Sunday, April 28th – Monday, April 29th, 2013
Right outside of the BLM land that we had been sleeping at, there was a restored ghost town called Grafton. It was settled in 1859 and all that remained was a cemetery, an old schoolhouse and a few houses. I tried to peek inside the schoolhouse only to be startled by a curious hummingbird that buzzed next to my ear. We read about the people buried in the cemetery and the causes of death ranged from Scarlet Fever, to bacterial infections, to Indian Retaliation, to death by a broken swing.
We paid Zion National Park one last visit before we moved on to other things. We strolled along the Pa’rus Trail again before heading to the Human History Museum where they had a Ranger Talk about the animals of Zion. This specific talk was about the American Beaver (Castor canadensis). Some fun facts about beavers:
- They are the largest rodent in North America.
- They are:
- monogamous – They only have one sexual partner during their lifetime (Unlike the Mormons! *buh-boom, clink* – Sorry, I couldn’t help it; this is Utah).
- matriarchal – The female is the dominant member of the group (Beavers are feminists).
- crepuscular – They are most active during twilight (They find sunsets to be romantic).
- coprophagous – They eat their own poop (Yum).
- The lodges they build are entered from underwater to keep predators out, and they store food (trees) underwater so they have it during the time the water is frozen.
- Beavers along the Virgin River, in particular, don’t make dams due to flash flooding.
Nerd material aside, I enjoyed the talk and we hit the road shortly afterwards. I spotted an ostrich farm before we arrived at Hurricane, UT where we slept at Walmart for the night.
We went to McDonald’s to steal some free WiFi and overheard a group of elderly men talk about foreskin. After I finished dry heaving at my seat, we took Route 9 to I-15 North.
I started to wonder why the state roads and the state flag had a beehive on them. I believe there’s a deeper meaning to it relating to the Book of Mormon, but I’ve read that it’s symbolic for industry and harmony while working together.
In connection to this, let me share a short story regarding one of my ex-boyfriend’s good friends who was Mormon. I was riding in the car with my boyfriend at the time, his male friend (who I was meeting for the first time), as well as a girl who I assumed at that moment, was his friend’s girlfriend. I was corrected later as the day progressed. She was actually his friend’s sister. Now don’t jump to conclusions! They weren’t making incestuous passes at each other or anything gross like that, but I had never met siblings who got along so well in my life, especially between brother and sister. I take it the value of harmony was at work there. Anytime I visited my other friends who had a sibling of the opposite sex, it usually involved fist fights, noogies, and someone crying at the end of the day.
We eventually arrived at the Kolob Canyons visitor’s center. Kolob Canyons is technically a section of Zion National Park (so the scenery didn’t disappoint), but it’s north of the main area of the park. We took a 5 mile hike on the Taylor Creek Trail and passed two cabins, frogs mating in the stream, a tiny gray snake, and after reaching the double arch alcove, we ran most of the way back.
We took the van up the hill and hiked the Timber Creek Overlook Trail which had some great views, then we left via I-15 North to Cedar City then Route 14, the scenic route to Bryce Canyon National Park.
The song “Diane Young” by Vampire Weekend was playing on the radio as the van took us to higher elevations as we entered Dixie National Forest. We planned to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument, but the road was closed since there was too much snow on the roadway. As our elevation increased even further, the van started to struggle uphill and the motor began to overheat. To try to cool down the motor, we turned on the hot air and rolled down the windows. It was warm outside, but there was still snow on the ground, and since we were getting super hot, we decided to give ourselves (and the van), a break and played in the snow.
Route 143 took us to I-89 North and we passed a lake and many cabins before the wooded scenery returned to desert. Right before entering Bryce Canyon National Park, we passed by many rock formations, called hoodoos, that reminded me of giant sand castles. We settled down at Sunset Canyon Campground in the park, then we walked up towards the lodge where we got to see our first view of the park.
We got lost searching for the General Store, which was practically right in front of us, then returned to camp. The next day we’d get to explore the park some more, and it was looking good!
Jump Ahead to Part 23: Grumpy Old Men, Freud & Hot Hands
Start Over at Part 01: The Blue Bubble, Freebies & A Rude Awakening