Scenic Byway 12 is a 124-mile highway that traverses the Dixie National Forest and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. The Dixie National Forest covers about two million acres and is one of the largest national forests in Utah. Theodore Roosevelt understood the importance of these lands and he set them aside so that there would be sufficient water for the surrounding communities. The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is also about two million acres of protected land. Bill Clinton designated them a national monument in 1996 and it has the largest land area of any of the national monuments in the United States.
Our first stop on the Scenic Byway was Red Canyon. Located on the western end of the highway, it is a five-mile canyon with tall spires and hoodoos that have been eroded out of the red limestone. The surrounding red limestone mountains with the green ponderosa pines and the yellow blooming sagebrush set against the deep blue skies was very picturesque – a feast for the eyes.
What are hoodoos? According to geologists, hoodoos are columns, pinnacles, or pillars of rock that have a totem pole appearance. Over many years, rain and snow erode away the softer or weaker layers leaving behind the stronger layers. The unique red, pink, and yellow color is due to tiny iron-rich clay particles found in the rocks.
The following day we took a hike on the Mossy Cave trail. It was a short hike just off of the Scenic Byway. This particular trail led to a beautiful waterfall and a mossy cave. Hoodoos and red limestone mountains lined the creek.
This creek was very important to the early Mormon settlers. They actually built a canal to harness the water and direct it to Tropic, their town.
You can still see some of their handiwork along the creek bed. We were surprised to see that the waterfall had a lot of rushing water even in September. We also hiked to the cave. Mossy Cave is not exactly a cave, it is more like a grotto. There are springs above it and the water seeps down through the rock. Because it is so damp in this alcove, there is moss growing on the ceiling. I told David that we could take a shower there because there was a steady stream of water dripping down through the moss. It is no wonder why the settlers chose this creek as their water source. Our hike on the Mossy Cave trail was delightful.
Although we only explored a small portion of the Scenic Byway, it was well worth our time as we were graced with some spectacular views.
3 thoughts on “Seeing Red”
The pictures are beautiful. Wish we were traveling with you! We had a surprise Monday–learned that the Reds were calling Deck up. He made his major league debut Tuesday night, pitching 1.2 innings in relief. The Reds lost to the Cardinals 13-4, but Deck only allowed one hit and no runs while striking out one and no walks. He came in in the bottom of the 7th with the bases loaded and only one out, but the first batter he faced hit into a double play. It’s exhilarating to see a dream realized. We don’t know how long he will remain in the majors or what plans the Reds have for him, but just getting there is an answer to prayer. Evelyn and Randy drive to St. Louis, and his brother, wife, son, and best friend (and wife) flew in for the game.
Hope you have more great travels in store!
That is fantastic news. I try to keep up with what Deck is doing but did not realize that he had been called up. We have MLB.tv so I just went and watched Deck pitch. It was very exciting and I got nervous just watching. What a jam to put him into, including the rain! Getting out of the based loaded had to make the staff happy. The announcers were great too, giving info on Deck and the fact that he is from Richmond. I liked how they kept showing shots of the family cheering and the saving of the ball from his first strike out!
It was a good night!