Tag: Travel

Nine Mile Canyon

South-East of Price Utah is the small town of Wellington, Utah on U.S. Highway 6/191. A small brown sign posted on Hwy. 191 marks your turnoff into Nine Mile Canyon.


The name Nine Mile Canyon is misleading, as it is actually sixty miles or more in length. Until 2004 it was an unpaved road, but due to the oil and gas industry, the road is blacktopped almost fifty miles into the canyon to the Great Hunt Panel. Despite being paved, it’s not a heavily traveled road, which makes for a leisurely day trip in and out of the canyon.

Nine Mile Canyon has been a major thoroughfare through the West Tavaputs Plateau of central Utah for nearly 8,000 years. On my trip, I ended up having to exit the canyon the same way I came in, as there was mud and snow well past the Great Hunt Panel.  When the road is passable, there are two other exit points.



For longer stays, the Nine Mile Ranch offers a bed & breakfast, cabins and camping.


There were lots of deer grazing in the fields and along the roadside…another reason to drive slower.



The first petroglyphs start appearing a little more than five miles in.  The majority are not signposted, so you have to drive slow and look at the sandstone panels on boulders and cliff walls to spot them. The good news is that most can easily be seen from the comfort of your car right along the roadside.  I recommend however, a pair of binoculars and a camera with a zoom lens to really get a good view and great pictures.


There are literally thousands of petroglyphs, and some pictographs higher up the hillsides, and in the side canyons for those that are able to hike.


The petroglyphs and pictographs date back to the Fremont Culture 300 – 1200 AD and some historic graffiti from the 19th century pioneers.


There are a few dilapidated old buildings along the road, one being a stage-coach stop.


An alternate route out of the canyon is to Myton, Utah


A side trip up Gate Canyon for a couple miles netted a few good photo’s of rock formations, but no petroglyphs.



At Daddy Canyon parking area there are the remains of an old ranch corral, and many well preserved petroglyphs, along with a 0.75 mile trail that runs along the base of the cliffs for up close viewing of the ancient artwork.


Further down the road, the landscapes were beautiful.


A short, steep path up the hillside leads to the Fremont Village, which most might find unimpressive; however, the views up and down Nine Mile Canyon are grand.


The dwellings were rock overhangs, or pits in the rocks.




I hope you enjoyed the photo tour of Nine Mile Canyon.

BLM Kills 45,000 Wild Horses and Burros

The Wild Horse – An American icon and spirit of the West. Free roaming the open range now for multiple centuries.


How many people get to see wild horses?  Hurry, while you still can…

This story broke in September 2016, eight months ago already.  I felt compelled to bring it up after recently photographing these majestic animals in Northwest Nevada.  It’s estimated roughly 70,000 wild horses roam the West’s public lands. For anyone living in, or visiting the United States, this is Your land, and Your horses.

Public lands, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), are often leased by ranchers to graze their cattle on.  The Bureau said ranchers were complaining because their cattle had to compete for food with the wild horses.  The BLM has been caught before illegally selling wild horses for slaughter.  In this case, thousands of wild horses and burros were rounded up.  The sick and injured were sold to slaughterhouses.  Much of the meat is sent to Europe, and mostly France. (You can tell if cooked meat is horse, as it will still be very red.) However, the remaining 45,000 wild horses and burros were corralled and pinned, and then sentenced to death by the BLM’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board voting to exterminate.  They also want to sterilize the remaining wild horses on the open range.  So in a generation, being able to see these horses in their natural habitat, may come to an end.


With a quick StartPage.com search on the subject, you can find petitions if you’re into that.  Personally I don’t think protesting and petitions work. No, if you want someone’s attention, hit them where it hurts – In the wallet.  The BLM needs reorganizing, new management, or defunded.

The photo’s were taken in early March 2017 North of Gerlach, Nevada on State Route 34.

Eugene, Oregon Freeze

On a recent trip to Eugene, Oregon I arrived to find the city encapsulated in ice._dsc1469_dsc1474_dsc1480_dsc1482_dsc1479

Tree limbs were brought down all over Eugene and Portland from the weight of the ice. But on a coastal excursion, the oceanic climate offered a reprieve.  Pictured below is a Pacific Ocean sunset, just South of Newport, Oregon.


Paracas and Ica’s Huacachina Desert Oasis

A journey South to Paracas and Ica begins at one of Lima’s bus terminals such as Soyuz, or Cruz del Sur. Travel time to Pisco, 240km’s is about 3hr 30mins by bus. If your bus doesn’t go directly to Paracas, then get off in Pisco, and take a taxi to Paracas. There are plenty of hotel accommodations in the small village, which lies in the Atacama Desert in the Paracas National Preserve, and along the shores of Pisco Bay.

_DSC5398The number one attraction in Paracas is a two hour boat tour of the Ballestas Islands. Numerous speed boats take turns docking against the pier in a sort of pecking order, as tourists pour over the side of the pier into the boats which fills up quickly. At the entrance to the pier sits a booth which charges an entry fee to enter the preserve, and everything seemed straight forward at first. However, it was a disorganized chaos, or so it seemed while waiting in line to purchase a ticket. Several tour boat operator touts were rattling off different prices like an auction in reverse. Break out your negotiating skills here to try for a better deal. A Russian entrepreneur has built a new pier beside the old one, as well as a terminal with a small aquarium which should all be operational by now.  I took this trip in August 2014.

She is Smart – She’s Savvy – She’s Well Traveled, and, She Gets Everything She Wants!

