Impressions From Utah
Jun 19, 2011
|Fred here. :)
We're just getting ready to finish up a 2 month stint camphosting at Kodachrome Basin State Park in southern Utah, 9 miles south of Cannonville, a town of 160 people. To say we are in the boonies is an understatement of the first order. When we signed on for this gig we knew it was in a remote part of Utah, but in retrospect, we didn't know what remote really is.
There is one east west road, Highway 12 that goes north east from Hwy 89 through three counties, Kane, Garfield and Wayne. These three counties are larger than the state of Massachusetts – the population is 13,610 people – Massachusetts has 6 and half million people. That will give you some idea of the density (or lack thereof). We have no cell service, the nearest country store and fuel is 17 miles. The nearest real town with a Walmart is a two hour drive. There is no fire or police service and the nearest hospital is almost an hour's drive. Needless to say, good restaurants are a mere dream. We feel lost from civilization.
What we do have though, is the most spectacular scenery we have ever enjoyed in our 5+ years of traveling through all of the states, Mexico, Canada and Alaska. Neither words, nor pictures can really convey the variety and beauty – it's simply staggering and almost endless.
The area was formed about a Billion years ago by the collision of continental plates that folded and rose upon each other lifting 10,000 feet of rock and sediment, which has eroded away ever since, exposing varying layers of structure. Each of these layers has a different chemistry and erosion rate which has formed the views we see today. If we could come back in 10 million years it would look different, because the erosion continues forever.
The pictures speak for themselves and should give you an idea of the variety. I don't think we would want to spend another two months here, but would recommend putting a one or two week period on your bucket list to come see for yourself. It is spectacular!
This is probably the most photo-heavy blog we've ever put up (50+ pictures). Believe it or not, we had so many more we wanted to share, Fred put together a Picasa web album. So if you would like to see more pictures, click this link: Picasa photo album Impressions From Utah
Since Fred got the urge to write a blog about the area and gave us so many awesome pictures, I thought I would add a short description of our drive on Burr Trail, Hole in the Rock Road and Devil's Garden. I had written this piece right after the drive, but never downloaded my pictures. So since I don't want to bore you with the same scenery at a later date, I'll just add my thoughts on the drive:
Our drives yesterday were awesome. The first one was 15 miles down a dirt road (Hole in the Rock Rd) that culminated with lunch at a picnic area called Devil's Garden. The road was awful, wash-boardy and bone jarring. But the destination was so worth it. Free standing hoo-doos of all sizes and shapes with a couple of them connected by arches. It was like a rock wonderland.
The Hole in the Rock Road is actually 57 miles long, with the last 7 miles only drivable by 4WD High Clearance vehicles. It was a Mormon pioneer road. They were looking for a path over the mountains/cliffs/or whatever the heck you call all these canyon rock formations. At the end of the 57 miles there was a steep drop off. They hacked a hole in the rocks and then let down the wagons, animals and people by use of rope wheel brakes (or something like that), with inclines/declines of sometimes a 45% grade! I think it would be amazing to actually see that location but it will never happen because the 15 miles we drove was more than enough on that road.
And of course, we then had to return the same 15 miles back up to Hwy 12. Then it was on to a road called Burr Trail, which we knew thankfully was paved. It was a drive recommended to us by a motel/gift shop owner in Boulder that we visited on our last trip over there. She said the scenery was spectacular and we were not disappointed. The road descended down into Long Canyon, and for miles we marveled at the canyon walls. While we got great pictures, they do not do the drive justice. Some things just can't be captured.
But we came away with the firm belief that Utah is the most beautiful state in the country. I now have a new answer for the perennial question I'm asked by non-fulltimers: What is your favorite place you've visited. My number one answer will continue to be Alaska for the total experience, but I will have to say that for beauty and landscapes it will be Utah!