We recently returned from a wonderful vacation in Utah. This was our second time and two of the main reasons to go back was to hike into Bryce Canyon and to walk The Narrows in Zion. We accomplished both and more on this great trip.
But I’ll start at the beginning.
We left our home late in the afternoon, after picking veggies for our next delivery, and headed East on Highway 50 towards Lake Tahoe. From there we headed South East on Highway 89. Beautiful country! I want to go back and explore that area. As we came out of the pass we entered Nevada and drove through hay fields, probably alfalfa. I wasn’t looking forward to driving through the desert, and wished I could take another route, but to get to Utah, ya have to go through Nevada. So I changed my thinking, about how boring it would be and decided the desert has it’s own beauty, and lots of it.
The first town we stopped to stretch our legs was Hawthorne.
Wikipedia says: “Hawthorne is the county seat of Mineral County. The nearby Hawthorne Army Depot is the primary economic base of the town. The Hawthorne Army Depot is a huge ammunition storage site located near the town of Hawthorne in western Nevada in the United States. The depot used to be the Naval Ammunition Depot. The depot covers 147,000 acres (595 km²), and has 600,000 square feet (55,700 m²) of floor space in 2,427 storage bunkers. It is said to be the largest such facility in the world.
The Hawthorne Army Depot stores reserve munitions to be used after the first 30 days of a major conflict. As such, it is only partially staffed during peacetime, but provision has been made to rapidly expand staffing as necessary. The depot is run by an independent contractor under an agreement with the government.
In May 2005, the facility was included on the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure list, with closure being recommended. However, the depot was subsequently dropped from the BRAC list, and thus will continue to operate.
In 1998-1999, the facility was used to destroy the U.S. stockpile of M687 chemical artillery shells and separate from them their 505 tons (458 metric tons) of binary precursor chemicals.”
Maybe that’s why all the weird sculptures made out of shells. These are giant whirlygigs and they really spin.
And what seemed even stranger to me was the cemetary across the street and this particular plot. I guess when you have lots of extra shells, you make stuff out of them.
After grabbing something to eat, we continued to drive to Tonopah, a silver mining town in Nevada. We spent the night there at the Jim Butler Hotel. A nice little place, inexpensive, clean and friendly.
The next day we headed towards Bryce, Utah. Actually we were staying in the small town of Tropic, about 12 miles east of Bryce Canyon. We stayed at the Bryce Canyon Country Cabins. Six cabins on a familie’s ranch. Very nice, clean, and comfortable. I really liked having our own cabin. http://www.brycecountrycabins.com
Since we were here last year, I didn’t take as many pictures of the whole canyon, but this picture I found on the internet shows the wide expanse of what the canyon looks like.
The goal this year was to hike into the canyon and experience the hoodoos from the bottom up instead of from the top down. The rock formations, called hoodoos, are the creation of wind and water erosion over eons of time. The natural orange and red hues that color these formations are the result of iron oxidizing within the rock.
The following pictures are ones we took while on our hike into the canyon.
Isn’t this sky beautiful?
We visited each Visitor Center we came across and enjoyed each one. They each have displays of their particular area plus tasteful gift shops. We especially liked the Visitor Center in Escalante because we love this giant lizard sculpture.
Entering Zion from the East side. The road goes through the mountain, see the window?
Working on this blog and looking at our pics of Zion, I realize words cannot explain the feelings I have for this magical place. Someday I hope to live there, but in the meantime, we will visit often. Enjoy the pics:
Us on the lawn at the lodge at Zion.
One of our goals for this trip was to walk through The Narrows. Last year the river was too high, so this year we planned our timing and prayed the weather would cooperate. At one point we thought we might not be allowed to enter The Narrows due to incoming weather, but yeah!!, the weather was wonderful and we walked at least 4 miles in the river, up and back. Next trip I want to hike the 2 day/16 mile trip.
There are many places to stay in Springdale, the town at the entrance of Zion. We love The Red Rock Inn. Everyone is so nice and the grounds and rooms are beautiful. A tasty, full breakfast comes to your door each morning too.