Mesa Arch – Island in the Sky -Canyonlands NP, Utah

While driving through the “Island in the Sky” section of Canyonlands NP recently, I was surprised how many people stopped at the Mesa Arch to have their picture taken. Indeed, the view over the Canyon is amazing with the La Sal Mountains in the background.

People waiting at Mesa Arch to have their picture taken.
View through the Mesa Arch over the Canyon with the La Sal Mountains in the background.

Art by Nature

Over the last 200 Million+ Years, read and white sand formations were built up in Canyonlands, Utah. Then, the Artist named “Wind & Weather” started to chisel sculptures. If made by Henry Moore, those sculptures would be catching dust in a museum or private collection.

The Stone Creatures in Canyonland, Utah

Another artful object arrangement, first grown by nature and after death, sculptured by “Wind, Weather & Others”.

Artful Arrangement

Visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon

On a little road trip after/between Covid. The first stop is the North Rim. We were lucky and got some nice, somewhat colder weather on the first day.

North Rim of the Grant Canyon

On the second day, we hiked the Kaibab Trail down towards the Phantom Ranch. Because more and more people decide to go down the trail on a mule, the trail itself is very sandy and plenty of mule dropping. The trail itself has the texture of desert sand.

Kaibab Trail overrun by lazy tourists traveling on mules.

Standing at Cape Royal (not s slot machine in Las Vegas, but an actual site along the North Rim), we could see the Colorado River down below.

Cape Royal Viewpoint down to the Colorado River

Just before reaching Cape Royal, there is a rock formation with a hole in it, called the “Angels Window”. From the right view point, the Colorado River can be seen through the Angels Window.

Cliff with Angels Window

Pismo Preserve

Last Year (2020) a new hiking trail complex has been created above Pismo Beach in California. Finally, I got to hike it. I took the longest trail, the YELLOW one, just about 6 miles.

As soon as you gain some elevation, you get a clear view of the Pismo Pier.

Pismo Beach Pier

Suffering from very mild double vision without the need of alcohol, I pushed it a bit further.

Pismo Beach Pier during a double vision earthquake.

Who says California has no Tuscany feel? Oh yes, I know, as soon as you enter a restaurant in real Tuscany you experience the difference.

California Tuscany Feel

The wild mustard is in full bloom, adding to the Tuscany feel. Hey, we are still on the Pismo Preserve Trail!

Wild Mustard in full bloom

Finally, my vision clears (putting on glasses and especially turning off the camera double photo overlay function) we come by the ancient oak trees, often several hundreds of years old, typical for the coastal foothills.

Costal Oak Trees

Springtime at the “Rogge Mountain Ranch”

Spring is nearly over! We are here (Foothills of the Sierra Nevada, USA) most likely in the last week of beautiful flowers, green and colorful grasses, and mild temperatures. The hot weather is already waiting around the corner, pushed by global warming (YES, there is man-made global overcooking ongoing!). When I first visited in 1970s from Germany, I could not get enough of the hot weather. A fact at that time fueled by often mostly rainy and cold summers in Central Europe. As you know, those days are over.

Let’s get to flowers and grasses. Enjoy!

A Modern Fairytale – The Accidental Tourist in Merced

Once upon a time, just three days ago, an European tourist arrives in downtown Merced and gets a room in the newly renovated hotel “The Tioga”.

Hotel “The Tioga” in Merced, CA

The day is still young and so our tourist decides to find a bar and have a beer. After all, rumors have it that news are made by bar associates.

Salon is not a Saloon

Having studied British English for nearly a decade, it is still confusing for our tourist to understand what a difference of one “o” in a word can make…. Yet, after getting quickly lectured by a lady barber, he gets it.

Soon, he sees a sign “TrainRobbersSaloon”… if they sell cold beer?

TrainRobbersSaloon, Merced, CA

Upon entering a dark and funny colored Saloon, he asks the bartender for a beer. Environmentally friendly or so…, the bartender asks back, bottle or glass? Well, being from Europe’s number one Fancy City, he would never drink beer from a bottle. So, he orders the beer in a glass. After drinking several ice cold beers, our tourist starts to feel funny and decides to go back to the hotel.

Walking the streets of downtown Merced, his vision turns multi colors and multi everything… and he starts to wonder if that is just the result of the alcohol in the beers or some additive?

Finally, he sees his Hotel in the distance, although it may be difficult to find the entrance. With what is left of his temporary mental departure, he recalls a friend’s saying: “Drink beer only from the bottle in strange Saloons!”

El Capitan and The Tioga, Downtown Merced, CA