Friday, June 29, 2012

Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks (Panguitch, Utah)

Our volunteer location is the Red Canyon Visitor Center located in the Dixie National Forest. We've been here about 12 days. I mentioned previously that our site was just ugly!

Caution:  Objects are closer than they appear!!

It's in a Forest Service Maintenance Yard/Work Center.

 So I cleaned up the site.  I did some weed eating and created a little sitting area behind our camper.

We have a cute little shade tree back there and an enormous number of hummingbirds.  Sitting out back they are frequently within arms reach and really make quite a racket between their fluttering wings and a mouse like chirp. They're nearly a hazard, but wonderful to watch.


There was a possibility that we could have moved to a more scenic location about 10 miles east of the Red Canyon Visitor Center.  We are currently 10 miles west of the Center.  We decided to stay here.  There are pros and cons to both locations.  It's questionable whether we could even fit in the more scenic site.  Plus, it's 20 miles from town.  Here, we can easily walk to town.  We also have free laundry and ice - yippee. 

The first week here we worked Monday through Friday, four hours a day, at the Visitor Center.  It was great fun and we learned a lot of great info.  We were then off for 3 days.  This past Tuesday I met with the Forest Service folks to discuss our future role here.  It appears that our work obligation will primarily be me doing maintenance stuff.  Debbie and I will fill in at the Visitor Center some but for now our schedule is largely up to us.   Between Tuesday and Wednesday I spent about 13 hours sanding, scraping and rebuilding some picnic tables here at the maintenance yard.

Yesterday Debbie and I painted them.  We are now enjoying four days off.

Since being here we've played tourist for our own enjoyment and to educate ourselves in order to be helpful at the Visitor Center.  The highlight of the area is Bryce Canyon National Park. 

Saturday we spent the day there doing things that the average tourist might do. We rode the shuttle, then drove the entire length of the park. We checked out at all the scenic overlooks  and generally got the lay of the land.

We love Bristlecone pine trees!

At Black Birch Canyon Debbie had a great encounter with one, then a pair of  fearless ravens.  She was as close as a foot away and neither of them moved.

Next on our Bryce agenda will be to go back (repeatedly) to do some of the hikes.  As you can hopefully tell from the photos, it is a spectacular site!

Sunday we drove west to Cedar Breaks National Monument.

It's similar to Bryce but on a much smaller scale. 

We did a four mile round-trip hike to Spectra Point and Ramparts Overlook which included some exposed cliffs that made Debbie nervous.  She did enjoy the wildflowers though.  We also saw a very cool tree.


What a cute face!!!

We then went to the big city of Cedar City.  It has the closest Walmart to us (about 70 miles away)and there's a Home Depot in the same shopping center.  Plus there's a wonderful Mexican restaurant across the street.  We then hustled home to the dogs.  They are always so pleased to see us.  That's nice!!  Monday we chilled.

It's great fun getting to know a new area.  The local town is Panguitch (pronounced Pang witch). I think there may be 1500 residents here and it's not a particularly prosperous town. There is little traffic, very wide streets and easy to walk. There's one small local grocery store,  a True-Value Hardware and a Drugstore where you can surprisingly find just about anything you "need". Over the weekend they had a much publicized hot air balloon festival that was to include 35+ balloons.  Frankly it was kind of a bust.  In all fairness it was very windy.  Thus far, it's almost always windy.  Friday night we walked downtown to watch some of the festival free entertainment.  It was "unique."  For me the star was an eight year old bass player in a "rock" band .  Saturday's "mass ascension" didn't happen

Only two balloons even attempted to inflate on Saturday morning
and Saturday evening's balloon glow included 6 balloons.  For some reason they never glowed all at the same time so some of the effect was lost.

 This isn't Albuquergue.  Sunday morning's "mass ascension" included the sporadic launching of maybe 6 balloons.  Lets just say the whole effort was cute?!

We're pleased about being here. The whole routine is very laid back and it's a great area to explore. During the day the temps are mid 80's to low 90's with no humidity so it only feels slightly warmish.  At night it's sleep under the blanket cool and the day is slow to warm.  All and all very pleasant!