Thursday, October 25, 2012

American Southwest Trip: Day 9 Scenic Byway 12 , Utah

      This was the last day of our 9 days trip. Being honest, I missed our sweet home a little bit and also enjoyed this trip a lot. Would it be a way to have a comfortable homey living environment during our trips? Sigh, I understood that I couldn't have both things in my life. I should be happy to have the great trip while others are suffering from unemployment and trying to find a way to survive in Americas bad economic situation.  
We had changed our plan for the day after we found more information from the Torrey Visitor Center the day before. We decided  to drive on the Scenic Byway 12 back to Las Vegas. 

Scenic Byway 12
State: Utah
National Forest: Dixie National Forest
Length: 124.0 mi / 199.6 km 
Time to Allow: Allow three hours to drive or three days to experience the byway.
Scenic Byway 12 takes you to the heart of the American West. This exceptional 124 mile route negotiates an isolated landscape of canyons, plateaus, and valleys ranging from 4,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level. You'll encounter archaeological, cultural, historical, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities while driving this exhilarating byway.

We had been driving from dawn to sunrise for 9 days. Next day I would be laying in our own bed and wakeing up after 9 or 10 am to enjoy that extra 10 minutes. 
The sun rays shined through the thin and cold air and gave the mountains more definition. I believed this was taken at the Homestead Overlook.
This cattle roamed in front of our car just like buffaloes blocked all traffic in Yellow Stone National Park. I wondered if we hit it by accident, would we have to pay for the loss of this cattle? My husband said "we have to pay for it if there is a sign warning people here is a open range."  
We turned to Burr Trail Road from the town of Boulder. Our goal was to visit the southern part of Capital Reef National Park. Our original idea was to drive on this road this morning and then drive back to Torrey. After collecting information from the tourist center, we changed out plan.   
This road had been up and down for a while. We were in the Long canyon. We hardly saw traffic on the road only a few cars parked on the side. 
Did we go back to Capital Reef National Park again? The scene looked like a   duplication of highway 24.  
The clouds were different. It appeared as a linear pattern like waves which I didn't see very often.  We drove on the road which was unpaved.
This was the Burr Trail switchbacks. It looked a little bit scary but very attractive to both of us. We both were excited!

We definitely didn't want to turn around and leave it alone. It was an unpaved road and we were going to take this adventure drive with our regular sedan. Let's rock!
We were in the valley. The ride was just fun and wasn't dangerous on a sunny day. We wouldn't recommend anyone to drive on this trail during thunderstorms, flash flood, or with unreliable vehicles. There were just only my husband and me in the outback country. It took us two hours to drive to this point from Torrey. We didn't want to drive to Capital Reef National Park which would be another two hours drive. Also we would spend additional 3 hours drive to the split point on HWY 12. It wouldn't be a good idea driving with our car. So, good bye, Norton Road Scenic Backway!
The mountain had different triangle layers of colors in its compositions. It was amazing that nature could make somethings so amazing for human. 
This was taken on the Burr Trail road on our way back to HWY 12. 

Overlooked the Long Canyon (the Gulch? )
It was easy to spot the canyon while driving on the cliff side than on the rock wall side. 
This picture was taken on the Burr Trail road in Grand Staircase, Escalante National Monument. 
We were back to hwy 12 on the famous section which was called Hogback. This was taken  from the overlook stop. 
This was the most famous winding road which was built on the ridge of slickrock. (Hogback)
The grade from the Hogback to Calf Creek Recreational Area was about 14% and 4 miles down. 
Passing through Calf Creek Recreational Area
If there is a down side then there must be an up side. Our lives were constructed just like this road which was sometimes winding or straight and sometimes up or down. 
We reached the Head of the Rocks Overlook. The view was fantastic and a must stop area. 

"Some 168 million years ago, these striated cream-and-red sandstone formations were sand dunes. Today, this landscape begs for visitors to grab their cameras to record the expansive vista as well as the meandering path of Scenic Byway 12 below"
I like to take pictures of roads which gives me imaginations, especial those winding roads or split roads. I always wonder where these roads would lead me to in the vast plains or mountains?
Escalante Grand Staircase Visitor Center
We met this old air force retiree who enjoyed traveling and taking photos. He showed me his Canon Mark II which he would be retiring soon. I admired his life style at the age of 80 years old. I didn't know if I would have the energy at is age?
We met this European RV again which we saw at the Torrey Visitor Center.  
Seeing this view, we knew we were approaching Bryce National Park. We were going to bypass this national park because it was not on our schedule and we had visited this park several time before. 
This was a landmark on the highway between Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. Actually, I should say it is the sign for entering or leaving the territory of Bryce National Park or Red Canyon. 
We never stopped at the Red Canyon Visitor Center during our trips to Bryce National Park in the past. I suggested we stop here to learn about this area.  
Hoodoos in Red Canyon
This was the St. George Gorge from St. George, Utah to Las Vegas. We would drive through three states which were Utah, Arizona, and Nevada from here back to Las Vegas. Tonight we would sleep in our own bed and we wouldn't have to pack up the next morning. Vegas, we were back!

1 comment:

  1. Actually, its a canyon but a natural amphitheater created by erosion from headwater below the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

    Places to Stay in Bryce


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