Anthony's Wild West 2007 travel blog

Another Ford Focus Adventure, Capitol Gorge, Capitol Reef NP

Scenic Drive, Capitol Reef NP

Alien tourists as seen by the Indians 1,000 years ago

On the Calf Creek Trail

Lower Calf Creek Falls

Back along the Calf Creek Trail

Looking down on Highway 12

Highway 12 in Red Canyon

More roadside attractions on Highway 12

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks

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A quick scan across Cedar Breaks National Monument

Today is effectively my last day, as all of tomorrow (and much of the next day) will be spent travelling. I am ready to come home, but as I said yesterday, I could have done with another 10 days in California and another 10 in this area. Today alone I drove past 3 or 4 places I would have loved to visit and spend the day hiking in, top notch sights.

I got up early and was in Capitol Reef not long after dawn, doing the Scenic Drive. This was satisfyingly scenic and dramatic, and when it ran out I continued on a dirt road up Capitol Gorge, a narrow winding canyon. Great fun, and more great scenery. On the down side, it was overcast all day, so the light was not the best for photos.

When I finished the Scenic Drive, I went to look at some strange 1,000 year old petroglyphs made by the local Indians of what looks like space tourists. While I was doing that I picked up this woman who was walking along the road crying. Apparently she had had a big row with her boyfriend who had then turfed her out in the middle of the Park, but not before taking her cellphone and all her money and cards. What a *£@"! I took her to the nearest town and gave her my phonecard to ring friends with (all the while waiting for a truck full of rednecks with guns to turn up looking for her). That's the third person I've rescued and taken somewhere this trip!

After seeing her OK, I sped off down Highway 12, the most scenic of all the Scenic Byways, looking in the mirror for vengeful hillbillies all the way. Highway 12 is another one of the "All American Roads", like the Beartooth Highway near Yellowstone, i.e. a national as opposed to state scenic byway (and deservedly so). The whole of today's driving was like being in a glorious National Park, though far from straight like the blog maps would suggest, but up and down and winding all over the place.

The first place I went to next was Calf Creek, where I walked 6 miles to a waterfall and back up a very nice canyon. My last hike here, and a very pleasant one. Then a lot more driving, past and through several other places I would have loved to stop at and explore, including Bryce Canyon again (where there was a big forest fire). Just before dark I got to my goal of Cedar Breaks National Monument, like a mini Grand Canyon in Bryce Canyon colours. The rim is over 10,000 feet (and very cold, the road shuts on Friday) and you could see down through the formations to several thousand feet below and many miles away. It was stunning and beautiful, and felt like a real gift of a way to end my American Road Trip, on a spiritual high.

And then I drove down to Cedar City to spend the night, just off the Interstate three hours from Vegas. A Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet and mucho repacking to do to try and get inside my baggage allowance. And unfortunately I appear to have lot my return coach ticket!

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