May 26- Bryce Canyon’s Mossy Cave and Waterfall, on to Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Kodachrome Basin State Park

We got an early start on the 26th to catch the Hoodoos–the sandstone spires that look like the dripped sandcastles at he beach–in soft morning light.  This area is just outside Tropic, Utah, another early Mormon settlement.  We came for the pictures but learned a bit of history, too….

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The arches were a surprise find–just another treasure of the Bryce Canyon area.

Arches

The waterfall is part of a two-year effort to hand-dig the 10 mile East Fork Canal, or the Tropic Ditch, in 1890.  This brought water from the Sevier River to tbe Paria River, making Bryce Valley a stable place for crops, cattle, and family life.    

Waterfall

Later that afternoon, we headed into the mountains toward Escalante…X marks the spot!  The contrails criss-cross all over the clear blue skies in this area, making some great designs…. 

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We all know to keep an eye out for deer, elk, etc. on the roads.  BUT, we’ve found another interesting road hazard we weren’t expecting–cattle.  Signs for open range are very common, and Bossy and her buddies roam freely with no fences.  We’ve encountered cattle right beside the road, and sometimes, right smack in the middle.  Didn’t get any pictures of our near-misses, but this shows how close these massive beasts can come to playing bumper-cars…

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Looking for slot canyons along the way to Escalante, we came across the Slot Canyon Inn, a B+B far outside Escalante, with loooong horns in the pasture–mom’s organic beef supply.  

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We just had to stop–and we found a gem.  They exist with word-of-mouth and some internet advertising; we’d come back here! The place was decorated beautifully, and had an outside kitchen and dining room nestled into the rocks.  They told us about a slot canyon and showed us a pueblo grainery carved into the sandstone–just like Mesa Verde– behind the house.  This site was recently identified by researchers at BYU as the oldest inhabited area in the southwest.  

We didn’t have time for the hike to this slot canyon, or the four the Escalante Visitor’s Center told us about in Dry Fork Coyote Gulch.  I’m disappointed but I’m going to keep the directions and add this to my Bucket List–and hope we come back….

We left Escalante to go to the vast open landscape of the Grand Staircase.  We stopped at Head of the Rocks.

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From here you can see from the Aquarius Plateau (Bolder Mountain) on the left, moving right to the Escalante River Corridor, the wild Henry Mountains in the distance followed by the Navajo Mountain on the right.  The road is called the “Million Dollar Road” because of the extensive costs building this across the hostile land.  If you look very closely, you can see a tiny car at the neck of the closest turn–just to give the picture a little perspective.

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As we headed back to Cannonville, we decided to stop “quickly” at Kodachrome Basin State Park…we were told this was very small but well worth the time.  Bet you know what’s coming…the place was small, but just gorgeous.  A Nat Geo expedition named this park in the 40’s because its many colors reminded them of the popular color film.  

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We hiked to Shakespeare’s Arch and then took pictures around the park until 8 PM (and we wonder why we’re barely able to keep our eyes open at night…)  

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There are 67 monolithic stone spires, called pipes, in the park.  You can see, by comparing to me, how big these giants really are!

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One of the unique features in the park is the red sandstone formations sometimes are wrapped around the stronger white Navajo sandstone pipes, creating rocks that seem sculpted.  

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Here are two of my other favorite formations…

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Kodachrome is Number One!

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Because it is a basin, the park is ringed by multi-hued layered formations that display 180 million years of the earth’s geology.  

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Kodachrome even has a full-service RV park.  We almost added a day to our trip so we could stay here!  But we didn’t…our last day was a trip to Bryce–the land of the pink sandcastle hoodoos.  We had been there before on our previous bike trip so we thought this would be anti-climatic.  Wrong again!  (At least I’m consistent.)

Join me tomorrow and I’ll add shots of Bryce we found since our first visit in 2003!

So what’s your favorite park or picture so far/  Seriously, I’d like to know!

 

Alberta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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