Thursday, April 22, 2010

What a difference a day makes!

Well, a day, a change in weather, and 7000’ of elevation!

As predicted, the nice weather at Zion was coming to an end.  But for a change in pace, I decided on a drive to the north-west corner of the park to the Kolob Reservoir.  The road goes north from Virgin and enters and exits the park a couple of times, while climbing to the high plateau.  I had swapped sandals and shorts for long pants and shoes, but I still thought I was seeing things when I met a truck coming down the road with two snowmobiles on a trailer.CIMG0650

Well, the grin was gone from my face when I found these patches of white stuff laying around and this sign with skier and snowmobile symbols on it.


They said the road was not plowed!


And I guess they were right. With better tires I would have broken trail for a while, but mine have over 80,000km on them and were not up to the task.


So I backtracked and checked out a side road to Smith Mesa.


That road was rough, but fine,


though you could see that it quickly becomes impassable when wet.

 CIMG0655  Further down on the main road was this abandoned bridge that clearly had been overwhelmed by at least one flash flood.  CIMG0658

It reminded me of the bridges I had seen in Australia that have no railings – so they are better able to withstand water washing over them.


Back down in camp at Mosquito Cove, it was still plenty warm, and the sandals and shorts were mandatory  wear for happy hour. That ended later that night when the rains came and the river rose, and the lightning lit up the sky. 

By morning I decided it was as good a time as any to hit the road.  I took the scenic loop south through Arizona, and back up into Utah at Kanab, headed for Bryce Canyon.  But look at this; at 6100’ it is snowing!CIMG0661 Nothing stuck to the road as I got into Dixie National Forest, but it was breezy and cool and the first Dixie campground was locked up – as if no one would want to camp in this weather!


Maybe that was an omen? CIMG0664

So, I took blurry photos of tunnels through the windshield, between wiper sweeps.


I followed some online directions, and soon found road #117 as a possible camp spot, but it looked like it could well be blocked by snow at any point.


So I turned into the first pull-off there was and stopped – in a snowbank.  Guess there will be no need for those shorts and sandals here?


So I cranked up the heater for the first time in a while, and even though it is only rated to work to about 3500’, I managed to keep it going all night at roughly double that elevation by feeding it little bits of thin fresh air.  Actual elevation was 7777’!

The fridge is struggling to light at this elevation as well – tho not sure why it would want to cool things any further?

The snow quit falling at bedtime, and the skies cleared – so that the temperatures could really drop.  It was –7C outside in the morning, that must be around 28F? CIMG0669 CIMG0671 There was some sun in the morning, but still some dark, ugly looking clouds around.  Pretty though I suppose.CIMG0672

As soon as the pavement bares enough for safe driving, I’ll be looking for some warmer, lower areas.CIMG0673

Now where did I pack my toque!CIMG0674


  1. Brrrrr, sure looks cold to me but the snow & dark sky do make for nice photos. You are heading for another favorite place of mine. Been to Bryce a couple times & it's a wonderland. Might be even nicer with some snow on the hoodoos. There's a nice little dry camping park near Cannonville in the Kodachrome Basin. Grosvenor's Arch is down that road & it's a nice little scenic climb. We were in that Bryce, Cannonville, area in November 07.

  2. So you escape down south to get away from the snow up north, but then end up parked in a pile of it. All our snow is gone here. I'm back to commuting on my bike.