Aug 27: arrived in Zion

We are now in Zion National Park, through Thanksgiving. Our camp hosting gig requires basically a 12-13 hour workday; working 3 on, 3 off, sharing with another host couple.  So far having a great time and just hoping we don't mess up!  It is fun meeting other campers and helping out where we can and who can complain about the scenery?  Zion is a fabulous park.  Will post when time allows - unfortunately there is no wifi in the park so have to head into town to get online. 

We're both adjusting to being "at work" once again...alarm clocks and uniforms and required duties once again.  :-)

the magnificent views at Cedar Breaks...

We only had a few nights at Cedar Breaks to explore before we were due in Zion, so we tried to make the best of our time. The hiking trails in the park are very short but excellent.
More fantastic scenery from the beautiful Cedar Breaks area... Zion is only a couple hours away so we may get back up here to visit again.

The infamous "road to Cedar Breaks"

Before we drove up to Cedar Breaks, we asked the Panguitch camp host for driving directions - we explained we didn't want to be on the "bad road". We told them this road lived in stories told and retold at family gatherings....and the hosts said "us too!" - that she said 50 Hail Mary's - and isn't even Catholic!  hahaha....apparently we're not the only family who's taken the "wrong route" up to Cedar Breaks and likes to retell the story of their adventure...

Anyway, this trip we took the easy road up to the park with the RV, then checked out the "scary road" - "NO ONE takes THAT road" - with the truck only.  Here are some pictures around Brian Head - probably this road was not paved when we were on it 30+ years ago - but can still hear Uncle Ray saying.....gonna have to pass you, Dave.....Does it look at all familiar, Ray? Dad?

Aug 20 - 26: Panguitch Lake and Cedar Breaks

We spent a few days at Panguitch Lake North in the lovely woods - there was a lot of cut wood available so Gary had fun making fire (I think this one was over knee height!) but the campground didn't actually have lake access, just a peak view; we just took a few days to relax here.  The camp hosts were trying to recruit us and seemed very happy with the company they work for - so we will be checking that out!
Next we headed for Cedar Breaks National Momument  - very special place - enjoyed it immensely though they have a severe problem with the spruce bark beetle which has killed a large percentage of the surrounding forest since 1992.  

Gary enjoyed the free firewood provided at the campground!

Aug 18 - 19: leaving Colorado, making our way across Utah

From Matterhorn, we headed south to Cortez and then across into Utah, very sad to say goodbye to Colorado!

Wow! You can never tell the size of those when they're actually on the windmill! Had a trio of these trucks on the road with us into Utah.

Fields of sunflowers

Passed through Moab once again, stopped at the Moab Brewery but alas the triple-nickle wings deal wasn't going! Headed west across Utah on the 70 which was more scenic than we expected! But also a lot more climbing than we expected. Nearly ran out of fuel on the 110-mile stretch between Green River and Salina. But made it to our very FIRST Walmart stay in Richfield, UT. We checked with the store and parked with our door towards the store entrance, as recommended by all those who do this regularly. Unfortunately, no one warned us to guard our truck like a hawk. For our first time on the road, we were victims of a crime!  Someone stole our ancient, beat-up old barbeque (practically a family heirloom!) - it was pretty clear they stole it just for the value of the aluminum, and it was also clear they had intented to steal more but were interrupted. I think we got lucky, really. Anyway, Walmart won't do anything without a police report, not even review their film since we were parked right under a camera, so....not going to bother the police who have better things to do, surely. Gary is in mourning for the barbeque though...irreplaceable.

Big Rock Candy Mountain - just a blur - can't stop!
finally, back in the woods at Panguitch Lake North, on our way to Cedar Breaks

Aug 18: our last fishing before leaving Colorado

Before heading south to Cortez, our last morning at Matterhorn we headed up to Alta Lakes (between Matterhorn and Telluride) which had been recommended for great fishing.  Windy gravel road on the way up, but worth it! Gary caught his limit in less than a couple hours and I  had a nice hike around the lake...

not terribly crazy about narrow, blind corners

Matterhorn Campground and a visit to Telluride - FREE Gondola - woo hoo!

scenery at Matterhorn campground which is just south of Telluride (had to stay here just because of the name!)

Spent a day riding the FREE gondola in Telluride, riding bike paths in the ski area, and had a very expensive lunch in Telluride (pizza, chicken wings - $35 - and we felt terribly cheated).  Telluride is proud that they have no chains - and we love supporting the mom and pop places - but Brown Dog Pizza was a huge disappointment - won't go back there again! (Note: Gary paid extra for "super" toppings - extra pepperoni, etc - and the pizza was thinner and less toppings than a Totino's 99 cent pizza; the wings were really overcooked / dry) - I see mostly positive reviews on the place, but our experience was bad.

Loved Telluride though! Would have liked riding more of the trails and bike paths - plus many hiking trails we didn't have time to do - another reason to get back to this area.

Hope Lake - a terrific hike!

We ventured up to this trail because the sign at Trout Lake said there was fishing at Hope Lake "accessible by a trail, 3 miles up the road".  It was more like, 2 miles up a paved road, then 3 miles on a narrow, windy, rutted dirt road to a trailhead, from where it was a 7 mile round trip hike, 1800 ft climb, to the lake.  After having done the rutted road, we decided...well we're here - might as well check it out. So glad we did - both of us thought it was the best hike we've done!  Despite pouring rain, ground-shaking thunder, lightning, and a good 20 minutes of serious hail, we had a great time! And the scenery was unbeatable. 

Never seen so many marmots and pikas - every rock field was full of them...

As we approached the lake, we noticed the clouds really looking ominous, and were getting our rain gear on, when the hikers just ahead of us came hurriedly trotting back down the trail, saying "head for the tree line!!!"   So we headed back down the hill about a half mile to the tree line, getting completely soaked on the way despite our rain gear. Waited out the rain and a heavy hail storm just under the tree line - great ear-splitting thunder - with a nice dad and his little boys (one of whom kept saying "we're gonna die, we're gonna die" jokingly of course) .....then low and sky so we could finish the hike! It was fun and we had a nice laugh with our fellow survivors...

Absolutely stunning scenery...

and of course, wildflowers....

A little trio of Ptarmigan walked the trail with us for a few minutes....

At the end, clouds were building, and you could no longer see the peaks we had just hiked to (behind Gary, beyond the upper ridge in this last picture) - but we made it out before the next storm broke.  Whew! We had a great time on this hike....would be happy to do it again, and perhaps we'll have better weather to allow us to hang out at the lake a bit longer - and maybe, do some fishing!