Twilight in the Gardens

Here’s a question for you:  Is it really sunset if you can’t see the sun?  I guess it’s like that question about the tree falling in the forest, not sure if you don’t experience it.

I went out to Gibbs Gardens last weekend to do Twilight in the Gardens.  The gardens usually close at 5PM but occasionally, they stay open later and have live music and food for the guests.  On this particular evening, there was a bluegrass band playing and lots of folks were there enjoying an early Summer night.  I had it in my head that I was going to get a glorious sunset in this beautiful mountain setting with all the amazing landscaping….

The only problem is, Gibbs Gardens is not the wide-open spaces!  It is a lush garden in a densely wooded area.  Extremely beautiful but not a place to view the mountain landscape.  I had to satisfy myself with wonderful golden-hour light in hidden pockets here and there.

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I would definitely encourage anyone to take the hour drive from Atlanta up to Ball Ground and experience a twilight evening at Gibbs.  It’s a great way to spend a lazy summer’s night.  Just don’t expect to see the sunset from here.

What’s the difference between Historic and Run-down?

johnwayneApparently, the answer is a picture of John Wayne hanging on the lobby wall.  When I was looking for a place to stay while visiting Arches National Park, I decided to go for local flavor instead of playing it safe.  The “historic” Apache Motel popped out of the list as something different.  Well, if different means staying in a place that feels like it hasn’t seen much TLC since its heyday in the 1950’s then this one fits the bill!

Though this wasn’t the most miserable hotel I’ve ever seen, I wouldn’t recommend it to friends and family.  The only thing I found somewhat charming were the vintage neon signs (like the one shown above) that are spread around downtown Moab.  If the spirit of “The Duke” still lives here, the only evidence might be that someone seemed to be stomping around in cowboy boots all night in the room above us.

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The road from Arches National Park to Moab

Moab itself is a pleasant little town but I can’t imagine what it must be like during the busy season.  While we were there, the streets were humming with Jeeps, SUVs and Dune Buggies and visitors strolled the sidewalks browsing through gift shops or sat lounging in the many restaurants.

This must be the right time of year to visit the National Parks.  It seems that there are many more people in this area for the off-road desert adventures as opposed to families going to the parks.  I understand the lines to get in the park during the Summer can be miles long.  We barely needed to wait at all.  The only down-side was that it’s the rainy season so weather was a little unpredictable.

At the end of the day though, I would love to come back here and spend much more time visiting those magnificent parks!   (But, I think a different hotel next time.)


Dead Horse Point State Park

After a bit of research, I found an answer to a question that was bugging me.  Why is it that Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park are right next to each other and are not part of the same park?  You can easily see from one park to the other.  The answer?  Dead Horse was established as a Utah State Park in 1959 while Canyonlands was not made a National Park until 5 years later, in 1964.

Dead Horse Point is the centerpiece of the state park.  The point is a plateau standing 2000 feet above a gooseneck turn of the Colorado River.  The name of the park is derived from a legend about cowboys herding wild mustangs onto the point.  There is a narrow pass that leads to the point which the cowboys often used to drive the wild horses through so that they could corral them and take their pick of the best steeds.  The legend holds that on one of these round-ups, for some reason they left the un-chosen horses out on the point where they died of hunger and thirst.

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Hikers admire the view at the Visitor’s Center

The State Park is a very nice place to visit with spectacular views at many overlooks.  We combined the visit here with a drive over to Canyonlands which is only a few minutes away.  There is actually only about 30 miles distance separating Arches, Dead Horse and Canyonlands.  A paradise of canyons, mountains and high-desert nature!