Capitol Reef National Park

We are staying in a small town called Torrey, UT.   There was even a Torrey Pines Inn just a stone’s throw away.  (not the one in La Jolla)

Really, Really Windy here!   We headed out toward the Reef on Saturday morning, hit the visitor center for a map and suggestion on where we could take the pups.   There are a  few dirt trails to drive the car a few miles into the canyons. If you go, drive down them.  It’s an awesome drive between the towering cliffs.   But don’t if it looks like any rain may come.  Those places would be a wall O water as they get very narrow near the bottoms.  And one is called the Grand Wash…  nuff said.

We started out with the trails near the river while it was still cool, and it turned out to have lots of shade trees.   There was a lot of a plant that looked like poison oak to me, so we kept the pups and ourselves clear of that.   Beautiful walk with orchards on one side and a small river on the other.  Dusty even got to see some horses up close on the neighboring property!   Visited the Gifford house on the walk back and they were selling little pies and ice cream and gifts.  It was too early in the morning for those, but it was a cool place to visit.   Lots of trees and picnic tables in the shade.

Our first stop was the Capitol Gorge at the end of the Scenic Drive.   We drove down that dirt road in Kathy’s SUV.  She was worried, but there were sedans doing it.    Basically it’s well maintained but pretty bumpy,  no washboard thankfully.   It’s very worth the harsh ride as the view is incredible.  I think it was just a couple of miles to the bottom.

On the way back I turned off on the Grand Wash dirt road.  There was a radioactive sign at the beginning. Thank god we are not planning on more kids!

It was a much shorter road but more rough than the Grand Gorge road.   More cool scenery.  I attempted to record great videos out the sunroof on both drives, but for some reason they are sideways and I am not able to correct that,  and they are too difficult to watch that way.   On the way back to Scenic Drive I was told emphatically “No more dirt roads”.

We headed out of the park after getting back to pavement, then headed east on the highway toward the petroglyph stop.  They were very cool once someone pointed out where they were.   The sign made them look 20′ tall,  they were closer to 20″ tall.   Very cool, but not as impressive as I thought they would be.

 

Second Day @ Bryce Canyon National Park.

We came back the next morning to see the rest of the park.   Another perfect day for hiking, but today was mostly driving out to the end of the road at Rainbow Point.

We read about Fairyland Point, which is a turnoff before you get to the park entrance.   I’m glad we found the turnoff and it was another pretty vista!  Bryce is a pretty amazing park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Fairyland we drove over to Inspiration and Bryce Points, then we were off to Rainbow Point for a picnic lunch in the shade of a large Douglass fir.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s quite a nice drive out to the end, about 18 miles or so with lots of viewpoints along the way to stop and gawk.  I think we are all hoodoo’d out!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Canyon

On our way over to Bryce we stopped at the Red Canyon visitor center and found out the pups can walk on all the trails.   The ranger gave me a map with the two best trails marked.    As it was late in the afternoon and fairly hot we left and headed for Bryce.

The following morning we got to Red Canyon while it was still in the high 60’s, perfect for hiking the hills.   It’s a gorgeous place. The color of the rocks and the Hoodoo’s were spectacular.  We walked around one of the trails to see them up close.  Boy, the altitude really makes a difference in walking up and downhill!

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Trip up to Panguitch then over to Bryce Canyon for a short hike with the pups.

We are staying just outside a small town called Hatch, UT,   the Riverside RV Ranch.   There is actually a river,  but we were told by the guy on the phone those riverfront sites didn’t have hookups.   Turns out only some of them just have water and no electricity and sewer,   but a few empty spots did have all but sewer.   Oh, well, live and learn.

We got in early in the afternoon so we set up and headed up to Panguitch to see the quilt walk.  I  had been told it was the second largest event in Garfield County, so how could we not go!  We spied lots of quilts but not many people were around to admire them.   Some pretty cool architecture in that little town.

After a quick “drive by” we headed for Bryce,  stopped by Red Canyon visitor center,  then off to Bryce Canyon National Park.

We had done some research and headed for Sunrise Point to walk with the pups over to Sunset Point.   Beautiful walk on the canyon rim.   The views are again spectacular.   It was a warm afternoon so we headed back to the RV for happy hour.   Turns out Hatch is in a dry county..  oh, well.  Good thing I found the only place that had just recently gotten a beer license!

