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  1. #11

    Default UT 12 & Kodachrome Basin State Park

    Saturday, August 29
    Start: Duck Creek Campground (USFS)
    End: Kodachrome Basin State Park (State), near Cannonville, UT

    Our campsite was well-shaded and fairly isolated, so we did not wake up until after 8:30. That is
    late, even for us. While getting ready to eat breakfast, and not paying attention, a Red Squirrel
    dashed up onto the picnic table and grabbed an apple I had put out for our breakfast. (Picture
    posted yesterday) Not only did he grab it, he got it down on the ground and proceeded to run
    up the tree with it. These squirrels are half the size of the typical Eastern Fox Squirrel. He was
    so fast we did not have a chance to shoo him away. We watched as he nibbled away and finally
    tucked it into a branch, high over our heads. Hopefully the apple was a healthy addition to his

    Before leaving Duck Creek area, we found 2 letterboxes there and up by Navajo Lake, a short
    distance up UT 14. This road continues west to Cedar Breaks National Monument, over 11,000
    ft elevation and finally down to Cedar City, along I-15. It is a spectacular drive! Today we headed
    back east to US 89. We did stopped at the Duck Creek Visitor Center (USFS) for their bonus
    stamps and to ask about hummingbirds. We had not gotten any hummingbirds at our feeder in
    camp, which seemed unusual. The staff told us the Broad-tailed Hummingbirds had
    disappeared over two weeks ago, a mystery to them, as well.

    We continued north on US 89 to the intersection of UT 12, heading into Red Canyon Visitor
    Center and Bryce Canyon National Park, by lunch time. We didn't spend much time in either of
    these, as we have explored them extensively in the past. Both are worth a longer visit.

    Red Canyon Scenic Area - UT 12

    We continued along UT 12, eventually coming to Cannonville and deciding to go out to
    Kodachrome Basin State Park. Besides having a smashed penny machine at the park office, we had
    decided to camp here. This was our first visit to this park. It was a bit warm, but we chose a
    campsite in their new primitive camping area ($16) and with shade.

    Kodachrome Basin State Park

    About eleven miles south, on Cottonwood Canyon Road, on a dirt road running through the
    middle of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (BLM), is Grosvenor Arch. This is
    a spectacular double arch, named after the founder of the National Geographic Society. We
    were told the road should be passable, the last significant rain was over 2 days ago. Only one
    crossing was a bit slick and rough for our cargo van. Definitely worth the drive, but always check
    road conditions with the monument or state park staff before driving out there. We understand
    the tow out can run over $700.

    Grosvenor Arch

    Kodrachrome State Park spire

    A quiet evening in camp, only one other camper in the this 10 unit campground. The regular
    campground has showers and some sites with full hook ups. The sunset was stunning.


    Passport Stamps
    Bryce Canyon National Park - Bryce Canyon, UT
    Grand Staircase-Escalante NM - Cannonville, UT
    Bonus Stamps
    Red Canyon - date - Dixie National Forest
    Dixie National Forest
    Kodachrome Basin - date - Utah State Parks

    Wildlife Sightings
    Mule deer
    Red Squirrel

    Mountain Chickadee
    Western Bluebird
    Common Raven
    Black-billed Magpie
    Prairie Falcon
    Lesser Goldfinch
    Western Scrub Jay
    Broad-tailed Hummingbird

  2. #12

    Default UT 12 to Capitol Reef National Park

    Sunday, August 30
    Start: Kodachrome Basin State Park
    End: Fruita Campground (NPS), Capitol Reef National Park

    Note - I will be offline for a couple of days. This report will be back by the weekend.

    Enjoyed a quiet night in the new, primitive campground at Kodachrome Basin State Park. On
    our way out I stopped at the visitor center to receive my Junior Ranger badge. The program was inside the park newspaper and easy to complete, for all ages.

    Kodachrome Basin SP - AM

    We drove back to UT 12, with our next stop in Escalante for a letterbox near an archaeological
    site and then into town to the multi-agency visitor center, Escalante Interagency Visitor Center.
    The sculpture out front of a Western Collared Lizard is a favorite of mine.

    Western Collared Lizard Sculpture - Escalante Interagency Visitor Center

    After lunch in Escalante we continued on UT 12 to Boulder and a brief stop at the Anasazi StatePark. There is an admission fee, well worth the cost and time to explore this park. The drive from there continues up a ridge, over 9,000 feet, and finally into Capitol Reef National Park. We arrived in time, around 2:30 PM, to get a campsite. Several times we have missed getting a campsite here. We went back to the visitor center to pick up the Junior Ranger booklet. From there we drove out to the petroglyph display.

    Capitol Reef Petroglyphs

    On our way back to camp we stopped at a couple of the U-Pick orchards within the park. The
    area surrounding the campground was a pioneer settlement and the park has maintained the
    orchards. There is a store next to the campground where you can purchase fresh-baked bread,
    pies and cinnamon rolls.

    Peach Orchard

    Before dinner I went back to the visitor center for a ranger program. It was a great program,
    outside against a spectacular backdrop. The topic was Fossils in Capitol Reef; his handouts and the specimens he passed around made the program educational and interesting. By attending the program I had completed the requirements for their Junior Ranger program.

    Ranger Program

    While at the ranger program my husband walked over to the store and bought cinnamon. We had decided we wanted fried apples with our dinner - yum!

    Fried Apples

    Passport Stamps
    Glen Canyon NRA - Escalante, UT
    Grand Staircase-Escalante NM
    - Escalante, UT
    - Boulder, UT
    Capitol Reef National Park - Torrey, UT
    Bonus Stamp
    Anasazi State Park - date - Boulder, Utah

    Wildlife Sightings
    Mule Deer
    Rock Squirrel
    Ground Squirrel
    Coyote (heard)

    Wild Turkey
    Common Raven
    Turkey Vulture
    American Kestrel
    Western Bluebird
    Mountain Bluebird
    Say's Phoebe
    Mourning Dove
    Quail (heard)
    Black-chinned Hummingbird
    Broad-tailed Hummingbird
    Last edited by Pmount; 10-06-2015 at 08:29 AM.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Loving the updates.

    Enjoying following you on your travels, which also brings back fond memories.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip.


  4. #14

    Default North to Salt Lake City

    Monday, August 31
    Start: Capitol Reef National Park, UT
    End: Salt Lake City, UT

    Quiet morning in camp before heading north towards Salt Lake City. We stopped in Richfield
    and Manti for passport stamps. As we picked up US 6 from US 89 we saw the first of Fall colors
    on the slopes, mainly on north facing slopes.

    Smokey the Bear - greeting us at the Richfield USFS office

    Fall colors - last day of August

    Once in the Salt Lake City area we checked into the Studio 6 in Murray, off I-215 and a short
    distance east of I-15. Usually Studio 6 are about the same price as a regular Motel 6, but they
    have a small kitchen with dishes, pots and pans and utensils and the room is much larger. Nice
    to have the kitchen to fix simple meals.

    However, this evening we had arranged to meet up with 12 local letterboxers at a local place,
    Bohemian Brewery in Midvale. Not our kind of beer, but the food and company were good. We
    got reacquainted with some letterboxers and met several new ones.

    Passport Stamps
    Old Spanish National Historic Trail
    - Gooseberry, UT
    - Richfield, UT
    Old Spanish NHT - BLM Richfield Field Office, UT
    Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (Manti, UT)

    Wildlife Sightings
    Mule Deer

    Rock Squirrel
    Rock Pigeon
    Wild Turkey
    Common Raven
    American Robin
    Swainson's Hawk
    Great Blue Heron
    Snowy Egret
    American Kestrel
    Mourning Dove
    Black-billed Magpie

  5. #15

    Default Salt Lake City

    Tuesday, September 1, 2015
    Start & End: Murray, UT

    Today we explored the Salt Lake City area; finding passport stamps, smashed pennies and
    letterboxes. We started the day up at the state park -This Is The Place. It commemorates the Mormon pioneers arrival in the area. The view from there, over the Wasatch Valley is impressive.

    We then traveled up to the State Capitol area to the Tourism Office at the Old State
    Capitol. This building is across the street from the current, and impressive State Capitol.

    While there we walked into Memory Grove Park, along City Creek and found several letterboxes. This park was delightful; beautiful statues and sculptures, plus it continues north into a natural area following a stream. It was reaching the mid 90s as we headed back south to Murray for a few more stops to get more passport stamps, smashed pennies and letterboxes. Back in Murray we found the Whispering Giant for Utah.

    Peter Toth's Whispering Giant - Chief Wasatch

    We ended the day by picking up a roasted chicken and corn from Sprouts, which we took back
    to the room for dinner. Nice to have an air-conditioned room and shower to end the day.

