Friday, July 7, 2017

Random Tales 1

Utah Highway 12

In 2002 the National Transportation Secretary added 13 All-American Roads to the National Scenic Byways Program that was initiated in 1991. In the Press Release for these roads it was stated, “To receive an All-American Road designation, a road must possess multiple intrinsic qualities that are nationally significant and have one-of-a-kind features that do not exist elsewhere. The road or highway must also be considered a ‘destination unto itself.’ That is, the road must provide an exceptional traveling experience so recognized by travelers that they would make a drive along the highway a primary reason for their trip.” 

If you, our readers, saw the National Park TV special commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the the National Park Service, you understand the kind of vacations that Roger & I took as children and those we eventually took with our son (to his chagrin). Well, now in our travels we also have All-American Roads to traverse, as well as national parks, seashores, lake shores, historic parks, etc. I just don’t know if we can fit it all in.

For some time now I’ve been wanting to travel Utah Hwy 12, an All-American Road.  We traveled some or all of it on our first major RV trip in our first RV, a Winnebago Brave motor home, when Chris was about 4.  But I don’t remember much of that trip. 

Utah Hwy 12
Utah 12 starts about where we stayed near Red Canyon and ends at Capitol Reef National Park (NP). Roger covered Bryce Canyon, Kodachrome Basin and Grosvenor Arch in the last post, so I will start with Powell Point and then Petrified Forest State Park (SP).  We decided not to drive the road in our Winnebago Forza towing our car because the road is winding, narrow in spots and has a couple 14% grades.  So we drove it in 2 segments, the first east and north from Red Canyon and the second from Capitol  Reef NP south.
Powell Point
Powell Point was named for John Wesley Powell, a one-armed American Civil War veteran who explored the Colorado River in 1869.  He apparently passed the point during his exploration surveying the area.  At over 10,000 feet it is the highest point that one can readily see as part of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument (NM).  The gray geological layer (Kaiparowits Formation) below the point is where most of the dinosaur fossils were found in this area. 

Petrified tree

Wide Hollow Reservoir

Escalante Petrified Forest SP sits next to the Wide Hollow Reservoir.  It is a nice place to spend an hour or two, more if you have a boat.  There is a small visitor center but the most interesting site is a whole petrified tree. That finishes up the first segment.  Roger will cover Capitol Reef later. 

Anasazi artifacts
Our campground in Torrey, UT sat at the northern end of UT12.  We climbed Boulder Mountain to the pass at about 9000 feet. Along the way were several scenic view pull-outs with gorgeous views of the valleys and desert below.  Unfortunately it was rather hazy.  Then we came to the town of Boulder, the last town in the contiguous states to receive its mail by motorized vehicle because of inaccessibility.  UT 12 wasn’t finished until 1940.  Prior to that mail arrived by horse or pack mule.
In Boulder we visited Anasazi State Park.  It has a small but interesting visitor center, really a museum, and outside there is a reconstructed pueblo building completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. There are also some excavated pueblo ruins.  Like the other Ancestral Puebloan ruins we visited, they were abandoned for unknown reasons around 1200 CE. There is also evidence that these people traded with Mexico, other Ancestral Puebloans and Pacific Coast inhabitants of the time.
Excavation at Anasazi State Park
Looking down from Hell's ackbone
Next we drove over Hell’s Backbone and into the canyons of the Escalante River.  At Hell’s Backbone we drove over a ridge where we could look way down into the canyons on both sides of the road.  Fortunately there were one or two places we could pull off to take pictures.

On another day we took the Burr Trail Scenic Drive that heads east from Boulder.  It was a road built to explore and haul ores and minerals out of the area.  Most of the road now travels through Grand Staircase Escalante NM.  It is the largest NM and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rather than the NP Service.  Its mission here is to facilitate scientific study, conservation and ecology of the area, as well as supporting the tourist trade. 

Along the Burr Trail
There are 2 or 3 visitor centers along UT 12 run by the BLM that are quite good and have the requisite 20 minute film just like in any NP.  The Burr Trail continues on into Capitol Reef NP but we didn’t continue on that far because the road was no longer paved and it was getting late in the day.


