carocali (carocali) wrote,

Here comes the Sun!!!

We are still in Zion, but we're on our way to Bryce after lunch.   It's been gorgeous here and it will be hard to leave.  Internet has been a hard time coming, as has cell reception, so sorry for the delays.  Plus I'm just way behind.  Hopefully I'll have something else up tomorrow morning.  In the meantime, here's day nine...


Caroline and Kathy



October 8, 2007


The sun is out, the sun is out!!!


After a charming breakfast of peanut butter and toast for Kathy and homemade bran muffins for me (fiber is our friend) at our Super 8, we packed up and headed out.  We knew we had a ton of time we had to make up for and the parks were all the way at the bottom of the long state.  We were supposed to be in Bryce Canyon a few days back, so we had to shake a leg to get to Zion and our reservations at the lodge in the park. 


That didn’t happen.


We only got a few miles on route 89 and we had to stop for the color!  Along Bear Lake, Idaho, was a spectacular array of reds, greens and yellows.  We even trespassed to get some good pictures.  Our lives were in danger by shotgun-wielding crazies, just so we could get the shot.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but these people are serious about staying off their land!  We grabbed what we could and headed back on the road.


Logan’s Canyon Scenic By-way was a turn-off along 89 that we stopped at and got completely filled with mud.  The time of day was very sunny (for the first time) and the pictures were a little washed out, but it was gorgeous.  The yellows of the trees came alive with the sun, and I finally understood what Kathy was talking about with the Aspen.


The scenic by-way didn’t end with the simple turn-off, and had we known what was in store, we would have left at 6 a.m.  (I would’ve still been asleep though – I don’t do early very well).  Every turn held a new treasure trove of colors and wonder.  A lonely fenced in area held charming scenery for the eye to behold.  Copses of yellow trees rolled with the hills, basking in the sunlight.  We followed the yellow brick road for a spell and noticed a sign for Tony Grove Road.  Kathy had seen that as a side trip from route 89, so we decided to give it a shot.


This was one of the most beautiful settings we’ve seen along this way.  The secluded lake was the reward for seven mile climb up the hills of torturous beauty and color.  The Aspens were literally glowing in the clear blue sky.  The twists and turns brought more moments of awe as each new view took our breath away.  After finally getting through the tight road, we arrived at Tony Grove Lake to find it covered in snow.


The small lake cosied up to the trees and rock that surrounded it.  The clear water held just a slight shiver as a mild breeze played along the top of the pond, making for an almost perfect reflection of the world around it.  There was almost no one there, and those that did come to visit, were brief in their stay.


Taking a deep breath in to enjoy the crisp, clean air, we began to wander around this small gift, snapping several pictures. It was the epitome of tranquility – a moment unlike any other where you stop and realize you are not dreaming what’s around you.  You’re actually in this perfect little spot, away from the world and its problems.  This is what peace really is, in the beginning phases; and where nature reigns supreme.


The snow was deeper than we thought (4-6 inches) and we noticed the varying footfalls around the lake; each individual with their own stories and reasons to be here.  One individual needed to take a moment to make a snow angel for posterity. 


The trees had yet to shake the fluff from their branches, and the shade of the pines was enough to drop the temperature down even further.  On the other end of the lake, a tree had fallen into the water, almost bridging a portion for a walkway across the silent lake.


Our time here had to come to an end, but this little piece of paradise was the perfect antidote to the rain and crappy weather we’d had the first part of the trip.


Getting back into our car, we met an interesting native who gave us a few other suggestions of where to stop and look.  We were already excited for the trip back down so we could capture all the splendor of the changing trees; now we had another charge for our dance card.


The ride down took forever as “wow” was the only dialogue we had for several minutes.  Each rotation was filled with shades of yellows and reds.  The mountains in the background looked almost purple – especially against the brightness of the yellow leaves – and the pines trees added their spikes of green to accentuate the grandeur of the site!  We hit one spot where the hills rolled at the base of the mountain and the yellow Aspen shimmered in the sunlight.  The breeze tilted the foliage back and forth as they clung to the white bark, making the colors vibrate.  The pigmentation did not end, and Kathy and I agreed that we’d never seen anything like this.


We reluctantly got back in the car, as we still had several hours to go to get to Zion.  We stopped briefly at Rick’s Creek (the suggestion by the native) and snapped a few pictures of the little stream trudging through the rocky terrain.  Then we experienced the vibrant reds of the countryside from the road, forcing us to pull over, yet again, to capture the brilliance. There was no end to this feast as each turn was more prominent than the next with its originality.  It was simply stunning.


Logan, Utah was our port of call, and we finally made it there in time for lunch.  The entire area was surrounded by mountains with a fresh coat of snow up top.  The town was incredible and held an attractiveness unseen in most parts of the country.  Reluctantly, we continued on, knowing that we were now screwed for time. 


While route 89 was the idea of this trip, it has certainly been a map filled with detours.  Utah is a big state and we started to hit a bunch of little towns that held us up.  As much as we regretted it, the decision was made to take interstate highway 15 so we could make up some time and get to Zion before sunrise.


Our detour wasn’t a disappointment as we got a quick glimpse of the Great Salt Lake and the mountains followed us all the way.  We also were treated to a glorious open sky sunset along the foothills.  Still a site to be seen, just not the one we had hoped and planned for.  But this was par of the course since the idea of the trip was improvisation at its finest.


Around 10 p.m. we saw the outskirts of Zion National Park – our next destination on our trip.  The skies in this part of the country are magnificent. I’ve never seen anything like them.  Door County was pretty close, but this had a richness of stars unlike anywhere.


We saw the signs for the park and were not greeted by our ranger to ask for the entrance fee so we scurried in and noticed there were voids of blackness all around us.  We truly had no idea what to expect from Zion, so we pulled over to take a gander at the night sky.


 A chill ran down my spine as I looked to the heavens, wondering what was before me.  The deepest, brightest stars I’d ever seen were above us, but then – nothing.  The outlines of the monstrous rock were everywhere, but we couldn’t see them; all they did was take away the sky like a black hole. It was almost like having a bout of vertigo, not knowing what’s around you, and it didn’t end.


We drove cautiously to the lodge and exited the parking lot, only to see a little fox scurrying away from us.  The blackness followed and taunted us as we checked in for the evening.  We made our way to our little cabin, equipped with a gas fireplace, only to be frightened by a lean mule deer and her young as we hauled our traveling home inside.  Another day of astonishing views had ended.



  • Happy birthday!

    Hi, stranger!! I hope all is well in your world and that you have a great birthday!! :) Caroline

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