These are my 2015 National Park vacation pictures.

Incredibly beautiful Arches, Bryce and Zion National Parks!
First up, Arches National Park
Landscape Arch
Landscape Arch used to be 291 feet across, but a big chunk of the left side fell off in 1991
Now it is a 310 foot span and still only 10 feet wide at the narrowest point

Delicate Arch
Delicate Arch is the famous arch on the Utah license plates
You can have the arch to yourself for a picture
A lot of people were waiting for their turn

Broken Arch
Broken Arch has a crack right in the middle, thus the name
I see two squirrels making out

Broken Arch
This arch looks exactly like it did 30 years ago
Except that last time I could touch the bottom of the arch
Several feet of the sandy soil have washed away since then

Pine Tree Arch
Pine Tree Arch but I don't see any pine tree resemblance

Next is Balanced Rock, Arches National Park
Balanced Rock
No matter which angle you see it from, it doesn't look like it should be up there

Balanced Rock
Some adventurous climbers went right up to the rock

Balanced Rock
It looks like it could fall any second!

Next in Arches National Park is Devils Garden
Devils Garden
This area just looks totally weird!

Devils Garden path
Here is one of the paths through the garden

Devils Garden
Big and Strange

hoodoos
Pictures don't do it justice

Next are some hoodoos in Arches National Park
hoodoos
It doesn't take much imagination to see many things in these hoodoos

hoodoos
There are thousands of unusual hoodoos

Next are some other interesting formations in Arches National Park
The Walls
These two are called the walls.
They are thin remnants of what used to be solid rock.
How did these two slabs evade the erosion that leveled everything else in every direction?

The Three Gossips
These are the Three Gossips.

Devils Playground
This section of Arches is called Park Avenue


Next up, Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon
This is the start of the trail into the canyon
The trail zig zags all the way down to the canyon floor

Bryce Canyon
One of many incredible views from inside the canyon
I was totally surrounded by these bizarre remnants of solid sandstone

Bryce Canyon
This tree holds onto the eroding mountain with its once covered roots exposed
Mid summer is moonsoon season on the Colorado Plateau
One side is a beautiful warm day, the other is cold and windy with sudden downpours

Last but certainly not least, Zion National Park
Zion hotel view
This was one view from the pool and hot tub
The other side of the canyon is different but equally impressive
The more you look, the more things you can see in the rocks

valley view
This is the magnificent Zion Canyon
Created by hundreds of millions of years of erosion
and the movement of glaciers during a few ice ages

Observation Point trailhead
30 years ago I hiked up to Obervation Point
Observation Point is at the top of this mountain
The trail is a strenuous 8 miles round trip with a 2150 foot elevation gain


Observation Point
This is a view of Zion Canyon from about half way up the trail
You can see 7 or 8 switchbacks of the trail on the left side of the picture
It took about 3 hours to get to the top and half that time to get back down

Observation Point
Here I am at the top of Observation Point
I was better prepared this time and the hike seemed easier
It was one of the few times that I finished my water before the end of the hike

Angels Landing
This is what Angles Landing looks like from Observaton Point
The trail goes all of the way up the long sloping ridge
And as you can imagine, you need to watch your step on that trail!

The Virgin River
This is where the water from Emerald Falls enters the Virgin River
The river is muddy from recent rains
Several thousands of tons sand and silt are washed down the canyon each year

Next are other attractions in Zion National Park
First is the Virgin River Narrows
Virgin River Narrows
This is the path to the Virgin River Narrows
The canyon is very wide at this point
But as you go a dozen miles into the canyon
Some canyon walls are straight up and only 18 feet apart

Virgin River Narrows
Once the paved path ends you have to wade through the water
The rubber wading pants that fishermen use would be helpful here
because the water is ice cold all year around

Next in Zion is Checkerboard Mesa
Observation Point
This scratched up mountain is Checkerboard Mesa
This mountain got in the way of some serious glaciers
The scars are still evident after millenia
Erosion caused the vertical lines and made the checkerboard pattern

Last in Zion is Emerald Falls
The Virgin River
The trail to the falls goes behind the waterfall,
The mist felt very refreshing on a hot day

The Virgin River
This is Upper Emerald Pool
The still water made a beautiful reflection

The Virgin River
And Lower Emerald Pool
Another colorful reflection

Last picture
a deer in Springdale, UT
The city of Springdale Utah is right next to Zion National Park
This deer casually walked across the main street in Sprindale
It was nice to see that the deer seemed to know that he belonged here
In spite of all of the people who come to visit his home

That's it, Thanks for looking!
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