Capitol Reef

The west end of Capitol Reef
Somewhere around the summer of 1994 or 5 our family took our first RV trip through southern Utah.  Along that route we stopped in Capitol Reef National Park.  In those carefree days of youth we assumed that the name somehow arose from the fact that the whole area was once a part of the great inland sea.    Maybe there were fossil remains of a coral reef there.  You know, something that made sense.  Now we are older and more jaded.  Now we know the truth.
A dome??
Early settlers looked at the rocks and some of them reminded these yokels of a capitol dome.  Now we looked all over for these alleged domes and finally found this.  A whitish
boulder with a rounded top that might look a little like a flattened dome... maybe.  This is supposedly a common shape for this kind of rock, but damned if we could find any other examples.  So from this they got Capital.  Some of those early settlers were sailors.  The guidebooks say that
Cliffs that make up the "reef".
they took to calling anything that got in their way a reef.  And the cliffs in the area stretching 100 miles from end to end were in their way.  So instead of calling them cliffs like any reasonable person, they called them a Reef.  So there you have it... Capitol Reef.  The Capitol is no capitol and the Reef is no reef and the two parts of the name have no relationship to each other.  From this I can only conclude that the early settlers were morons.  Or Mormons, as the case may be.
Layers pushed up
The cliffs are caused by something called the Water Pocket Fold, which is the defining feature of Capitol Reef.  The layers of sediment laid down by that ancient sea got pushed up by colliding continental plates but instead of breaking the land bent and the layers were pushed up at about a 30 degree angle and folded over.  At least that is what we were told.  Over and over again we were told, but it still makes no sense to me.  I
Twin Rocks at Capitol Reef
mean, I can see the 30 degree angle, but the cliff face is at a perpendicular to that and folded earth should make a hill with a rounded top, not a shear cliff.  I've been trying to understand this for 20 years and I still don't get it.  And by the way, where is the Water Pocket?  I have no idea.  Traveling is supposed to be educational, but in this case it is just confusing.  (Actually, the national park service web site says the water pockets are little holes carved out of the sand stone by water erosion.  They have nothing to do with the fold really.)


Vicki heads into the pie house in Fruita
Resident marmot
In the middle of the park is a little oasis a few miles long where the Mormons planted orchards and sold fruit to the west coast.  The town was called Fruita and there is a little house there where they still turn the fruit into tiny pies to sell to tourists.   These are delicious and we nab one every time we pass through (every 5 to 6 years or so).  The house currently has a marmot living in the yard and a few rabbits that were being harassed by tourist children.  This valley is still dotted with orchards of varying ages and examples of archaic farm equipment and has it's own spring fed stream running through it.  A nice peaceful enclave in the middle of the desert that's worth a visit.


Mount Nebo

By now you’ve learned my passion for scenic drives so since we needed to stop before we hit Salt Lake, Nephi seemed a good choice.  We stayed near Nephi back in our 1st year of full timing in a lovely campground at the base of the Wasatch mountains and we made reservations there again.  Looking online for things to do near Nephi we discovered the Mt. Nebo Scenic Loop. (I don’t know what the loop is.)  It is part of the National Scenic Byways program and is touted as a lovely place to see fall colors.  So not a lot of people go in the spring. In fact, almost nobody was on the road when we went.
Mount Nebo
Lake near Payson
Mount Nebo is the tallest mountain in the Wasatch mountain range at 11,933 feet. We started the road along the Salt Creek near Nephi at roughly 5100 feet and climbed to about 9000 feet.  Oh, I thought the creek was a river.  What does a former SoCal person know.  The scenery was a lovely spring green starting with desert scrub brush and changing to forest at the higher elevations.  Near Payson we stopped by the Big East Reservoir.  From Payson we drove I 15 back to Nephi.  Later that evening we drove back up to the summit hoping to see wildlife.  All we saw was one lousy deer near Salt Creek.  I will let the pictures speak to the beauty of the drive.

One lousy deer

 Promontory Point

Promontory Summit is out in the middle of nowhere,  just over 50 miles from Ogden, Utah.  You may recall from your history books that this is where the East met the West at the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.  Actually, since they were getting paid by the mile, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific track prep crews passed each other and kept right on going for nearly 200 miles before congress decided where the official meeting place would be.  On May 10, 1869 Leland Stanford of the Central Pacific Railroad Company was given a gold spike and a silver headed hammer to drive in "the last spike".  He missed.  Then Thomas Durant of the Union Pacific took a whack at it.  He also missed.  They finally had to bring in an actual rail worker to do the honors.  His name was not recorded. 

