Leaving Kanab, UT we got in our separate vehicles and were to meet at our next overnight stop, the Prospector Inn at Escalante, UT. It turns out that the Prospector Inn is managed by a couple who used to live in Lake Havasu, AZ, close to my home in Kingman. They had moved to Escalante a couple of months ago and this will be their first winter in Utah.
Enroute from Kanab to Escalante, I stopped to see shoot some photos in Springdale, UT. and Grafton, UT. Grafton is an old ghost town that has seen too much restoration and is no longer that interesting. Grafton was featured in the bicycle scene in the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. My plan from there was to stop by Kodachrome Basin east of Bryce NP - my son Brian and I once spent a rainy night there sleeping in the rental car we had gotten for a road trip through Southern Utah. I stopped at what was either a visitor center for the general area or a BLM office. As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed John's 4Runner in the parking lot - we both had the same idea. Inside the visitor center John and I inquired about the condition of Burr Trail, which was to be our destination for the next day. We were told that the switchbacks on the road were treacherous. We then convoyed out to Kodachrome Basin, shooting a few shots along the way. When we arrived at the Basin, I decided not to stay and headed to Escalante.
Devil's Garden, Utah
Later that afternoon, John and I met at the Prospector Inn to check in and discuss our plans. After a bit, we headed out to Devil's Garden in my CRV. Just east of Escalante we took a right run onto a well-maintained dirt road that heads south to Hole in the Rock. After twelve miles we came to the cut-off for Devil's Garden which is a short distance from the main road. Devil's Garden is a cool place with some interesting rock formations and even a couple of arches. We wandered around taking shots and later met back in the parking area. A couple of people came by while we were there but they stayed only for a short period. The light was starting to wane so John and I headed back to Escalante. That night we ate at Nemo's, a walk-up eatery similar to Foster Freeze or Dairy Queen. We both had double-cheeseburgers and fries. I had a Coca-Cola and John had a chocolate shake, which turned out to be frozen soft serve. The cheeseburgers were humongous and neither of us finished our fries.
The next morning we hopped into John's 4Runner for our drive on Burr Trail. I left my CRV at the Prospector Inn to be picked up the next day. The trip over to the Burr Trail cut-off was fantastic. After driving thru a beautiful canyon we started to rise in elevation and ended up driving across a finger ridge that was straight down on both sides of the narrow, two-lane road. The Burr Trail starts near Boulder, UT. At the turn-off we stopped for a cup of coffee at another hippie cafe. Shortly thereafter we headed down the Burr Trail. It is a great drive thru wonderful country and does not require 4WD. We took mucho pictures as we drove along the trail. When we finally arrived at the "treacherous switchbacks", we were pleasantly surprised. The road was in excellent condition and we speculated that treacherous meant slippery when wet instead of a harrowing drive over a narrow, washed out road. At this point we descended the few switchbacks and turned north toward Capitol Reef NP. We were still on a dirt road but it was smooth traveling. Along the way, we stopped at several places to shoot. There was a really interesting formation of white and brown sandstone that we both thought was pretty cool. I even shot a broken down , old corral along the side of the road.
Later that afternoon, we arrived at Capitol Reef NP. We visited some petroglyphs and an old homestead within the park as we made our way to the visitor center. After checking out the center and going number one, we sat out front talking and checking out people. We saw one young lady photographing a fire hydrant - we all like to shoot different things. We relaxed for a bit more at the visitor before leaving the park and checking into our hotel which was just west of the park entrance in Torrey, UT.
Our eating choices were slim in Torrey, as they are on most of our trips, and we finally decided on the Red Cliffs Restaurant. I had a Reuben sandwich and onion rings. John had a personal, pepperoni pizza.
The next morning we were awakened to the aftermath of a rainstorm and also a double rainbow. It was really nice outside and the smell of the high desert was great. Soon, we left for Escalante to pick up my CRV and be on our separate ways. When we reached Boulder we stopped for coffee at the hippie cafe before our final leg to Escalante. After retrieving my CRV, John and I said our good-byes; John took off for Cathedral Gorge and I started my trip to Vock Canyon.
After driving west toward Bryce for a little while, the bottom fell out of the sky and it started to rain really heavily. Reaching the cut-off to Zion NP, I stopped for gas and asked a fellow traveler if he knew the condition of the road thru Zion. He said he had just tried to take that route but the road was closed. I took the long way to I15 thru Kanab and Colorado City.
While on this trip John and I wondered at the expansiveness of the American Southwest and how much exploring there is to be had on dirt roads. We found a road called Hell's Backbone between Boulder and Escalante that we someday hope to travel on and photograph. We also spoke of spending more time in Capitol Reef NP. Wonder what we will do on our Spring trip of 2015.