Friday, June 23, 2017

Utah: Rim Trail and Scenic Byway 12

We had plans to visit several of the views on Rim Trail today, but when we got there, it was already quite hot out, and between the heat, the altitude (8.015 feet), and sleeping on the World's Most Springy Mattress at our hotel, we were just not up for lots of exertion today, so we hung out at Sunrise Point.
one of the views from the Rim Trail

Since apparently we were too enfeebled to do even the easier walks today, we decided to explore Scenic Byway 12, is a state highway designated an All-American Road that runs west from Panguitch for 122 miles. We went slightly out of our way to visit Kodakchrome Basin State Park, which was not so much a destination as a surprise to come across. We didn't stay long - enough to pull over and take some pictures - but it was full of sage brush and was quiet.

sage brush in Kodakchrome Basin Sate Park

We got ourselves back to Route 12 and continued west about 17 miles before we came to the Blues / Powell Point Overlook. The Blues Overlook sits across the pink limestone ledges of Powell Point, which rises to an elevation of 10,188 feet, and above “The Blues,” a badland of gray-green shales deposited 80 million years ago when the area was covered by an inland ocean. Powell Point was named after John Wesley Powell, who led expeditions in the late 1800s to map this region (in 1871,  this region was part of the last uncharted territory in the continental United States). Hidden within the slopes of “The Blues” is one of the best and most continuous records of Late Cretaceous life on the planet. Powell Point reviews the topmost layer of the Colorado Plateau's Grand Staircase.

Below our feet was the Kaiparowits Formation, sedimentary rock layers that lie atop the most continue record of Late Cretaceous life. 40-foot long crocodiles, rhinoceros-like horned dinosaurs, tyrannosaurs, and velociraptors lived here. More than a hundred species of vertebrates have been unearthed.
the view from Powell Point Overlook

Our last stop of the day was a further ten miles west: the Upper Valley Graineries of the Puebloans. The granary was made from sandstone, like the cliff around it, and it was used as a food storage facility. 

The granary is easy to miss, but if you look near the top of
the cliff, there's an oval in the middle.

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