Some Things Are Cool

"You don't know if you don't go."

September 5, 2013

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Out of curiosity, I stopped off at the Escalante Petrified Forrest State Park. I was skeptical at first, but the $6 entry fee wound up being worth it for sure.

 

The colors of the petrified trees were a bizarre kaleidoscope of yellow, orange, red, and an opaque grayish blue. The part that stood out most to me was how strange it was to see rocks shaped in an organic way. The bark texture, tree rings, and branch knots of the petrified trees stood out in stark contrast to the volcanic rock and sandstone surrounding them.

 

Thing is as hard as a rock.. ..because it's rock.
This thing is as hard as a rock…because it’s rock.

 

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Detail
September 3, 2013

Night 3, Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park, mile 770

I Arrived at the park just after sunset. After snagging the last spot at Sunset Campground, I threw up camp and made some pasta tomato sauce broccoli.

 

While cooking I met some Chicago guys who lived in Salt Lake who were doing a similar trip as mine but in the opposite direction. They were friendly until I offered them some beers. It’s moments like those that remind me that I’m in the promised land of Utah country.

 

Acting on some advice from a local I met at the general store, I set out for Bryce Point the next morning. The view did not disappoint. I snapped a handful of shots for myself and an equal number for the foreign tourists who were there too.

 

No joke – if you want the euro experience, but don’t want to shell out the cash for a plane ticket, visit a national park. You pretty much only hear english from park employees.

 

Byrce's Point
Byrce’s Point

 

Leaving Bryce’s Point I made my way towards Peek-a-boo Loop trail. Unfortunately the trailhead was closed, so I opted for The Hat Store trail. It wound up being a surreal formation with pillars of sandstone capped by hard rock boulders.

 

The whimsical nature of the scene – all I could do was laugh an exhausted man’s laugh and contemplate if the trees and animals realized the absurdity of it all.

 

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The Hat Store. Get ’em while they last!

 

Off to Capitol Reef. Which is neither the capitol of anything nor a reef by any stretch of the definition.

September 2, 2013

Night 2 and Day 3: Grand Canyon- Cape Royal Lookout

I landed the last camp site in town.

 

Drove by at least three “No Campsites Available” signs only to walk up to the queue at park manager office just behind a lady who said her family was going to take off a day early on account of their rambunctious kids.

 

I’d say I was just lucky if this didn’t happen as regularly as it does. As it stands, I chalk it up to pure skill.

 

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This was an hour before dusk

 

The sunset was sweet. The clouds out here have so much personality compared to the mild marine layer I’m used to back in Orange County. When I go back home I may miss them more than the geology. A amateur photographer I met named Trevor sat next to me on my perch and started rattling off photo after photo – DSLR style.

 

He and his girlfriend, Halea, were good beer drinking company.

 

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Blast! (*Not Pictured: the 500ft drop off)

 

This morning I took the Cape Royal road out to Angels Window Lookout.

 

Appropriate name I’d say. They let you walk out on that peninsula, and you can see people out there in the picture below if you believe in yourself. The drive there was heavily vegetated, way more than I expected. Tall Pines and scraggly Junipers mostly. The wild flowers that lined the road were feeling bold after recent showers. Yellows dotted with purple, and reddish-orange every so often.

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Angels Window Lookout

 

Onward to Bryce Canyon. Hopefully I’ll find a swimming hole to wash off yesterdays hike with.

 


Trip Highlights


 

I made up a visual index of my best stories from the road.

 

This is where I recommend you start.

 

 

 


Photo Gallery


 

My favorite pictures from across the country, individually annotated and organized by state.

 

 

 


National Park Cliff Notes


 

Short descriptions of the history and geography of each national park with a few recommendations on what to do.

 

 


Jump to a random national park


 

 

The less well known parks are better because of their obscurity.