This morning the skies had cleared and the sun was shining warmly. What a nice change from yesterday.
Once again I needed to tighten chain, which had stretched quite a bit. I will keep an I on it today but I doubt it will last much longer.
I headed south down the freeway from Cedar City then east on highway 9 to Zion Canyon. It was a relief to finally get onto a small scenic highway.
I have been to Zion a couple of times but it was many years ago. The canyon is simply majestic. The colours, the towering cliffs and the fantastic rock formations are stunning. It's very difficult to do it justistice with a few photographs. This is a very special place that gives off an auora that a camera just can't pick up.
As you leave Zion heading east you climb out of the canyon via a spectacular winding highway until you reach a 1.1 mile tunnel that runs parallel to the cliff face. At various points "windows" have been cut from the tunnel to the cliff face allowing glimpses of the canyon below. This is a very unique experience.
After leaving Zion canyon via the tunnel the road continues to climb through a ponderosa pine forest before joining highway 89 south into Arizona, which drops to a high desert plain. Once across the plain I once again climbed up into a ponderosa pine forest and the temperature dropped dramtically as the summit is about 7,000 feet.
After cresting the summit the road comes out above the Colorado river basin and the grand canyon can be seen in the distance. The vermillion cliffs flank one side of the road while the Colorado river basin is on the other side. The scenery keeps you entertained which is a good thing since the road is straight as an arrow and very flat.
At marble canyon the highway crossed the Colorado river beside the original Nvajo bridge built in 1927. Once across the bridge you begin travelling through the navajo indian reservation. This area is very dry and desolate yet there are groups of houses at intervals along the highway. I can't imagine trying to eke out an existance here but these people have done so for generations.
I stopped at Cameron, Arizona for the night and found a great hotel at the Cameron trading post. My room overlooked the little Colorado gorge and another historic bridge.
The complex includes a huge gift shop full of original Navajo artwork and crafts. I have always liked navajo rugs and though I would have a look at them after supper.
The first small rug I looked at was $3,000! It was beautiful but I had no idea they were so pricey. I looked at a large rug that was very intricate; $13,400!! I decided to pass on it.