    Passport Stamps
    California Nat'l Historic Trail - MO, OK, KS, NE, CO, WY, UT, ID, NV, CA, OR
    Pony Express Nt'l Historic Trail - MO, KS, NE, CO, WY, UT, NV, CA
    Mormon Pioneer Nat'l Historic Trail - IL, IA, NE, WY, UT
    Wildlife Sightings
    Rock Pigeon
    Mourning Dove
    Black-billed Magpie

  6. #16

    Default Wyoming Bound

    Tuesday,September 2, 2015
    Start: Murray, UT
    End: BLM Point, near Fossil Butte NM, Kemmerer, WY

    We left Murray and headed up I-80, east-bound towards Park City. We stopped there for
    groceries and smashed pennies, before continuing to Coalville for a letterbox.

    Olympic Park - Park City, UT

    From there we stopped near Echo for a letterbox by the Pony Express Monument. This is near
    the intersection of I-80 and I-84.

    Pony Express Monument, Echo, UT

    From there we drove in a big circle. There are passport stamps at the rest area along I-80 at
    milepost 170, but only at the Westbound Rest Area. We drove old US 40, parallel to I-80, past
    the rest area and picked up I-80 Westbound at milepost 185. Besides the passport stamps there
    were a couple of letterboxes along that route. Luckily at milepost 169 we could get back heading
    East into Wyoming.

    We stopped at Fort Bridger State Historic Site to get the passport stamps for the four National
    Historic Trails that went through that area. The stamps had just been received and the ranger
    was glad to have people come in and use them. Luckily we got here today, by Friday the
    Mountain Man Rendezvous would be in full swing. This is probably the largest rendezvous for
    this group of re-enactors. Lots of vendors were setting up the tents. The locals told us to get out
    of town quick - that is what they do every year over Labor Day weekend. The buildings were
    interesting, and the museum had great displays explaining the trails that utilized this area for resupply.

    Fort Bridger SHS, WY

    We headed back NW to Kemmerer and Fossil Butte National Monument. They have a Senior
    Ranger program which receives a beautiful patch. We picked up our booklets and realized we
    would not have enough time to complete today. A ranger overheard us discussing local camping
    options and directed us to the NW corner of the monument, at the end of their Scenic Drive, to
    BLM land. We drove out there and set up for dry-camping. It was quiet, with never-ending
    views. Near dusk we were entertained by a small pocket gopher within feet of our chairs who
    kept popping his head out to nibble on grass.

    BLM - camp area

    Passport Stamps
    Mormon Pioneer NHT - Echo Canyon, UT
    California NHT - Echo Canyon, UT
    Pony Express NHT - Echo Canyon, UT
    Oregon National Historic Trail - Fort Bridger, WY
    Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail - Fort Bridger, WY
    Pony Express National Historic Trail - Fort Bridger, WY
    California National Historic Trail - Fort Bridger, WY
    Fossil Butte National Monument - Kemmerer, WY
    California National Historic Trail - Fossil Butte NM, WY
    Oregon Nat'l Historic Trail - MO, KS, NE, WY, ID, OR, WA

    Bonus Stamps
    W.A. Carter - Coffee - Ft. Bridger, WY
    Fort Bridger, WY - fort pictorial - Est. 1843
    Fossil Butte National Monument - Kemmerer 1972 Wyoming ( fossil fish pictorial in center)
    Fossil Butte National Monument - Prisoa. (Fossil pictorial)
    Fossil Butte National Monument - Heliobatus radians (fossil pictorial)

    Wildlife sightings
    Rock Squirrel
    Pocket Gopher

    American Crow
    Black-billed Magpie
    Mountain Bluebird
    Turkey Vulture
    Canada Geese

  7. #17

    Default North to Grand Teton National Park

    Thursday, September 3
    Start: BLM Point, near Fossil Buttes NM
    End: Gros Ventre campground (NPS), Grand Teton NP

    Our free night of camping out in the middle of nowhere worked out well. The wind died down for most of the night, picked up just before dawn. We were able to fix breakfast then head back towards the visitor center. We stopped at the picnic area and explored along the Nature Trail on the way down. Outside the visitor center is a very well done geologic timeline, it begins at the parking area and wraps around the outside of the visitor center. The spacing is to scale, identifying the history of life on earth, as well as the major geologic changes. A very nice display which puts in perspective our very minor amount of time here on Earth.

    Fossil Butte NM - Nature Trail

    Geologic Timeline outside visitor center

    At the visitor center we turned in our completed Senior Ranger booklets. A GeoCorp Intern checked them over, administered the oath and gave us the very attractive patch.

    Senior Ranger


    We drove back into Kemmerer on US 30, then headed north on US 189. It was a new route for
    us and very enjoyable. The drive along the Fontenelle Reservoir was scenic. We stopped for
    lunch in Big Piney at a Mexican restaurant, La Cabana, it was reasonably priced and tasty.
    Continuing north we joined up with US 191 for a very scenic drive into Hoback Junction and US
    89. From there we passed through Jackson; stopping for groceries and at the multi-agency
    visitor center on the north edge of town.

