Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cedar City Wrap Up

I think I have found a place that rivals Salida, Colorado, in my affections.  Of course it only makes sense because they have a lot in common.  Both are active, thriving towns that are big enough, but not too big.  Both have fantastic scenery and very friendly people.  Cedar City has that lovely hiking path, but Salida has the Arkansas River.  I think it's a toss up.

We stayed for five nights in the Elks parking lot.  The only problem with parking at the Elks is I feel obligated to go in for a drink and we don't really drink.  Sure we give them a donation to express our appreciation, but feel we should do more.  It works better for us when they have dinners, but unfortunately this one doesn't.

While there, we visited the Frontier Homestead and Iron Mission State Park.  If you've been following our blog, you know I'm not a big fan of museums, but this was a 'two for one.'  Anyway Ron wanted to go.

And this is why I avoid them - Ron inspects and reads EVERYTHING!  And I don't share my sister's love of rusty stuff either.

Inside the building was the Frontier Museum with some interesting wagons.  Maybe we should pull the water carrier behind the RV.

I never really noticed how some of the carriages look so much like the early cars.  This was a Clarence and cost $2000 in the 1860's.  Wow!

Most of the displays were restored, but this Overland Stage obviously wasn't.  The sign said there was a bullet lodged in its side, but we never found it.

But this Concord Stage was a replica and we were encouraged to try it out.  With a team of six horses, traveling 24 hours a day, it took 16 days to travel from St. Louis to San Francisco.  It rocks like crazy even sitting still and Ron decided he would never have made it.

Next we went out back for the Iron Mission State Park.

Oh, no, not more plows and seeders and hay rakes!

But wait!  Roses!

Oooo, look at the color of this one!

But I jest.  There were lots of interesting things including this pioneer cabin said to be the oldest in Southern Utah.  It was built in 1851 by George Wood.

And you could tour this fancier house, which since I forgot to take a picture of the sign, I know nothing about.

Well, I do know one thing, it didn't have a kitchen or eating area.  When I walked around to the back, I discovered why.
I guess they left half the house when they moved it.

Seriously though, the museum was very well done and informative.  The Iron Mission name refers to when Brigham Young sent Mormon missionaries there to mine iron in the 1850s.  That was very interesting, but I'll leave that for you to learn when you visit.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Finally Made It!

After attempting to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument on two previous trips, we finally are in the area when the monument isn't closed by snow.  At over 10,000 feet, I guess it has a short season.  And we were especially lucky since the road between Cedar City and the monument had been closed earlier in the year because of a landslide.

We checked for days and decided today was the day.  Even though it was predicted to be partly cloudy, that was better than the previous days.  Our first stop was the southernmost overlook, called Point Supreme.  And supreme it is.

And here's the view looking the other way..

As you can see, so far the clouds were small, but we could see they were building rather quickly.  We hurried to another overlook, where Ron snapped this picture of me.  It was only about 45 degrees.  After this stop, we even put on gloves.

All the colors are amazing.

The aspen trees were pretty much past their prime foliage, but we did see a few nice stands.

By the time we hit our final overlook, the clouds had taken over.  Partly cloudy, my foot!  It was still pretty, but my camera just doesn't like shade.

We both agreed that the very similar Bryce Canyon NP is better because you can climb down and walk in among the colorful formations.  Cedar Breaks only has trails along the rim, but it's a beautiful and amazing place and well worth a visit if you're in the area.

On a side note, we were amazed by the hundreds of sheep we passed on the road up.  I have never seen so many sheep in one place.  This is just a small part of the flock.

The crossing guard was on duty.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cedar City, Utah

We moved on to Cedar City, another cool place that has managed to keep the downtown active and prosperous even with the presence of a Walmart on the outskirts.  I'm sure being a college town helps.

We are parked at the Elks lodge which has a large parking area with a view.  This is the scene right out our front window.  I hope I'm not jinxing us, but I think we finally drove away from the smoke.

And 1/2 block away, down that dirt track, is a veterans memorial park with separate memorials for each of the wars from WW I to the present.  To me they had as much impact as those in D.C. even though they were on a much smaller scale.  (Alright, maybe not the Korean Memorial, because the one in Washington just blew me away with all those life-sized figures and the photographic images in the granite wall, but that's another story.)

Here's the one for the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars - a single solder representing all the local participants listed on the wall behind.
All of the memorials listed names - some for just Cedar City residents and some for the whole county.

I'll just show two and you can see the rest when you come.  This one is for WW I, which is actually called the Great War on the plaque.
It's quite an impressive park for a city of 30,000 people and a lovely tribute to those who serve.

And beyond the memorials, is the prettiest city hiking path I think I've ever seen.  It begins along Coal Creek.

Then goes through another pretty park.

And turns back east to follow the creek up Cedar Canyon.

They encourage you to exercise even more, but I just said, "Yeah, sure."

And after about 1 1/2 miles, and just past this dam, the trail ends, making it a nice 3 mile round trip.

The Elks is also just a block east of Main Street with its mixture of cute and practical shops.  This particular lady needs to move along - she's scaring the customers.  

I've never seen a system quite like this, but if you follow the directions on the sign, the cars just screech to a stop.

I was disappointed there were no cars coming when we used the flag.  I wanted to try a flag twirler routine.

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Feast for the Eyes

While in Salt Lake City, we were told that we HAD to go to Fish Lake.  Well, I did the research and discovered the lake is at 9000 feet.  Yikes!  Too high for this late in the year.  So we went to Koosharem Reservoir, right on Utah 24 and 23 miles south of Interstate 70.  It's at 'only' 7000 feet and a great place for boondocking.

