Beautiful Bryce Canyon
Oct 26, 2009
|We landed in St George, Utah on Saturday to temps near 80 and it felt SO good. We're staying at Winter Haven RV Park where our friends Lyle & Judy Wood live. You may remember, they were our fellow camp hosts during our first season at Redfish Lake in Idaho. It was Lyle's brother who was killed in a car accident and he and his wife Nola were the camp hosts in the loop that we took over on a moments notice that year.
It was great seeing Lyle and Judy again. They now manage campgrounds in the Dixie National Forest in southern Utah which is closer to their home in St. George. The park is very nice - mostly park models, but there are a few empty spots they rent out and Judy found us one. THANKS JUDY! We got settled in and went out for lunch to a BBQ place they had heard about and we had a great time catching up and sharing camp stories.
The next day Lyle offered to take Barb & I on a grand tour looping north through some of their campgrounds, over to Bryce Canyon, and back to St. George via the East Entrance into Zion National Park that includes a tunnel that scares anyone who has an RV. This was an invitation we couldn't resist as we didn't think we'd make it to Bryce this year because of our Boise delay, but it was a warm day in St. George and at least sunny in Bryce.
Lyle picked us up at 8 a.m. sharp and off we went. We headed north to Ceder City then turned into the mountains on Highway 14 and before long we knew it, we were at 9900 feet. You wouldn't want to pull an RV over this route as it's a hard 8% grade for miles but it was fun in the car. At the summit there was a lookout to the south where you could see the edge of Zion - something we'll hit harder tomorrow.
There's several campgrounds along this highway that they will manage next year but we eventually hit highway 89 where Lyle took us south then into the campground they've been in the last two summers - Red Canyon, which is just before the entrance into Bryce. It is beautiful with the famous red canyons surrounding it.
We went on into Bryce where we got our first peak at the canyon there. It's incredible to walk to the edge and suddenly see the canyon with it's famous Hoo-doos (or spirals). From there we headed over to Bryce Point where the canyons opened up and we walked to the point for some more breathtaking views.
We were so grateful to at least have gotten the afternoon there and see for ourselves these magnificent spirals and will return for a deeper visit another time. We treated our tour guide (Lyle) to lunch at Ruby's within the park - the least we could do for all his time and driving, before heading out for more.
The next leg took us a little more south and then west into the eastern entrance of Zion to that notorious tunnel I mentioned earlier. This spring we originally were going to drive down from Moab and visit Lyle and Judy, but would have had to go through the tunnel. Good thing we didn't. Built in the 1930's, it just wasn't made for todays large RV's. It warns trucks and RV's about its height limit.
It's just 13'1" in the middle and they will allow RV's under that but they have to have an "escort" which merely means they will stop traffic at the other end so you can drive down the middle and pray that you don't scrape. We are 12'7" and didn't want to risk it. Even wide trucks (including our dually) would have to be "escorted". It's a mile in length and totally dark with the exception of a handful of windows looking out to the canyon but was no problem for Lyle's Camry.
Once out of the canyon the road takes a hairpin curve back and I was able to get a picture of the canyon wall that contains the tunnel. Note the small opening in the wall - that was one of the "windows" described earlier.
From there we went on through the outskirts of Zion giving us a glimpse of what we'll see when Barb and I come back for a deeper look on our own. We didn't hit the Zion Canyon road as it's closed to cars - we'd have to take a shuttle bus in. BUT, as luck would have it, the shuttles end on Oct 25th so Barb and I will be able to drive in tomorrow.
It was an exciting day. Thanks to Lyle for taking us and thanks to Judy for watching Buddy for us!