Elsewhere in Utah

Since it’s December I thought it might be time to finish telling you about our September trip. Perhaps in January I’ll get to our (very careful) November travels! November was a busy month, I have to say, with a gallery show, a little travel, and I heard there was a holiday mixed in there.

Anyway, back to Utah! You may have already read about our visits to Zion and Bryce, so now I’ll be telling you about the other places we went on that trip. We stopped a few places around and between the National Parks we visited. For example, as we were driving from the airport in Vegas to Tropic (Utah) we stopped by a little place called the Dixie National Forest and did a little hiking!

This was back during the smoky days with wildfires across the west, so the sun was a bit dim. But the rocks were very cool.

After we spent a couple of days in Bryce Canyon, we decided to take a day down toward (and in!) Kodachrome Basin State Park. We were in southern Utah, so there’s a lot to see and we went looking around a bit.

As you drive to Kodachrome Basin, when you come to the entrance you can just keep going straight instead of turning in to the park. After about 10 miles of dirt road (4wd and high clearance are advisable!) you reach the Grosvenor Arch Day Use Site. This is a pretty cool formation in the middle of some beautiful scenery. Not exactly a hiking area, we just strolled over to and around the formation.

And then we left!

We did stop more than once along that dirt road to enjoy the view!

We drove back to Kodachrome Basin and this time we turned in to the park. And this is what we saw:

The first trail we hiked was called the Panorama Trail and Long Loop (on Alltrails, anyway). It takes you past many of the highlights of the park, like the Ballerina Spire and the Indian Cave. It was a fairly pleasant hike, though there was not a lot of shade. The (literally) coolest place on the hike was the Cool Cave – you can see a couple of photos in this gallery.

After that loop we headed a little farther into the park to find the Angel’s Palace trail. This was a fun little loop around the top of a rock formation. As it’s mostly on rock, the trail isn’t exactly clear, but there are signs that point the way. And, of course, Alltrails…

There weren’t any good precipices for Leigh to hang off of this time, but there were some very narrow ridgelines that we crossed on the way to the overlooks. At any rate, it was a good hike and a good day in the park. On the way back to Tropic, we stopped along the side of the road for this view:

After a couple more days in Bryce, we took the scenic route over to Springdale, our bedroom for Zion. We made a couple of stops along the way.

We met a well-protected couple on the side of the highway. 🙂

Then, just south of Mt. Carmel Junction, we stopped to see The Belly of the Dragon. This (man-made) tunnel runs under the highway and enters a wash on the other side. It’s a fun tunnel to clamber/walk through and if you keep going up the wash, there’s a waterfall – if there’s water. No water this September so we stopped at the end of the tunnel.

We then went a little farther down 89 toward Kanab and found the Sand Cave. This is a neat little feature that sits up in the side of a rock face just off the highway. It’s a fun (and somewhat adventurous) climb up the rock face before you get to a relatively flat path to the cave – wear good shoes! And the cave, as you can see, is full of sand.

Next time I’m in the area I may try to get there for sunset, I’ll bet that golden light really gives it a glow! Of course, then you get to climb down in the dark…

Just about 1/4 mile up the highway is a little tourist trap called Moqui Cave that looked like it might be fun, but we had places to go and things to do!

Our last official stop on the way to Zion was at the Coral Pink Sand Dunes. This is a state park a few miles off the highway that consists primarily of – get this – coral pink sand dunes! Well, it’s not really what I would’ve called “coral pink,” but it’s not exactly White Sands either.

The primary activities in the park appear to be ATVs (of which I only saw one, in the distance) and sledding/skiing (which we saw from a little closer). We arrived late in the afternoon, and many of the people we saw were leaving. We walked to the top of the dune you see here, which was a lot of work, the sand being quite soft and powdery. I looked around for a ski or a sled but there were none left behind. We had to walk back down too! Our feet didn’t dig in like that on every step, but it was enough.

So we left and aimed our chariot at Zion! When we got there, a welcoming committee was waiting for us…


Thanks for joining us in Utah one more time, I hope you enjoyed it. Next time you hear from me I’ll be in Georgia or Tennessee or North Carolina. Or all three, if the mood strikes me! Have a great one!

-Eric

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