American Locations 46 – Monument Valley

The trip is from Natchez Trace, Tennessee, to Dodge City, Kansas, by way of Tucson, Arizona.

 Monument Valley, Arizona

We drove out of Zion NP the same way we came in, which meant we had to be escorted through the two tunnels again. We drove east out of the park on Rte. 9 back to Mt. Carmel Junction, then turned south on Hwy 89. In Kanab, rather than continue south on 89A, the way we had come, we instead turned east on 89. This took us into the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument. Which meant another incredible drive. Hwy 89 turned southeast, and we drove out of Utah into Arizona. Our first stop of the day was to see the Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell.

1821_Glenn Canyon Dam

 

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We drove across the Colorado River.

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And drove south on Hwy 89 into Page, where we turned east on Rte. 98. We continued to Hwy. 160, where we turned northeast. At the small town of Kenyata we turned north on Rte. 163. All the while we passed striking scenery.

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We followed it to the cut-off for Monument Valley. At the end of a gravel road we came to a motel which, seen in the lower left of the photo, was dwarfed by the rock formations towering above.

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There were also simple cabins.

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The campground was little more than a parking lot.

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But what a view!

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For miles around these unique rock formations rose up out of the flat desert floor.

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We ate dinner at the restaurant in the motel, and I had a delicious Navajo dish. We picked up some more souvenirs in their gift shop, then had a quiet night out here in the middle of nowhere. It was a beautiful sunset.

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Next Location is Mesa Verde, Colorado

 

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American Locations 45 – Zion 3

The trip is from Natchez Trace, Tennessee, to Dodge City, Kansas, by way of Tucson, Arizona.

 Zion National Park, Utah

The gloomy overcast days made photographing the park difficult. The normally-brilliant colors of the rocks were muted.

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This was an interesting trail.

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That led up to Weeping Rock, a good place to shelter from the rain.

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The sun did shine occasionally.

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And people came out without rain gear on.

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The last day we were there the weather broke and I went for a long hike. I crossed the river and quickly ascended above the campground.

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Then I kept climbing.

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This is looking down on the visitor center.

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I got a good view far up the valley from this height.

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I reached a plateau, as high as the trail went.

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The trek down can be as fun as the hike up since you get to see everything from a different angle.

 

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We left the next morning. Hopefully I’ll get back to Zion in better weather and get to see more of the park.

Next Location – Monument Valley, Arizona

American Locations 44 – Zion 2

The trip is from Natchez Trace, Tennessee, to Dodge City, Kansas, by way of Tucson, Arizona.

 Zion National Park, Utah

The rainy season arrived while we were in Zion. It rained so hard the Narrows Trail was closed, and people were advised not to hike up to Angels Landing. But there is a free shuttle service throughout the valley, taking riders to parts where cars are prohibited. So we used this extensively to get to points of interest without getting soaked. But at least it wasn’t snowing, as it was several thousand feet higher up in the mountains. We counted our blessings. Although it was cold and damp, we ventured out to see as much as we could stand.

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There were brief moments when it didn’t rain.

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Here is the creek running down out of the mountains past the campground. With all the rain, and the snow melt, it ran pretty strong.

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The clouds were often hanging low in the mountains.

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Between rainstorms, we hiked to this waterfall.

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And along the Virgin River.

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To the beginning of the Narrows, which was closed.

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Then back out along the Virgin River.

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We stayed four days, hoping for the rain to break. But you can’t help the weather. We got out when we could and saw as much of the park as the weather would allow. Another major trail, I forget which, was closed due to storm damage. So we saw what we could.

 

Next Location – Zion National Park 3

American Locations 43 – Zion

The trip is from Natchez Trace, Tennessee, to Dodge City, Kansas, by way of Tucson, Arizona.

Zion National Park, Utah

We drove north on 89A down out of the mountains into the little town of Freedonia. They displayed the first letter of their name on a mountainside. We had seen the same thing at Jerome.

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We drove north out of Arizona into Utah to the town of Kanab. They did the same thing with the letter K, but I didn’t get a picture of it. In Kanab, 89A merged with 89, which we continued north on to Mt. Carmel Junction, where we turned west onto Rte. 9. We soon drove into the exotic rock formations of Zion.

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When we arrived at the first tunnel we learned we were just inches too big to go through on our own. Our motor home is so small I had thought we could, but the park rangers have the final say, of course, and they said we were a hair too big. So we were escorted.

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After the second tunnel, we drove deeper through the mountains.

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There was one site left at the campground, so we were in. A beautiful campground at the foot of towering mountains with a mountain spring rushing past amid trees.

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But it wasn’t a very good site, in the middle of the campground on a bad slant. When another camper saw us having trouble setting up, he told us he was leaving and we could have his site. After we okayed this with the park rangers, we moved. This site was much better, on level ground at the edge of the campground.

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We relaxed the rest of the day at our beautiful camp site.

Next Location – Zion National Park 2, Utah

 

American Locations 42 – Vermilion Cliffs

The trip is from Natchez Trace, Tennessee, to Dodge City, Kansas, by way of Tucson, Arizona.

 Vermilion Cliffs, Arizona

After our third night at the campground in Tusayan we drove north back into the park to the visitor center, then turned east. On the way out of the park we stopped at an archaeological site.

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From this location we had a good view of Humphrey’s Peak that dominates Flagstaff, which was 87 miles to the south.

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We also stopped several times for final looks at places we had rushed past the day we arrived when we were concerned about securing a camp site.

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We drove east on Rte. 64 out of the park and through Kaibab National Forest. Once we were on the Navajo Reservation we stopped at several roadside stands to shop for some Native American merchandise. Then we continued east on 64 to Cameron, where we turned north on Hwy 89. At the little town of Bitter Springs 89 split, and we continued north on 89A. The desert we drove through was barren.

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Until we came to the Navajo Bridge, which spans the Colorado River at a place just before it flows into the Grand Canyon.

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Once across the bridge, 89A turned west. We drove along the foot of the Vermilion Cliffs. Another astounding drive.

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We continued east on 89A back into the Kaibab National Forest. At Jacob Lake, which is located at the turn-off to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, which at the time wasn’t open, we turned north. We quickly gained elevation as we climbed into the mountains. While still in the national forest and high up in the mountains, we pulled into the trees to do our first dry camping on public lands.

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It went well. We set up within sight of the road, yet it was a quiet secluded place and no one bothered us. The next morning I went for a hike in the woods. There were a lot of logging roads back into the trees, and the forest had been thinned considerably.

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Later that morning we continued north through Arizona.

Next Location – Zion National Park, Utah