Valley of a Thousand Haystacks, Montana.
Rugged cliffs along the Logan Pass
Jagged peaks define the views of Logan Pass.
Limber Pine Natural Trail
2,560 year old Limber Pine
(or is it 560 years old?)
Sneak peak at Bear Lake
The view of Bear Lake opens up before us.
Shore of Bear Lake, Utah
Bear Lake Marina
Fresh raspberries in the Cache Valley.
Classic Utah rock formations line the road.
The Nebo Loop Scenic Byway.
Tiny Devil's Kitchen rock formation.
A motorcycle rally greets us at Mt. Nebo
It's great to be alive!
The bikes roar off, and then silence.
Nebo Scenic Loop Drive.
Cedar City Balloon Festival
Bike path in Cedar City, UT
Sunset at Cedar City, UT
Logan Pass, Bear Lake, Mt. Nebo, & Cedar City, Utah
Mid-September, 2009 - We left Helmville, Montana and turned south,
with the ultimate destination of Las Vegas in mind. On our way we
passed many wonderful sights. First was the surprise of finding
ourselves in the Valley of a Thousand Haystacks. All across the country
we have seen one farm field after another strewn with hay bales, and at
our friend Carl's ranch in Montana I had sat in a modern hay baler. This
amazing machine transforms growing grasses into perfectly tied hay
bales, all at the push of a button. As the driver sits in air conditioned
comfort, the electronic readout keeps him posted on the progress of each
bale as it is tied and wrapped and dropped off in the wake of the vehicle.
So I had forgotten that hay used to be stored in haystacks. Yet here they
were, for miles, huge haystacks on either side of the road.
North of Salt
Lake City, Utah, we took a detour and packed a picnic for the gorgeous
scenic drive that crosses Logan Pass to Bear Lake. This winding road
passes between towering, craggy cliffs.
Near the summit we hiked the short Limber Pine Nature Trail.
Following a soft path of pine needles, we came across a very old tree.
The sign at the start of the trail (and in the brochures of the area)
claimed this tree was 2,560 yeras old. The trunk was thick and gnarled
and inviting, so we climbed up. But the sign in front of the tree said it
was just 560 years old. The sign hadn't simply lost a "2." It was
actually printed that way.
Well, whether it germinated
during the rise of ancient Greece
or some 2,000 years later during the burgeoning the
Renaissance, it was a stately tree.
This hike gave us the first glimpse of Utah's
"Caribbean," the shores of Bear Lake. Descending
on the road, the view of the lake expanded.
The water was a pretty shade, and there were boats
of all kinds bobbing in the marina.
As we crossed the Cache Valley on our return, we saw many farm
stands selling fresh raspberries. What fun to stop and sample different
varieties. One type was softer and sweeter, and another was lighter in color and firmer.
We thought we were being indulgent when we bought a large box, but the lady behind us
bought an entire flat!
Further south, we stopped for a few days in
Nephi, Utah and drove the scenic Mt. Nebo Loop.
This forty mile drive took us on another beautiful
winding road into the mountains. Back in the land
of red rocks, we walked out into Devil's Kitchen, a
small gathering of bright orange hoodoos that
looks like it was lifted out of Bryce Canyon.
It was a Sunday, and when we pulled into the
large Mt. Nebo lookout area we could barely find
a place to park because it was teeming with
motorcycles. A local motorcycle club was out on
a Sunday drive and they were taking a breather at this
stunning stop. We wandered among the bikes and
chatted with the riders. Riding a bike seemed to be the
best way to do this loop. We saw a
cyclist too, but getting from 6,000 feet
at one end of this drive to over 9,000
feet in the middle seemed really
challenging, and the descents were
narrow and twisting.
Continuing our trek towards Las
Vegas, we stopped briefly in Cedar
City ("Festival City") as well. We had
fallen in love with this town the
previous year when we arrived just in
time for the Western Rodeo Days
(see our experiences at What's it
Like?). We missed that this year but
got to see some of the Balloon
We took our bikes out on the paved
bike path and descended down into
the expansive farmlands where flat
roads wander between farm fields
A pretty sunset over the
strange lighthouse that
marks the southern end of
Cedar City capped off a nice,
though brief, jaunt down I-15
in Utah. Las Vegas hung
just over the horizon.