Tuesday, August 28, 2007

(18) Bryce Canyon, Meadow Hot Springs, Payson Utah

Bryce Canyon
Meadow Hot Springs
Payson, Uinta National Forest

I left Las Vegas and headed NE on hwy 15. It’ll take me through Utah. I was hoping to stop at a small Rv park in Kanarraville, but when I called, they told me they were booked up, so I headed further north to the small town of Beaver. Kind of bummed that I couldn’t get in the campground in Kannarraville since I had had such a nice time the last time I was there.

On my way up, I stayed in the north west corner of AZ at a BLM land campground. $8.00 a site. The only facility was a restroom. The temp got up into the high 90’s, surrounded by bare rock mountains on all sides. A small river flowed at the bottom of a canyon. I set up and just hung around in the shade reading all day. A large extended family with about 5 tents was next to my site. Kid enjoying the hike down to the cool river for splashing and laughter echoing off the canyon walls…. One young married couple fighting over the young man drinking all the time... It finally cooled off enough in the evening to sleep, fan blowing all night.
Next stop…

I’m at the Beaver Canyon Campground. A campground that is nearly filled with seasonals, getting away from there hotter winter residences. Temp is 85 during the day and as low as 48 at night. I was lucky to be able to get into the park. What’s really nice is that they have an authentic Mexican restaurant, right on the premises. Most of the campsites have the oddest little shacks. Some open sided with built in picnic tables, other are enclosed on one, two or three sides. Very rustic looking built of rough pine timber with the bark still on the timbers. Many sites have small vegetable gardens.

Beaver town, as small as it is, has two LDS churches. A number of new homes are being built. Each home has beautiful fine green grass, watered every day. A small irrigation channel flows through town. Many homes right in town have fenced in areas for their horses and small hay fields. Trout fishing is popular in lakes that are up in the national forests surrounding the area.
On the edges of town larger farms have cultivated fields all being irrigated by those irrigation canals and huge water sprinklers. Elevation is around 6,500 ft.

Although it was about a 70+ mile drive from the campground, I drove over to Bryce Canyon National Park. My friends Betty and Dave consider it one of their favorite parks. The drive over was cool. Over mountain ranges, the Sevier Plateau, and into wonderful green valleys before jogging over to hwy 89 and 12. Bryce Canyon has been worn away creating hoodoo’s and windows through the pillar rocks in shades of white, red, and choral. Glad I had my park pass, the entrance fee per car is $25.00!

I hooked up with the park shuttle to all the best overviews. Nice having someone else drive. Starting at Bryce Point, I had a super nice hike along the edge of the canyon to Inspiration Point. Gusty breezes along the ridge, Juniper and Pinion Pine trees along the hiking trail and awesome views around every corner. Snippets of conversations with other hikers along the way. I ended up at the lodge and had a mediocre lunch, but at least it filled that empty void before I headed back to camp.

I checked online to find if there were any hot springs in the area and two were relatively close. So I drove up hwy 15 to Meadow (just south of Fillmore). Even though it was about a 50 mile drive, being able to drive 75 (without the camper) it didn’t hardly take any time at all. The natural hot springs are in the middle of a farm field, with cows grazing nearby. The owner permits folks to use the hot springs as long as we all keep it clean.

The Meadow hot springs was a perfect 100 degrees and crystal clear. What a fantastic way to spend part of a day. I could see way down into the cavern and there were good ledges to rest on, or just float in the center of the super warm hot springs. I met a very young couple moving from Tenn. To Oregon. Starting a new adventure all the way across country.

The following day, I’ve headed north on 15 toward Salt Lake City and Provo Utah. The drive was breathtaking as I climbed to the summit of each mountain (in the 6,500 ft range), then descended into a patchwork of shimmering green, celadon and yellow valleys that stretched to the horizon and yet another mountain range shrouded in mist or perhaps smog as I am getting closer to Salt Lake City. (I later learned it is smog from Salt Lake City) I’m staying in a National forest campground. It was a little tough getting into the campsite. ($14 a night, no services). A little high priced for a campsite without any water or elect. But I’m back in a real forest of maples, pine trees and poplar. The temps are perfect. In the mid 80’s but cool under the canopy of trees. I’m going to enjoy the solitude and yet close to a small town for supplies and an oil change. The camper is in some shade, but I think I’ll get enough sunlight on the solar panels to keep them charged while I’m here.

Oh, back in Beaver, I went to their local Pioneer Historical Museum. It was pretty cool. Beaver is the town that Philo Farnsworth was born and lived during his younger years. You all know who Philo was don’t you? He was the inventor of the TV! And a number of other inventions. He didn’t get credit until many years later due to RCA wanting to take all the credit. But there you are. The museum (in the old jail and courthouse) had one of his first TV’s on display and a few other inventions like the first radio with headphones. It’s been over 75 years since his historic invention.

I also went to a local LDS church to see if they could add anything to a wonderful family genealogy book my cousin created. They were very impressed with his work and we did find a few minor errors/omissions that I’ll write to him about. Of course they do almost all of their research on the computer now and for a fee one could do their own searches as well. The gal told me over 90% of people who can track their relations back to the 1500’s are probably related to royalty. That’s because back then, only royalty owned property and had it recorded in the county’s ledgers. Hmmmm could I be descended of Finish royalty?? At the Pioneer Museum they had a lot of paintings and pictures of Anderson family members. My Mom was an Anderson before getting married and though there are a ton of Anderson’s wouldn’t it be something if she were related to some of these Anderson’s out west…

It’s been nice taking the short hike around Payson lake each morning. I’m sleeping very well thank you. I’m sure it’s due to all the fresh air and cooler temperatures at night. The birds are very happy up here too. They are singing from dawn till dusk.

Side Note: Three kids, about 16-18 years old. One a fairly ordinary looking thin girl, one of the boys was wearing a black do-rag and fatigues and the other was also slim and wearing a black do-rag that came over his face with only a slit for his eyes. He was wearing camouflage pants and a dark T-shirt. They each carried a long bag that maybe a folding camp chair would fit in. A middle aged couple were ahead of them about ten minutes earlier. Later, they all came back, fairly close behind each other without their bags. They stopped and waited on the road leading to my campsite. Looked over, and I looked at them before going into the camper. Very odd. Creepy.

I’ll be heading out early Monday morning and will no doubt hit the horrid Salt Lake City rush-hour traffic . I had thought about touring the city, but it’s hot down in the valley, near 100, and with the smog and a forest fire near by, it doesn’t sound that appealing.

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