The Trip 2011

 
   

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Long Beach, California

 

Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific (Blacktip Reef Shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus)

Here I have posted some photos from the 8 states I visited during my 14 days long road trip in Western USA in 2011. From chilly Long Beach and Los Angeles (yes, it was pretty cold in California!), through Mojave desert, Death Valley National Park, via Nevada and Las Vegas and into southern parts of Utah. The beehive or mormon state has all kinds of nature, from the deserts in the southern range, the prairie-like panhandle in the central parts, to the rugged high snow-covered mountain areas all over the state, in addition to the colorful canyons and cliffs of the numerous national parks in the southern region.

Since I only had a limited time to spend in the national parks, the stopovers in Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park and Arches National Park became brief. Zion NP was very crowded when I visited, so to get away from the masses, it would have been necessary to hike. But the colored cliffs and the rest of the nature in the park was very nice. Bryce Canyon NP was less crowded and quite chilly, and dominated by the impresssive amphitheather with hundreds of hoodoos. Bryce Canyon NP also had a richer wildlife, with mule deers, pronghorns and many different bird species. Capitol Reef NP is named for a particularly colorful section of the Waterpocket fold, creating a slickrock wilderness of domes, cliffs, and a maze of twisting canyons. In Arches NP I only spent half a day. Since it turned out to be impossible to find an available motel or hotel room in the city of Moab, I had to drive north to Green River for acommodation after spending the sunset hours in the colorful park.

Instead of driving to Salt Lake City, I choosed a more easternly route, mainly to visit one of the best birding spots in Utah according to many web sites, namely the Ouray National Wildlife Refuge in the north-eastern region. Unfortunately, most of the roads in the refuge were temporarily closed due to flooding. Still, this region along to the Green River was obvious a good birding spot. From there I drove north to the desolate Wyoming, with sparsely populated, endless open plains before entering the impressive Shoshone National Forest, the first national forest established in the USA, and then, after a night in Jackson Hole, into the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

For me, the highlight of the trip was of course Yellowstone, with its rich wildlife. After three amazing and freezingly cold days in Yellowstone, I continued north to Montana and Interstate 90. The last days saw a lot of driving, with only brief stops in Montana, Idaho and Washington states before delivering the car in Seattle.

[ Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, Sonoran Desert (2001) ]

 

Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola), San Diego

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), San Diego

 

 

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris), Mojave desert

 

Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia), Mojave desert, California

 

Flowering Engelmann's Hedgehog Cactus (Echinocereus engelmannii), Mojave desert

Desert landscape with Joshua Tree and Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera)

 

Death Valley National Park

Salt pan

 

Desert landscape

Badwater Basin, 85.5 meters below sea level

 

Death Valley

California roadside

 

Next service far away

Driving through Las Vegas

 

Motel in Mesquite, Nevada

Soaptree Yucca (Yucca elata), Southern Utah

 

Yucca flowers with Seven-spotted Lady Beetle (Coccinella septempunctata)

Redneck US of A

 

Southern Utah landscape

La Verkin, Utah

 

Silver Bear rock shop, Springdale, Utah

Outside Zion National Park (Route 9), Utah

 

North Fork Virgin River, Utah

Hailstorm

 

Red-tailed Hawk - western type, (Buteo jamaicensis)

Utah literature, found in all motel rooms ("I myself stick to The Book of Morons...it has served me well")

 

Pronghorns (Antilocapra americana), Bryce Canyon National Park

Oil exploration, Utah

 

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus)

Most likely Common Checkered-Skipper (Pyrgus communis)

 

Evening sky

Outback lunch in Capitol Reef National Park

 

Capitol Reef National Park

Western Whiptail Lizard (Cnemidophorus tigris), Capitol Reef NP

 

White-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys leucurus), Ouray National Wildlife Refuge, Northern Utah

Ouray National Wildlife Refuge

 

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), shot through the windshield in Ouray National Wildlife Refuge. An introduced species in the USA. This one belongs to the Chinese Ring-necked Pheasant group

Snow fence, Northern Utah

 

Vernal, Utah

Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Northern Utah. Notice the black tip of the tail, and the large ears

 

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), near Ouray National Wildlife Refuge, Northern Utah

California Quail (Callipepla californica), Northern Utah

 

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura), Northern Utah

Cattle ranch, Wyoming

Into Yellowstone National Park

 

White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), northern Utah

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

 

Lunch at a cowboy pub, Jackson Hole

Still lots of snow in southern parts of Yellowstone in late May

 

In the Cascades, Washington

Pub in Cooke City, Montana

 

Sleeping Bison (Bison bison)

Clark Fork River, Montana

 

Idaho countryside

Washington state

 

Old-town district, Ellensburg Pearl Street, Washington

Western trillium (Trillium ovatum), Cascades

 

Western Skunk Cabbage (Lysichiton americanus), Cascades

Coffee-bar, Seattle

 

Pike Place Market, Seattle