Bracing BryceWednesday, May 19th, 2010 – Bryce time! Today, finally we are going to see one of the Canyons I have heard so many friends and fellow RVers talking about. Patti got lalely more into photography, since she got her new Sony Cybershot (I think that’s how it’s called) so packed with 2 cameras (I still don’t have my wide angle).
We stopped at the visitor center and stamped our passports, got a plate for the walking stick and ask for some advice. The ranger told us that the best way to get an overview is to drive all the way to the south of the park, and make our way north slowly, where all the viewpoints will be to our right. And so we did. The rock formations are amazing, and every overlook point on the rim exposes a different angle of this godly treasure. Spikes and needles colored in multiple colors, mixed with the tree greens create a perfect composition of colors and shapes that fills your mind and soul with endless energies. Hard to describe. We ended our tour in Bryce point – an amazing spot overlooking the “amphitheatre” from the south. Endless number of pictures. What can I say.
This trip pretty much too us the whole day. We decided to come back another day for some hikes down in the valley of those giant wind and water made posts.
Red CanyonAs if this is not enough for the day, the way to and from the park runs through another Canyon called the Red Canyon. Amazing formation of red rocks including two natural tunnels that goes through the rock. If you love nature and landscape photography – this is your place to live. Every corner hides some beauty and the opportunities are endless.
Living the dreamI am sure that any RVer has its own version of RV Life, and many times when we talk to people and tell them we are full-timers, we get this “Wow, I wish I could” response.
For us, this is a mixture and balance between work and pleasure. And pleasure for us is nature. Hiking, Biking, taking pictures, exploring and enjoying all those beautiful places around the country.
Some times we are busier the others, and some other times we explore more, but this last month was exactly how we dreamed it. The opportunities are endless and nature is calling our name every morning. The weather is perfect, and anywhere we go is so nice. Even the side of the roads and the back-country.
Getting to a campground for 2 weeks, and not having enough time to see just the area around that is a dream for us, and this is the time you know you made the right choice. When you are excited getting up in the morning, and at night you say – wow – it was a great day.
Bryce intentions ended somewhere elseFriday, May 21st, 2010 – Slept in today. By the time we woke up got our morning coffee and got ready to go, the sun was already in mid sky. We started our drive north on famous hwy 89, towards Bryce Canyon, when we realized that we will not have enough time for a good hike as we planned.
So what now?
We were waiting for Cedar break National Monument to open, but the roads are still closed. When I looked it up on the internet, it showed another road that leads to the park, and I thought – if this road isn’t blocked – we may be able to get to the park through there. So today, while we were already heading north, I thought it would be a great opportunity to visit the park.
Hwy 143 starts at Panguich on Hwy 89 just north of the junction with Hwy 12 (toward Bryce), and ends at Parowan, a small town north of Cedar City. It is also a designated scenic route, so we had nothing to lose. The road climbs very high and the slopes are very steep. We had a point where we saw a grade of 13%, I think that is the highest I have ever seen so far.
Cedar Breaks is closed
When we got to cedar breaks we understood why the park is still closed. The snow on the side of the road reached 4’-5’ at there was nothing but snow around. The temperature was above freezing (not much) but it was cold and windy. It is still winter here. Those people must get spring in later June for couple weeks and then winter again. Can’t believe it. I saw snow on mountain peaks but nothing like here. Needless to say that hwy 148 that leads to the park, and the park itself were closed. We stopped at the North overlook on hwy 143 just past the park entrance and tool some pictures. At least we got a little taste of it…
Yet another failed attemptThe road winds down to the small town of Parowan, where we ate a small pastry from a local bakery, and merged into I-15 heading south to Zion. There is a road that goes through the western part of the park and it’s not connected to any other part. It starts at the village of Virgin and ends north close to Cedar City.
We found a trail that would take us to this road from the north and headed that direction. We took the first exit south of Cedar city, and headed East to the mountains. The road tuned into a gravel road is it climbed among the mountain farms around us and exposed the view of the valley. Posted signs were al over, and every few yards. There is no room for mistakes here – stay on the road! As the road climbed up, it become narrower and harder to drive. A small stream crossed the road at one point and mad a small obstacle to pass. When we were pretty high the road became very narrow and muddy with snow banks around and wild trees. By the time we realized it it was too late. There is no way I could turn around. So we moved forward slowly. That is – until we hit a dead end – the road was completely covered with snow and there was no way I could pass it without falling down, and it is a loooong ways down. As I said – no way to turn around so I started backing up the truck in this narrow trail, until I got to a point where we could turn. The truck was filthy, full of mud and scratched from the trees. I had a brown truck!
We headed back to the highway and stopped at cedar city. Went to one of those ‘Wash-it-yourself’ car wash places and spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the truck, bringing the shiny black back.
One very busy day
Kodachrome, it give us those nice bright colors…Truth is – we were heading to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. From what I have seen so far, National Monument means a small confined area, usually one exhibit to look at, while National Park is a bigger area with unique features. So we followed the signs and the sun, but didn’t find the monument.
It was only around noon when we left Bryce, early enough to see and explore another place. We arrived a state park called Kodachrome, and when we asked about the National Monument, the park ranger explained that this ‘monument’ covers 1.9 million acres. And this little park is actually in it and gives a good idea of the unique features of the grand Staircase. Being in this hiking spirit, we chose a nice hike of about 4-5 miles in the south west part of the park, overlooking the staircase and have some unique features and formations on the way. Not sure if we actually meant to hike 5 miles or just misread the guide, but by the time we got back to the truck we were exhausted. It was a great day, we agreed, and we got to see two parks and hiked twice. There was no need even to discuss – we are heading back home.
Mossy CaveThe sun was still out sending its long rays and painting in gold the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon as we drove Hwy 12 Westbound. On the side of the road, couple miles before the park entrance, we saw some cars parked at the side of the road – That’s this cave that we saw on the map – let’s have a look! So we stopped.
A short trail led to couple places. The cave itself was somewhat of a disappointment. I think it is nicer when the icicles are still hanging from its ceiling, but the other side of the trail let to a very nice waterfall with views of the park in sunset.
Sunday, May 23rd 2010 – After amazing two weeks of staying here at Glendale, UT we are getting ready to leave. Clean the RV and fix some broken knobs and screws, cleaning up a little bit and getting ready for tomorrow. Heading a middle spot between here and Moab.
Hope you like UT like we do – we fell in love with this state and its beauty. So until next time…