    We got a camping space at Gros Ventre campground, within Grand Teton National Park for 3 nights. This weekend is Labor Day so we wanted to secure a spot for several nights. None of the campsites are reservable within Grand Teton which makes it easier to show up and stake out a site. The best part of the day was finding out that they finally have Bear Boxes in this campground, not all of the sites, but quite a few. In the past every item related to food; even stoves and water bottles had to be put back in your vehicle every night. So it was nice to be able to store everything in the Bear Box when you will be in the same site for several days. It is the little things that make my day!

    Bear Box

    Bonus stamps
    National Elk Refuge - date - Jackson, WY
    National Elk Refuge-1912-2012 - Celebrating A Century
    National Elk Refuge - Jackson, Wyoming (elk pictorial)
    Elk pictorial

    Wildlife Sightings
    Least Chipmunk
    Uinta Ground Squirrel (very plump)
    White-tailed Prairie Dog

    American Robin
    Mountain Chickadee
    Great Blue Heron
    Brewer's Blackbird
    Red-tailed Hawk
    Mountain Bluebird
    Canada Geese
    White Pelican
    American Crow
    Northern Flicker
    Last edited by Pmount; 10-13-2015 at 09:00 AM.

  8. #18

    Default Grand Teton Nationa Park

    Friday, September 4
    Start & End : Gros Ventre Campground (NPS), Grand Teton National Park

    Rained off and on most of the night and some light showers just before we ventured out in the
    morning. Enjoyed a lazy morning in camp before heading to Moose and the main visitor center.
    After stopping there we took the Moose - Wilson Road to the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve,
    a section within Grand Teton NP. This land included summer homes of the Rockefeller's.
    Besides the visitor center there are trails leading up to a lake. There is limited parking, rangers
    are on hand to direct parking, at times waiting in line to park as spaces become available.
    Limited parking leads to reduced crowds. If you have ever spent time around Jenny Lake you
    appreciate the calmness at this section of the park, I do. The visitor center exhibits are
    spectacular, exceptional photography displayed beautifully.

    Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve - mini photo mural

    While there we started to hike the creek trail, but were turned back at the bridge crossing by
    park staff, due to a bear on the other side of the bridge. We walked a short distance up the other
    side before returning. Bear scat, some very fresh, was evident all along the trail. The ranger
    said the bears were concentrating on eating berries. We saw another bear alongside the road
    on our way back to a viewing area to eat lunch. Good reason to have bear boxes in the

    Bear on bridge

    Flowers along the trail

    We continued into the park to Jenny Lake and back to Lupine Meadows trailhead for short
    walks. As usual the crowds at Jenny Lake were overwhelming, we had to drive around the
    parking lot several times to find a parking space. The campground, tents only, routinely is filled
    by 9:30 each day. Besides hiking trails and boat rentals there is a boat that ferries visitors
    across the lake for trail access into the Tetons. Before returning to camp we stopped at Dornan's
    in Moose for a beer and snack and a spectacular view.

    Dornan's view

    Back at camp we enjoyed cloud watching - sometimes clear, sometimes white and puffy, and
    sometimes dark and stormy. Some thunder was heard in the distance.

    Passport Stamps
    Grand Teton National Park
    - Moose, WY
    - Jenny Lake, WY
    - LSR Preserve
    John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway

    Wildlife Sightings
    Black Bear
    Mule Deer
    Red Squirrel
    Least Chipmunk
    Uinta Ground Squirrel

    American Robin
    Common Raven
    Red-tailed Hawk
    Mourning Dove
    Black-billed Magpie
    Dark-eyed Junco
    Mountain Bluebird
    Northern Flicker

  9. #19

    Default Jackson & National Elk Refuge

    Saturday, September 5
    Start & End: Gros Ventre Campground

    Right after we went to sleep a strong thunderstorm with lots of lightning blew over us and
    dumped a lot of rain off and on all night long. We had already planned to go into Jackson for
    breakfast so the light rain in the morning didn't affect us. Others had the same idea, the few
    restaurants in Jackson that serve breakfast were very busy with wait times. We found a nice
    Mexican restaurant and enjoyed breakfast indoors and no crowd. The rest of the morning was
    spent doing chores; laundry, gas, shopping and library. We enjoyed a tasty lunch and fresh-brewed
    IPA at Snake River Brewing.

