Showing posts with label SCENIC HIGHWAY 12 in UTAH. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SCENIC HIGHWAY 12 in UTAH. Show all posts

Friday, September 2, 2011

Boulder Mountain, Utah

Headed up Boulder Mtn;  See the snow?  (Enlarge all photos for larger pictures!)
Continuing our journey north on Scenic Highway 12 in Utah  (note map above),   after we left the town of Boulder (which the locals call Boulder Town),  we had no idea we were headed up a STEEP mountain...  The name Boulder Mountain is commonly used to refer to the high plateau area between Boulder and Torrey,  Utah.

See the beautiful Aspens?  Would love to see them in the Fall!!!!
Boulder Mountain is the highest timbered plateau in North America, and is part of the Dixie National Forest.  Most of their trees are Aspens and Conifers.   (I personally was thrilled to see Aspens --since I had heard so much about them.)  The highest point is Bluebell Knoll (known by the locals as Boulder Top) and is 11, 313 feet.  There was still snow on the tops of the mountain.  The largest lake is Blind Lake which covers 52 acres with a maximum depth of 52 feet.

The views were incredible.  The lake is called Blind Lake.
Boulder Mountain is one of two major high-elevation lake areas in Utah;  the other is the Uinta Mountains in northeastern Utah.   (I know about this area from blog friend, JANIE.) On Boulder Mountain, there are approximately 80 lakes (although some are pretty small).  Most waters are managed as fisheries.  For this reason,  people flock here to fish from April to November.   According to local lore,  Boulder Mountain was confused with nearby Thousand Lakes Mountain,  which actually has very few lakes,  and the name just stuck!

It was wonderful to see this along the route up Boulder Mtn.  This is the Pleasant Creek Cascades.
Camping and hiking  and horseback riding are popular on Boulder Mountain.  However, most of the dirt roads can only be traveled by high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicles...  (I guess our Prius wouldn't qualify, huh?).   We were lucky to pass by a creek (Pleasant Creek) which made a gorgeous cascade down the mountain.  Of course, we had to stop and take pictures of the Pleasant Creek Cascades.  

More of the beauty along the way up Boulder Mtn.  Interesting to see desert at the bottom and Aspens at the top!
The main road across Boulder Mountain is Scenic Highway 12 (the road we were on).  The views from Boulder Mountain are spectacular in every direction,  overlooking Capitol Reef National Park from the east slope,  the Escalante River from the south slope,  Box Death Hollow wilderness area to the south,  and Powell Point (near the town of Escalante) to the southwest.

Not a good picture,  but these are just a couple of the cattle we saw crossing the road in front of us!!!
There were three major overlooks:  Homestead,  Larb and Steep Creek.  We stopped at all three.  The views were fabulous!!!!  One funny thing which surprised me on that mountain was coming upon cattle crossing the road in front of us.  Of course, we stopped and let them meander across.  Apparently,  the mountain is a good area for livestock grazing ---and they have something I had never heard of (since I'm not a farm gal, and have never lived in the wide-open-spaces) --and that is "Open Range"...  After seeing the grids on the roads (cattle gates),  I learned about "open range", and was fascinated with it the remainder of the trip.  See how much this ole gal is learning in her OLD age????? ha

We met a nice couple at this overlook--who took our picture.  This was the Larb Hollow Overlook.  We were at 8,882 feet here.
Boulder Mountain is an interesting place --and I'd love to go back and see the yellow Aspens in Fall.  Wouldn't that be awesome?????  WELL---we continued on to Torrey, and this ends our journey on Scenic Highway 12 in Utah.   Not counting the Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon (blogs I haven't done yet),  I have done 3 posts along Scenic Highway 12.  If you want to see the other two posts,  go to my sidebar,  scroll down to labels and click on Scenic Highway 12 in Utah.

Hope you enjoyed this little journey along one of the back roads of Utah!!!   Have a great Labor Day weekend,  and I will see you on Tuesday.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Million Dollar Highway in UTAH

Continuing along Scenic Highway 12 in Utah (see map above) on our western trip in June,  we passed through the northern part of the Grand Staircase of Escalante National Monument (on June 22).  This monument is 1.9 million acres of preserved land for us to enjoy.  The Staircase where we were consists of a series of massive geological steps which descends toward the Grand Canyon in Arizona.  NOTE:  Enlarge photos (except for the first one) to make them MUCH larger!!!!

On the road to the town of Escalante
We were heading from the town of Escalante to Boulder.  This stretch of road is called the Million Dollar Highway (because the cost to build it was a million dollars).   But it is also known as Hell's Backbone Road.  This rugged area was completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC),  allowing vehicle-traffic between Escalante and Boulder for the first time. 

Heading up the Million Dollar Highway
Constructing the road was a result of back breaking labor and tons of dynamite blasting throught slickrock terrain, in the days before heavy machinery.   Construction debris were removed with horse -drawn scrapers or by hand with pick and shovel.  It took them from 1935-1940 to complete the highway.  (Do you think many people in our country today would want the job back then of building that road --almost by hand???)

