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Utah trip, November 2008

We left for Springdale UT on Friday November 21st. We wanted to spend the weekend based in Springdale to explore Zion National Park. Springdale is a delightful tourist town at the entrance of the park. It is at its best off season when the crowds have gone, and the prices of motel rooms have dropped considerably. I highly recommend Oscar's Cafe for all meals - the garlic burgers are sublime, and the breakfasts are excellent. Zion is beautiful this time of the year - the leaves on the cottonwoods are still golden. The verdant valley protected by gigantic sandstone cliff faces. IMG_1493 IMG_1499 We had a wonderful time exploring Zion NP, as well as the ghost town Grafton. IMG_1576 On Sunday we left Springdale and Zion and travelled to Kanab UT. The plan was to overnight in Kanab and then to make sure we were at Kanab's BLM office on Monday morning to participate in the Wave permit lottery. We had over 30 people show up to get a chance to hike into the Wave on Tuesday. There were only 10 spots available, and as a group of 4 we thought we had no chance of having our number be drawn. But as luck would have it, our number was the first to be drawn. We were IN!!! That Monday we immediately went back to our motel to book for another 2 nights - Monday and Tuesday nights. Then we packed up and went to Page AZ to see whether Antelope Canyon was open. Antelope Canyon is a famous slot canyon that is really quite accessible (if you don't mind squeezing into tight spaces.) IMG_1655 We spent a wonderful couple of hours photographing the formations inside the slot canyon. For photography nerds, don't forget to bring your tripod! IMG_1605 Tuesday was The Day to hike into the Wave. We left our motel in Kanab around 4:45am so that we could get to the trail head and start the hike in at around 5:45 - 6 am. You don't want to hike in the pitch dark, but in the light of the false dawn, it is simply wonderful. The BLM only allow 10 spots for walk in permits (which we were lucky enough to get) and then they also allow spots for internet bookings. I still think there are too many people hiking into the wave... I remember when I first hiked in there was no sign of people - just one's own footprints. Now the trail in is relatively easy to spot - there are footprints, and cairns to follow. In the half light it can be tricky. The BLM have also very helpfully provided a map and photographs of various land marks. I can imagine that if you are not familiar with the route it is probably easy to also get lost. They tell you that it is a 6 mile roundtrip hike - 3 miles in and 3 out. But it certainly feels alot longer. There is a lot of scampering up nice smooth rocky fields, and wading in soft sand. The final ascent up towards the "cleft" is sandier than I remembered it. Watch out for a particularly steep spot, where the sand creates a scary slipping surface. Rather, use the rocks instead of the sand. And finally after huffing and puffing up a steepish path, you arrive at the Wave. IMG_1734 We spent a wonderful couple of hours photographing the contours. This trip we had excellent light - a wonderful overcast day, which made the colors glow. IMG_1722 IMG_1798 We hiked out of the Wave. My legs sure felt tired. We got back to our Motel in Kanab exhausted. Kanab is a small town. For eating try Grandma Tina's. The service is excellent for a small town, and the food is home style cooking. After collapsing in Kanab Tuesday night after the Wave hike, we checked out Wednesday morning and headed for Monument Valley. A weather system had moved in and we passed through scattered showers for most of the trip to Monument Valley. We were very glad that we were not hiking into the Wave on Wednesday. The road to the trail head is impassable when wet (even for 4 wheel drives.) We got to Monument Valley in time for lunch. We were surprised by the construction going on. Our wonderful campsite with the amazing sunrise views of the Mittens is gone and in its place a hotel. The overpriced gift store was open for business and as was the restaurant. We have eaten at the restaurant, and do not recommend it. The service is slow, and the food bland. But there is nothing else, so we ended up eating there this trip. IMG_1852 After a wonderful couple of hours of photographing in Monument Valley we headed for Grand Junction CO. We were a little worried about the weather and didn't want to be on the wrong side of Vail Pass should the weather turn for the worse, and the pass would be closed down. It was a good plan to push for Grand Junction. We called to reserve rooms, and were glad we did. It made for a relatively easy final drive home on Turkey day. Of course, it was a particularly rude awakening to listen to the news reports of the atrocities in Mumbai.

Comments

Jeanne @ CookSister!

Ooooh! Comments are open at the Rad's!

Sounds like a wonderful trip - I really do want to see The Wave one day. And the 'Rents are looking great! Pls send my love :)

Sally

Thanks for the comment Oh Hyperactive Leek. I usual disable comments because I get spam comments. Ugh.
The Wave is highly recommended and it is well worth the effort to get there!!
xx
S

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