Generally Speaking

Bryce to Zion via Alton (Utah)


We had such a good experience of Bryce National Park yesterday that we decided to press straight on to Zion this morning and have the afternoon getting our bearings there.

As our route took us within a couple of miles of Alton, Utah (our home being Alton, Hampshire, England) we decided to call there and see if we could meet someone and say “Hi”.

As soon as we turned off the main highway we were struck by the beauty of the green valley and the lakes that we passed.


Alton itself was an open grid of roads with well-spaced houses with many blossoming trees and verges covered with dandelion flowers.


But nobody about.   Absolutely nobody.
We stopped at the village hall…


and found it open. But nobody responded when we went inside and called. The hall itself was a superb facility any community could be proud of…


…and the noticeboard inside gave ample evidence of a happy, thriving community. On impulse we wrote a friendly note and pinned it up along with my contact card.
We then went on, past the pretty Mormon Church…


… and found the US Post Office. As described on the village hall noticeboard, this was in the back of the Palmer house. So we drew up outside the Palmer house, walked round, looked cautiously inside, and rang the bell several times as the notice said.


Again, nobody at home…


So that was it. We resumed our journey. The only other thing of note was a constant stream of some sort of bulk truck/trailer through the town, at least six while we were there, to and fro from some site beyond – possibly the large, circular area shown on Google Earth and labeled Alton Amphitheatre (Not to be confused with the Alton Amphitheatre in Illinois, which seems so be major event venue)

Leaving the description of Zion for tomorrow’s post, I will add a few more general observations here:

Friendly, helpful people everywhere. Absolutely no litter. In spite of extremely informal and often eccentric dress, everybody well behaved and law abiding – except that nobody pays much attention to speed limits. Curious mismatch between lavish luxury: huge beds, immaculate furnishings, wonderful pools and hot tubs, and then horrid paper plates and plastic cutlery at breakfast…


Everywhere in this parched land, water is sprayed on fields and poured into bathtubs as if there is no tomorrow. The only solar panels we have seen anywhere have been tucked away behind National Park Service buildings, while surely an advanced nation properly concerned about the future could easily provide, for example, daytime air conditioning entirely by solar power using nothing more than current technology. On the contrary, the giant cars and palatial camper vans seem to be the embodiment of a stubborn defiance of any restraint on the personal freedom to consume, and waste. The beautiful, brand new hotel we have arrived at in Springdale even has huge, open gas-fired braziers for the further comfort of us spoiled and lucky guests.


Please don’t – they worry us.

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