I took some time this past month to explore the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, traveling some of the unimproved roads that wander through the 1.9 million acres, but only after consulting with a BLM ranger as to how far I could safely drive in my Corolla.
Thoreau may not have known is that air and water are not always gentle
in these parts. Not only do they create these strange and fascinating shapes, they also
create mud and flash floods throughout the Grand Staircase-Escalante NM.
Devil’s Garden is 14 miles down Hole in the Rock Road just past the
town of Escalante. I had been warned not to try driving any further on
that road, so I didn't.
I finally braved Cottonwood Canyon Road and drove the 11 miles (which took me 40 minutes each way) out to Grosvenor Arch, a double arch said to be the second largest in Utah. Rainbow Bridge, which I visited on the way up here, is thought to be the largest natural bridge in the world.
There are over 3,000 natural arches and bridges scattered throughout Utah. Here is the difference between an arch and a bridge: the first is created by wind and rain, the second by flowing water. I wonder how many arches and bridges there are in Grand Staircase-Escalante?
Twice lately I’ve left Kodachrome SP and Grand
Staircase-Escalante, making the trip to the nearest Wal-Mart, two hours
away in Cedar City. On the first trip I wound up and down on UT-14 through Cedar Canyon, in a stupor as I had not slept much the night before.
The most important item on my list, a new water filter with flexible hose extension, was out of stock. However, I discovered one of my windshield wipers was falling apart, and practiced being a helpless female, asking a gentleman parked next to me if he knew how to take it off. He very kindly did just that and I took it in to get a replacement. Unable to figure out how to put the new blade on, feeling totally inept, I asked another gentleman if he knew how to install it. He did. Gosh, I’m getting good at this.
As it turned out, I found that Amazon carries the water filters I was looking for, so I ordered a package of three.
My second trip to Cedar City was two days after a big rainstorm here in the park. Everything above 6900 feet has gotten a dusting of snow. The Cedar Canyon road was closed due to a storm-caused rockslide, so I took UT-20 across to I-15, spotting a coyote in a snowy field, the mountains to my north completely white.
the Escalante Canyon Arts Festival, also known as Everett Reuss Days, I
learn that the National Geographic story about finding the body of
Everett Reuss in 2009 is now considered incorrect. Apparently, though
forensic evidence showed it was a white male of the appropriate age, DNA
samples from Everett’s niece and nephew were considered not a good
enough match. Now there is a new book Finding Everett Reuss. So… the mystery continues.
A great deal of time has been spent, and is still being spent, trying to make sense of my new computer. Windows 7 is very different from my old XP; MS Word is unbelievably different; the cursor skitters around, things open up here and there, and change size, seemingly of their own free will. I suppose I’ll get used to it eventually.
Trees are turning here – lovely splashes of yellow, burgundy, rose, and orange at the higher elevations in the Grand Staircase. Here in the park, the four-wing saltbush has turned pale gold, the big sagebrush is blooming, and Indian Paintbrush is sporting pretty green seedpods.
One of our German visitors drove the gravel road 1.5 miles out to Chimney Rock on a rainy afternoon and his battery died. Another visitor gave him a lift back to the Visitor Center and he came in, with very little English, looking for help. Since I had jumper cables, I drove him back to his car; after carefully reading the directions as I had never before done this myself, we hooked the cables up in the rain and got his car started successfully. He was very grateful and I was very pleased with myself - also very muddy.
Sadly, my caulking job on the leaking skylight did not survive the big storm. I’ll have to climb up on the roof to try again; if I can’t make it work this time, I’ll get it totally re-caulked when I take the RV in for service in Tucson. The list of work to be done is growing.
A few more of my books have made their way to the little Cannonville “library.”
Last night, an almost full moon caused the high white cliffs surrounding the campground to gleam eerily in the moonlight, and lit my way as I finished up my shift, driving slowly through to make sure everyone was tucked in. Very Halloweenish!
Here are two more quotations from the interpretive signs on the Nature Trail:
“Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” –Albert Einstein
And, my favorite, by Rachel Carson:
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
It was a good month, and a busy one, here at Kodachrome Basin; I
enjoyed wandering the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, yet
it is such a vast area, there is much I'll never see.
Do you have any questions? Any comments? This is your chance to let me know what you're thinking, so please do. I really enjoy hearing from you.
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