Afternoon Adventures near Virgin Utah


Our winter was filled with trips and work, but we tried to take a few hours off now and then to visit the eagle's nest up the road or take a short drive in Zion National Park. During the winter we often saw a pair of bald eagles near a small pond up the road from our campground. On one occasion we also saw two golden eagles on a tree on the side of the road.


Hop Valley

In early January we took an afternoon drive in Hop Valley. The mountains were covered with snow and deer filled the fields. The mix of red rock, yellow grasses, and white snow felt like a prehistoric fantasy world. It was wet and muddy, but we hiked across slide rock. Although it was in the 40s, the sun was shining and the birds were singing.

Hop ValleyHop Valley

Lee Valley

On another day, we were driving along Kolb Road and noticed a gravel road that led into Lee Valley. We were amazed at the number of deer in the grassy areas. This small area of the Kolb Plateau is still privately owned and farmed yet is surrounded by the National Park.

Deer at Lee Valley


Another day we took a short drive to historic Grafton. The last time winter we spent in the area a couple years ago, the historical preservation group was beginning work on restoration of the Russell House in the photo (right). This house is best known for it's role in the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid... picture Paul Newman on a bike with the song "Raindrops Keep Falling On Your Head" in the background. Today, the outside is nearly complete. Larry enjoyed photographing the area while Annette sketched.

Horse Valley WashHorse Valley Wash

This winter we've been talking about looking for some property where we might someday build a home. Unfortunately, the price of land in southwestern Utah has skyrocketed. However when we were out for a drive one day, we noticed a rough road off Smithsonian Butte road that we thought had potential.

There was even a "sale sign." We jumped the fence at the end of the road and took a short hike. The views were spectacular, but we decided it would be tough to get an RV down the 4-wheel drive road.

Horse Valley Wash

Smith Mesa

In winter it's easy to get stir crazy. After many hours staring at a computer screen, we decided to take a drive in the back country. Along the way we saw deer everywhere.

Mule deer

We also encountered a couple 4-wheelers enjoying the back country.

Lee Valley

In the middle of nowhere, we stopped to photograph some interesting pieces of old farm equipment.


We also stopped to check out our geocache on Smith Mesa. The views were just as good as our last visit. We noticed that 4-wheelers had expanded the trail so that our Jeep could almost have made it to the top.

Smith Mesa Geocache

Snow on Kolb RoadLava Point

Near the middle of January the snow was melting, so we decided to see if we could get to Lava Point on the top of Kolb. Along the way, we enjoyed side trips into Hop Valley and Lee Valley. We got as far as the turnoff for Lava Point before we encountered a gate that was closed for the winter. Next time we'll have to come in the fall before everything is closed.

Zion National Park

BLM Hideaway

Near the pond where we often see eagles, Larry discovered a small BLM campground. Later, he took Annette back to explore. As they got out of the car, they were excited to see a weasel run across their path. It was too quick to get a photo, but it was an exciting discovery.

BLM Kolob

We enjoyed the Cottonwood trees along the stream, then decided it was time to get back to work. Although we didn't get a chance to go on many long hikes this winter, we enjoyed the small pleasures of being near the parks!

Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 2/06.