Angel’s Palace Trail
High on the list of recommended places to visit along Utah Highway 12, is Kodachrome Basin State Park.
The basin opens to the south. The state has tucked a nice campground up in its northern end.
The visitor’s center was closed but camping and exploring were still options. It was a Sunday afternoon when Liddy and I arrived.
We chose to walk the Angel’s Palace Trail.
This is an easy 1.5-mile loop trail which is loosely signed so it’s hard to stay on it. There are lots of tracks across the bench.
Kodachrome Basin Gargoyle
You enter the trail through a narrow ravine. A steep climb puts you on the plateau where this rock formation is prominent. My first thought was vulture, but then I strayed off to monsters and demons. This could well inspire a legend of a petrified super vulture, wings wrapped around it, captured in stone. Its waiting for the right person to come by and release it.
This wide shot with the skeletons of trees lying about adds to this story. Imagine a blood red sunset above. Could be quite the capture.
I Am Gonna Grow Here!
The position of this bush on a cone of sand, with a red cliff behind it. What a miserable place to exist. The summer sun beating down and reflecting off of the wall. Incredible what nature does to keep going.
The way this are formed, there must have been a lot of pressure forcing the sand in different ways as it turned to stone. Then water and wind has shaped that starting point into weird and wonderful formations.
I first saw a fat face in this formation. A friend said a cat. Looking at it now, I see a couple of fish or snakes.
Even the plant life gets into the act. On a dark and stormy night, this juniper could certainly pass for a minion of some dark lord.
Kodachrome Goblin Choir
Every time I look at this shot, I see the faces of goblins. The heavy eyebrows above the shadowy eyes.
And then, the conductor of the choir is this juniper bush, leaning in to urge them on.
No face, just a big nose
Gnarly Juniper Bush
What caught my eye here was the root on the ground. I like the way it curls, bringing the eye up, around and into the tree where the dark green stands out against the stark red rock and sand. It had rained earlier in the day, hence the dark patch of sand.
Looking at it now, I see the tuft of grass at the bottom as a distraction, drawing my eye away from the bush which is my main subject. – to clone, or not to clone?
Lower Calf Creek
From Kodachrome Basin, we continued along Utah 12 towards Arches. It was getting late and I was looking for a place where we could pull off the road and camp for the night. Consulting the Atlas and other maps I had, I tried a track that lead off away from the highway. A promising spot near the edge of the ridge the highway follows looked good. Drove the Prius up, over a small rise and down towards the spot. Did I mention the Prius doesn’t have a lot of clearance? No, I didn’t get stuck, but it did give me pause. If it rains during the night, this sand track turns into a muck bowel. Decided it was not a clever idea.
A few minutes later, as we were rapidly descending, this view of the Lower Calf Creek appeared. Good thing there is a pull out because it is stunning!
Directly below is the Escalante River. After crossing, the highway follows Lower Calf Creek and climbs up again finding its way out of the canyon.
We descended to the recreation area just up the road where we spend the night, and then enjoyed a wonderful hike up stream to Lower Calf Creek Falls.
But that’s’ another moment.