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Cedar Breaks National Monument to Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
Monday, July 31, 2006 … 69 Camper Miles – Total 4,561
Bright sunshine, nice day, partly cloudy later, mid 80s

Burrrr … it was 51 degrees in the camper when we got up this morning!

We got underway early, headed for Bryce Canyon. Again, it was a beautiful drive with forests, lava fields, pastures and meandering streams along the way. We stopped for breakfast at the Flying M Diner a couple off blocks past the four-way stop in Panguich, UT. For groceries, our waitress directed us to the market just past the four-way stop. She said that everything in town is described according to its relationship to the four-way.

Recent Lava Flow Still Without Vegetation
Recent Lava Flow Still Without Vegetation

Peaceful Lake Home To Pontoon Boats
Peaceful Lake Home To Pontoon Boats

Continuing to Bryce, we secured a site in the North Campground. No sooner did we get set up and drive to the Visitor Center than it started rumbling and raining. So, we took time to watch the film and look over the displays. Since we didn’t have much time, we drove the 18 miles to the north end of the park and started doing the overlooks into the canyon on our way back. We hiked the Bristlecone Trail and stopped at most of the other overlooks on the way back. They were beautiful, to be sure, but seemed a bit repetitive. We knew that we needed to get down into the canyon for a closer look the next day.

One Of Many Bryce Canyon Overviews
One Of Many Bryce Canyon Overviews

Last And Next Generations Of Bristlecone Pine
Last And Next Generations Of Bristlecone Pine

We ran into Mica and Emily, who we knew were headed to Bryce, along our drive and agreed to get together later in the evening. They ended up changing sites, taking the one next to ours. We gabbed until about 11:00 that evening. That’s VERY late for us. It’s really nice to have hooked up with someone for a few days!


Bryce Canyon National Park
Tuesday, August 1, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 4,561
Beautiful, sunny but mild day, mid 80s, partly cloudy later

Bristlecone Pine Seeks Sources Of Water
Bristlecone Pine Seeks Sources Of Water

Colored Bands Paint Canyon Walls And Pinnacles Alike
Colored Bands Paint Canyon Walls And Pinnacles Alike

With Mica And Emily
With Mica And Emily

As we promised ourselves, we hiked down into the canyon for an up-close look. We left the campground on foot, heading to Sunrise Point, descending Queens Garden Trail, doing the Peekaboo Loop Trail (with Mica and Emily who we encountered on the trail), returning to the top via the Navajo Trail to Sunset Point and walked back to the campground. (Bryce veterans may be surprised to learn that a recent landslide in the canyon cut off the perennial favorite Navajo Loop trail, turning the Wall Street leg into two short in-and-out trails. It will probably not be able to be reopened.) Our hike included LOTS of strenuous vertical hiking, especially the switch-back return up Navajo to Sunset Point.

Every Tunnel Should Offer A View Like This
Every Tunnel Should Offer A View Like This

Heading Up Switchback On Peekaboo Loop Trail
Heading Up Switchback On Peekaboo Loop Trail

Oregon Grape Seems To Thrive In This Environment
Oregon Grape Seems To Thrive In This Environment

Pinnalces Tower Above Us Along Trail
Pinnalces Tower Above Us Along Trail

But, what an extraordinary landscape we got to see! Time and time again we asked, “What planet are we on?” The forms that erosion has produced, the colors of the rock layers superimposed on each other, the sense of vertigo on some sections of the trail and the many rock windows and spires were just fascinating. It was so cool that we kept 109 photos from the day, a very high number for us for a single day’s hike. Yeah, the overlooks did seem a bit repetitive but the up-close-and-personal version was OUTSTANDING!

After the hike we really needed the showers that we got at the park’s General Store. Back at the campsite we shared a meal of chili and steamed broccoli with Mica and Emily. Bill did a slide show of the day’s photos afterwards. It was another late but thoroughly enjoyable evening!

Notice The Twin Bridges
Notice The Twin Bridges

Twin Windows Tower Above Trail
Twin Windows Tower Above Trail

Trail Goes Through One Of Many Short Tunnels
Trail Goes Through One Of Many Short Tunnels

Squirrel Looks For A Handout
Squirrel Looks For A Handout

The lesson in Bryce?  The overlooks are fine, but they don’t hold a candle to getting down in the canyon!


Bryce Canyon National Park to Escalante, UT
Wednesday, August 2, 2006 … 67 Camper Miles – Total 4,628
Overcast am, mid 70s, partly cloudy later, mid 80s

We both slept soundly until 8:15 this morning! Yesterday’s hike must have really tuckered us out! We said goodbye to Mica & Emily, who’s path will diverge from ours at this point. We left Bryce about 10:00 to continue our drive along Utah’s scenic Rt 12 toward Capitol Reef National Park. This, by the way, is a beautiful drive. Do it if you have the chance!

We’d heard good things about Utah’s Kodachrome Basin Sate Park, so we stopped and did a short hike in the park. Talk about weird! Given the park’s name and what we’d read, we expected lots of beautiful colors. But, that wasn’t what we found. Instead, we concluded that the park’s rock formations may be the strangest we’ve seen. Most of the rocks appear to have been formed from gelatinous globs of reddish sand, between basketballs and small cars in size, that were thrown into piles where they all conformed to the surfaces of adjacent globs. As the rock erodes, entire, glob-shaped, sandstone rocks fall out of the formations to litter the landscape. Then, among these rounded, rock-lined canyons erupt white, phallic-shaped towers. We couldn’t find any explanation for the glob-shaped rocks but the towers apparently started out as either cold or hot springs that were later filled in by whitish rock that is harder than the brown globs. So, the towers remain as the globs erode. Damn odd!

Gelatinous Glob Rocks ...
Gelatinous Glob Rocks ...

... And Phallic Towers Of Kodachrome State Park
... And Phallic Towers Of Kodachrome State Park

We continued along Rt 12 into the small town of Escalante. As we arrived, the scenery became beautiful in a different way with lush, irrigated valleys. We looked over places to camp and got lucky. We negotiated a very inexpensive site at Escalante Outfitters with free WiFi and electric! Bill spent the afternoon making notes, doing e-mail and writing this log. Of course, we blew any campsite savings by having dinner in the Outfitters’ restaurant. Not a bad dinner, though, with a large, smoked trout salad for Bill. Sandy had them use one of her gluten-free shells to make her a special pizza. We were both happy people!