September 17 and 18 , 2014
Utah 12 is called a Scenic Byway. It lives up to its label. It spans a route of 124 miles, and travels though some of the most diverse, remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the country. It is home to two national parks, three state parks, a national recreation area, a national monument, and a national forest. I, Phil, discovered this road on a bike tour in 2010. I resolved to get back to see it again. (Another bucket list item checked off.)
We stopped at visitors centers at Red Canyon, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM Escalante, and Capitol Reef. There were so many very scenic turn-outs, we got sick of stopping. Lunch was at a small restaurant in Boulder, UT - again where we had stopped in 2010. Dave Gabrielse could not stop talking about that experience for the rest of the bike trip. (Five dollars for a glass of orange juice he thought was outrageous.)
The evening visit to Capitol Reef paid off with a ranger talk about wilderness, and a star gazing experience. . Its very dark here.
On Thursday, Sharon, Jan. Dirk and Phil hiked 500 feet up the side of a mesa, then into a canyon. It was a unique experience to see a canyon up close and personal. The trail started to go down hill again so we turned around. The total trip was 2.5 miles, not far, but it took us abut 3 hours.
In the car again for a ride along the scenic drive. After having already visited Mesa Verde, Cedar Breaks, Zion Canyon, and Bryce Canyon we thought we had seen all the canyon formations we there were. Wrong. The ones in Capitol Reef were unique and utterly stunning. In fact we (make that Phil) enjoyed the scenic drive there more than the one in Bryce Canyon and it rivals the one in Zion.