Return to the Red Rocks. Day 2: Three States and the Virgin.

(Las Vegas, Nevada – Springdale, Utah)

25 November 2022

Fewer words and more photos. That’s roughly what you can expect from today. The night started well. I got 4.5 hours’ sleep before I woke up. Unfortunately, my mind then went active and I had a hard job getting back to sleep. I tried some counting exercises, one of which is to count your breaths up to ten, then start again. Sadly, this wasn’t challenging enough and my brain ran in parallel with this activity. So, I decided to count in French. Still no luck. Italian. That did the job. I fell asleep after only a few counts. Excellent! I only got another hour or so of sleep, though, before I woke up again, and this time, the Italian didn’t work. I even tried it in German but to no avail. Maybe I should learn Spanish?

The sun rose shortly after 0630 and I got up and took a picture of palm trees in the morning sunlight before going back to bed and reading my book for half an hour, and then finishing yesterday’s blog. We got up, showered, had a light breakfast and left for Zion at 0945. I was excited simply to see snow on the mountain tops – I’m easy to please!

The traffic was reasonably light, and we really enjoyed seeing the mountains, desert and canyons as we travelled north. We noticed a few changes along the way, a solar farm in the desert and new highway works being the most obvious.

As we left Nevada, scenery through the Virgin River gorge and the Arizona strip was stunning – the photos don’t do it justice. We have definitely missed these views!

We crossed into Utah and, after a brief stop in Hurricane (the weather bearing no relation to the name, I’m happy to confirm), we drove the scenic UT-9 eastwards to Springdale, through La Verkin Virgin and Rockville. The views of the trees and cliffs make this one of my favourite routes.

We made our way straight to Cafe Soleil, where we got the last spot in the car park. The town is noticeably busier than ever, but obviously it is an American holiday weekend, so that was to be expected. We had lunch, which technically was ‘just’ a toasted ciabatta, but was stuffed to the brim with content, and extremely filling. After that we thought we would see if we could get parked at the visitor centre, but the car park was full, with cars circling like sharks, so out hope of strolling along the Pa’rus Trail was put on hold, and we went instead to the supermarket to pick up a few supplies.

By then it was nearly 3pm (we lost an hour as we moved from Nevada to Arizona), so we checked in to our hotel and had a brief rest, before going for a sunset walk. I’d found a route from the town park, which headed up a local hill and hoped it would provide good views of both the Virgin River and the cliffs surrounding the town. I’ll let you conclude whether it did..!

After that, we had dinner in a nearby sports bar, and then returned for an early night and hopefully a bit more sleep, without resorting to foreign languages.

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