Monday, June 1, 2015

I never found the Grand Staircase, but Nora Found the Riverbed

Walking up the Grand Staircase
So yesterday was a long day. Loved it, but it was long. I'm not sure if I realized how big this area was but I'm sure realizing it now...

Just a snapshot of the area

Since we'd been to Bryce (the purple part on the above map) and Kodachrome (blue), we wanted to get into the eastern region a bit more, and we decided to concentrate on this part:
Mostly in GSENM region, but also in the national forest
We started yesterday morning by driving into the (beautiful) Escalante visitor center to find out about the road conditions for two scenic drives in the area. One was aptly named Hell's Backbone Road (overlooking Box-Death Hollow Wilderness), so we wanted to make sure Larry could handle the road conditions. The ranger gave us some tips, and point blank said, "I could take my Prius down Hell's Backbone road." First of all, it seemed like we could handle the road in a Ford F-250, and second of all, DUDE! The bad arse totally adorable park ranger drives a Prius! I suppose this is the new generation of RANGERS--these are environmentally conscientious people. Makes sense. Anyway, the ranger was great with all the info, and and also told us about a few different areas to go with the dogs, so we started there...

When Mister Adorable Ranger suggested we take the dogs to the Escalante River to hike, we took him very literally... Uh. Yeah. The trail was ABOVE the river, guys! This was actually a blast:
Nora, Sam, and Roland hiking the river
Needless to say, Nora LOVED it, and proceeded clean herself off by rolling in the river sand about a million times:
Look at me, MOM! I'm so clean!
A fellow hiker decided to take pity on us and help clean Nora off:
Roland loves that Nora is getting dunked by strangers!

When we actually found the real trail, the hike was actually pretty amazing. If we were true badarses, we would have gone further, but with the dogs, we only did part of the trail. Here are more pics:
The riverbed

Of course, we're in Utah, so here are some awesome rocks

To satisfy our mountain dog, the trail went, well, UP!

Later, we drove east on Route 12 to take the scenic drive Burr Trail Road. Oh Burr Trail, you have such an unassuming name, and yet, your views are freakin' amazing. Here's a taste:
Yes, the rocks are this red

Everywhere we turned, the colors surprised us

But this view was my favorite:
Hi Sam and Larry!
And then, because we hadn't seen enough, we decided to drive the 45 miles of twisty, turning, high elevation Hell's Backbone Road to get back to Escalante. Wow. The elevation and climate changed, and we entered into another country, it seemed:
Huge elevation changes

Pine trees

Sam on the scary overlook

A well-named sign

OK. I could say a lot more about this great trip, but for now, it's time to sign off and do more! If you're a true superfan our family, you can also check out more pictures

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