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Travel to Panguitch UT and Bryce Canyon

September 24-25, 2013   

Tuesday the 24th we traveled again a long trip of 275 miles to Bryce Canyon UT.  None of the RV parks within a few miles had any sites available.  So we took a site in the town of Panguitch UT at the Hitch-N-Post.  It’s a small RV Park right in town.

We passed through the San Rafael pass on I 70.  This pass was first completed in the early 70s with only 2 lanes.  The current configuration with 4 lane, 2 each way, was just completed in the mid-80s

Our rig sitting at the San Rafael viewing area.

Going through the pass.  We didn't realize that the grade was so steep right out of the viewing area.  

In the pass.

We liked the sign for the campground.

Our site.

 Again we thought that the crowds would be small in September.  That has not been true anywhere we have been so far.  We even had a Bryce Canyon Shuttle bus driver say the same thing.  We are waiting at each site in the park for the lines of cars and small RVs to find a place to park.  He said on the PA that he has not ever seen anything like this year in September.  He wondered if people felt like maybe they need to get out before the bottom falls out of everything. I hope he is wrong about that!

We arrived at the Hitch-N-Post and got set-up by Wine O'clock (4 pm our time). Since we had such a hard time getting campsites the last 2 places we decided to try to reserve our Grand Canyon site in advance.  

So we got on the internet and phone and started doing our research.  Our first choice which was located in Grand Canyon Village was full. We tried all of the places in the village and came up with nothing.  We finally found a place a couple of miles away from the park entrance but that was, at this point, OK.  

After we got our Grand Canyon site settled we heated up some leftover stuffed cabbage and watched some TV.  

We were very surprised that we have 25 channels of regular TV here in the middle of nowhere.  It’s a good thing we get regular TV as the satellite dish is blocked by a tree.  I would need to move the RV 20 feet to make it work. We didn't want to go through moving the RV and we have a lot of recorded TV anyway.  But this is even better that we have all of the network channels and can get the local news. We really like getting the local news so we know who and what to watch out for.

Wednesday the 25th we headed out to Bryce Canyon 25 miles away.  The temperature this morning was only 51 but with bright sun.  Also the humidity was only 20%.  Usually this means that we can wear shorts and maybe a jacket for a while.  The big issue was the 35 mph winds with higher gusts today which were making the RV shake.  We took some long pants with us just in case.

We took US 68 to UT 12 to get to the Canyon.  UT 12 is an incredible road to travel due to the views along the way.  We are planning to travel more of this road tomorrow.  On the way, there are signs saying to tune your radio to AM 1610 to get Bryce Canyon news, so we did just that.  We found out that the Park has shuttle busses that puck you up just outside the park and take you to all of the areas within the park.  Oh, and by the way, for FREE with your park pass.  The shuttles are every 10 minutes and run from like 8 am to 7 pm.  That was a no brainer for us, we parked and got on the bus.

This was on UT 12 in the Dixie National Forest on the way to Bryce Canyon.



It was damn good thing we used the bus.  The parking lots were just like they were in Arches.  The bus had to wait several minutes at each place we went because people were waiting to get a space.  THIS IS SEPTEMBER!  Kids are in school!  Is there that many retired people.  Ah, there are that many Europeans and many, many more Chinese.  Moab had lots of Europeans and Chinese as well as lots of young families, preschool age kids.  Not so in Bryce Canyon.  This is just my observation but I would say equal 25% US and EU retirees making 50%.  The other 50% was Chinese.  The Chinese were 25% retirement age with the rest being middle age parents with school age kids.  The bottom line is that the National Parks are still full in September!

We visited Bryce’s Point first, which is the most popular viewing area.  We like to hike, so this wasn't our thing but it gave us our first look at the canyon and Hoodoos. Hoodoos are those strange high spiral rock formations in the canyon. It was very windy which made it somewhat cold.  











We then took a bus to the most popular hiking path in Bryce Canyon.  It starts at Sunset Point and is part of three trails: the Rim, Queens Gardens, and Navajo trails.  It is 3 miles long and it is part easy and part moderate as far as difficulty.  The 3 miles took us 2 hours and 10 minutes which included our stop to eat our packed lunch.

When I first looked at this picture it doesn't look real.  It sort of looks like a model made at Disney.




You can see the trail in between the Hoodoos.  That is where we are headed.

There are 2 of these walkways through the Hoodoos on the trail.



We came down from there.


Second walkway hole in the Hoodoos.



We sat here and had our lunch of PB&J.  We start going up the other side from here.








View looking up part of the trail.


View down the switchbacks we have been walking up.





We really did enjoy the hike.  It is so very scenic; you feel like everywhere you look it is another picture postcard.    As with the parks in Moab, one needs to visit to actually get a real sense of the place.  This is not Disney, this is real!  Disney does capture snippets of this, but until you can smell the air and hear the wind through the pine trees it just can’t be captured by art.  It needs to be experienced.

That was our Bryce Canyon adventure.

We left the park around 4 pm and headed back to our site and the town of Panguitch.  Panguitch is THE town in the area and that is not saying much.  The center of town is a blinking red light with a 4 way stop.  We were in need of replenishing our food supplies in the RV so we went to the only grocery store in town.  The store is very small but we managed to get most of the staples we needed.

Back at the RV, we reheated some chili and I wrote most of this blog.  Then it was time for a little TV before bed.  We have needed to turn on the electric fireplace the past 2 nights as it has been in the mid-40s overnight.  Tonight is no exception as it is be in the mid-30s.  Tomorrow night it is forecast to be in the upper 20s! We will leave early Friday morning for the Grand Canyon and it will be below freezing  This will be our first time in the RV below freezing! Brrrrrrrr.....

Tomorrow we are planning to site see close around the town of Panguitch and UT 12.  Also we are planning to get some chores done like sanitizing our fresh water tank, getting propane, finding a place to get more wine, and maybe washing the truck.

Stay Tuned!

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