Camping is great, but a good night’s sleep in a real bed, followed by a shower is pretty OK too 🙂 I gassed up the Jeep and grabbed a breakfast sandwich before hitting the road, making my way to UT-12. The mountains on either side of UT-20, the route that connects I-15 to US-89, were socked in with clouds, quite a surreal drive.
Head in the clouds
Last October, we picked up an America the Beautiful pass prior to a trip out to Yellowstone to fish. I’ve never stopped at Bryce with the dogs given the fact they can’t go anywhere except the paved parking lots and viewpoints. With the pass, I didn’t feel guilty about spending the cash to make a quick drive through just to hit a couple of viewpoints. Bypassing the busier overlooks, I stopped at a handful of the less occupied to take in the sweeping views of other worldly formations. A light dusting of snow contrasted nicely with the deep red of the hoodoos as we moved up in elevation.
Bryce Canyon Viewpoints
Mira enjoyed the view
A fellow park goer kindly offered to take a family photo – like trying to herd cats 🙂
Exiting the park, we saw some of the park’s resident wildlife – mule deer, pronghorn antelope and prairie dogs all roaming in the meadows along either side of the park road. Escalante is a scenic 1 hour drive east of the turn off to Bryce, the surrounding hills all had a new dusting of snow from the previous day’s flurries. Posey Lake Road up to the campground changes drastically as you drive up in elevation. Juniper and sage make way for tall pines and aspen as the road winds up to the lake. The ground was covered with patchy 4-6 inches of wet snow. The campground empty, I selected the site we stayed at the year before. I quickly unloaded some gear and headed down to the dock to get some evening fishing in.
The past couple of springs fishing this lake had me spoiled – the fish had readily taken flies, spinners, whatever was thrown at them, the truly difficult portion of the fishing being battling the incessant wind. The wind was still present on this visit and trout were rising after bugs left and right, but I couldn’t pay them to bite a fly. Cast after cast, multiple fly changes and yet still nothing. It looked as though I’d be eating a freeze dried meal for dinner this evening.
The collection of birds on this lake, ruddy ducks and coots, bring a soundtrack of mechanical clucks, whistles and whirrs. If I closed my eyes, I could easily believe I was surrounded by their prehistoric counterparts that roamed the area in the Late Cretaceous. A loon and its haunting, wavering call sounded out over the lake as returned to the surface after a bit of subsurface fishing (hopefully having more success than I had). Seeing that a trout dinner wasn’t in my future, I packed my gear into the Jeep and drove back to the campsite. The dogs happily played in the snow surrounding the site while I heated up water for my dinner.
Rewind to 3 months earlier, early February, I found myself under the knife to repair what the MRI showed as a torn rotator cuff. I woke up in a sling and instructions for post op care for a biceps tenodesis. What? Apparently, once they opened me up, they found that it wasn’t a torn cuff, but rather a frayed biceps tendon and a torn rotator interval. They clipped my tendon from its original attachment point and used a screw to reattach it to my upper humerus. When I left for Utah, I was just beginning to work on strengthening the biceps muscle in physical therapy. I’m sure my ortho doc would have been thrilled to see me chopping and sawing firewood with my freshly repaired arm, but what’s camping without a campfire? I got enough wood together for the night, my arm held out, nothing a beer and a handful of Motrin couldn’t make better!
My wood selection was damp and the resulting fire was unimpressive and very smoky. The temperature dropped, and while it was still light out the dogs and I retired to the Jeep to warm up and read for a bit before drifting off to sleep.
Mira enjoying the campsite, and her new ball
Our accommodations for the trip – a bit smaller than the old Jeep
Mira cuddled up, watching the campsite as I read