After four days of hikes and adventure, today is a rest day. At least, it is a rest day physically. There is a little matter of 320 miles to drive from Moab to Grand Canyon. First was breakfast, and for the first time in living memory we were the first couple to show up for 8am. In fact, we were the only couple to show up on time, so we got stuck in regardless while it was hot. The other three couples eventually arrived, the last ones only just in time, as I was wondering how long I should wait before helping myself to their portions…
We packed and said our goodbyes to Carrie, the inn keeper, and to David, Kim and Courtney and then, after a brief stop at City Market for food supplies, headed south down US-191/163. The scenery unwound following a now familiar order…the La Sals, the mountains near Monticello, a very quiet Blanding, descent into Bluff, red cliffs, Mexican Hat, Monument Valley and the volcanic plugs such as Agathla Peak after crossing into Arizona, before we reached Kayenta for a rest stop.
We had a sandwich at Subway, fuelled the car and bought our first gas station vanilla lattes of the trip. Essential for driving (well…that’s the excuse) these are a syrup mix of sugar and caffeine, disguised as a coffee. They also have polystyrene cups which are excellent thermal insulators. 90 minutes and a 100 miles or so later, my coffee was still warm and sip-able.
I took over the driving at Kayenta and we turned south west along US-160, the weather immediately starting to look a lot less sunny. . The scenery along this section is fairly unchanging after the first 20 minutes and Andrew managed to skip most of it…
Shortly after Tuba City we turned towards Cameron on US-89 and then west towards the National Park, first passing the Little Colorado river canyon, the rim of which was lit up by a narrow band of sunlight. We crossed into the park about half an hour before ‘sunset’ although it was clear that we were going to have to take sunset on trust, as the sun had now disappeared behind cloud. I pulled in to Moran Point for a first quick glimpse of the canyon. It was going to be a close thing in a race between the onset of darkness, the arriving weather and us getting to the Lodge.
The weather won, by about 5 minutes and we arrived at the Lodge check-in just as it was getting dark, amid increasing snow. We registered and drive to our lodge building before the car got too covered in snow and quickly brought our belongings in. A drink and a relax in our room was in rider before heading to the main building (slightly snowy hike) for dinner and wifi. Dinner is ordered through Argos style self serve terminals and then collected at a pick up point…tastes ok though, in the main.
And that’s it for today. There is no wifi in the room, so updates will be a little more sporadic and photo uploads will be dependent on available bandwidth. It looked like computing central in the main building when we got checked in…it was bad enough when wifi was only a laptop thing (back in my old netbook days!) but now everyone has a phone, with no cell signal, and wants to get online… Ah well. Fingers crossed I can keep you updated!