Sunday, October 18, 2015

kodachrome basin state park

Morning cow in the road

We got out to Kodachrome Basin State Park around 8 a.m. on Wednesday - not having found anywhere in town we wanted to try breakfast means quicker morning starts.  It's a wonderful state park, with good-looking campsites  as well as some cabins and a camp store on the ground, plus several hiking/biking/horse trails.

Looking out at the basin from Angel's Palace trail

We walked three of the trails in the morning.  Angel's Palace is a short one (1.6 miles), winding in and over red rock ridges and hoodoos, with wonderful views of the Kodachrome Basin.

H elevated

Grand Parade is also technically 1.5 miles, going through the basin floor, but you get a little more mileage with spurs into two fairly impressive box canyons which we entered by walking up the washes (2.5 mi. total).  The lower canyon walls were covered with a soft mud, reminiscent of Goblin Valley, carved into rivulets and formations by runoff.

Dead tree art shot

The Panorama Trail is longer, 3-6 miles depending on the loops you want to connect; we did just over 6.  This trail is on the other side of the park and is drier.  There's hardly any elevation gain, just going up and down some easy washes, and there are several interesting features like the Ballerina Spire (a white sand spire, as opposed to a hoodoo) Secret Passage (a narrow carve-out into the cliff walls) and the Cool Cave.  We mostly had the trails to ourselves, except for a small group who was in the Cool Cave when we got there and then a few other hikers whom we passed on our way out to the car.

In the Secret Passage

After refreshments, we moved the truck from the trailhead to the visitors' center lot and hopped on our MTBs, planning to ride out to Grosvenor Arch.  Access was via a sandy dirt road at the turn-off to the state park road.  Despite it being a wide dirt road, I struggled here: it was pretty sandy, which made me nervous and sucked up a lot of energy; and it was a net climb for eleven miles, with several long and steep hills that I had to hike-a-bike, and which then lost all the elevation on the downhill, only to climb again.

Heading out to Grosvenor Arch

I actually turned around after eight miles, leaving H to power on by himself.  The good thing was that after dealing with the long hills, it was a nearly all downhill return, with pauses to address the perplexed range cows.  These cows are used to seeing people in cars and trucks but bicyclists seemed to confuse them.  I waited for H back at the entrance to Kodachrome, engaging in a staring match with a calf, and then we rode the last mile together back to the truck.

Grosvenor Arch

Back in Panguitch, we returned to the Cowboy's Smokehouse Cafe for dinner (sausage platter for H and chicken-fried steak for me).  It was pretty busy, the word getting out about it being the only real game in town, I guess.  Their prices seemed a little high for the dinners we were getting but since we weren't spending much on food otherwise, it was averaging out.

Angel's Palace trail map

The weather: finally gorgeous, mostly sunny and 32 F in the morning, with a high of 72 F at the end of the day.  It was a great day.

Grand Parade trail map (note box canyons)

Panorama trail map

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