Next month:
January 2004

Arches National Park, Moab UTAH

The trip to Arches National Park with our visitors at the beginning of December was a hit. December is not the optimal time to visit the park, but we basically had the park to ourselves. Travelling by car from Denver we stopped for the night at Grand Junction. Moab is approximately 2 hours from Grand Junction. The best, and most scenic drive into Moab is to take the Utah 128 from I-70. It begins in very uninteresting country, but eventually winds into a spectacular valley, following the Colorado River as it meanders through the desert. The combination of river, and red snow covered Mesa's is spectacular. The 128 is the road that goes passed the turn off to the Fisher towers, a favorite mountain climbing spot, which I think was where the opening scenes of "Vertical Limit" was set.
We entered Moab which has a wide range of Motels and Hotels. Our favorite is The Virginian. Check the hotel out here This Motel charges extremely reasonable off season rates. Off season is from December 1 through March. The Virginian has rooms with full kitchenettes which is very useful for the traveller on the cheap. Moab has a wide variety of motels so there is a lot of accomodation for a broad range of pocket books.
After a quick sandwhich in our rooms we decided to head for Arches. This National Park is only a few minutes drive outside Moab. They are widening the access road and updating the facilities. Before going into the park it is advisable to first stop by the Visitors Center. We would do this each morning before entering the park to find out road conditions and weather forecast for the day. The Visitor's Center has an informative exhibit explaining the geology and rock formation as well as a well stocked gift shop filled with postcards, fridge magnets and interesting books and brochures. That day (Saturday) the weather forecast was not looking promising for Sunday so we decided to forego the afternoon of park orientation, and head out immediately to see Delicate Arch. For more information on the park check it out here
Arches is a park that can be seen almost exclusively from the comfort of one's car. While for some this may seem ideal it does for me defeat the whole purpose of the visit. To really see Arches you have to get out and walk around in it. The rock formations are breath taking, and the air is clear. The hike to Delicate Arch is a little over 2 km one way. It is slightly strenuous since the elevation gain is somewhat challenging. But the destination is well worth it. The trail is well marked and for the most part is over rock, and sandstone. The arrival at Delicate Arch is unexpected. The path is cut into the rock, and does get icy and slippery in winter. Kevin and I managed to cajole (i.e lie) to our visitors about how close the Arch was. But we wanted them all to get there. We had the site to ourselves and started a wonderful time taking pictures. December isn't the best time for sunset at Delicate Arch. Kevin and his father in law stayed on to take pictures, while the rest of us headed for home.
I think my visitors did not have exactly the right clothing. Difficult when you come from a hot African summer to a cold American winter. That night we ate at the Moab Microbrewery. Moab has a collection of different restaurants. But beware, during the off season many close up to reopen during the spring.
The next day we headed back into ARches to explore the Windows and the Double Arch area. Check out my pictures on my photo album.

Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my Blog. Its going to take a little bit of time to get everything up and running, so bear with me. Please check back regularly as I will be working on my Blog over the next week or two.

It just amazes me how quickly this year has gone by. I have an enormous amount of digital pictures that still haven't been sorted properly. I will be going through most of them and posting a "2003 in Review". Kevin and I have been quite busy with our travelling and adventures.

I am expecting my brother, his wife, and my niece for a nice long visit from South Africa. It is really going to be fun to kick back and catch up on all the news. It is also going to be nice to hear how things are really going in SA. We hear so little news. I try and keep up to date with news in SA by visiting The Sunday Times, and The Mail & Guardian. Unfortunately you have to subscribe to gain access to some interesting articles. This is annoying.

The other way I try and keep up to date with African news is to read the African Blogs. Try Southern Cross This Blog often doesn't publish every day, but its well written, and interesting, and I enjoy it. It also has interesting links to browse around.

My favorite blogs for news and editorials are without doubt Andrew Sullivan and Michael Totten. Through these two I have explored many of their links to other bloggers. I recommend for some interesting reading Little Green Footballs, Jeff Jarvis and On the Third Hand.

In addition to browsing the blogs don't forget to read mainstream news and editorials. I like to read the New York Times, and yes, I like nothing better than to page through a "real" newspaper on the bus in the morning on my way to work.

I think most right thinking individuals realize by now that mainstream media does not provide a well rounded account of news stories. Editors, corporate ownership all dictate what we can read. For news on what's happening inside Iraq, I like to visit two Iraqi blogs: the Mesopotamian and Healing Iraq. I don't believe it is healthy to get all one's news from just a few sources. So, I like to read a wide variety of different media: electronic, television and print. Blogs are a news revolution. News that is immediate. Is it unbiased and accurate? Probably not. But at least it is eye witness news at its very best. Long live Blogging!!