 

North Rim of the Grand Canyon

It’s truly a long drive from the South Rim to the North Rim, roughly about 5 hours.   We traveled to Kanab Utah as a base camp for Zion and the North Rim,  then drove down to the North Rim from there.  It was about a 2-hour easy drive.   On the way down we saw a large fire in our path.   Turns out it was a prescribed fire and it was just to leeward of the road we were on.   I had Kathy film it on the way back so you could see it was a big area and right up to the road.  After we moved past the fire we noticed lots of what appeared to be hundreds of haystacks of pine branches and leaves.  It looked like someone had trimmed off the bottom 10-20 feet of branches on every pine tree.  I guess that is why that fire did not look like it burned any trees.  Which seemed amazing to me as pine trees go up like roman candles in the forests of San Diego.

Not far after the miles of hay stacks we came to a burned out section of forest. We were truly out in the sticks.

 

 

 

On the way probably a few miles before the park entrance, we spotted maybe 50 buffalo by the side of the road.   No fence anywhere to be seen  here, boys and girls.

 

After getting thru the entrance gate, it’s still 12 miles to the Rim.   One of our neighbors at our Kanab park had told us about a few great spots we didn’t want to miss (many thanks, Tom)  so we drove there first:   Angels Window,  Point Royal,  Point Roosevelt and Imperial Point.   We first drove to Imperial Point.  It’s at 8,800 feet, and you notice the thinner air as you walk up the steps.   It was an amazing view,  and turns out it was just a start to many amazing views that afternoon.    We kicked back with some lunch at one of the picnic tables in the shade.   BTW,  it was 20 degrees cooler at the Rim than in Kanab.

Next was Roosevelt Point,  another breathtaking view.  It’s amazing there are no crowds like the South Rim, probably due to its remoteness.   I think the scenery from the North Rim is much prettier than the South Rim.  But then again,  just my opinion.   It was a short stop and take a few pictures and head toward the main event.

Another short drive on the windy road and we were in a parking lot for Angels Window and Point Royal.    Two spectacular places,  just a short hike from the parking lot that was 3/4 empty.

Angels Window is very cool.  It’s a big rock that juts out into the canyon and has a large hole under it.   You walk over it via a narrow, maybe 36″ wide rock-way.    After Angels, I walked out to Point Royal, just another few hundred feet further on the trail.

Most amazing short hikes I have been on.   I will let the pictures show you what it looked like.

 

 

Zion National Park.. Amazing Zion!

After seeing Zion for the first time, I think “it” should be called “the Grand Canyon.”  Much more spectacular than the real Grand Canyon, and that’s pretty spectacular.    Zion was utterly the most beautiful place I have ever seen. (so far)

We started out early (for us) so we might find a parking spot near the visitor center.   Glad we did,  as we got one of the last spots!   Otherwise you need to take a shuttle bus from a town just west of the park, and dogs aren’t allowed on that, which is basically a show stopper for us.   The only trail in Zion that allows dogs is the Pa’rus trail which is paved and meanders along the Virgin River for 1.7 miles, so our pups’ little legs received a 3.4 mile workout.  It’s mostly flat but it was warm and there wasn’t much shade.   But the views were out of this world.  This is a place to come and hike around a few days!

The drive into the park from the east side and down to the visitor center is awe inspiring.   The views from the roadway are incredible,  truly breathtaking…  And there is a mile-long tunnel carved out of a mountain that is 11′ tall on the sides and 13′ in the middle.   I was very happy to NOT be driving the motor home this day as it’s over 12’7″ tall.   They allow you to drive them thru, but you have to pay $15 for the privilege as they stop traffic from coming the other way so you can gingerly drive down the middle of the tunnel.   My antennas stick up about a foot higher than everything else, probably 14′ off the ground, and would have been making a godawful racket if we went thru there.   That tunnel was very long and had turns in it.  Adding to its uniqueness was it was completely dark in there.   Prior to you going thru it, a ranger slows you and checks to make sure you aren’t wearing sunglasses.   There are a few small portals to the outside that give you a short but sweet view of the canyon below as you pass by.   A lot of very large motor homes and buses went by as we were waiting in line to go back thru that tunnel when we were leaving.