July 11/12, 2022
Featured picture by Karen Human
We drove north from Cannonville, through Tropic and Bryce on Rt. 12 and turned south on 89. I read an article called “Everything’s Fine on 89”, which I can’t find now. From https://usroute89.com: “Tour seven National parks, fourteen National Monuments and three Heritage Areas all on one road. It runs north/south from Canada to Mexico, named #1 Drivers’ Drive in the World by National Geographic.” There is a Road Trip Map Book on US Route 89. We have driven it several times on this trip, but I may have to make a point of driving all of it.
We stopped at the Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel so the tunnel could be cleared for us to drive the 1-mile tunnel right down the middle. Having ripped off the air conditioner from my trailer on a covered bridge, I am a bit sensitive about tunnels and bridges. This one is pretty cool though, and an incredible engineering feat. Zion’s mountains are breath-taking.
We stopped for lunch at an overlook, taking pictures on both sides of the road. I talked to a man who parked his brand new Bronco behind us. It’s a pretty car with some great features. He said he had waited seven months to get it, but it was worth it. He loves it!
We wound our way down the valley walled by incredible, towering mountains on both sides. We turned into Watchman Campground and backed into a nice site, B20 and set up. It was hot, very hot, so we walked down to the Virgin River, a beautiful, clear stream and stepped in. There is a toxic Cyanobacterium Bloom in the river, so we are warned not to submerge your head or drink the water.
Upstream, people sat in chairs in the water while their dogs romped up and down stream. Too bad because the stream is a great relief from the heat, and we want to hike The Narrows, which follows the river up a narrow canyon.
Our air conditioner can’t keep up with this heat. It trips the 30 amp breaker to the Inverter, which gets very hot. I have to let it rest a while before trying it again. Between cell phone reception and heat, our guests’ nerves are getting tested. The kids have been on a number of trips with us, so they are pretty familiar with the Airstream. This is the first extended trip for Karen, so she has a lot more to get used to. I admire her resolve. Our routine is to do a hike in the morning, come back, have lunch, take a nap and another hike in the evening.
We set out the next morning to hike The Narrows. I went in my fishing boots, while Martha and Josh rented wading boots. We all rented walking sticks. It’s a cool hike, not unlike trout fishing where you wade from one side to the other, or along a path on the side as you navigate upstream. The man at the rental center said it gets up to your chest in places, so I didn’t bring my camera. It never got up to my waist. especially coming back down, Melissa happily walked right down the middle of the stream, enjoying the cool waters.
Karen and I commented on the crowds not being so bad, but as these things go, around the next corner, the hoards came upstream, carrying dogs and babies.
It’s a cool hike to where the stream splits. Going further would eliminate 96% of the crowd, but we turned around at the fork.