Tuesday May 7th we woke at 5 AM and could not go back to sleep. Whether is was because we went to bed early or because we were the only people staying at a cabin that night, I am not sure. But in any event we were packed up and headed out by 6 AM, silently hoping the skies would clear and we would get a gorgeous red/orange/purple sunrise over the mountains.
It was not to be as we hoped. However, the early start was fortuitous anyway. We were taking UT 12, a designated national scenic highway. In the 90 minutes we saw antelope or some such, the sun shining through clouds at an overlook on Boulder Mountain, drove through two miles of ice covered road at the 9600 foot pass over Boulder Mountain, and came into the area of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
As we descended from Boulder Mountain, we entered a valley area at Boulder, UT. This is the area which received its mail by mule train until 1940. The road was not paved until 1985. We took a chance on the Hell’s Backbone Grill only to find out it was also Zagat rated, written up in the NY Times, locavore food, etc. (My whole milk was organic and cost $3 for what I consider a small glass.) But the meal was excellent and a nice place to unwind from the mountain ice drive.
Our planned stop was Kodachrome Basin State Park. (In the future, how many people will know what Kodachrome stood for??) But we were still on scenic Highway 12 and going through a portion of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument with more spectacular sights. Portions of the road, however, while smooth, were curvy with dramatic and long drops off the cliff on each side of the road.
On our way to Kodachrome, we stopped at an Interagency Visitor center for the forest, national monument, etc where we saw a German couple riding bikes with a young person in a child carrier. Not only was there sporadic rain that day, but the roads are not what I call bike friendly. Hope they ended up okay.
Kodachrome continued the beautiful scenery and offers cabin lodging which maybe would be a good option for the future. We took several short hikes here, getting caught in the rain once–those Haleakala ponchos came in handy.
We left Kodachrome headed for Las Vegas. We thought we would take the drive through Zion versus Cedar Breaks national monument but would not stop or take pictures since it had been a full day already and we had been to Zion before with Bernie and Tony.
Well those were good intentions but halfway through the drive we just had to take some pictures. We did no hiking but for those of you who have not been to Zion, here are a few quick shots.
Other than New Mexico level cross winds on I-15, with semi-trucks, and mountain curves for Chris to handle, the rest of the day’s journey was uneventful.
Ed May 8th 5 pm