Utah/Arizona Road Trip - Part Two
Trip Dates: February 15th, 2018 – February 19th, 2018*
*Blog Post Part Two covering February 16th, 2018 & February 18th & 19th, 2018
This is the second part of our road trip that including a visit to The Wave in Arizona. We knew we were trying for a highly
coveted permit via the walk-in lottery at The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Visitor Center in Knab, Utah. Since the odds of winning the lottery for The Wave seems just as unlikely as winning the monetary lottery, we had a whole lot of itineraries up our sleeves. Since one of the members of the road trip is literally so lucky, the timing was perfect, we won the permit for the following day which allowed us to explore the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness/Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument/Coyote Buttes North area for the rest of the day and still get a ‘good’ night sleep before our epic day.
The Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument area is home to a multitude of points of interest, including but not limited to the Wahweap Hoodoos and the Rimrock/Toadstool Hoodoos. The Wahweap Hoodoos are a grove of capped white columns near Big Water on the edge of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Found during a nine mile relatively flat hike, these hoodoos are completely different from nearby hoodoos which are often brown in nature. The Wahweap Hoodoos consist of Dakota Sandstone and Entrada Sandstone and they are incredibly old, one site noted them to be 100+ million years old. They’re often referred to as “White Ghosts” and I must say, that’s pretty fitting given the white sandstone spires. And to clarify, as it was a point of discussion on our trip, from atlasobscura.com: “A “hoodoo” is a column of weathered rock, formed when a thick layer of soft rock is covered by a thin layer of hard rock. Sometimes, when cracks in the hard rock allow the underlying soft rock to erode, one small cap of the hard rock is resistant to cracking, and it protects the underlying soft rock. This cone of protected rock eventually takes the shape of a vertical pinnacle.”
We spent the day exploring and photographing the hoodoos and met such a nice older couple who I was personally so impressed with as they carried a Medium Format Film camera, which had to weigh well… a lot for nine miles. In addition to the Wahweap Hoodoos, we also explored the Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos around sunset which resemble more of mushrooms than ghosts. The Toadstools are an enchanting wilderness area located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and are accessed via an easy to moderate 1.5-mile round-trip hike. And yes, the area makes for some great exploration and photographs! After hanging out at the hoodoos, it was time to get some sleep. Not only are we foodies at heart but Jeremy loves hotels/lodges and was able to convince us a hotel sounded a whole lot nicer than putting up and taking down our tents in “freezing” degree weather. El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant and Best Western Plus at Lake Powell Hotel in Page, AZ here we come!
If you haven't had a chance to read about our experience at The Wave, I posted all about it here. If you're hoping to read about our trip in chronological order, take a time out from this post and head over here! See you back here in a bit.
After our packed day at The Wave and surrounding area(s), we headed to Bryce Canyon National Park, a mere two-and-a-half-hour drive away. Jeremy hooked us up with a room at the Best Western Plus at Ruby’s Inn and it was great to take a warm shower after an epic day. While we might have gotten a little bit of shut eye, it was another early morning as we were off to explore another National Park, Capitol Reef. After a stop at a scenic overlook and the visitor’s center, we hiked to Cassidy Arch (1.7 miles one-way, 670’ gain), a surprisingly nice hike to a destination that exceeded my expectations! The grandiosity of the arch was a nice surprise!! We then explored the scenic drive and hiked along the Capitol Gorge Trail for a little while, creating our own stories for the petroglyphs. We primarily stayed in the Fruita Area of the park and I hope to someday visit Capitol Reef again to check out the Cathedral Valley area of the park. We opted to take a rather bumpy, windy, and scenic road to head back to Bryce Canyon and while I wish I could comment on it, I’m fairly certain I was asleep for 90% of the drive.
Our last day was spent at Bryce Canyon National Park. We woke up early (too early; are you sensing a pattern here?!) to try to catch the sunrise at both Sunrise Point and Sunset Point but we were out of luck, nearly all day, due to a pretty significant snow storm that rolled into the park just as we did! It was windy, icy, snowy, pretty bitterly cold, and quite frankly disappointing that we were snowed out. Don’t get me wrong, seeing the hoodoos covered in snow was magnificent but I would have liked to hike down to Fairyland Loop. Alas, add it to the list of parks to re-visit! After realizing much of the park was closed due to the winter storm conditions, we watched the video at the Visitor’s Center and then started to head back to Los Angeles and really, no trip is complete without a stop at Chipotle :-)