Friday, September 16, 2016

Enjoying the Scenic Backways

Cannonville/Bryce Canyon KOA
Cannonville, UT
September, 2016

In addition to hiking, one of my favorite things to do is explore backways.  On several different days, we headed out to enjoy the beautiful weather and back country.  One of those excursions was East Fork Sevier River Backway.   

 We enjoyed a stop and walk along the water's edge at Tropic Reservoir.  I was surprised at how many ducks and geese were still here.

And of course, I had to stop and converse with the horses.

We turned on one of the many side roads named Long Hollow and discovered it was a Great Western Trail. 

I read that this trail system is 4,455 miles long from Canada to Mexico...

...and that these trails are just as they were when pioneers and cattle ranchers used them. 

 Another day we ventured out Cottonwood Canyon Road to explore Grosvenor Arch.  Its a magnificent piece of nature's art...a double sandstone arch.

I did wander behind the arch in hopes to find a trail to the top. Thanks for the suggestion Al ( ).  I didn't see a "trail" but I did see some beautiful rocks. 

While there we saw a helicopter carrying away huge bundles of something that caught our eye.

It turns out it is a new archeological site and findings were being taken somewhere by helicopter.

Regardless of which way we went, this is a land of silence, wide-open spaces, beautiful colors, and one cute sign.

And yes, fall is definitely in the favorite season !


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Red Canyon

Cannnoville/Bryce Valley KOA
Cannonville, UT
September 9th, 11th & 13th,  2016

Not far from Bryce Canyon NP is Red Canyon located in the Dixie National Forest.  We first learned of this valley surrounded by exposed orange-red limestone from Pam and John ( ).  Most visitors hurry on to Bryce which makes Red Canyon a quiet and peaceful place to hike.  

On our first visit (9/9), we stopped at the Visitor Center (located on Scenic Byway 12 about 15  minutes west of Bryce Canyon).  

That days hike was a combination of Pink Ledges Trail, Hoodoo Trail, and Birdseye Trail and to complete the 4 mile loop we returned to the VC parking area via the Bicycle Trail. 

There are 13 posts along Pink Ledges.  Using the pamphlet from the VC you can  learn about interesting plants, trees, and rock formations as you meander along.
The Hoodoo Trail takes you under the hoodoos and through pinyon pines and juniper trees. And last, the Birdseye Trail offers vistas on a trail with steep slopes along the side of the trail.  It was a pleasant morning and peaked our interest to return.

We both agree the second hike (9/11) was our favorite hike in this mostly secluded canyon.  It was the Red Canyon Loop.  The VC didn't know anything about this hike so maybe that is why we were the first and only vehicle in the parking lot.  When traveling towards the VC, the trailhead is on the right just after the second tunnel.  There is a vault toilet, plenty of parking, and a kiosk with maps and info.  The hike includes portions of Cassidy Trail, Rich Trail, and Ledge Point Trail.  It is a moderate 4 mile loop (lollipop) with steep slopes and rocky surfaces.  
The first part of Cassidy follows a wash before heading a up a gradual slope to follow the ridgeline.  

It was early in the morning and I enjoyed the chatter of birds in the pine and fir trees.

Rich Trail took us through a forest of Bristlecone Pines and a carpet of manzanita shrubs. 

We also passed by The  Gap.  Joe was happy I left empty handed.  Actually this gap is a wash between two resistant buttes.  

The last leg of the loop turned out to have the biggest "WOW" factor.  Ledge Point is exactly that...a ledge with a 360 degree view of Red Canyon and beyond. 

Our last hike (9/13) in Red Canyon was an almost 3 mile moderate lollipop hike that combined Golden Wall Trail and Castle Bridge Loop.  
We started out on a wide trail lined with ponderosa pines and spruce trees.  The climb was easy and steady. 
And yes, we were surrounded by golden walls.
Soon after we made the left turn onto Castle Bridge Trail, 

 the trail became very narrow with steep switchbacks...

...way fun and a little scary as the trail was very rocky and in some places like marbles.
Of course there were photo ops all around which kept me busy.

It was quite windy on the ridge which added to the excitement...
not the most spectacular views we have seen here, but still worth the climb. 
Until next time, what goes up has to go down...