May 5 - Bryce to Springville, UT
Up really early and drove direct to the top of Bryce Canyon road. Along the way we passed quite a few pronghorns grazing among the burned trees.
Awesome is an overused word but not in this case. Early AM light and chilly temperatures made this place pretty special. The F-450 just purred up the mountain with no strain at all. We use tow haul on any steep grade but it often won't even engage the engine is so strong. As we descended from the 9118 foot mark, we stopped at the turnouts to look out over the ever changing rock formations. There was a large fire in Bryce about five years ago and there are thousands of acres of burnt trees.
One area we saw later was very close to the main lodge and visitor center. By the time we were back to Sunrise Point, the tour buses were rolling in along with what seemed to be every rental RV in the west. Most of them were from California and the RVers were a mix of French, Spanish and German. Most of them stopped to take photos of the truck camper and a lot of them asked how it ever got on the pickup truck. :)) We walked from Sunrise to Sunset Points and took way too many pictures.
As we walked we discussed what we wanted to do next. Originally we had planned on staying on Route 12 and heading to Capital Reef and spending a couple of days in the Park Service campground under the flowering fruit trees and then heading to Canyonland. But we have been both places and this journey is more about discovering new places. Besides, the laundry, dump, water fill, propane and long hot showeres were way overdue. We knew we were low on water but when the pump made an unusual sound, time to get water quick!
Back out Route 12 to 89 and stayed on 89 all the way up to Springville, UT to a commercial campground called East Bay RV Park. All chores are now done except the blog update because the park's router is down. AARRGGG!!!! As we drove along 89, we passed through tiny towns, ranches, irrigated hay? fields, big herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. Almost all of these towns had either a large temple or a Church of the Latter Day Saints building. All the parking lots around the churches were packed all the way through the end of the day. We enjoyed seeing all the kids so nicely dressed in suits for the guys and colorful but plain dresses for the girls.
We were passing through the Dixie, Fishlake, Manti-La, and Uinta National Forests. The first of those had mostly forested hills but Uinta has very tall mountains still covered in snow. Very odd to be in 75 degrees and look up at snow. The valley we passed through was rich in agriculture probably because of the snow melt. That valley must have been such a welcome sight to the early settlers.
Tomorrow we will head up to Antelope Island State Park north of Salt Lake City and spend a couple of days enjoying the wild life.