Sunday, October 20, 2013

Somewhere around Kodachrome

After a good, very sound, night of warm slumber, we decided to do a hike in a wash about 13 miles of dirt road away. Despite my econobox rental car not sporting a 4x4 option, after getting a feel for the 'road', there were a few 'rally-inspired' spirited efforts across the open expanse to a destination that is best described as "Look for the sign about a quarter mile after a really steep descent, about 13 miles or so down the road". Fortunately, 6 sets of eyes targeted the sign, parked the off-roading beast, and started meandering around in the middle-of-nowhere back country.

Texture of the surroundings:

Texture within the surroundings:

Contrasting colors:


We ultimately found our destination, which was a canyon/wash, whose name I forget. It was basically us in a canyon of 200 ft walls on either side of us. Pretty neat, though most of the photos are downward looking:


Really windswept

The road out of the middle-of-nowhere
After leaving the canyon, we headed back on the rally road, only to look out towards out campsite and what would could be. I had to pull over and get this one:

Storm Chasin'


Fortunately, our campsite wasn't submerged, but we did make it back into Tropic to grab some food. As we were on our way out of the restaurant, we were greeted with some serious size hail, but with the camera stuck in the car for the downpour, all we have are memories of lots of laughter!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Kodachrome Basin State Park

As I was leaving Page, I got a call from The Hammer (who just crushed IMSG 70.3) asking me what my plans were for the next few days. I had already made reservations at the Zion Ponderosa for Mon - Sat, but a quick persuasion in the form of "Dude, you should come to Kodachrome, it's pretty sweet here" had me sold. I knew Zion was the ultimate destination, but it's always a good time hanging out with the Baringers and I'd welcome the social change from the past few days.

The drive from Page to Bryce can really be broken up into 2 parts: From Page to Kanab, and then Kanab to Bryce - neither of which I have many pictures from - that would do the justice anyways. What the lack photos can't show could be described as two very different, yet beautiful drives.

From Page to Kanab (potentially partially documented in Eliot's blogs) is desert southwest region with one long ass road that cuts through just north of the UT/AZ border moonscape. It had very few cars, and the surroundings over the course of 2.5 hours went from 'Arizona' red hues and rugged terrain, to Utah's replace-some-of-that-Arizona-red-with-some-green - all of which provided ample views for my mind to wander and gaze at nature's beauty with only the slightest bit of modern human development.

After leaving the bustling town of Kanab, the road turns north, and most of that redness is replaced with green-ness, with the route running along side a river for what seems to be like forever. The ground turned from moonrock to fertile ground, complete with livestock, and a winding road that forced you to slow down, even if nature hadn't already done so to one's eyes. My parting thoughts from this part of the drive were that it was yet another one of my favorite drives, and if one were to want to retire, raise livestock and generally be tucked away from the chaos of modern society, this area would be prime for the calling.

As I neared the Bryce Canyon entrance, there started being more 'weather':

As I drove into the park, I saw my first hoodoos, and had to pull over to document my first "Dang, those are cool!" photo.

But as I opened that car door, I realized I was no longer in the warm Arizona desert, with some cold wind getting the attention of a San Diegian. I continued on my drive, and saw a sign that said "Elevation 7700 ft" and thought "Uuuuhhhhh I didn't bring clothes for this elevation"

My next thought was more of the "Oh shit" variety - I realized that I make a complete rookie mistake and never packed a sleeping bag! Nor did I really plan to spend much time over 7K ft and the variable weather it includes! This was apparent in my abundance of short sleeve shirts and shorts. With not even a bar of 1x service left, I called Airey, explained the situation, and he was able to pick me up a sleeping bag (and poncho!) in the small town of "Tropic" between where I was, and where I needed to be. This ended up being a life saver for the next week! "A friend in need is a friend indeed", indeed! I wondered what the temperature was going to be for the night, and while I don't remember the specifics, something like 35 was returned from my weather app and all I could think "OK, more adventure!".

I arrived at my destination after meeting The Hammers in Tropic, and we headed to what is known as Kodachrome Basin State Park. It's a small little campground nestled around some rather large canyon rocks, as seen below:

We went on a little hike to get a lay of the land, which was pretty easy to do, based on all the mounds we could climb.

Here is what I like to call Kodachrome's mini version of Garden of the Gods:

Shortly before the point of no more usable daylight, we headed back to the campsite to make some dinner, since as usually is the case for Airey and I - our stomachs were rumbling, and the situation had to be addressed, immediately.

This is The Hammer feasting. Even bears generally avoid him during times like this.

We tucked in for the night for some exploring the next day (documented in the next post!).