Rest day – drive to Escalante along the Devils Backbone. View from Boulder end West
When we were staying in Bryce a couple of people at the campground mentioned how great Scenic Drive 12 between Boulder and Escalante was. Capitol Reef is on the far side of Boulder mountain and we decided that a day in air con comfort doing a scenic drive would be ideal given the week was hotting up.
Did a get up and go, with only a cup of tea, and had our breakfast at an overlook half way up Boulder Mountain. Great sitting on some rocks overlooking the plains below with our cup of coffee and bowl of fruit, just enjoying the environment. As we continued the drive the ponderosa pine forest gave way to a mix of pine and aspens the higher we went – this was beautiful in the morning sun with the aspens towering above the pines in sections and glinting in the sunlight- palong with broad high meadows being grazed by free range (in the true sense of the word) cattle. On our way back later that afternoon a lone cowboy (on his horse) was herding cows and their calf’s up the mountain road to get to the greener summer pastures. Should have taken a photo but just have the memory in our mind.
The other nice thing on our return journey was having a cup of tea in the woods at the forest station picnic tables watching the humming birds drink out of the sugar water feeders, ‘fighting’ each other off for space and generally providing us with a gorgeous spectacle. One of the birds I saw had a bright pink feathered neck collar, others were iridescent green.
Back to our drive. The route from Boulder over the Devils Backbone was a complete surprise. It started off climbing up to a fairly wide plateau which became curvier and narrower and narrower until at one point there was only room for a narrow 2 lane road (no hard shoulder) with steep drop offs either side. Fantastic views down the sides onto the rock carved canyons and gullies below, absent of much vegetation except where the rivers ran through the valley floors either side. The drive down from the summit plateau to Escalante was fantastic, twists and turns with different vistas and rock formations, all a multitude of colours due to the different deposits laid down over a millennia. One thing we learnt at the visitor centre is that the sandstone tends to start as one colour (a pinkish colour) however over time as the iron is leached out it changes colour and ends up a very pale cream in places. This iron also gets extruded as iron pebbles/ stones. Fascinating.
At this was a chill day we had lunch at a great cafe in Escalante. Mounds of salad and a platter of tasting meats. Perfect. Liked it so much I bought Mike a T shirt (early b day pressie) to remind us of a great day out.
Click on the play button below for a video of our drive down the Devils Backbone towards Escalante and below that a compilation of photos
Compilation of photos, click play to view