Vicki standing in front of Jupiter
The ceremony was a big PR deal and the site was supposed to become a train depot and, supposedly, a town.  But there was no water source nearby to fill the boilers with, so they moved everything to Ogden where there was already a train station of sorts.  Promontory Summit today looks much like it did in 1869, except for the visitors center and a train shed hidden behind a hill about a mile away.

We arrived at the visitors center one sunny day in June, just in time to see smoke belching out of a train stack.  We had no idea they actually had operating steam engines here, but it turns out that in

Union Pacific engine 119 heading for its rendezvous
1974, the National Park Service decided they should let people see what the trains looked like.  Unfortunately, the government didn't own any mid-19th century steam trains the park could have.  But they figured you saw these trains all the time in movies, someone's got to have them.  So they visited Disney Studios and asked if their prop department could build them a couple of trains.  Disney said "We really aren't in the train building business, but we know someone who might help" and referred them to Chadwell O'Conner.  O'Conner was a structural engineer, an inventor and kind of a steam engine nut.  His main claim to fame was the invention of fluid head camera mounts which he initially made for Disney to use on their nature films.  He was so excited about the prospect of building a couple of real steam engines that he intentionally underbid the contract to keep anyone else from winning it, then kicked in $750,000 of his own money to make up the difference.

There were no copies of the plans for the engines that met at Promontory Point in 1869, so  O'Conner had to re-engineer the trains from black and white photographs of the Golden Spike ceremony and knowledge of other trains in use at the time.  In the end, the park service claims that these two reproductions are within a half inch of the originals.  The Jupiter represented the Central Pacific Railroad from Sacramento and was a wood burning model, which you can tell by its big funnel smoke stack.  The Central Pacific's route went through the Sierra Nevadas where there were plenty of trees to chop down for fuel.  The Union Pacific, on the other hand, came across the great plains from Council Bluffs, Iowa and trees were pretty scarce along their route.  But they had pre-existing railway lines to bring them coal from Pennsylvania and other parts east.  So their engine, the 119, was a coal burner with a thin, round stack.  These two steam trains met cow-catcher to cow-catcher for the great continent joining ceremony in 1869 and their modern model progeny now meet the same way daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day and on special occasions in the winter.  Quite by accident, we got there just in time to see the show.

The trains are brightly colored , which was apparently de rigueur at the time and look very impressive moving along the tracks.  I snapped way more  pictures than I really needed.  I even took a short video, which is rare for me.  A ranger gave a fairly informative talk about the trains, then we went back to the visitors center to go through the less than stellar exhibits.  We could have had a plastic replica Gold Spike for just $25 but decided to give it a pass.
The refurbished concrete monument

Out in front there was an interesting item.  The "powers that were" in 1870 set up a concrete monolith at the site some months after the ceremony, then everybody departed for Ogden and forgot about it.  Water exposure began eroding away  the cement and the pylon slowly settled into the prairie.  In 1903 the No. 119 engine was sold for scrap and the Jupiter met the same fate 3 years later.  By the early 1940s the railroads had long since quit using the line in favor of more direct routes, so the steel rails for 100 miles in each direction were pulled up and re-purposed for the war effort.  With the concrete pylon gradually decaying into rubble, soon there would be nothing to mark the site of one of the most significant moments in our history.  But then Harry Truman decided to set up a National Historic Site here in 1947.  They found the concrete monument and it was restored and set up on a pedestal where it now sits in front of the modern visitor center.  The original bronze plaque was too corroded to fix so it got a new one from the park service.  As monuments go, it's actually kind of ugly but I'm glad it is still there.


Friday, June 16, 2017

A Visit to Bryce Canyon

Bryce's Canyon from the rim trail.
In 1847, the Mormons arrived in Utah and started spreading out from the Salt Lake region to acquire as much land as they could possibly plant themselves on.  They took over pretty much all of Utah as well as large chunks of current day Arizona, Nevada, Idaho and Southern California.  Among these pioneers was one Ebenezer Bryce, a penny pinching miser until he met three ghosts one Christmas Eve and... oh wait, wrong Ebenezer.  Bryce was just a settler I guess.  He designed and built the oldest Mormon chapel still in continuous use until this day.  He also, in 1874, moved onto a plot of arid wasteland with bizarre geology to try to farm and raise cattle.  That area came to be called "Bryce's Canyon".  He wasn't much for aesthetics I guess.  When asked what he thought of the spires and hoodoos in his back yard he is said to have replied "It's a hell of a place to lose a cow."