She is all of the above, but most of all, VERY Sweet too!



…My Norwegian Forest Cat.

In Memory: Silja, 15 February, 2000 — 2 February, 2016

“Time spent with cats is never wasted” – Sigmund Freud

Silja was born, 15 February 2000 in Solingen, Germany at Hojmarkens Cattery.  In the weeks prior, I had already decided I wanted a cat. However, what type?  I was single then, stationed overseas, and thought it would be nice to have a pet.  Sure, I could have taken in any cat, but this time, I really wanted a purebred.  I looked at cat magazines, and searched online, looking at the different breeds; their grooming needs, personalities, whether they were active, or calm.  I saw a picture of a Norwegian Forest Cat (NFC) online, and knew right away, that was the one!  They are a natural breed of cat that once roamed the forests of Norway and Finland up to 4,000 years ago, and sailed with the Vikings, keeping their ships clear of rats, and mice.  Wegie’s, as they are sometimes called, are thought to be the ancestors of the Main Coon cat in the USA.

I was in Germany already, so the possibility of locating a breeder in Europe was very high.  Was it luck, or fate? Hojmarken’s Cattery had kittens, just born less than a week earlier.  I had originally tried to reserve another cat, but Katja Schmatz, the owner/breeder, told me that cat had already been sold, however, there was one more available, named Silja. I said, “Please save Silja for me.”  She was one week old, when I drove from Spangdahlem, up to Solingen to see her for the first time. Silja had just returned from the vet not long before I arrived, and was feeling a little groggy from her vaccinations.  Nevertheless, after I sat on the couch beside all the kittens, Silja staggered over to me.  Katja said, “Cats and their owners just seem to find each other.”

I had to wait eleven more weeks before I could bring her home.  Socialization of cats is much better if they can stay with their mother’s and siblings for at least twelve weeks.  Silja, was entered into a cat show at just three months old, and won a trophy and title of Best in Variety.  Norsk skaukatt is how to say Norwegian Forest Cat in German. In addition, there is a saying, “Bet you can’t just have one”.  For me that was true, in 2001, I acquired another one, named Kayleigh, who has since passed away from diabetes at twelve and a half years old.

Then in 2003, I received orders for a remote, short tour in Honduras.  That meant I could only take no more than 500 pounds of personal belongings, and NO pets, or family members, had I been married, for one year. I was desperate to find someone to take care of them.  I did not want to have to give them up.  They were my baby girls! Some family friends in Colorado were gracious enough to cat sit for me for the year.  I sent them cat support payments every month though.  The year passed by and then we were off to my follow-on in Alaska.  Just the kind of weather Silja and Kayleigh’s double coats were equipped for, consisting of a soft wooly undercoat and water repellant guard hairs on the outside in the winter.  The undercoat is molted in summer.

The drive from Colorado to Alaska went well.  The girls were in a medium sized kennel, right beside me in the passenger seat.  They both settled into the routine of driving all day and stopping for the night. It took a week of driving to make it through Canada, routing through Edmonton in Alberta, then into British Columbia, arriving at Dawson Creek (Mile-0, “Where the adventure begins,” on the Alaska Highway), and camping by the beautifully scenic Muncho Lake.  Later, we passed through Whitehorse in the Yukon, shortly after entering Alaska.  The farther North we drove, the longer the days were in late May.  We saw grizzly bear, caribou, and moose.

Silja in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

Silja, in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

We left Alaska in 2007, with orders to Eglin AFB, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  The cats would travel the Alaska Highway again, this time in reverse.  On this trip however, the car was loaded with not only myself and the girls, but also my new wife, and her dog, we had flown from Peru to Alaska.  Yay, Road Trip!  It was an exciting move from the Arctic Circle to Sunny Florida.  Silja even stayed a night at the Edmonton Mall, in Canada, which is the world’s largest mall, with two hotels in it.

In August of 2008, I had retired from the U.S. Air Force and my son was born just seventeen days later.  After a year or so, we moved down to Key West, FL for college.  With road, trips being old hat by now, the cats rode peacefully with me in the U-Haul truck without any fuss.  Within another year, the cats were flying out of Miami, to Miraflores, Lima, Peru where they had an ocean view from the sixth floor.

Silja’s 15th birthday is fast approaching, approximately 76 years old in human years.  Time is taking its toll on her little body, as I had found her many times laying on top of my laptop keyboard seeking warmth from the nearly constant 100% humidity in Lima.  She shut down the computer by stepping on the power switch one too many times and I had to replace the hard drive.  I searched high and low, everywhere to find a 220V electric heating pad for her, but to no avail.  Thank goodness for Amazon.com.  Now Silja has a comfortable, heated bed that is on top of my desk.  I think every writer or thinker needs a cat around, right?

Silja taking a much needed nap in her heated bed, after a hard days work.

Silja, taking a much needed nap in her heated bed, after a hard days work.

I would like to think she is the smartest cat in the world, since she is nearly always with me, and hears all of the news I peruse in gathering many different opinions on current events, economics, finance, and investing around the world. Alternatively, perhaps she is the most traveled cat, having been in four different countries, and seventeen of the fifty United States.  Regardless of that, to me, Silja is the sweetest, most lovable and adorable cat I have ever known, and she has certainly enriched my life.

Note: I submitted this post in December, responding to The Wall Street Journal’s Expat-Pets Abroad: Nominate Yours For The ‘Expet’ Hall of Fame. Silja’s picture was featured in the article. Click here to see the article and read about other ExPet’s too.


Silja Turned 15 Years Old!