    After lunch the weather had cleared, but a cold front was settling in for the next few days. We
    spent the afternoon looking for some letterboxes in and around Jackson. Before leaving town
    we drove out to the Miller House on National Elk Refuge Rd. It is open from 10 - 4, and free.
    The house was built in 1898 by a couple from the MidWest who lived there 14 years before
    selling it to the National Elk Refuge, which was established in 1912. The first floor was restored
    a few years ago and volunteers are available to show you through the rooms. The view across
    the 'hole' to the Teton's was beautiful.

    Miller House

    View across National Elk Refuge

    We stopped by the side of the road to do some birdwatching along Flat Creek on the way back
    to camp. Before turning into camp we continued past Kelly and up to the Gros Ventre Slide Geological Area. This is a geologic event that occurred in 1925. The US Forest Service has interpretive signs and a trail. The drive up to the area along the Gros Ventre River is very scenic.

    Gros Ventre Slide

    Much cooler in camp, upper 50s, and predicting freezing temperature tonight. Just after dinner
    a bull and cow moose came into the campground, about 3 sites away. They were very
    unconcerned with the crowd taking their picture; they were busy thrashing the shrubbery for
    their dinner. Very impressive! Every time we have stayed at this campground we have
    encountered moose.

    Moose in Gros Ventre campground
    Bull moose

    Bull moose - silent bugle

    Bull & cow moose

    Budget at end of 2 weeks = $1000, or $500/week. This is below our usual $650/week budget.
    Even with eating out quite a bit, the lower cost of federal campgrounds, especially with the
    Golden Age pass, and not driving long distances has kept the costs lower.

    Bonus stamp
    Historic Miller Ranch - date - Jackson, WY

    Wildlife Sightings
    Moose - Bull and Cow
    Mule Deer
    Least Chipmunk

    Trumpeter Swan
    Eastern Kingbird
    Brewer's Blackbird
    American Robin
    American Coot
    Canada Geese
    Mountain Bluebird
    Common Raven
    Cliff Swallow
    Mountain Chickadee
    Last edited by Pmount; 10-15-2015 at 09:03 AM.

  10. #20

    Default Colter Bay (GTNP) and Continental Divide - WY

    Sunday, September 6
    Start: Gros Ventre Campground, Grand Teton NP
    End: Colter Bay Campground (NPS), Grand Teton NP

    Very cold night, woke to frost on the windows. We had planned for a cold morning by having to
    only heat water for coffee, tea and instant oatmeal. We were on the road by 8:30 heading up to
    Colter Bay. Even with it being Labor Day weekend it looked like we would be able to move
    campgrounds in the middle of the holiday weekend. We arrived by 10 AM and were assigned a
    very nice site, on an outer edge, with woods and the lake just below the site.

    Teton Range - heading north

    First order of business was passport stamps at the visitor center, then showers. The showers at
    Colter Bay are excellent. You pay in the laundromat and then enter the separate shower areas.
    Why are they wonderful - not timed, lots of hot water and tall shower heads! The current cost is
    $4.25. The only improvement they could make is more hooks - only a single hook - not double!
    There is a bench within the changing area.

    After fixing lunch we headed back put of the park along US 26 to Togwotee Pass, where the
    Continental Divide trail crosses. The Continental Divide Trail is considered the hardest of all the
    thru-hikes to do in the US. It stretches from The New Mexico-Mexico border up to the Montana-
    Canada border and follows the ridge of the Rocky Mountains for the majority of the route. Along
    this drive we found 2 letterboxes and spectacular views.

    On the way back we diverted off US 26 and followed the Turpin Meadow Loop which starts out as a well-graded gravel road on the east end and becomes paved down in the meadow and heading back to US 26, closer to Moran Junction. We were hoping to see some wildlife, but nothing out except the 2 legged variety when we got down in the meadow and passed several guest ranches.

    We drove back into the park and stopped at several pullouts to birdwatch. Today was sunny, but
    still cool. No rain and few clouds, probably reached 60 degrees. Back at camp we continued to
    birdwatch at our site.

    Passport stamps
    Grand Teton National Park - Colter Bay
    John D. Rockefeller, Jr. - Memorial Parkway

    Wildlife Sightings
    Least Chipmunk
    Red Squirrel

    Great Blue Heron
    Pine Siskin
    Yellow-rumped Warbler
    Swainson's Hawk
    Red-tailed Hawk
    Mountain Bluebird
    American Robin
    Common Raven
    Turkey Vulture
    Clark's Nutcracker
    Canada Geese
    Last edited by Pmount; 10-16-2015 at 02:37 PM. Reason: photo, links

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