Panguitch, UT to Flagstaff, AZ 9/22/15 to 10/3/15

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October 3rd 2015
Published: October 3rd 2015
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We went to Bryce, then our visit to Zion was delayed by a huge rock that blocked the entrance road. We moved our RV on to Kanab, and went to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Another side trip was to Pipe Spring National Monument, a place where Mormons, Indians, and US troops came into conflict. Finally, we got to Zion on a gorgeous day and relished every minute. From Kanab we drove past Escalante Staircase to Page, AZ. Adventures there included a tour of Glen Canyon Dam, a boat tour to Antelope and Navajo Canyons, and a little hike to view Horseshoe Bend. On to Flagstaff, where so far John has visited his favorite pub where he can watch the many trains go by while drinking a pint of Guinness.

We have a plane reservation to Manchester for October 21. Before that we will spend a few days in Phoenix, visiting my brother and preparing the vehicles for a few months' storage. This might be my last blog for this part of the trip, because we will mostly be revisiting rather than discovering for the next couple of weeks.


I forgot to mention the aspens we saw en route to Cedar Breaks. The leaves were every imaginable shade from red to gold; we have mostly just seen yellow leaves since then, so now we fully appreciate the variety we experienced there. Also, did I mention the huge lava field that John walked on? Very carefully. And about Panguitch: the quilt walk there is not like others we have encountered. When the Mormon settlers first arrived there, they were running out of food in the harsh winter. So nine men volunteered to get to the nearest settlement and bring back flour. Because the snow was very deep, they devised a solution: they would lay down a quilt on top of the snow, walk across it, place another quilt, gather up the quilt they had crossed, and so forth. They did secure the flour, and their adventure is commemorated annually. I happened to notice in the grocery store large supplies of 25 bags of flour piled at the front of the store. Since I have not noticed such things before, I wondered if they were a sort of a town symbol. Also, there are many brick houses in Panguitch. It seems the settlers figured out how to make bricks, and until the endeavor became profitable, they paid the laborers in bricks which they used to build their homes. A win-win situation.

Bryce is such a special place. It was almost as spectacular for me on this second visit, although I was not rendered speechless this time. Just a bit teary. We walked down into the canyon, and it wasn't too too hot. We had one memorable experience - we argued about which trail we had taken on our last visit. I am positive that I am correct. But John is just as adamant. The same wobbly memories occurred later at Zion, and it is weird and funny for us. There were hordes of tourists at Bryce, although not too many of them walked down into the canyon. I am astonished by the number of photos we have seen everyone taking; what will they do with all of them?! Our license plate, even, got photographed numerous times. It seems that on some of the tour buses, they have contests of how many different state licenses the tourists can capture on their digital cameras. When we were eating our picnic lunch, they swarmed one car near us - we later discovered it had a Hawaii plate.

We had to revise our plans because a couple of rocks fell and completely blocked the road into Zion Canyon National Park. It took several days until the rocks were not only dynamited, but geologists determined that it was safe to open the road. So we drove first to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. John thought the long drive got boring, but I thought the wide meadows next to the road were lovely, and the green green was welcome after so much red red. Of course, the Canyon is red red, but it is also a truly wondrous sight. The North Rim is 1000 feet higher than the South Rim, and maybe 1000%!l(MISSING)ess congested. There were plenty of tourists, but not the overwhelming numbers we had found at Arches and Bryce. We wandered along the rim, awed by the grandeur. It was actually a very relaxed day, since we never intended to try hiking down into the canyon. It was kind of funny that as we drove from Utah into Arizona and back, the time kept changing an hour since Arizona is an hour behind.

We seemed to spend a fair dose of time in Kanab sitting outside on our beach chairs. The temperature was around 75 - 80, with exactly the right amount of breeze. We chatted with neighbors; one was wildly enthused about his OHV, and indeed it was really cute. Almost tempting, but seriously... On Sunday night we all gathered to try to see the supermoon lunar eclipse, and the moon did come up from behind the Staircase mountains.

Pipe Spring actually was a generous spring which Indians, mainly Paiutes, used to grow squash, corn, beans, sunflowers, etc. on the big sage sea called the Arizona Strip between the Grand Canyon and the Escalante Staircase. Then a group of Mormons was sent with huge cattle herds to settle there, and they even built a building over the spring so it was usable only by them. Some Navajos who had been displaced by US Army/Kit Carson raided the herds to keep from starving. But the US government was also upset about the fact that the Mormons at Pipe Spring were polygamists and raided from time to time. Pipe Spring has been developed into a really valuable National Monument which shows how early settlers lived and how the groups interacted, not always nicely.

