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Day 4: Antelope Canyon

Part 3: Zion National Park

Part 2: From Idaho to Page

Part 1: From Seattle to Idaho
Total Distance: 1611 miles

Part 1: The absence of a prologue

In my head, each of these posts was supposed to have a prologue. Nothing significant, some random thought or quotation to get the ball rolling. Usually, completed unrelated to the topic at hand. However, I cannot think of one for Antelope Canyon. Actually, hold that thought. I just thought of one.

Antelope. Ant-Elope. –CeG <oBelIX>

Part 2: Upper Antelope Canyon

It was a sunny day, the only day in the first five days of my vacation where a desert would behave like a desert and not display weather patterns similar to Seattle. The canyon was open and in all honesty was a total disappointment. This is because:

  • There is no time to stare at the canyon walls themselves
  • There is no peace
  • One is being constantly pushed around by the system (I say system because I have listened to a lot of Zen today)
  • There are too many people
  • It costs 40 usd and feels like a money making scam

Bottom line: Go to ZNP – the Antelope Canyons make for great photographs but should you ever be planning a trip out into Southern Utah, Antelope had better not be the reason for it. There are great pictures to be had. The canyons are beautiful. The experience leaves far too much to be desired. There are many other places in the world that will leave you feeling cheerier and happier, deep down inside than Antelope.

Part 3: Lake Powell

A nice-looking lake? I did not jump into it. The best I can say from personal experience is that one of the gentlemen who work at the Marina was kind enough to mail a postcard for me. This, to me, is a rather big thing, postcards are important but in the grand scheme of things – this may not be relevant at all.

Part 4: Horseshoe Bend

Arizona saved its best for last. –CeG <oBelIX>

I have a predeliciton for sunsets. Sunsets rarely disappoint. Even cloudy sunsets, as long as there is either a vast open space or the absence of people, the silence that accompanies most sunsets makes them worth going for. In Arizona, the Colorado got lazy at a certain point. Instead of making a hole through the rock it decided to take its own sweet time and go around it. I suspect it lost a bet becaue immediately after going around this big rock it turned back on itself rather than going further somewhere else. The result of all this though is perhaps the most beautiful sight I saw. A sunset. A vast sagebrush desert. A bend in a canyon. Tranquility.

Part 5: Utah-20

After the sunset, I headed back towards Seattle (the fact that I am writing this from Wyoming is another story which I shall write about tomorrow). This was the fourth time I drove towards Kanab (at a very sane speed I will add, I did not cross more than 30 above the limit at any point). I then took US-89 which for the part upto Zion is okay and the part after that is decent enough. Nothing much to complain about, not too much traffic, rather straight. Somewhere near Bryce though, I needed to go faster. At that point, the plan was still to make it to Seattle which required me to get atleast 350 miles or so in so that I’d have only 900 miles to do on Monday and be back to work on Tuesday. I decided to move on to the Interstate. I do maintain that state highways provide for the more entertaining drives. Interstates are faster though and safer and easier to drive, especially late at night. UT-20 is a state highway that goes from US-89 to I-15. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a gem of a road. If I was a touch sleepy before, this woke me up. It was late at night so I have no idea about what I actually drove through. The road is very very good. It twists and turns and is nicely banked. I stayed in a combination of second and third which is always good. There are lots of signs that warn about deer that wish to cross the road (along with other assorted wildlife) but I found none. I guess the deer were fast asleep then.

Day 3: Zion National Park

Part 2: From Idaho to Page

Part 1: From Seattle to Idaho

Total Distance today: 0

Total Distance covered: 1370 miles

This post comes to you from the same vacation rental in Page, AZ. There has been no change in displacement and I haven’t done any driving ergo no change in mileage. The first half of this post was composed in Page, AZ. The second half was composed in Wyoming.

ren why y. –CeG <oBelIX>

Part 1: Sunrises

There was a very beautiful sunrise today which I slept through. This was disappointing. The plan, when I left was to see every sunrise and sunset. The first sunset was somewhere over Oregon. The first sunrise was missed because of a delayed wakeup. The second sunset was somewhere on NV 319. The second sunrise was missed because I slept through it. Again. This smells suspiciously like a pattern. However, I still have more sunrises to see!

Part 2: Arizona, US 89

The scenery is much better during the day. –CeG <oBelIX>

Cheap, ten dollar glasses break rather easily.

We drove back on US-89, the part that had been a drive from point A to point B. Today morning, well, morning tending to afternoon, we drove back on the same road. The road was far more beautiful in the day. The scenery is very vast and much drier and more canyon-ee. The canyons are strikingly similar to the ones in which Wiley Coyote engages in battle with Road Runner. They are like lines of altitude on a map. There is no straightness and no reason that I can fathom to their structure. There are isolated peaks on the horizon. These are occasionally pointy and sometimes white.

Scenery

Part 4: Zion National Park

Zomg.

