Monday, September 16, 2019

Capitol Reef Part Two and Grand Staircase-Escalante - Las Vegas and Utah - May 2019

Las Vegas/Utah Trip Overview
Bryce Canyon
Zion National Park

Glamping would have been more fun if the temperatures were higher than 38 degrees when waking up.  We experienced this kind of camping in Africa, but we expected it to be cold during that trip - not cold in late May in southern Utah.  The bathroom facilities worked well with a nice hotel hot shower.   We had a quick granola/protein bar breakfast in the car as we made the short drive back to Capitol Reef National Park.   Our main activity for the morning was to hike to Hickman Bridge  - a 2 mile round trip.   Again, here we are in the middle of nowhere at 7am walking around a bunch of rocks.  This was not our typical vacation.

The trail had a few patches of sketchy rock but overall it was pretty smooth sailing with light slopes and well defined trails.   We had great views of the Capitol Dome and other great scenery along the way.   It's hard to believe this area was all underwater at one point, but the coral-like rocks help to reinforce that fact.


We are not sure why the bridge was named for Hickman.   It was pretty nice though and nice to finally be at a cool formation without people getting in the way for the photos.   Downside - dreary morning with no sun.

When we finished our hike we stopped at the old timey general store for coffee and some old fashion honey candy that Holly loved.  As we mentioned in the last post a lot of this park was focused on the early settlers and how they lived so a few buildings on site were setup to function as part of a village.   We followed the road south a few miles for the scenic drive and to see the canyon original settlers brought their wagons through to get to the site.  We could have taken our car through the canyon pass but decided there were too many wet spots to bother.

Our next portion of the morning would be spent driving scenic Byway 12 towards Bryce Canyon through the Grand Staircase-Escalante.   Before researching this trip we had never heard of this site, Canyonlands, or Capitol Reef.   These are incredible locations worthy of Grand Canyon/Monument Valley levels of notoriety.   Route 12 was a windy road that took us up to almost 10,000 ft of elevation and views of snow capped forests.  Thirty minutes later we'd be looking at dusty desert scenes stretching for miles.   The road could have used a few more guard rails.   

By the time we reached civilization (the town of Escalante) we were starving. Car snacks weren’t cutting it and Dave developed a new Pavlovian behavior we called “baby bird”.  Whenever Holly grabbed for a snack his palm went up immediately for a handout.   

We picked the Circle D Eatery because it was the last restaurant on the main drag.  Lucky for us it was awesome with Utah beers and delicious burgers.  This was pure gourmet compared to the food served up in Bryce City, our next destination.   

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