On our earlier, five years ago, visit to Zion, we had entered from the west. Well, the road from the east, when it finally reopened, is very, very zigzaggy and dramatic. But we were blessed again with lovely weather, and the sun shone brightly on the canyon walls. We took the shuttle bus to the end of its route and walked the Riverside Trail. That trail feeds into The Narrows, which is a trail in the river. We decided to forego that, but were tempted to get our sneakers wet so people we passed on the way back would think we had been brave hikers. We rode back to The Lodge and walked the Emerald Pool Trail. Of course, we argued about whether we had walked that trail on our earlier trip. We did both remember having a beer at The Lodge, so we of course had to repeat that experience. There is a balcony deck for the grill, and we enjoyed sitting there with our chips and salsa, and libations, and watching the people on the huge lawn below.

John prefers to travel new routes rather than back and forth on the same one, whenever possible. So he acquiesced quickly when I asked to leave by the western entrance, because those zigs and zags had unsettled me. That meant that we had to go through Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, famous polygamous settlements, en route back to Kanab. There wasn't actually much to see, except a sign thanking the volunteers for their help during the recent Hildale flood disaster.

It's less than 80 miles from Kanab to Page, AZ, so we had time in the afternoon to visit the Glen Canyon Dam Visitor Center. John took a tour of the dam, way down there, and I watched a good film and listened to a good lecture. The flooding of Glen Canyon to build the dam and create Lake Powell is still a controversial issue, but managing the Colorado River which provides water for so many states seems quite necessary. The city of Page developed entirely because of all the workers who settled there to build the dam, and now it accommodates the tourists. So we toured some more. We took the Canyon Adventure Lake Powell boat tour, two and a half hours long, and finally got hot sitting on the top deck. Antelope Canyon was really neat - zigzags galore, but from a boat, they were delightful. Navajo Canyon featured a "tapestry" of many different colors and layers of rock. In the evening, we walked up and up, then down and down, on a trail to the overview at Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River.

We passed the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area management office, and John went inside to tell about the crummy experience we had up north at Hite Marina. He was listened to! The next day, we received a phone call that our $62 charge was being negated! John has a quiet way of asserting that works very well.

John has been reluctant to go south very fast, since Phoenix temperatures are still in triple digits and we have been spending hours hiding inside in the afternoons when the 90's arrive. But we have come as far as Flagstaff, where last night there were freeze warnings! Yesterday we drove way across town and then some to have a new antenna installed on the RV. The next chore was to stop by the Toyota dealer where John had ordered a new wheel cover to replace the one we lost back near Salida. But he happened to notice that another wheel cover was missing! We had heard a strange noise when we had gone for coffee, so we drove very slowly along our route, just on the hope we might find it. John even walked beside the road and found nothing. But I did spot it!!! Sometimes, maybe a lot of times, we are very fortunate people.

As I said above, we will fly home on October 21, after revisiting a few more familiar places en route to Phoenix.


4th October 2015

Sounds like you're still enjoying your trip. It would be fun to get the view from the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I've hiked part way down a few times but never all the way. Antelope Canyon sounds familiar. I've seen plenty of stunning pictures of a slot canyon that goes by the name Antelope Canyon (perhaps the same one but further up where it is dry and narrow). In 2008 I did a week-long bike ride with a group starting in Page and ending in Nogales on the Mexican border. We had a rest day in Flagstaff and I hung out at a brewpub downtown (Beaver St Brewery). I don't remember a view of the trains so it must not be the same as John's favorite. There were plenty of trains to watch as I remember. I believe almost everything shipped to/from southern California goes through there. Temps will stay considerably cooler while you stay up on the Colorado Plateau. Once you descend the Mogollon Rim it will warm up considerably and you'll start to see Saguaro Cacti. The descent into Oak Creek Canyon is spectacular, but not for the faint of heart and not something I would want to try in a motorhome. If riding in vehicles on steep ups or downs is not your thing you should avoid the Pink Jeep Tours in Sedona. Actually, I assume they must have some less crazy options because my 89-year-old stepmother was going to do one with a group from her retirement community in Green Valley, AZ. If you're looking for things to do before you go you could consider a trip to Wupatki Ntl Mon just north of Flagstaff, which is an interesting example of pueblo culture without too many tourists. One of my favorite areas, but further away, is Canyon de Chelly. The canyon itself is spectacular as a natural feature but the remnants of cliff dwellings make it even more fascinating.

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