Today was my day for whipping through Utah as quickly as possible, to catch up the extra time I spent in Devil's Tower, Yellowstone, and Grand Tetons. It is a very scenic state -- not at all the Nevada-esque blasted heath that I had imagined -- but I made no photo stops, only took pictures at dog potty stops if there was anything worth taking a picture of. And those were few and far between, because Utah does not have regular rest areas on their highways, they make you stop at service stations if you need to go. The outstanding exception was Bear Lake, on a completely deserted state highway, where I could let my dogs run free (except for Shady of course) and take care of nature.
I avoided Salt Lake by going down Heber Valley, since a friend in the know told me that Salt Lake's freeways are a horrible snarled mess from construction. I stayed on US highways rather than interstate most of the way. Up in the northeastern corner, early in the morning, it was travelling at its best; a slim ribbon of asphalt winding away through beautiful country, with not another car on it to aggravate me. Below Nephi though State 28/US 89 was rather trafficy, including big trucks, but was still more scenic than the Interstate would have been.
The highlight of the day was Bryce Canyon. I made such good time with the driving that I was able to squeeze in a brief visit. The brilliant colors of the wildly eroded rocks are absolutely shocking played against the forest greens. I only looked at half the park, since I had a lot of miles to cover before reaching my motel, but it is really unique and very colorful.
At one of the overlooks there were a couple of incredibly tame chipmunks! They would run up to you and stand up against your leg, begging; if you had something they really
wanted they would follow you back to your car (the woman with macadamia nuts); and they take the food right out of your hand. Quite forcibly!
I offered one of my baby carrots, figuring the chipmunk might like a bite or two of it; he grabbed hold of it and yanked it right out of my hand, then retreated a few feet and sat there munching down the whole carrot -- which was about a fourth as big as the chipmunk!
Then when I offered him another carrot, he came over, inspected but rejected the carrot, then carefully checked each of my fingers looking for "dessert". (Bet he was hoping for more macadamia nuts.) Of course it was against park rules to feed these guys, but you better believe not a single person obeyed that rule.