A hell of a place to loose a cow!

5 Nov

IMG_1934And what a true description, if you were Mr Bryce who owned the homestead leading to Bryce Canyon. Apparently these were his words when asked about the land behind his home before it was explored in the late 1800’s.

We benefited from the intervening years and used the well made road and footpaths to view over the amphitheatres from the rim trail. A clear day gave us the benefit of far ranging views up to 85 miles away and great photo opportunities.

IMG_1917 We spent an hour or so walking the rim then travelled twelve miles to the local KOA campground. The forecast was for the temperature in the Canyon area to drop to around 18 degrees Fahrenheit and being around 2000ft lower in elevation we hoped the KOA would be warmer. Our hope was to ride back to the Park next morning to enable us to complete the drive along the road to the southern most point and then take a trail from the rim down into the hoodoos to look up from below.

IMG_1924A wonderful clear blue sky started the day and yesterdays cold wind had disappeared. Driving along the Park road around 10am there were few others out as early as we were. On arriving at the far end of the drive we took the short Bristlecombe trail to view the expansive scenery once again. Returning along the road we stopped off at the lookout points and today seemed to be the day everyone wanted to talk to us. We met a couple from Kelowna BC, travelling in a rented RV, very interested in what life was like in haRVey, then a couple from Portsmouth UK out here on a two week fly drive vacation who are now going home to investigate RV rentals – what have we started?

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Eventually we began our decent into the bottom of the hoodoos, we had wrapped up warmly as the previous day was so cold in the wind, we soon were peeling away the layers;

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and enjoying the scenery!

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Once the steep path down was negotiated the route was almost level and to be honest with all the stopping for photos I was not aware if we were going up or down.

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We were sure we had seen this guy some place before (ET?)

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The sky was so blue, the air around here is supposedly some of the clearest in the 48 lower States, it did not stop us getting out of breath however on theaccent back to the rim.

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A rest under a shady tree was most welcome!

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This central area is called the Queens garden and is named after a rock supposedly looking like Queen Victoria’s statue – judge for yourself

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A miniature hoodoo garden had been created by passers by and it seemed a good idea to help it grow.IMG_2034

This rock balanced precariously upon the one below.

We took so many photos, just to try and capture what we could see, and hope it gives an idea of what it was like, as usual the reality is so much better.

Moving on towards Zion we wondered if we could better what we had already experienced, was this not going to be just another rock scene. Highway 143 tookus toward Panguitch reservoir and we stopped off for coffee and were entertained by the fishermen actually catching a fish, not sure what it was but I did consider asking if we could purchase it, it looked a good size!

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We planned to take the scenic route as usual, avoiding the highways. From the 143 highway 148 took us high up into the mountains and the snow, ever deepening by the side of the road but thankfully non on the road and the clearest blue sky above. The quaking aspens had all lost their leaves, their white bark now glowing against the green conifers.IMG_2089

Cedar Breaks National Monument, around 11,000ft above sea level was several inches deep in snow, we pulled in to the car park and carefully picked our way to the overlook. What a view!

IMG_2099Further along the road we found another pull in for lunch this time overlooking Cedar City and our next nights stop Zion National Park.

What a difference in temperature awaited us when we finally got down there, we peeled the layers off until we were back in summer time, and took a walk beside the river to experience the grandeur of Zion.

IMG_2130Next morning we took a drive the few miles to the museum to watch the film show explaining the geological forces which formed Zion’s giant peaks, and orientate ourselves. Following this we parked haRVey at the Lodge and began the trail to the Emerald pools, one of the moderate to easy trails described on the information we had received on entering the park.

IMG_2146The trail climbed steeply but the surface was good and we began to appreciate the view along the canyon from a higher vantage point. We stopped to catch our breath and admire a local character, also enjoying the view and the sunshine. The pools consist of the middle, upper and lower pool, in that order if you walk the trail the route we took. The middle pool was very insignificant with little water and just a small waterfall, we took a couple of photos and walked on, a sign told us it was 0.3miles to the upper pool, what it did not explain was how rough that 0.3miles would be! however we scrambled and pulled our way up, eventually being rewarded with a view of a small clear but green tinged pool. Robert scrambled down to the ‘beach’ I choose to sit on a perch high above and observe from a distance. Above me the sheer rocks rose to the still blue sky IMG_2160making me feel very small. The streaks on the rock we believe are where the water cascades down the face during the wetter times. Flash floods and thunder storms occur often in the summer months, a sight to see, and yet a little scary to be there too I would think. Having enjoyed the view we made our way back along the 0.3 miles of rough rock and sand, followed by another couple who we eventually fell into conversation with discovering they were from Ontario, Canada and on vacation. We separated and went in opposite directions, our trail led to the lower pool through a small gap in huge boulders and on to a narrow rock ledge beneath the water fall, again as this was a drier season we missed what would probably be the best spectacle, non the less it was an ‘interesting’ experience.

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IMG_2180The rest of the trail was tame in comparison, we arrived back in haRVey and ate lunch rested a few minutes then off we went again!

IMG_2210We drove to the end of the Canyon taking in the views, a river walk extends from the car park at this point , further on than this is the famous ‘narrows’ walk which is completed in wet gear due to the fact that you wade and paddle through water. I was not up for this one…. we walked the riverside walk withmany others, took photos and pleasure in our surroundings especially a Peregrine who happened to perch on a tree top to eat a fish he had just caught.

How could you tire of the scenery, each area is so different, Zion has huge rock faces, Bryce had its hoodoos, Mesa Verde ancient houses and the scenery in between joins them together.

IMG_2246With another day booked at the campground and still great weather we took the opportunity for another walk, this time the Watchman trail. The huge Watchman rock looks over the campground, it actually is 6,300ft above sea level, at least 2000ft above us at the campground. In our information it advised to walk the trail early or late as it could get very warm, and whilst conditions were cool in the campground when we left at 10am on the trail we soon felt the heat of thesun on our back. Some of the trails like the famous Angels landing have long drop offs, we enjoyed this particular trail because whilst there were drop offs we felt secure enough on our rocky path. Lots of cacti grew along the pathway and some very small lizards scooted left and right in front of us, one amusing Robert by climbing a sheer rock and promptly falling off!

IMG_2254We reached the plateau at the top and received amazing views of the high rocks around us and the valley below

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IMG_2267Our afternoon was spent with feet up contemplating the wonderful scenery we had taken in, downloading the pictures and enjoying the warmth of the Utah sunshine. All of the areas we have visited up to now belong to the Colorado Plateau, the Grand Canyon is the last link in this geological chain and on our list to visit very soon but first we have a rendezvous with the hot air balloons in Page.

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