You can see the road on the bottom right winding through the canyons and boulders.
Today,  most of the pavement between Escalante and Boulder still rests on original base material, and the drainage structures put in place by the CCC crews continue to move water under or away from the travel surface...   (This impresses me.  Don't think our roads these days are built that good,  do you?)

Entering the HOGSBACK area where the road gets much more narrow
Another interesting note:  When the road opened in 1940,  it provided the town of Boulder with its first year-round mail service to be delivered by automobile.  Prior,  Boulder was the last community in the United States to receive its mail by mule train.   AND--Boulder was secluded from the north by Boulder Mountain (which I will share in another upcoming post).  That road (across Boulder Mountain) wasn't completed until 1985.  Can you imagine living in Boulder, Utah in the early 1900's???????

Hugs cliffs and rock formations on both sides of the highway
Along the steep stretch of Scenic Highway 12 was a section called HOGSBACK.  The road follows  along the top of a narrow canyon,  which in places slopes down with little shoulder on both sides to a 2000 foot drop.  You can see where the Hogsback is by looking at Number 15 on the map above.  The views were incredible along this stretch --but there was no stopping due to the narrowness of the road.  SO--many of my photos were taken from our moving car.  Some even have a glare or sunspot --but I still wanted you to see that area.  George calls me the "Drive-By-Shooter" (with a camera that is). ha

Can you imagine digging through this stuff to put in a road,  especially when they had to do it almost all by hand?????  Yipes!

We are heading out of the Hogsback area and headed down toward the community of Boulder.  Don't these pictures make you feel like you are in another world?  It was awesome!

Finally, we reached the TINY community of Boulder, Utah.  As you can see,  there is nothing much here.  Boulder Town was long known as the "Last Frontier in Utah".  It was first settled in 1894 and was named for the volcanic boulders all around.   Not only was mail delivered by mule---but so was fresh milk...  Sometimes it took so long to get the milk over that mountain that it was butter by the time it reached the settlers.  Today,  there are about 189 people living in Boulder. 

WELL---this is just another piece of Scenic Highway 12 in Utah. As I say frequently,  when you travel,  find those backroads--the scenic ones,  and try them ...  It was fabulous!!!!  BUT---just wait 'til the next part of our journey AFTER we left Boulder and headed UP UP UP Boulder Mountain... That will be another post.

Please click on these pictures since I have made them alot larger.  Have a fabulous weekend and I will see you on Monday


Monday, July 11, 2011

Scenic Highway 12 in UTAH- Part I

As most of you know,  George and I prefer to drive on the 'back-roads' in this country when we can.  On our recent trip out west,  we did take the interstate much of the way---mainly because of time constraints...  BUT--we were able to get on some back-roads on occasion, especially in Utah.

Today,  I will share with you a teeny tiny part of Scenic Highway 12 (which runs between  Highway 89 near Panguitch and Torrey, Utah).  You can see the map above showing where we were.  I will feature Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon in other blogs --but will begin today's post a short distance beyond the entrance to Bryce Canyon at Water Canyon (near the Mossy Cave trail).

The date was June 22,  and we reluctantly were leaving the Kanab, Utah area --after four wonderful days, and heading toward Green River.  Our first stop that morning was,  what else,  to see a WATERFALL (actually TWO of them).  What a neat place and hike!!!!  We've never been close to a waterfall before with hoodoos around it!!!!  How special is that!   Here are some pictures from our 1st stop that morning.

Water came through this area at one time when the pioneers in the 1800's dug an irrigation ditch to this area to provide water for the nearby communities. All of the water changed the geology of the canyon by washing away many of the hoodoos.  Note the ones left in the picture above.  The water formed an arch!!

What an interesting trail.  There was an actual cave/grotto which is more like a shallow alcove filled with moss.  We were just amazed to be able to see some waterfalls in an area like this.

Here is one of the two waterfalls.   George took a great picture of it.  Its name is  TROPIC DITCH FALLS... There wasn't too much water and the waterfalls weren't too large---but you know us... We love waterfalls of all sizes!!!!! ha

And here is the other waterfall,  named UPPER TROPIC DITCH FALLS.  Neat, huh?

Our 2nd stop that morning was in the town of Tropic (on map above).  We visited the Ebenezer Bryce cabin (which is now a museum). Ebenezer Bryce (1830-1913) was a Mormon pioneer, best known as the person whom Bryce Canyon is named after.  He left Scotland for Utah at the age of 17.  They moved to southern Utah in 1862, and settled in Pine Valley in 1875.  It was there where he built the oldest Mormon Chapel still in use today.  Soon after, the family moved to the Paria Valley.  Bryce Canyon became a National Monument in 1923 and a National Park in 1928. Ebenezer Bryce eventually moved his large family to Arizona.

As we left Tropic,  and headed through Cannonville and Henrieville---we saw some gorgeous scenery around us.   Isn't this an awesome picture????  Those rocks look like Indian teepees to me.... What say you?

Finally,  here is one more picture of this gorgeous two-lane scenic highway we took... IF you ever get to spend some time in Utah--just take some drives along some of the back-roads.  You'll love 'em!!!!!

MUCH more to come from Scenic Highway 12 in the future!!!!!!   Hope you enjoyed the beginning of that drive with us.