Kaleidoscope of Color Mystery Walk

Trip Start Oct 10, 2012
Trip End Oct 26, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ever since we started researching this Adventure, we've been hearing about the charms of Highway 12, the first road in Utah to receive the designation of an "All American Road". Last night, we got our first taste of Highway 12 driving across Boulder Mountain through the Dixie National Forest during the last hours of daylight (this is where we got yesterday’s photos of the mule deer walking through the aspen forest).

This morning, we backtracked a few miles to check out a hiking trail about which we’ve heard good things. It’s not in a national park, and it doesn’t get a lot of press, but this turned out to be one of the most engaging nature walks we’ve ever included in a walking adventure.

Throughout this scouting trip, I’ve felt a growing appreciation for the uniqueness of the Utah geology and a rising appreciation for the diversity of its history and culture. On today’s walk, I was inspired by the colors of the trail, particularly the foliage, and feel fully justified in coining a new tagline for this Adventure: “Unforgettable Utah, a Kaleidoscope of Color”.

The Colorado Plateau reaches from western Colorado through southern Utah and into northern Arizona and northwest Utah, a “staircase” of colorful plateaus and canyons revealing a full geological cross section of several thousand vertical feet of the planet’s history, and a spectrum of mineral color that defies the imagination. In this way, Utah is a kaleidoscope of color.

Human history is an area where a casual observer might think Utah’s story is a quiet one. But we were intrigued by the interplay of ancient and recent Native American cultures: prehistoric Fremont Indians about which we know so little; Anasazi puebloans, many centuries back on the archeological timeline, yet leaving their petroglyphs and pictographs on many a seemingly inaccessible canyon wall; Paiute and Ute tribes who ranged throughout this area and from which the state “Utah” derives its name; and Navajo, largest tribe now resident in the United States with a nation of over 300,000. In this way too, Utah is a kaleidoscope of color.

Today’s walk, however, took us to a zenith in the colors of Utah flora. Yes, we expected the trees to be in color, but were surprised by the brilliance of the yellows. We were impressed as well with the myriad shades of green and gray in the coniferous trees and the seasonal bushes. Gambel oak trees sported variegated leaves of brown, red, green, and orange. Wildflowers we thought should have been finished weeks ago were showing off brilliant hues. We’ve found a new state of the USA to explore during “fall foliage” season.

On today’s mystery walk (location to be revealed on tour), the waterfall at the trail turnaround was the cherry atop this feast for the eyes.

So don’t be surprised if we start calling this tour: “Unforgettable Utah, Kaleidoscope of Color”!
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andreatravels on

Amazing, Dan--those golds definitely rival the reds of a New England fall--they almost seem to glow from within.

Alice Wilhelm on

Beautiful! The deep blue sky is a great contrast too!

friesendm on

Yup - amazing piece of creation!

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