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2004-04-26 18:05:26.763762+00 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

I'll leave the final update for Bryce[Wiki] for last, since those pictures just trump everything else. We left Bryce[Wiki] on Friday morning looking to head up Highway 12 to Escalante State Park[Wiki], continue on to spend the night near Salt Lake City[Wiki], head out over the salt flats in the morning so that we'd be in Reno and easy striking distance on Sunday for home. The first place we hit was Kodachrome Basin State Park[Wiki], but as we were about to turn north into the basin Charlene noted this thing called Grosvenor Arch[Wiki] a few miles off the pavement. We were ahead of schedule, and by serendipity filling in an "off-pavement driving survey", so we pulled the ol' sedan into the dust and headed into the backcountry.

The double arch was very cool, large high limestone in some cool formations, and the drive out there was along some pretty spectacular cliffs. We're now thinking I need to get a 4WD vehicle and we need to spend some time exploring the wilds of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument[Wiki], out beyond the pavement and the parks. In fact we were considering taking some of the back roads out to Highway 12, but the Maxima is distinctly not "high clearance", I was a bit concerned about one of the tires, and we were trying to keep to a schedule.

We did, however, chalk up at least two water crossings more than most SUVs make in their lifetimes.

After everything else, Kodachrome Basin State Park[Wiki] was something of an anti-climax. If we'd taken the time to hike around a bit I'm sure we would have seen more, but we decided to get on down the road.

Second to Bryce[Wiki], but only by a little bit, was the petrified forest at Escalante State Park[Wiki]. We started up the "nature trail" with the guide, and that lowered our expectations. Then we ran into someone who turned around because there was "one little piece up there". So we considered it as a walk in the sun on a nice day among the piñons. In fact, when we first saw shards we started scouring the ground for more of the little shinies. We should not have been so hasty.

If you go, be sure to take the additional "trail of sleeping rainbows". This is where you run into huge shattered sections of pentrified trunks strewn along the trail. Sliding down gullies where every step is another portion of prehistoric log, with bright reds and obsidian blacks and glossy whites. Well worth the strenuous down and up.

Next: A few images from vast red and white expanses of the canyon lands (not many, Charlene was tired and I realized we need to make a trip back to fully explore that region), Bryce[Wiki], and maybe a return to Wells, Nevada[Wiki].

[ related topics: Photography Dan's Life Nature and environment Travel Automobiles Dan & Charlene's April 2004 Desert Trip ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-04-27 00:59:13.248369+00 by: topspin

Gotta recommend Calf Creek Falls for taking pictures. The colors of the falls are stunning. There were 3 professional photographers with big large format gear when I went.... waiting for the light to be perfect. We hiked out in near darkness, but it was worth it.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-04-30 18:23:27.041501+00 by: meuon

I think we need to all get out there at the same time.. with camera's, packs. and my 4x4 Ford..

#Comment Re: made: 2004-04-30 19:54:27.930485+00 by: Shawn

I'd be up for that - although I'm more experienced with backpacks than gas-powered devices offroad.

Now that K's leg has mostly healed (along with a few other less tangible things), we've got firm hiking and biking plans this year. I come from a family of rabid hikers and skiers (so much so that I reached a point where it became ho-hum, life-as-usual) but before meeting me, K's "camping" experiences amounted to sleeping on the floor at a Motel 6[Wiki].

#Comment Re: made: 2004-04-30 20:57:01.377012+00 by: Diane Reese

I'd be up for it, too, especially if Bryce is part of the package.

While I haven't done any overnight backpacking, I've ridden a fully-laden bicycle across the US and camped the whole way across. That's got to count for something similar in the experience department.

And oh yeah, I like to take pretty pictures with my little Kodak digital camera. Y'all can carry the heavy equipment, I'll just hike and snap and lounge.

We can make some of these hikes clothing-optional, right?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-04-30 21:00:27.379879+00 by: meuon

My 4x4 Ford is just enough to get us to places we want to get on foot for.. Hopefully K has adapted well to low maintenance camping mode. Personally, I am finding I can do with less.. But Nancy and I just car-camped with an air-mattress and small tent next to a burbling creek. Next time I'll see if she handles thermarests..

#Comment Re: made: 2004-05-01 07:00:31.857019+00 by: topspin

I'm in. I'm itching to do the Narrows from top to bottom, since I've only done the dayhike to The Grotto and back from the bottom. I'd LOVE to get to do The Subway though I was told trip permits are kinda tough to get.

I wanna camp in the Escalante/Devil's Garden area, too. The evening I hiked to Calf Creek, I hung out with some of the folks I met until LATE and was offered to camp with them, but I had to get back. I ended up stopping to rest in the middle of the night on the highway and the clarity of the stars was just amazing.

Okay.... I'm salivating.... when and where do I meet y'all?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-05-02 19:41:30.980052+00 by: Shawn

The when will have to be a little ways out for us. Our first hike attempt of the year (and the first in several years) was thwarted when we found the road to Sunrise (Mt. Rainier) closed. We picked the first trailhead we found on the way back and discovered just how out of shape we are. About a mile round-trip was all we could manage.