Utah, Part 2

We left Bryce Canyon on Sunday morning and stayed at a commercial campground in Leeds.  They had cable and I was finally able to catch a NASCAR race on ESPN.  Yay!  Also, I got to watch some football.  On Monday, after passing through Hurricane for a Walmart run and a visit to the local laundromat, we found a dispersed campsite on North Creek up Kolob Canyon Road, just outside of Zion National Park. A big storm blew through and the soft red soil created a major dust storm.  Overnight it rained a lot and I was worried about being able to drive out without getting stuck.  It was a little hairy, but we got out.

Kolob Canyon Road

Kolob Canyon Road site

The next morning we got to Zion very early, hoping to get there early enough for a site at the Watchman campground, which has electric hookups.  No such luck. It was already full.  Turns out they fill up several days in advance from online reservations and don’t hold anything back for walk-ins.  So, I tried at the South campground, which has no hookups.  They had several sites available and we got a nice, large, shady site.  (If we couldn’t have electricity to run the A/C I would need to have some shade.)

Pa'rus trail

Walking Riley on the Pa’rus trail, the only trail that allows dogs

View of the Watchman and Virgin River behind campground

View of the Watchman and Virgin River behind campground

I got to do a little hiking, but was worried about the RV getting too hot for Riley without A/C, so didn’t stay away too long.  It wasn’t bad, though.  The shade kept it nice, and never got above 80 inside during the 2 days we were there.

On Thursday, 9/27, we headed to Kanab.  I wanted to stop and visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary on the way to the Grand Canyon. We left through the Mt. Carmel highway which goes through a 1 mile long tunnel.  RV’s are too big for the tunnel, so they have to stop traffic and let the RV go in down the middle of the road.  The fee to drive the RV through the tunnel is $15.  They have windows cut out in the mountain that are supposed to be good views, but I couldn’t see them, too busy white-knuckle driving.

I had read about a BLM campground near Kanab called Ponderosa Grove.  Turned out it was pretty nice.  Small, no hookups, only $5, with nice big trees and level sites.  Good long-range views from the coral pink sand dunes across the street.

Ponderosa Grove Campground

Ponderosa Grove Campground

I called and got a reservation on the Best Friends tour Friday morning.  The first van of folks was leaving as I was signing in.  There was supposed to be 9 other people with me on the 2nd van, but the others didn’t show up, so I got a private tour.  The place is huge, 3,000 acres, and they lease some additional acreage from the Bureau of Land Management to provide a buffer around the sanctuary.  Completely forgot to take pictures until about halfway through, I was so focused on all that I was seeing.  But I got some shots of the cat building we visited, and the natural amphitheater Riley and I stopped at after the tour.  (Anyone who has seen the “Dogtown” show would recognize this location.)

One of the cat areas

One of the cat areas

Amphitheater

Amphitheater

I liked the Ponderosa Grove campground so much we ended up staying 3 days.  On Sunday we headed into the town of Kanab and got a site at an RV park to charge the electronics, take care of the tanks, and watch football.

On Monday morning we headed towards Arizona and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  But first we stopped at Little’s Diesel Service to make a repair to my 30 amp power cord.  [Note to RV’ers – Little’s on Hwy 89 in Kanab, UT is a good shop for service.]

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Utah, Part 1

There are so many places to see in Utah, but I wanted to limit myself to a few areas and not drive all over the state.  Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Goosenecks State Park would have been interesting, but were over on the east side of the state.  I decided to go as far east as Capitol Reef National Park, then west to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks.

So, again I was southbound on I-15, heading to Salt Lake City.  I was going to meet Mary, who I worked with at Dell but had never met because she worked remotely from Sandy, just past SLC.  We planned to have lunch, and I could catchup on Dell news.  It’s always fun to meet the folks you work with from across the country/world.  Then I headed to Nephi to camp in the Uinta National Forest.  There are some dispersed campsites up Salt Creek Canyon Road.  The next day we drove down to Torrey and Capitol Reef National Park.  The huge rock faces run for miles to the south and are just stunning.  There is a nice campground in the park, but was full. I ended up at a commercial campground in nearby Torrey.

Capitol Reef

Capitol Reef

From Torrey I took the Highway 12 scenic drive that connects to Bryce Canyon National Park.  The road immediately climbs high into the Dixie National Forest and has an overlook above Capitol Reef.

Above Capitol Reef

In the Dixie National Forest above Capitol Reef

Along the way the road passes through some very interesting rock formations.  At one point the road is on a thin spine, called “The Hogback”, with the road dropping off of on both sides.

Back in Wheatland, WY, Alan (the Englishman I had met) told me about a nice camping spot across the highway from Bryce.  It was a good spot to disperse camp for a night.  The next morning I drove into Bryce Canyon very early and was able to get a good campsite at Sunset Campground.  Found a nice shady site.  That way I could leave Riley in the rig for a few hours without it getting too hot in there while I hiked.  Dogs aren’t allowed on most hiking trails in the National parks anymore.  Usually there is one trail in each park that allows dogs.  Generally it is some paved trail from the campground to the visitor center, or something like that.  In Bryce the trail from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point is dog friendly.  So we did that first thing.  It was pretty crowded and lots of folks wanted to stop and pet Riley.  He is always happy to meet people that want to pet him!

Bryce2

Bryce Canyon

Early the next morning we drove to the end of the canyon (Rainbow Point) and drove back, stopping at all of the view points along the way.  I decided to stay another night and took the shuttle to Bryce Point and Inspiration Point.  At about sunset I took the Navajo loop down into the hoodoos.  On the way back up the skies were really stormy looking.  I probably took about 400 photos of Bryce Canyon.  It’s just gorgeous and changes all day long as the light changes.  So glad we stopped there.

Here is a gallery of photos.  For some reason WordPress isn’t allowing me to create a slideshow.  But, you can click on the first photo and it will open into a slideshow.

After Bryce Canyon we visited Zion National Park and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.  I’ll write about those in Part 2.