Sunday, March 6, 2016

Taking A Sunday Drive #18

Utah, meaning people of the mountains and named for the Ute Indians, is also known as the Beehive state. The beehive is a symbol of industry and the pioneer virtues of thrift and perseverance. The beehive was chosen as the emblem for the provisional state of Deseret in 1848. It was kept and made part of the seal when Utah became a state in 1896.

Our first time in the state was when we went through on I-80 on our first trip to San Francisco.

Coming down into the Salt Lake Valley we were passed by this Lamborghini. Bud sped up so we were close enough for me to take a picture, but a pickup kept getting in our way. When the driver saw that I was trying to take a photo, he kindly moved over a lane. You can see by the runaway truck ramp sign that this was a very steep and hilly descent.

We stopped briefly along the Great Salt Lake and then again at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats.
In 2006, coming home from another trip to the San Francisco area, we spent more time in Utah.

First of the areas visited was Bryce Canyon National Park. I had heard of how beautiful this area was, but that couldn't prepare me for seeing it first hand.

These rock formations are called hoodoos. They are found throughout the world, but Bryce Canyon has the largest collection found anywhere.



From Bryce Canyon we took scenic Route 12 to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This rock formation was along the way. Gorgeous scenery wherever you looked.




We hiked one of the Escalante Canyons and had it all to ourselves. I thought these honeycomb cliffs were interesting.



In Capitol Reef National Park we found the ghost town of Fruita. Settled by the Mormons in 1880, it became widely known for its orchards which the National Park Service now maintains as historic landscape.
I am standing by the roots of some large vine which had grown into the trees and into these otherworldly shapes.

 Petroglyphs along Fremont River near Fruita. These date from 600 to 1300 CE (common era). The people grew corn, beans and squash along the river to supplement what they hunted and gathered.

Along the way from Escalante to Canyonlands on Scenic Hwy 24. This was probably in the Glen Canyon area.




An arch at Natural Bridges National Monument. We did some hiking in this area but it had been a long day and we were ready to drive to Blanding for the night.



Our final destination in Utah was Hovenweep National Monument in the Southeast corner of Utah. This area is not as well known as some ancient sites. I probably learned of it through a book I read.

Most of the structures were built between 1200 and 1300 CE. During this period, Hovenweep was home to around 2,500 people.
The structures are in various shapes and sizes. It is unknown what the towers were used for; defensive structures? storage facilities? or even celestial observatories? I found the area quite fascinating and again, we had it almost entirely to ourselves.

Almost the entire southeastern part of Utah is National Parks and Monuments. It is a beautiful area to visit.

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