But we did take the car up to nearby Fish Lake and were very glad we did.  The lake itself is surrounded by lush hills and lovely at any time of the year.  But what really made it spectacular was the fall foliage.  I have never seen such colorful aspen trees.
We pulled over into a parking area

And followed this sweet trail

To the shoreline of the lake.

I know I'm going crazy, but I just can't help it.  I was drawn to this perfect leaf.

While Ron checked out this tree.  The beavers had chewed almost all the way through, but the tree hung up in another one when it fell.

Of course, Ron, being the helpful person he is, tried to give the critters a little help.

Unfortunately, the tree wouldn't budge, but he tried.

Back in the car, we continued on our drive, stopping often for yet another picture.

And ended up at nearby Johnson Valley Reservoir where even the rocks are colorful.

We are still seeing some smoke from Idaho.  During the last couple of days in Salt Lake area, we couldn't see the Wasatch Mountains that tower over the city.  You could even smell the smoke.  It's better here, but still hazy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Our City Fix

We had a great week in Midvale, Utah, doing all those things we do when we hit a city.  In addition to spending lots of time with Ron's son Jim, we hit all the thrift stores, I got my hair cut, we stocked up on groceries and ate out a lot, and we bought a new sink for the bathroom.  Ron already replaced the kitchen sink last winter and now is anxious to tackle the bathroom one.  Yep, he has to have a project.

There is a really nice biking/walking path along the Jordon River and one day we walked part of it.  The river carries water from the Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake and was really rushing.  We were surprised there weren't any kayakers on it.

And I asked Jim, who has a landscaping business, to show us some of the places he has done.  I especially loved this yard.

And I really liked this unique fountain and the Scottish moss growing between the flagstones.

His customers were all very friendly and greeted us like long-lost friends, but we had to stop the tour because they all said, "Oh, Jim, we were just about to call you."  I guess there's always more to be done.

So now we're off and running, heading south, eventually returning to our winter home in Mesa.  But don't hold  your breath, it will take us awhile.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Across Utah

Since my last post, we have zoomed across Utah to Midvale, just south of Salt Lake City.

We spent one night at Starvation Reservoir.  I'm sure there's some terrible story about this place.  I guess the lack of vegetation might be a clue.

We moved on to Strawberry Reservoir because that sounded so much nicer.

We stayed three days up in the cool before heading across the Wasatch mountains into Midvale.  We passed some more signs of autumn.

As we normally do when staying in a highly populated area, we looked for an Elks, Moose, or Eagles lodge. No Elks or Moose, but there was an Eagles.  When we arrived, the lodge looked suspiciously deserted.  A very nice lady saw us drive in and explained that she had been the bartender there and the lodge had just closed the first of the month.  Although most lodges complain about decreased membership, I think this is the first lodge we've seen that has closed.  So sad.

The good news is that she invited us to park there anyway.  If the cops try to move us along, we're going to use her name.  We're having fun watching the local gardeners tend their plots in the community garden right outside our front window.
(It's larger than it looks in this picture.)

However the reason why we're here is to spend some time with Ron's son Jim.  We seem to visit his girls fairly often, but poor Jim gets left out.  We'll be here about a week, so I guess he'll have his fill.  In addition, Ron is spending time at the Mormon Family Research Center doing some genealogical research and I'm hitting the local thrift stores, one of my favorite things to do.

I also had to replace some mugs and bowls that came to a bad end.  Rounding a corner in Vernal, which didn't look dangerous, three of the cupboards came open and all the bowls and some mugs fell out.  Although we use paper plates for dinners, we like our Corelle bowls for cereal and salads.  As I'm sure everybody knows, when they break, it's a real mess.  I should have taken a picture, but we were just too shocked to think of it.

And now for the first time all summer, I am current on the blog and we are actually here in Midvale.  We'll see how long my timeliness lasts.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Green River Hike

But first, a little backtrack . . .

In order to visit Flaming Gorge NRA, we first drove through Vernal, Utah.  Vernal must be the Wave Petunia capital of the world!  They were everywhere for miles along the main road and unbelievably lush and perfect.

Then we drove north on US 191 up a VERY steep hill until we found a place in the national forest to stay for a few days.  The good news is that there were numerous excellent places for our purpose.  We picked one about 29 miles north of Vernal and 6 miles south of the entrance to Flaming Gorge.  (40.17998, -110.49458)

Now back to our hike.  Years ago I had done part of a 7 mile hike that begins at the dam and follows the Green River downstream.  So first we stopped to view the dam.
For any fact lovers out there, it was completed in 1964,
Height above bedrock . . . . . . . . . . . . . .502 feet
Height above original river channel . . . . .455 feet
Arc length at axis of dam . . . . . . . . . . . .1285 feet
Cost of dam and reservoir . . . . . . .  .$49,600,000
Cost of power plant and switchyard   $65,300,000

You can take a dam tour, but we passed on that.

Next we checked out the trailhead at the dam.  Whoa!  That's a long way down.
Since we were going to hike until we were half tired then turn around, we didn't relish the idea of climbing back up the 455 feet at the end.

So we started 7 miles downstream at 'Little Hole' which made for a much easier hike.  The beginning wasn't as dramatic as I would have liked, but by the time we went about 1/2 mile or so, it improved.

I liked the look of these seed pods along the way.

It seems they have gone one better than the standard 'black pipe' outhouses with these modernistic self-composting ones.  Pretty fancy.

Just when the canyon narrowed down more dramatically, we decided to turn around.  I'm embarrassed to say we had probably only gone about 1 1/2 miles.  We need to get into better hiking shape.

But we still enjoyed the part we did see.

And the trail will be better for having had Ron pass by.

Oh, and we saw another sign of autumn, even the poison ivy is putting on a show.