Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dog Days - Kodachrome Basin State Park & Highway 12

Roger here...  If you follow us, you know that when we arrived at Bryce Canyon, we decided to alternate our days in the national park (where dogs are not allowed on the trails) with days for the dogs.    Soooo.... in this post you get two days of dog activities.  Dianne will amaze you with our hike on the Bryce Amphitheater Traverse Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park in our next post.

Dog Day #1 --- Kodachrome Basin State Park

We loaded the doggies in the car and traveled about 30 miles to Cannonville, UT.  A visitor center for the Grand Escalante National Monument was in this small town.  We went in to talk to one of the rangers about the best place to walk with our dogs --- Grovesnors Arch and Cottonwood Canyon in Escalante or Kodachrome Basin State Park on the way.  The ranger led us to believe that the dirt roads in Escalante might be too much for our little Toyota, so we opted for the paved road to Kodachrome.  We saw the start of the dirt road, and it did not really look that bad, but we followed the advice of someone who knows, turned left, and went to the state park on a paved road.

We paid the $6 admission fee and drove to the trailhead of the Angels Palace Trail --- a 1.7 mile trek.  As you can see, this is a short, low elevation-gain hike, but it would be good for our doggies on a hot day.

The first part of the trail traversed the floor of a 150  foot high red-rock canyon.

As usual, Bandido led the way.

Soon it was time to go up.  After a couple of fairly steep switchbacks that were cut into the loose, gritty hillside, we reached the top. 

Lots of nice views...

There were several narrow protrusions that extended over the canyon below.  They were identified on the trail by camera icons.  Bandido and I went about three-fourths of the way along the first pathway.  When I could see the path becoming narrower with no place to turn around, I decided that this part of the crumbly trail was not for me or my dog --- not as dangerous as Angels Landing in Zion, but definitely not safe.  A fall from 150 feet could be just as fatal as a fall from 1500 feet.  I turned around and did not attempt the other photo stops.  (I am either becoming more of a chicken, or more wise --- probably a little of both.)

The prominent and distinctive features of Kodachrome Basin are cylindrical chimneys called sand pipes.  There are about 60 of them in the park ranging in height from 6 to 170 feet.

It was a warmer day than our days had been at Bryce Canyon, mostly due to a lower elevation.  We found a shady spot to have a picnic and decided that we would scrap our second planned hike in the park.  We had plenty of water, but the pups were showing signs of fatigue.  Time to go home.

Dog Day #2 --- Utah's Scenic Highway 12

When we toured this part of Utah in a minivan and tent fourteen years ago, one of the most memorable drives was along highway 12.  The opening photo at the beginning of this post demonstrates why we remember this drive so well.  At the time, we both remarked that the entire drive between Torrey and Bryce Canyon should be a national park.  Voila!  It is now part of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

We loaded the dogs in the Matrix intending to enjoy the scenery along the way to the town of Escalante, where we hoped to have lunch.  Don't the pups look snazzy sporting their doggie seat belts, that don't work?  The dogs soon demonstrated their houdini-like abilities.  Tequila escaped before we even had Bandido in place.  Not to be outdone, Bandido wriggled free from his before we traveled a mile.  Oh well, it was a good idea --- two doggie seat belts for sale!  (Dianne here -- We had purchased both dog harnesses for Chaplin, our whippet who also tried to get into the front seat every time we drove.  One didn't work, so we bought another.  Obviously, neither one work on cattle dogs, either!)
We did enjoy the scenery along the way, but it was not what we remembered.  At the town of Escalante we looked for a place to eat and found Nemos.  Nothing fancy, but just what we wanted --- burgers, shakes and outdoor seating in the shade --- even a doggie water dish.  The food was great.

ICE CREAM!  Bandido and Tequila each got a bowl of vanilla ICE CREAM!  It did not last long. When we cleaned up the area after the meal, one of the styrofoam ice cream dishes was missing.  Tequila!  That dog will eat anything.  (I'm hoping the man at the next table threw it away; I guess we'll find out in a day or so  ;-)  -- D.)  

All of us were stuffed and needed a nap, but since we had not yet experienced the scenery that we remembered, we decided to drive on to the next town, Boulder.  It was a good decision.  Now this is more like it!

One portion of the road is named the Hogback.  The Scenic Highway 12 brochure describes it: "the asphalt clings to this thin, razorback ridge of slickrock, the terrain spills steeply off to each side to winding creeks and canyons below."  This photo was taken as we drove along the Hogback, but like many photos does not really do it justice.

Uh-oh!  Glad we are in the Toyota.  We won't be taking the motor home this way.

Dianne, the history-buff, is going to describe a little history that we discovered along the way:

We stopped at several pull-outs to read the informational signs.  Turns out, this area was the last "blank spot" on the U.S. map, and was surveyed by John Wesley Powell's expedition in 1871.  What interested me more was the description of the rock formation we were looking at, as viewed in 1871:

One more shot from the trip back to the motor home:

Be sure to look for our next post from Thursday's 4-mile hike in Bryce Canyon.  The scenery is indescribable.

The Pet Picture of the Day features Tequila posing next to a statue of a giant lizard.  Lizards are now the prime obsession of her life other than food.  The photo was taken in the courtyard of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Visitor Center in the town of Escalante.

1 comment:

Family Travellers said...

Just stumbled across your blog when I googled Kodachrome Basin and searched under blogs. You took so many amazing picture...must have a much better camera than we do. My wife's mom grew up in a small town next to Bryce Canyon, so we get down there about once a year. Thanks for sharing details of your amazing venture. I certainly plan on following your blog.