May 2, 2022
As promised, things improved this past week. It’s really quite difficult to stay grumpy when in such a beautiful place as we are. We found a body shop in Kanab who said they would be able to fix the truck and so we started the process of an insurance claim as we have damage to our window frame as well that would need to be fixed before they can install a new window for us. While we were there, we talked with a local for a while who told me about some great hikes nearby. I told him about my plans to workcamp in Escalante, UT starting next week and when I told him which campground I would be at, he was very excited. He said he had visited that campground twice for special occasions and though it was quite pricey, it was the nicest campground he has ever seen. He excitedly told us all about the giant hot tub, luxurious showers, and glass cabins. He also mentioned that everyone there is very happy, including the employees. I am so grateful that I found a place to work and live for the summer that seems so dreamy.
I went on a marvelous hike with my new friend Cindy on the East Mesa Trail outside of Zion. The hike was about 3.5 miles each way to an observation point overlooking Angel’s Landing and Zion National park. We got up at stupid o’clock so we could ensure we would be able to find parking at the trailhead and to avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. The weather was perfect as we hiked through the Ponderosa pines and the views at the end were spectacular. Definitely wortth the sore feet and lack of sleep. I am also very happy to have made new friends. This is one thing I missed over the winter in Arizona. I of course had my best friend (my husband) and some interaction with people from volunteering, but I did miss having a girlfriend to talk to and do things with. Cindy is very friendly and happy like me so she was great company on the hike and I’m sure we will stay in touch after we go our separate ways and meet up camping again one day. We also saw deer, wild turkeys, and buffalo on the drive to the trailhead.
Did I mention that our new friends have a super cool side by side? Well, they took us for a ride to Peek-a-boo slot canyon which was really beautiful and interesting. Slot canyons are one of the coolest things about the landscape in this area. Southern Utah has the greatest concentration of these canyons in the US so we are in the perfect area to see them. Going there in the SxS is ideal as the road into it is through deep soft sand that is difficult to drive through even with our 4 wheel drive truck. I don’t want to diss our truck. It has handled really well in the deep sand so far. Luke also took the time to read up on how to skillfully drive in that terrain and we have been able to go to some crazy places in it without getting stuck.
I realized partway theough the week that there is only one week left before we move to Escalante and I start working so we packed in the adventures this week. We made a video of our neighbor Chad ripping it up on the trails next to our campground with his SxS which was really fun. He also really appreciated having the video as it made him look ultra cool. It may also lead to a networking opportunity. Chad is good friends with a guy who has an ATV rental business in Kanab and he showed the video to his friend. This led to his friend saying he wants to meet Luke. We will see where that leads. Here is the video.
Luke and I took a trip to see the Great Chamber at Cutler Point. The hike from the trailhead is short, but strenous as it is through what people call sugar sand and the last bit was deep so you need to go at it quickly in order to make any progress. We were checking it out as we thought we may go back one night to shoot the milky way, but ended up deciding that one trip there was enough. It was a cool place though. I would describe it as a big stone amphiteater open cave of yellow swirling sandstone with a giant sand dune at the mouth of it. Luke took some photos of me playing at the top of the dune. I took pictures of course as well and made sure I spelled out our logo to leave behind for other tourists and hikers to find.
We have taught our dogs the simple joy of playing in the river at our campsite and it’s fun to watch them living their best lives and having fun. Dobby was pretty nervous about all of the activitiy at this campground at first and reluctant to play outside at first, but now he seems happy to run and explore around camp. This new activity also means that our camper is always full of sand, but it’s worth it.
To round out our excellent week of adventures and freedom we went to the Best Friends Animal Sancuary and Sand Caves both in Kanab. It was a bit windy when we visited these places which made the animal sanctuary even better when we stopped at their pet cemetary which had hundreds of wind chimes. If you have never been to a large outdoor space with this many wind chimes and no people around, you’ve got to try it. It felt a bit surreal to be in such a peaceful and isolated place surrounded by the sounds of beautiful chimes. The sanctuary is huge. We did not see many of the animals as we did not book a tour and rather drove through on our own. We drove by some of the horse pastures and saw them, but they keep the other animals away from the roads as they have off road trails here and don’t want the animals disturbed by the traffic. We stopped at some beautiful overlooks, found a hidden lake inside a cave and some Anasazi ruins and petroglyphs.
The sand caves are not ancient or filled with petroglyps, but I still thought they were really cool. It took a bit of scrambling to climb the rock cliff to get to them, but once I saw an old couple do it with ease, I realized that it was not too difficult or scary. These were made in the 1970’s to harvest sand for use in making glass. I will admit that on the climb down, I crab walked to slid on my butt during the steeper parts. I was wearing sneakers instead of my grippy hiking boots and had my fragile camera gear so I was nervous about slipping and falliing. We also drove down a sandy trail to get a closer look at a rock called Diana’s throne near our campsite. The colors of this rock have made it my favorite and I gaze at it every time we pass it. In the photos you will see Diana’s throne first and then photos of the sand caves.
Today, I am writing this from the truck as we drive to St. George, Utah to get some supplies. There are certainly stores in Kanab, but they are smaller and more expensive. We are going to a well reviewed outfitter so I can buy some hiking sandals as I have discovered that this would be a good thing to own for hiking in sand and rivers. We also need to get more dog food and our dog Sophie has a sensitive stomach so their food isn’t usually stocked at smaller stores. It’s a full day trip into the city, but it’s a gorgeous day and we get to see a new part of Utah. Part of the drive took us through mountains where we even got to see lava fields partially covered by snow and ice. Sorry I didn’’t take any photos of that for you. Luke is chasing the milky way tonight and plans to go to the Toadstool hoodoos for some amazing shots. I’ll be back at the camper sleeping soundy as Cindy and I plan to hike Zion early tomorrow morning.