Westward from Mississippi: Colorado/Utah/Arizona

#16
Thanks for the write up, looks like y'all had a blast! I'm planning an Ouray trip from GA Sept of '19 so I'll be re-reading this several times to try and soak in as much as possible!
That's awesome, September is definitely a great time to go. If you have any questions feel free to message me.
 
#17
Day 8: Ouray, CO to Page, AZ

Eager to move on to a new area, we packed camp and were on the road by 9:00. As we passed south towards Utah, one could only watch as the terrain changed from an alpine environment to desert.

Stopped in Blanding, UT at the Patio Drive In for lunch. Highly recommended.

On way to Page, AZ we drove through Monument Valley. Our first time though the area and the formations were as impressive as advertised.

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Stopped in Page for a resupply at Wally World before heading out to Lake Powell to find a campsite.

On the way to camp

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Settled in above Lake Powell, we watched boats as they docked on the banks for the night. Definitely one of the top campsites of the trip.

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#18
Day 9: Page, AZ

I got up early to catch sunrise from our campsite and was not disappointed. The day started as promising as any, no sign of the things to come.

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I scrambled around the rocks exploring our site as we had arrived past dark

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Our first order of business was to go into Page in order to wash clothes and grab lunch. After that we drove over to Horseshoe Bend to brave the crowds and snap some pictures.

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As temperatures rose we decided to try to find somewhere to swim. Lone Rock beach was an option but the $20 per car price and people pushed us to look elsewhere. I had an idea that would take us Warm Creek Bay north of Page. Very unlikely anyone would be there and best of all it would be free.

This is where we ran into trouble.

As we made our down the road to the turn off for Warm Creek Bay, storm clouds rolled in from the north. We knew from prior research that this road can turn very dangerous when wet. We’d see the videos of flash flooding and knew the risks. Unfortunately for us the weather turned in an instant.

We were caught in a downpour that within minutes turned the road into a soupy mess.

In a stroke of pure fortune, an older man in a Land Rover was making his way towards us. He was a local and let us know that if any more rain dumped north of our location, the road could be washed out for good. This would leave us stranded for days.

After a brief discussion, we decided to take the chance on the way out letting this man lead us.

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This was probably the most nerve racking moment of the trip as the left side had been washed out and the mud was so slick on the road that getting momentum could potentially lead to losing a truck to the washout. Not to mention the mud was so thick that getting stuck out in the middle was a real possibility.

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However, both trucks made it across but not without some drama, no pics were taken in thr process as our minds were more focused on getting out of this mess.


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The aftermath.

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The radar was clear before we started down the road to Warm Creek Bay and this storm popped up in an instant. Flash floods are a real danger out west, something we rarely see in Mississippi.

Exhausted, we drove on to Kanab and washed the trucks, found a place to camp, and got some food. What a day.
 
#19
Day 10: Bryce Canyon and Zion NP

After calling an audible the night before and finding a place to camp near Kanab, we made the drive over to Bryce Canyon National Park.

Definitely a unique place. The problem with NP’s is the tourists. As we ate lunch we watched bus after bus drop people off. This was something we managed to avoid most of the trip. Regardless, Bryce Canyon is a special place.

We picked a short hike that would allow us to walk among the hoodoos.

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As soon as we finished the hike the skies opened up. Rain pelted our trucks, helping to wash some of the remaining mud off. Stopped for free showers at Ruby’s Inn and grabbed some food before hitting the road for Zion.

Wanting to get to camp before dark, we drove right through Zion NP. Really amazing place and an incredible drive.

Angel’s Landing, a trail we really wanted to do, had been washed out a few weeks prior and would be closed during our time in the area. Big damper on our plans.

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Camp for the night. Water was muddy because of rain upstream of our location. Still a great place to stay a night even if a bit trashed which was sad to see.

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#22
Day 11: Sand Hollow and the North Rim

The original plan for this day was to do some hiking in Zion. Seemed great when we planned the trip but the trail was closed. Plus the bus system used to transport people from trailhead to trailhead really didn't appeal to us as we hadn’t showered in a few days.

So another audible was called and we went swimming at Sand Hollow State Park. Turned out to be a great decision.

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Refreshed, we hopped back in the trucks and headed towards the Grand Canyon.

We hit dirt around Jacobs Lake, AZ and traveled for around 25 miles to our destination for the night.

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What a place. At the top of the list of best campsites ever.

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Best part was that we had the place all to ourselves.

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This would be our last true camp night of the trip and I believe we saved the best for last. I can imagine I’ll be back sooner than later. Until next time.
 
#23
Awesome trip!!! We did a very similar trip last year but in reverse. North rim of GC, Zion, Moab, CO. Sucks you couldn't hike the narrows while you were in Zion, that's something I'll never forget. Zion in general is just awe inspiring. We were in CO the week after FJ Summit as well, we might have passed each other who knows...lol
 
#27
Awesome trip!!! We did a very similar trip last year but in reverse. North rim of GC, Zion, Moab, CO. Sucks you couldn't hike the narrows while you were in Zion, that's something I'll never forget. Zion in general is just awe inspiring. We were in CO the week after FJ Summit as well, we might have passed each other who knows...lol
Will definitely be back to Zion to do some hiking. We were really bummed about the trail conditions when we arrived. We probably did! Saw a lot of FJs that's for sure
 
#29
Day 12: Headed Home – North Rim to Sedona, AZ

We drove out of the Grand Canyon and headed straight for Flagstaff, AZ. After grabbing some Chickfila we continued down to Sedona, AZ.

After window shopping and waiting for a storm to pass we settled in at a local bar called the Sundowner. This quiet hole in the wall was the perfect place for us.

Looking to find camp we drove Schnebly Hill Road up to the overlook and watched lightning strike the surrounding landscape as we waited for more storms to pass. The thunderstorm watching was complemented nicely by a few more episodes of Up and Vanished.

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Eventually we pulled off the road and decided just to sleep in the trucks, not wanting to get all of our gear muddy and wet.



Day 13: Headed Home – Sedona, AZ to Tucumcari, NM

If you ever get a chance to stay on Route 66 in Tucumcari, NM, I highly recommend it. We found a room at the Motel Safari. Great owner, clean rooms, and a very historic place.

We sat outside on their patio and relaxed that night. For me, imagining the place we were sitting as a stopping point for people headed west years ago was special in itself. I love places like this.

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The next day we stopped in Dallas, TX at a friend’s place for the night before continuing home to Madison, MS.

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~3500 miles total. May be heading a little farther north for the next one. Until then..
 
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