Saturday, May 05, 2007

Hwy 14. Dixie NF and Duck Creek & back to Bryce

I was surprised by the amount of snow accumalation that I found around here. I suppose that with the forest and 8,000' and higher elevations, I shouldn't have been.
The dirt road to Cascade falls was heavy in snow still, and it was a 7 mile hike in, so I instead went to Duck creek springs Lake. I met up with a couple with a westy from the SJ area, and we chatted for a while. I had a late breakfast with the lake as a backdrop, before wandering around it. I had hoped for a bald eagle and beaver sighting, but as Mick said, "you can't always get what you want, but if..." and I made do with a Muskrat making its way up the stream to the lake and a Fish Eagle (Osprey) scouting the lake...
As I moved around the lake, I was hearing what sounded like an iron gate creaking. On further inspection, I found it to bea woodpecker going at a road sign! That must be hard on the beak :).
A visit to Aspen-Mirror lake was well worth the while. Another check of the road to Cascade falls proved i would not be visiting there today, and so I headed west to Navajo Lake viewpoint. Beautiful! I had envisioned spending the night here and kayaking at first light, but my attempt to drive in found another impassable road. So, I headed out to Mammoth Cave, to fnd it gated until May due to migrating bats. Sheesh. All of this interesting stuff and nothing to do...I did pick up a couple of caches here.
I found a nice spot out in the NF to spend the night, and found mule deer in camp at first light.
Making my way back towards Bryce, I stopped at Red Canyon in the NF for a few hikes and caches.
On the road there, I saw the wagon I had spotted twice earlier already, and the horses were getting their breakfast. By the time I got turned around and back, they were done and I could not get a picture, but the scene was hilarious. The horses each had a 3 gallon paint pail hung over their ears, with their snouts immersed in the pail :). As I had passed, they looked up at me, each with their white round and blunt noses. What a sight. they looked so funny, that I had to chuckle to myself the rest of day whenever the vision popped up.
Red Canyon is a very nice area, with an arch trail, red hoodoos and many trails.
Making it back to Bryce, I hiked out to Mossy Cave and a waterfall, before going out to Tropic Reservoir for an evening exploration and camp.
On friday, I hiked Navajo loop, the now deadend (recent rockslide) wall street trail and through Queens Garden, all down on the canyon floor. A much different perspective of the hoodoos, from down below. As I would later be told by a professional photographer, the hoodoos and Bryce are some of the hardest pictures to take. Lighting is just impossible here!
After leaving Bryce, I made my way east into Grand Staircase-Escalante NP, and specifically, Lower Calf Creek Falls...

No comments: