making owls cool since 1986

We moved to Arizona to see burrow owls. Where the hell are all the burrow owls?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kolob Canyon

Kolob Canyon

Last week I set out for Utah with my hiking buddy Chris. We headed up to Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park. We planned for either 2 or three nights. Not surprisingly, it was amazing.

La Verkin Creek Trail

The ride there was a little long. For some reason it took almost 10 hours to get there and only about 7.5 to get home. Weird. We had a lot of great scenery along the way, which made the long rides more bearable. Here are some examples of stuff we saw on the way there.

Arizona Route 89

Imposing cliffs, mesa, canyons, buttes, and mountains dominate the northern Arizona landscape. It was pretty impressive.

Kolob Canyon019

Much of the ride is through the Navajo Reservation. That part's a bit depressing. Coming from the east, it's a little weird to come face to face with the results of the historical oppression of Native Americans. That's not to say that all Navajos are pitiful and seeing their homes are shameful or anything, it's mostly the craft booths on the side of Route 89 that advertise "Nice Indians" or "Friendly Indians" combined with the inhospitable land they live on.

Lake Powell From Route 89

We drove over Lake Powell, a man-made lake on the AZ/UT border. It' s pretty large.

AZ 89 Entering Utah

Here's a cool butte.

Once we arrived in Utah, we had to stop and get lunch. We stopped in a town called Kanab. What a place. I ordered a sandwich at a Subway and the woman working at the counter didn't say a single word the whole time. Completely rude and weird. I know she could talk because I overheard her bitching someone out on the phone.

We also witnessed a near car wreck. Man, Utah is weird. We were on a two-lane road. Behind us was a tractor trailer truck. Some weird woman in a Rav4 was trying to pass the truck, even though we were going about 70 on a two lane road (the speed limit was 65, FYI). When another car was coming in the other direction, that dumbass trying to pass the truck totally didn't move in behind the truck. We watched in the rear view as a the driver going in the opposite direction had to swerve off the road at over 60 mph to avoid that terrible woman. Guess what she did next. Passed us.

When we finally got to Zion, it was pretty impressive. You have to drive through Zion Canyon and through a tiny tunnel that was designed only to accommodate Model T's. RV's and some trucks can only make it through if traffic is stopped and they can drive down the middle of the road.

We got there kind of late and Utah is an hour ahead of Arizona at this time of year, so we were afraid that we wouldn't get our backcountry permit. However, we did make it in time and everything was A-ok.

Kolob Canyon is still part of Zion National Park, but it's about 45 minutes north of Zion Canyon. As we drove from Zion Canyon to the Lee Pass Trailhead in Kolob Canyon the weather was looking pretty rough. We knew there was a chance of rain and it looked like we were really in for it. When we finally arrived at the trailhead and got out of the car, it was freezing. Us Phoenicians weren't ready for this. We were prepared with warm clothing and gear, but it was so cold. At that elevation there was still some snow on top of the mountains. Once we got down into the canyon it warmed up, but it was still a chilly first night.

Kolob Arch

The next day we got up and hiked to Kolob Arch. Kolob arch is the biggest natural arch in the world. It's not free-standing like the ones at Arches Park, so it's not quite as impressive, but it's still pretty cool to see. That day of hiking was great. As I was used to hiking in the desert, hiking along a stream was a rare treat. The trail follows La Verkin Creek pretty much the whole time. We have water filters, so we could drink as much as we wanted, make a bunch of tea and food and never worry about where our water would come from. Beats carrying 2 reservoirs like I do in the desert. That night, we camped at site 15. This dude here hung out at our campsite with us.

Lizard 2

The next morning we got up an hiked 8 miles out. That was pretty brutal, particularly the last stretch out of the canyon to the trailhead. However, it was another impressive ride home in terms of views. My camera died, so I don't have any pictures from the last day, but I do have a lot more pictures on our Flickr page, so please check them out!

Tree in Kolob Canyon.

Me by Kolob Arch 2

Oh, by the way, Kolob come from the Mormon Book of Abraham. I think that's an apocryphal book, so I don't think it's part of mainstream LDS theology. In that book, Kolob is the planet closest to where God resides. Interesting.

Did I mention that we drove through Colorado City, AZ? That's the town with a high concentration of polygamists, including the infamous Warren Jeffs. It was a strange place. Lot's of half-built houses.


Anonymous Forber said...

Your blog is so much cooler than mine...sigh. It makes me sad.

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Sean said...

It sounds like a fun time. That's a cool lizard.

7:59 PM  

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