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May 6, 2021 By Dick Feaster & Dick Lubman

Our Southwest Travel Adventure, Part Four

Two Paradise Valley Estates residents took a two-week driving tour of several national and state parks in October 2020. They covered Utah, Arizona and California on their trip. In this series, they share some of their pictures, relate impressions of each park, observations about traveling in the age of COVID and some of the interesting people they met along the way. Read their first, second and third posts in the series.

Staying at the yurt for two nights, we were supplied with MREs by Marilyn Byington before we left. She apparently was worried that we would starve to death. Being experienced military troops, we called her to find the best way to prepare them. Yes, we had cell phone reception. By the way, MREs are MEAL, READY-TO-EAT. (Editor’s Note: Much better than the old K-rations.)

Off we went from our yurt to Capitol Reef National Park where we bought some jam at the local store. The hardy Mormons that settled here turned the land into a productive orchard and farming area. Ever mindful of our “minor” navigational error in Nevada we found a road on which we knew we could not get lost; it went in a loop. Leaving Capitol Reef, we continued on to Torrey, Utah for the evening.

There, people were more attentive to face coverings and spacing. We were up early the next morning to drive to Bryce Canyon. The Aspen trees changing colors made us stop many times to take in the views. Lubman was driving in a very scenic area and it had been at least two hours since we’d had any coffee. All of a sudden, we rounded a turn and “lo and behold” there was a coffee house in the middle of nowhere (we thought): the Kiva Kottage. Making a quick right turn into the parking lot we found great views and many people who knew about the place. We had a delightful time chatting with a fellow whose father was a retired Air Force officer. He knew the area well and told us about some great hiking trails in the area. We finished up with some good coffee, a ginger cookie, and continued our adventure.

Arriving at Bryce Canyon, we were greeted by “little men” called Hoodoos standing on top of columns of colored rocks. Here we saw fantastic colored striations in the stone. On our way via Hwy 89, we did not miss the turn off to Highway 143 to take us to Cedar Breaks National Monument. Shortly after joining 143, we saw a sign that made us wonder if word had gotten out about our navigational skills. It said, “This is Not Hwy 89.” We had never seen a sign like that before. At Cedar Breaks we read about how the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) “put young men to work improving and restoring many public lands.” The single men were from 18 to 25 and “could enlist in this peacetime army. In exchange for hard work, they received a roof over their heads and three meals a day. They also had the opportunity to learn trades and complete high school.” Many of their projects still exist and are in use today.

Tomorrow, we head to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Today, we will leave you hanging over the cliffs at Cedar Breaks until the next episode.

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