Kevin's Utah and Arizona trip, 2011
Tuesday - Bryce, Cottonwood Canyon
previous: Monday
next: Wednesday

The nearest place to Escalante to have some real auto repair done was Bryce Canyon City. It's just outside the park, and consists mostly of Ruby's, a big motel and tourist trap. They also have a nice big service station and a couple other places. I had planned on going in that general direction this day, so it wasn't much out of my way.

I had wanted to turn off Highway 12 before Bryce, and head south to Kodachrome Basin, Grosvenor Arch and Cottonwood Canyon. I couldn't make that trip due to time and weather constraints after getting the tire fixed.

Fixing the tire should have taken about half an hour, but it ended up taking an hour and a half. I could have hopped a shuttle into the park, and come back whenever I felt like it, but it was supopsed to be quick, so I waited. Finally it was done, I paid my $250 and drove down to Bryce Canyon. I went farther into the park than I did on my previous visit. The main vistas are near the entrance at the north end of the park, but there is more farther south. At the end of the road at the south, Rainbow Point is 9115 feet.

I thought this sign was kinda funny.

After a couple of hours at Bryce (where my National Parks pass paid itself off), I went back the way I had come a few days ago. First I stopped for a few quick shots just down the road at Red Canyon.

From Red Canyon, I went backdown through Orderville and Mt. Carmel Junciton.

This is Kanab, and the first stoplights I'd seen in five days, since leaving St. George.

From there, I drove on to the Paria Contact Station, where I'd hoped to learn about the permitting system for the next morning, but they had just closed. I was very near the entrance to Cottonwood Canyon Road, so up I went.

The ranger I spoke to earlier in the day said the road is about two hours long. Shorter than I expected, looking at the map. Now I figured I'd just drive as far as the weather or the light held out, and see what would happen. So I did. And I got to The Cockscomb. That was what I really wanted to see. The entire road is in a narrow, straight valley. It's not an eroded canyon ilke the others I'd seen, it's caused by a fault line. Or rather where two plates are colliding. The layers are folded and broken. The Cockscomb itself is a line of humpy, repeating hills. You can see the layers up on their sides, and the hills are rounded over and spaced very regularly. There are many different colors of rock layers in the area, so I was fascinated by the pictures, and excited to see it for myself.

I didn't go up far enough to see the whole thing, or some of the other features of the area, like Yellow Rock, but it was still very cool. Then I drove back down a ways to Paria Box Canyon.

This was still cattle country, though it was hard to believe, since there didn't seem to be much here to graze on.

I went back past the Toadstools, and there was still a little light, so I stopped. This one is near the road, so it gets a lot of tourist action.

These are hoodoos. A hard cap rock from a higher layer
of rock, prevents erosion of the softer rock underneath it.

When I was driving between Cottonwood Canyon and The ranger station, I saw a hitchhiker. He looked like yer average guy - short brown hair, glasses, a not-too-warm coat, and a black briefcase sort of bag sitting at his feet. I wondered if I should pick him up. But I was only going to the Toadstools down the road. But a horoscope that Cyn had read to me before my trip said I should pick up a hitchhiker, so I decided that if I saw him again, I would pick him up. When I left the Toadstools, he was standing at the entrance. I picked him up. On the way over from Kanab, I decided this was the longest, boringest stretch of road I had taken. It wasn't a bad drive, but relatively speaking, much of it was kinda dull. By the time I got this guy, it was practically dark, which makes it even more boring. So now I've got this guy in the car for an hour's ride. I guess I would have been content to ride in silence, but Brian, wanting to be friendly, came up with things to talk about. Like an Indian tribe living in caves in the Copper Mountains of Mexico. And the weather. And a friend of his in Flagstaff where he stayed, not long ago ("she put me to work hauling wood"). He said he came from Charlotte and was heading to a conference in Oregon. A conference? In Oregon? That's a long walk. He had set out from Page that morning, and mentioned something about trying to find a bridge to sleep under. He didn't smell too good. I dropped him off on the far side of town when I got to Kanab, gave him some food, and drove back to my motel.

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