"So where are you off to," the innkeeper asked us.
"It’s COLD up there. Take your coats."
"Thanks, we have our coats."
Actually, we had jackets designed for a spring or autumn chill, not parkas that would stave off a freezing mountaintop gale. Parkas would’ve been much preferred when we arrived at the Cedar Breaks National Monument, a giant, semicircular gash in the landscape of Southern Utah. Much of what we’ve seen elsewhere — Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos, Zion’s multicolored rock, the pink-striped cliffs throughout the region — is on display at Cedar Breaks. What the other places don’t have is the bone-chilling winds of the Breaks.
One view of the Breaks.
A close-up on the wacky stone formations far down into the canyon.
A branch of a bristlecone pine; another section of the Breaks has a bristlecone that’s over 1600 years old, but it required a mile of hiking in the cold to reach it, so I decided I’d leave that for another trip.
Yet another view over the Breaks.
A steep canyon divides one section of the Breaks. There are no trails below the rim, so it all has to be seen up here in the direct wind.
Trees reflect the cooling weather.
Looks like autumn — feels like winter, though. The monument is above 10,000 feet, another reason for the chill.
If you’re thinking of a sight-seeing trip to Southern Utah, Cedar Breaks might be a good place to visit first and get an idea of what’s in store at the other more famous locales.