Utah Day 3 – Tropic + Escalante + Panguitch

The weather in Tropic this morning was once again cool and refreshing.  In the back of the cabin area is a barn for chickens and they are pretty much the alarm clock.  The whole time I couldn’t help but find parallels to this place and Samneua Laos.

The first stop of the day was Mossy Cave, the closest hiking spot, only about 1.5 miles from the center of Tropic.  This is still part of Bryce Canyon, and is a super easy hike to some small waterfalls.  I think you’re allowed to wade in the pool if you take the bridge path down.

The path up to the arch windows was closed, and for good reason since it’s such a steep slope.

The second stop of the day was driving down 12 to Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.  Think it’s about an hour from Tropic.  As always there’s no traffic out in this area.  Inside the park there’s a lovely reservoir and pretty flowers on the trails.  The age of the petrified trees definitely makes a person think about the relative blink of eye that we humans have existed.

Escalante does have some unique shops and stores.

A bit past Escalante the landscape changes once again, to something that really looks other worldly.  Head of the Rocks Overlook is an easy pull off spot to have lunch and marvel at the vastness of the land.  The driving road past it is pretty crazy and winding.

On the way back we passed by Yonder, a campground with these really nice modern “cabins.”  Imagine having these shipping container type of homes in a backyard in the suburbs.  Definitely a modern take on the artist/writer bungalow.

The 3rd stop of the day was Willis Creek slot canyon, on the same way you take to Kodachrome Basin, but to get there it’s a crazy 10? miles on this dirt road with a few scary elevation changes and switchbacks.

The nice visitor center in Cannonville will tell you if the water level in the slot canyon is safe to hike.  You can also see some (sad) descriptive signs about the Paiute people, the original residents of this amazing landscape.

On the way in we did see some deer tracks and bear droppings.  I’m not an expert by any means, but doesn’t this look like bear tracks in the mud?  Definitely take care going into this area.

And we’re still not done!  Back in Tropic still held some photogenic spots.  Either on the neighborhood streets and past the big “BV” sign.

Going northwest from Tropic is Panguitch, the little town we passed on our route in (30 miles?).  The sunlight hits that town just right and I think it has a lot of photographic character.  In fact when we were there I found out in late June they have an annual hot air balloon festival!  Too bad we would be gone from that area and not get to see what probably is an amazing event.

This is downtown Panguitch.  Lots of interesting typography in the motel signs to take in and also the different styled buildings.  The local theater was playing The Flash, with a cute handrawn whiteboard sign.

From what I saw on the website, the Panguitch balloon festival is 3 days and they even close off the main street and have balloons amidst the food vendors.  I’d definitely like to come back to just check it out.  I remember in elementary school we had those reading books, and on the cover of one was a hot air balloon and little me thought it was so cool and adventurous.

As an immigrant I often think about different timelines, since you can’t really pick where you land.  You kinda just have to accept that the places where you grew up, form you as a person and part of the story of your life.

On the way back to Tropic and Bryce Canyon area, I saw on Google maps that there is a Prairie Dog Colony!  So this was definitely a must visit.

The road goes past some lovely fields and through a forest with very few campers, and by the time we got to the suggested location, the prairie dogs had all gone into their burrows.  That area has a ton of their homes, but it’s so nestled in a forest area with trees and too low for the sun to illuminate.  I don’t suggest going there and just sticking around these fields that you see in the first few frames.  You get an amazing open sky for sunset as well.

It takes a long time to get to this area, which is where the map said the prairie dog city was.  It also goes to a reservoir and fishing country.

You don’t have to stray too far from the main road to see this open sky and many prairie dogs (which we came back to the next day!).

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