(Panguitch,UT) Hi 75 Lo 47 – We have really been looking forward to today. For weeks we’ve been planning a rendezvous with a dear friend from our pre-RV’ing days in North Carolina. We’ve mentioned in the past our “Friday Night Gang” that would meet for dinner every Friday night. It was a group of seven of us that became very close over the 15 years we lived in Cary, NC. One member of the group is Cyndi. Cyndi makes two trips per year to Kanab, UT to work for a week or two as a volunteer at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. She was good enough to arrange her schedule to make a trip out at the same time we’re here in Panguitch, which is about 70 miles from Kanab.
The trip down US 89 took a little over an hour. Cyndi met us at the turnoff from the highway to lead us into the sanctuary, which covers about 3,000 acres in the remote canyon lands just north of Kanab.
Best Friends takes in injured and abandoned animals from all over the country. The largest population is cats and dogs, but they also take in horses, exotic birds, and even goats and pigs. They’re privately funded, and they work toward adopting out as many of their animals as possible.
We parked our car at the administrative building and Cyndi took us in her car for a tour of the property. The sanctuary consists of dozens of building complexes for different animal groups. They also have clinics on site to care and rehabilitate the injured or sick animals. This is the Cat World Hq, where they take care of around 400 cats.
We weren’t allowed inside the buildings unless we were on an “official” tour (for liability reasons), but it was neat to see the sprawling complex of modern facilities. We could tell that the animals in their care were very well cared for.
We did get to see a couple of the horses.
This is the exotic bird building.
The complex of dirt roads connecting the different parts of the sanctuary wound through some beautiful countryside.
The Dog Headquarters has several “octagon” buildings, with large outdoor runs for the hundreds of dogs that are well cared for.
There’s even a doggie fitness center. Inside the window below the sign is a water treadmill, to provide physical therapy for the furry friends.
A beautiful, yet somber location is Angel’s Rest.
The animals who have “crossed over” are laid to rest peacefully in this immaculately maintained cemetery.
The only sounds we could hear was the soft music of the many wind chimes that swayed in the breeze.
Each grave had “memory stones” placed there by the employees who cared for the animal and became attached to it.
We joined Cyndi at the cafeteria for a lunch buffet, then we got to sit in on the weekly status update meeting, where all the employees gathered to provide updates on their individual areas of responsibility. It was heartwarming to hear the stories of recent adoptions and successful rehabilitations. The volunteers and employees of Best Friends are very dedicated to their jobs. If you’d like to learn more about the organization and their mission, or make a donation, you can check out their website here.
It was so nice to spend some time with Cyndi. To be able to meet up with such a close friend over 2,000 miles from home was just awesome… thank you Cyndi for making it happen!
We’ll see Cyndi again tomorrow as she joins us for a day at Zion National Park. Can’t wait!
Based on a tip from Cyndi, on the way back to Panguitch we took a little side trip to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. It was about 12 miles off the main highway down this road.
I can’t resist those “roads to nowhere.”
Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a small (7-mile long) area of sand dunes that originates from sandstone beds south of the dunes area. The winds whip the sandstone grains through the gaps in the mountains and deposit them in this one area.
The color is more reddish brown than pink, and is the result of a high concentration of iron oxide. There is sand like this all over Utah, but nowhere else is there such a large concentration in one place. It was really kind of weird to see sand dunes… in Utah!
The sand is very fine, almost like talcum powder.
Here’s a panorama of the whole area. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)
Now that was an unexpected treat! Tomorrow we’re off to Zion National Park. And we get to spend some more time with Cyndi.
See you then.