Canyons 2015: a little bit cold and a little bit wet

Great sleep until 5.45am. Then my phone rang. I was surprised because (a) I had been asleep and (b) my phone was on silent. Perhaps the fact that it was plugged in to charge up overrode the being on silent bit. Subsequent investigation showed it to be a junk phone call. Annoying. I failed to get back to sleep, even more annoying, although Andrew did ok. I will use the do not disturb feature tonight.

Lying in bed I heard the rain start at 7am, so no sunrise photos. I gave up, got up and showered. While Andrew got ready I brewed coffee and packed everything up ready for leaving. Our three cases and 2 rucksacks has now expanded into 3 cases, 1 hold-all and 4 rucksacks plus a few loose ends. It seems travelling light is not my thing, although very little of it is clothes and most is ‘gear’ of one sort or another!

We went back to Cafe Soleil for the same yummy breakfast. 

I also don’t think I’ve shown you pictures of the lodge, so here are a few, now that we are leaving, including our car which is a RAV4 with Minnesota plates.

We fuelled up and then drove down the main canyon for a look-see before leaving Zion. It was very quiet and damp and autumnal and Andrew commented that he liked it when it was a little bit cold and a little bit wet. It got a little bit colder and a little bit wetter very quickly. By the time we reached the turn around at the Temple of Sinawava it was sleeting heavily. 

It soon brightened up again and we had a nice view back in Zion before we passed through the tunnel to the east side.

From there is was east then north to Panguitch. You could see lots of weather and it was only going to be a matter of when not if we got caught in snow. 

Sure enough, somewhere between Panguitch and Sevier on I-70 the flurries started and didn’t stop, although the road seemed to be holding it’s own against settling snow.

We eventually reached Salina at 2pm, having left Zion Canyon at 10.45 and I pulled into Denny’s car park for food, much  needed coffee and a leg stretch. By the time we had eaten and got more fuel the snow had just about stopped, but we still had the highest parts of the Fishlake Forest pass to come. Last time we drove this road in the snow we spun the car doing just 15mph and the wipers froze completely.  Today it wasn’t that bad, in that although the road got slushy it wasn’t inches deep in snow and we maintained forward motion at or above 40mph. It was below freezing though. 

Eventually we cleared the summit and it almost instantly improved on the downward (eastern) side, a pattern which was repeated over two further greater-than-7,000ft peaks in the land.

From leaving Salina to reaching the next point of civilisation (a gas station near Green River) is 100 miles so you do feel quite isolated in those conditions. By the time we were nearing Green River though it was simply raining. A lot.  

We eventually reached the Moab exit and followed US-191 southwards. It kept raining. Dry gulches weren’t. The Monitor and Merrimac buttes, visible on the horizon, were probably near to floating, and the slick rock looked…well…slick. The bright lights of Moab looked welcoming in the gloom. 

Once at Cali Cochitta we went straight in to see Kim and David. Kim is just getting over surgery she had last week, but had just been told that her test results were good, so it was great to see her and a relief to hear that news. We will catch up with both of them more this week. 

We settled in and relaxed in the rocking chairs in our room for a while, whilst the rain rattled down. It eventually eased and we headed down the road to Zax, our nearest option. Nutrional variety came in the form of burgers tonight (veggie, obviously for me), followed by a speedier walk back as the rain had picked up again and it was getting much colder. Time for some TV and blogging before bed. 


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