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Thread: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

  1. #31
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    Re: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Boinzo View Post
    HAHA!Seriously though - we want to go South-West as much as anything because we've never seen some of those things. It's easy to think the Australian landscape is similar - I'm not sure it actually is. Coastal - yeah sure but we are a whole lot flatter than you guys. Our biggest canyon is pretty much tiny. Your parachute wouldn't open before you hit the bottom. But we do have a nice big rock. Of course the Kimberley region of North West Oz is amazing - and we haven't got up there yet (it's on the to do soon list as well). The landscape here is more wind carved - yours is more water I think?
    On U.S. 6, you won't have to worry about driving on the wrong side of the road. Last time I drove that stretch (dubbed, "the loneliest highway in America"), I saw more fighter planes (they train in that area) than cars. Think, oh, Nullarbor Plain with a mountain range crossing every 30 miles or so. That's what the Great Basin desert is like. (Great Basin so named because it's nestled between the western mountain ranges that include the Sierra Nevada and the more central mountain Rockies range. The locals call it the Intermountain West.

    You are right that there are few places on Earth like the Colorado Plateau that covers southern Utah, northern Arizona, and the adjacent corners of Colorado and New Mexico. You will not be disappointed by spending time there.

    Rick "thinking you'll have a hard time distinguishing between what is wind-carved and water-carved" Denney

  2. #32

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    Re: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

    On that road the freak October blizzard can mean, um, death.

  3. #33

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    Re: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

    Yes the route I suggested gets you to Antelope canyon, it is just, and I do mean just barely, outside Page and only a couple minutes from Lake Powell.

    Your aversion to crowds is also addressed with this route, for example the North Rim of the Grand Canyon has much less traffic than the south, ~11,000 vs ~110,000 last October.

    Antelope canyon South is more famous and more crowded and more expensive to access. The light shafts are fleeting and time of year dependent. The north canyon is no slouch, buy a photo pass, it gets you more time to enjoy it all.

    While at Lake Powell you might stay at the Marina. From there it's a long day trip, and you'll sleep well when you get back, but rent a fast boat and go up the lake a ways to Rainbow Bridge and explore some side canyons like where Antelope canyon meets the lake.

    Somewhere in my Dad's slide collection there are pictures from the bottoms of some of the canyons there, some of which are under ~900 feet of water now. We actually drove/Jeeped to and camped near Rainbow Bridge when I was a puppy. Actually whole herds of Jeepers would congregate to do this.

    Speaking of avoiding crowds we used to camp regularly in Canyonlands NP, of which Arches is a part, back in my puppy days too.

    Arches has always been the main draw, and rightfully so because it is incredible, but the rest is gorgeous too and much less traveled.

    Back in the sixties when we went camping there we would check in at the entrance station and had to give the ranger a good idea of where we would be and when to expect us to check out. The reason was simple survival. The area is huge and rugged and there were times when my family and the one ranger at the entrance were the only people within an area bigger than some eastern states.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  4. #34

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    Re: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

    If I were going to spend three weeks doing what it sounds like you want to do I'd buy the three-volume set "Photographing the Southwest" for starters. Not that everything you mention is in the southwest but much of it is and what isn't is fairly nearby.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  5. #35

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    Re: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

    If you head out on Hwy 6 or 50, Great Basin National Park is great. It will depend on October's weather. If the storms hold off for you, it is a great place. As you approach it, the land is flat desert. You'll see some mountains that do not look all that interesting, but as you drive up into them the change is remarkable. If the storms do hold off, the end of the road is around 9000 elevation and it is a short hike to bristlecone pines -- trees that were alive when the pyramids in Egypt were being built. Above the pines are peaks that go up to 13,000 feet elevation. If you are into caves, there is also a cave tour. http://www.nps.gov/grba/index.htm

    Another unique place (great as a lunch stop) is Cathedral Gorge State Park (Nevada). It is on Hwy 93, west of Cedar City, Utah. Sort of on the way between Great Basin and Zion National Parks. http://parks.nv.gov/parks/cathedral-gorge/ There is a small entrance fee, but there is also a highway rest stop (free) with a trail that goes right into the park.

    But there are many many such little gems scattered across the Southwest. We use to get the Australian Geographic magazine. It would highlight national parks and reserves in each issue...it looked like one could easily spend a lifetime exploring all of them. The Southwest is the same way. Moab would be a good place to stay for awhile and then take day-drives in any direction.

