A Short Story
The Hogsback on Route 12 in Utah
Recently we spent a couple of weeks checking off items on our bucket list in the National Parks of Utah. We rented a car in Salt Lake City, toured the parks and dropped off the car in Los Vegas.
After leaving Capital Reef National Park one afternoon we were headed for our next hotel in the town of Panguitch near Bryce Canyon National Park to the southwest. We came out of Capital Reef on Route 24 and soon hit an intersection with Route 12. At the intersection Rt. 24 headed to the north, which is the way we had been told to go but Rt. 12 went south. Just looking at the map it seemed like Route 12 was a much shorter trip.
At this point I need to add that the older I get the more nervous I am about heights. Already on this trip I had driven a couple of roads that had given me reason to pause. The entrance road up into Arches National Park is a bit scary. I’m not sure where this fear of heights has come from but when I was much younger I was fearless. lately I find it hard to believe that decades ago I hung one handed off high catwalks and jumped out of helicopters into the water. I confess that now I am much more nervous about heights than my wife is.
Anyway at that junction we made a snap decision and headed south on Utah Route 12. Some distance along this two lane road, near Boulder Mountain we came across the Anasazi State Park and archaeological site. This was a lucky find and well worth the stop. It was built around the excavation of an ancient Anasazi village and included a nice museum.
Back on the road we headed southwest again and soon came up on one of the scariest bit of road I can remember. Its called the Hogsback (or Hog Back) and it’s a narrow two lane road with, at times, barley any shoulder on either side. It rides along a ridge for about four miles with often sheer drops of over a hundred feet on one side or the other and sometimes both sides at once. Few guard rails and almost no room to pull off. The speed limit was between 25 and 35 mph and with my fear kicking in that seemed way too fast.
The good news was there was almost no traffic and the one car ahead of us seemed really terrified. He crept along at 15 to 20 mph and that was just fine with me. Not only did I feel safer but he gave me an excuse when eventually another car caught up to us.
Watch this YouTube video of a drive along the Hogsback.