Christmas Day Photo Trip 

 December 26, 2012

By  Jana Hassett

We ventured off on our usual Christmas Day Adventure.  The backroads were mucky from the melted snow and 24° wasn’t inviting to hike, so we took a little road trip.  It was surprising how many foks were stopped at Head of the Rocks with us.  From 4 different countries and 4 nationalities.  It was pretty much a picture of the population that travels through the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument on an annual basis.  Most visitors are overseas residents with 33% from Germany, 30+% from Europe and the rest Americans.

The view of the snow-capped Henrie Mountains was as crisp and clear as you can ever see them.  The winter days are usually wonderful for clean air and blue skies.  We stopped for a bite to eat overlooking the grand Staircase.  At 8,000′ we expected more snow.  The roads were good and the plows were out cleaning up the wind drifts from the previous nights wind storm.  The storms that come down from the North bring winds and rain/snow to the mountain tops, but rarely to the valley floors.  When the storms come in from the south we can get a great deal of snow on the valley floors.

Just past Mile Post 103 on Utah Scenic Byway 12, there’s a clear view of the Henrie Mountains and the outer cliffs of Capitol Reef National Park.  Their Vermillion walls stand in start contrast to the snow-filled crevices of the surrounding formations.  As the day passes the clear skies revert to brown, the Aspen Grove shadows stretch a long ways across snow-covered meadows, and the temperature begins to fall.  Time to go home.

Hoping your Christmas was full of joy and peace.


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