicate Arch trail taking long time exposures in the dark, two separate groups could be seen hiking up the trail in the dark, using flashlights to find their way.  Each group strayed off the marked trail and ended up at the bottom of the bowl where Delicate Arch sits.  You can reach the main viewing area at the top of the trail from this bowl, but it requires you to climb around and through Delicate Arch itself, right next to a cliff that drops several hundred feet.  Doing this at night can be dangerous.  Chris shined his flashlight down and said "hi' so they would know he was there.  Both groups asked how he got 'up there', as none of them had ever been to top of the trail before.  Chris went down and led both groups, separately, up the safe trail to the main viewing area.  Hint from Chris: Don't hike along cliffs at night, on a trail you have never followed in the daytime.

04 November 2012, Sunday, Moab to Denver

Chris drove east towards Denver, stopping at the Fisher Towers climbing area.  Fisher Towers is a series of rock spires east of Moab that rock climbers love, and were featured in this Citibank commercial.  He continued east, spending a few hours following the scenic drive at Colorado National Monument in Grand Junction, before passing through the highest point in the interstate highway system, the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70, and arriving in Denver on Sunday evening.

Fisher Towers



Colorado National Monument

05 - 08 November 2012, Monday - Thursday, Denver to home

Chris and Alex drove east, with Chris' car pulling Alex's Jeep across the country. They arrived in Charleston, WV, at Tami's parent's house, on Wednesday afternoon.  Alex was going to be stopping there for a few weeks before coming home, and Chris drove home from there on Thursday.  He finally arrived home on November 8th, Thursday evening; with about 18,000 miles on his car and more than 16,000 photos from his camera since he left home on 24 June 2012.