July 7, 2011
Destination today…Pine Lake. Pine Lake is a small lake up the mountains north of the Bryce Canyon entrance located on Hwy 22. I read quite about this hidden gem and very eager to take a peak. The weather however seemed to have other ideas. As we start north on Hwy 22 the skies start turning to an ominous grey/green tone. We tell each other it is just a summer storm…..it will pass…just wait and see. As we near the turn off onto Pine Lake Road I start to have second thoughts. The clouds are not moving on but rather gathering, brewing and looking down right angry. Andrew reassures me once again there is nothing to worry about. Two miles in and the rain starts. I am beginning to grip the door…my seat…anything to reassure myself that we will be okay. We dodge potholes filled with water and mud…we pass a vehicle that has just pulled itself out of quite a bind it seems….yet we still trudge on. The rain quickly becomes a downpour and even with our windshield wipers we were having a hard time seeing out the window. I keep questioning do we really want to continue…employing how bad it is getting. Andrew insists it will stop and we will be glad we continued our journey…besides we have come this far. Then the heavens opened up full force and hail the size of cherry tomatoes began pulverizing our truck. I guess it was this that finally had us to our senses and realizing that it was now the time to turn tail and run before it became too late. I don’t know how we made it back to the road without a mishap. We passed two vehicles, one coming and one leaving, that both seemed to find just the right spot to catch the tire…slinging mud but not able to budge. We wanted to stop and help but dared not unless find ourselves in the same situation. Racing back towards concrete we felt a sense of urgency. The ditch beside us was quickly filling up. Flash floods are not uncommon in these parts and I envisioned us suddenly overcome with water. As our front tires hit blacktop a sense of relief hit both of us but was quickly gone as we realized we still needed to get a move out of the area. Water by nature travels in a downward motion. Right now we were located smack in the middle of that movement. The road was quickly being taken over by the flow of water as the ditch burst its banks. We drove a few more miles north (as this is the direction the water was coming from and therefore eventually would lead to a point high enough to be of no threat) before finally stopping and taking in what just happened. Looking back we could no longer see the mountain. It was engulfed in a mass of deep angry grey nothingness.
With the worst staying on the mountain we take a moment to dig our nails back out of the dash and take a moment to breath again. Shyla is feeling much better today and decides it is a good time to investigate what all the raised vibes was about. Everything is wet and there is a sense of renewed energy in the air. The earth, soil, plants…all take on new colors.
Further down the hwy the road began a descend into a canyon that reminded me more of something that would be seen possibly in sheep country than in Utah. The ground was hobbled in rocks and as we turn the final corner we discover an old abandoned grain storage of some sort. The deep rust red color of the wood was in contrast to the grey earth around it. Across the street the remains of a small storage building of sorts could be seen. We wondered about the history of these two buildings. The stories they could probably tell if anyone was listening.
We continue driving heading east on Hwy 62 near Otter Creek Reservoir. Otter Creek is known for great fishing. It has camping but sites are very close together and very open. Ideal for anyone wanting to be out in the boat all day but for relaxing at their site. It is very overcast and taking pictures with the fantastic cloud coverage is a must. This entire stretch of road that spans Hwy 62 then connecting to Hwy 24 affords an abundance of photographic opportunities.
Along Hwy 24 we make a stop in Torrey, Ut for a bit of ice cream. Torrey is a very small community of approximately 170 people but unlike many small towns is absolutely picture perfect like out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The diner is fashioned after something from Happy Days with tall tables and bar stools. With our taste buds satisfied we locate a gas pump but found it to be a little too light in octane for our likings as Andrew demonstrates the handle with no hose attached. Now that’s called not leaving a footprint on the Earth. Wonder if someone read the “Emperors Clothes” one too many times?
Our journey takes us to the outskirts of Capital Reef National Park to Fruita. This land was originally settled in the late 1800’s by the Mormons. The community thrived with all types of fruit trees well until almost 1940 when the last of the private lands were purchased by the government to be merged into the national parks lands. The fruit trees are still maintained and even though it was not yet picking season a few trees here and there gave up their precious produce with a thud in which we quickly picked up and sampled. The trees are also popular for the local deer and several were seen lounging in the tall grasses or grazing on the fruit.
To Be Continued….