By Judy Leavitt
Southwest Circle Day Trip. Itinerary/Directions: (St. George), I-15, 9, 59/389, Pipe Springs N.M.,(Fredonia), 89, (Kanab), 89, Moqui Caves, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, 89, (Mount Carmel Junction), 9, Zion N.P., 9, I-15, (home)
Pack a picnic in the cooler and get an early start. First stop is Pipe Springs which, like Gunlock, was named after Bill Hamblin. Fortunately, it was National Junior Ranger Day, so the ranger had a special hour long tour just for kids of all ages.
As he began, he took a leaf from a yucca plant and gently pounded it with a round stone. It turned dark green and the fibers separated into strings. He pulled them apart, giving everyone a handful. He demonstrated how to twist two sections of the strings, then twist them against each other, making a very strong rope. As we worked our way around the grounds, we would periodically dip our rope into water, keeping it supple. When we finished, and it dried, it became very tight.
After touring through Winsor Castle and the other buildings, we watched a film presentation, and checked out the museum. There are hands on items for the kids, and we enjoyed visiting with the animals that lived there.
We headed out through Fredonia and Kanab. Although touring the movie sets and seeing Hollywood memorabilia in Kanab is fun, we were anxious to get to Moqui Caves, which is about five more miles down the road. Hours are 10am-5pm. Admission is $4.50 for adults, $3 for teens, and $2.50 for ages 2-12. This is a neat place to visit.
The drive through Angels Canyon to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is beautiful, and you can take an hour long tour through the grounds. They close at 5 pm.
The dunes can be accessed in about 15 minutes from two points off Hwy 89. Day use fee is $6 per carload. We had fun running up and down the dunes, and burying each other in the sand. There are nice picnic and camping spots, with showers and restrooms, and a shaded observation deck overlooking the biggest dunes. Pets are o.k. if kept on a leash.
Zion National Park is a favorite destination. We watched the sun set as we drove through the tunnels and down the switchbacks.
We had a great day. This trip is highly recommended!