Wednesday, June 1, 2011

on the return trip

May 22, 2011 - We didn't dillydally Sunday morning on our last - and as luck would have it, mostly sunny - day in St. George, instead getting up, packing the car and swinging by The Egg and I, as recommended for breakfast.  Yes, The Egg and I is a franchise (with one apparently coming soon to Maine), but its only location in Utah is in St. George and you know, the food was pretty dang good:  our table's repast included the raspberry-granola pancake with raspberry yogurt, a Greek frittata (loaded with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, asparagus, mushrooms and pesto), a granola/fruit/yogurt parfait and a Mexican omelette (chorizo, green chiles and pork green chile sauce).  Plus H's Diet Coke was served in a carafe so he could refill to his heart's content.
The massive cliffs of Kolob Canyons

At Exit 40 on I-15 N is another Zion NP entrance, one much less travelled, leading into Kolob Canyons.  There's a visitor center and a 5-mile very scenic drive to the Kolob Canyons viewpoint.  There are several trailheads along the way but no campgrounds: we saw a number of folks down below us on the trails carrying big backpacking backpacks.  When you park at the end of the scenic drive, there's a short (approx. .5 mi.) unpaved walk along the ridgeline to where the views of the red rock canyons festooned with deep green trees are particularly striking.  We managed to time it just right so that the busload of French tourists was just going back to the bus when we were heading out.  It was just spectacular and even though some high thin clouds were coming in, it really seemed as though we could see forever.  We took a lot of pictures, there and about halfway out at the Taylor Creek Canyon - which was so verdant that I felt a couple of dinosaurs should have been ambling through the trees.

Looking into the Taylor Creek canyon

The drive north was much different than the drive south had been on Thursday.  For one, it wasn't raining and/or snowing, so H was much more relaxed.  Also, we could actually see the scenery out our windows.  To break things up a little bit, we turned off I-15 at Cedar City and drove to the Parowan Gap to check out the approximately 1,500 petroglyphs carved into the sandstone.  Thought to be as many as 5,000 years old, these petroglyphs are really incredible and so very little is truly known about them.  There are geometric figures, lizards, snakes, bear claws, anthropomorphic figures ... one particularly cool figure, called the "Zipper Glyph", may have been created to serve as a solar calendar.  Whatever it may be for, it - along with its surrounding glyphs - is fascinating.

Solstice Zipper glyph - about as tall as I am

When we got back to greater Salt Lake, none of us was quite ready to say the getaway was over, so after we liberated B from the kennel (happy, thirsty and shaved right down for her summer haircut), we stopped by the Hog Wallow for a beer on the patio.  There, in the sun-dappled shade by the coolly-splashing fountain, we raised our glasses of Uinta Cutthroat Pale Ale and toasted an excellent excursion to southern Utah.

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