Traveling north on Highway 89 out of Flagstaff, I found myself constantly on the lookout for where we would pull over if the truck decided to quit again. A very unsettling feeling. Turning off onto Highway 89A the feeling got even worse, as there is literally no shoulder, a skinny 2-lane road and nowhere to pull off. Across the Colorado River on the Navajo Bridge, and along the magnificent Vermillion Cliffs, past tiny settlements and finally up the steep grade toward Jacob Lake, fingers crossed all the while. My worry was for naught as the drive was without incident and we happily pulled into the Jacob Lake Forest Service campground for the night. At the busy intersection to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, this campground stays pretty full in the summer and we were happy we had arrived early in the afternoon.
After a walk and an ice cream break at the store, I did some birding while Jay cleaned out the storage compartments of the trailer. Odd time to do it, but whatever. Look at this pile of stuff we've been hauling around forever! Good time to do some organizing.
Coming down off the Kaibab Plateau, the most spectacular views unfold, revealing the red rock canyons of southern Utah. We stopped in Kanab for lunch, and then back into Arizona to continue through polygamist country, back to Utah and on to Zion National Park.
When I planned this trip, I was happy to be able to snag a camp space in the park over Fourth of July, which certainly wasn't my preference for the time to be there, but it's what worked for our trip. Yes, it was crowded, but the park does an amazing job of dealing efficiently with the crowds. In our many trips through southern Utah, we had never camped in Zion, so I was excited to have four days here, with time to really explore the park and the trails. Just a 2-minute walk took us to the visitor center and the shuttles that eliminate the need for driving inside the park. The town of Springdale is also just an easy walk. We did take a day trip through the park to the east, north on Highway 89,and then up over the mountains on Highway 14, back to Cedar City where a tremendous thunderstorm hit. Once the rain abated, we explored the Kolob Canyons section of Zion NP, which is only accessible off I-15 and which we had never visited before. A 5-mile drive takes you into spectacular red rock canyons studded with cedars, oaks and pines.