Friday, May 06, 2011

Travel Journal: Utah National Parks: Kodachrome Basin April 29 2011

A good night's sleep...
Bernie: So do you want to go see some rocks?
Me:  OK!

This day we would go check out a State Park called Kodachrome Basin.
Sounds colorful doesn't it?

We got breakfast with our room rental, and watched the horrific tornado outbreak damage that had wiped out several southern towns. It was just heartbreaking to hear about how destructive the storms had been.

One thing we frequently noticed in Southern Utah: Business owners frequently had free copies of the Book of Mormon to give away.
After the bit where the Presbyterian church in our SLC neighborhood providing free copies of the Koran, I think Christian businesses should follow the Mormon example and offer Bibles for free too.
While we still can...

It was a really quick drive from Tropic to the Park. 

We were graced with another beautiful day and since we were at a much lower elevation, the weather was delightfully warm.

First stop: Chimney Rock.
We walked around it, marveling at its size and presence in the middle of a flat meadow.
Why had it managed to stand unchanged for so long?

Proof that little has changed over the years.

The other side of the tower.

Lovely little natural arrangements were everywhere at our feet, and magnificent landscape to see when we looked into the distance.

Curious things...

I found myself really falling hard for this park.  It all was so "right there"....I could see and process what I was seeing, one tower or rise at a time.
Somehow I never felt like I could full absorb Bryce Canyon. Thousands of hoodoos or towers were awe inspiriting, but I felt overwhelmed.
It was sort of like when I saw the Grand Canyon.  I just stood there and stared and stared, couldn't think of words that would even begin to express the wonder.
I thought perhaps music, grand organs playing might, just might touch the splendor of the Grand Canyon, or Bryce.
Kodachrome felt more like a place where I could set up a chair, eat a picnic lunch, and watch the lighting change on each aspect which I could still see accurately when I closed my eyes.
Does that make sense?

Each "jewel" was unique and interesting and I could really get into taking them in.

(Sort of reminds me of a Wise Man in a Christmas Creche.)

Plus I feel like I could just walk over and check everything out without risking my neck.

The park had several trails, easy trails with wide paths that would allow an easy meandering.

An easy 1.5 mile loop: I can do that!

The Angels Palace trail began in a passage through rather hell fire-ish looking dead trees.

Red rock surfaces showed recent texture formed by the rains earlier in the week.

A steep part of the trail.
Oh yeah, this really is easy!

I could imagine camping here, and taking this walk in the morning while carrying my cup of coffee with me.

Definitely not as mind blowing as Bryce, but I like the relaxed beauty.

This could of been one of millions of hoodoo in Bryce, and I wouldn't have noticed it.
Hoodoo one-on-one time...

Gradually we walked upwards and could see down in a valley.

Don't you love it when God uses all the clay colors in one sculpture?

A view back down to the campground.
There are hot showers (!!!!) and flush toilets, and the motor home spaces well spaced out.
There are also cabins that can be rented for an extremely reasonable $50 a night in winter, $75 a night the rest of the year.
I could totally get into a cozy cabin weekend here, with lots of sitting on the front porch and watching the colors change all around me.

The Angels Palace:  I could picture an angel hanging out here with Bernie.

Since the place is a basin, there is no chance you could get lost. 

See what I mean about easy well cleared trails?
We took take trail later in the day.

I did have to laugh: they had signs that had cameras printed on them to clue you where the scenic sights were.
Like you wouldn't guess it was a good place to take a picture without something like that?

I wish you could feel how soft the red soil is under foot.

Looks like the Canadians have come through....

As a child I used to not really like high desert like scenes. I remember someone told me that I would like it when I was older.
The prophesy has come true!

There wasn't a lot of flowers.  I wasn't sure if that is just the way it is, or if it was too early in the year.

Now this is a little hard to make out: It is a mud slide that has spilled down from that rise and has slopped into the flats.

I would really love to see this view with water running in the creek bed.

The trees give a bit of perspective.

While I was standing here looking down I was so thrilled to see emerald backed swallows stitching through the air around me.
I hadn't even known there was such a bird before.

If we camped here, I would definitely want to go on a ranger hike. I want to know what that whitish mineral is that is seeping out of the top of this wall.
Seriously...isn't it cool?

Do you see the fetal/embryo hoodoos tucked into the wall womb?

Then there are oozed out forms.

Then we came to the Lizard Honeymoon Hotel.
Little male lizards were doing push ups in the sunshine, trying to win the little female lizards.
You could tell they were trying really had to try to convince the girls to get hitched.

As soon as we walked up the females all split.
The Earless Sand Lizards (Ute stanbaran according to Bernie) males kept hiding and peeking back out at us.

Lizard how his body fits right into the crevices.

This little scene would translate so well into any low water use garden.


What makes the rocks dribble like that?

A western fence swift was showing off.  He didn't mind me creeping up on him.

Yes, my belly is blue.   Blue baby...real blue.

Bernie has flipped more than one blue belly for me over the years.  The sapphire blue on the belly of the lizard is just beautiful.

There was a general store in the park where we purchased the makings of a sandwich to go with the apples we had packed along.
Glad I don't have to cook on a stove like this one that was out on the general store's porch.

