After I promised to write more, it's been a while again. We've been to a number of places since the Tetons. Dinosaur, Colorado National Monument, Arches, Canyonlands, Kodachrome, Grand Staircase, Bryce, Zion, Pipe Springs, Grand Canyon (north Rim and South Rim), Wapatki, Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater, and Tuzigoot.
Dinosaur: Fun, we arrived for the opening day at the new visitor center. Conner was the first Junior ranger in the new visitors center. We saw some dinosaur fossils and met some nice folks. There were a lot of dignitaries there and the entire ranger staff. There is absolutely nothing around the park. The towns on the map generally consisted of a gas station, and maybe a bar. We missed the opening of the best feature in the park, after 5 years they're reopening the visitors center that contains the majority of the large fossils that have been excavated but not removed from the park. Some day we'll have to go back and check them out.
Colorado National Monument: Beautiful park that we didn't even know about until spending a couple of nights in Grand Junction, CO. It was only about 5 miles away so we decided to head over. It was easily the scariest drive that I have ever done. Super windy with sheer drop offs and very few sections with guard rails. Still, it was a beautiful park and it's founder had the same name as my grandpa Youmans. John Otto... tho that was his full name and just my grandfathers first and middle. I have a few paintings in mind there. The ranger that awarded Conner's badge was from the Adirondacks. Pretty cool place. A huge shift in weather and scenery from the Tetons.
Arches: What a great park, sooooo beautiful, just outside the town of Moab. We loved it there, Of course we visited double arch which is in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It was our favorite spot in the park. We attended a ranger talk at the coolest amphitheater that we had been to yet. It was in the campground and had lights and a movie screen, all outdoors. Bats were flying around and at the end of the program, Conner was awarded his badge
Canyonlands: A great park, we met a really nice interpretive ranger/volunteer from Rochester, that new someone from Middleburgh and remembered what a small world it was. It was pretty hot there, but at a high altitude so it was much cooler than it was in Arches (which was close to 100). Canyonlands was not crowded and is a fairly primitive park with only pit toilets. The only water was at the visitors center water fountain. We arrived at sunrise and wandered around all day. It seems we are always pleasantly surprised by the parks that are less traveled.