A long long long day – 13 hours on the road, and travelling further than we expected, partly our own decision, and partly coz we’re too cheap to stay at an expensive place!
Arriving in canyon country is something so different. We’d been driving along plains and seeing towering pinnacles of rock known as Hoodoos dotted along the landscape, superb views. Lower Utah is the birthplace of Butch Cassidy, lots of writings about him and his adventures.
The first park was Red Canyon and it justly deserves its name, the rocky terrain almost plum in some instances. This canyon is the precursor to Bryce Canyon, but no less wonderful. Supporting towering pinnacles of rock which almost look as if man has placed them there, but no, they’re nature made. Though there were 3 arches we drove through which man has dug through.
National Park entrances here charge $25.00 entrance. The entrance to Bryce Canyon was far quieter than going into Yellowstone. Our first stop was the visitor bureau and i must say the American’s do this well. There was a 22 minute movie which we arrived just in time to see which highlighted the history of the canyon, and of course the usual calendars etc for sale – I succumbed. Then off we drove t the first of several look outs.
It was magnificient. Because of how nature affects the area – i.e. very high temps, and very cold temps – even snow – the rock formations are like looking down on something from a sci – fi movie, these pinnacles reaching up from below us. Twisted rock and crevases were everywhere. It really looked like something out of a movie, you could imagine Will Smith flying his space machine thingy through all the nooks and crannies of the rock formations.
There was a park ranger giving a talk on geology, but we only heard the last few minutes of it. She was talking about storms and right on cue, the bulbous purple clouds above did their thing and let forth a fork lightening along with a thunder straight after. She had just told us that if you can’t count to 30 after the lightening, then you’re too close to it. Right through the park we noticed burnt trees and from what we understand these trees had been hit by lightening.
Well you can imagine the race to the car after that, and not just by us, but most of those around us hightailed back to the carpark. The rain was pretty heavy and the lightening spectacular and scary.
We did however, carry on driving around the park, but when one particular thunder struck as we were to exit our car, that canned that expedition!
From Bryce we headed south, having lunch at Orderville and then drove through the Navajo Indian reservation. Their land is huge, but totally barren, just nothing. Homes were quite poor, lots of craft stalls along the road side. Each house had another structure beside it, usually with a round roof. From the distance these buildings appeared to be round, but i couldn’t figure out what they were for – wondered if they were a modern version of those sweat tents I believed the Indian’s used.
A spectacular bridge – Navajo Bridge at Marble Canyon – again amazing me with the engineering across this land. But what we have noticed is that along many of the laybys (places to stop and take a look at the view) there were Indian craft stalls taklng up the parking space.
We had hoped to stop at Cameron which has a lovely viewing area right beside the motel. It is an area run by the local tribe – the motel and the tourist store – but there were only suites left at $150 p/night and if you figure out the exchange rate, then that was a no no no from us. Gray Mountain up the road about 11 miles offered a motel, but it also offered 2 cops outside with a guy in handcuffs so that again was a no no no from us. No other option, we had to hike it up the road another hour to Flagstaff. I was here 30 years ago – greatly changed – much bigger.
But we were pooped after our 13 hours on the road, hence no blogging done yesterday....now i’m trying to catch up.... more coming shortly.
Jane and gang