This is a continuation of my trip last summer. Yes, I realize it’s June, but it’s important to me that I have a digital record of what we did, so here you go! If you have any questions about camping or traveling through Colorado or Utah, don’t hesitate to ask, I might have advice on what to do and what NOT to do.
We left off in Torrey, Utah, after visiting Capitol Reef National Park. Now we were driving to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, which was only about 1 1/2 hours away, to camp for one night en route to Bryce Canyon. We stopped there mostly because I wanted to see more petrified wood.
When I was a girl, my family took a long road trip through the Southwest of the US. I recall really enjoying Petrified Forest National Park, and then, this is what I really remember, finding it so entertaining that when you left the park, the rangers would ask if you had taken any wood (stone, really) with you. And of course we hadn’t, so we said no, but it wasn’t like they searched. My brother was a very creative type, and he would write hilarious short stories about a bumbling pair of small time crooks who were trying to make a few dollars by stealing petrified wood. Naturally, they always got caught, because that was how the stories ended, but they were just so funny!
Anyway, we headed out on Route 12 to Escalante. This highway was part of the journey as well as the destination, as the guidebooks said it was pretty amazing and a must-drive. Drive we did! (Well, Louie, because driving on mountain roads freaks me out.) You are basically driving through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which my understanding is that Escalante means staircase, and the whole name of the monument is redundant…but every two minutes you will gasp because the views are just so incredible. To really explore the monument you have to backpack into it, because not too much of it is accessible by car. We weren’t spending much time here because we were on a National parks tour. But anyway! There’s places to pull over, and information about Mormon settlers and all kinds of stuff.
We stopped in the tiny town of Boulder to get an espresso on the way. Things we did a lot of on this trip: eating ice cream, then getting sleepy and needing coffee. Odd
We made it to the campsite without much trouble, and set up our tent, took, showers (yay, rare occurrence!) and walked around. This park was by a very nice lake, but we couldn’t find a way to get down to it. To be fair, we didn’t try very hard, because we were busy doing other stuff too, and I was tired. (I’m assuming, I can’t remember, but I was often tired.) We were pretty relieved we seemed to be out of bear country for the time being, but we were still paranoid and frantic about bears.
You can see the lake in the background. It was a lovely location (site W116), and the campground was really nice. Individual shower areas, a covered picnic table, clean bathrooms, and enough privacy. There were a ton of European families driving rented RV’s, as was the norm in Utah (at least while we were there. I worry this summer will be different.)
The next morning we got up and took a short hike from the campground, called the Petrified Forest Trail. We saw some nice rabbits and large rabbits (jackrabbits?) and lots of petrified wood, which I love. I think the hike was about 1 1/2 miles, and not too challenging, but very nice. This is one of the only pictures I seem to have taken.
We didn’t take any petrified wood, and the signs seemed to indicate doing so would bring bad luck! In any case, if you took some, and everybody else took some, there would be none left to look at.
We didn’t want to dawdle long (I think we left around 9 am), so we headed to Bryce Canyon, which was about 1 hour away! To be continued…
Nights Camping: 9
Miles Hiked (estimate): 56
Favorite Camping Meal: Couscous, tuna and white beans, green peas, beer