|Today we drove Scenic Byway Hwy 12 between the towns of Torrey & Boulder. This Byway weaves in and out of Dixie National Forest & provides a backdrop for much of the byway's length, as it reaches its highest point of 11,322 feet at Blue Bell Knoll on Boulder Mountain. Dixie National Forest at almost two million acres and stretching from east to west for approximately 170 miles across southern Utah, is the state's largest national forest. As it winds along the east flanks of Boulder Mountain, the Byway climbed to an altitude of 9266 feet today & offered breathtaking views of the rugged, rainbow-hued landscape stretching out below us. Homestead Overlook provided a dramatic panoramic view of the five peaks of the Henry Mountains to the east, the magenta wedge of the Waterpocket Fold below and the striated face of the Kaiparowits Plateau to the west. Above & below the overlook were thick groves of quaking aspen. We managed to spot a couple of pretty little deer grazing in the grove on our way up & one very pregnant doe on our way back down the mountain. In addition to the aspen the highway is a landscape of pine, spruce & fir. Beautiful!
After numerous stops to take in all of the beauty we eventually arrived in Boulder. Boulder Town was long known as the “last frontier in Utah,” and for good reason—the high-elevation settlement was so isolated that, until 1935, mail was delivered by horseback rider and fresh milk was delivered by mules to the nearby town of Escalante. That milk often turned into butter on the rough routes over slickrock! First settled in 1894, the town was named for the volcanic boulders scattered across the slopes of nearby Boulder Mountain. A different look than both the Torrey & Capitol Reef areas. We stopped at the Boulder Mesa Restaurant and enjoyed a very good lunch before heading back home for the day.
The winds were very high today, making it a bit difficult at the scenic overlooks, but we managed not to blow over the edge! And, they haven't had much success controlling the forest fires I mentioned in my last post, so the air quality is not very clear. Also, there weren't nearly enough puffy white clouds for my liking today lol, but it was truly beautiful nevertheless. It did seem to get clearer as we got closer to Torrey & we made our way another 4 miles or so to Bicknell in order to fuel up. Diesel is cheaper there and we're heading out in the morning, destination Moab, Utah. We plan to visit Arches National Park next. So, that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by...