Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Scenic Highways

When I left Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park on the morning of May 12th it was downright cold. I stopped at a roadside rest area on US 89 about 40 miles north (and somewhat higher in elevation) and saw a few trees and plants with tiny icicles hanging off of them!

About 11 am I arrived at the visitor center at Bryce Canyon National Park. There were campsites available, but the temperature was a “brisk” 35ยบ and I opted to continue on my way, knowing that I could return later. I also wanted to stop at Kodachrome Basin State Park, which was nearby, but not when it was so cold.

Utah Route 12, which is the highway that passes by Bryce Canyon and goes north towards Capitol Reef National Park, is a Scenic Byway. And it is quite beautiful. The little bit that I saw of it anyway. It started out rather nicely. But the sky was strange looking. The clouds were blue!

The canyons near Escalante, looking westward. The midway point between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef parks.

Another view of the canyons, taken 10 minutes later, looking west.

The canyons near Escalante, looking to the north. Uh, oh.

I drove into the clouds and saw no more pretty views for the next hour. It snowed. Quite heavily in some places, but the roads were clear. It snowed all the way through the Boulder Mountains.

Near the summit (9600 feet high) of Boulder Mountain the sky started to clear. Steam was rising from the road surface. It felt quite warm when I stepped out of the van to take the picture. But alas, it was just a temporary clearing. It snowed, and sleeted, and slushed most of the way to Torrey, the turnoff to Capitol Reef.

Once again, I stopped at the visitor center. The campground was full. There was BLM land nearby where I could spend the night if I wished. But it was early afternoon, the weather was lousy and more of the same was predicted for the next day. I opted to continue on my way, knowing that I could return later. At least I glimpsed portions of the scenery as the highway meandered through the park.

A check of the map showed that Goblin Valley State Park was an hours drive to the north on Utah Route 24 so I set my sights on spending the night there, which is what I did.

Shortly after I arrived at Goblin Valley, hail fell. Then it thundered and rained. Along about sunset time I glanced out the window and saw the tail end of a rainbow! Ah, Mother Nature in all her glory!

Yes, the photo is slightly out of focus, but it was such an unexpected and glorious sight that lasted only a few moments. It was there. Then it was gone.

You may think that I “complain” a lot about the weather. It's cold. It's hot. The rain. The snow. But I also frequently mention the beautiful blue skies and sunshine. Mother Nature can be fickle and even cruel at times, but you can be assured of just one thing – she is constantly changing. When you are living “on the road” the conditions “outside” are everything, you become more aware of them. The conditions affect your mood. They affect what you do and when you do it. So, yeah, I talk a lot about the weather. It's all I can do. Can't change it, though sometimes I wish I could.


Lori H said...


Carol said...

I sooooooo sooooooo relate to the comments about weather. It is for sure, one of those, been there, done that, kind of things. Many of my friends who don't live our RVing lifestyle, have a hard time wrapping their minds around just how important weather IS when you are living sooooo much of your day and parts of nights in the great outdoors. Mother Nature becomes your best friend and worst enemy, or is that worst friend and best enemy???

Great photos, the ice is good, the rainbow even better, out of focus or not! FAB!!