"You give us those nice bright colors.
You give us the greens of summers.
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah!
I got a Nikon camera.
I love to take a photograph.
So Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away."
- Paul Simon "Kodachrome"
I found myself, as I'm sure others have, singing this song while visiting the park. Yes, the colors are great, though I can't say they are any better than the other parks in this amazing part of the country.
We started our ambitious day of driving south on Rt. 12, passing over Boulder Mountain...
through aspens and free range land...
...and into the town of Boulder. We've stopped at the Hollows & Hills gas station three times now, to use their fine rustic restrooms and fill up with gas and water.
This is the first time that we've headed west on 12 out of Boulder though, and we looked back at the town and the surrounding outcroppings of Navajo sandstone from an overlook. (Rubber rabbit bush in the foreground.)
Route 12 is well known for its scenic beauty, but one if its most famous features is the Hogback, a very narrow, high ridge over which Rt. 12 passes, all the while overlooking spectacular canyons and cliffs on either side.
There are a few very popular pull offs where it is wide enough to stop and take a long, safe look at the views.
A few miles later we headed back up again, following a caravan of Airstreams to the Head of the Rocks overlook. We discovered later that they were heading for the Shooting Star Drive-In, an Airstreams only RV park near Escalante. What an unusual place. In addition to a nice looking camping park, they have a collection of 60's convertibles lined up in front of a huge outdoor screen, and guests can take their pick and watch a drive-in movie! It makes me wish we had an airstream.
At the Head of the Rocks there's yet another great view of the slick rock valleys to the east and Grand Staircase- Escalante, as far as Navajo Mountain.
Further along Rt. 12 we came to the town of Escalante. Just before town is the Escalante Heritage Center with this covered wagon out front. (Is it the first Airstream?). The story of the San Juan pioneers traveling through Hole in the Rock in 1879-80 is explained and illustrated in the Center. Eighty three wagons were pulled, pushed, levered and winched through the steep crack in the rock. Their website has some great illustrations.
We stopped at Nemo's for an ice cream cone and kept heading west through more incredible scenery until we made it to Kodachrome Basin State Park. By that time we were feeling almost as tired as pioneers, but we had enough energy for a little hike on Angels' Palace Trail.
Weathered silver piñon wood lying along the trail.
The trail got us high enough to have some good views of the rock formations that Kodachrome is known for.
We just looked at this part of the trail and were happy with what we could see from a more substantial lookout.
Supposedly this area was once like Yellowstone, with geysers and hot springs that got filled over time with minerals and sediment. When the surrounding sandstone eroded it left the grey "sand tubes" standing.
The view of the park from Angels' Palace.
After our hike we started the long drive back on Rt. 12 to Torrey, catching just a few more shots on the way home. Funny how the same road can look new and different going the other way.
Tomorrow we're taking a really big adventure. Stay tuned!