After a couple of warm-ups (Ouray and Santa Fe) it was time to hit the road on Tuesday 21 June for the Filipich Road Trip. Adam had been planning for weeks, and Mario and Jeneen were relishing the opportunity to see some of the diverse landscape of the States. The map below roughly shows the trip, minus meanderings, mistakes and repeats:
Yep, it was HUGE! Here’s the key stats:
- 6,000+ miles (Google tells me it’s 4750 miles, so we must have done a fair bit of wandering off the track)
- 2 cars (first one broke)
- 2 countries
- 15 states
- 2 land border crossings
- 2 public holidays (Canada Day and Independence Day)
- 16 national parks – Yellowstone, Glacier (USA), Kootenays, Jasper, Banff, Yoho, Yosemite, Grand Canyon… the list goes on
- 25 hotels/motels (or maybe more… they all blend into one another after a while)
- Too many amazing sights to name (or count!)
In fact, there were so many sights we decided to split them up into 4 separate posts that follow this one, be sure to check them out:
- Flora and Fauna
- Lakes and Mountains
- Moving Water
Here’s the stuff that didn’t fit into those posts:
Okay, we’re exhausted just looking at these photos! It was a truly epic adventure. We farewelled Jeneen and Mario on Wednesday, and four hours later welcomed Mark – so there will be more travels to come. We promise to update the blog more promptly next time…
Another stunning Saturday, another chance to hit the road. This time, Adam had planned out a 300+ mile route which would take us into four states and some spectacular scenery. The first major attraction was the Four Corners – it’s the only place in the US where four states meet at a single point. We queued up for the obligatory shots (see below), bought some very impressive jewellery, and that’s about it for that stop.
Adam had planned the journey well. We wound our way through the mesa (which can get rather repetitive, so I won’t put in another photo). We followed the San Juan River from Farmington through the first part of the journey, and it has created some amazing land formations. Occasionally while driving, we’d spot cavernous canyons and jutting formations that looked like the land had simply been cut in half and one side lifted. This place is a geologist’s wet dream. Nothing was quite as awe-inspiring as the view that awaited at Mulie Point… The San Juan snakes its way through the landscape, creating what’s known as the Goosenecks. From above, they’re beautiful, if hard to understand (where are those geos when you need them to explain something!)
We ate our lunch sitting on the edge of the cliff. The fractures are perfectly straight and quite astounding – there are rocks several tonnes each perching precariously which are the shape of boxes. It seems impossible until you see it.
We made our way down the hill – more switch-backs and sheer drops – to see the Goosenecks up close. Its’ hard to believe a river would take such a long, meandering path (it must be at least three times as long as the distance between it’s start and finish) but the effect is nothing short of stunning.
From there, we headed south towards the Utah/Arizona border, through Monument Valley. We didn’t exactly pick the best direction or time of day (into the sun at around 6pm) but the effect was still incredible. How these formations have remained after millions of years of rain, wind and snow, I have no idea. We drove through the Valley with our jaws hitting the dashboard.
As we turned around to head home, we saw a town called Mexican Hat on the map. We’ve had a lot of entertainment looking at the names of towns in this area – we will definitely be visiting a town in New Mexico called “Truth and Consequences” simply to get a photo of the sign (and hopefully an explanation of the unusual choice of name). We didn’t realise that Mexican Hat has a namesake:
Nine hours in the car altogether, but definitely worth it.