Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument - Campsite by a River

Another peaceful, restful night in a great place. I woke up well rested and packed up early. There was a strange little Subway(Looked like it used to be a cafe or sit-down restaurant)at the junction with HWY 12, so I got a sammich, filled containers with ice, and plugged in my phone. Despite the advertising of free WIFI, I wasn't able to pick anything up, so I just sorted through photos and copied a huge load of media onto my external HD. Still time well spent. Since I'm just throwing money left and right anyway, I bought a box of 12 cookies for about $5 before leaving.

HWY 12 dips into a panoramic view of the Bryce Amphitheater, and a nice descent. I stopped for a look at Mossy Cave, outside of the park but sharing the characteristics of, and maintained by the national park service. The cave was just okay, but the fast-moving, milky stream and waterfall where beautiful. The stream in question is a long-ago man made irrigation ditch, but at this point it looks more like a natural flowage. I talked to a few people, most memorably a very kind couple whose name and home state I've forgotten(big surprise there. Every heard of taking notes?). We had more of a conversation then the usual "Where are you from? Aren't you scared?" exchange, and even if I forgot their names, I think very well of our meeting. Happy trails, folks.

After the last vestiges of Hoodoo and Amphitheater terrain where passed, I rode through ranch and agricultural land through the small towns of Tropic, Cannon, and Henrieville. Then, it was back into the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, that incredible expanse of open land. I found a well used camping area, over a river and across from a huge, sheer rock wall. The ground was littered with dried up cow dung, which worked just fine for fuel. The moonlight was bright against the rock wall, and I had the rare sound of running water.

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