Friday, July 11, 2014

Maynard Dixon and Zion National Park on a Full Day in Utah

Wednesday morning started off bright and early with Lizz and I jumping in the car and heading for Zion National Park.  Since we were camping in Cedar City, we decided to take the route from Hwy. 14 to Hwy. 89 to Hwy. 9, to reach the park entrance on the south.  It was a beautiful drive along 89, and we stopped at a small lake where we spotted these four men fly fishing.
I truly got a kick of seeing these guys chatting away, having a grand old time fishing, standing in water up to their waist.  Honestly not something I see every day.  It was such a gorgeous spot that I'm pretty sure that the number of fish they caught that day was secondary to the experience of just being there and bonding in the water.

Next we made a stop at Mt. Carmel Junction, to visit the home of Maynard Dixon, the important 20th Century painter known for his simple, powerful depictions of the American West.  Dixon built his home in Mt. Carmel Junction in 1939,  where he spent summers living and working with his wife, San Francisco Muralist Edith Hamlin, until his death in 1946.
The exterior of the Dixon house.
His home and all the adjoining buildings have been lovingly restored by Paul and Susan Bingham, owners of Bingham Gallery, which is adjacent to the property, and specializes in high level art of the American West.  Their love of Maynard Dixon, as well as their love and knowledge of art in general, permeates this place, and I felt the love throughout the personal guided tour that Susan, also an artist, gave to Lizz and me. 
The view from the balcony of the Dixon home, with a large reproduction of one of his works hanging over the fireplace.

Dixon's ashes are buried at the top of the hill overlooking the land that he loved and painted.  You can learn more about Maynard Dixon and his home, which is also used for artist retreats, by visiting the Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts and clicking here.

After spending several delightful hours with the Binghams, we got back on Highway 9 which took us to the entrance of Zion National Park.  On the way, we saw many cyclists and were following this truck that seemed to be checking on them to make sure they were ok.  If you are into bicycling, you may want to check this company out.
We finally reached the entrance to Zion, and it literally took my breath away.  I have been lucky enough to visit a few places in my life so far that go beyond regular beautiful and enter the majestic, make you want to weep and sing "God Bless America"  kind of beautiful.  Zion is that kind of place. 
The sheer size of the rock formations is unbelievable, and the color of the pavement on the roads throughout the park matches the deep reddish brown color of many of the rocks, making the drive even more beautiful. 
There are many guide books, blogs and websites about Zion, so I'm not going to spit out facts about the park.  Instead, I just want to share a few of the lovely photos I was able to capture that day.
Although there is a shuttle that takes you around the park, it has awkward windows that ironically make it difficult to see the park very well, and I think the best way to take photos there is by car or by foot.
I thought these rocks jutting out from the wall looked like an indigenous face.
The car on the road is this picture will give you an idea of the scale of these rock formations!
Fabulous red tones in this formation.
Leaving the park, we got back on Hwy 9 and headed back to I 15.  Of course there were more beautiful rock formations along the way.

Heading north on I 15 back towards Cedar City, we got off on Kolob Road for a short scenic drive at the northwestern part of the park.  We stopped at a quiet spot there to sketch and paint, but were surprised when a tour bus full of Chinese tourists arrived,
 Although they avoided us at first, one by one the tourists slowly started coming over to us while we were working and spoke to us in beautiful, complimentary, broken English about our work.  It was such a fun experience!  By the way, you can check out Lizz's beautiful work by clicking on
Upon leaving our painting spot we continued on the scenic road and were not disappointed as the sun slowly got lower in the west, casting dramatic shadows on the rocks.

On the way out of Kolob, we had a wild turkey cross our path.
We headed back to camp after a VERY full and rewarding day.  The most remarkable part was that Lizz had the energy to make us a delicious chicken stir fry (once again so thankful that she cooked for us),
and then I donned my headlamp for a little late night work before going to bed.
Selfie with headlamp.
As I write this I am sitting outside a camp store at 10:30 pm, and the mosquitoes are starting to eat me for dinner, so at this point I will call it a night.  I wish you all a peaceful and lovely evening, and thank you for following our story.  Stay tuned for Salt Lake City, and beyond!

xoxo Linda

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