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Following the 3 months during which I could not travel after retinal detachment surgery, I have spent a number of weeks driving north, just planning destinations day by day. Most of my stops are places visited previously, but deserving of multiple visits. I have taken new photos of a number of out-of-the-way rock art sites, all of Fremont origin, in Utah. Of particular interest were the little-known Shay Canyon petroglyphs (near the southern border of Canyonlands National Park), which follow along a high cliff face and seem to connect multiple galleries with long incised horizontal lines. While hiking there I lost my new eye glasses, but had already discovered they seemed of little assistance, and am doing just fine with a cheap pair of reading glasses for camera settings. I did backtrack the entire hike looking for the glasses, without success, and finally decided I must have dropped them out of my pocket while passing through dense streamside brush while crossing the little flooded Indian Creek.
I also revisited the Dry Fork area north of Vernal, with the semi-famous McConkie Ranch petroglyphs. With my new camera gear (700mm effective lens and high 40 mega-pixel body), I was able finally to get a large high-resolution image of the “Three Kings” panel (it actually has 7 figures – it is anyone’s guess which 3 might be supposed kings) Though the figures are life-size, they cover a panel very high up on a rock pinnacle and only can be viewed in entirety from a great distance. Although Freemont petroglyphs, the panel includes figures with painted highlights, and is therefore extremely unusual.
I spent days looking for grizzlies around Grand Teton National Park, but came up empty handed. I did successfully find moose in the willow creek beds high up in the Bighorn Mountains. Both locations presented Aspens in fall colors. The Black Hills of South Dakota, as usual, provided a lot of wildlife viewing right from the warm interior of my car (as often is the case, the area around Custer can be brutally cold even when the weather is nice a few miles in all directions). I also got a decent view of Mt Rushmore from over a mile away, permitting a perspective that does not look up the nostrils of the presidents, a view otherwise only available through the windows of a tour helicopter.
I am ending my trip with a side drive to Kansas City to visit my brother and sister, and then will return to Tucson for my next eye appointment, and to investigate the need for a hip replacement. Hopefully this coming Spring will see me back in Spain. Dave
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