Ahh yes, part 4, the final entry in this epic tale of rather mundane exploration in the land of Utah. After several days of exciting walkabouts, we only had a couple shorter trails that were recommended by the lodge’s staff left to do. The mossy cave (which was not really a cave), the Willis Creek narrows and the Petrified Forest.
The Mossy cave is not the most exciting thing in the region but I would say it is worth stopping over. It is a simple trail and can serve as a good warm up for the rest of the day. There are some nice sights to see especially if you did not took the effort of going down in Bryce canyon. The titular Mossy cave is not all that impressive and not some much a cave and more a small overhang. It is mossy for sure. There is not a lot of space at the parking lot so I would recommend stopping early in the day.
Now there is something I do have to complain about and that is people going off trail. It is stupid and incredibly dangerous. If you don’t want to end up as another statistic for death in national parks, for your own sake, stay on the trails! There were a couple idiots that decided to go off trail and they were probably closer to killing themselves than they ever realized. They were one wrong step away from tripping and falling to their demise… If you ever encounter people like that, report them to park rangers, for their own sake.
Enough of stupid people, let’s continue our adventures with probably one of my favorite trail that we did during the trip. There are a number of creeks/Slot canyons in Escalante that you can hike but we were recommended the Willis creek. The trail is only accessible by driving a dirt road for several miles, I would recommend having a decent off road vehicle. Our rental SUV proved itself quite capable in this case. The bumpy roads make for a fun but occasionally scary ride.
The trail itself is essentially the river bed itself, so do make sure that there is no risk of flash floods before entering the slot canyon. The trail is really cool, mostly in the shade and entirely flat! The canyons do get narrow enough for you to be able to put one hand on both walls, hence the name slot canyon. If you know people that are interested in geology, you also get some very interesting patterns in the rock formation where you can see the different layers of rock come together and slid past one another.
And to wrap up the day, we ended up going to the Escalante Petrified Forest. It’s a smaller national monument a bit further east of Bryce on road 12. There is a few camping spot and a big reservoir (maybe that where everyone uses their boats?) but the interesting part is the one trail they have where you can see the titular petrified wood. Wood can petrify in similar ways that dinosaur bones do. If the conditions are right, in this case it would be a humid and swampy jungle, when tree become buried under sediment, mineral seep into the tree and crystallize, replacing the inside of the tree. On the outside of the petrified tree, it looks and feels like tree bark, but the inside is pure mineral with funky blue and purple colors.
There is also a bit of an urban legend going around the place. Supposedly, taking a piece of a petrified tree out of the park will bring bad luck and people actually mail the peaces back! The office where you pay the entry fee has a cabinet with letters on display! I am not a superstitious person but I believe in preserving nature. If everyone walked away with a piece, eventually their would nothing left to see, and that would be sad.
That is about it for this vacation write up / travel blog. I wish I could say that there is more on the way but sadly I am all out of Vacation for the rest of the Year… Yup, I only got 10 days of paid vacation and I used it all already! Between the big trip in Florida in January for My sister’s birthday and this, I think It was worthy it. We are already tossing Ideas for what big trips we could do next year but nothing quite set yet. Hawaii could make a return, I really liked that place…