I am such a sucker for rustic ranch stuff in places like this.
We sat on the porch and ate.

So we had done Angel;s Palace trail.
Next up: Shakespeare's Arch trail.
We would drive over to the trail head from the general store.

Went past a few more wonders on the way.

The trail was so soft!

The sun was almost directly overhead, not the best for most picture taking but it worked for taking pictures of the flowers at the trail head.

This seemed like a silly title for an informational board.
By the time I had read the last sentence I was laughing.
This place was the start of the Colorado River.

"What can we way? You have to start somewhere!"


The white stuff seemed to rise where what had flowed.

Sigh.  I really found myself relaxing after the heavy scenery of Bryce. I felt like I almost had come home here, it was so approachable.

The sudden....the Shakespeare's Arch!

It looks looks like a great place to take a picture of a group of fearless musicians!

(It did require me to lay flat on my back to get it all in.)

He wasn't near by...I just put his picture in here for fun. I have to get this shot with a moon rising in the arch. Or a sunrising.  Or setting. Or maybe Venus rising.

Can't stay here forever.  Still a lot to see and do today.

Bernie named this little guy "Bird Food".

I know this a lot of lizard photos, but really, aren't they gorgeous the way they blend with their environment?

Bernie taught me one thing about reptiles: they absolutely do not want to with you.
He use to catch them and sell them as a teenager; as he put it "If ONLY they would run towards me for once."

The white stuff?

Close up of white stuff.
I have questions.

Another great hike!

We were just driving out of the park when Bernie noticed the little blue bird on the sign.
(He has really good eyes for wildlife.)

And he keeps an eye on me too.

I really enjoy seeing his pictures too. This is one of his shots.

This one too, obviously.

We can't remember who took these shots though.

Turquoise Indian Jewelry come to life as a lizard!

I happen to know that these lizards don't change colors, but sometimes I had to wonder when I saw them blending in like this one did with the multi hued rock it was resting on.

Now we have left the Kodachrome State Park and are driving up to see the Escanlante area and the Petrified Forest area.
A lonely looking cabin: of course we had to stop and take a picture.

Not a bad little side trip drive eh?

This is a little out of order.
The blue bird on the sign was a Mountain Blue Bird (we think...pretty sure...Dad?)

The birds would sit up high,then fly down and grab something on the ground, then come back up.
They seemed to be in pairs.
Oh that blue color was gorgeous!

Back to lonesome cabin.
It must look especially lonely in snow.
Wonder who owns it and what they keep in it?

This was kind of odd. I was just tuckered out and didn't get out the car at the view point to see it.
Bernie went and looked and assured me I hadn't missed anything.

Yup.  Nothing to see here.
Move along, move along....

Do ever find yourself with people in your life that you really wish you could get rid of?
A boss, a pesky relative, a nosy neighbor...
Well, apparently there is hope!
Just bring them to the Peoples Exchange and all will eventually be made right.

The petrified forest:  It required another hike.
I was not up for that...three o'clock nap time or something like that; I was just low energy.
Happily there was a Petrified Forest Cove with big chunks of petrified wood.
I just snapped pictures and enjoyed the phenomenon that way.
Pretty stuff, just like I remembered it looked at the Arizona Petrified Forest that I visited as a kid.

If someone hadn't told me this was petrified wood, I would have just been excited about the sparkly stuff in the middle.

And it took me about the same amount of time to see the wood as it took you to see the the pictures of the wood.
The rock wood was in a area about the size of a large patio.
Back in the car...let's go!

Ahh...clouds!  The scenes just look so great with puffy clouds overhead!

Here's something to think about: How dilapidated does a cabin have to be before it is no longer "charming and rustic" and is just junky looking?

The outhouse had a porcelain throne in it.

Go figure.

We headed back to Kodachrome to catch the sunset light.

Little bovine, do you have any idea good you've got it?

Then we noticed the purple flowers were here too!

That's the shot I like best.

No wait...this is the one I like best.

Please forgive me for posting soooo many pictures.
I just couldn't decide which ones to skip.
The cows had to get in the line up too.

Steer with punk hairdo.

The little rental cabins over by the Grand Parade trail, our final walk of the day.

The wispy red growth contrasted so well with the orange red soil and the sage green plants.

All the color layering was lovely.

Someone could write a children's story about the beast or king who live in the enchanted red rock palace.

With guards that looked down and watched...

Messages that would appear on the red walls would tell the people what the King (Or beast) was planning.

Then one day a man decided to see if he could enter the castle...

I do like the drips on the wall. Reminds me of candle wax on wine bottles.

Curly cue grass flags glowed before the sinking sun.

Mini grottos, the size of basketballs filled with the mini hoodoos.

I say it looked like a cat looking down, watching for a bird or a gigantic mouse.

Bernie's old beach hat was put into service for this hike.  He wanted the extra coverage and I took his usual hiking hat.

Pointing out that we had taking the Angel's Palace trail earlier.

Bernie got some interesting shots along the walls.

Doesn't it look like it is a glyph of some kind, trying to say something?

These holes were right along a dry wash.  Are they formed during flash floods or ????

Yes, that was the last trail we hiked.

I wish we could have stayed, but the cabins were all rented out, so we got in our trusty Subaru and drove back up to Bryan Head.

To be continued....