Southwest 2021:
Day 11 - Kodachrome Basin


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Southwest 2021: [Day 1 - Missouri] [Day 2 - Kansas] [Day 3 - Kansas] [Day 4 - Ft. Collins] [Day 5 - Perry] [Day 6 - Salt Lake City] [Day 7 - Salt Lake City] [Day 8 - Salt Lake City] [Day 9 - Goblin Valley] [Day 10 - Torrey] [Day 11 - Kodachrome Basin] [Day 12 - Coral Pink Sand Dunes] [Day 13 - Lees Ferry] [Day 14 - Grand Canyon] [Day 15 - Grand Canyon] [Day 16 - Lyman Lake] [Day 17 - Carlsbad] [Day 18 - Davis Mountains] [Day 19 - Marathon] [Day 20 - Arlington] [Day 21 - Hot Springs] [Day 22 - Bowling Green] [Day 23 - Heading Home]

Friday, February 26, 2021: Rise and shine! We're having oatmeal, powdered milk, and Diet Coke for breakfast!
We were on our way by 8:00 AM.
Sheep! So cute.
We finally got a good Utah scenic byway sign.
Look how close we were to Sigurd, Utah! Debbie's brother had sent us a photo of a sign the previous year featuring the town of Sigurd, which is the name of their grandfather. We'll get there someday.
We were only headed as far as Fish Lake.
Our route took us through mountains ...
... gaining quite a bit of elevation.
We arrived in Fishlake National Forest.
There's Fish Lake off in the distance, ...
... and some odd circles to our right. But we weren't here to see any of that.
We came to see a tree.
Specifically, the Pando Aspen Clone, which is an entire forest made up of trees that all share the same root system and are clones of each other. Pando is Latin for "I spread," so it is an appropriate name. It is considered to be both the heaviest known organism and one of the oldest living organisms.
Can you tell? Yeah, we couldn't either, but it's still cool. All of these trees are a clonal colony of one male quaking aspen.
We headed back the same way we came, through beautiful mountain scenery.
This adorable roadside marker and art piece described the Nielsen Grist Mill, ...
... just up the road.
We saw these Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area signs all over our travels in Utah.
Back in Torrey, Tom filled up The Ocho while Debbie went inside to get some provisions, much like the Mormon pioneers might have done in days past. Then we enjoyed some limited edition Hostess strawberry chocolate donuts and purple Hostess Snoballs. Debbie also got an air freshener spray, you know, for whatever, and some cheese in case we ran low. The unopened block of cheese ended up coming back to Indiana with us, but it was good to know that we had it in case of a cheese emergency. Much to Debbie's horror, she had bought two bottles of Vanilla Coke instead of Caffeine Free Diet Coke. Ewww. We couldn't bring ourselves to drink it and ended up pouring it out a couple of days later, rather than continue to lug it around the country.
Next, we headed south on Scenic Byway 12.
There's a lot to see and do along this stretch of road ...
... including cows and trees.
At the top of this hill, we did a U-turn so we could get out and get a picture by the side of the road ...
... of this gorgeous view. That's Capitol Reef in the distance. As we were leaving, another car followed our lead, did a U-turn, and walked to the same viewpoint we just left. We spotted very large paw tracks in the snow and foolishly did not get a picture of them. Both of these tidbits will come up again later in our story.
Next, we stopped at the Larb Hollow overlook which had scenery in every direction.
Attempts to capture it all in regular pictures failed, ...
... so Tom took a panorama.
More driving, more scenery, ...
... more uphill climbs.
We stopped at Vista overlook ...
... for a great view looking south.
An informational sign there told us that bobcats are found in this area, thus confirming that the paw prints we had seen earlier must have belonged to a large bobcat.
We pulled off the road in Boulder for a look at Sugarloaf Mountain and a pair of funny deer sculptures. While there, the same guy who had copied us earlier pulled off on the side of the road in front of us. But he didn't stop there, he opened a gate and walked onto the property for a closer view.
There's another Scenic Backway sign. Apparently, it's a real thing.
More scenic driving ...
... and more.
We were now officially in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
We stopped at a series of overlooks to get out and take some photos, and our buddies pulled in right behind us, despite several other places to stop.
Since they were maskless, we crossed to the other side of the road while they took their pictures. You can tell there's a river in this picture because of the line of cottonwood trees that line it.
At one point in trying to shake our buddy, we pulled over and stayed there for a while.
Check out this road! As narrow and winding as it was, ..
... it wasn't nearly as terrifying as the 14% grade that followed.
Debbie enjoyed the scenery ...
... while Tom learned how to work with the Ram Promaster's braking and downshifting capabilities. There was our buddy up ahead ...
... who was taking a picture of this view ...
... and there he is tailing us again.
At the bottom of the hill, we pulled into a camping area and our buddy followed us in. Then he walked up to Tom's window, maskless, to give Tom some advice on how to brake when going down hills, because he had noticed we are from Indiana and probably don't know anything about mountains. When he left, we gave him time to get ahead of us and that was the end of that.
Anyway, back to the gorgeous scenery on Highway 12. This road wound up the side of this rock face ...
... to an overlook looking back on where we had been.
This sign told us that we had come along the Escalante River Corridor, and that we were looking at the Henry Mountains, Little Rockies Mountains, and LaSal Mountains in the distance.
Before long, we reached the town of Escalante.
It was lunchtime so we stopped at Nemo's ...
... for some delicious burgers, onion rings, and French fries. As always, we enjoyed our lunch at the dinette of our amazing Thor Sequence 20A. Have we mentioned how much we love owning a Class B motorhome?