This is a very good national park. At this point of time I got lost when composing this post. I did not know what I wanted to say. The answer was provided by a passage of Zen a couple of days later (somewhere in Utah) where the narrator talks about stuckness. I was stuck back then, in that little fake vrbo in Utah. I was totally stuck because I was in two places, I did not know what all I wanted to talk about and I did not know the order in which I wanted to talk about those things. This makes a difference – a fairly important difference – one that I know rather well – enumerating what all needs to be done is the first step in doing so. I will go ahead and write paragraphs for all the things I think are important from that day.

There is a tunnel. It was built a long time ago, such a long time ago that when I first heard of when it was built I was surprised. It is a marvel of engineering excellence from my point of view, to have had the technique to build such tunnels so long ago. Before I describe this tunnel though, it is necessary to describe how I got to this tunnel. I was driven there, in a SUV which seems to be a rather marvelous, this was a VW Tiguan and I feel it is rather nice, powerful, grippy (having never driven it ofcourse – the guy who has a thousand miles to drive till he gets back home had better not drive). I am still anti-SUV, they are rather big, rather fat and when one is driving one is far off the ground. However, the VW Tiguan (which is what I think it is – it might have been a Touareg) was better than any other SUV I’ve driven (except for a certain someone’s RAV4 – driving which I first realized how unexpected it is to not have a clutch pedal) has some oomph, some jazz, some ability to get its butt in gear and go when asked. The other group (there were a total of 9 of us in that VRBO in Page, AZ) were driving a Chevrolet which was an abomination. The one time I sat in it, the drive had to rev it till the engine whined and complained before it decided to get its butt in gear.

Coming back now to this tunnel: it is rather impressive. The road at the end is even more so. It is impressive in the sense that had I been driving I would not have felt the need to blast down it. This is partly due to the view surrounding the road and partly due to the old gentleman who was cycling uphill. The road goes through the canyon and the views are breathtaking. There is also the opportunity for listening to echoes here. I will point out though that going “mooo” in a deep guttural voice is not the best way to demonstate the echocity of the canyons.

ZNP has this amazing idea of using a shuttle service. It is actually very logical. Instead of having everybody drive all around they have designated the main road (think GTSR:GNP::this road:ZNP) as a road on which only shuttles are allowed. This helps control pollution and crowding and parking (which in India I would never have though as a problem). The shuttles leave from the visitor center and go up the ZNP scenic drive and stop at all the points on the way.

Part 4.5: ZNP continued – What to see and What not to see

The deer in ZNP are rather underfed. –CeG <oBelIX>

CeG <Butcher> defeats CeG<obelIX> at chess nowadays.

Due to circumstances that involved a basketball, a thigh and a pulled muscle I cannot describe Angel’s Landing which is the premier hike in ZNP. I will do this the next time I did in ZNP. However, given a basketball, a thigh and a pulled muscle, there is still a lot to see in ZNP. The bus ride itself is amazing. The roads are red. The canyon walls are tall. The river, while narrow, has a look of real menace. This is mostly because it is not the crystal clear streams in the PNW, it is also not the white water from rapids near Rainier, it is a chocolate sediment brown. It says, “I broke those canyons apart – are you sure you want to take off those shoes with blue shoelaces and step inside?” At the temple of Sinawava (yes, I know I have jumped ahead without defining what the fuck the Temple of Sinawava is but when you go to ZNP you will not need this) there is a riverwalk. It lets you walk along the Snake river to where it narrows. I could not go further up because it had flashed and flooded. It looked rather pretty though – totally worth doing.

There are other big stops on the bus though. There is the weeping rock which if you have gone to GNP will not seem spectacular. Infact, the only real thing I remember of this is a couple of cute kids with their parents. The kids were rather intelligent and young – of perhaps the age when crayons seem edible and hippopotami is an acceptable plural for hippopotamus. This should serve as some indication of my opinion of the weeping rock.

I had great expectations from the Emerald Pools. In the PNW, most lakes are named without much fanfare and far below their actual wow-factor. Colchuck is called Colchuck, not “Lake-Blow-Your -Mind-Away-With-My-Awesome-Turquoise-And-Chilly-Alpineness”. I saw the name “Emerald Pool” and it auto-expanded in my head as, “The-Pool-Where-The-Water-Is-This-Colour-Of-Green-That-Inspires-One-To-Write-Great-Essays.” Suffice to say this is not the case. Infact, I believe the Emerald Pools were thus named only because hallucinogenic substances were legal in Utah at the time the Emerald Pools were first discovered.

obelIX’s first law of waterfalls: The prettiness of a waterfall is no indication of the awesomeness of a hike.

Tldr: ZNP is worth seeing – there are many moments when I had to pause and take a breath and then carry on. This is due to the sheer vertical cliffs that the Virgin River has carved through the rock. There is quite a lot of rather useless trivia about how the river has done this in my head but I will not bore you with it).


Dieting is very common in ZNP.