A hell of a place to lose a cow.
It was also generally a hell of a place to farm and raise cattle and after a few years Ebenezer gave up and moved his family to Arizona, becoming a minuscule footnote in history.  Eventually others came along that were more appreciative of the area's scenery and thought it should be protected like the Grand Canyon recently had been.  Stephen Mather, the legendary first director of the National Park Service, suggested that Utah make the area a State Park but the Mormons thought it would cost more money than it would bring in and declined the offer.  Finally Mather relented and got Warren G. Harding to declare Bryce Canyon a National Monument in 1924.  After a few senators and congressmen got out to actually look at the place they decided to up the ante and make it a National Park in Feb, 1928.

Just to prove we were there
Bryce Canyon is not, in fact, a canyon, which technically has to be formed by a river like the Colorado cut the Grand Canyon.  Bryce instead consists of a dozen amphitheaters carved into the side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau by wind and rain erosion. I assume nearly everyone who reads this blog has seen Bryce Canyon.  If not, what's your excuse?  It's only an 8 hour drive from Temecula, fer Pete's sake.  You can spend the night in Vegas and visit Zion on the way.  Get off yer butts and get up there.  Anyway, I won't go into any kind of detailed description (which I doubt I could accomplish in any event).  I will include a few pictures just to prove we were there.

We did not stay in the national park but just outside it in the town of Red Canyon which, in turn, sits just outside of Red Canyon, part of the Dixie National Forest.  This is sort of a mini Bryce, made out of the same rocks but is 10 miles down the road and covers only a couple of square miles.  In fact, all of the big Red Rock formations in Utah turn out to be the same stuff, all the way over to Canyon Lands and Arches.   Early on geologists did not know this but it is now accepted that this layer of the Great Inland Sea covered a lot of territory and when you go 4 wheeling in Moab you are traveling over the same sediments as Bryce or Cedar Breaks.

Cedar Breaks - a little snow left in June at 10,500 ft.
Speaking of Cedar Breaks, we visited there while we were in the area.  Very lovely landscape with red rocks and hoodoos... hey this sounds familiar.  Difference is that Bryce sits at 8500 ft and Cedar Breaks is at 10,500.  Up there, there was a small amount of snow still on the ground and it was quite a bit cooler, which was fine by me.  Apparently they had just opened the road over the top a week or two before.  Don't know where the fault line is exactly, but there has obviously been some uplift on the Cedar Breaks side to raise it up that high.  We went up through Panguitch and west on Utah 143, then came back on Utah 14 back to US 89.  A nice big circle tour that took up most of an afternoon.  A lovely drive both ways though wildlife was pretty scarce.  We first stumbled onto Cedar Breaks in 2008 when Chris and his friend were hiking up Zion Canyon and we needed to find something to kill 4 or 5 hours.  If you've never been, it is worth the investment of a day.

A sandstone pipe at Kodachrome Basin
Another day we took Utah Hwy 12 past the Bryce turn off, through the town of Tropic to Cannonville, then took the little road to Kodachrome Basin.  This is a tiny Utah State Park named by someone who fell for Kodak's advertising.  Back in the 1950s Kodachrome was new and considered the best color slide film in the world, but I think I could have come up with a better name for a scenic park.  Heck, the Indians probably had a better name for it.  Utah probably got a kickback for it.  Anyway, it is an interesting place notable for the presence of 67 sandstone pipes.  These are stone monoliths ranging from 2 to 52 meters in height.  I have no idea how they got there but I don't feel bad about it since no one else seems to know either.  One theory is that they were geysers that filled in with sediments which were left standing after the softer surrounding sandstone weathered away, but this is just a guess.

