Off-Roading with the Saab

I woke today feeling much better and ready for a full day fun.  We decided to see if we could get a permit for the Wave.  We tried the online lottery, but did not win it, and so we went over to the Bureau of Land Management to enter the daily lottery.  They give out 10 permits every day and about 100 people show up to get one at 9 a.m. each day.  We didn’t win.  Oh well.  Instead, we decided to go on a hike through a slot canyon on the Wire Pass Trail.  It was about an hour away; the first 30 minutes were on Route 89, a standard state road.  The last 8 miles/30 minutes were on “House Rock Valley Road”–notice the quotes–at least the first 30 feet were paved, the rest not so much… (The Saab was making an interesimg_20180621_133123564_burst000_cover_topting clunking sound whenever we hit a bump kind of like the engine was about to drop out.)

We arrived at the trailhead slapped on our boots and proceeded down the trail.  It was about 97 degrees in the sunshine.  There was a 1 mile  hike to the canyon and then about 1.5 miles in the canyons.  It was unbelievably wonderful.  The walls rosimg_20180621_114338835_hdr1e straight up and the canyon thinned to a minimum of 3 feet wide.  Because the walls were so high, we were hiking in the shade, and so the temperature seemed to be in the 80s.  Halfway through we had a picnic lunch in one of the alcoves.

img_20180621_115016101_hdrAfter hike, we returned to Kanab and stopped for ice cream at Kanab Drug. yes…they have a lunch counter and an ice cream stand (with delicious vegan ice cream!!! and a pharmacist that helped me with my burning eyes).  While eating our delicious ice cream we watched a mother round up her 7–yes 7– kids. The mom looked under 40 and the oldest child looked about 15. BTW…the kids were all really well behaved. The car said the outside temperature was 110…but it could just be whining because we didn’t get it ice cream.  We then went to the local outfitters, Willow Canyon Outdoor, as Sue’s Camelback needed to be replaced.  We spent about 30 minutes finding the right combination of size, fit and, of course, color. (The saleswoman was knowledgeable and patient.) Afterwards, we went to the local state owned liquor store and got some gin.  Then to the local grocery store…and at this point I found out we were no longer in civilization….They had no tonic. I would understand no vegetables, that would be OK.  I could live with no good snacks or deli, but really?   No tonic? WTF?  Luckily one of the employees thought she remembered some in the back; she returned with a case…whew.  She is my favorite person in the whole word.  The horror that flashed before my eyes.

Back to the AirBnB for cocktails, snacks & a light dinner.



Rough Ride to a Grand Canyon

Today, we headed to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. We went from desert and scrub brush in Navajo Country to seeing these large things with brown trunks and green stuff on them. I didn’t realize how much I missed trees. Crazy how quickly the landscape changes. The other thing that changes a lot around here is the time. Utah is on Mountain Daylight Time. Arizona does not believe in Daylight Savings Time, but the Navajo Nation does, so we went back and forth. What time is it? Only the phone knows when you have coverage–and it is spotty.

US Route 89A Bitter Springs to Kanab Road Trip Guide Map
Beautiful highways, but very wiggly and lots of ups and downs. We started the day at about 5,200 feet and were at 8,840 somewhere on this road.

The day was gorgeous, as usual, but we ran into a little trouble on the windy, mountain roads. Steven’s aversion to heights kicked in, especially after someone pulled out of a scenic view spot going verrrry slowly right in front of me on a 6% downhill grade on Highway 89 outside Bitter Springs, Arizona. Luckily, I am an excellent driver and nothing happened (by what seemed like inches). However, the incident exacerbated Steven’s fear and he was not a happy camper the rest of the drive (just one step away from curling up into the fetal position and whimpering).

Being the trooper that he is, Steven didn’t let his fear stop him and we did hike from the visitors center into the canyon on the North Kaibob Trail to Coconino Overlook. This is the only maintained trail into the canyon froimg_20180620_140758754_hdrm the North Rim. We did not even think about going all the way down and the groups of mules made it somewhat messy and smelly. It was a steady grade and we did it in the heat of the day, but even with all that, Steven said it was worth it. I agree. He did not, however, want to drive back on those roads tomorrow, so we will say goodbye to the Grand Canyon for now and hope that the phobia will ease.

We drove from there to Kanab, Utah, because it is close to Bryce and Zion National Parks, where we hope to be hiking in the next few days. We are staying at a lovely AirBnB in the hills with a deck that has views of sandstone mesas. I think it is bigger than our house and it is perfect timing for cleaning all our sandy, sweaty hiking clothes. Ahhhhh.