Across the mountains to Bryce Canyon
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I set out from Moab to drive through the mountains to the parks in southwest Utah. Highway 12 in particular is reputed to be very beautiful for its mountain scenery, but I took other smaller highways and byways as well.
It was another bright blue day, this time with less fog. The route went through many different elevations and so the amount of snow changed quite a bit from almost none to quite snowy. The scenery itself varied from fairly flat desert to amazing rock formations of sandstone, to high mountains covered in pines.
I took an interesting side trip at Capitol Reef National Park. The so-called reef is a long very steep cliff formed by a massive geological shift that pushed it up as a barrier making it very hard for early settlers to cross. The road follows one of the few breaks in the reef along a river where Mormons settled and planted numerous fruit trees.
Towards the late afternoon I arrived at Bryce Canyon National Park, a fairly high park known for its amphitheater of amazing hoodoos, which at this time of year are dusted with patches of snow. I walked along a snowy trail by the edge of the rim photographing the hoodoos as the sunset.
I wanted to end the day in a good location to visit Zion National Park the following day, but there was no cheap accommodation in the immediate area, so I drove across the mountains to Cedar City to spend the night.