The petrified forest of Escalante
In the heart of Utah, on the legendary Route 12, we find, thanks to Kari and Ulla, the small Escalante State Park. We set camp at the pretty site, mainly occupied by Europeans, and immediately jump into the inviting lake.
The place turns out to be paradise on earth. Escalante means, in a very free religious and spiritual translation, that there is a ladder here leading straight to heaven. Indeed, we do experience a few deep and heavenly moments.
We befriend three families and are happy to experience once more that friendship has no boundaries and can grow even when our lives and views differ widely.
Another great personality of Escalante is the “Rock Man” Scott. He has been collecting rocks since childhood and has made his hobby into a career. Lenny, our small geologist cannot get enough of Scott’s shop (by the way, Scott will deliver his gemstones abroad!).
Five days we stay on the edge of the Escalante Petrified Forest. 5.5 million tons of petrified wood – all in gorgeous colors – can be admired in the park.
Fungus and algae grow on the rocks of the area, forming a colorful moss-like fur. The fungus protects the algae and the algae produce food for the fungus. The symbiotic relationship is perfect and in many cases thousands of years old.
Katie, Ryan and their son Jaxon take us to see old rock paintings from the local Indian tribe. The impressive art tells of a good hunt; the figures are painted with a mixture of blood and berry juice and have survived hundreds of years.
With the three families, we make a trip to the dinosaur footprint area, where we actually see a huge dinosaur footprint, but where we have just as much fun climbing rocks.
In time for sunset, we find ourselves in Devil’s garden. We enjoy an evening picnic with Michael’s bread, cheese, eggs and fruit and say goodbye to this wonderful area and our new friends.
And on we go on the dream-like route 12 / 24, over the Boulder Mountain, through the Capitol Reef National Park, and at last we re-join the Interstate Highway heading East.