Monday, September 21, 2009

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Our campsite at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Our base for three nights is Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. We arrived early, as we were only 50 miles away. It did take us two hours to drive it though. It was up and down and around. At one point the motorhome was down in first gear. Fortunately it was a good road so I was only scared not really, really, really scared.

Of course we arrived too early to get into our spot so we parked near the office, left the boys and went to the Interagency Visitor Center as the park is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and under the umbrella of the Department of the Interior and NPS. After we finished there we came back and our space still was not vacated so we put the boys in their car seats and drove 30 miles to the turnoff to Kodachrome Basin State Park. The park entrance was an eight-mile drive from Hwy 12. This brought us to a hidden treasure with bright red rocks, hoodoos and spires. We attempted to take a dirt road to see the Grosvenor Arch but after two miles or so down the washboard road we decided to cut our losses and return.

Escalante-Day 2

Did the stargazing with the naturalist last night. It was amazing the number of stars. We even saw our nearest neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. We were told some of the stories behind the names of the constellations. There were about 30 people out to see the stars.

This morning we went with the State Park naturalist on a back country hike. It was us and one other couple. We told our guide that we would only go part way as we didn’t think we could do the climbing involved in the 5-mile hike. Are you kidding? I couldn’t tell you if either of us ever walked or hiked 5-miles even when we were young. So we parted ways when they went up and we followed a wash for about a ½ mile. As long as we stayed in the wash we couldn’t get lost. It was like walking on a sidewalk for the most part. The surface was hard and fairly even. We saw coyote and deer tracks and more nice scenery.

Tom on our back country hike.

After that we took a 17-mile gravel and dirt road to Devil’s Garden. This was a good site for us as you could walk into it without climbing. You could walk among the hoodoos and arches. Wildlife today was a snake—undetermined species. This was located in Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Devil's Garden in Escalante

On the way back we stopped for a few essentials at the grocery store in town. When we came back the campground was pretty much cleared out but this evening it was full and I saw at least three parties leave as there was no spaces remaining. They did arrive quiet late.

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