Our Vantage Points
Utah Highway 12
  Wednesday morning we pulled out of the beautiful campground at Fruita and began retracing our bread crumbs for about 40 miles southward down Utah highway 12 to the village of Boulder.   The scenery was easy to take, even for a second time, as the aspen buds were swelling.

Boulder was right where we had left it, at the north end of the Burr Trail.   We (Mary) decided that we wouldn't go back over those switchbacks....   nice memory, but we'll keep it as just a memory.   This time we countinued south and slightly west on highway 12 in search of greener pastures.

Just seven miles out of Boulder we began noticing the steep drop-off on either side of the highway.   About that time we came upon a wide spot on the ridge where I decided to stop and take a better look.


A plaque was mounted there, presenting an interesting tidbit of history.
For those of you who didn't get this in your history class, The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a sort of Jobs Corp during the Franklin Roosevelt Administration to help get the economy rolling again.   It had moot success as the depression era ended just 6 months after this road was completed.   A depression was not "the problem" when War production began.   The Nations's survival was.
On the east side of The Hogsback, and back toward Boulder, we had a glimpse of those greener pastures that reminded me of an old song about a cowboy and his horse:
Old Faithful, we rode the range together.
Old Faithful, in every kind of weather.
When your round-up days are over,
There'll pastures filled with clover,
For you, Old Faithful, pal of mine.
They just don't make songs like that anymore. (sniff)

Looking west, off to our right and far below, we see the canyon of Calf Creek.   They tell me there's a beautiful waterfall down there at the end of a 5-mile hike.


The topographical map of our trek can give you an idea of the ruggedness of
this landscape.   The contour lines generally vary from 5500 feet to 6500 feet.
This is still mile-high country, just like the rims of Canyonlands a hundred miles to the east.   The similarities are striking, but with relatively minor rivers cutting through it here along Highway 12.

The next town was Escalente, a fairly complete market center.   Mary went into the modest grocery store and purchased a few things to stock up our larder.   The last place we stopped for groceries was four days ago at Moab, the really big tourist town in eastern Utah.

We had planned to stop overnight at the KOA in Cannonville, but when we passed through, we decided we didn't need the hookups and the small, but well serviced camping pads.   Besides it was still early enough in the day and the season that we thought we could find a place in Bryce National Park even without reservations.   Indeed, arriving just at the start of check-in time we had a choice of about a half-dozen sites.


Ensconsed in site B-3, we were ready stay right here for two nights.


Coffee's on !



  From our campsite it was just a short eastward walk, perhaps 1/5 mile, up to the canyon rim.   Although the sun was already too low to shine into the canyon, the effect of this scene was at once calming and awesome.

Bryce Canyon gets its name from Ebenezer Bryce who was sent here in 1875 by the Mormons as a carpenter and farmer.   He and his family lived here only five years, but the name, "Bryce," has stuck.
For the rest of the evening, we were able to relax in our "house," watching the ever lenthening shadows creep over us, ending the final scene of the day.   But this time, instead of "THE END," the scene brightens overhead with an all night postlude: brilliant stars appeared, moving horizon to horizon to "upstage" the character-filled canyon just for the night.   ..."THE END" never appeared!

Bryce Canyon, indeed all of southern Utah, is a great place for star gazing.   Its elevation: about a mile high; it's remoteness: more than 150 miles from Las Vegas, more than 200 miles from Salt Lake City, more than 250 miles from Phoenix, and over 400 miles from Los Angeles, make for a clear sky, completely free of city lights.


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