At the end of the asphalt you can continue on a dirt road for about 132 miles (at least it seemed that way to me) and you eventually come to a little parking  area with a short path to Grosvenor Arch, a double arch out in the middle of some ranch land.  Probably worth the drive (which is actually only 11 miles if you believe maps) as it is an interesting formation.  It is named after a former president of the National Geographic Society who, as it turns out, are the folks who actually came up with the name "Kodachrome Basin".  A certain amount of mutual back scratching going on there I think.
Grosvenor Arch
We went back to Utah 12 and drove on as far as Escalante before turning around and heading back to Red Canyon.  Some of that road was at a 14% grade.  We had intended to drive the motor home that way to Capitol Reef, but after traversing it in a car decided we would take the RV the long way around on Hwy 89.  I'd hate for Vicki to have to push it up that steep a hill.
Red Canyon
Red Canyon
Cedar Breaks
Fairyland at Bryce Canyon
A little crowded for our tastes
A Raven keeps watch over the crowd
Bryce Canyon again
Ceratopsian skull at the Grand Staircase visitors center
Long view of Grosvenor Arch
Another shot of Bryce
Cactus flowers at Kodachrome Basin
A nicely done lizard statue, don't ask me why.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


Old set from a Kenny Loggins concert
From Lake Powell we crossed the border into Utah and turned left  There were several reasons for this but the main one was that it kept us on pavement instead of driving off through the sage brush.  This led us to the town of Kanab where we stayed for a few days.  Kanab is probably best known for being the site of over 100 movies back in the 30s and 40s when westerns were the bread and butter of Hollywood.  The landscape around Kanab certainly made for nice backdrops.  The foreground towns were put together on the fly.  Some of them were kept for future productions, but some were just abandoned in place.  The Little Hollywood Museum in Kanab has collected a variety of these, hauled them to a lot in town and set them up to draw tourists.  Well, it worked with us.
More movie sets

This stone building was actually made out of paper mache
The sets vary from complete buildings to simple fronts with no interior.  One was actually a stage set for a Kenny Loggins concert done in the Grand Canyon back in 1991.  There are a couple of buildings that were used as the farm at the end of "The Outlaw Josie Wales" and a bunch of sets from movies I have never heard of.  It was an interesting place to visit for about 20 minutes and it was FREE (although we felt guilty enough to leave a donation in the tip jar when we left).  The main point of the "museum" was to get people to come in and buy stuff at their gift shop.  I resisted the urge but Vicki actually bought a pair of moccasins to use as slippers.

Just a few miles north of Kanab you can turn left onto a poorly maintained road which will eventually take you to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.  The name pretty much says it all, although when we were there the dunes were more orange than pink.  According to the internet, they look pinker at sunset, but we decided not to sit around for 5 hours to find out.  It is a beautiful site but the dune area
The Coral Pink Dunes were actually pretty orange, but we can fix that.
is only a few square miles.  You can hike out on the dunes but we opted to sit on the observation deck and just stare.  The sand is extremely fine and I would probably end up sinking up to my knees and unable to get back.  You can also take ATVs out over the dunes which means they are frequently covered with tire tracks, though they didn't look too bad the day we were there.  The dunes are composed of eroded Navajo Sandstone picked up by the venturi effect as air whips between two sets
Dune buggy on the dunes
of mountains.  As the air comes out of the pass and slows down the sand grains get dumped onto the dunes.  That doesn't seem like much, but this is estimated to have been going on for 10,000 to 15,000 years.

Beyond the park the road takes you south to the Arizona border where the pavement stops.  We did see a couple of motor homes come up the road, so the dirt road down there must not be too bad, but we decided to turn around and go back the way we had come.  One warning - if you have any loose fillings do not go to the dunes.  The road in will shake them out of your head.

There are a lot of places in Utah which are recommended for "high clearance vehicles only".  Our Forester has all wheel drive but sits pretty low to the ground.  So we hired an outfit that gives Hummer Tours to take us out to Peek-a-boo Canyon.  This is a slot canyon, vaguely similar to Antelope Canyon near Lake Powell.  It is not as narrowly enclosed as Antelope but is still pretty interesting to hike through.  We walked for about a quarter mile before we came to a place where I didn't feel I could safely negotiate the terrain, so I sat and relaxed while Vicki and our guide went the last couple hundred yards. 
Peek-a-boo Canyon

Eleven miles east of town is a road that goes north into Johnston Canyon.  This little used road runs through mostly cattle country between two sets of cliffs in the lower reaches of the Grand Staircase. 
Old Gunsmoke set
It is a quite scenic area and a fun drive.  About 5 miles up the road are a set of wooden buildings left over from the old Gunsmoke TV show.  They weren't from Dodge City, but if Matt had to go to some other town, these buildings were probably part of it.  Today they are markedly dilapidated and fairly photogenic.  We were there with scattered clouds overhead, so we spent a fair amount of time waiting for them to move so the sun could light up the shacks for pics.  After eighteen miles the pavement runs out but a dirt road goes on for a few more miles.  We might have explored this but it was starting to get dark, so we headed back to our campground instead.

