Sunday, March 2, 2008

Red Canyon

This is a brief report of our Summer 2005 trip to Red Canyon in Utah. This trip was different from past trips in a couple of respects:

* It was planned by Dad (as opossed to me).
* It was not a backpacking trip, but a day hike trip which included small children.

This trip took place in the summer of 2005 when my family and I (Arlynda, Bailey, Abby, me) were in Utah.

Participants were: Dad, SuzAnne, Marie, Paul, Joia, Lura, Westley, Me and Bailey.

On the first day of this trip we piled into our vehicles (all except Lura and Westley because Lura was coming down with a cold). We drove over to Boulder Mountain. It was a little bit of a drive. We descended through part of Bryce Canyon Naional Park (not actually a canyon, but a whole series of them in a brilliantly colored amphitheater). We passed through tiny central Utah towns. We twisted and turned as we climbed through shallow snaking canyons and around dome after dome of soft blue shale, an ascent known to locals as the "blues." (The shale was deposited anciently in marine waters teaming with oyster beds. If you get up close you will see oyster shell after oyster shell, all piled on top of each other to form these mounds and hills and mountains. If you get lucky you may even find an ancient shark's tooth!) We skirted the corner of Escalante State Park (adjacent to Escalante National Monument I think). Then we made an abrupt turn and the landscape began to change. We climbed out of baren desert to pinyon and juniper scrub forests and finally into the majestic pines!

Boulder Mountain at 11,000 feet is the top of the Aquarius Plateau, the highest plataeu in Utah. We didn't get to the very top of course. But we did get right up onto the plateau. Aquarius Plateau is topped with a lush forest flowing with streams and dotted with lakes. Near one of these lakes (actually Barker Resevoir) we parked our cars and had lunch. Bailey was ready to start fishing as soon as we got there. He managed to contain himself until we were done with lunch. Then he went with his Grandpa and they set themselves to fishing. Paul also fished. The rest of us explored the shore line, took pictures and picked up trash.

When we were tired of Barker we set off on the foot trails for some of the other nearby lakes I think that both Dad and Paul had luck catching some fish. Meanwhile Jefferson and I circumnavigated Green Lake and discovered both the secret to how it drains and the Grand-Daddy of all Quaking Aspens!

Bailey wanted to eat the fish that they caught that night, but it was too late by the time we got back. We stopped at a local hamburger place in Panguitch and he settled for a fish sandwich.

The next morning we had more hiking planned. This time Lura was feeling well enough to join us (along with Westley). I got up bright and early and rode an old ten speed road bike that Dad had pulled out of a trash heap somewhere. I left Dad's house in Panguitch on the bike and pedalled to the top of Red Canyon. Then I rode back down the canyon and met everybody at the bottom. (I think it was about a 15 mile ride, altogether).

From there we drove over to Losee Canyon for a short, but very fun and scenic hike along the Arches Trail. By the time we were done with that I was feeling the on-set of the cold that Lura had had.

Then we drove back to Red Canyon and had lunch.

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