"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, September 21, 2015

Autumn in Cedar Breaks Natl. Monument, Utah

Cedar Breaks Nat. Mon, UT
Boondocking & Sand Hollow SP


We were looking forward to visiting Cedar Breaks National Monument because it's one of the few places of Utah's National Parks we have not been to before.  We were both very surprised how beautiful and quiet it was.  Our plan was to boondock for that week at Coal Creek BLM land.  I had called ahead and asked about the size of the area and if we could fit our 40 footer and the gal thought we could fit.  We also needed internet for Steve's job and there was a 5 mile section that looked promising.  Coal Creek is a very narrow canyon that runs along Hwy 14 from Hwy 89 to Cedar City.  It has some steep grades but our truck did just fine.
 
 
Well the pull offs were few and far between and the internet access didn't work until we were about 2 miles out of Cedar City.  It was getting dark and we decided to just park at one of the larger pull outs.  The pictures above and below are of our "site".  Plan B was to move to Hurricane the next day.

Coal Creek
 
 
It was a beautiful sunset and there were several others with us taking pictures.
The next morning we drove into Hurricane for groceries on our way to Sand Hollow State Park an hour south.  All we had to do was cross under Highway 15 then make a left to enter.  There was a traffic light and this is what we saw:

 
What?  All of a sudden they decided to change the side of the road you were supposed to drive on.  Like an "X".  Good thing they had a sign at the last minute!  When you get to the other side the traffic switches back.  Makes no sense!  I have no idea what this is supposed to do.  Even the locals didn't know.


Sand Hollow State Park, UT
Sand Hollow State Park is a large park on a lake which is very popular with off road enthusiasts.  It is separated into two sections.  One section you can ride your ATV's through and the other side you cannot.  This is the side we chose.  Quieter.  The sites are nicely spaced out and you can get W&E or FHU. FHU was $28.  Most sites were over 50ft deep and double wide for your truck, boat or other toys.  You get a covered shelter, fire pit and picnic table.  Very clean park.
 
One of the toys on a neighbor's site.
 
Steve working late.

Ick!  Not sure if this happens a lot, but I wasn't taking the kayak out there.  It was close to 100 most of the time we were here, but only in the 60's up at Cedar Breaks.

 
This is Hurley's Stink Eye which he gives me when he wants to go for a hike/walk.
The cute Troll sign was on one of the little bridges in the campground.

Beautiful moon as the sun was setting.

 
Cedar Breaks is a small park compared to most in Utah, but it is unique, quiet and has spectacular scenery.  It has a half-mile deep geologic amphitheater; the most amazing bristlecone pines, meadows of wildflowers; incredible night skies and a subalpine forest.

 
The biggest surprise was the fall color!  Being up at 10,000 feet elevation brought great color to the Aspens.  I was not expecting this at all in the desert.

 
We took the Alpine Pond Nature Trail.  It's a double loop trail that takes you through a meadow of wildflowers if you're there in the Spring.  No flowers this time of year, but the fall color was so beautiful!

 
We had a great time on the trails here.  You could definitely tell you were up high.


 
Tunnels of Aspen, with the leaves gently falling down as you hike through.

 


The Spectra Point/Ramparts Overlook Trail is a four-mile round-trip along the rim, with spectacular views in all directions. The bristlecone pines which are one of the longest-living species of trees, are along this trail. The oldest known tree in the monument is over 1,600 years old. At 10,500 feet, this hike is moderately strenuous.  And a bit scary that there are almost no fences, just a long drop to the bottom!






The minerals in the area cause the Aspen to turn the prettiest colors of red! 

 
 Another nice moon rising.
 

12 comments:

  1. When the kids were little, we tent camped at Cedar Breaks NM. I have wanted to go back ever since. The mountain meadows in the summer are stunning filled with wildflowers and seeing your photos of the Aspen - gorgeous.
    Ingrid@ LiveLaughRV.net

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    1. I absolutely loved the red Aspen Ingrid! I'll bet those wildflowers are gorgeous. I'd go back again for more hiking and to see those flowers.

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  2. Great color and you are right, what the heck is up with the intersection!!??

    Dave & Diane

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    1. I'm sure they had a reason, but not much warning! Seems dangerous to us.

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  3. Beautiful color. We were there a few weeks ago. Had the same question as you about the road change. We like Sand Hollow. Haven't been there when it's hot but without trees I imagine the sun can be brutal. If you get near Boulder give as a holler.

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    1. If you mean Boulder, CO, we'll be there next year. If you're there we will holler! We leave AZ next week to head back to CA for a couple months. Then Jan - Mar back in AZ. We'll spend April until the snow flies in Colorado next year. Looking forward to those mountains!

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  4. Cedar Breaks is such a cool place! We visited in Oct. after they had closed for the season but the hikes are still all available til the snow comes. We had the place to ourselves. You were there at the perfect time. The trees are gorgeous!! Cedar Breaks has such a short season. Our first attempt to visit was in June. They weren't opening til July!! So I guess they are luck if they are open for four months.

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    1. Nice to have it to yourselves! There weren't many when we were there either. Loved it. Nice little park.

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  5. That is really cool how the minerals change the leaf color of some of the Aspen trees, Debbie. Very nice!

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  6. Looks like a great time to be there with all the color changes, very beautiful! Salt Lake has a number of those road X's near bridge intersections, they had us confused the first few times but have now come to expect them.

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    1. What is the purpose of those crazy intersections? Seems more dangerous than not.

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