  6. #36

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    Re: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

    October is my favorite month to travel the west.
    Early Oct is probably too late for Glacier-- can be too hot in the desert parks still-- yet it can be absolutely spectacular in Yellowstone the first week of the month before most of the services shut down for the winter. But this will all be dependent on the weather. Specifically, when the first cold snap or major winter storm happens. I'd recommend enough flexibility in planning-- not a rigid itinerary-- that'll allow for last minute shifting of priorities (renting a car and motelling may allow that).

  7. #37
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

    You generally don't have to worry about crowds in Oct. Even the extremely popular parks
    like Yosemite, Zion, Grand Canyon, and Arches will be relatively uncrowded. Deer hunter up
    in the aspens will require some caution outside the parks. Basically, the Colorado River forms a big barrier you want to be on one side of or the other. You could do a big loop
    thru Zion over spectacular Hwy 6 on the Escalante (save a morning for the hike to Calf
    Creek Falls) thru Capitol Reef (spectacular color) - then over to Arches and Canyonlands, then back down toward Monument Valley, then back across to Painted Desert (Holbrook) S. rim of the Grand Can - or of course the reverse. Just remember the sleeping bag thing in the car. It can be the difference between fun and death. Town can be far apart, and
    some will have already shut down by Oct.

  8. #38

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    Re: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ellis View Post
    If I were going to spend three weeks doing what it sounds like you want to do I'd buy the three-volume set "Photographing the Southwest" for starters. Not that everything you mention is in the southwest but much of it is and what isn't is fairly nearby.
    +10 on the suggestion for "Photographing the Southwest". October is a great time for the Southwest.

    You've got lots of good suggestions, but if I had that length of time I'd fly into Las Vegas, head up to Zion, then over to Bryce, then along Rt 12 (beautiful drive). Lots of things to see off Rt 12 as described in the Utah volume of the set. Then over to Capitol Reef, then Canyonlands/Arches (they are just a few miles from each other. From there you could head south to Monument Valley and perhaps Canyon de Chelly. Then west to the Grand Canyon (as already suggested, the North Rim is much less crowded - but I'm not sure when they shut down for the season). After that, back to LV. That would be a pretty full 3 week trip. Get a 4-wheel drive for access to the more rugged places

    I'm more than a little jealous!

    Bob

  9. #39
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

    N. Rim depends on snow. The other problem is that there's a 50/50 chance of not seeing
    the canyon at all due to fog that time of year. I'd rather take Hwy 12 (think I accidentally
    called it 6) from Bryce to Capitol Reef. If you book reservations ealy, Ruby's Inn should
    still be open just outside Bryce, just down the road from the Hwy 12 turnoff. You take
    your chances some of the other places. My sister and her husband came back with horror
    stories a couple years ago when Ruby's Inn had no vacancy and they end up in some bedbug-ridden dump down the road in Hurricane with no restaurant in town.

  10. #40

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    Re: If I had 3 weeks in the States in October ...

    Actually it's route 50 that's the "loneliest road in America" but Rte 6 is similar, I've driven them both many times. And Frank is very right about freak snow storms being lethal. Unless you are driving a 4WD with chains and some provisions in it, I would steer clear of the really desolate roads. If you choose to drive them, then keep very aware of the weather.

    I do photo drive trips as long as 12 weeks at a time, once or twice every year, for the last decade. As we speak I am 7 weeks into an 11 week trip that has taken me from NY to Portand to Salton Sea to Las Vegas to Lone Pine to Wendover to Salt Lake City to portland and then maybe back home. About 15,000 miles by the time I'm done.

    Reread my first post as I gave it considerable thought and have considerable experience doing these types of trips. Further I advise you not to over extend but to do the trips in a very logical circuit, I would not fly within the US beyond your international arrival and departure because then you limit your flexibility and are forced to stick to a schedule as well as losing time due to the possibilities of airline delays.

    The beauty of the American west is that, especially in October, you really don't need to book accommodations ( the summer is a different story). You might need to do so for The View, but you could still see Monument valley on the fly, you can just stay at a hotel in Kayenta. This all means that you can stay as long or as short in any place you want. If the weather forecast says snow in one place, then just go somewhere else. The American west is made for long distance driving. High speed limits, many motels, many gas stations.

    So consider my advice, fly into SF, go to Yosemite, maybe Mono if Tioga Pass is still open, then down to Death Valley and then east toward zion and southern Utah's finest. Fly back via LA if you want to stop at Monument valley, or if you want to see the Bonneville salt flats and Salt Lake in northern utah, then fly back via San Fran. It will be a mind blowing trip for you.

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