Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Devils Garden

Just a few miles into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument there is a dirt road going south into the foothills. It is a dusty road flanked by large fields. Long Horn Cattle come close to the road here to see the passerby's as they zoom down main route 12. I take the turn off and drive down the dusty road. I am watching the time and the gas needle as I am going far out into a wilderness area. There are no gas stations or restaurants out here. There are many smaller enticing turn off roads but I am on a mission. I am looking for the famed Devils Garden that is somewhere down at the end of  road.

After what seemed like an hour I was wondering if my GPS was telling me the truth there was no road marked on the screen and it said I was driving on open range.  But then there it was a small hand painted sign on the left side of the road... Devils Garden this way.
Here is the photo essay of that stop. Click on the image to see it larger.

As the day moved from late morning to early evening my belly began to complain and road fatigue was setting in. Up ahead a few miles was the Boulder Mountain Lodge, a phone call and I had the last room for the night, lucky me. This is a first class lodge and is often totally booked. My room looked out on a small pond. The last image here is the view from the back deck off my room. This was such a nice place I booked two more days using it as a base from which to explore the back roads. They also have a great home made Elk Sausage.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Route 12 on the Escalante Staircase

Leaving Bryce Canyon and heading toward our next National Park is a remarkable drive filled with vistas of shocking beauty and a long and meandering road past cattle farms and small state parks created to preserve rock formations and arroyos. I found it irresistible to stop and take pictures along the way. Needless to say getting to the next stop was less important then recording the path I was traveling. This post will give you a glimpse into the sights along the way.

 This first image is of the hills just outside of Bryce. The red rock hoodoos are still evident hidden among the trees of increasing density and just as interesting only smaller and less dramatic. I feel sad leaving them I feel that I am leaving old friends. To see them get smaller as I drive by reminds me of the days I spent among them.

Soon The landscape opens up wide and distant mountains mark the snow line and it seems I can see forever.. The forest releases it's grip on the land and scrub brush begins to populate the high range. The colors are soft and varied, the shapes are soft and wave in the breeze as the wind blows.

Fences appear and long horn cattle roam free on wide expanses of landscape. I stop to get a closer look at the cattle that are close to the road. I am carefully watched by the large black and white steer, but soon his curiosity waned and he walked away. 

 The blue sky is dotted with white clouds and one can see the distant rainfall of approaching storms from a long way off. Large for-ground textures become spattering clumps of dotted shapes as they move to the distant horizon.

As I travel further down route 12 the land flattens out. Small trees stand out occasionally, dispersed in the fields, contrasting the wide horizontals as if they were their to watch over the herds of cattle roaming over the range.