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Route 12 Scenic Byway, UT

It's time to set our directions for our next stop. When you google about stops along Route 12, Scenic Byway, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, and Lower Calf Creek Falls, are some of the suggestions I saved to my Google Maps folder.

As we leave Bryce Canyon, we make a quick stop to hike the short trail to Mossy Cave. The beauty of this cave is the icicles that form during winter. Even with the still-cold temperatures, most of the icicles have melted by now. Only one small icicle refused to melt, reminding us of life's ups and downs.

Kodachrome Basin State Park is a lovely place to stop for a break. Here, you can see the towering sandstone chimneys standing high and tall in the background of the beautiful brown and cream mountains.

We chose the Angels Palace Trail to hike and experience this beautiful area. I like the mountains' rich, deep brown color; especially when contrasting with the cream-tone mountains.

What next? Escalante Petrified Forest State Park.

We arrived at the park in the early evening and decided to stay and camp here for the night. A hot shower and a view are always a win. Well, we did get a beautiful view of the reservoir and the snow-capped mountains, but unfortunately, the shower was far from being hot.

Good morning, beautiful day. The sun is rising, warming up the chili morning. It is a perfect time to start our hike just off our site.

I first saw a petrified tree a few years ago when I visited Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. It was the first time I learned about this beautiful process of nature, time, and history wrapped in an endless love story. It is so fascinating to see them again on this lovely trail. It is hard to believe that the rock I am looking at used to be a living tree. The colors and texture are ingrained in such harmony, holding together a story I wish to know. 

We continue our travels. A New York State plate and a Utah plate is our small caravan with a big smile. 

If you're ever in this area of Escalante and have the appropriate vehicle, check out the Hole-in-the-Rock Road. One of the most fun and unforgettable hikes I've ever experienced was Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons. You need to read about this hike first and get familiar with what you will experience. I would not be able to do it without the help of my boys.

As we continue traveling on Route 12, the road starts to wind up with quite an ascent. The view is spectacular. I am happy I need to slow down to take in the view in slow motion.

We get to the Lower Calf Creek Falls parking lot at midday. The sun is in full bloom, resting in a clear blue sky. Just as we start our hike, we bump into the camp host. A quick question about the availability of a site for tonight gives us the solution for tonight's camping place. 

Now, we can take the six-mile hike slowly and enjoy this stunning area of the massive rocks towering above us. Again, I am fascinated with the dance of earth-tone colors here. One section in particular captures my devoted admiration. It is a giant slab of rock "painted" with stripes by the dripping water that has flowed for so many years. Now that can be an incredible wall accent!

I know we are getting closer to viewing the waterfall, but I don't know what to expect. Oh wow, that is a stunning drop! This waterfall has the perfect setting to be anything but a beauty. We take our time knowing we don't have to rush, home is not far away.

As the sun sets behind the mountains, the cold temperature drives us back into our cars. It is just too cold to sit outside.

The cold nights do not let me have a good night's sleep. By three in the morning, I am awake, and my mind races again. Why do I do that to myself? I know better. I have a hard time being kind to myself. I am so frustrated with myself for worrying about things that, in all honesty, I have no control over. I am aware that I let my mind take me to places that are so unhealthy and not productive, and still, I get myself into this rabbit hole. Worrying about my future only takes away the enjoyment of my present. I have such a deep desire to let go and melt into mindfulness. I remind myself of all the self-growth I have gained since I started my journey on the open road. I know that the preceding element is my kindness to myself. I know I will get there one day, but the journey is for sure a challenging one. 

Luckily, all I need to return to my happy self is to be in nature. Getting out of my van this morning and being hugged by the beauty around me is all the medicine I need.

Good morning, new day! We have an hour and a half drive to Capitol Reef National Park. We start our engine and off we go...

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