Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Cedar Breaks National Monument and Back to Las Vegas

Today was the last day of my vacation. Zeke's flight left out of Las Vegas, only a few hours away, and not until 7pm, so we had time to do more exploring today.

I found that if we took a not-too-circuitous route, I could drive us through another National Monument; this one called Cedar Breaks.
It was incorrectly named 'Cedar' because of the many fir trees, and (I didn't know this) 'Breaks', which means a place that's mostly uninhabitable.  Like "badlands".

But it was another breathtaking place. The elevation was incredible. At one point we were standing at over 10,400 feet. And the weather was oddly cold, as it was 59 degrees up there with a brisk wind.
When we first got there, some park rangers asked us if we wanted to look at the sun. They were standing near two big telescopes. I said "Sure!"
The first scope was set to show if there were any sun spots. But today there weren't any so I saw the sun as a clean yellow ball.
The second scope was showing solar flares. I saw a few of them. They are as big as the earth and last for a few hours, so you can figure out how fast they must be traveling, even though to my eye they seemed perfectly still. 
There was also a station where we could fill our water bottles with Cedar Breaks spring water, so I filled up my four gallon jugs with VERY cold fresh spring water. 

Then we moved to the guardrail where we could see the canyon. 
The views were vast, colorful and unspoiled.



 River was on top of the world and I wanted to see if I could hear his bark echoing in the canyons. But the wind was too powerful.
It also happened to be the perfect time of year for fans of flowers as they were in bloom and signs said it was the Wildflower Festival.  We tried to take some pictures of them but they didn't come out very good.



"Wow! That's far down!"

After getting our fill of the six mile scenic drive and four overlooks, we left Cedar Breaks and headed for the Las Vegas airport. 
As we got lower in altitude the thermometer rose. We went from 59º at 10,000 feet to 105º at sea level. 
On the way, we stopped in Cedar City and ate at Hermie's Drive-In. 
Here I had my third bad burger in a row. 

It was sad to drop Zeke off at the airport and head onto Motel 6 with the passenger seat empty. River and I will continue our journey on Route 66 tomorrow and I'll be back to teaching Nia in a few more days. 

Thank you Zeke for a wonderful vacation and thank you Utah for such an amazing few days of sights. 


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