National Parks of Southern Utah

The national parks of southern Utah each have their own bragging points. And the best time to visit them is May. Bryce Canyon is loaded with photogenic spires known as hoodoos; Zion offers imposing cliffs and lush hanging gardens; Capitol Reef has brilliant, colorful canyons and odd rock formations; Canyonlands wins in terms of overall size; and it’s pretty obvious what Arches is offers.

Much of Bryce Canyon is more than 8,000 feet high, and in early spring you’ll probably have to deal with snow and mud. Tourists flock to southern Utah in summer, so May is a good bet for smaller crowds, drier terrain, and more predictable weather.

One of the prettiest and most popular trails at Bryce combines parts of the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden trails (2.9 miles total) for great photo ops of delicately eroded hoodoos. You’re more likely to spot mule deer, elk, and dozens of bird species in the forest on the 8.5-mile Riggs Spring Loop. At one point the trail opens to spectacular views of the Pink Cliffs on the southern edge of the park. Hiking doesn’t have to stop when darkness falls; the sky is clear enough for full-moon walks, sans flashlight.

The terrain over at Zion is varied, with soaring cliffs, narrow canyons, and emerald pools. While it’s warm in May (often in the high 80s), you won’t encounter the three-digit temps of midsummer. To cool off, scamper up to Weeping Rock—the quarter-mile trail is shady, but steep in spots. In a grotto area, water continuously “weeps” down tall sandstone walls that are overgrown with hanging gardens. Real adventurers can take on the Zion Narrows, hiking in and along the Virgin River in a 1,000-foot crevasse. The water should be gushing and extra chilly in May; ask a ranger about flash flood dangers and water conditions beforehand.

When planning your trip for May…consider one or all of our National Parks in the Southwest.

Languages and Time Zones


Suppose you want to talk to someone in a different part of the world. And, suppose you want them to be awake and vertical.

You can see the time and date in any city instantly at www.timeanddate.com. This site can also help you find a time and date for a conference call when you’re dealing with multiple places.


Did you know there are 6,912 living languages in the world? I’m not sure who counted them but if you want information, check out http://www.ethnologue.com/web.asp

Let me know how many you want to learn to speak.

Del Dotto Caves and Winery


When looking for a unique wine tasting experience, look no further than Del Dotto Caves and Winery at 1055 Atlas Peak Road in Napa.


In 1885 Chinese laborers hand dug a 350 feet of wine caves with picks and shovels. Today those limestone walls protect these great wines. Humidity and temperature keep the barrels of wine at their best.


Wander through caves filled with barrels. Better yet…taste wines from those barrels. You won’t find any dump buckets on this “tour”. If (and it’s hard to believe) you need to dump your wine, just throw it on the floor in between the barrels. You won’t hurt the walls.


What a way to spend a Saturday…

Happy Friday Images


Would you believe these odd looking vines produce some of the best Zinfandel wine, called Old Vine Zin? Since I’m tasting some this weekend I’ll include photos next week.


Happy Friday…have an awesome weekend.

San Diego Butterflys

Who doesn’t like the friendly butterfly? Starting this weekend, the San Diego Zoo will have thousands of the colorful insects on display at the Butterfly Jungle.
The zoo’s Wild Animal Park will play host to the Hidden Jungle, an aviary that looks like a South American rain forest. Guests walk through as thousands of species of butterfly flit from plant to plant, looking for pollen. A close encounter is almost guaranteed, as the butterflies often mistake people for flowers.
Although butterflies are the stars of the show, no pollinator will go uncelebrated—this year’s theme is Pollinators of the Animal Kingdom, including birds, bugs, and bats. A Discovery Station in the park will have educational displays about bugs and the ecosystem; there’s even a bat cave with live bats. The event is great for kids, with crafts, puzzles, games, a Butterfly Wrangler performing, and a daily butterfly costume parade (so those leftovers from Halloween will get a second use).
Through April 26. Free with the cost of admission, which is $35 for adults and $26 for kids 11 and under. Look online to purchase tickets.

Plan Your Next Trip


Along the coast of northern California.


Seashells washed up after high tide.


If you are looking to plan your next trip using a social networking site, these are a couple that cater to travelers.

This one, about planning your next trip, offers a map on the home page letting you know which countries are good to visit each month. For example, Chile, Australia and Tanzania are great places to camp in February. And if you have a question, you can post it in the site under the Answers tab. Other travelers will respond with their ideas. Check out geckogo.com to see how it works.

If you are into sharing, check out tripit.com. Users can log on to arrange airport carpools or volunteer as guides for travelers coming to their city. It’s great if you want an itinerary, too. You have to give them your email confirmations from air, hotels, etc. They then compile them into a complete trip schedule, including maps, weather forecasts, and restaurant ideas.