The next morning, we slept in just a little, and had breakfast at the hotel. Then we drove around St. George, Brian wanting to show us the town. He drove us by the Mormon Temple there.
We discovered that the very first Mormon Temple in Utah was in St. George, rather than in Salt Lake City. After it was built, Brigham Young decided he wanted the bell tower taller, but the town refused. Then came a lightning strike on the tower, and a fire, that destroyed it. The bell tower was then rebuilt taller “just in case….”
From St. George, we drove north, stopping at Kolob Canyon briefly. It is within Zion National Park.
Kolob Arch – one of the largest freestanding arches in the world
From there we drove to Bryce Canyon.
All along our drive to Bryce, we were treated to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This is actually not within the National Park Service domain but is the first monument administered by the Bureau of Land Management . It covers 1.7 million acres, so it is huge! Brian told us that many people had arrived there, asking where the “staircase” was? They were expecting a wind-worn staircase. But the “staircase” is actually the mountains themselves in multilayers and multicolors (some call them technicolors), making up a staircase effect. The colors are magnificent, and it was, indeed, a treat to watch the mountains as we went by.
I think that Bryce Canyon National Park is best known for its Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion). Neither Fred nor I had ever heard that term before – have you? They can be found on every continent, but here is the archetypal “hoodoo-iferous” terrain. Descriptions fail. Cave without a roof? Forest of stone? (Courtesy NPS). We were told that Ebenezer Bryce said, when describing the canyon filled with hoodoos,“It’s a #*%& of a place to lose a cow!”
We traveled the Scenic Byway 12 (Highway 12), considered by some to be the most scenic highway in the United States. It was awarded the All American Road in 2002. It goes all the way through Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, through Dixie National Forest, and on to Capitol Reef National Park. It was, indeed, a lovely route to travel.
Capitol Reef is known for it’s reef-like cliffs, topped by a rock formation that resembles the dome of the U.S. Capitol.
We arrived just before sunset. The rock formations are quite breath-taking and the colors on the cliffs were spectacular.
There are several areas in Capital Reef that contain unusual Native American etchings called petroglyphs. Strange!
We stopped for our overnight just past Capitol Reef National Park, at a Roadway Inn, supposedly near Torrey. It’s located in the heart of red rock country—and the surrounding “rocks” are indeed red. Unfortunately, it is in the middle of no-where. The Roadway Inn, where we stayed, is the only motel within 1½ hours in either direction, and was more than an hour round-trip from any restaurants. Consequently, we had another of our “picnic” dinners in our rooms. We had connecting doors between our rooms, and we opened them up and shared. It was actually rather fun. Unfortunately, our toilet decided not to cooperate, and Fred had to get a plunger from the front office and fix that contraption!
I had been taking pictures of just about everything I could see—even just the dirt, I think. I had taken a flash drive with us, and since Brian had his laptop with him, he downloaded about 600 pictures from our camera to the flash drive. It’s a good thing he did, too, as I took another 300+ before the trip was over!
~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~