Day 5: Sheer unexpected beauty

 

An unplanned detour today, ’cause the sign said “road open to all vehicles unless wet, then 4×4 only”. It was dry. And something about an old movie town…

First, we leave Kayenta, AZ behind and make our way back to Utah (and into the right time zone – at least we think so, who cares at this point…). The plan is to stop at Antelope Canyon, and as we arrive there early in the morning we are told that the next available tour is at 4pm. It’s a tough decision, but we make it and decide to skip Antelope Canyon – gives me a reason to come back some time.

Our first actual stop of the day then becomes Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River with its reservoir Lake Powell – the second largest reservoir in the US. Lake Mead with the Hoover Dam is the largest reservoir. (and if you wonder why I am telling you this, because I wanted to know..)

Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River

Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River

 

Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell

Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell

Onwards we go until we stop to grab some water out of the trunk.

It’s at one of these boring historic mile marker stops. Only this time we read the mile marker info as we sip water. And there it is: “5 miles down the dirt road on your right is the old movie town Paria. The road is open to all vehicles unless wet, then 4×4 only”. As I said, it was a dry day… and I have an SUV that needs an adventure.

We cross over the cattle grid and within minutes we are in the middle of nowhere, no cell phone reception, no Google maps.

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

We are now deep into the Grand Staircase Escalate National Monument and the colorful rocks to our right and left are breathtaking. This is the most beautiful spot we have seen so far. Maybe because it’s so unexpected. We are so close to the rocks and see their size and color in full beauty. I just want to sit here and look at the rocks.

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

All is good until the road splits…

We take the left turn. After a while we come to the first washed out flash flood crossing – dry now, but the road is washed out and crossing this without a 4×4 is an adventure. My little SUV is happy about adventures and moves through like he is a big bad 4×4 SUV.

Then the road splits again and then there is a cemetery. And then there is another split in the road and now the dried out flash flooded areas become more and more challenging and I start to forget what turns we are taking. OK, this is getting scary… But there is still daylight.

As we slowly turn around and try to backtrack we finally come across the old movie town – Paria – site (of course our fist turn should have been a right turn). What the mile marker sign at the beginning of the dirt road did not say is that this site was burned down a few years ago and nothing is left.

Site of Paria at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Site of Paria at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

We make our way back to the highway and though the movie site isn’t there anymore, the pure beauty of this road more than made up for the missing town.

In the evening we arrive at Kanab, UT, which will be our base for the next three days. The first thing we learn is that Kanab is also called “Little Hollywood”. Back in the days, mostly western movies were shot here. And we finally see movie sets. The movie set shows buildings from Paria and – hey road trip 2006 – a windmill that was featured in Truth or Consequences – a TV series and also a town in New Mexico I stopped during my 2006 road trip ’cause I liked the name of the town…

Kanab - Little Hollywood

Kanab – Little Hollywood

 

Kanab - Little Hollywood

Kanab – Little Hollywood

Good night, y’all.

 

Road Trip 2015

Day 1: Lake Tahoe and Mono Lake

Day 2: A long drive to the pretty part of Utah

Day 3: Arches, canyons and a beautiful sunset

Day 4: Have you ever stood in four US States at once?

Day 5: Sheer unexpected beauty

Day 6: Bryce Canyon which is not really a canyon

Day 7: Grand Canyon – The North Rim

Day 8: A rather disappointing Zion National Park

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