Waiting to get into Zion
It turns out it is only 30 miles from Kanab to the back door of Zion National Park, so we took a day and drove over.  Zion has been our favorite national park for years, but unfortunately more and more people are agreeing with us until the park is now badly over-crowded.  This trip when we went in there was a 25 minute line of cars backed up to get through the entry gate.  It was particularly annoying since we have lifetime senior passes and don't have to pay any entry fee.  I think they should have one gate set up to wave the pass people through.  Of course, nobody asked me. 

Zion Cnyon
We drove through the east side of the park, stopping only at Checkerboard Rock, along with about 50 other people.  We drove through the tunnel with only minimal delay.  They stop traffic for RVs to go through the tunnel using both lanes but we were there in the early afternoon and no rigs were in site.  I suppose they mostly leave earlier or arrive later.  Then we wound down the serpentine Mt Carmel road to reach the floor of Zion Canyon.  Down there, every parking spot had a vehicle in it.  I suppose we could have driven around waiting
The Kolob Terrace Road
for someone to leave but we weren't in the mood.  Now that you can no longer drive through the canyon it would have only meant waiting for a seat on the shuttle bus.  Instead, we drove out the west entrance and took the Kolob Terrace Road up to Kolob Reservoir.  This is something we discovered a few years ago, a little 2 lane road that goes through the back side of Zion's western mountains up to a reservoir at about 8000 feet,  The scenery is breath taking and the start of the road is outside the park in the town of Virgin so most tourists either don't know about it or don't bother with it.   Anyway, the traffic was pretty light the day we were there and we really enjoyed it.

When we came back down to Virgin a couple of hours later we decided to return through Hurricane rather than retrace our steps though the distance is about a wash.  You take Utah 59 to Arizona 389 then over to Fredonia, AZ which is just 8 miles south of Kanab.  I only knew Fredonia as the country that went to war in Duck Soup, but it turns out that the term was used as a humorous reference to the United States ever since the American Revolution.  There are 17 towns called Fredonia in the US and one in Columbia.  If you are ever in Fredonia, AZ, there is an excellent restaurant there called The Juniper Ridge.  What it is doing there I have no idea but it is definitely worth the drive if you are staying in Kanab.

Preparing to start the tour
The only other thing Kanab is known for is the Best Friends no-kill animal shelter and rescue.  This is a pet rescue organization with the motto "Save Them All" that occupies 3700 acres in a canyon about 5 miles north of Kanab as well as leasing another 17,000 acres from the Bureau of Land Management in Utah and Arizona.  The organization houses about 1600 animals at their Kanab site including not only dogs and cats but horses, pigs, parrots, guinea pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits and a few wild animals.  They now also have facilities in Los Angeles, New York, Salt Lake City and Atlanta.  Although they do have some permanent animal guests, their goal is to find permanent homes for their charges and they generate about 1800 animal adoptions per year.

They also provide spaying and neutering services to try and decrease the number of unwanted animals out there.  In fact, they have found that feral cats will not stay in an adoptive home, so they have a program where they just round them up in big bunches, neuter them and then release them back out into the wild. 

We visited the shelter one afternoon while we were in
Puppy who just got fixed
Kanab and listened to their pitch.  They have reduced the killing of healthy but homeless pets by about 80% in this area which is amazing and commendable I suppose but there is a certain amount of sanctimony involved.  We had a bad experience with an incorrigible rescue dog some years back and I personally will never go through that again.  I prefer to raise my own incorrigible dogs, thank you very much.  The tour of the facility was less than I expected.  Having a bunch of strangers wandering through their animal care facilities is disruptive so what you mostly get to do is drive around the property and look at buildings.  I really didn't need that and could have learned all I wanted to about Best Friends online.  Still, I have to admit they are doing good work and am happy they are there.

Sun going down in Johnson Canyon

The Kolob Reservoir

Ducklings in the reservoir

A mule deer crosses the Kolob Terrace Road

Deer trio

Along the Kolob Terrace Road

In the Cat House

Bird feeder at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary