Roadside Attractions

March 11, 2011 Cedar City, UT to Wheat Ridge, CO

Devil's Canyon, UT (next 3 photos):

Colorado. A herd of farmed elk:

Ski runs still open.

-P

Utah Rocks!

In the geological sense. March 10, 2011

Just time enough to share photos along the way...

Okay. I think the first two are from Nevada.

Look close. Is that white cone thing in the middle of the "field" some kind of radar thingy?

And we arrive in Cedar City, UT. This one's for Rebecca, our friendly U-haul rep in Costa Mesa, CA.

-P

And We're Off! *Sniff* *Sniff*

March 10, 2011 We left her in Costa Mesa with Steve at California Coach. And, yes, I did cry.

We will miss you.

Even stripped of possessions she still looks like home.

But we are off to new adventures.

More pics to come. For now, you guess the place.

-P

Three New Photo Galleries: Zion, Craters, and Grand Tetons

[caption id="attachment_3593" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Zion National Park, UT"]Zion National Park, UT[/caption] New Photo Gallery: Zion National Park, UT

[caption id="attachment_3592" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Craters of the Moon National Park, ID"]Craters of the Moon National Park, ID[/caption]

New Photo Gallery: Craters of the Moon, ID

[caption id="attachment_3594" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Grand Teton National Park, WY"]Grand Teton National Park, WY[/caption]

New Photo Gallery: Grand Teton National Park, WY

Kolob Canyon, Zion NP

August 20, 2009 Kolob Canyon is an adjunct to Zion National Park more than 30 miles from the main park. In our opinion, it's the prettier picture, even when forest fires cloud the dark pink canyon walls.

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A 1 mile hike to Timber Creek Canyon and awesome panoramas:

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A couple confident creatures entertained us with their poses along the trail.

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A collared lizard:

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When in Zion, Kolob Canyon is a must see.

Peace

-P

Kolob Canyon, Zion NP

August 20, 2009 Kolob Canyon is an adjunct to Zion National Park more than 30 miles from the main park. In our opinion, it's the prettier picture, even when forest fires cloud the dark pink canyon walls.

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A 1 mile hike to Timber Creek Canyon and awesome panoramas:

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A couple confident creatures entertained us with their poses along the trail.

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A collared lizard:

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When in Zion, Kolob Canyon is a must see.

Peace

-P

Tunnel Vision Zion Style

August 15, 2009 Since we arrived at Zion National Park, Utah via the East Entrance, we needed a special pass to go through the Long Tunnel.

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"Vehicles sized 7'10'' in width or 11'4'' in height, or larger, are required to have an ''escort'' (traffic control) through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Vehicles this size are too large to stay in their lane while traveling through the tunnel. Nearly all RV's, buses, trailers, 5th wheels, and some camper shells will require an escort."

The "escort" fee is $15, but the drive is escort-less, 1.1 miles of dark and little forgiveness. The bus is about 12'8" tall. The max height allowed is 13'1". Inches either way = damage. We straddled the centre line and crept through the mountain.

-P

P.S. - The South Entrance offers no such excitement.

Tunnel Vision Zion Style

August 15, 2009 Since we arrived at Zion National Park, Utah via the East Entrance, we needed a special pass to go through the Long Tunnel.

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"Vehicles sized 7'10'' in width or 11'4'' in height, or larger, are required to have an ''escort'' (traffic control) through the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel. Vehicles this size are too large to stay in their lane while traveling through the tunnel. Nearly all RV's, buses, trailers, 5th wheels, and some camper shells will require an escort."

The "escort" fee is $15, but the drive is escort-less, 1.1 miles of dark and little forgiveness. The bus is about 12'8" tall. The max height allowed is 13'1". Inches either way = damage. We straddled the centre line and crept through the mountain.

-P

P.S. - The South Entrance offers no such excitement.

Bryce, Twice

August 13, 2009 The park shuttle only covers half the park so we explored the scenic road by Jeep.

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Ponderosa Canyon resident raven - rather tame and photogenic.

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Agua Canyon:

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Natural Bridge - technically an arch. "A natural bridge is a type of natural arch where a current of water, such as a stream, clearly was a major agent in the formation of the opening (hole)." So says the Natural Arch and Bridge Society.

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Yovimpa Point, just before it rained:

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August 14, 2009

A short hike to Moss Cave ...

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... and adjacent waterfall - something rare in the area. Natural "windows" in the upper right corner.

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Up next: Zion National Park.

-P

Bryce, Twice

August 13, 2009 The park shuttle only covers half the park so we explored the scenic road by Jeep.

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Ponderosa Canyon resident raven - rather tame and photogenic.

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Agua Canyon:

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Natural Bridge - technically an arch. "A natural bridge is a type of natural arch where a current of water, such as a stream, clearly was a major agent in the formation of the opening (hole)." So says the Natural Arch and Bridge Society.

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Yovimpa Point, just before it rained:

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August 14, 2009

A short hike to Moss Cave ...

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... and adjacent waterfall - something rare in the area. Natural "windows" in the upper right corner.

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Up next: Zion National Park.

-P

Bryce is Nice

August 9-15, 2009 Our first introduction to Bryce Canyon came in the form of a massive ampitheatre of orange and white spires and fins. Something like this (remember, you're seeing a paler version of the photo):

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Paiute Indian legend says "Before there were any Indians, the Legend People, To-when-an-ung-wa, lived in that place. There were many of them. They were of many kinds--birds, animals, lizards and such things--but they looked like people ... . For some reason, the Legend People in that place were bad. Because they were bad, Coyote turned them all into rocks. You can see them in that place now; all turned into rocks; some standing in rows, some sitting down, some holding on to others. You can see their faces, with paint on them just as they were before they became rocks ..."

The 3.2 mile combo of the Queen's Garden and Navajo Loop trails is advertised as the "Best Hike in the World".

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Lloyd posted a gallery that you shouldn't miss out on. By the way, the garden is so named for a rock formation in the uncanny form of the queen on her throne.

A switchback climb:

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Thor's Hammer:

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Back on top:

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More Bryce Canyon National Park vistas:

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A forest fire or two made for hazy horizons.

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A little sunlight illuminates an ampitheatre:

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There are plenty of hikes and hikers in Bryce. Some trails call for getting your feet wet. Check these out these Five Fingers Foot Shoe:

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We stayed at Ruby's campground, just a 1/2 mile outside of the park. Free shuttles made getting around easy; they run every 6-10 minutes and late into the evening. Anyway, the best part about the campground was the wildlife. On the first day we tallied 3 chipmunks, 4 deer, many scolding Steller's jays and 9 pronghorn - all from our campsite!

-P

Recent Utah Hikes

Capital Reef NP - Cassity Arch Hike This is a wonderful hike in the area Butch Cassity and his men hid from the law. The views along this trail are breathtaking. It is a strenuous hike.

Capital Reef NP - Capital Gorge Hike

This is an easy hike along the floor of the canyon where the Mormon pilgrims carved there names into the walls of the canyon in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Escalante SP - Petrefied Forrest Hike

This is a moderately strenuous hike that leaves the campground and ascends to a great view of the town of Escalante and many large petrified tree trunks.

Escalante National Monument - Devil's Garden Hike

This is an easy hike around the hoodoos and formations. See the upcoming photo gallery for images from this magical place.

Bryce NP - Queens Garden Navajo Loop Hike

Sorry for the poor quality of this Google Earth image. There must have been a fire when the Satellite took these photos since smoke covers the entire Bryce area on Google. But this hike is considered the "world's greatest three mile hike" and we would have to agree. After a steep decent into the canyon floor you have wonderful views of Bryce from below. The steep ascent out of the canyon makes this a moderately strenuous hike. Well worth the effort. -L

Escalante Sights and Eats

August 5-9, 2009 We stayed at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park on the edge of Wide Hollow Reservoir and at the base of a red and white mesa.

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We had an extremely private site (Site B a.k.a. Site 2), aside from the almost constant parade of wildlife including Steller's Jays, hummingbirds, whiptail lizards, squirrels, chipmunks, bats, and ...

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... jackrabbits.

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Petrified Forest Trail is a moderate 1-mile loop hike that leaves the campground and climbs 200 feet to the top of the mesa. We added on the Trail of Sleeping Rainbows, a strenuous 3/4 mile extension with the highest concentrations of petrified wood.

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And we finish off with a dining recommendation: Escalante Outfitters for the organic Vagabond Beer (amber) and vegetable pizza. We also filled our fridge with the Farm Market's offerings across the road.

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-P

Grand Staircase Escalante & Hwy 12

August 5-9, 2009 If you're reading in sequence, this is what awaited us after scaling Muley Twist:

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... Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument: part painted-desert, part bold plateaus, part layer cake of time. Grand Staircase Escalante is so named on account of the multihued layers of sedimentary rock in white, pinks, oranges, purples, blues, etc. Lloyd posted a gallery with better photos.

An interesting fact (maybe?): "The Monument was declared in September 1996 at the height of the 1996 presidential election campaign by President Bill Clinton and was controversial from the moment of creation. The declaration ceremony was held at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and not in the state of Utah. The Utah congressional delegation and state governor were notified only 24 hours in advance. This was seen by many as a transparent political ploy to gain votes in the contested state of Arizona. That November, Clinton won Arizona by a margin of 2.2%, and lost Utah to Republican Bob Dole by 21.1%."

From Torrey through Boulder en route to Escalante, Highway 12 is a stunning drive...

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... if a little bit scary in a big bus when there are no lines, no shoulders, no guard rails, but so many sheer views down, ...

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... followed by a lot of up.

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-P

A Bridge and a Buckle

August 4, 2009 A  steep 2 mile round-trip hike passes scorched rock, a sequence of natural bridges and juniper trees twisted into freakish forms on the way to Hickman Bridge.

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Up close, the siltstone and sandstone grains flow in yellow, pinks and oranges.

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Next, we explored some of Hole-in-the-Rock Road through Strike Valley, between mesas and red and white buttes specked with trees and the Waterpocket Fold - a giant buckle in the Earth's surface. Over millions of years ancient seas, tidal flats and deserts deposited layers of sediment then "regional mountain-building bent or flexed rock layers into a huge fold." It's an odd landscape that stretches over a hundred miles. Of course Wordpress photos don't do the view justice.

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Just off Hole-in-the-Rock Road, away from the Waterpocket Fold, Burr Trail scales Muley Twist via back to back switchbacks. Most RVs are restricted and wet weather can make the road impassible even for 4WDs. Though we enjoy these exciting climbs in our Jeep, I noticed after the fact that we said next to nothing during the climb, and I remember holding my breath more than once, and I might have suppressed a squeal in the path of an oncoming RV...

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Anyway, the crest rewarded us with extraordinary views of the Henry Mountains, Waterpocket Fold, Red Circle Cliffs and Long Canyon.

-P

Cassidy Arch, Capitol Reef

August 2, 2009 We woke to this view each morning from Thousand Lakes RV Park:

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Picnic packed and maps in hand, we set out for the Capitol Reef Scenic Drive and a hike.

A view along the way:

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We climbed 1,150 feet and 3 1/2 miles to Cassidy Arch, just in time to meet dark clouds at the peak.We made it back to the Jeep just in time for the first sprinkle.

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The arch was named after Butch Cassidy. According to legend, Cassidy had a hideout in the area.

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The hike deserved it's "Strenuous" rating. See the Jeep ... way ... down ... there?

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But it was more than worth it. :)

Another highlight of the day was dinner at Cafe Diablo. Cafe Diablo is perhaps best known for its pastry chefs and delectable deserts, but boasts an eclectic dinner menu. We skipped the rattlesnake cakes, but ordered four deserts - two to take home. :)

-P