Last month I had a free couple of days and decided to spend them hiking with Kent, Spencer and Erik. We decided to go through the Ashdown Gorge Wilderness (Kent's suggestion) just a few miles east of Cedar City in Utah's red rock country. More than anything I was anticipating just getting away and seeing Cedar Breaks National Monument from the west side. I wasn't even thinking of scenic upland meadows when, after a couple of hours hiking we came into a clearing called Stud Flat.
After all, who would think that a place with such a name would be scenic? I was pleasantly surprised. Rising above the meadow are red rock formations with pine and fir forests all around. We decided that we would spend the night right there even though we weren't all that tired. We just couldn't bring ourselves to leave the place.
Just the week before I had driven through Yosemite's famous Tuolumne Meadows - also a high elevation meadow. It is famous as one of the gems of our (perhaps) most celebrated national park. And yet I can say that it isn't any more beautiful than Stud Flat in the spring. Here's a picture of a pair of large marbles (Euchloe ausonides) that I noticed near the meadow. I guess I should also mention how impressive the gorge is. We spent the following day hiking through its winding canyons. It may be a while before I do the gorge hike again though. But I can say with confidence that I will be back to see Stud Flat sooner than later.