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Leaving Zion

September 16/Day 61. Travel day. This morning I ready the rig for the road, reluctantly pulling up stakes. I’ve enjoyed my stay at Zion. Each stop along my journey has had its own enticements, but Zion is uniquely beautiful. It’s emblematic of my love for southern Utah, the Colorado plateau, the Four Corners—no matter what name it’s called by. In a relatively small geographic area, God has seen fit to stash some of His most precious jewels.

Leaving Zion is a trip in itself. The road spirals up out of the canyon to a 1.1 mile long tunnel which, built in 1929 when most vehicles were far smaller than today’s, can no longer safely accommodate two-way traffic. Traffic is let through one way at a time, first east-bound, then west-bound, alternating all day.

Pink Cliffs near Kanab, Utah

Pink Cliffs near Kanab, Utah

Once through the tunnel heading east , the monolithic rocks assume more and more improbable shapes, like huge dollops of Dairy Queen ice cream or, less delectably, cow patties piled one on top of another, tilted at dizzying angles, seeming to ooze out onto the road almost. Their pinks and whites are dotted with pines, similar to Yosemite where the trees seem to grow out of solid bedrock. Unfortunately, there aren’t any pullouts along this section of highway, so I can’t get any pictures of the strange formations.

Before I know it, I’m through Kanab, Fredonia and Jacob Lake, plunging due south the last 40 miles to the North Rim. Once I check in at the ranger station and find my campsite, I realize it’s almost directly across the camp road from the site Jane, Hannah and I used years ago—probably about 1995—when we had our little popup camper. It was the first day the North Rim was open for the season, sometime in May, and it snowed a couple of inches on us. Now that was an adventure! The little camper had no heater, so the girls were in one bunk, cuddled together in one sleeping bag to stay warm, and I was in the other bunk wearing, I believe, every piece of clothing I’d brought with me, plus my sleeping bag. When sunrise came only Hannah wanted to stir; she’d never seen snow before and wanted to play in it. Oh, we had fun on that trip!

My little baby…seems like overnight she’s already a sophomore at A&M. So many memories of her growing up; I wish I’d known it would all flow by so fast, too fast to hold my arms around, too intangible. I’m feeling a little melancholy sneaking in. Life has to move through its proper stages and though sometimes it’s sad, it’s all good—and besides, there’s no stopping it.

Categories: Uncategorized
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