We passed this cool ranch sign on the road to ...
... Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.
We put $10 in a registration envelope to visit the park, and found a $5 bill right next to our parking spot, so our visit turned out to be half-price.
We set out on a short hike.
It rose in elevation very quickly, so we had a great view of the park and of Wide Hollow reservoir.
Ooooh, pretty pink prickly pear cactus.
We were the only ones in the park the entire time we were visiting, which was something we were starting to get used to.
We opted not to do the entire loop, stopping at nature guide 5, whatever that means. We eventually decided that it showed us how far along the map we were, but we weren't confident in that conclusion.
We looked but didn't spot anything that looked like petrified wood. But we did see lots of pretty rocks.
When we were done with our hike, we visited the Petrified Wood Cove ...
... and Native Plant Garden.
Ah, yes, this stuff looks like petrified wood!
See?
This bush had lots of little ice blue berries on it, ...
... just like we had seen at Capitol Reef the day before, ...
... and this sign conveniently identified the tree for us.
Here's some pretty petrified wood, ...
... and some more. Look closer at this one, ...
... because it is sparkly.
We also checked out the 50-foot-long petrified tree on exhibit.
Soon, we were on our way again. We passed this RV camp that rents Airstreams and remembered when we had stayed in an Airstream two years earlier.
This roadside stop featured pipe viewfinders ...
... to look up at the rock walls above us ...
... and spot the Puebloan granary up there.
In the distance, we caught our first glimpse of Bryce, where we would be the next day.
But first, we had a little bit more mountain driving to do.
It's all downhere from here, The Ocho, we promise.
More pretty scenery as we approached the town of Henrieville.
We drove over the Paria River, ...
... just as we would do two days later in northern Arizona.
Our first ATV crossing sign! What a shame that an unnecessary apostrophe was used.
There were several displays of these beautiful metal garden sculptures on the way to ...
... Kodachrome Basin State Park.
The ranger wasn't at the station so a sign directed us to pay our fee in the envelope. But we had already paid our fee with our campground reservation. What to do? What to do? We decided to drive on in, ...
... go to the campground, ...
... and verify our spot. Yes, we're good.
Cool view, too.
We headed out to see the sights, and saw a disc golf target like we'd seen in Goblin Valley State Park two days earlier.
There's Kodachrome Basin in front of us, ...
... where we set out on the Angel's Palace Trail.
It was a fun, easy hike that rose in elevation very quickly.
With only one other car in the parking lot, we had the whole trail to ourselves.
Here's a better look at the basin to the east, ...
... and to the north.
So, we're hiking, ...
... and we were approaching the coolest part of the hike: the narrow section of Angel's Palace that follows the ridgetop.
It offered a stunning view of the basin to the south. Our campground was off in the distance behind the large rock formations in the top center of this photo.
Here's the equally stunning view back to the north.
The last little bit of trail was a little too narrow for Debbie.
A daredevil in her youth, she now tends to be a little more cautious about things that can cause her to fall to her death. But a quick photo at a wider part of the ridge is just fine.
We were both there.
It was a quick 15-minute walk back to The Ocho, slowing down to pass a family with two little ones who were also out enjoying the hike. This photo shows the ridge containing the last part of the hike that we were just on.
On our way back to our campground, we passed a tent that was available for rental.
We stopped at the restrooms just to see if they were open. They were! Imagine that!
We backed into our lovely campsite, ...
... and immediately had Crystal Light cocktails on the picnic table, ...
... along with chips and salsa.
Just beautiful.
Look at that beautiful running water. Even though it would be below freezing overnight, we had an insulated water source and a heated hose. What could go wrong? As Tom was testing the hot water for what would become well-deserved showers, the toilet started flushing and wouldn't stop, so we had to turn off the water. A few tests later, it was clear that we couldn't have the water connected without overflowing our tiny cassette toilet, so we had to do without water completely. (Fortunately, it was all resolved the next day.)
We rewatched the section of "Galaxy Quest" that was filmed in Goblin Valley State Park and were very amused to see the landscape that we now knew from having visited it two days earlier.
The nearly full moon rose right outside our window.
We took advantage of having running water outside of our rig by filling up all of our juice bottles so we could hand wash some laundry. Since our plans of doing laundry in Torrey halfway through our trip had been foiled, we had to improvise. We used the tiny bathroom to drip dry the clothes until we went to bed, then moved them to the valet bar that hangs from our poptop. What a versatile rig we have!
Dinner was turkey and gravy again. Delicious!

Day 12 >


Southwest 2021: [Day 1 - Missouri] [Day 2 - Kansas] [Day 3 - Kansas] [Day 4 - Ft. Collins] [Day 5 - Perry] [Day 6 - Salt Lake City] [Day 7 - Salt Lake City] [Day 8 - Salt Lake City] [Day 9 - Goblin Valley] [Day 10 - Torrey] [Day 11 - Kodachrome Basin] [Day 12 - Coral Pink Sand Dunes] [Day 13 - Lees Ferry] [Day 14 - Grand Canyon] [Day 15 - Grand Canyon] [Day 16 - Lyman Lake] [Day 17 - Carlsbad] [Day 18 - Davis Mountains] [Day 19 - Marathon] [Day 20 - Arlington] [Day 21 - Hot Springs] [Day 22 - Bowling Green] [Day 23 - Heading Home]

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