Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Utah – Wow!

The Great Fisherman
We have been to Utah before and seen some of the amazing rock formations in Arches Park and near Moab. This time we went to the southern part of the state to visit Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.  The structures are so different and beautiful. We made camp in Panguitch, UT and took the Jeep on explorations to the sights around the southwest corner of the state.  Our first stop was at the Dixie  National Forest Visitor’s Center in Red Canyon. After orienting ourselves to the park, we walked through the gift shop and I heard Pattie say, “David, quick catch” as she threw a stuffed trout in my direction. I reacted by catching it at which point she exclaimed “Congratulations, you caught a fish today.” I was stunned as this is the type of corny jokes I always pull on her.  We bought a book on backcountry roads in Utah and headed out to visit Bryce Canyon.  

We visited the Bryce Canyon Visitor’s Center to learn about the area and plan our visit.  There were forest fires burning on one end of the park so the main road was closed a few miles from the end of the drive.  We drove in and stopped at some scenic areas, but it was Friday afternoon and the park was getting full of tourists.  We decided to leave and explore other areas and come back next week after the crowds diminish.

The next day, we used our new backcountry road book and drove a parallel off-road path to the Bryce Canyon scenic drive.  This took us out to a peak where we could see other rock formations and look across at the tourists in the park looking in our direction probably wondering how we got up there.  We had a nice picnic and returned to camp.

On another day, we visited Zion Canyon National Park and hiked back in to the “Narrows.”  Well, we hiked the 2.5 miles to at least see where the Narrows Trail really begins, but opted out of wading into the river.  We did a couple other hikes and marveled at how different this was compared to Bryce Canyon only a couple hours away.  

Back at Bryce Canyon, we studied the geography and were convinced there must be a way to get to the canyon floor other than climbing down the steep trails.  We drove around to Tropic, Utah and headed north along a dirt road toward the canyon.  We arrived at a boundary fence for the adjoining wilderness area and donned our hiking gear. We hiked two miles through the wilderness area along a trail that gradually sloped upward before reaching the boundary for Bryce Canyon Park.  We entered and were amazed at the beauty of the Hoodoos when you walk among them on the canyon floor.  In total, we probably hiked over 7 miles.  It might have been easier to just take the steep trail down, but hey, we are different.

We left the Bryce Canyon area and began heading east.  Some friends we met our first year of full timing have a motorhome similar to ours were stopping in Bluff, Utah for a few days and we made plans to join them.  It was great to spend time with Bruce and Laura. We took day trips to places like Four Corners where four states touch, Monument Valley and Valley of the Gods.  All very cool and enjoying them with fellow full time friends made it even more special.
Four Corners

We said our good byes and they headed west and we headed east.

Thanks for keepingupwiththejonesrv!

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