April 11, 2017
As much as I love seeing untouched wilderness with no sign of man anywhere, I also get a thrill of excitement when I see an empty road stretching off into a world full of adventure. The fewer cars on it, the greater the thrill. An empty road wakes up my adventurous soul and draws my eyes to the horizon and the possibilities that lay ahead. This may seem like an oxymoron, but at the same time, I often feel more relaxed and at peace and sometimes pull over to listen to a silent highway. I think it’s a beautiful combination of knowing that you are not completely alone, but also that you are alone enough to enjoy the silence and beauty. There is something special about being on a highway with few others, and when the rare car does pass it’s not unusual for the drivers to smile at each other or wave. A camaraderie of strangers, like souls in a vast space of beauty. It’s one of the reasons I love to travel in the spring, fall and winter before the schools close for the summer. The weather may be more challenging, but the payoff is worth it.
After leaving The Grand Canyon, I drove Hwy 89 North. At the junction of 89A, I decided to head west towards Kanab, UT, instead of continuing to Page, AZ. 89A follows the Vermillion Cliffs and is very remote. Most of the traffic on it were Native Americans and a few lucky souls that were not chained to a desk. Tourist season had not reached this road yet.
A number of years back I’d hiked down Wire Pass to Buckskin Gulch, and on down to the Paria River and then north up the Paria River to the Whitehouse Trailhead between Kanab, Utah and Page, AZ. (Click link for YouTube Video). Ever since that backpacking trip (two days and one night in the longest slot canyon in the world), I’d wanted to see where the Paria River met the Colorado River. So I decided to drive to the confluence which is right by Lees Ferry. If you’ve ever read any stories about rafting down the Colorado River, Lees Ferry will ring a bell because this is where river runners launch their rafts for a trip through The Grand Canyon.
I spent a leisurely couple of hours hanging out here. I scrambled to the confluence of the two rivers and watched a group of rafters being taught how to handle the raft and the waves.
I admired the flowering plants.
Then I decided to take a walk down Cathedral Wash. This beautiful wash turned out to be more than just a walk. I love this kind of hiking because it requires scrambling, route finding, negotiating ledges and more. Loads of fun though just a tiny bit dangerous, just enough to add a bit of an adventure thrill to the hike. I made a video of this walk and you can watch it here: Cathedral Wash Hike – Vermillion Cliffs, AZ
I made it back to my van just as the sun was setting behind the Vermillion Cliffs but there was no free camping nearby, so I drove along the highway and came to these wonderful historical buildings built up against these eroded rocks. It was the Dominguez-Escalante Historic Site and because it was owned by the BLM, and there were no signs stating I couldn’t camp there, I was able to park there for the night. There were some Navajo women at the site selling their wares and they confirmed that it wasn’t Navajo Lands and I could park there overnight.
In the mornings I often just get up and go, however, now that I have a van I sometimes take the time to cook a full breakfast which I can do inside my van, out of the cold, dusty wind. I LoVe my van!
I hope you have enjoyed this installment of my travels during the winter of 2016/2017, and hope you’ll continue the journey with me. Please visit the HOME page to find more articles, and feel free to share, sign up and leave a comment. Also please visit my YouTube Channel. Until next time…remember to step outside of your comfort zone as often as possible and watch it grow. Be Dareful Out There!
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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