A red waterless wash leading into Lake Powell
Thursday, July 7th we crossed yet another boarder, rolling past the great Lake Powell and into what is now known as southern Utah. We sleep in Kanab for the night before continuing on to the Canyons of Zion. Upon entering Zion I must admit that in all my travels have seen anything quite like this place. The red sandstone canyon walls tower above, sometimes so narrow that the road is shaded by a noonday sun. What amazes me the most is the green. Its contrast with the red sandstone saturates the landscape with dense color. It is a rare place, where there is no horizon only sky. As we descended down the flawlessly paved switchback road to the canyon floor, I thought the place heaven. The Virgin River speed along the canyon floor, carving and having its way with the soft yet firm sandstone. Dropping an average of 72 feet per mile its current is swift and its course, like ours, already decided.
Zion land of green canyons and waterfalls
We camped in this pure beauty for a full three nights time. I occupied my spare time by lounging in my hammock in the evenings, writing and reading between unexpected naps. On occasion when the canyon swelled with too much heat and I could bare it no more I made my way down to the river to swim. The river was cold yet pleasant and refreshing after spending an adequate amount of time in its company. One could spend weeks here hiking to waterfalls and deferent lookouts. I had my fill of views for the week and was quite content to spend the weekend analyzing the view from my hammock. However, Zion having much more then just view’s offered waterfalls that fell hundreds of feet off the canyon walls. A waterfall always intrigues me and is quite possibly the only natural, or unnatural occurrence that could pry my worn body from its stat of leisure.
A rising moon from a hammock view
This being said, I went with the others on a small morning excursion to find what they called the emerald pools. The hike was short in length and two miles later we came across the first of the three pools. Do to it being the dry season only a trickle of water fell from the cliff that jetted out so far that the hiking path actually went under the waterfall. The path of the water intrigued me more then the common hiking path and so I veered off it with every intention of finding streams source. A mile later the riverbed dried up completely, the last of the water bubbling out from under a large rock. I returned to the path and joined the others at the upper pool and quickly became content with simply walking around the area, climbing rocks and searching for the best view of the canyon and the turquoise pool.
The upper emerald pool from the view of the cliff wall. In the spring a waterfall crashes down onto the foreground rocks from hundreds of feet above.
The sun illuminated half the canyon shinning its ray’s on a single side leaving the other in shadow. However by evening it would completely switch sides illuminating the other in an equally impressive manor. I observed this pattern during our stay and by the sixth illumination we were packed and on the road again.
The miles that brought us away form the enchanted land where wet. It rained, not for long but long enough to watch it trickle off the end of my noise and turn cycling clothes from dry to wet. The following miles through Nevada remained quite uneventful. And although I always try my best to find beauty in a place, I found none. Only the sky intrigued me but the sky cannot be owned or confined. Therefore I find it hard to give Nevada credit for its beautiful sunset. Nevada has the most mountain ranges of any other state and when not climbing to anther summit we were flying down the other side or crawling across another twenty-mile blank valley floor. Conversation, influenced by the myths of area 51 and the extraterrestrial highway revolved around alien. However for a vast majority of the endless stretch I occupied my self by listening to “Around the world in 80 days” and “Pride and Prejudice” in there entirety. I am quite aware of the lack of safety this brings to a cyclist nevertheless the lack of cars and miles of infinite straight drove me to disregard the recommendation. Besides there were times I would have very much enjoyed being hit by a car thus putting me out of my current state of misery.
A setting sun over the endless road west
When we did find people they were kind and overly generous, intrigued by our mission and unable to fathom such a journey possible. We summated boundary pass, which skirts around the edge of the tallest point in Nevada, Boundary point 13,145 feet in elevation, and shot down the other side into California. From the state boarder we will go straight west over the White Mountains to the foot of the Sierra Nevada Range. The white caped mountains fascinate me and I anxiously wait being consumed by there overwhelming power and beauty. 28 days and 1,800 miles have brought us from the flat of Texas to within reach of the breathtaking Pacific Ocean. Only mountains and miles stand between us, both of which patience and persistence will erase completely.
Hello from the road.